Resurrection Sermon 2022

The Resurrection is the pivotal truth of Christianity. No Resurrection. No Christianity. Everything hangs on the reality and truth of the Resurrection. In the book of Acts, the two-fold Apostolic message is the Kingdom of God and the Resurrection as seen by the 24 references to Christ’s resurrection throughout the book of Acts. The Apostolic message was the message of the Resurrection.

And yet despite that fact, the Church has seemed to, in a counter intuitive fashion done odd things to and with the Resurrection.

For example, it is likely that the majority report in the Church today, if one counts the mainline Churches, is one wherein one finds a reinterpretation of the Resurrection in a way that seems obviously counter-intuitive to the Scriptural accounts and to people like us.

For example,

After denying a real biological virgin birth theologian Walter Banon wrote,

“No more do we consider the fact that the Christian Church is guided in her faith by an ever present, active Lord. (We are not) “dependent upon the realistic-materialistic conception that the same body which died on the tree of the cross after three days in the grave began to function again.”

To that another Theologian Walter Kunneth added,

“To insist upon the historic character of the resurrection has the result of objectifying it, … that means… that the assertion of its his­toricality leads to an irresistible process of dissolution, which omi­nously threatens the reality of the resurrection itself. “

Kunneth is saying here that if we consider the Resurrection historical the way that we consider the landing of the Mayflower historical we are led to a position where the Resurrection is threatened.

Mennonite theologian Gordon Kaufmann lets us know that “these alleged appearances were, in fact, a series of hallucinations”  and that “Contemporary belief… will not necessarily involve the conviction that the crucified Jesus became personally alive again.”

These are all expressions growing out of the thought of Karl Barth who taught that “If there is to be a genuine hope on the basis of Christ’s resurrection, this can only be if orthodoxy with all its rationalizations be brushed aside.”

In cases like this, we just have to understand that many if not most so-called educated self-referenced Christians in terms of sheer numbers approach the Scripture with an anti-Supernatural bias or failing that in order to protect the Resurrection seek to place the Resurrection in a realm where it can not be verifiable and in so doing make the apprehension of it completely subjective.

But that is not Paul’s thought here in I Corinthians. St. Paul does not argue that the apprehension of the Resurrection is completely subjective. He argues the Resurrection is objectively historically true.

I Cor. 15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

St. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit basis the reality of the resurrection upon the historical record. Upon the objectivity of its truth. He does what any good lawyer does. First he calls in the documented record and then he call in the witnesses to substantiate the record.

His first appeal is to the documentation. The Scripture is appealed to as the primary basis of His authority. St. Paul speaks of Christ that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture. Paul’s first appeal is to the Scripture record. And of course we see Scripture give testimony to this repeatedly;

Psalm 16:10

Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.


Peter touches this Psalm in Acts when he says; “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption (Acts 2:29–31).

Peter taught that, because David was a prophet who knew God would one day set one of his descendants on his throne and continue David’s rule through him (2 Samuel 7:11–12, 16), David was prophesying his future descendent, who would be the Messiah (Isaiah 11:1–4). Because God would not abandon this descendant’s soul to Hades (or Sheol, that is, the realm of the dead), nor let his flesh see corruption, he must have died1 and then been resurrected before his body could decay. In this way, David was indeed prophesying the resurrection of the Messiah here.

With that reasoning in our minds then we can read other Psalms and hear the resurrection prophesied from Scripture;

Psalm 49:15
But God will redeem my life from Sheol, for He will surely take me to Himself. Selah

Psalm 86:13
For great is Your loving devotion to me; You have delivered me from the depths of Sheol.

Then we have the one who was the Scripture Incarnated … the Lord Jesus Christ;

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21 ESV)

Matthew 12:40
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 17:9
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyone about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Matthew 17:23
They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.” And the disciples were deeply grieved.

Matthew 20:19
and will deliver Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. And on the third day He will be raised to life.

Matthew 27:63
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

John 2:19-21
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…

And this is only a whitman’s sampler. And it is this documented record that St. Paul first appeals to in his argument in I Corinthians for Christ’s resurrection.

So here are the documents. There is another point here besides how Paul appeals to the documents to argue for the resurrection of Christ and that is that Christianity does not allow us to merely speak of it as a “good moral system,” as if that is all that it is demanding of anybody. No, Scripture does not allow us to conclude that it only gives us good morals.

Come, Come, my friends, one who refuses the supernatural and the miraculous does not speak about the quality of a moral system where that moral system finds its chief actors testifying to the supernatural that they do not a-priori believe in. If people do not believe in the possibilities of resurrections they should not speak that they are glad for the morality they find in Christianity.

