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Of all the months of the year, none has greater significance for the church of God, has more to say to us, carries with it more sentiment, than this month of December, which is with us once again. How soon! How time does fly!

First of all, first also in the minds of young and old, it is the month wherein we commemorate that most blessed of all events, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the coming of the Son of God in the flesh to redeem us from our sins and to exalt us to heavenly glory, the fulfillment of that ancient yet wonderfully vivid prophecy, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” How wonderful beyond all human comprehension! How worthy of all the joy and happiness God’s church can possibly express! December means: Christmas.

However, December also comes to us with a message of an altogether different nature—the message of the end. It is the last month of the year, and thus brings with it its last week, its last day, its last hour. Christmas is the first day of that week of which the last day marks the close of the entire year. It is of the latter that we are thinking now.  The end of the year speaks of the end of all things. It reminds us of the end of our entire lives, which may be here who knows how soon. Perhaps it is December, also in this respect, for you or me. It speaks, too, of the end of this entire dispensation, of the whole world and all it contains. Presently the day will be here when the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will make an end forever of all present things. All the signs of the times seem to indicate that in this respect, as far as the calendar of all history is concerned, we are certainly in the month of December. Better and better do we understand the word of the apostle, “Little children, it is the last hour.” The carnal world does not want to think about these things. All it craves is a new lease on life; a new year wherein to sin and seek the satisfaction of the flesh. Therefore, it spends the year’s last evening as it does—in revelry and riot, in drunkenness and hilarity such as marks no other evening of the entire year. The church of Christ, however, would face reality and spends this same evening, the last of the year, in solemn contemplation and worship.

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The day of the Lord will come, says Peter, as a thief in the night.

Then—then great and terrible things will take place in and with all God’s present creation. Of course they will, for that day of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “December 31” of all history, as it were, will be the day of GOD; the day wherein our covenant God will manifest Himself in all His power and glory; the day wherein the counsel of God will be realized with respect to all things, God’s tabernacle with men will be made perfect and all that is of the world and sin will be destroyed forever.

You’ve read what Scripture has to say about those things that will soon come to pass. “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” II Peter 3:10. The incomparable Isaiah saw it more than 2500 years ago in prophetic vision and he writes, “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as a leaf falleth from off the vine, and as a falling fig from  the fig tree.” Is. 34:4. And the seer on Patmos testifies, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” Rev. 6:12-14.

Indeed, great and terrible things will take place in that day, when the Maker of the atom will Himself do the splitting and all present things will be no more. The very heavens, the firmament and all it contains, the sun and the moon and the stars, all will be set ablaze and consumed with fire. Also the earth and all it contains, in fact the very elements whereof all present things are composed, shall be set on fire and burned up. Everything that is of the earth earthy shall disappear forever. Absolutely nothing of man and of this world shall survive that final catastrophe to enter into the New Jerusalem. “All these things shall be dissolved.” II Pet. 3:11. All the fruits of human labor and ingenuity. All the accomplishments of art and science, the poet and the sculptor. All that eye can see and ear can hear and the hand can touch.

But is this all? Is there no more? Then, surely, the thought of the end is a terrible one—unutterably so. Will nothing take the place of these present things? ‘Oh, indeed, something will; something inconceivably great; a new heaven and earth. We look, not only for the final dissolution of all present things, but for an entirely new creation. In fact, it is only with a view to the latter that the former must take place. In that new heaven and earth only righteousness will dwell. How wonderful! There sin and corruption will have no place and all will be in perfect harmony with the will of God. In that new creation all will be heavenly. It will not be a glorified version of this present creation. All will be different, new, heavenly, spiritual, glorious. There the tabernacle of God will be with men forever. There all tears will be wiped from our eyes, death and sorrow will be no more; there we shall see face to face, know as we are known, and walk and talk with our covenant God, in Christ Jesus, in endless perfection. No, we cannot comprehend these things now, but we somewhat sense the glory of it all, do we not?

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Of all these things we are reminded anew as we approach the end of another year. With a view to it all “what manner of persons ought we to be?”

This question is pertinent. It is the application of all the preceding to Christian living,–the “toepassing”. What shall be out attitude toward it all, and how should this attitude reflect itself in our daily conduct?

Looking, first of all, at these present things and their ultimate dissolution in the day of Christ, what should be out attitude? Shall we cling to these things that are speeding toward their end with all possible haste, to set our hearts on them, put our trust in them, live only for them, sacrifice all we are and have for them? That the world does, the natural man—the fool. Ought we to be such manner of persons? God forbid! No, we shall not desire this present life. We have a life to live here, a duty to perform, and to the execution of that task we shall set ourselves with all the consecration to duty of the conscientious Christian. But we shall not set our hearts on “these things”.  We shall labor and plan, we shall plow and sow as in a world that will soon be no more. Our attitude toward all that is, shall be determined by the reality concerning them and that with relation to the things which soon shall be.

“What manner of persons ought we to be?” We ought to be a people that is looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, that is anticipating that day as the day of our complete deliverance, that is looking for its Saviour God much as children look for their father to come home from work at night. And looking for that day we should sanctify ourselves, eschew all that is of sin and this present wicked world and walk in a new and holy life.

Then all will be well and we shall have nothing to fear. Then we shall be confirmed in the assurance that that new heaven and earth will also be our dwelling place forever. Then we can think of the end of all things, not with regret, but with anticipation and hope, knowing that the impending dissolution of all present things will be for us the beginning of that which is eternal and heavenly. In that hope we may join the church of all ages in that song of blessed anticipation:

When I in righteousness at last

Thy glorious face shall see,

When all the weary night is past,

And I awake with Thee

To view the glories that abide,

Then, then I shall be satisfied.

“And the Word was made flesh.” John 1:14a

Incarnation! What a miracle, and what a mystery! It means: coming into or being clothed with flesh.

We might, of course, also speak of the birth of Christ.

However, that is not enough. The mere word—birth—does not express what really happened in that wonderful stable. Every person who ever lived was born. There’s nothing special about that! But no other person was ever incarnated. The latter, therefore, is the richer concept by far. It explains what really took place that first Christmas night. It tells us that someone, who existed before he was born, came into our human flesh—God’s eternal Son.

Incarnation! Remember that word when you and your children sing: “Christ, the Savior, is born!” Understand as deeply as you can: that birth of Jesus was the incarnation of the Word.

That incarnation, more forcibly perhaps than anything else, demonstrates the truth of Scripture: “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of you, it is the gift of God. Salvation is of the Lord!”

That means, that nothing of all that pertains to the wonderful work of our salvation is of us—nor is it because of us. It is all, from beginning to end, the free, sovereign, eternal love and good pleasure of God.

Where is that demonstrated more clearly and beautifully than in the stable of Bethlehem? Of course, also all God does in us reveals that same free and sovereign, wholly unmerited and unsolicited grace of God. With us is only darkness, lie, guilt, death. Regeneration, that spiritual resurrection from the dead; faith, that gift of God; conversion, justification, sanctification; all speak of pure, undiluted mercy. However, that free and gracious aspect of our redemption is even more clearly revealed in that which God does for us in that blessed moment, wherein the Word dwelt among us, the fullness of time.

Indeed, that is true of all God does for us in the Son of his love. They are all miracles of sovereign grace. Think of Calvary! Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Did you have anything at all to do with that wonderful cross? And think of his resurrection! Who must not confess from the bottom of his soul: nothing of us, that no man should glory!

Even so, where is this sovereign grace of God revealed more beautifully than in the manger of Bethlehem? There is your salvation, and mine. There the wonder of all wonders, the incarnation of God’s Son, is accomplished in the way of the sign of signs, the virgin birth. There in the inn the miracle of your redemption takes place; the very heart of God’s marvelous counsel is revealed. There is the first link of that golden chain of salvation which God himself forged for us in the fullness of time.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

That did not happen when Jesus died, or arose from the dead, or even when he ascended to heaven. Did that ever strike you?

That happened when Jesus was born.

Our Heidelberg Catechism gives a rather adequate explanation of this wonder of the incarnation, when it says in Lord’s Day 14: “That God’s eternal Son, who is, and continueth true and eternal God, took upon him the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost.” So simple, and yet so profound! So brief, and yet so comprehensive! As a definition which young and old can apprehend, it leaves little to be desired. Such is the wonder of the grace of God.

“That God’s eternal Son.” The second person of the holy trinity!

He is the one and only person, subject, “I,” involved in the miracle of the Incarnation. “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14). “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Also, he remains the only person, subject, “I,” involved in the miracle of the Incarnation. When the Word becomes flesh he does not become a human person. The mediator is not two persons. He, who assumes humanity on Christmas morn is and remains God’s eternal Son. Whenever the mediator says “I” the eternally begotten of the Father is speaking.

“That God’s eternal Son, Who is and continueth true and eternal God.”

Hence, that eternal Son is God. Everlastingly he is coessential and coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Eternally he lives the full divine life in the full divine essence; possesses all the divine names and attributes, he is the righteous, holy, good, almighty, never changing God.

