June 2015 Letter to Subscribers

June 2015 Letter to Subscribers

June, 2015
Dear Subscriber to www.kingdominbible.com,

I will list a few of the many events since my last newsletter.

  1. I had surgery on each hand for carpal tunnel syndrome. Now I can hold a telephone without my hand going to sleep, but I can sleep better each night.
  2. I finished and posted several studies. The new one on Hebrews provides a review of that book based on questions and answers.
Hebrews Review
(10 pages)
“Hebrews Review Questions”The Hebrew nation was the channel of God’s revelation to the world. The epistle reviewed here warned Hebrews not to turn back from His greatest revelation.PDF
Word

My new study on Ephesians seemed needed because strong dispensationalists (as I used to be) misunderstand the “Mystery of Christ” and draw some wrong conclusions.

Ephesians, the Mystery of Christ in
(47 pp.)
NEW
“‘The Mystery of Christ’ in Ephesians”This revealed secret (so-called in Eph. & Col.) was the gospel preached by all the apostles and the reason Paul was chained. Not the church but clarifies its character & purpose—and affects many doctrines.PDF
Word

  1. Teaching most of the Minor Prophets also helps me prepare to rewrite the kingdom survey.
  2. A level 3 tornado boomed through Van on May 10, destroying many trees and over 200 houses and buildings. Several friends lost their houses; it missed mine by yards as I took refuge in a closet. Here, in its May 15 form, is a report I was sending out after the Internet was restored.

The main tornado (of probably two or more) we had Sunday night (5/10) passed right next to my house going north, ruining over a hundred houses and some of the old school property, etc. Great numbers of downed trees disrupted power (two days for me), and flying debris covered many of our yards and streets. Another neighbor’s fallen tree has damaged one of my outbuildings—not urgent. My close friends the Takaches next to the other side of the tornado path had some windows blown out. Soon after the tornado passed, Paul drove over fallen lines, etc., to check on me! So far, I think only a man and his wife were fatalities. [About fifty injured.]

There is a great deal of cooperation in the community—and opportunities to be good neighbors and to witness. (Late Tuesday a neighbor brought a generator to save most of my fridge and freezer contents—and Wed. AM gave me a new cell phone! I still lack my landline—and have some sewage backup.) First Baptist Church is one principal control center plus temporary housing. There is a constant convoy, it seems, of bottled water and other necessities coming from other communities.

Midst all the loss, God is being glorified. Thanks for praying with and for us! I have shared Habakkuk 3:17-19 with several.

PS. I finally got plumbers to come and unclog my sewer lines. Am learning to use my new cell phone.

Back to June. The city still has many blocks of debris piled up to be removed; I have much brush and limbs next to the street. Am preparing for my tool shed and back fence to be replaced soon. But much of life is back to normal. I am writing on the Christian and the Law as another step toward redoing the kingdom survey. Always need reviewers, at least comments!

Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.

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September 2014 Letter to Subscribers

September 2014 Letter to Subscribers

September, 2014
Dear Subscriber to www.kingdominbible.com,

When you understand the basic kingdom theme, all parts of the Bible harmonize. That is the main premise of KIB. You should go elsewhere if you only want to solve your current personal prob­lems. No doubt they are important—but insignificant compared to knowing God and the revela­tion of His plans and progress. My main task now is to write and revise studies promoting the biblical plan. Though doing so increases my insight, I also need any feedback I can get from you!

This report gives links to new or revised files on KIB. Most of these view the kingdom plan in contrast to current perversions, mainly amillennialism. That theology, now widespread, says that the promised kingdom has begun. According to it, kingdom prophecies in the Old Testa­ment and early New Testament cannot be trusted in their original meanings. I show weaknesses of that theology and build the case for normal interpretation.