That is like saying the religion of the Mad Hatter is excellent even though the Mad Hatter was a Lunatic.

Well, back to the original point at hand. Paul appeals to the documented record and after that he appeals to the eye witness record. St. Paul is seeking to establish the fact that the resurrection sits on objective reality.

St. Paul calls forth the witnesses. He does not include all the witnesses but he includes enough. He calls forth Peter to the witness stand. He calls forth the 12 Apostles as eye-witnesses. He includes 500 more and then he himself takes the witness stand. Christ has risen. I saw Him with my own eyes.

You can imagine that if this really were a court scene how many days it would take to put all these witnesses on the stand to get their testimony on the record.

Yet, as stellar as this record is there is no convincing a jury that is already set on disbelieving the witnesses no matter how many they are.  Remember, the parable of Rich man and Lazarus;

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

So, we have all these witnesses of the objectivity of the Resurrection. We have the documents of Scripture that spoke of it before hand and yet we have theologians — so called — who refuse to believe we have an objective word and instead want to base the reliability of the resurrection upon their own subjective experience.  Whatever that is it is not the way the matter is presented in Scripture.


If there are those who want to anchor the Resurrection in their own subjective word even among the good guys in the white hats the Resurrection often gets short shrift. One can find a great deal on the death of Christ but work on the Resurrection is sometimes sparse.

Richard Gaffin, Jr., has shown in his book “Resurrection and Redemption” a paucity in our Theological texts on the significance of the Resurrection. Gaffin cites that Theologians such as Charles Hodge, William Shedd, Abraham Kuyper, Louis Berkhof, and John Murray virtually ignored the resurrection’s significance in their discussions of Christ’s salvific work, even though they had a great deal to say concerning His death. (page 12)

This has also been apparent in the Theologies of other solid orthodox men like Robert Reymond, and A. H. Strong as well as less rigorously orthodox theologians such as Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, and Wayne Grudem.

So given both this heretical theology which reinterprets the Resurrection in a baleful direction and this neglecting of duty which hasn’t adequately drawn out the meaning of the Resurrection what might we say are some effects of the Resurrection upon our Christian World and life view?

I.) Dispositional — Joy Unspeakable

John 20:20 After He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

We perhaps easily understand the Disciples joy. They had thought that their Master and friend … the one they had thought was the Messiah, had been successfully eliminated by their Judean enemies. Doubtless, they may have thought they were next on the hit list. Therefore, it is understandable that they would find joy that the Jesus was alive.


“Joy is the normal condition of a believer. His proper state, his healthy state, is that of happiness and gladness.”  Charles Spurgeon


This joy we should gain from the truthfulness of the Resurrection is, first of all, connected to the fact that the Resurrection verifies all the realities in which we have so invested ourselves.

A.) God reigns … the world is not governed by irredeemable death. We do not live in a time plus chance, plus circumstance world.

B.) God’s justice is certain Scripture teaches that the resurrection was a vindication of the ministry of Jesus.

Scripture teaches that Jesus “Was vindicated in the Spirit.” This refers to the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit raising Jesus of Nazareth from the dead on the third day in fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies and according to the Father’s will.

This act “vindicated” Jesus of Nazareth in the sense that it demonstrated that His claims that He was the Son of God were true and that the accusations of His enemies were false and that His execution was a travesty of justice.

The resurrection vindicated Jesus of Nazareth’s claims that He was the Son of God and that faith in Him alone was the only way to receive eternal salvation and escape eternal condemnation.

There are many injustices that are left without vindication on this side. The Resurrection of Jesus gives us certainty that the vindication of God’s cause on all counts will be seen. Injustices will be set right.

C.) Death is not final… We win.

This is the one that means the most to me. I never thought 39 years ago that the toughest part of ministry would be watching people die and seeking to give comfort in a situation that on the face of it looks very ugly.

How often have I turned to the Resurrection accounts to remind myself that is not final. It does not get the last word. This life, as wonderful as it is, does not end in absurdity. It ends with glorious Resurrection.

The Resurrection of kith and kin. Resurrection of those I could only admire from afar. Resurrection of the flock. Christ’s resurrection delivers me from … delivers all God’s people from the absurdity of ignoring death right up until the point that it can no longer be ignored. Our loved ones will die. We will die.

But because of Christ’s resurrection we will live again. This should give us joy.. and all the more we get closer to that inevitable date.

Out of the verity of Christ’s Resurrection, we can find joy in the midst of the hardships, disappointments, and trials of life.  He who is Resurrected is at the Right hand of the Father praying for us. He who is Resurrected has promised He would never leave us nor forsake us. He who is Resurrected has promised that we are more than conquerors in Him. These are the concrete truths out of which joy is constructed.