And, he remains true and eternal God, also when he enters into our flesh and blood. That never changes.

“That God’s eternal Son, who is and continueth true and eternal God, took upon him the very nature of man.”

That is the incomprehensible but infinitely glorious miracle of the incarnation, the adorable mystery of Bethlehem. Understanding that we don’t see in that manger a mere infant, helpless and dependent, but we see God’s eternal Son wrapped in swaddling clothes, and we say: What a darling baby? No! We say: The Word has become flesh, and dwelt among us!

Notice, he did not change from God into man, like the water changed to wine and the rod of Moses into a serpent. That is not the humiliation of Bethlehem. The Son remained what he was—eternal God. And he became what he was not—finite man.

And both these natures he united in his single person, the second person of the adorable Trinity. The unity between the natures, therefore, must not be sought in the natures themselves. They were not fused into one, somehow. The unity most be sought in the one person who possesses and lives in both natures.

Let’s stress particularly the phrase “took upon him.”

That tells us that the lowly birth of Christ was an act of Christ himself. It was not forced on him, but he assumed our flesh and blood voluntarily. It was not done to him, but by him. It was not a fate, but an act. We do nothing to our birth, the Son of God did everything to his. Christ is not working for us only at the end of his life; also at the very beginning.

It also tells us, that the birth of Christ was an act of infinite and conscious love. The manger is just as much an act of love as the cross. Between the two lies a whole life of love.

Hence, “He took upon himself.” That’s not a mere dogmatic formula. We are not interested in bare formulas. This is the voice of supreme, eternal love, for how well he knew that from Bethlehem the way could lead only to Gethsemane, Calvary, hell. Truly, neither voice of man or angel can express the love that is contained in this most basic of all confessions “that the Son of God took upon himself the nature of man.”

This blessed miracle of Christmas was realized in the well-known way: “Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary.”

Hence, Jesus was born of Mary. That implies so very much.

It tells us, that he became real, genuine man. He was born as all men are born, out of one of the women of our race. He was flesh of Mary’s flesh, blood of Mary’s blood, bone of Mary’s bone, muscle of Mary’s muscle. He bore our flesh and blood, therefore. He was not a stranger to our race. If he had been, he could never have been our Savior, for then strange blood would have flowed from the cross, and strange blood cannot atone for the sins we committed. He was man like you and me, man like his brethren in the heart of Africa or on the most forsaken islands of the sea. Therefore he could save them. If you had met him on the streets of Jerusalem you would have seen nothing that was not purely human. Except! Somehow you would have sensed that you were in the presence of sorrow such as the world had never known.

Born of Mary he assumed the flesh and blood of the children. The Bible lays great emphasis on that point. The Son of God assumed human nature out of the seed of Abraham, out of the house of David. He entered our race in the very heart and center of the covenant line. Therefore he was the Lion of Judah’s tribe; the root of Jesse; the seed of the woman; the end and blessed culmination of David’s royal line.

Yet, wonder of wonders, he was without sin. This was true in every sense of the word. The guilt of sin was not imputed to him. The stain of sin did not cleave to him. Never was he guilty of even the slightest transgression of God’s holy law. How could this be? Christ knew no guilt because he was not a human person, but the second person of the holy Trinity. And he was without the pollution of sin because he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, who preserved him in Mary’s womb from all the stain of sin. Hence, he had to be made sin; our iniquities had to he laid on him; himself he knew no sin.

Born he was, therefore, of the virgin Mary!

There is the sign of all signs that confirms the wonder of all wonders—the incarnation of the Son. Not only was Mary a virgin when she conceived the Christ. She was still a virgin after she had brought him forth; the only woman in history of whom this can be said.

We know how the world has always ridiculed this miraculous conception and nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such a virgin birth, they say, is a scientific and biological impossibility: The fools! As if all things are not possible with God. We shall not dignify such unbelief and proud folly with anything resembling a detailed refutation. There is only one reason why men reject the virgin birth: they reject the Incarnation itself. For one who believes the latter it is easy enough to believe the former. In fact, one who truly believes the Incarnation would never expect anything else than a corresponding miracle in the physical aspect of Jesus’ birth. For such an one there could be nothing more unnatural than a natural birth; nothing more natural than a supernatural birth.

Hence, conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary! An unfathomable mystery? Yes, indeed! So is the conception and birth of any child. How then could the birth of the Christ be anything else? Who will explain it? Not I! We agree with him who said: We honor this mystery most by being silent.

What does all this avail us?

Thus, and thus only, that Christ can be our head and redeemer, who can prepare eternal salvation for us, and us for eternal salvation.

Thus, and thus only, he can be the Lamb without spot and blemish to reconcile lost sinners with the living God. Now when he suffers and dies our nature suffers and dies. And behind that human nature is ever the infinite power of the divine to sustain and strengthen to the very end.

Thus, and thus only, our mediator can apply that redemption thus wrought and exalt our finite human nature to the glory God has prepared for us.

If only we may know that that Christ is our Savior too!

And what is necessary for that?

Eyes of faith!

Eyes that were opened by almighty grace!

Eyes that were made to see in his weakness God’s glory; in his swaddling clothes the majesty of God; in his simple manger God’s mighty throne; in his crown of thorns God’s crown of eternal victory for us.

Eyes like those of Mary, who sings: “My soul rejoices in God my Savior.”

Eyes like those of Thomas, who may look into the face of this Jesus and worship: “My Lord and my GOD.”

Then Christmas is really Christmas!

Never does the difference between the church and the world, the Christian and the unbeliever, reveal itself more strikingly than it does on New Years Eve, the night of December 31. In its vain and foolish attempt to banish from its mind all thoughts of the end and in its anticipation of a new year wherein it can pursue the things of this present time, the world laughs and sings, drinks and dances, riots and revels as it does at no other time. The Christian, on the other hand, desires to see things as they are, and, e’er the tolling bells and striking clocks all over the world announce the passing of another year, he pauses a moment to reflect, to meditate, and to ask himself: Where am I going?

Another year of our brief lives has sped by with amazing swiftness. Now that it is past, where did it go—all those months and weeks and days and hours? It seems but such a short time ago that it was still 1945. How we are reminded of the end of our entire lives and of all things! “Little children, it is the last hour.”

How fitting that for us this day should come in the dead of winter! Gone is the springtime with its promise of life and growth—gone the summer with its brightness and warmth and wealth of outdoor activities—gone the crisp and colorful autumn. It is December and winter—and all is cold. still, dead. So appropriate, it seems!

How are we reminded of the simple but most significant words of the author of Psalm 90, “It is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

That truer words have never been spoken is certainly the testimony of all experience, is it not? And it is the message of Scripture throughout. “As a sleep” is the life of man. “Like the tender grass which today flourishes and tomorrow is no more.” Spent are our years “as a tale that is told.”

Man soon yields up his fleeting breath
Before the swelling tide of death;
Like transient sleep his seasons pass,
His life is like the tender grass,
Luxuriant ‘neath the morning sun,
And withered e’er the day is done.

Young people, don’t let the fact, that you are still youthful and full of hope and anticipation and plans for the future, blind you for this reality. Psalm 103 puts it very bluntly:

So man is quickly swept away
Before the blast of death.

“We fly away.” “As a dream when one awaketh.” Suddenly, just when is determined by God alone, we appear upon the stage of this life. For a few brief years, 70 if we be strong, 80 at most, we play our part in the drama of life. Then just as suddenly we disappear from life’s stage—only a memory to them who remain. Whatever be men’s experiences in life, and all are different—the end for all is the same. And ah, having reached that end, and looking back, it was not long—as a shadow that declineth. And then—then it is cut off. For a brief moment our place is vacant and we are missed and mourned by a circle ever so small. Then the vacancy is filled in, as the shifting sands on the beach speedily fill in the holes our children love to make, and presently even our memory has faded from the earth. The shifting sands of time remove every trace of our ever having lived on this earth. That is life. Don’t dare to forget it! “As a dream….”

Yet, life is no dream, but terrible reality. Remember that too. It is not thus, that we live our life on this earth, and having reached its end have nothing more to do with it. This life, however brief and transient, has its purpose. It is a preparation for eternity. Consequently, every moment has its value with a view to that eternity. The Lord causes us to be born; gives us our place in the world; endows us with gifts and talents, money and goods, wife and children, faculties and time and opportunities; all in order that with all this we should serve and glorify our Maker. Wherefore, the stupendous fact is, that we have never lived one moment in vain. From a certain point of view we may say: we take nothing along with us, but leave everything behind. In another way, however, we leave nothing behind, but take everything along. Life is real! It may seem vain. but it isn’t! Every moment adds to the load I carry with me into eternity.

“We fly away.” Where to? Always into the future, my friends, dark and mysterious to us, but known to God, because He determined it for us from all eternity. Where to? To death and the grave. Precisely when we shall meet these face to face God only knows. It may be today. But this is certain: always the way leads to the grave. Somewhere on this earth is that spot, where one day our remains be lowered into the ground, and with incredible speed we are hastening to keep our rendezvous with that grave. Where to? To the judgment seat of Christ. There the final separation will take place between the sheep and the goats. Where to? To our eternal destination. That will be the end of the road. Either-or: eternal glory or eternal desolation.

