Jehovah Our Sun and Shield

A sun is Jehovah God!

Wonderfully significant is the sun in nature as an image of the Lord our God.

With relation to our universe, that golden bridegroom of the day, issuing forth from his chambers and going on his way through the firmament rejoicing, is radiating with fullness of life and blessing for every creature.

When in the still and dark hour just before dawn of a day in June you repair to a favorite spot—where gentle zephyrs lisp, the trees murmur mysteriously, and the brook ripples playfully; where the humble wildflower displays the rich beauty of its colored garment for which it did not labor or spin; and where winged beauties sing and call to one another—to wait and to watch for the rising of the sun…

And when, as you watch, a pale glimmer in the eastern sky announces the approach of morning and dispels the darkness of the night, rousing from their slumbers the feathered inhabitants of the woods, who respond to the call of the morning, first cooing sleepily and complainingly, and then, as gradually the pale gray of dawn brightens into the gold of morning, chirruping and singing cheerfully; and when you see how the rising sun, now fast increasing in strength of golden brightness until finally the last streaks of morning cloud have vanished before its splendor, suffuses the entire scene with wondrous glory, pouring life and light over flower and leaf, into brook and meadow, transforming the black robe of night’s darkness into a veritable garb of many-colored beauty…


Oh, how wonderful a picture is the sun!

 

 

 

 

 

What a fullness of life it pours into the universe.

What a center of blessings it appears.

It draws from sea, ocean, and lake the rain into soft cloud-vessels and pours refreshing showers over field and forest; it nourishes and warms the seeds in the furrows and causes them to sprout; it makes the flowers bloom and reveals their beauty; it spreads life and joy, energy and light, and it calls man and beast to action.

The Lord God is a sun.

A sun not as if there were other suns, for he is God and there is no God besides him, but a sun because he is in himself the fullness of all good. He is light and there is no darkness in him. Such is his being. He does not possess light, but he is light. He does not simply live, but he is life. He does not just contain goodness, but he is goodness. He is light and life, brightness and holiness, goodness and grace and mercy, righteousness and justice, joy and peace. He is goodness and perfection, an ever-blessed light. And his perfection is not derived from any other sources. It is absolutely original with him, uncaused, and eternal. As the triune God he lives the life of perfect light by and in himself.

Still more.

The Lord God is a sun also because he radiates his goodness and pours forth his light-life upon all who are in communion with him. He is for them the fount of all good, which spreads grace and glory. Like the rising sun in nature, so he dispels the darkness of the night of sin and death. For he reveals the brightness of his beauty, the glory of his goodness, the perfection of his holiness and righteousness, the blessedness of his grace in Christ Jesus, and through him Jehovah scatters the blessed rays of his own light into the hearts of his children.

For Jehovah God is a sun. The uncaused light in himself, full of grace and glory.

He is also the sole cause of all light and life, radiating his blessed goodness into the hearts of all his children. He makes them partakers of his holiness, love, blessedness, and joy. In their hearts he spreads abroad the riches of his love, makes the night flee away—a night of sin and corruption, of hatred and the lie, of death and hell—and calls forth the dawn of a new day, shining with the light of righteousness and holiness, of love in truth, of heavenly bliss and eternal life.

For the Lord will give grace and glory. He radiates grace and makes his children partakers of it in Christ Jesus. And his grace makes glorious. Even as sin is corruption and makes one inglorious, vile, abject, repulsive, leading to outer darkness in eternal desolation, so grace is goodness and brings glory to those who partake of it, making them full of grace and beauty.

How blessed is Jehovah God!

What a fullness of joy and life is he. Surely he is a sun.

How blessed is his communion! For without him, without the scope of the radiation of his blessed light, there is the darkness of death. In his communion there is grace and glory.

How amiable are his tabernacles, the place beside his altar. How much more blessed to be only a doorkeeper in his house, catching at least some of his blessed light, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness, where all is darkness and death!

O Lord of hosts, light of lights, radiant with eternal perfection, how blessed is the man over whom thou dost spread thy tabernacle and who dwells in thy light!

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This excerpt was taken from the book All Glory to the Only Good God (Chapter 4a).

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All of Him

Thanksgiving does, indeed, imply joy and gladness of heart, but not in the abundance of earthly things, but in God who is really GOD, the Lord of all, who reigneth in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, who doeth all things well; who is, moreover, the God of our salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord, who forgiveth all our iniquities, who healeth all our diseases, and from whose fatherly hand we receive all things, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, health and sickness, joy and sorrow, life and death, and who causes all things to work for our salvation.

To give thanks means, to be sure, that we point to blessings received, and that we count them one by one, but not so that we exclude from these benefits anything that we received from the hand of our heavenly Father in this valley of death, so that we speak of “many things to be thankful for” while we know not what to do with those experiences that were contrary to our earthly desires; but so that we consider all things, by faith, and in the light of His promise, as gifts of His grace, for the which He is to be praised and adored.