But there is another aspect of where we find Joy in the Resurrection that I want to briefly speak of and that is the Joy found in the certainty that because of the Resurrection of Christ, the Resurrection of the World has begun.  The Resurrection of Christ has set off a chain reaction of Resurrection. St. Paul often will call it “the age to come.” The “age to come” might also be called the Resurrected age.  In Colossians Paul writes that we have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son…. we have been placed into the Resurrected age. We are the Resurrected people. Scripture teaches we, even now, have been raised with Christ (Col. 3:1). Having been raised with Christ even now we have tasted of the age to come (Hebrew 6:5). With the coming of Christ, the blessings of the future are manifested among God’s people in the present age.

Christ’s victory over death has far-reaching ripple effects.  Our postmillennial hopes are pinned upon the age to come which has been inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.  This age to come is the Resurrected age. All of this is why the Apostle can say,

II Cor. 5:17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away.Behold, the new has come!

So, here we are a people who share in Christ’s resurrection who have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son. This by itself provides the sinews and tendons of irrepressible joy.

Summarizing, with Resurrection comes joy and part of this joy is the joy of knowing that with Christ’s Resurrection God inaugurates His new age as the means by which the old age will be pushed back and overcome. This truth is our Joy and the World’s fear and trembling.

Already in the NT this joy is everywhere evident. It sings the praises of God, “who according to His great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

II.) Anthropological — Man has an eternal destiny and so significance

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

The Resurrection of Christ reminds us that man as man has meaning.  Without the Resurrection of Christ, there is no transcendent reason to think that man is anything but matter in motion.

But in the Resurrection of Christ we see that man has an eternal destiny and in having an eternal destiny we learn of the significance of man who was made a little lower than the angels.

Because the Resurrection teaches us that resurrection is in each man’s future and so man has significance we command all men everywhere to Repent out of compassion.  Because the Resurrection teaches that resurrection is in each man’s future and thus that man has significance we try and treat people on the basis of that significance.

C. S. Lewis,

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.

The Resurrection of Christ as we connect it to the promise of Resurrection of all men reminds us that there are no little people. No people who are insignificant or unimportant. No people who deserve any less from us than any image bearer of God might expect.  When we deal with people we are dealing with those who have lived between the eternities and who will live for eternity.

As Calvinists, we would do well to remember this. Too often we are guilty of treating people abruptly and abrasively. The Resurrection reminds us that all men will be resurrected and so all men have eternal significance.

III.) Supernatural

The Resurrection is one of the greatest Miracles in the Scripture. In terms of Worldview, it reminds us that we live in a Universe that is sustained and Governed by God and it reminds us that we are Spiritual as well as corporeal beings.

The Supernatural is part of our Worldview. We are not governed by time plus chance plus circumstance. We are not, as I noted earlier, matter in motion.

Because of the Resurrection and so our confidence in the Supernatural, it is not the case that,

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Or as more recently said in a novel by ― Janne Teller, Nothing

“The reason dying is so easy is because death has no meaning… And the reason death has no meaning is because life has no meaning. All the same, have fun!”

But because of the imprint of the Supernatural, which the Resurrection bears witness too, we are a people who lean into life differently than the consistent pagan. Because of our conviction of the reality of the Supernatural, we know life has meaning and that the meaning of this life will be taken into the next.

Our certitude regarding the Supernatural gives us the strength to hold the hand of a loved one dying of cancer knowing all is well. Our certitude regarding the Supernatural means the confidence of knowing that the colossal injustices in this life will one day be properly adjudicated. Our certitude regarding the Supernatural means that we adopt the ethic, law and so lifestyle of a God to whom we know we have one day to answer. Our certitude regarding Supernatural resurrection is that which makes marriages last, binds the generations together, and convinces us that all of life is not merely a social construct that can be redefined in any way we might imagine.

The Resurrection is riven with the supernatural and its reality reminds us daily that nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight and so everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

What kind of Christianity is it that desires to strip out the Supernatural in the Resurrection? It is a Christianity that leaves man as God with all the cruelty that arrangement has demonstrated time and again through the centuries.


And so these are just three ways that we might note wherein the Resurrection affects our worldview and so the way we understand and lean into the world. We might also have noted, had we time, how it is that confidence in the Resurrection gives us a future orientation. We might have spoken about how it is that the Resurrection confirms that our sin and guilt has been removed. We might have examined how it is that the Resurrection fills us with confidence and hope and how that impacts the lives we live.  We might also have examined that because of the Resurrection we have been empowered with the Spirit of Christ who has been poured out upon God’s people for service, obedience, and perseverance.

