Last week we discussed the fact that the apostles went from city to city proclaiming the gospel, ordaining elders and teaching them. When they knew their ministry was approaching its end, the apostles entrusted the sheep to the Holy Spirit and His Word, and implored the sheep to beware the soon rise of false apostles who would attempt to lead them astray:
“[A]fter my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30)
“[T]here shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways;” (2 Peter 2:1-2)
When Peter knew that he was about to fold up his earthly tent and go home, he did not commend the sheep of “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1) to his ‘successor’ in Rome. He commended them to their local congregations where they would be fed (1 Peter 5:1-3), and to the Bishop of Souls (1 Peter 2:25), for they were “kept by the power of God,” not by the power of Rome, “through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5). It was the “chief Shepherd,” Jesus Christ, to Whom the local shepherds would be accountable on the Last Day (1 Peter 5:4). The sheep were to submit to the local shepherds (1 Peter 5:5), knowing that the local shepherds would one day answer to the Chief, “for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Whatever trials might arise, they were not to be dismayed, for they were not alone — “the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:9). The sheep were to press on in faith, entrusting “the keeping of their souls” to God, “as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19), for their incorruptible inheritance was “reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), and it was in their local congregations that God would preserve them. Continue reading The Visible Apostolicity of the Invisibly Shepherded Church (part 1)→
In the last three weeks we have spent a little time discussing various interpretations of Daniel 2 in which a Stone “cut without hands” (Daniel 2:34) strikes the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. The Statue depicts a succession of Four Empire—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. It has legs of iron, signifying the strength of Rome (Daniel 2:40), but has feet of iron and clay, signifying that “the kingdom shall be divided” for the kings of the Fourth Empire “shall mingle themselves with the seed of men” (Daniel 2:41, 43). The Stone strikes the Statue “upon his feet that were of iron and clay” (Daniel 2:34). Continue reading The Fifth Empire (part 4)→
Last week, after describing the two judicial movements in each vision of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, we touched briefly on the distinction between possessing a heavenly kingdom and having dominion over an earthly one. They are not the same thing, and Roman Catholicism has confused the former for the latter. As we mentioned previously, Taylor Marshall in his book, The Eternal City, thinks he has found in Roman Catholicism the bride of Christ because Roman Catholicism took dominion after the collapse of the Roman Empire: Continue reading The Fifth Empire (part 3)→
Last week, we started a discussion on the Four Empires depicted in the visions of Daniel chapters 2 and 7—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. As we demonstrated with citations from Early Church Fathers, a Roman Catholic apologist and a Protestant commentary, the judgment scene in Daniel 7 is typically collapsed into a single event in which the Fourth Beast (Rome) and the Little Horn (the Antichrist) are destroyed together. It is typical for the judgment scene in Daniel 2—the Stone striking the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—to be depicted in the same way: as a single act of judgment against the series of empires. But in both chapters, the text and the context convey an extended judgment, and Daniel 7 explicitly states that after the initial act of judgment against the body of the Fourth Beast, the lives of the preceding empires are granted a continuance of sorts.