Where to? In last analysis that depends on our relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters. Character, or works, or knowledge, or education, or preeminence in natural matters, will not determine our place in eternity. Those who perish are lost because they stand outside of Christ. Those who are saved inherit eternal life because they have Christ for their Saviour and Lord. And possessing that Christ, by faith, there is nothing to fear, neither life nor death, neither the present nor the future, neither time nor eternity. But the wicked, saith my God, have no peace.

Christian friends, in the light of all this, “what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness!”

Shall we now live as the ungodly fool, who seeks only the present? His motto is: let us eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. He thinks of no eternity and considers no God—not today—tomorrow perhaps. Life for him is nothing else than the satisfaction of the flesh.

God forbid! Let us be wise and careful. Let us “buy out the time, whereas the days are evil.” Let us live here below as in the midst of things that mean nothing as far as this life is concerned, but that mean everything with a view to the life to come. And let us heed the exhortations of Scripture. “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:14). “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh” (Mark 3:35). “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober. and watch unto prayer” (I Peter 4:7). “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Genesis 31

A. Jacob’s complaint—verses 1-8.
a. Why had Laban’s countenance changed?—verse 2. What do we read of Laban’s sons? Why did they complain? Were they carnal as their father, afraid, perhaps, that their inheritance was suffering?
b. Who commanded Jacob to return to the land of his fathers? Would Jacob’s departure be difficult and did the Lord command him in order to comfort him and strengthen him?
c. What was Jacob’s complaint against Laban? How did Laban try to deceive Jacob?
d. How does Jacob explain his prosperity?
1/ To whom does he ascribe his tremendous wealth? Verse 9
2/ What is the thrust of verses 10-12? What does the angel of the Lord show Jacob? Remembering that the rams of verse 12 are Laban’s rams, were these rams not of a solid colour? Why does the angel call them what he did in verse 12? Does he describe them, not from the viewpoint of what they were, but from the viewpoint of what God intended them to bring forth?
3/ Does not the angel, therefore, ascribe Jacob’s wealth, not to Jacob’s sagacity and cunning, but solely to the Lord?
e. What is the meaning of the expression, “I am the God of Bethel”, in verse 18? Does this expression mean that God would remember His promise at Bethel?—see ch. 28:13-15.
2. The answer of Leah and Rachel to Jacob’s complaint—verses 14-16.
a. Was there any love lost between them and their father? Why not?
b. What is meant in verses 15-16? Do they not say, first, that their father took their possessions, using them for his own carnal interest and, then, secondly, that it has become theirs? However, how did it become theirs? Did Laban give it to them? Who?
c. So, they are more than ready to leave with Jacob.

B. Laban’s pursuit of Jacob—verses 19-44.
1. Jacob steals away, unawares to Laban.
a. Did Laban intend harm to Jacob?—see verses 23, 29, 42. Did Laban intend Jacob to be empty handed?
b. Why did it take Laban only 7 days to overtake Jacob? Where did he overtake him?
2. Laban’s hypocrisy.
a. Is it true what we read in verse 26, that Jacob carried them away, as captives and with a sword?
b. Is it true what we read in verses 27-28? Would Laban have sent them away with mirth, etc? Did he intend to impoverish Jacob? Would the departure have been a fond farewell?

c. Who prevented Laban from doing harm to Jacob?—see verse 29. Notice that Laban speaks of the “God of your father”. Indeed, was the Lord Laban’s God?
d. And what disturbs Laban according to verse 30? Of what sin is he guilty?
3. Verses 31-36.
a. Why did Jacob leave Laban secretly?—verse 31. Did Jacob have a reason for fearing this? Should he have been afraid?—see verse 31. Why did not Jacob tell Laban what we read in verse 31? Would this impress Laban?
b. What did Jacob not know according to verse 32? What does this reveal to us of Rachel?
c. Why did not Laban find his gods?
4. Jacob’s exposure of Laban—verses 36-42.
a. What challenge does he hurl at Laban in verses 36-37?
b. Notice what we read in verses 38-41. Does verse 38 imply a Divine condemnation of Laban? Is it not God Who prevents animals from casting their young? Notice what we read in verses 39-40. What does Jacob mean when he speaks of Laban’s changing his wages 10 times? Is 10 a symbolical number? What does it symbolize? Does it mean that Laban put forth every effort to impoverish Jacob?
c. Why does Jacob speak of the God of Abraham and of Isaac in verse 42? What is the meaning of this Name? Does it mean that that God took care of Jacob, had given him His promise and was faithful to that promise?
d. Is Jacob’s indignation of verse 42 justified? Is it wholly justified? Was Jacob wholly blameless at the house of his uncle? But, was it justified in principle? Did not God increase Laban’s wealth tremendously the first 14 years, for Jacob’s sake? And Jacob was faithful to Laban?
5. Laban’s answer in verses 43-44.
a. This answer indicates that Laban has little to say. Jacob’s reproach had cut him to the quick.
b. Is it true what he says in verse 43? All these things may have been his? Were they his now?
c. And in a tone of self-sympathy, he asks the question in verse 43.
d. What does Laban propose in verse 44?

Genesis 28
A. Isaac blesses Jacob and sends him to Padanaram.
1. Introduction
a. Jacob obtained Isaac’s blessing through fraud. We mean that Jacob deceived his father, regardless now of the question whether Isaac was actually deceived or not.
b. What does this emphasize? It emphasizes that God blessed Jacob in spite of his fraud. It emphasizes Jacob’s sinful nature and that God loved him, sovereignly and not because of any good in him.
2. Isaac blesses Jacob and sends him away.
a. Why does Isaac do this, seeing that Rebecca had told Jacob the same?—Ch. 27:43. Is this because of Isaac’s position as the patriarchal head of the family; and thus the authority to do so rests with him?
b. Was Rebecca only concerned about Jacob’s safety?—Ch. 27:42-46.
c. Why may Jacob not marry a woman of Canaan? Why a woman of Padanaram? Does this have anything to say to us?
d. Do verses 1-4 of Ch. 28 establish again Isaac’s faith, that he believes the word of God that the “elder would serve the younger” and that “in Isaac shall thy seed be called”?
3. Meaning of the blessing of Abraham.
a. See Gen. 12:2; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2, 4-6; 18:18; 22:17; 26:4, 24.
b. Who are the seed of Abraham?—see Gal. 3:16, 22, 28-29.
c. The blessing of Abraham is the promise of God to give unto him and his seed (all the elect in Christ, of the Old and New Dispensation) the land of Canaan, type of the heavenly Canaan; hence, the promise of God to translate all His elect Church, in and through Christ Jesus, into heavenly glory, the heavenly City, the Father’s house with its many mansions.
B. Esau’s reaction—Verses 6-9.
1. What prompted him to act as he did?
a. Notice the facts.
1/ One, he saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob. This refers not only to Ch. 27:35, but also to Isaac’s renewal of the blessing in Ch. 28:1-4.
2/ Secondly, he saw that Isaac had sent Jacob to Padanaram to take a wife from thence.
3/ Thirdly, he knew of Isaac’s charge to Jacob not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
4/ Fourthly, he knew that Jacob had obeyed his father.
5/ Fifthly, he knew that the daughters of Canaan did not please Isaac.
b. Hence, was he prompted by a carnal hope that the blessing might still become his?
1/ Did he reason that Jacob was now gone?
2/ Did he try to appease his father by marrying a daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son?
3/ However, he must have known that Jacob went to Padanaram only to get a wife and that he, therefore, would return.
2. How to be explained.
a. One, Isaac had blessed Jacob. So, that was settled.
b. Secondly, Jacob had fled and Isaac was still alive. Hence, his resolve to kill Jacob was as of now impossible. Notice what we read in Ch. 27:41.
c. Thirdly, Esau is spiritually wholly carnal and superficial. He does not care for God’s covenant. So, he will “smother” his guilt because of having been outwitted by Jacob and marry another woman. Only, he sympathizes with Isaac, who had always befriended him and imagines that his father will feel better toward him by marrying “into the family”, a daughter of Ishmael. Of course, this new wife of Esau is just as carnal as he is.
d. In all this, Esau remains wicked and does not repent.
C. Jacob at Bethel.
1. The place called “Bethel”.
a. Bethel was approximately 40 miles from Jacob’s parental home at Beersheba (Ch. 26:23-25).
b. What do we know of Bethel? See Gen. 12:8, 13:3.
c. That Jacob meets the Lord at Bethel surely indicates that he is in the covenant way of God’s promise to Abraham, meeting the Lord where Jehovah had also blessed Abraham. Abraham had made an altar to call upon the name of the Lord at this place.
d. This place was a dreary place, according to Edersheim. It was an uneven valley, covered, as with gravestones, by large sheets of bare rock. It was a lonely, weird place, this valley of stones, in which to set up quarters for the night.
2. Jacob called the name of this place Bethel.—verse 18.
a. The name of the city was called Luz, later changed to Bethel. Jacob called the place where he slept Bethel; he was in the vicinity of Luz. Later the name Bethel was transferred to the city.
b. What is the meaning of Bethel? Why did Jacob call it Bethel? Such a lonely and weird place Bethel? How can this be?
c. Churches are often called Bethel. What really makes any church Bethel? Is our church a Bethel church?
3. Jacob’s dream.
a. What is the significance of dreams in the Old Testament?—see Gen. 40, 41:1-7. Are our dreams significant? What are dreams? Dreams in the Bible are Divine media of revelation. In the Old Testament, God’s revelation was not complete. We have the full Bible.
b. What was his dream?
c. See the reference to it in John 1:51.
d. God reveals Himself to a sleeping Jacob. Jacob is asleep. Hence, this communication is wholly of the Lord and Jacob is completely passive.
e. This ladder connects Jacob with the Lord, who stood above the ladder, heaven with earth. The angels, ascending and descending, emphasize he bond uniting God with Jacob.
f. What does God promise Jacob here?
g. Can we say that Christ is really this ladder? Is He our fellowship with God? How? Is Christ our fellowship with God, at His birth, on the cross, as the Lord of lords?
4. Verses 16-17.
a. Why was Jacob afraid? Are God’s people always afraid when confronted by God’s revelation of Himself? See many passages, such as Luke 1:12, 29-30; 24:5, etc. I know only of one who is not afraid, namely Mary Magdalena, in John 20. Would we be afraid if suddenly confronted by God or His angels? Why? Explain the contrast between God’s holiness and us.
b. The “Lord” of verse 16 is Jehovah. What does this name mean?—see Ex. 3:14. This is God’s covenant name. Why? Here Jacob declares that the covenant God, not merely God, had revealed Himself to him.
c. Why is the “House of God” a dreadful place? How does it become beautiful?
5. Verses 18-22.
a. In verse 18, Jacob dedicates the stone (his pillow, which had been “Bethel”) and he does so by pouring oil upon the top of it.
b. Jacob’s vow.
1/ Does Jacob here bargain with the Lord? Doesn’t it sound like a bargain? And, if so, it would be a good bargain, wouldn’t it? Keep 9/10 and give the Lord 1/10?
2/ Does Jacob mean that if he would not come back he would no longer serve God, but idols? Isn’t this impossible of Jacob? He is surely a child of God. Did he doubt whether he would return?
3/ Doesn’t Jacob rather mean that if the Lord will preserve him and return him to his father’s house and Canaan (after all, Canaan was the promised land in the promise of Abraham), then this will assure him that the Lord Jehovah is his God.
4/ And he vows in verse 22 to return to this place and give a tenth to God of all he had received. This was fulfilled in Gen 35:1-15. A tenth or tithe does not mean that we may keep everything else for ourselves. But it does mean that we recognize all as received of the Lord.