It is our certainty of the Resurrection of Christ that has so much made us the people we are that we can say that there would be no hope apart from the Resurrection. The West would not be the West and we would not be who we are were it not the steady abiding conviction of the Resurrection of Christ. Ideas have consequences.

We can well understand how it is the case that if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.


Good Friday 2024 — The Cross & Reconciliation

I Cor. 5:17.) if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here 18.) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Note 1st that verticality of this passage

“All this is from God”

The Spirit inspired Paul has been writing about the new creation… the full salvation in Christ and He plainly says that “All this is from God.”

This reminds us that that the all Paul speaks of includes the provision of Christ to go to the Cross to bear our sins. Christ going to the Cross was part of the “All this is from God.” The triune God is the alpha and the omega of our Christian faith.

This needs to be said repeatedly in our current climate. It needs to be said again to those who grew up with evangelism that began with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” That statement might be true but it misses the God-centeredness of the Cross and misses that “All this is from God.”

The point here is that “All of this” that St. Paul speaks of teaches us that the all this is all about God before it is at all about us. The “All of this from God” not man centered. The “All of this from God,” is God centered.

Our Christianity is theocentric — God centered and not man-centered.

Even when Christ is hanging on the Cross as the center of Paul’s “All of this is from God,” we understand that it is not primarily about us. The cross wherein reconciliation is effected is ultimately about God.

The main thrust of this point is that the Cross, where reconciliation takes place, is not ultimately about us. In point of fact the Cross of Jesus Christ is only proximately about us. Before we can say anything true about the Cross in relation to us, we must first speak about the Cross and its meaning in relation to God.

At this point we are seeking to talk about what Theologian C. E. B. Cranfield in his commentary on Romans talked about as “the innermost meaning of the cross” (The Epistle to the Romans, 213).

And frankly, in all my reading and study one doesn’t stumble across very often this God-centered understanding of the Cross. In all the sermons I’ve listened to it is only been occasional the the case that the sermon was dealing with the God-centered understanding of the Cross.

I want to be clear I’m not denying that the Cross has effects, consequences, and glorious implications for man. However, I am convinced that before we talk about the secondary meaning of the Cross we should talk about the primary meaning of the Cross.

Steve Camp captured something of what I am going to be driving at this morning when we talk about what it means to think theocentrically about the cross.

Camp wrote these lyrics,

Christ died for God and God was satisfied with Christ
Pure, unblemished sacrifice
Oh, Son of Grace

Christ died for God and God has made Him Lord of all
For He drank the bitter gall
The cup of wrath

Christ Died For God
Steve Camp

There it is. The theocentric meaning of the Cross.

Christ died for God.

The deep inside meaning. The Ultimate meaning. The theology from above. The primary meaning. The theocentric meaning.

How many times have you heard this from pulpits? From your own reading? I was in the ministry for almost a decade before I stumbled across it in Jonathan Edwards and before him for John Owen.

Hear Owen for example in a catechism he used to teach.

Q. In what does the exercise of his priestly office for us chiefly consist?

A. In offering up himself an acceptable sacrifice on the cross, so satisfying the justice of God for our sins, removing his curse from our persons, and bringing us unto him. — Chapter 13.

John Owen

Note that before Owen speaks about the curse being removed from our persons he notes that Christ satisfied the justice of God for our sins. There it is. Christ died for God. Theocentric thinking on the Cross.

Well, where did they get this idea that Christ died for God? They saw it in Scripture.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

There it is. “The Father sets forth the Son as a propitiation by His Blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness.”

Christ died for God.

The Old Testament anticipates Romans when in Isaiah we read,

“But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”

Isaiah 53:10

There it is. The theocentrism of the Cross. The Lord is pleased to crush the Son.

There is a vertical dimension of the Cross that must be spoken of before we speak of the horizontal dimension. Christ dies for God before Christ dies for man.

Note secondly the reconciliation

When we look at the idea of reconciliation we first notice that the text reinforces what we just noted … it is God who reconciled us to Himself. God did all the doing.

This kind of language from the Apostle explains why the Reformed have always been so put out with Arminianism (such as you find targeted in the Canons of Dordt) and with Roman Catholicism which the Reformation defined itself against.

It is God who reconciled us to Himself. No contributions on or part. Dead men can’t contribute anything to coming back to life.

This is a significant reason why we are Reformed. We believe in God’s sovereignty in all things w/o exception and that includes salvation. We affirm with tenacity and without equivocation that God alone reconciled us to Himself.

When we consider reconciliation we understand that the premise here is that there are two parties who are at enmity with one another. Reconciliation is the work by which that alienation between the two parties is put to an end.