It means that we praise Him and glorify His holy name because of the abundance of His mercy over us, but again, not in the vain imagination that by doing so we add anything to His glory, and oblige Him to us, but in the deep sense that even our thanksgiving and praise is a gift of grace, an unspeakably great privilege which He bestows upon us, and for the which we owe Him thanks.

And thus it implies that we deeply humble ourselves before Him, who is God, the Lord, and acknowledge that we are wholly unworthy of all His benefits.

To acknowledge Him as God alone, and to prostrate ourselves in adoration before His throne,—that is thanksgiving.

All of Him, none of self!

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This excerpt was taken from a meditation written by Herman Hoeksema in 1946. Read the full article at the Standard Bearer Archives: http://standardbearer.rfpa.org/articles/all-him.

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New Book Release: God's Goodness Always Particular

NEW RELEASE!

What does the Bible teach regarding God’s attitude to the reprobate ungodly? What are the implications that God has an attitude of favor to the wicked? Do the Psalms support or give the lie to the theory of common grace? Does Zwier’s “triple cord” of biblical texts hold firm, or is it cut to ribbons? Read and gain new appreciation for the truth that God’s goodness is always particular.

  • 144 pages
  • paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-936054-90-9
  • also available in ebook format

Note: This book will not be automatically sent to our Book Club members.

                     

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The Rock Whence We Are Hewn

Coming late January 2016.

This book accomplishes several purposes on behalf of the defense and maintenance of the gospel of grace with its accompanying Christian life of separation from the world of the ungodly.

First, the book recalls to the members of the Protestant Reformed Churches their doctrinal and historical origins: “Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn” (Isa. 51:1). Their doctrinal origins were the confession of salvation by sovereign grace, embedded in predestination, and insistence on a holy life of separation from the world of the ungodly—the antithesis. 

Second, the book exposes the popular theory of common grace as heretical. This theory consists of a well-meant offer of Christ to everyone in the preaching—preaching that has God failing to save many to whom he is gracious with a saving grace and that has those who are saved saved by their acceptance of the otherwise inefficacious offer.

Third, the book is evangelistic. With urgency, it calls, not only Reformed and Presbyterians, but also all Protestants back to their origins in the sixteenth-century Reformation of the church—the rock whence they are hewn: the gospel of salvation by sovereign, particular grace and antithetical holiness of life. And to martyrdom. 

By Henry Danhof & Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma
544 pages, hardcover

This book will be sent to Book Club members.

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Herman Hoeksema's Triple Knowledge Republished!

 

The RFPA is excited to announce that the first five volumes of the Triple Knowledge republication are now available! Found in these volumes is the most extensive commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism in English. This fine exposition on man's misery, deliverance, and thankfulness clearly sets forth the distinctive truths of the Reformed faith in a warm, personal way. These handsome volumes will make a fine addition to any library.

Volumes 6-10 will be available in August 2015. 

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The Triple Knowledge was originally produced in a ten-volume set by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company beginning in 1943 with In the Midst of Death. Putting this series back into the 10 volumes—the way Rev. Hoeksema divided them—will bring the reader closer to the themes represented in the Heidelberg Catechism. 

Found in these ten volumes is the most extensive commentary on the fifty-two Lord's Days of the Heidelberg Catechism in English. This fine exposition on man's misery, deliverance, and thankfulness clearly sets forth the distinctive truths of the Reformed faith in a warm, personal way.

 Order Today 

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Reformed Spirituality: Monday Devotions

One of the RFPA’s exciting projects is the publishing of a series of books on Reformed Spirituality. These books contain meditations written by Rev. Herman Hoeksema and edited by Prof. David Engelsma, which are excellent for personal devotions. Currently I am reading through Peace for the Troubled Heart and decided to use it for my Monday morning devotions. Part I of the book is entitled Pilgrimage, and chapter 1 is entitled The Pilgrim’s Confession and based on Hebrews 11:13. I hope you will read the whole chapter. Here is an excerpt explaining the source of the pilgrim’s confession:

God makes his people pilgrims.

In his eternal counsel before the foundation of the world, he appointed them as foreigners, for he chose them and foreordained them in order that they should be made like unto the image of his Son, so that the Son would be the firstborn among many brethren. He chose them unto eternal, heavenly glory and unto citizenship in the heavenly Jerusalem. He also causes them to be foreigners temporally on the earth, for he gives to them the new, eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and he calls them out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The new life is resurrection life!

It is differentiated from the life of the world not only because it is free from the law of sin and death, and thus free to express itself according to the law of the Spirit of life, but also because it is from above.

It is the life of heaven.

By virtue of having received the new life that is from above, they actually have become citizens of the Jerusalem that will presently descend from heaven as God’s blessing.

Their conversation is in heaven.

There is their real, eternal home.

And out of the principle of the new life springs forth the confession that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For here is not their continuing city.        

