October 24, 2017

FrontLine November/December 2015

November_December 2015

FrontLine November/December 2015 | VOLUME 25 | NUMBER 6

God With Us

Brian Collins

Bible scholars have long discussed what the major themes of the Bible are. God is, of course, at the center of the Bible. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. In revealing Himself to man God also teaches us about ourselves as we relate to Him.

But what are the major themes of this revelation? Chief among them is the revelation of God’s main purpose for all that He does: the declaration of His own glory. That this is God’s chief goal is magnificently argued from Scripture text after Scripture text in Jonathan Edwards’s The End for Which God Created the World. But as Paul teaches in Romans, sinners “glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” (Rom. 1:21). Sin brings about the need for redemption so that one day “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11). The mention of Christ as Lord raises another important theme that runs from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 and which was at the center of Jesus’ own preaching ministry: the kingdom of God. Redemption is fully accomplished when Jesus reigns from Jerusalem as God and Man in one person. Glory, redemption, and kingdom could be identified as the three central themes of Scripture.

Other important themes attach to these three. For instance, the plan of redemption and the establishment of God’s kingdom are accomplished through a series of covenants that God makes with man. Thus “covenant” is a major biblical theme. (Some people associate the word “covenant” primarily with covenant theology, but a quick glance through section two of Dwight Pentecost’s Things to Come reveals that the biblical covenants are essential to dispensational theology.)

The theme of God’s presence, the subject of this issue of FrontLine magazine, ranks right up with these others as one of the major themes of the Bible. Though God’s ultimate goal in all things, including redemption, is His own glory, God has chosen to get glory for Himself not only by punishing sinners but also by reconciling sinners to Himself. Sin brought about a breach between God and man. It separated sinful man from the thrice-holy God. Thus a chief part of redemption is bringing mankind back into the presence of God.

This issue traces this theme throughout Scripture. I begin the issue with a survey of how the theme of God’s presence develops throughout Scripture, as God works out His plan of redemption step by step. I then follow this survey with a study of how the tabernacle and temple symbolized God’s presence among His people. Joel Arnold then examines the importance of God’s presence in the worship of Israel as expressed in the Psalter. Though these Old Testament expressions of God’s presence have been surpassed in the New Testament, Joel notes ways that these Psalms can still be used by Christians today regarding the greater manifestations of God’s presence that we enjoy today. With Aaron Young’s article we turn to Jesus Christ, who is God-with-us in reality and not just in symbol. We might think, however, that there has been some regression in God’s plan of redemption since Jesus ascended to heaven after His earthly ministry, but Kent Ramler’s article on the presence of God in the indwelling Holy Spirit reminds us that it really was to our benefit for Jesus to go away for a time and bestow His Holy Spirit upon us. God still has more in store for His people, however. Ken Endean’s article directs our eyes to the future as we anticipate living in the presence of God for eternity.

We hope this issue will enable you to rejoice in the great privilege we have to draw near to our God through Jesus Christ in His Spirit.

FEATURES

The Presence of God in Scripture
Brian Collins

If separation from the presence of God is a consequence of sin, then the restoration of the presence of God must be a chief part of redemption.

The Presence of God in the Tabernacle
Brian Collins

Consider that the tabernacle would not have been built had God not been willing to dwell among His people.

The Presence of God in the Psalms
Joel Arnold

The Psalms record the prayers, worship, anguish, and joy of hearts yearning for God’s presence.

God with Us in Jesus Christ
Aaron F. Young

The whole of the Bible is about Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit as the Indwelling Presence of God
Kent Ramler

The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples would be even better than having the physical presence of Jesus with them on the earth!

God With Us Future Hope and Present Holiness
Ken Endean

What is it about that anticipated eternal home that energizes you?

DEPARTMENTS

Mail Bag & News from All Over

On the Home Front

Regional Reports

Wit & Wisdom
David Atkinson

Beliefs and Practices by Categories of Truth
David C. Innes

At a Glance: The Story of David, Part 4
Layton Talbert

Newsworthy
Robert Condict

On Language & Scripture
Mark L. Ward Jr.

Climb to Glory
John C. Vaughn

Simplicity Made So Difficult
Jerry Sivnksty


We would like to thank Dr. Brian Collins for coordinating this issue of FrontLine magazine.

(Originally published in FrontLine • November/December 2015. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)


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