Of course the two parties at war w/ one another are God and fallen man. And the passage teaches that it was only as through Christ the reconciliation was effected. And this reconciliation was effected by Christ on the Cross. Indeed this is why we call this day Good Friday. Good Friday is good because a reconciliation has been accomplished that otherwise could have never been accomplished.

Christ dying on the Cross is our reconciliation and the reason that we have an interest in gathering to worship on Good Friday. If not for Christ being our reconciliation on the cross the last place we would be on a Friday evening is a Church.

So, God is the author of our reconciliation but He elected to provide that reconciliation only through Christ. This explains why Biblical Christians insist on the absolute necessity of a known Christ in order to have peace with God. There is no concourse with God apart from the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ is the one who extinguished the necessary and just opposition of God towards fallen man that was an immovable force set against us, while at the same time removing our opposition to God. That opposition and hatred of God is sin that is paid for, for God’s people, in Christ’s death on the Cross.

You see then the reconciliation provided by Christ on the Cross was not only a reconciling of the elect’s sinful hatred against God but it is also a reconciling of God’s just wrath against man. So on the Cross there is a two-fold movement of Reconciliation that is occurring in Christ.

The plain meaning, thus, is that through Jesus Christ on the Cross, God established the basis of agreement between men and God as estranged, removed the barrier to the sinner’s approach to Himself, and accepted the work of propitiation in Christ.

Note thirdly here that the reconciliation was costly

God did not let bygones be bygones. The sin of man required restitution to God’s Holiness. God could not remain just and holy and merely be reconciled. No, reconciliation had to be on the basis of the satisfaction of man’s debt against God.

So, yes reconciliation was accomplished in and through Christ but that reconciliation was a work of restitution satisfying the father’s just claim against sinful man.

This reminds us of the necessary connection between reconciliation and restitution.

And all of this is from God

Out of love the Father sends the Son forth to take upon Himself the Father’s just penalty for sin so that reconciliation can be accomplished. Out of eternal love the Son defends the honor of the Father’s promise to give sin it’s full recompense. Christ died for God. Died for His glory. Died to give Him all honor. Died that the Father might be just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus. Died that reconciliation would have its proper foundation found in a restitution that satisfied the loving Father.

God Himself — whose justice required the price of propitiation in order to be reconciled. God Himself who rendered up the price of the just penalty required by God. We see thus that it is God who justly required the penalty, and God who paid the penalty. God who required Justice and God whose Justice when it fell, fell as mercy for us.

Christ died for God.

Donald Macleod gets at all this in his “Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement — p 71”

“It was no part of the work of Christ to make God love us, The very fact of his being on earth at all was proof of the divine love. The business of the atonement, therefore, was to propitiate the God who already loves us: to lay the foundation for an advocacy directed towards him specifically as Father (1 John 2: 1). God unequivocally requires such propitiation, but in the last analysis God also provides the propitiation and God even becomes the propitiation. The whole cost of our redemption is borne by the triune God. In that sense, the atonement is a transaction entirely internal to the trinity. But by virtue of the incarnation, it is also external. It takes place not in heaven, but on Calvary; not in eternity, but on Good Friday.”

May God grant us His grace on this Good Friday to once again be lost in wonder love and praise for the great gift of the Christ on the Cross providing a reconciliation that can never be revoked.


10th Plague — Exodus 12 — Passover

There is a great deal here to examine so let us get right to it.

I.) God & the New Passover Time

Here in chapter 12 the 10th plague is being explained and the Hebrew children are being told how to prepare for the coming Angel of Death so that He will pass over.

An immediate matter of interest here that presents itself is found in vs. 2

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 

Israel, living among a pagan people marked time in the same way as the pagans around them. God tells them that the event that is about to occur requires them to mark time in a new way. The calendar is to be remade by the Passover and the new calendar would begin with the time of Israel’s redemption.

Today, though changing, we still mark our time as BC & AD. BC stands for “Before Christ and refers to all time prior to the birth of Jesus the Christ. The abbreviation AD stands for “Anno Domini” in Latin. In English, this means “in the year of our Lord.” This abbreviation refers to all time after the birth of Jesus Christ.

The humanists have sought to change this back to reflect their preferred pagan presuppositions. In France during the French Revolution  during October 1793, the Christian calendar was replaced with one reckoned from the date of the Revolution, and Festivals of Liberty, Reason, and the Supreme Being were scheduled and mandated.

Something similar is happening now in academia. Now the Christian time tags of BC & AD are being changed out for BCE (before Common Era) and Common Era.

This is not insignificant. It is a attempted means to create standards which would strip us of being able to be known, by objective categories, as a Christian people.

