Siloam's Pool
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Hey guys! I am honored that you would take the time to read this blog. I hope that what I have to share will be worth your time. You may ask yourself, "What's up with the title of this blog?" The title Siloam's Pool comes from John 9:7. There was a man who came to Jesus who was born blind. As Jesus and the disciples passed by the man, Jesus used this man's condition to teach an important spiritual lesson to his followers. Jesus affirmed that the man had been born blind in order that God might be honored through this man's life. Then Jesus said in a dramatic statement, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:4-5). He then told the man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. The name "Siloam" means "sent." The man went and washed and came back seeing. It is my hope that through this blog, that perhaps someone might see as a result of the truth that is shared here. I will do my best to honor your time. God bless!

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A Summary of Eschatology and How it Affects the Church
May 20, 2009
            The doctrine of eschatology can be summarized by dividing it into one of two categories. On the grand scale, one could study what the Bible teaches about God’s ultimate plan for creation, or cosmic eschatology; while on a more personal scale, one could study how the doctrine impacts our individual lives, or personal eschatology. Both are important for the believer in Christ.
            The Bible has much to say about eschatology, as the whole of its teachings are moving towards a final end that is both cosmic and personal in scale. In the Old Testament, the eschatological themes revolve around the overarching principle of God working through a man (Abraham) to create a nation (Israel) to bring about a line of kings (David) through whom Messiah would one day come to rule the nations and to restore what was lost in the fall. The Jewish people, contrary to popular belief, had a very pronounced view of life after death as is evidenced by Scriptures such as 1 Sam. 28:8-19, as well as a notion of judgment to come (Eccl. 12:14). The Old Testament, or covenant, emphasizes the role of a covenant-making God who is also in the process of establishing a new kingdom where His leader will reign perfectly (Ps.1-2). The New Testament continues this theme by showing how Christ is Messiah who was to come and by stressing the “already/not yet” tensions of this kingdom of God. When Christ defeated death and hell on the cross, the cosmos responded as this new kingdom was realized. We in fact are partakers of that new kingdom by faith in Christ, in which we become a “new creation.” Despite the fact that we immediately realize this new life, we still must wait, as creation also waits and groans (Rom. 8:18-30) for the resurrection of our bodies in the likeness of Christ. God will also create a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21) that we will enjoy, and life will be as it should be.
            Throughout church history, there have been glimpses of each of the modern ideas that we have fleshed out before us regarding both cosmic and personal eschatology. In the Patristic period, the most influential theologian regarding eschatology was that of Augustine of Hippo, who believed in a symbolic millennium, not an actual earthly millennium. Though prominent, others like Irenaeus of Lyons would disagree, arguing for an earthly kingdom. During the medieval period, the now popular views of millennialism began to take shape. Along with these views, the doctrine of purgatory was established by the Catholic Church. In the Reformation, Calvin would challenge the Anabaptist belief in soul sleep. The Reformers would also challenge the now popular view of purgatory and would be adamant proponents of a physical resurrection, rather than simply a spiritual one. During the post-reformation period, covenant theology began to come on the scene, while men like Jonathan Edwards were holding to a very post-millennial stance. Contemporary theology has brought about a social gospel rather than a savings gospel, emphasizing social reforms. The Neo-orthodox views saw the present age as the kingdom age. This heavy emphasis on social reform led to liberation theologies. However, perhaps the most interesting developments came from the camp of John Darby with the concepts of dispensationalism, and specifically the pre-tribulation views emphasizing a rapture of the church. The Scofield Reference Bible was instrumental in helping to spread both of these positions in the church during this time. Sadly, men like Pinnock began to introduce the idea of annihilationism as well. Throughout Baptist history, the church has been predominantly amillennial; however, throughout all the periods of church history, there has existed men who held to each of the three millennial views.
            When putting the biblical teaching together with the church’s teaching, we find a struggle between the kingdom of this world versus the kingdom of Christ begin to emerge. In this world there will be a time of great tribulation that will have as world ruler the Antichrist, or man of lawlessness, ruling the world. The fate that awaits him along with all who follow him and for Satan and all his demons is a place called hell. It is a place of eternal punishment and torture. Contrasted with this kingdom is the kingdom of Christ. It is a kingdom that has heaven to look forward to. At the second coming of Christ, a kingdom will be established and Israel will be restored. One’s views on the millennial reign of Christ play heavily here. The Bible promises that Christ will be the victor at the final battle and that He will create a new heaven and a new earth where all that was lost to man in the fall will be restored.
            The doctrines of both personal and cosmic eschatology impact the church greatly in many different areas. We can comfort the grieving with hope of a home in heaven. We can give a testimony through the way our funerals are conducted, and we no longer need to fear death if we are united with Christ in faith. Because of our eschatology, we should be a people of forgiveness, since God will one day forgive us of all of our sins, and we should be a people of humility, realizing Christ is our one true King. We should have dignity and respect for our bodies in burial, since we believe that it will one day be raised again. We should also seek opportunities to teach our children eschatology through the ways that we parent them. We should realize that despite our vocation, we have a global mission to accomplish. Because of our eschatology, our view of work should be that it is a good thing, though corrupted by the fall, that will remain after this world passes away. We should care for creation and be good stewards of it, since we believe that God will one day restore creation to its former glory. We should have a respect for life, but should reject the ideas that we will have a perfect society here on earth, without the reign of Christ. We should value life as a gift of God and we should have a love and respect for the Jewish people, a people who are still a part of God’s plan and to whom we owe gratitude for our spiritual heritage. Our eschatology should also affect our churches, as we should seek a church of regenerate members that have no ethical or economic boundaries. Our corporate worship should resemble that of our future home in heaven and we should be a church that is seeking to fulfill the Great Commission through local and global missions. Our eschatology should drive who we are and what we do.
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