Genesis 29

A. Jacob’s arrival in Padanaram—verses 1-14.
1. How far, approximately, is it from Beersheba to Haran in Padanaram?
2. What must have lived in Jacob’s soul as he journeyed to his uncle’s home?
3. Did the Lord guide Jacob on his way? Was it merely accidental that he and these flocks should meet here at the well at this time?
4. What was the custom to which verse 7 refers?
5. How do we explain Jacob’s rolling away of the stone from the well’s mouth?
a. Describe a well such as mentioned in this chapter.
b. Was Jacob as strong as all the shepherds of these flocks; were these “shepherds” mere boys; or, could one man remove the stone, but must wait until the several flocks had gathered?
6. How must we understand verse 11? Was this “love at first sight”? Or, is it more plausible to assume that Jacob felt happy because the Lord had led him to the goal of his flight?
7. What are “all these things” of verse 13? Does Jacob merely refer to the verses 1-12? Did “these things” also include Jacob’s full introduction of himself to Laban? Is this latter thought suggested in verse 14? And, wouldn’t he explain to Laban his action of verse 11?
B. Jacob’s double marriage—verses 14-35.
1. How was Jacob related to Laban?—verse 13
2. What do we know of Laban?—Gen. 24:29-31, 18-19, 26; 30:27; 31:2, 7, 8, 14-15, 19, 22-24, 39-42.
a. How did he treat Jacob during these 20 years? As an uncle should treat his nephew? Or, as a miser who would use him for material advantage?
b. Did he fear God?
c. Did his daughters respect him?
d. Did he treat Jacob fairly and honestly?
e. Is he not one of the most miserable, carnal, selfish, miserly characters in Holy Writ?
3. Jacob’s marriage with Leah.
a. What do we read of Leah in verse 17? What does this mean? Of Rachel in verse 17?
b. What did Laban learn about Jacob the first month of Jacob’s stay?—see verse 14. Did Laban watch him closely to ascertain whether he could use Jacob for his advantage?
c. How must we understand verse 15? Did Laban surmise, after the first month, that Jacob loved Rachel? Could and did he notice this? What do you think Laban expected Jacob to answer to his question of verse 15?
d. Did Laban sell his daughter to Jacob? It is said that a man was expected to pay a dowry. What is a dowry, its purpose? Did Laban have cause to fear that Jacob could not provide for his daughter? Although Jacob was poor now, would he remain poor?
e. What must we think of Laban’s deception?—verse 25.
1/ Was Leah guilty also? If we bear in mind that a woman had no choice in the selection of her husband, to what extent was she guilty? Should she have revealed herself to Jacob? Did she agree with Laban’s decision to “marry her off” to Jacob because she loved Jacob for God’s sake and the sake of His covenant?
2/ Is Laban’s excuse of verse 26 valid? Why not?—see verses 18-19.
f. Did Jacob have this deception of Laban “coming to him”? Why?
g. Why did not Jacob seek annulment of his marriage with Leah? Is it possible that he recognized in the God fearing Leah God’s gift to him?
4. Jacob’s marriage with Rachel.
a. Was this double marriage sin on Jacob’s part? Why? Did the result of this sin reveal itself in Jacob’s home and family? Can a man love more than one wife? What terrible evil showed up in Jacob’s family?
b. Was it sin for Jacob to marry Rachel only because she was so beautiful? Why had he come to Padanaram? Should he have satisfied himself with a wife of God’s choice? Should he have sought such a wife? Was he really interested in God’s covenant and promise when he insisted on Rachel?
c. Presuppose that Jacob had been satisfied with Leah. How long, then, would he have stayed in Padanaram? Does not his sin of marrying Rachel extend his stay; add to his misery, also in his later family life?
d. Yet, God chose Leah to be the mother of Judah. Jacob wanted Rachel; Laban gave him Leah so that Jacob could work 7 more years for him; God willed that Leah be the mother of the covenant line that runs into Christ, through Judah.
e. When did Jacob marry Rachel, after he worked 7 or 14 years for Laban?
5. Leah’s children.
a. Was the Lord gracious to Leah?—see verse 31. Did He help her in her affliction? By whom was she hated? Why did God fearing women desire children so intensely?
b. What is the meaning of the names of Leah’s first 4 sons? Why did she call them thus?
c. What name does she give God in the verses 32-35? What is the meaning of this Name?
d. Does Leah’s mentioning of this Name reveal her faith in the promise and God’s faithfulness to maintain His promise? Did Leah here reveal her faith in the truth that God would fulfill His promise in the line of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob?

