Category Archives: Revelation

“Seeing is a gift” by John Piper

“No one decides to see glory. And no one merely decides to experience the Christian Scriptures as the all-compelling, all-satisfying truth of one’s life.

In the end, seeing is a gift. And so the free embrace of God’s word is a gift.

God’s Spirit opens the eyes of our heart, and what was once boring, or absurd, or foolish, or mythical is now self-evidently real.

You can pray and ask God for that miracle. I ask daily for fresh eyes for His glory.”

–John Piper, A Peculiar Glory (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 283.

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“By indefatigable labor” by Francis Turretin

“We unhesitatingly confess that the Scriptures have their heights and depths which we cannot enter or sound and which God so ordered on purpose to excite the study of believers and increase their diligence, to humble the pride of man and to remove from them the contempt which might arise from too great plainness…

For as in nature so also in the Scriptures, it pleased God to present everywhere and make easy of comprehension all necessary things.

But those less necessary are so closely concealed as to require great exertion to extricate them. Thus besides bread and sustenance, she has her luxuries, gems and gold deep under the surface and obtainable only by indefatigable labor.

And as heaven is sprinkled with greater and lesser stars, so the Scriptures are not everywhere equally resplendent, but are distinguished by clearer and obscurer places, as by stars of a greater or lesser magnitude.”

–Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, (2.17.4). Ed. James Dennison (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1692/1996), 1:143-144.

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“Divine promises” by Thomas Brooks

“The promises of God are a Christian’s magna charta, his chiefest evidences for heaven. Divine promises are God’s deed of gift; they are the only assurance which the saints have to shew for their right and title to Christ, to His blood, and to all the happiness and blessedness that comes by Him…

The promises are not only the food of faith, but also the very life and soul of faith; they are a mine of rich treasures, a garden full of the choicest and sweetest flowers; in them are wrapt up all celestial contentments and delights.

And this is most certain, that all a Christian’s conclusions of interest in any of those choice and precious privileges which flow from the blood of Jesus Christ ought to be bottomed, grounded, and founded upon the rich and free promises of grace and mercy.”

–Thomas Brooks, “A Cabinet of Jewels,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 254-255.

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“Idolatry is trying to play God to one’s gods” by J.I. Packer

“Paul’s words here endorse the consistent biblical testimony that idolatry is inexcusable. Scripture never condones idolatry on the grounds that men knew no better, but condemns it on the assumption that they did, and that irrespective of whether they had encountered any part of God’s special revelation or not (Is. xliv.10-20; Hab. ii. 18-20).

Quite so, says Paul; for it is out of general, not special, revelation that idolatry has been manufactured. Idolatry is a lie grafted on to some of the intuitions of general revelation in order to smother the rest; it was invented to provide sinners with gods they can worship while remaining their own masters. One of the contradictions of fallen human nature is the desire to be lord of what one worships.

As a creature, man yearns for a god to serve; as a sinner, he is resolved to play God himself, and demands that everything else should serve him. This explains the absurd actions of the pagan who directs acts of worship to the image he made himself (Is. xliv. 10-20), while at the same time developing techniques of sacrifice, prayer and sympathetic magic for getting his imaginary god to do what he wants (cf. 1 Ki. xvii. 25-28 with verses 36, 37, and Mt. vi. 7).

And Scripture recognizes more forms of idolatry than polytheism. It says that idolatry exists whenever man gives himself up, heart and soul, to mastering an adored object. Covetousness is thus idolatry (Col. iii. 5). So it by no means follows that sinners forsake idolatry when they abandon polytheism.

All that happens is that they change their gods. Some ‘idolize’ wealth; and Christ calls such the slaves of Mammon in just the same exclusive sense as the Christian is the servant of his God (Mt. vi. 19, 24). Others ‘idolize’ and live for ideas, ideals, a cause, power, a wife, children, country, beauty, and many other things besides.

The self-contradictory lust of sinful man to have something he can worship and master at the same time takes countless forms, each exhibiting the same pathetic ambivalence.

Trying to rule what one serves—being enslaved by what one tries to rule—trying to play God to one’s gods, and ending up the captive of them all—that is idolatry, in all its forms. It is a satanic parody of man’s original relation to his Maker, and a source of endless misery to all its practioners.”

–James I. Packer, “Some Thoughts on General Revelation,” Christian Graduate 9.3 (1956): 119.

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“The excellency of Christ in the beauties of nature” by Jonathan Edwards

“Now we have shown, that the Son of God created the world for this very end, to communicate Himself in an image of His own excellency. The beauties of nature are really emanations, or shadows, of the excellencies of the Son of God.

So that when we are delighted with flowery meadows and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we only see the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ. When we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see His love and purity.

So the green trees and fields, and singing of birds, are the emanations of His infinite joy and benignity. The easiness and naturalness of trees and vines are shadows of His infinite beauty and loveliness. The crystal rivers and murmuring streams have the footsteps of His sweet grace and bounty.

When we behold the light and brightness of the sun, the golden edges of an evening cloud, or the beauteous bow, we behold the adumbrations of His glory and goodness and in the blue skies, we see His mildness and gentleness.

There are also many things wherein we may behold His awful majesty: in the sun in its strength, in comets, in thunder, in the towering thunderclouds, in ragged rocks and the brows of mountains.

That beauteous light with which the world is filled in a clear day is a lively shadow of His spotless holiness and happiness and delight in communicating Himself.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Entry 108: Excellency of Christ” in The “Miscellanies”: Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 13, Ed. Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 279. This entry may be read here in its entirety.

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“The Revelation 19 picture of Jesus” by Mark Driscoll

“The Revelation 19 picture of Jesus coming again as a warrior with a tattoo down His leg and a sword in His hand, riding on a white horse to slaughter evildoers until their blood runs through the streets like a river, is hardly consistent with the common false portrait of Jesus that lacks any sense of righteous anger.”

–Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, Death by Love: Letters from the Cross (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), 127.

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“The truth of God is known in genuine worship of God” by Richard Bauckham

“Revelation’s prophetic critique is of the churches as much as of the world. It recognizes that there is a false religion not only in the blatant idolatries of power and prosperity, but also in the constant danger that true religion falsify itself in compromise with such idolatries and betrayal of the truth of God. Again, this is the relevance of Revelation’s theocentric emphasis on worship and truth.

The truth of God is known in genuine worship of God. To resist idolatry in the world by faithful witness to the truth, the church must continuously purify its own perception of truth by the vision of the utterly Holy One, the sovereign Creator, who shares his throne with the slaughtered Lamb.”

–Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 162-3.

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