With God giving to His people a new way of measuring time God is giving Israel an objective marker by which they could be known as distinctly His people. It is one way that the Israel who are not “the Israel of God,” remain in some sense God’s Israel. There are these objective markers that mark out Israel as Israel.

Similarly, when we erase Christian time markers such as BC & AD we erase an objective marker that connects Westerners to the objectiveness of Christianity even if they individually are not subjectively Christian. To erase these is one more step into the void of the complete dechristianization of a people.

II.) God, Passover & The Family

In the Egyptian plagues God goes after the gods of Egypt…. their religion and their Temples. This demonstrates the centrality of religion in the life of a people. However, when God goes for the kill shot with the 10th plague, God does not go for the people’s gods, religion, or temples, instead God goes for the family. This demonstrates that should one desire to destroy a social order one has to attack both their religion and their family structure. These two are the foundation upon which all social order rests.

With God’s killing of the Egyptians first born we see that the family is a central Institution in the life of God’s people. By killing the first born God was going after the strength of the family and its nearest future in carrying on the place and responsibility of the family into the future. God’s attack on that Institution demonstrates that the family is every bit the foremost entity in a biblical social order as is the religious assembly of a people.

This in turn reminds us that the family is every bit as important as the Church in terms of the institutions of a godly social order and that in turn destroys both the ecclesiocentrics (CREC) and the familiocentrics when either or both of them insist on being the one and only institutional center of a Godly social order.

In the way God destroyed Egypt we see that both of these institutions (Church & Family) are co-centers of our undoubted catholic Christian faith.

Our enemies well understand this, even if we do not. The Marxists for example in the Communist manifesto desired to rid men of private property and they understood that the family was an extension of private property. One could not be destroyed w/o the other being destroyed.

Marx wrote,

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie,”

The family, by God’s design, is a foundation for any social order and if one desires to destroy a social order then one goes for the family. God does that in this final plague.

The flip side of this is the way God protects Israel in their family units. What we are noting here is the centrality of the family in God’s design. We have seen that in the fact that when God goes for the kill shot in Egypt He goes for the family.

But we see also the importance and centrality of the family in this final plague in the way that the Passover is kept. All of the language throughout this text demonstrates the centrality of the family to God’s social order.

The Passover is to be a family meal. The centrality of the family here is also stressed in the fact that the children participated in the Passover ritual by asking the questions, thus being taught the meaning of the Passover and of course children who could eat table food would have partaken of the Passover meal.

And as a brief rabbit trail, this mindset was carried over in the early church where the children were trained to ask question concerning the meaning of communion as a part of the earliest liturgies, and they then partook of the elements.

The administration of the Supper standeth not in a private usage, as belonging to some chosen and appointed persons, but it is public and common unto the whole church, so that as many as be reckoned among the members of the church, for whom Christ’s body was given, and his blood shed upon the cross, are to be admitted thereunto. And the very tradition of the Apostle, and the custom of the primitive church doth sufficiently declare, that the use thereof is common unto all faithful, in so much that the fathers did admit the infants of the faithful also, as we may see in Cyprian and Augustine.

It is known that the sacrament was given to the children of the faithful also in the time of Pope Innocent, Cyprian, and of Augustine, as well in Europe as in Africa.

Wolfgang Musculus
2nd Generation Reformer

One of the errors of the modern Church over the past few 100 years has been the constant and ongoing shedding of the centrality of the family in our faith and our living.

The text here describing the Passover demonstrates that we should be re-centering the family. The community then was a family of families and the Church today should be the community that is a family of families sharing a common faith and confession.

Strong churches imply strong families and strong families imply strong churches. You can only have one without the other without great difficulty. The enemy knows this better than we do, which explains his ongoing attack on both family and church.

III.) God and Passover Atonement

A.) God & His spokesmen Declaring Passover

Here we get to the crux of the matter. What I’m about to set forth is really Christianity 101 and the substance is that which we should all be as familiar with as the names of our family members.

In this whole plagues narrative we have seen Moses & Aaron serving as types of Prophet, Priest and King of God unto Pharaoh. They are types of Christ to the antitype that will be fulfilled with the coming Christ. Which is to say that they are those who prefigure the Messiah who is to come.

Now where do we see this type – anti-type dynamic? Well, we see it first here in the work of Moses & Aaron before Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron have been to Pharaoh prophet, priest and king, which serves as a type to Christ’s fulfillment anti-type. Christ is the great prophet, priest, and King of Scripture but all of that is anticipated in the OT. Here Moses and Aaron have been the anti-type prophet who have spoken forth God’s Word to Pharaoh at every turn. They have been God’s mouthpiece to Pharaoh and in doing so they have spoken with God’s voice. In this sense Christ is the greatest prophet who speaks forth as Prophet the Word of God… indeed He does so as the very Word of God. So when we look through Moses and Aaron here in the plagues narratives as coming to Pharaoh to speak the mind of God about what will be, we see the anticipation of a coming Christ who is the antitype .. the fulfillment of all they prefigured. In brief, when we see Moses and Aaron here we see Christ the prophet. Christ comes and speaks as God’s great Prophet.