Genesis 30

A. Jealousy in Jacob’s household.
1. Is this jealousy to be expected? Why?
2. Rachel’s jealousy—verses 1-8.
a. What is Rachel’s complaint against Jacob in verse 1? Was it just?
b. What is Jacob’s answer to this complaint in verse 2? Was it just?
c. How does Rachel solve her predicament? Does this indicate that she must have acknowledged the fairness of Jacob’s reply in verse 2? Is this action of Rachel, giving Jacob a third wife, justifiable?
d. Why does Rachel regard Bilhah’s children as her own? Was she correct?
e. What does Rachel say when Dan is born? What is the meaning of the name, Dan? Rachel evidently means that God heard and justified her. Is this correct? Or, is this merely Rachel’s own subjective judgment?
f. What is the meaning of “Naphtali”? To what do these “great wrestlings” refer? Should she have blamed herself for these wrestlings? Is there any indication in these names that Rachel is thinking of God’s covenant promise? Or, do these names indicate that Rachel is thinking only of herself? Believing that Rachel was principally a child of God, what does this history reveal of her? Is she petulant, self-centered? How would you compare Leah and Rachel?
g. Should Jacob have catered to the whims of Rachel and later of Leah?
3. Leah’s jealousy—verses 9-13.
a. Jealousy now also takes hold of Leah. Is this unusual in the life of a child of God? Explain.
b. Does the name, Jehovah, appear in the name of Leah’s fifth and sixth sons as in the case of her first four sons? Does this indicate that Leah has suffered a “spiritual let-down”, resorted to carnality? What do the names, Gad and Asher, mean?
4. More bitterness in Jacob’s family—verses 14-21.
a. What are mandrakes? It was generally believed that they were helpful in the bringing forth of children.
b. Do not the actions of Rachel and Leah here smack of superstition? How is this possible?
c. What does verse 15 indicate of the relation between Leah and Rachel? Is this understandable in a family when a man has more than one wife?
d. Notice that Leah uses the name, God, in the verses 18 and 20. Does this indicate a “spiritual decay” on the part of Leah? We must remember that Jehovah is God’s covenant name.
e. In verse 21, we read that Leah bore a daughter. Did Jacob have more daughters?—Gen. 46:7. Why, then, is only the name of Dinah mentioned in Scripture?
B. God remembers Rachel—verses 22-24.
1. In verse 22 we read that God hearkened to Rachel. Does this indicate a spiritual change in Rachel? Does this not indicate that Rachel sought the Lord in prayer rather than continue in bitterness against Leah?
2. In verse 24, Rachel uses the name, Lord (Jehovah). Does this also indicate this spiritual change?
C. Jacob’s prosperity—verses 25-43.
1. Jacob’s arrangement to work for Laban.
a. Notice Jacob’s request in verses 25-26. Why does Jacob request this of Laban? Did he not have the right to leave for his father’s home if he so desired? Or, does he request this because he wishes to leave Laban on friendly terms? His wives and children were his, were they not?
b. Is Jacob also here “running ahead of the Lord”? We read in Ch. 31:3 that the Lord commands Jacob to return. We do not read this in this passage in Ch. 30.
c. Laban is reluctant to let him go. Why? What had Laban learned by experience? What does the expression, “that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake”, mean and imply? Does it imply that there is a favor or general love of God upon the wicked? See also Gen. 39:5.
d. Jacob, however, hesitates—verses 29-30. Of what does he remind Laban in these verses?
e. Notice Jacob’s proposition. We must remember that animals raised by Laban were usually of a solid color, either solid white (sheep) or solid brown (goats). Why did Jacob make this offer, seeing that Laban must have had few off-colour animals? Did he make this modest proposition because he had learned to seek his all from God? But, does this agree with what we read in the rest of this chapter and in chapter 31? Did he make this offer because he knew he would not get much from his avaricious uncle? And, is it possible that he knew what he intended to do (verses 37-42)?
f. Notice that Laban agrees. Do you think that Laban, when agreeing, rejoiced inwardly? Why?
g. Laban, however, does not carry out the agreement fully. His wicked and avaricious nature reveals itself again. Who removes the off-colour animals? Why does Laban do it? How do you think he did it? To whom does Laban give the off-colour animals? Who now takes care of Laban’s sheep and goats, of Jacob’s? Why does Laban set a three-day journey between his animals and the animals of Jacob? Is it Laban’s determination that Jacob’s flock remain small? Why must Jacob care for Laban’s s flock?
2. Jacob’s scheme—verses 37-42.
a. Notice what we read in verses 37-40.
1/ I believe we can understand what Jacob did here.
2/ Was this a popular motion in those days? Today?
3/ Hereupon Jacob separated the off-colour young from the rest of the animals. He set the off-colour animals by themselves, as belonging to him according to the agreement with Laban. Then, he set the faces of Laban’s flock toward his ringstraked and speckled flock, in the hope that Laban’s flock would continue to produce off-colour young.
b. However, Jacob did more—verses 41-42.
1/ He distinguished, we read, between the stronger and weaker animals of Laban’s flock. Does this indicate a good understanding and knowledge of animals on Jacob’s part?
2/ He placed the stronger animals before the rods whereof we read in verse 38.
3/ And what was the result of this maneuver of Jacob?
3. Verse 43 informs us that Jacob increased exceedingly.
a. Was this maneuver of Jacob wrong? Taking care of Laban’s flock, was he allowed to do this? Did Laban object to it? Did he claim Jacob’s off-colour animals to be his own?
b. Why was Jacob blessed so exceedingly? Did he gain his riches by his own ingenuity? If not, did the Lord, then, bless Jacob “in spire” on his cleverness? And, why did the Lord increase Jacob’s goods and possessions? Chapter 31 will have more to say about this.
c. Besides, was not Jacob’s success a severe condemnation of the Lord upon Laban?

Genesis 27
Jacob and Padanaram—
A. Isaac’s determination to bless Esau—
Genesis 27:1-4
1. Isaac’s old age.
a. Compare Gen. 27:46 with Gen. 26:34 and 25:26. How old was Isaac when Esau married Judith and Bashemath?
b. Compare Gen. 41:46, 47; 45:6 and 47:9. How old was Jacob approximately when Joseph was born?
c. Joseph was born in the 14th year of Jacob’s sojourn with Laban—see Gen.30:25 and 29:20, 17. Jacob was approximately 75 years old when he fled to Padanaram.
d. Hence, Isaac must have been approximately 137 years old when he determined to bless Esau.
2. How to be explained.
a. Isaac thought his death might be imminent—see verses 1-2. Did his blindness lead him to think this?
b. Was Isaac’s resolve to bless Esau based upon the fact that Esau was the firstborn? Could he have been ignorant of what God had revealed to Rebecca?—see Gen. 25:21-23 and Rom. 9:9-13. Must we believe that Rebecca would have kept Isaac in ignorance of this?
c. Did Isaac favor Esau for natural reasons? Was not Esau, naturally, a “jolly good fellow” and Jacob, also naturally, one who would cause aversion and dislike? Are all God’s people likable from a natural point of view?
d. Was not Isaac’s resolve sinful and rebellious against God’s will to bless Jacob? And is this not accentuated by his old age and blindness?
3. Why was Esau first requested as we read in verses 3-4?
a. Did Isaac need food to strengthen himself in order to proclaim the blessing?
b. Or did Isaac desire this because he was fond of the way Esau prepared meat, and, eating of it, he would be in a more advantageous position to express his love for Esau in the blessing?
4. The nature of the blessing—see also Gen. 9:25-27.
a. First, we have the full Word of God. And at the time of Gen. 27 there was as yet no Bible at all. God revealed Himself through dreams, visions and personal appearances.
b. Secondly, in these blessings the patriarchs spoke through Divine inspiration. This is important, and we will have occasion to refer to this.
B. Rebecca’s intervention—Verses 5-17.
1. What prompted her?
a. Was she concerned about Jacob and that the Lord had revealed to her that the “elder would serve the younger,” and that Jacob was the chosen of the Lord?—see Gen. 25:21-23.
b. Was she also “desperate” because she had overheard what Isaac had told Esau?—verses 1-4.
2. Was her action justified?
a. What is synergism? Does synergism come to revelation often in the Church of God?
b. Is synergism ever justified? Need we ever fear that the Lord will take care of His covenant and promise? Could God have prevented Isaac from blessing Esau without Rebecca’s plan of action? Can you conceive of any possibilities?
3. Does this reveal to us anything concerning Rebecca?
a. How old was Jacob at this time?
b. What objection did Jacob voice to his mother’s plan? What predicament did he fear?
c. Does Rebecca reveal herself here as a dominating character? And, could Isaac’s weakness and fondness for Esau have had anything to do with her action?
C. Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and Esau—Heb. 11:20.
1. Is it not strange that Heb. 11:20 speaks of the faith of Isaac?
a. Who is Isaac? It would be interesting to note what the Scriptures reveal of him. Was he a “spoiled child,” the only child of Abraham and Sarah? Abraham sends for a wife for him when he is 37 years old. Couldn’t he find one himself? He wants to bless Esau although he knows that Jacob is the favored of the Lord. He thinks he is blessing Esau. Isn’t it all a mistake on Isaac’s part? Where is his faith?
b. Rebecca is a conniving woman. She plots deception.
c. Jacob goes along with his mother, deceives his father.
d. Shall we say that about the only one for whom we have any sympathy here is Esau?
2. However, we must notice the following.
a. First, Isaac was attracted to Esau.
1/ Esau was strong, a hunter, “happy-go-lucky”, open and honest, did not “cover up.”
2/ Jacob was weaker, a schemer, naturally not as attractive.
3/ And Isaac was materialistic, loved the meat as Esau prepared it.
b. Secondly, however, Isaac was a child of God, although with many weaknesses.
1/ He did not love Esau spiritually. Esau was wicked, married heathen wives, hated God, despised the covenant, the birthright and was a fornicator.
2/ Jacob was the one favored by God and Isaac surely knew this.
3/ So, Isaac struggled between his natural desire to bless Esau and his faith that Jacob must be blessed.
c. Now notice the incident.
1/ First, Isaac blessed Jacob.
a/ Did Isaac really believe that Esau stood before him? Notice how he doubted. If Isaac really doubted, why didn’t he wait until he was sure?
b/ Notice the blessing. What was the birthright blessing? He declares, by the Spirit of God, God’s blessing upon Jacob, that Jacob would have the preeminence. Notice: God inspires Isaac here.
2/ Secondly, Isaac maintains the blessing.
a/ Later, Esau comes.
1/ Notice what we read in Heb. 12:17.
2/ This doesn’t mean that Esau sought repentance with tears. Notice how he accuses Jacob (verse 36). But Esau does not confess his own sin, that he sold the birthright, married heathen wives. Esau sought the PLACE of repentance, and this means that he sought it in Isaac’s heart. He wanted Isaac to repent, to change his blessing upon Jacob. Why did he want Isaac to repent? In what was he interested?
b/ And Isaac maintains the blessing upon Jacob.
1/ Why shouldn’t he change it, if he had made a mistake?
2/ He trembles, we read, is sorry for Esau, but he does not change it. He knows that Jacob must have the birthright blessing. And, literally, we read in verse 39 that his dwelling would be away from the fatness of the earth.
3/ Isaac’s faith triumphs and he maintains the blessing upon Jacob.
3/ Thirdly, Isaac also maintains the blessing upon Jacob in Gen. 28:1-4, when he sends Jacob to Padanaram with the blessing of the Lord.
D. Verses 41-46.
1. Again Esau reveals his wickedness. Instead of repenting of his sin, recognizing in the blessing of Isaac upon Jacob the blessing of the Lord, he determines to kill Jacob.
2. However, the Lord’s ways are so different.
a. How long did Rebecca think Jacob would be gone from home? Why did she think this? Was there something about Esau to lead her to this; Esau’s carnal superficiality?
b. Did Jacob see his mother again?
c. What was the result for Jacob and Rebecca of their conniving and deception? Jacob must flee away from the land of Canaan. Did not Jacob’s sin place him into an impossible situation? Conniving and deception always get us into trouble. It is true, of course, that Jacob also goes to Padanaram to get himself a wife. Nevertheless, Jacob gets himself into trouble and this trouble increases later.
3. Does Rebecca speak differently to Isaac than to Jacob?—Verses 42-46. Is it because she did not wish to cause Isaac anxiety for Jacob’s welfare? Of course, she was to blame, was she not, for Jacob’s predicament?