They seek the city that comes down out of heaven.

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More RFPA titles now in ebook format!

                      

 

Contending for the Faith

Contending for the Faith presents the history of heretics that have troubled the church over the last two thousand years, treating errors from AD 100 (Marcion) to the present day (federal vision theology). What sets this book apart is its evaluation of every heresy from a consistently and unashamedly Reformed perspective. The reader will readily grasp the significance of the early heretics as Herman Hanko demonstrates the connection between their heresies and the errors arising later in history. The vibrant writing style brings the heretics—ancient and modern—to life. This trustworthy guide to the heretics equips believers today to "contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Contending for the Faith is a companion volume to Hanko's Portraits of Faithful Saints, a book of short biographies of the defenders of the truth from as far back as AD 100.

Covenant of God and Children of Believers, The

The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers defends the Reformed faith of the covenant of God by exposing the view of the covenant from which the attack of the "federal vision" arises. At the same time, the book sets forth the doctrine of the covenant that safeguards and promotes the gospel of sovereign grace, demonstrating that this covenant doctrine is biblical, confessional, and traditionally Reformed.

Since the controversy centers on the inclusion of the children of believers in the covenant, this book emphasizes the rightful place of children in the covenant of grace and the proper rearing of them. The author gives consideration to the views of the Protestant Reformed Churches, Baptists, the Netherlands Reformed Congregations, and the Canadian Reformed Churches ("liberated") on this topic. Leading representatives of these churches and traditions join in the discussion. 

Mysteries of the Kingdom, The

The parables form a substantial part of our Savior's ministry, and this is ample reason for us to give good attention to them. With simple and familiar earthly pictures, Jesus tells us what the kingdom of heaven is like.

"The author takes each parable and by careful exegesis opens up its rich seam of spiritual instruction, and gives a faithful and solidly Reformed interpretation. He shows us gospel mysteries of immense beauty, power, encouragement, practical relevance, and everlasting worth for citizens of a kingdom that is not of this world."Tamar Reformed Witness

Reformed Dogmatics: Volumes 1 & 2

This second edition two-volume set is a clear, systematic study and exposition of Reformed theology written by one who held the Chair of Dogmatics for some forty years at a Reformed seminary. Divided into the six generally accepted branches of theology (theology, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatolog), this scholarly work is logical, scripturally sound, and faithful to the Reformed creeds and traditions.

 

 

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A Question from a Catechism Student

For various reasons I have not written a blog post for a while, but it is good to be back again. I intend to write shorter and more frequent posts. And today I am starting with what may become somewhat of a regular feature: A Question from a Catechism Student. The future of this feature depends of course on the catechism students that I teach and the questions they ask. But I do not want to limit this to the students I teach. If there are children or young people out there who would like to ask a question please email me at spronk@prca.org.

For the answers to these questions I will attempt to point you to something published by the RFPA.

So here’s the question that came from a 5th grade girl. What happened to Lazarus’ soul after he died and before Jesus raised him back to life?

For an answer to this question I point you to Rev. Herman Hoeksema’s Reformed Dogmatics (vol. 2, Second edition, p. 471). Rev. Hoeksema speaks of Lazarus in connection with what is called the intermediate state. The intermediate state refers to the state of the body and soul after death but before final resurrection. Rev. Hoeksema teaches that ordinarily the soul of the child of God goes to heaven immediately after death to the conscious experience of glory and fellowship with Jesus. This is the hope and comfort of believers. Our souls do not sleep after death but go to heaven.

But Rev. Hoeksema recognizes that the soul of Lazarus could not have gone to heaven to then return to “this present world of sin and death.”  So what happened to the soul of Lazarus and to others in scripture who died and then returned to this life? Rev. Hoeksema explains, “We must maintain that in those cases the Lord provided a special state in which most likely they were unconscious, and from which they were aroused into a conscious state in the present world by the wonder of what we would call a typical resurrection [a foreshadowing of the final resurrection of the body].”

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Our New Book, Just Dad, has arrived!

 

Our new book, Just Dad: Stories of Herman Hoeksema, arrived this morning!


Note: If you are a Book Club member you will be automatically receiving this book.

If you are not a Book Club member, buy this book in paperback or in ebook format for only $9.95 each! 

 

 

 

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Just Dad: Stories of Herman Hoeksema

 

Preorder your copy today!

This book will be a Book Club release and will be available early December 2014.

Many people are familiar with the public persona of Herman Hoeksema. As one of the leading theologians of the twentieth century, a seminary professor, the pastor of a large congregation, and a prolific writer, he was well-known in ecclesiastical circles, as well as in the world in general. But to his family he was “just Dad.” This anecdotal biography written by his youngest child records many stories about him, some perhaps familiar but others never before told.

  • paperback
  • 144 pages

ebook version will be available in .mobi format (for Kindle users) and .epub (all other devices).

                      

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