From the Comments: How Do We Know the Holy Spirit Personally Indwells? Part 1

HolySpirit7I’ve posted a few extensive comments answering readers questions that I probably should have written as posts. That is, I was really long winded in the little bitty comment boxes.

Thomas Dohling asked,

I am inclined to agree with @Sonny Childs when he says, “there should be little debate that ‘spirit’ refers to God’s nature,” The Bible says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). How is the mind renewed? By studying God’s Word (the Bible) or by “another entity” dwelling in our bodies, taking control of our minds and renewing it? Wouldn’t the second premise be similar to a maker reprogramming a robot?

I responded, Continue reading

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The Revelation: Chapter 21:1 (the sea was no more, Part 1)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaThe last part of Rev 1:1 declares that in John’s vision of the end of time, “the sea was no more.” And I have to say that, while I’m looking forward to a new body, I would hate for there to be no beaches in heaven. I love the beach. And seafood.

So how this is supposed to be a blessing? The commentators struggle with this one. Leon Morris’s explanation is becoming a standard response — Continue reading

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The Revelation: What About 2 Peter 3:10-13?

lion-dove-lamb-yeshua2 Peter 3:10-13 is one of the most common
— and understandable — objections to belief in a general bodily resurrection, as opposed to a disembodied eternal fate for the saved. This familiar passage is usually taken to mean that God is going to take the saved away from earth so that he can then destroy the earth with fire.

(2Pe 3:10-13 ESV)  10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,  12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

But what if we were to read 2 Peter in light of the Old Testament prophecies he’s referring to, as well as to Paul and Revelation? Does Peter really teach that the world will be destroyed with fire? Continue reading

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Article in Wineskins Reviewing the Gospel Advocate Issue on Unity

church-dividedThe February issue of the Gospel Advocate is dedicated to the theme “Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” the same theme as February’s issue of Wineskins.

And so I’ve posted an article at Wineskins reviewing the Gospel Advocate‘s teachings on unity.


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The Revelation: Chapter 21:1 (the first earth had passed away)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaAs a reminder, Rev 1:1 says,

(Rev. 21:1 ESV)  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

This one, short verse is filled with mysteries. I interpret the passage to speak of a cleansing and renewing of the heavens and the earth, returning them to their pristine state before sin entered the world — except better — merging heaven with earth so that God lives among his children in a Temple built to his glory.

But that idea seems contradicted by the phrase “the first earth had passed away.” Doesn’t that mean the old world will be dead and replaced with a new, better world? No, it doesn’t. Continue reading

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Formatting in the Comments

HTMLSome commenters have asked for instructions on how to better format their comments using HTML.

These require an ending tag – e.g. <i>italic text</i>. Notice the use of the slash / to indicate a return to previous formatting.


<i> Italics
<blockquote> Blockquote
<strike> Strikethrough
<strong> Bold
<sub> Subscript
<sup> Superscript
<u> Underline

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The Revelation: Chapter 21:1 (the new heaven and new earth, part 2)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaAs I mentioned at the beginning of the last post, it’s astonishing that any serious Bible student would attempt to interpret “the new heaven and new earth” without checking the OT passages that the language refers to.

We’ve briefly mentioned Gen 1:1, but we have to also consider Isaiah —

(Isa. 65:17-25 ESV)  17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.  18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.  19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.  20 No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.  21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.  23 They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them.  24 Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.  25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD. 

This is one of the most beautiful passages in all of human literature, and it, along with chapter 66 culminates Isaiah, particularly the Servant’s Song, which covers the last 20 or so chapters. Continue reading

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The Revelation: Chapter 21:1 (the new heaven and new earth, part 1)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaJust because I so love these last two chapters of the Revelation, we’re going to go verse by verse.

(Rev. 21:1 ESV) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

Now, there are basically two interpretations of “the new heaven and new earth.” One is found in the Christian Courier, a popular Church of Christ website —

This environment of the saved is simply heaven. Paul wrote that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). The apostle also said that we have one hope, and that our hope is in heaven (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:5).

In every respect, heaven will be characterized by newness. It is a place never before inhabited by Christians. It is the first time the saved, in a glorified state, will be in the very presence of God — face to face (cf. 1 Jn. 3:2; Rev. 22:4). This new state, where sin and death are no more, will be the eternal abode of the saved when the Lord returns, and the living are caught up with the redeemed of all ages to be with the Lord forever (cf. 1 Thes. 4:13-18).

I think most Christians agree. But I don’t. Rather, I lean toward a position found not only in N. T. Wright, but taught by many Restoration leaders of the 19th and 20th Centuries, including Alexander Campbell, David Lipscomb, G. C. Brewer, and Moses Lard. It surprising that a doctrine taught by such influential leaders has been nearly forgotten — until we were reminded of it by an Anglican bishop (Wright). Continue reading

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The Revelation: Riddles and Enigmas (“the things that must soon take place”)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaTwice in the Revelation, John is told that the vision’s events “must soon take place.” And yet all but the full Preterists interpret the vision as reaching far into the future.

(Rev. 1:1 ESV) The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

(Rev. 22:6 ESV) 6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

Continue reading

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The Revelation: Summary to this Point and a Peek Ahead, Part 3


This was Alexander Campbell’s view and the prevailing view in the early 19th Century among most Protestants. He (and many others) saw the founding of the American republic as a major step toward the Millennium. He did not teach a Rapture, but he did believe in a 1000-year reign on earth as the culmination of the Kingdom. And he saw the uniting of the Christian sects as a necessary step toward that end — and the reason for the Restoration Movement.

The Second Great Awakening was driven by hopes of a Millennium soon to come. But the Civil War and the world wars of the 20th Century ended the optimism for most, leading to reconsideration of what had seemed certain by many.

Post-millennialists are largely optimistic, believing God’s people will eventually so evangelize the world that Jesus can return and reign for 1,000 years — to be followed by the general resurrection. Continue reading

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