In the February issue of our Beacon Lights, the associate editor of this magazine, H. W. Kuiper, wrote an editorial entitled: The Need for Protestant Reformed High Schools. This article had been criticized in subsequent issues of our Beacon Lights. And that part of the editorial which has been the principle target of this criticism reads as follows: “But there is one treacherous difference: that group yet wants to claim the title of one whom they don’t know, even Christ. Oh, I am not speaking head for head, but confessionally they deny Him…how then can they know Him?”

I fear that the associate editor would maintain the one-church-true and all-other-churches-false view. As associate editor he occupies a very responsible position. This is especially true in the light of the fact that he writes to the youth of our churches. And I fear that it is this view which he wishes to inculcate into the minds of our youth.

I base this fear, first of all, upon that statement in his editorial of the February Beacon Lights. I realize that he writes: “Oh, I am not speaking head for head.” But he also writes that that group does not know Christ, that it confessionally denies Him and therefore cannot know Him. I believe I may say that he is also speaking of the Christian Reformed Church. Christ, then, they do not know. Mind you, that Church is not even entitled to the name of God or of Christ. And I base this fear, in the second place, upon the June-July issue of Beacon Lights. In this latter issue we have an article by Thys Feenstra and an answer to it by H. W. Kuiper. If the associate editor does not believe in the one-church-true, all-other-churches-false view, the article of T. Feenstra surely gave him a splendid opportunity to make this plain. Fact is, however, that H. W. Kuiper completely ignores the article of T. Feenstra as far as its main and fundamental argumentation is concerned. I refer to the reasoning that the Voice of Christ is heard in the Christian Reformed Church and that, therefore, that church cannot be viewed as wholly false. With this argument of T. Feenstra I agree completely.

I do wish to observe that I appreciate the associate editor’s condemnation of the Three Points of 1924. These Three Points certainly are a denial of the Christ. And I certainly believe that we must never weary of emphasizing this as we instruct our youth. On this point, however, we are all agreed. That the Christian Reformed Church, in those Three Points, denies the Christ we must understand. However, does this mean that there is no knowledge of Christ in the Christian Reformed Church in connection with and through the preaching of the Word? This position I would never care to endorse. Does this mean that it then makes no difference whether I belong to the Christian Reformed Church or not? Of course not! The departure of that Church from the truth makes it impossible for us to belong to it. We must confess the truth as we know it to be in Christ Jesus and according to the Scriptures.

There are people of God, sheep in the Christian Reformed Church. Brother Kuiper affirms this. They surely hear the Voice of their Shepherd. If not, they would never know themselves to be sheep. And they must receive food. Otherwise, they could never live. However, this hearing of the Voice of their Shepherd surely takes place through His Spirit and Word. The associate editor of Beacon Lights must answer this argumentation. He does not even touch upon it in his answer to T. Feenstra in the June-July Beacon Lights.

Brother Kuiper refers his readers to Art. 29 of our Confession of Faith. I also endorse this article. I also endorse Articles 27 and 28 of the same Confession. And, I would also call the attention of brother Kuiper to Lord’s Day 21, Question and Answer 54 of our Heidelberg Catechism. It is the experience of the undersigned that the advocates of a one-church-true, all-other-churches-false view never refer to Lord’s Day 21. Several pertinent questions can be asked. What is the Church, according to our Confessions? Who constitute the Church? How is that church gathered? Can any church be wholly false and yet constitute a part of this Church? Can any church be wholly false where the Son of God operates by His Spirit and Word?

I write this for the sake of our youth. I want them to be sober in their view. I do not know of any minister in our churches who believes that the Christian Reformed Church is wholly false. The father of H. W. Kuiper, the late Rev. H. H. Kuiper, did not believe this either, as is evident from his article in Vol. 34 of the Standard Bearer, pages 261-264. We must always be careful, especially when we instruct the youth.

What comfort doth the “resurrection of the body” afford thee?

That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken

up to Christ its head; but also, that this my body, being raised

by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and

made like unto the glorious body of Christ.

–Heid. Catechism, Question 57

 

“That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its head.”  The soulMy soul!  Immediately! To Christ!  How wonderful and comforting!  That, in Scripture, is the first resurrection.

When I think of death, that fearful, inexorable death; of that dark, forbidding grave in that forsaken cemetery; of that endless eternity, wherein a thousand millenniums is less than a drop in the ocean…

Then, when I think of that salvation, which will be my inheritance the moment I breathe my last; a salvation for which I will not have to wait one second; wherein I will be delivered from all that belongs to this world; wherein all will be holy and beautiful and wherein I will enjoy unending communion with God, with Christ, with all the angels and saints in that blessed home God is even now preparing for that purpose…

Ah, how full is the cup of my contentment and joy!  How comforting and wonderful is the hope of the saints!  How plain it is that death has lost its sting, the grave its victory, and that we are indeed more than conquerors through Him that loved us!  “Thanks be to God, Who giveth us the victory….”

Yet, that salvation of the soul at death, that first resurrection, is only the beginning.  For many reasons it is still so incomplete.  First, the entire man will not be there until the day of the Lord Jesus, and as long as the body lies rotting in the grave redemption cannot be said to be complete.  Then, all the saints will not be there until Christ comes again in glory, and as long as a part of the church is still struggling and suffering and dying and sinning in this evil world it cannot be said that even the part in heaven now has attained to the fullness of salvation.  Furthermore, that public exoneration and rectification of all things to which the church looks forward has not yet taken place.  Finally, the new heavens and earth are not yet, and without them, surely, the glorification of the church, however blessed, is not complete.

For all these reasons the church of Christ looks over and beyond that initial fulfilment of its hope at death to the glorious restoration of all things in the day of Christ and the resurrection of all the dead.  That is the hope of the church still on earth.  And that is the hope of the church now in heaven.  They too are looking for something more.  They must, it cannot be otherwise, until the eternal day dawns, when also their graves will yield to the glory of Immanuel and their bodies will arise unto everlasting life with God.

How certain it is from God’s infallible Word that these things will certainly come to pass.  It could not be more so.  Soon history will have run its course, the counsel of God will have been realized in and through all things, the last elect will have been brought into the fold and the world will have added the last drop to the measure of its iniquity, and all will be ready according to divine wisdom for this greatest of all days.  Then Jesus will come again.  Then the trumpet will blow and the voice of the archangel will be heard.  Then all the dead will be raised by the wondrous might of Him, Who is the Resurrection and the Life; those still living in that day will be changed in the twinkling of an eye; the judgment will be held and the sentence pronounced that will determine our lot forever.  And then the wicked will be cast into everlasting torment, body and soul, while the righteous will inherit the heavenly mansions prepared for them, where they will shine forever as suns in the heavenly Father’s realm.

*******

“This my body,” says our instructor.  Hence, the very same body, which we now have and which will presently be laid to rest in the grave, will be raised again by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That is true of the wicked also, of course.  The very body that lived and died on earth will issue forth from the grave in that day of Christ’s glory.  How could it be different?  In that body they sinned, rebelled against God and hated Him.  With these eyes and ears and mouth and hands and feet they loved and served the world and darkness.  This body, not another, belongs to their personal existence.  This body, with its own soul, will have to bear the consequences.  Also in this respect the justice of God requires that the guilty party shall pay.