In noting this we are reading the passage Christologically — in a Christ centered fashion. We are seeing Christ adumbrated and foreshadowed. And it is proper we should read the text in such a fashion for all of Scripture breathes the presence of our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ.

In the same way in these plagues Moses and Aaron have been anti-types — prefigurements — of Christ in His Kingly role. When Moses and Aaron command Pharaoh, “Let my people God that they may serve me,” this is the voice of the King. This is not the way of a negotiator, or the way of a manipulator, or the way of the salesman. This is the the way of a King saying, “Do this, or suffer the consequences.” Moses and later Christ in a much more fulsome capacity is a Great King and He is not selling something, He is not negotiating in His commands, He is not trying to manipulate. He comes to the sinner who is in great rebellion as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He says to the sinner, just as Moses says to Pharaoh here … “Do this or die.”

Listen my friends, Christianity is not a religion where God’s spokesmen are beggars or cajolers or grifters. We are all here prophet priests and kings under sovereign God and we speak with the voice of Kings where our great God has spoken. We say to sinners as Christ says to Moses, “Repent or die.” There is a certain imperiousness to the Gospel command. This is why it is so often said of us, “you sure have a lot of confidence,” and even with frequency, “you sure are arrogant.” I’m sure Pharaoh thought the Kingly bearing of Moses and Aaron was “arrogant.” I’m confident that no one ever spoke to Pharaoh the way that Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh. Of course the man thought it was arrogance on steroids.

I’m sure the Pharisees opposed to Christ also thought that Christ was imperious in the way He spoke. People who are sitting on the top of the social ladder are not used to be spoken to as if they are at the bottom of the ladder.

But there it is. We are not glad handers or grifters. We speak with earnest as Kings before God and His Christ, saying, “REPENT.”

Finally, Moses and Aaron serve as Priests before God in the larger Exodus narrative. Remember one of the key roles of a Priest was to speak to God for the people. We find that most glaringly in the plagues in Ex. 8

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people. Ex. 8:8

Pharaoh was imploring Moses and Aaron to do Priestly interceding work for him.

Later in the Exodus account when Moses intercedes before God that God might spare His people for their sin we see again the anti-type role of the Priest being raised up. It is a anti-type to Christ who is the fulfillment type who prays for His people as the Great High Priest in John 17 and who continues in His priestly role in Praying for us right now at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews 7 teaches that our Lord Christ ever lives to make intercession for us.

All of these offices are here in the plague narratives. These great truths of Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King foreshadowed in the OT via the way that Moses and Aaron deals with Pharaoh.

And this is what we are called to now. Each of us buried in baptism with Christ are united to Him and in being united to Him we now are ourselves prophets, priests, and kings, under sovereign God assigned and delegated with the work of making his name known. Even, at times, saying to people, “Repent or you will die.” Even saying to men, “In times past God winked at your ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent.”

And if we need anymore support our own Catechism asks;

Question 32: But why art thou called a Christian?

And then goes on to give as the answer (and I am summarizing here) we are called Christians because we are prophet, priests, and kings under sovereign God.

B.) God and His Passover Lamb

Here the text describes the requirements of God in order to be passed over by the wrath of God.

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without[a] blemish, a male [b]of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two  doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

There is a great deal to speak off here.

Of course, once again, we find anti-type and type all over the passage. The Passover Lamb is an anti-type of the to come type of the lamb of God who giveth his life for the sins of the world who Himself was without the spot or blemish of imperfection/sin.

Here we find the reality of danger. God is going to kill dead the first-born of of every household where the blood does not cover the lintel of the home. If Hebrew homes don’t have the blood, Hebrew homes are going to wake up with fewer family members then they went to bed with.

God’s wrath is coming upon all men, and the only place of safety is to be found as under the blood of the lamb that was sacrificed as a means of protection of the just wrath of God. God is an avenging and jealous God. He will by no means clear the guilty apart from His proscribed way of escape.

And so that passover lamb in this 10th plague is a lamb of propitiation. The blood of this lamb turns away the just and fierce wrath of God against sinners who will not repent. This is propitiation. God see’s the blood on the lintel and His wrath is turned away and He passes over the household.

