Archives For Worship

In the context of Christian salvation, the word, “propitiation”  means the turning away of wrath or anger usually by an offering.[1] Propitiation appeases the wrath of God rightly brought about by our sin.[2] First John 4:10 summarizes, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10 ESV).”

Similarly, in arguably the most important paragraph ever written,[3] Paul wrote that Christ was “put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:25a)

On the Cross, Jesus satisfied the wrath of God by dying in the place of Christians.

Hence, the Gettys were right to refuse to remove from their song, “In Christ Alone,” the words, “till on the cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” See here.[4]

If you find yourself uncomfortable with the idea of the wrath of God, see Sam Storms’ Can a God Without Wrath Be Good?

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[1] Leon Morris, The Cross of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 6.

[2] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 809.

[3] Chris Brauns, “The Most Important Paragraph Ever Written!,” A Brick in the Valley: The Web Site of Pastor and Author Chris Brauns, March 19, 2010, http://chrisbrauns.com/2010/03/the-most-important-paragraph-ever-written/.

[4] Collin Hansen, “Keith Getty on What Makes ‘In Christ Alone’ Accepted and Contested,” TGC – The Gospel Coalition, December 9, 2013, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/keith-getty-on-what-makes-in-christ-alone-beloved-and-contested.

The song “Days of Elijah” by Robin Mark is a favorite for many churches. But few stop to think about the meaning of its many biblical references and allusions. Below I have given a brief summary of some of the themes.

As you read through specific biblical references, keep the bigger picture of biblical celebration in mind (Nehemiah 12:43). Today in our first sermon in the Making Merry at Christmas series at the Red Brick Church, we noted that when people: (1) Are heavily invested in a situation. (2) They are part of something larger than themselves. (3) They see definite progress being made – – that they will celebrate with great enthusiasm.

When we understand the meaning of the song, “Days of Elijah,” we are encouraged as Christians to celebrate. The song shows us that prophecies about Christ and God’s people have been fulfilled across hundreds of years. The Christ — who was born in Bethlehem is coming again – – this time “riding on the clouds at the trumpet’s sound.” Christians above all other groups of people have a reason to celebrate. (1) We live in a fallen world with the consequences of our sin and the sin of others all about us. (2) But if believe in Christ, we are a part of God’s people (see “What Do Christians Mean When They Reference the Gospel or Good News”). (3) Progress is being made: Christ was born in Bethlehem, went to Calvary, rose victoriously and is coming again.

So watch a group of Marines sing this song with great enthusiasm – – then read through a summary of the biblical references and allusions for the song, “Days of Elijah” by Robin Mark. You can also download a pdf of the summary: Meaning of the Song Days of Elijah.


 

“Days of Elijah” by Robin Mark[i]

These are the days[ii] of Elijah[iii]
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant,[iv] Moses[v]
Righteousness being restored[vi]

These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword[vii]
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord![viii]

Say, behold[ix] He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, (it’s) the year of Jubilee[x]
Out of Zion’s hill,[xi] salvation comes[xii]

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh[xiii]
And these are the days of Your servant, David[xiv]
Rebuilding the temple of praise[xv]

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the laborers that are in Your vineyard[xvi]
Declaring the Word of the Lord[xvii]

There’s no God like Jehovah![xviii]
There’s no God like Jehovah!
There’s no God like Jehovah!
There’s no God like Jehovah![xix]

Meaning of the Song “Days of Elijah”

[i] For more information on the story of this song, see “The Story Behind Days of Elijah” available at http://robinmark.com/the-story-behind-days-of-elijah/.

[ii] Day of the LORD– Biblical phrase used to reference the future and final redemptive work of Christ. It is found throughout Scripture. One example is 1 Thessalonians where Paul says that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:1). See also passages like Amos 5:18, Revelation 1:10.

[iii] Elijah – A great ninth century prophet who lived at difficult times and stood against idol worship when the Northern Kingdom was rapidly turning from God. Elijah’s showdown on Mt. Carmel is in 1 Kings 18:16-45. Elijah challenged Israel to decide whom to follow (1 King 18:21) and showed that talking “smack” started long before football (1Kings 18:27).

[iv] Your Servant – In Scripture “your servant” is used as an honorific title with Moses and others. Four references in the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) point to Moses as one who had special access to God (Numbers 12:6-8). On this side of the Cross, we all have such access so that we can rush boldly into the presence of God in our time of need (2 Cor 3:12-18, Hebrews 4:14-16). See The New International Dictionary of Theology, vol 4, page 1191.

[v] Moses – Circa 1500, The great Old Testament leader who led God’s people out of captivity in Egypt and to the Promised Land. Moses received the Law on Mt. Sinai. Saying these are the days of your servant Moses references the certain hope of salvation.

[vi] Righteousness – References being right with God. The restoration of righteousness ultimately means a return to Eden, only better (Revelation 21-22).