And so it will be with the righteous.  The same bodies will rise again.  Don’t ask me how.  I’m not God.  It will require a stupendous miracle, that’s certain, but no greater than that of creation, or the conception and birth of a child, or the growth of a tulip.  With God all things are possible.  For the believer it should not be too difficult to leave this matter also to God, and to submit his tiny intellect to the greatness and wisdom of his Maker.  Quit wondering about the possibility of such a resurrection!  God is God!  That’s enough, isn’t it?

Scripture could not be clearer on this point.  In all the raisings from the dead, both in the Old and the New Testament, the same bodies are restored to life.  On Easter Morn the same body of the Lord, that was nailed to the cross, arose from the tomb.  The linen clothes were left behind; the nail and spear wounds were still there.  “The hour is coming,” says Jesus, “in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth.”  In the Book of Revelation we see the sea and death and hades give up the dead which are in them.  How plainly Paul teaches, that the resurrection body will come forth from the body that died, as the plant grows from the seed that is sown.  “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” Romans 8:11.  “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” Philipp. 3:20, 21.  “So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory.  It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power” I Corinthians 15:42, 43.  The same subject; the same “it.”

The catechism states it so simply, yet beautifully: “that this my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul.”

Most certainly!  Otherwise the body would have little or no significance, other than that of serving as a mere abode for the soul.  It would not be an essential part of you.  No, the body belongs to the human nature.  My body belongs to my soul, and my soul to my body; they are adapted to each other; they belong together; and only when they are together I am I and not another.

Besides, if this same body were not to rise again God would have to create another, and that would not be according to the scheme of redemption.  The latter is not a new creation, but a re-creation.  Redemption is precisely that:  redemption, salvation, renewal.

Finally, if this same body were not to rise again, Jesus would not be a complete Savior.  Some people talk only about the soul.  Christ came into the world to save our poor, lost souls.  No, Jesus came to save man, the whole sinner.  He came to save our poor, lost bodies, too.  “What is thy only comfort in life and death?  That I with body and soul am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ” Catechism, question 1.  Christ redeems the whole of His possession.  Nothing of God’s creation is lost, least of all that marvelous masterpiece:  the human body.

Therefore, the righteous bury their dead as they do.  The Christian does not cremate.  Not because this would limit God or make the resurrection impossible.  From this viewpoint it makes no difference what happens to the body.  Many people are cremated as it is, when they perish in fires, explosions, etc.  However, cremation does not harmonize with the Biblical idea of resurrection, and of burial as a sowing of the seed.  Nor is the Christian particularly concerned about preserving the corpse indefinitely.  As long as it is above the ground it must be kept, of course.  Thereafter, however, it matters little how long the mortal remains are kept intact.  The Christian buries.  He lays the body to rest in the bosom of the earth—in the hope of the resurrection.  He plants the seed, whence soon, in wondrous glory, the resurrection body will be raised—raised out of the very grave wherein it was laid.

*****

The very same body—but different in form.  “That which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:  but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” I Cor. 15:37, 38.

There is nothing impossible or unlikely about that, is there?  Even nature gives numerous examples of how the same essence can change in form.  Water and ice and steam are all the same, essentially, yet they differ greatly in form.  Slow down the molecules and you get ice; speed them up and you get steam.  When the ugly caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly, or the grain of sand becomes a precious pearl in the shell of an oyster, the transformation is great, but there is no essential change.  Why then should it be considered impossible for God to effect a transformation from the earthy to the heavenly, from the natural to the spiritual, without changing the essence?

You ask:  What will be the difference?  With what body will we arise in that day of the Lord Jesus?  I don’t know.  Who does?  Of this wonder, too, we cannot form a conception until it shall have taken place.

This I know:  “Our bodies shall be made like unto the glorious body of Christ.”  What more could we possibly desire?  Jesus “shall change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” Phil. 3:21.  “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him:  for we shall see Him as He is” I John 3:2.  Space forbids further elaboration on this blessed truth.  The rest we will leave to your Christian, sanctified contemplation.

And then?

Then our glorified bodies will be reunited with their own souls, and we shall again be complete.

Then we shall enter, body and soul, into the fullness of “everlasting life,” into that perfect salvation, “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.”  The human eye has seen beautiful things.  The human ear has heard wonderful sounds.  The human heart has conceived lofty things.  Ah, but never anything like this!

And the great purpose of it all?  “To praise God therein forever.”  To praise Him for everything in this life and the life to come.  To sing forever the song of everlasting adoration, that of Moses and the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are Thy works,

Lord God Almighty.”

“Father, the hour is come.” – John 17:1

What a terrible hour that was – the hour of suffering and death, of Gethsemane and Golgotha!

Jesus and His disciples are on their way to Gethsemane.  The last Passover had been celebrated – and the first Lord’s Supper, too.  The last discourse of Jesus to His disciples, a message of comfort and exhortation and promise, had been uttered – John 14 – while they were still in the upper room – John 15 and 16 – while on the way to the garden of sorrows.  Now they are nearing the gate; the tension mounts in the soul of the Lord Jesus; and He prays, – prays that most touching high priestly prayer, which may well be called the holy of holies in the temple of the Word of God.

“These words spake Jesus (John 14-16) and he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.”

Any mother knows what it means when at last it can and must be said:  the hour is come.  She knew all the time that this hour was inevitable.  She knew approximately when to expect it too.  From the beginning of her pregnancy she had dreaded that hour, and the tension had increased in the measure it drew nearer.  But finally it must be said:  the hour is come!  The labors have begun; the delivery is at hand!

In some such way, only in an infinitely deeper and more terrible sense, these words of the Savior must be taken.  He knew all the time that this hour was coming.  In the measure it drew nearer He became more and more conscious of it too.  How plain that is from all the gospels.  The nearer the hour the more He talks about it.  But now it must be said, “Father, the hour is come!”  The hour of my deepest suffering – and death!  The hour of labor and delivery!  I am standing on its threshold.  Another moment and the flames will beat about my body, all the waves and billows of affliction will begin to roll over my soul, all the fury of a wicked world, all the wrath of an eternal God!

That hour was the more terrible, of course, because of Him Who suffered, and through suffering was glorified.  He was the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the only begotten Son, God Himself.  He was the Son of God as Son of Man, the anointed of the Father, the Christ.  Therefore, this hour was of such inestimable value for lost and damnworthy sinners.  Therefore, too, it was so unutterably terrible.  God in the flesh is speaking here to God Triune; God as man to God as God!

And we hear Him say, “The hour is come!”

That does not mean that His suffering began with this hour – it didn’t!  The meaning is not, that He did not suffer all His life – He did!  His humiliation began in the manger.

Now, however, THE hour is come.  THE hour of all history.  The hour such as the world had never known, and never again will know.  The hour wherein all the forces of darkness would be released against the champion of the covenant of God, the visible representative of the invisible God in the world.  The hour of the Savior’s deepest agony of body and soul, wherein all the wrath of an eternal God would burn down upon Him, an infinite Godhead would avenge Himself on sin, and an eternal hell would concentrate itself in a single hour.  All the agonies of the damned on one individual!  A whole eternity in one brief hour!  Therefore, earth has never known such an hour – and hell itself will never know an hour like this!

*********

That hour was necessary, too – as necessary as it was terrible.

For that prospective mother the hour, that of labor and delivery, is absolutely necessary.  The child is there; it must be born.  It cannot remain where it is – that would kill the mother.  Of that babe she can be delivered, then to rejoice in the fruit of her sorrows, only in this way.  From the moment of conception, the way points directly and inexorably to this hour.  There is no escape, no detour.

Thus it was with Jesus.  The church was there, it had to be born.  While still in the manger, come to take our place, to pay our debt, to establish His kingdom, to do the will of the Father, to atone and reconcile and redeem, the way pointed straight and relentlessly to this hour.  Once in Bethlehem, Calvary is inevitable.  God’s covenant with men had to be realized, the church had to be born of Him, as it were.

The hour was necessary, first of all, from the viewpoint of God’s everlasting counsel.  No, it was not that the enemy had become too strong.  Jesus could have escaped, as He had done so often before.  It was night, and they were alone.  Had Jesus and His disciples gone anywhere but to Gethsemane, Judas and his mob would never have found them that night.  However, God’s counsel had decreed it so, and when the time came, Jesus and His disciples, Annas and Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod and the soldiers, all hastened to realize the good pleasure of our sovereign God; that good pleasure, according to which God had chosen a people to be glorified in the way of sin and grace, designed a church to be redeemed and gathered by the blood and Spirit of the only begotten Son.

Consequently, that hour was necessary from the viewpoint of Christ Himself.  He had been ordained from all eternity to be the head of this church in which He would be glorified and which with Him would glorify the Father.  As their head, He had been eternally burdened with the responsibility of redeeming this church and given the mandate:  lose none of them, but raise them up at the last day.  This was possible only in the way of taking their place, bearing their punishment, dying their death.  There was no other way than that which led directly to and through this hour.

