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.
- “Survey of Romans,” ready now, 91 pp., about half appendixes and endnotes.
- “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, email@example.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.