Use my enlarged “Index of Passages & Topics” to help find relevant discussions. You will see links to it at various places in the website. Suppose, for example, you want discussion of Isaiah 11. Search for that passage in the index. Of course, it is included in the Isaiah Study Guide. But it is also mentioned in some other entries, such as this one:

Isaiah 11Will God Eternally Bless Ethnic Israel? A Critique of ‘Replacement Theology’2 pp. at beginning, also in RT arguments

This index entry means that Isaiah 11 is discussed in the recently revised file “Will God Eternal­ly Bless…?” There it is in at least (a) two pages at the beginning and (b) the arguments often used to prove RT (Replacement Theology). If you want to read those discussions, do this:

  1. Select “Isaiah 11” (in cell 1) and save it to memory (Ctrl-c).
  2. Ctrl-click the link (in cell 2) to access that document in MS Word.
  3. In the accessed document open Search (Ctrl-f) and insert the memory item (Ctrl-v) to find the relevant pages.

Now I expect to revise my whole-Bible survey of the kingdom. That is what I have been gear­ing up for. I intend to keep it positive, not defensive. The index will help in my process—and provide additional discussions for those who want them.

Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.
johnhepp@kingdominbible.com

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UPDATED Request for Reviews from John Hepp, Jr., March, 2014

UPDATED Request for Reviews from John Hepp, Jr., March, 2014

Dear KIB Reviewer,

Thank you for reading this critique of Waltke’s amillennialism (click to download MS Word version) and giving me any suggestions you can. You may have already downloaded a PDF version of the same file. Some prefer this Word version, to which you can add comments or highlights and return. I know some matters are difficult or obscure—and want to clarify them enough for most serious Bible students.

I expect to make my final changes and get Brad to post the file on my website by April 15. [edit: the links above are to the updated documents]

Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.

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Report from John Hepp, February 2014

Report from John Hepp, Jr., February, 2014

Dear KIB Subscriber,

I trust you have begun this year with intense desire to please our Master and King.  And a deter­mination to live for eternal things, which will not disappear like smoke.  I am thankful that in my 85th year the Lord is still letting me live in my own house and help people understand the eternal Book.  With few expenses I can make it financially.  More important are dear family members in Texas who stay in touch.  And other close friends whom I see whenever possible.  And prayers by believers such as you.

My website, www.kingdominbible.com, is dedicated to the Bible’s main theme, God’s kingdom.  Even in a culture demanding instant results there are still believers willing to take time for Bible study.  I want to help them learn how God’s Scriptural revelations are linked together—and warn against perversions that invalidate Scriptures.  In that category is amillennialism, which proposes that partial fulfillments of kingdom prophecies change the meaning of unfulfilled prophecies.

For some months I have been working on two critiques of that approach, both nearly ready for the website.  One is “The Kingdom Will Come As the Prophets Predicted:  A Critique of Walt­ke’s Case for Amillennialism” (39 pp.).  Here are excerpts from my Introduction:

  • The coming kingdom of the Lord Jesus is a treasure worth infinitely more than all we have.  An unbelievably perfect pearl that we can nevertheless own (Matt. 13:44-45).
  • Waltke and I have both changed the ways we understand the church.  But he has also for­saken premillennialism and adopted amillennialism, which asserts (a) that the church has replaced ethnic Israel and (b) that Messiah’s predicted kingdom has begun.  If Jesus already rules from the throne of David, many prophecies must be spiritualized, which Waltke does.  I agree there is “realized eschatology”:  some eternal things have begun.  Not, however, the kingdom itself.
  • I will address Waltke’s case for amillennialism, as I see it in his OT Theology.  Part A will propose his main points, his general rationale.  I will introduce each point with my own summary but document with selected statements from his book.  Part B will critique in more detail three of his main reasons for reinterpreting prophecies.  Part C will respond to his crucial argument from Acts 2 that the Messiah has begun to rule.  My most important goal is to help redirect our attention to Jesus as “coming soon” (Rev. 22:12, 20).…

Please let me know immediately if you would be willing to “review” the document just men­tioned and tell me anything that is not clear for an average student.  Can we do it by email?

My son Brad graciously operates the website, including updating files when I make changes.  We have been unable to continue the project of providing pop-up Scriptures.  But that gives me more time to study and write.  Recently I have addressed many New Testament issues and am more prepared to revise my “Christ’s Coming Kingdom:  A Survey of Bible Teaching about the Kingdom.”

Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.

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Report from John Hepp, January 2013

Report from John Hepp, Jr., January 2013

Happy New Year!  I hope you are happy and fruitful serving the King.  That you have unfeigned faith in Him and therefore make it a high priority to listen to His Word daily.  “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart.”
 
How sad is our American decline in studying God’s Word and praying.  What a price we pay!  God promises real prosperity if we meditate on His Word day and night (Psalm 1).  But how can we meditate on it unless we read it and study it?  Is it any wonder what has happened to married couples in the church?  A great many do not read God’s Word and pray together—and have a divorce rate as bad as the world’s.
 
My website and searches.  I am grateful I can provide more and more of my Bible study helps free to the users, all in MS Word and PDF.  Some are also in HTML, with pop-up Scriptures and easy searches.  See the website managed by my son Brad:  www.kingdominbible.com.  It has drop-down menus at the top, then descriptions of all studies.  A new “Index” file under “Kingdom” gives links to many passages and topics relevant to that subject.  Also, you can do site-wide searches from the top right of any computer “page” on the site.  For example, I just typed in “Psalm 2” (with quote marks) and got excerpts from six documents with that phrase highlighted often.  I clicked one (the Hebrews Survey), then opened it in Word and searched (CTRL + F) for the same phrase.  For a website “page” already in HTML form, you don’t have to download the Word file or PDF; you can search within that page with your browser’s search shortcut (usually CTRL + F).
 
Current projects.  I turn 83 this month, am grateful that I can still care for myself and have dear friends nearby.  I still study the Bible and commentaries, mostly testing and sharpening my conclusions gained over the years.  Writing on various Bible books (as in the links below) keeps maturing my insights.  Once again, I hope to rewrite my major survey of the kingdom in the whole Bible!  Read my new three-page “digest” of what the Bible says about that subject.
 
When was the last time you heard a sermon about the New Covenant?  Or sang a hymn about it or about our Lord’s administering it as priest?  Yet, that’s what He wanted us to celebrate in the Lord’s Supper.  I’m finishing a five-lesson study of it.  Would you like to review it, that is, read it and give me feedback?  Let me know by email (reply to this email or use the contact form on my website).
 
Links to recently posted files

Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.

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Report from John Hepp, Jr., January, 2012

Report from John Hepp, Jr., January 2012

“The Four Gospels:  The Kingdom Offered & Postponed.”  That is the name of a writing (71 pp.) I just finished and got posted on my website.  Please look at it and give me feedback!  It shows the crucial Gospel teaching about the kingdom of God that drew near at Messiah’s first coming.  Here I will list the sections of my study, then quote three excerpts from the Synopsis:

  • Synopsis (2 pp.), a bird’s eye view of Gospel teachings about the kingdom.
  • “Important Considerations,” which include reasons it is so important to understand the kingdom, also a biblical definition of it.
  • Studies of the kingdom in each Gospel, including comments on many passages.
  • Conclusions (7 pp.) by categories.
  • Appendixes on Acts 2, Acts 10, and Psalm 110.

The kingdom that drew near was God’s long-suspended kingdom over Israel.  No one had to define it because they all knew how the prophets had described it.  Israel would be restored, liberated, and made the head of the nations.  The ruler would be King David’s descendant sitting on David’s throne.  The capital would be Jerusalem.  The nations would live in justice and peace.  Even deserts would blossom and the curse be forgotten.  Every­body agrees that this was how Israel understood the re-offered kingdom.  Even the angelic announcements and Spirit-filled speeches of Luke chapters 1 and 2 reflected their hopes.  So did John the Baptist.  …  [But now I will skip to the parables in Matthew 13 et al.]
 
The kingdom being announced would not begin immediately but after an additional period of preparation. After that, the Son of Man would come to establish it, glorious as predict­ed.  This meant that the King would come not once but twice.  But why the delay?  Jesus later clearly revealed some reasons.  Above all, He would suffer and die, then go to heaven until His time to rule.  While waiting to rule, He is building His kingdom assem­bly, the church (Greek ekklesia), as He promised.  He does this by “baptizing” disciples in God’s Spirit.  …
 
Why didn’t God reveal these “secrets” to His ear­lier prophets?  Why did Jesus explain them only to disciples? There is one main answer to both questions:  to give Israel an uncluttered choice.