Thus this hour was necessary, finally, for you and me.  Lost we were in sin and misery, guilt and eternal death.  There was nothing we could do to deliver ourselves.  The only way was the way of the hour, Jesus’ hour, that of eternal suffering and death.

******

Therefore, this hour was so glorious, too.

For that prospective mother the hour of labor and delivery is a glorious hour because its end is life and birth.  Her pains are not the agonies of death, but the pangs of birth.  Her momentary anguish is not a matter of departure, but of arrival; of sorrow, but joy; of frustration, but anticipation.  It’s the hour of birth, and that birth is itself part of the hour – its end and purpose.

The same is true of Jesus’ hour.  It is so glorious because it is the hour of birth, redemption, deliverance, victory, resurrection and life.  All these are part of the hour – its purpose and climax and glory.  In connection with the miracle of Easter there is nothing but glory in the shame of Good Friday, nothing but light in the darkness of the cross.

How glorious was this hour for the Father!  His righteous wrath was appeased, His justice was satisfied, His covenant realized, His kingdom established.  That was the primary purpose of this hour.  “Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee.”  He is and must be all in all.

How glorious was this hour for Christ Himself!  Under God all things are for His sake.  True, in this hour He would suffer and die and be buried, be despised and rejected of men.  However, in this hour He would also redeem His church and merit eternal life for all His own; He would rise again a Victor o’er the dark domain; He would ascend to heaven to be clothed with all power and majesty and to rule over all God’s wide dominion as King of kings and Lord of lords.  The Father did glorify the Son, that the Son might glorify the Father.  It was the hour of triumph and everlasting joy.

Therefore, too, what a glorious hour it was for all His own, for all who believe in that mighty Savior.  In that hour is your salvation; nothing need be added.  That salvation is yours in all its riches by faith in that Jesus; nothing more is necessary.  One aged, dying Christian put it this way:  “The Bible says, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  So simple, and yet so beautiful!  Therein lay her hope and comfort.  Yours too?  By faith in that crucified Christ we may look back to this hour and say:  there my debts were paid, my guilt was blotted out, my battle was fought, my victory was achieved.  The night is past, it is now day.  My sins are gone, I am justified with Christ and have peace with God.

Lay hold on that redemption!  Put your trust in nothing else!

The way of the cross leads home!

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life:  he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.  Believest thou this?”

Believest thou this?

“I am the resurrection and the life.”  To know Me is to know the Father.  To see Me is to see the Father.  All that belongs to life is in Me alone.  If you have Me, you have life everlasting.  I have power over death in every and any form, spiritual and physical.  I speak, and a throng no man can number from all nations and tribes and tongues hear my voice unto faith and salvation.  I speak again and all that are in the graves hear My voice and come forth, the good to the resurrection of life, the evil to the resurrection of damnation.

Believest thou this?

And believest thou this: “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die?”

We say of them who departed in Christ:  He or she, my father or mother is dead.  That’s true, of course.  They are no longer with us.  We saw their bodies descend into the grave, a prey to worms and all the power of dissolution.  No longer can we eat and drink with them, walk and talk with them.  They are gone, completely and forever gone, from home and work and church.  They are dead.  That’s according to the Bible too.  True, Scripture does not prefer to speak of the “dead” when referring to those who departed in Christ.  Nevertheless, the Bible does say:  “though we were dead” and Jesus Himself says:  “Lazarus is dead.”

However, it is true in only a very relative sense that the departed saints are dead.  Actually, only the body is dead, and the body is only part of man.  We are composed of body and soul.  Moreover, even of that body two things must be said.  It is dead for only a short time.  It will not remain in that gruesome, forbidding grave.  “Though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  Hence, it lies in that grave as a seed that is sown in the soil, and it is waiting for the day of Christ to reappear in a new, heavenly, spiritual form.  That is the joyful and rest-giving hope of all the saints.  Therefore, the Bible prefers to speak about the death of the righteous as a “sleep” and the righteous dead as those “who sleep in Christ.”

In still another and very real sense, however, this is not true at all.  Those who departed in Jesus are not dead:  they live as they never lived before; they are far more alive than you and I.  Jesus says, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”

Believest thou this?

*****

“He that believeth in Me….”

If we somewhat understand what faith really is and does, we shall also understand that it is the only way to come to eternal life in Jesus Christ.  Faith is not only a beautiful way, as though there might have been another.  It is the only possible way.

What is faith?

Is it mere assent of the natural mind to the truths of Scripture?  Mere intellectual agreement with the teaching of Holy Writ?  You believe that there is a God.  You are no Atheist.  Does that make you a believer?  You believe that Christ lived; that He is the Son of God in the flesh; that He suffered and died, rose again and is now seated on the right hand of God.  Now are you a believer?  By no stretch of the imagination!  So you believe that there is a God and a Christ.  What have you that the devil does not have?  I believe that this may well be stressed.  Too many seem to base too much on mere head-knowledge rather than inner life and the true experience of love.  Hell will be full of people who believed in that sense.  You may know the Bible by heart and have a head full of Reformed doctrine and still be forever lost.  Your hopes will have to rest on firmer ground than that.

Is faith this:  that I receive Christ with all my heart, cling to Him, trust in Him, lean on Him for time and eternity?  Yes, of course, that is faith, that is believing in Jesus.

Even so, more must be said, lest we see faith only as an activity of man and attribute to man what belongs to God alone.

In essence, faith is the spiritual bond, the life of Christ Himself as it makes us one with the Lord Jesus, like the branch is one with the vine.  In its operation, faith is the spiritual activity of that bond, the new life in action whereby we cling to Christ and put all our confidence in Him alone.  Thus we may speak of faith and believing much as we speak of sight and seeing, smell and smelling, seed and growing plant.

And all of God from beginning to end.  He must give the life itself, the faculty, the power to believe, the spiritual union with Christ in regeneration, our spiritual resurrection from the dead.  And He must bring that seed to growth and fruition; that new life to conscious activity.  Then, and only then, do we believe.  In this way God receives all the glory.  In this way faith is not our act whereby we make Christ ours, but His act whereby He makes us His.  And thus faith is not in any way the cause of eternal life, but its fruit and manifestation.

Therefore Jesus speaks as He does:  “Whosoever liveth and believeth.”  Don’t turn this around.  Believing is not first; living is first.  You don’t live because you believe; you believe because you live.

*****

What about those who live and believe in Jesus?

Christ Himself says:  they “shall never die.”  The Lord uses a double negative here to express Himself in the strongest possible way.  Shall never not die!  In our language only the stupid or careless use double negatives.  Our teachers never weary of telling their pupils that a double negative makes a positive and that they must, therefore, never commit this grammatical sin.  It could as well be reasoned, it seems to me, that a double negative is just twice as strong as a single negative.  Be that as it may, Jesus here uses a double negative.  They shall never never die!

How wonderful and how true!  What a comfort as here we walk through the valley of darkness toward our divinely set rendezvous with death and grave!  We shall never die!  How can we?  We have “everlasting life,” and everlasting means unending, unbroken, does it not?  Conscious life with God is our portion without end.  That can never be lost.  On the contrary, we go from strength to strength, from life to life, from glory to glory until we appear without spot or blemish before our God in Zion.  Now we live by faith in Christ.  When we die we enter at once into the preliminary fulfilment of our hope.  Instantly! Without one moment of death, wherein we shall stand unclothed.  And presently we shall be glorified perfectly, according to body and soul, in the blessed day of our Savior’s appearing.

Therefore, too:  “Though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  In a sense we must die, of course.  This body must be changed.  The natural must become spiritual; the earthy heavenly.  Corruption must put on incorruption; mortality immortality.  However, that death is but a moment.  The body is only the seed that is sown.  While it reposes in the grave, YOU will be in heaven, with God and with Christ and all the angels and departed saints.  Presently, your body, too, will be raised to a glory it never knew or could have known apart from the blessed Word become flesh.  Then all will be life and blessedness forever and ever.

*****

“Believest thou this?”

Not, believest thou?  That is important too, of course.  However, that’s not what Jesus says.  There comes a time when that should be established.

But, believest thou this?  That Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  And that those who believe in Him shall live, though they be dead; in fact, shall never die.

Then we have comfort, do we not?

Comfort with respect to our loved ones, who have died in their Lord.  It’s a terrible thing, when the dead must bury the dead.  However, when the living bury the living the basic note should be our resurrection hope and joy.

Then, too, we have comfort for ourselves, even in the face of death and grave.  Then we can look over and beyond these to the glory laid away for us and rejoice with the church of every age in those mighty words of Job:

“I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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Judah: A Story of Redemption

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021.   The story of Judah is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. We often overlook this history because it is nestled in the middle of the story of Joseph. All the […]

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Author Interview: “Through Many Dangers”

M. Kuiper, Through Many Dangers (Jenison: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2021)   Through Many Dangers is a work of Christian, historical fiction that has just been released this summer by the RFPA. The book is written especially for young people and details the story of a group of Dutch Reformed boys who serve in the […]

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