Of course the blessed Lord Jesus Christ is the lamb of God who provides our needed propitiation. God sees the blood of Christ covering us and His wrath passes by because it was already spent on the sacrifice.

And so we can understand why it is said that, “without the shedding of blood there is no turning away of wrath.”

Of course there is the idea of substitution here as well. That Passover lamb was dying a substitutionary death in the place of those whose household was under the blood. By recognizing the necessity for shed blood they confessed their need of a substitutionary and vicarious sacrifice to spare them the just wrathful judgment of God.

This idea of vicarious points to substitution. The language in the NT is that Christ died in our place, on our behalf, in our stead, for us. The word ‘vicarious’ (vicarius from vicis, ‘change,’ ‘alteration’) means acting, or suffering, for another, or in the place of another. The idea of change, transfer, or substitution pertains to the term. It has the same root as ‘vice’ in ‘vicegerent,’ ‘viceroy’ or ‘vicar,’ and other words which signify that one person has assumed the place, position, or office of another.

That lamb assumed the place, and position of the one who deserved the treatment that the Passover Lamb received in their stead.

All of this is screaming at us. It not only screams propitiation, and vicarious substitution, it screams sacrifice.

God’s wrath is just and God determines that the only way it can be turned is by a sacrifice that He determines. The sacrifice has the purpose of appeasing the just wrath of God. Pharaoh didn’t take seriously the wrath of God and so didn’t bother offering up the requisite sacrifice.

With the consequence that the first born of all of Egypt died.

Here, modern man plays the role of Pharaoh. He does not take God seriously. He does not flee to the sacrifice that God provided for his safety. Instead he seeks to provide his own sacrifices to assuage his conscience. He offers up his children as sacrifice by sending them to Government schools and by sometimes literally burning them in the fires of Molech.

If man will not have God’s sacrifice he will find his own sacrifice to desperately find forgiveness for his offenses He cannot escape.

How can we preach this or hear this apart from a sense of burden? Burdened that God’s glory is so routinely neglected? Burdened that modern man would rather die eternally …. would rather experience the wrath of God then flee the wrath to come by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s only place of safety.

The weight of God lies so lightly upon me … lies so lightly upon all of us.

Looking at the plagues, reminds us that we needs be a people who fear God and consequently are a people who command all men everywhere to repent.

My friends… much of this is the core of the Christian faith. I trust that all of us here have this at our fingertips and know this truth better than the names of our family.

Beneath The Blood Stained Lintel

To the Tune of ” Beneath the Cross”

Beneath the blood stained lintel I with my children stand
A messenger of evil is passing through the land
There is no other refuge from the destroyer’s face
Beneath the blood stained lintel shall be our hiding place.

The Lamb of God has suffered our sins and griefs He bore
By faith the blood is sprinkled above our dwelling’s door
The foe who seeks to enter doth fear that sacred sign
Tonight the blood stained lintel shall shelter me and mine.

My Savior, for my dear ones, I claim thy promise true.
The lamb was for the household the children’s savior too.
On earth the little children, once felt thy touch divine.
Beneath the blood stained lintel thy blessing give to thine

O Thou who gave them, guard them, Those wayward little feet:
The wilderness before them, the ill of life to meet.
My parent love is helpless, I trust them to thy care.
Beneath the blood stained lintel, O keep them ever there.

The trust I place upon Thee, Thou wilt not disappoint.
With wisdom, Lord to train them. My shrinking heart anoint.
Without my children, Father, I cannot bear thy face,
I plead the blood stained lintel, Thy covenant of grace.

O Wonderful Redeemer, who suffered for my sake,
When o’er the guilty nations, thy judgment storm shall break,
With joy from that safe shelter, May we then see Thine eye,
Beneath the blood stained lintel, My children, Lord, and I.

Lord, keep me from that error, that holds my child outside
And steals from them your promise, that for them you have died
We bless thee Holy Father, Our children you have claimed
Beneath that blood stained lintel, and wearing now your name

The generations gather, in one unfallen line
To jointly lift our voices, to praise your name sublime
You’ve gathered sainted Fathers, You’ve given us our seed
Beneath that blood stained lintel, we have all that we need

Vs. 1-6 — H. A. Ironside
Vs. 7-8 — B. L. McAtee

DJ’ing My Nephew’s Alt-Right BBQ

We Ain’t Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
Roots – Show of Hands
Bounty Hunter – Molly Hatchet
Another Brick In The Wall – Pink Floyd
Where Have All the Rebels Gone? – Van Morrison
My Generation – Who
The Rebel – Johnny Yuma — Johnny Cash
Mama Tried — Merle Haggard
I Shot the Sheriff – Clapton
School’s Out — Alice Cooper
When It’s Gone — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band