[vii] Famines and Darkness and Sword – In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus predicted that before his return there would be days of great trials. Such things are signs of the end of the age. After the Gospel is preached to all people groups, the end will come (Matthew 24:3-13).

[viii] Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord – John the Baptist (Jesus’s cousin) announcement of Christ that was prophesied 700 years earlier by Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3-5, Matthew 3:1-6). John baptized Jesus. Nothing more hopeful could be said than that Isaiah 40 was being fulfilled and that the LORD was coming. Our voices now join John the Baptist’s in proclaiming Christ as King.

[ix] Behold – Biblical word of announcement that appears frequently in the Bible. It is used in conjunction with the announcement of the Gospel (see Luke 2:10).

[x] Year of Jubilee / Jubilee – Beginning on the Day of Atonement every fiftieth year it proclaimed a nationwide release from debt and bondage. The word “jubilee” comes from the Hebrew word for “ram’s horn”) for the sounding of the ram’s horn signaled the Jubilee’s beginning. The New Testament teaches that Jubilee anticipated what Jesus will bring when he rides in on the clouds at the trumpet’s call (Luke 4:16–21, 1 Thess 4:16).

[xi] Zion – The hill on which Jerusalem, the city of David, was built. It was on a hill outside of Jerusalem that Christ was crucified.

[xii] Salvation – What we as individuals and as a world so desperately need. Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God, we are born under the curse. But God is gracious and just and is providing redemption for His people through His Son for those who believe on Him and receive Him as Lord.

[xiii] Ezekiel was a priest and prophet during Israel’s Babylonian exile beginning in 597 B.C. Ezekiel’s great prophecy of the valley of dry bones coming alive (Ezekiel 37:1-14) predicted the reunification of Israel and the hope of the resurrection.

[xiv] David – The second king of Israel and the ideal Old Testament king. God promised that one from the line of David would reign forever (2 Sam 7:12-13). One thousand years after David, Jesus was born in David’s hometown of Bethlehem (Luke 2:5).

[xv] Temple – The center of Israel’s worship. Jesus was zealous for the protection of the Temple and compared himself to the temple and said that when the temple was destroyed it would be raised up in three days (John 2:13-22).

[xvi] Harvest – Jesus likened the needs of broken people to fields in need of a harvest. He told his disciples to pray for workers who would see the need to help harassed and hopeless people who were like sheep without a shepherd. Likewise, God’s people are sometimes compared to laborers in a vineyard.

[xvii] “Word of the Lord” – God’s Word is his powerful disclosure of Himself. Luther said, “the Word possesses such power wherever seriously considered, heeded, and put into practice, that it never remains barren of fruit. It always awakens new thoughts, new pleasures and devotions, and cleanses the heart and its meditations.”

[xviii] Jehovah / LORD / Yahweh – “Jehovah” references the personal name of God in the Old Testament. It comes from combining the Hebrew consonants for God’s name with the vowels from the word for Lord (Adonai). It is better translated Yahweh and can be understood as the God who is faithful in keeping His covenant. This side of the Cross, think Jesus!

[xix] Repetition in Music and Poetry – Repetition in music and poetry is used to stress the great degree. So in the song, “Days of Elijah,” the repetition of “there’s no God like Jehovah,” reminds us together of the all-surpassing supremacy of Christ.

HT: For His Renown

Describing his destination, John Bunyan’s pilgrim said:

I am going now to see that head that was crowned with thorns, and that face that was spit upon for me. I have formerly lived by hearsay and faith; but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with him in whose company I delight myself. John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress.

HT: Dane Ortlund

Happy Birthday Isaac Watts

Chris —  July 15, 2011

Fred Sanders:

Isaac Watts, born this day (July 17) in 1674, is one of the greatest hymn writers in the English language. Growing up a Dissenter (his father was imprisoned twice for not being Anglican), Watts was not allowed to attend the best colleges. But he received a good education, and turned his considerable skills to pastoring, theology and biblical interpretation. All of his experiences went into his crafting of hymns. He left us a legacy of unforgettable songs (Joy to the World . . .

Read the rest here.

What does joy sound like?

Chris —  July 7, 2011

Can you hear joy? Have you heard it?

Nehemiah 8:43 regarding the dedication of the wall:

And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away. Nehemiah 8:43.

Scattered Questions

  • Don’t you wish you could have been there for the celebration?
  • How much more do you suppose the celebration meant for the ones who had been part of the wall building project?
  • What does it sound like for people to be so excited – – including women and children? Did they clap? Shout? Play instruments? Laugh?
  • What would need to take place for more of this to happen in our local assemblies?
  • Can you think of a time when you were a part of a time of such joy and enthusiasm?
  • How might God use you to help bring about such a show of celebration?

John Piper:

The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves.

This the Power of the Cross

Chris —  April 22, 2011