Archive for March 20th, 2012

Purchase:  Amazon

The purpose of this book written by John MacArthur and the members of faculty of The Master’s Seminary is to give a primer on Dispensational Premillennialism. In essence, it is a defense of Dispensational Premillennialism that would be accessible to the general Christian reader. Perhaps those reading this review will remember MacArthur’s infamous sermon during Shepherd’s Conference 2007 about how every self-respecting Calvinist should be a Premillennialist. I recall first hearing all the outrage about this online from many people, when I was leaning more towards Postmillennialism during that period in my life, and thinking that that might be a little over the top rhetorically. There was a sense of caution as I read this book as I wonder if MacArthur’s claim would have been re-iterated here, and it turns out that the very same message in 2007 actually became one of the chapters in the book, arguing why Calvinist should be Premillennial in light of the historical grammatical hermeneutics and a high view of God’s sovereignty. It seems to me that this will be probably the most offensive part of the book, but I do not think MacArthur is intentionally doing so, and after reading the whole book, one might be more sympathetic towards MacArthur as surely I did, or at least understand where he is coming from. The introduction to the book focuses on why Christians should study prophecies, and Dr. Mayhue gives some good statistics of the Bible and Scriptural passages on why studying eschatology is important. The first two chapters focused on what the essence of Dispensationalism is, and also what it is not along with popular misconceptions. The author of both chapters, Dr. Vlach, does a good job here, including answering the popular objection that Dispensationalists are anti-calvinists and believe in works righteousness (!). I felt that these two chapters alone was worth getting the book, given the all too common misconceptions about Dispensationalism. What I appreciated the most of the book is that the contributors from the faculty of The Master Seminary all had something of their specialty to offer when it comes to this volume, making it a convenient “one stop” volume summarizing their work for a popular audience. For instance, those who are familiar with The Master’s Seminary’s faculty’s work on Dispensationalism will notice that Dr. Vlach’s booklet “What is Dispensationalism?” has been updated and was the essence of the first two chapters of the book. In addition, his chapter on Israel echoes his dissertation and recent book on whether or not the church has replaced Israel. I was also happy to see Waymeyer contribute his chapter on Revelation 20, since it was more reader friendly in terms of the format than his original book on the same subject. Dr. Mayhue’s dissertation has been on the tribulation, so it was good to see a chapter contribution from him on that subject. Nate Busenitz, who is currently teaching historical theology, wrote a great chapter on the history of the early church and their view of Premillennialism. Overall, I would recommend the book.

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If you have never read Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (1608-1680), you definitely will want to read it.  As I pried open, dove deeply, and pondered on section II concerning Satan’s devices, Thomas Brooks, the pious Puritan, provided eye-opening devices of how Satan lures and deceives humans into sinning against Almighty God.

After reading some of the devices that Brooks provided, the exhortation stirred me to pray and fight fervently in my sanctification.  If you are a believer, I pray that you take Satan’s devices seriously.  1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”[1]  Although Peter is commanding the believers that are scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, this exhortation applies to believers today too.  The indispensable and all-important imperative to “be of sober spirit” and to “be on the alert” is a universal imperative for all believers.  It is in this verse where Peter is giving a corporate command to the body of Christ because he understands how dangerous Satan is if we are not watchful.  He prowls this earth right now as you are reading this post.  He prowls around; and he wants to devour your marriage, integrity, purity, your joy and allegiance to King Jesus; and the list goes on.  And if you are an unbeliever, please read John 8:44.  John 8:44 says, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  In this verse, Jesus is speaking to the unbelieving Jews who denied Him.  If you deny Him as Lord and Savior, you too are of your father the devil.  In light of much that has been written about Satan’s devices, here is the first device that Brooks provides.  Device 1 is titled: “To Present the Bait and Hide the Hook.”  Please ponder on this quote:

Satan’s first device to draw the soul into sin is, to present the bait and hide the hook; to present the golden cup—and hide the poison; to present the sweet, the pleasure, and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin—and to hide from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin.”[2]

This quote indeed resonates a historical reality.  This historical reality takes us back to the Fall at the Garden of Eden.  It was there when Satan deceived Eve by presenting the golden cup while hiding the hook.  The serpent who deceived Eve, said, “You surely will not die!  ‘For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil‘” (Genesis 3:4-5).  As a result, she took the bait.  Adam on the other hand, was not deceived, but he took the bait nonetheless.  Because our first parents rebelled, Satan’s hook snatched them from paradise.  Their rebellion resulted in a horrendous, dreadful, awful, terrible, appalling, and abominable entity called “sin.”  The Adamic effect, transferred sin to all people (Romans 5:12).  With its full weight, the curse of Adam pounces on the elderly and even on the cheeks of babies.  It has no mercy!  Sin also gave birth to cancer, aids, other diseases, murders, abortion, rapes, etc.

As I traced back the historical reality of the Fall imbedded in the book of Genesis, I see two human beings, who were originally without sin and two human beings that were privileged to experience intimate relationship with their Creator.  Hence, if two perfect human beings were tempted to eat the fruit, which is forthrightly rebellious, how much more are we as sinful creatures, vulnerable to Satan’s bait?

It is my desire and prayer that the Holy Spirit protects His children from the devices of Satan.  May God’s children yield to God’s Words.  As the psalmist says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).  Psalm 1:1-6 says:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

If you treasure God’s Words, you will be protected from Satan’s malevolent bait and hook, but if you don’t, you will be snatched by the hook, which could bring about awful consequences in your life.  Soli Deo Gloria.

[1] All Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible.

[2] Brooks, Thomas (2010-06-09). Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (Kindle Location 305). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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