 
Improved website.  My son Brad is in charge of managing my website.  We were getting the files into HTML and giving instant access to Scriptures cited.  We have delayed that while adapting to WordPress, which facilitates better searches, drop-down menus, etc. Try them!
 
Next writings.  Now I am getting back to studies in Romans and Revelation that were nearly ready before I switched to the Gospels.  Surely they should not take much longer.  Watch for this flag on the HOME page:  NEW, FOR REVIEW.  Any comments at all (especially negative) will be welcome!
 
Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.

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Report from John Hepp, Jr., July 2011

Report from John Hepp, Jr., July 2011

We should define the kingdom as the prophets did in both Testaments. And we should find out what our Lord’s titles mean by Bible usage, not by our tradition. Such matters constantly affect our interpretation of God’s Word — as in my two writings I mention here.

Prayerfully consider reviewing one or both of my following writings before I post them. Both are designed for ordinary Bible students, not experts.

  1. Survey of Romans,” ready now, 91 pp., about half appendixes and endnotes.
  2. “The Coming of Jesus’ Eternal Kingdom according to the Book of Revelation,” ready in about two weeks, 65 pp. now. (For excerpts, see the end of this letter.)

The Romans survey gives my matured insights, including some teachings you may not hear often:

  • The purpose of Romans is not to present the gospel but to explain why it works.
  • The gospel summaries in Romans 1:3-4 and 10:9-10 are different from what is usually preached nowadays.
  • Jesus’ gospel titles Christ and Son of God were both acquired as a human being. (This does not question His eternal divinity but pays attention to all the Scriptural evidence.)
  • The judgment discussed in Romans 2 is a real one, not hypothetical. In it Jesus will really judge those who “do evil” and those who “do good.”
  • Only those who “do good” will get eternal life, which is the same as immortality.
  • Saving faith includes repentance from sin and submission to the Lord Jesus.
  • Believers are not under the law, but only they truly keep it.
  • An essential reason believers are secure is that they are really being transformed.
  • The certain hope of believers is to take part in (inherit) “the world to come” (Heb. 2:5).

How would you review one of these writings? By reading it and marking whatever is not clear or convincing, then telling me. I can print it for you and mail it. Or — more easily — I can send it to you attached to an email, for you to print out or read online. You would then send me any comments or suggestions separately or attached to the file.

East Texas is like an oven in this heat and drought. But I am thankful that I can still walk on the track, water and cut my own grass, write in comfort, and often see friends when lonesome.

Yours for His glory,
John Hepp, Jr.

Will you review all or part of my “Survey of Romans” or (Survey of) Revelation? If so, tell me how to send it/them, johnhepp@kingdominbible.com, or 903-963-7277.


Excerpts from “The Coming of Jesus’ Eternal Kingdom 
according to the Book of Revelation”

[From four pages of General Introduction to give the kingdom setting for the book]

This capstone book, the final message of Scripture, was passed on to us by Jesus the Messiah through the apostle John (Rev. 1:1). It tells the relentless march of events that will lead to His coming and kingdom. Near the end, in 20:1-6, it provides an account of Jesus’ kingdom being inaugurated.

[From the discussion of the title in 1:6 implying that the church is already the kingdom]

The answer is that the title is proleptic-calling us now what we will be in the future. Jesus Himself is given a proleptic title in the preceding verse (1:5): “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” Eventually He will rule all the kings, but not yet. Revelation itself speaks of that activity as future: He “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (12:5).

[From the introduction to Part II: Judgments Leading to the Kingdom, chapters 4-19]

Will the church miss these judgments? We have seen that the entire Book of Revelation is designed for the churches. Yet, the words church or churches are not used again after Revelation 3 until the last chapter. Why not? Some answer that the true church will not be on earth during the tribulation judgments-but will already be raptured and trans¬ferred to heaven. That is called the pretribulation Rapture view, that the Rapture (a) will occur before the tribulation and (b) will take the church away. How important that would be for both the church and the world! How important it would be to relate it in this book designed for the church! But how perplexing for those who teach a pretribula¬tion Rapture not to find it in the early chapters. (In fact, it is in no chapter as they picture it!) They can only infer that it must take place there.

[From the introduction to chapters 6-18, judgment from heaven on earth]

A nesting pattern. It helps a lot to understand that these three main series of judgments are not parallel but consecutive. As seen in Chart C, the last seal consists of the seven trumpets, and the last trumpet consists of all seven bowls. Saying it another way, the trumpets are “nested” in the last seal, and the bowls are “nested” in the last trumpet.

[From the introduction to 21:1]

The “new heaven and new earth” (21:1). “I am making everything new” (21:5). Let us consider what is so labeled and what this newness means. We must not misunderstand God’s intentions. He will never decide that a material world is too “unspiritual” or unworkable. He will not give up on everything He has made and completely discard it. Not even if there is rebellion after a thousand year reign. Instead, He will finally purify and restore it all. That is certainly what Isaiah meant in his many prophecies of the kingdom.

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Report from John Hepp, Jr., April 2006

Report from John Hepp, Jr., April 2006

Nature of My Ministry
In the Past. After graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1956, I served awhile as interim pastor in a Hispanic church in Dallas. Later my wife Billie and I were asked by Central American Mission (now CAM International) to help begin a Bible School in Puebla, Mexico. By early 1959 we had moved there, where we worked in Spanish for twelve school years. That school (Instituto y Seminario Biblico) continues today.

In 1971 I accepted a call from TEAM to develop a Bible school curriculum in English, called LIT International (Leadership Instruction & Training). On college-entry level, LIT was carefully designed for self-study by students abroad who have learned English. Hundreds have studied LIT courses in India, Trinidad, and elsewhere. The first courses were nearly all based on existing texts; later we began to write our own texts. From Van, Texas I have written and/or edited all the extant courses. I continued this project until recently, even after it was transferred to Source of Light Mission and after I retired from TEAM. Currently LIT’s future is in doubt.

In the Present.
 Billie was taken to be with the Lord on February 6, 2006. I had the privilege of ushering her through her final illness and death, which glorified the Lord, as she wished. Every day now finds me deeply grieving my loss.

However, I must consider why the Lord left me behind. Probably one reason was for me to finish writing more Bible studies that show the unity of God’s revelation. Therefore, I have just finished my Survey of Romans while teaching that epistle to some teachers. It is available on the website my son Brad has set up: www.kingdominbible.com. I chose that title because the kingdom is the Bible’s major theme in both testaments. My general study of the kingdom (to be revised soon) shows how it ties the Bible together. I understand the kingdom the same way George N. H. Peters, Alva McClain, and Stanley D. Toussaint do. This view comes from the Bible itself, not from modern theology, which is often “christoplatonic” (Randy Alcorn’s word).

Fairly Recent Modifications of My Doctrinal Views
In general my theological framework has not changed; it is built on “literal” (normal) interpretation of Scripture. In details, however, I have modified and sharpened many views, as every constant Bible student and writer will do. Consider the last part of each of these three examples.

  • As promised, God will give the nation of Israel a glorious and eternal future. First they will repent and Messiah will baptize them in the Spirit, as He does us now. Echoing the Old Testament, that baptism was promised for Israel in all four Gospels and Acts. In our case it makes us part of Messiah’s body, the ekklesia, which will rule with Him forever. Will it do the same for Israel? Of course!
  • In Isaiah 65 and 66 “new heavens and new earth” describes even the first stage (the millennium) of the coming eternal kingdom. Therefore, we must not assume that it refers only to the perfected stage of that kingdom (that is, after the millennium) in 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21.
  • The Book of Romans was not written to present the gospel to the unsaved. That is done quite well in the four Gospels and Acts. Instead, the theme of Romans is the power of the gospel —not what it is but why it works!
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