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    A P R I L , 1978

VOLUME XXXVll                                               APRIL, 1978                             NUMBER 2

Published monthly (except J u d u l y and A q w t -             If any materlal of B r a w r L b h h is reprinted by
September are combined) by the Federation of                    another periodical, we wlll appreciate your giving
Protestant Reformed Young People's Socletles.                   the source.
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EX~CXl'lWEBOARD                                                 Indlcate the vlewpolnt of the Editorial Staff. Every
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                                                  IN THIS ISSUE
Edltwlal Comments Dave Modker ......................................................1
EDITORIAL - Adopted - Harry Langerak .................................................. 1
Rev. Moore's Mallbox. ................................................................ . 2
God's Tlme Barry Grltlers ...............................:............................. 5
CRITIQUE -Who Do You Serve? Ben Wigger ........................................... . 6
The Seseon of Spring Sharon Bylsma.. ................................................. . I
The l m t Days - Greg Van Overloop.              .....................................................
                             -               -
George M. Ophoff (23) Polemlclst R o t . H. Hanko. ...................................... .9
                                 -                      -
Laavlng Father and Mother (5) Engaement Rw. C. Hanko .............................. 12
FROM M E PASTOR'S STUDY The C r w Engulfed In Darkness Rev. M. Kamps        -           .17   ..........
News From, For and About Our Churches - Cindl Dykstra ................................. .I9
TestYourMemwy .................................................................... a
     With this issue of Beacon Lights, we introduce a department which
has not appeared since December 1954. L that issue, Rev. G. M.
Ophoff was in charge of what was then called the "Question Box". This
new version will be written by Rev. Richard Moore, pastor of the First
Protestant Reformed Church of Edmonton. Alberta. Rev. Moore has
offered to share his time and, of course, his mail with you. The success
of this venture depends upon reader participation, so make use of it.
Feel free to write him if you have a question having to do with society
discussion, or school or wherever spiritual comment is needed. Address
your letters to:
        Rev. Richard Moore
        12324 134th St.
        Edmonton, Alberta, Canada TSLlV1

Do it today. Your letters will be gladly received and answered a s soon
as possible.


     Has it ever occurred to you that you    our Heavenly Father. If you look carefully
are adopted? No, I am not talking just to    at your life you cannot help but see what I
those who are not the natural children of             1
                                             mean. A 1 you have to do is remember the
their earthly parents, but to all God's      last off-colored joke, sware word said in
children. God, our Heavenly Father, had      anger, or word of derision that you spoke
adopted us to be His children. What a        to harm the brother. You certainly
blessed comfort to us who were not His       remember wasting time watching T.V.
natural children.                            when you should have been learning the
     By nature. we were the children of      catechism lesson or doing that school
our father, the Devil. We hated God and      assignment. Maybe you remember cheat-
we were aliens to the Kingdom of Heaven.     ing on your last test or possibly you
We were rebellious sons and daughters        remember the time you rebelled after you
who despised the living God. How do we       were reprimanded for disobedience. Such
know this frightful fact? Because even       are we who God has taken to be His
now we still carry this old wicked nature    adopted sons. Certainly it was not because
with us. We still experience the frightful   of what He saw or sees in us.
agony of the sin that we commit against           When God adopted us it was purely

                                                                     BEACON LIGHT811
His gracious work. It was not easy to make     Satisfaction has been made for our sins.
us legally His adopted sons because our        The empty tomb is proof that we are
natural father, the Devil, did not want to     adopted. God was pleased with Christ's
give us up to adoption nor did we really       sacrifice.
want this adoption. God also had the rigid          What blessed privileges we have as
requirement of His law which required sin      adopted children. We now experience the
to be punished, which punishment we            fellowship with our Father in Heaven. We
could not bear. Only Christ through the        have the Spirit of Christ testifying with
terrible, dark, and temfying way of the        our spirit that we are children of God who
m s s could merit adoption for us. Only        daily live in fellowship and communion
Christ, "who is very man, and perfectly        with Him. W e experience the blessing of
righteous: and yet more powerful than all      being in His covenantal union. He freely
creatures; that is, He who is also very        pours out His grace, mercy and love into
God" could satisfy God's justice for our       our heart.
sins.                                               Just as when earthly parents adopt
     As we celebrate Good Friday, let us       children, first they must b e made legally
remember that only in the way of the cross     their children, so it is with the spiritual
could we b e legally made sons and             adoption that God's children have in
daughters of the living God. The cross i s     Christ. But the truly joyous occasion of the
the culmination of the suffering our Lord      adopting parent and also of the children is
took upon Hlmself so that by His stripes       when they can have fellowship. The child
we could b e healed. As Jesus hung on the      expects t h e care and tenderness from his
cross, His cry of agony, "My God, My           father. and the father loves his son, and
God,why hast Thou forsaken Me", meant          together they can share family life. This is
that He had descended into the darkness        also t h e spiritual b l e s s e d n e s s of o u r
of hell. With those words of Christ, God       fellowship with our Father in Heaven. He
took us to Himself to be His sons and          is always showering us with blessings
daughters. Christ took away our sins and       more than we can count. (Psalm 103)
guilt so that before the bar of God's               And s o my fellow adopted brothers
justice, we are perfect.                       and sisters in Christ, when we do through
      But wait, there i more, for on Easter
                      s                        weakness fall into sin, when the crushing
our Lord arose. He is victorious over sin      blows of life descend on us, when the
and death. He not only suffered and died       problems of life become more than we can
to satisfy for our sins, but He arose to       bare; let us come boldly unto our Father in
show that the last enemy is conquered.         Heaven and seek His mercies. He ever
Death has no more dominion over us.            loves us and will surely hear us. You
Alleluia1 The resurrection is also the         doubt this? He has risen as He said, see
visible proof that all the legal require-      the empty tomb! There in is our victory
ments of the law have been performed.          and our hope!


     The Beacon Lights Staff asked me to       would like a n s w e r e d in t h e article.
write a n article o n d e a t h , a n d they   Because of the importance of the ques-
included a list of questions that they         tions and the length required to answer

them. I have chose to answer them in a               His merciful salvation of t h e church and
question and answer format. The first of             the judgment of Satan at the cross and in
these follow:                                        the resurrection and ascension of Christ,
                                                     the saints cry out in heaven: "Now is
Question: Do we realize we are dead when             come salvation, and strength, and the
we die?                                              kingdom of our God, and t h e power of his
Answer: The Lord in His words to the                 Christ: for the accuser of our brethern is
repentant thief, teaches us that upon                cast down, which accused them before our
death one passes immediately to the state            God day and night." Revelation 12:lO.
of conscious glory a s His children. "And                  However, the saints in heaven never
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto               observe that which takes place on earth in
thee, Today shalt thou b e with me in                any way that brings to them tears or
paradise." This of course, means that we             sadness, etc. Their sorrowing is over!
know that we have died and have entered               "For the lamb which is in the midst of the
the glorious presence and into the blessed           throne shall feed them, and shall lead
fellowship of our covenant God. And to so            them unto living fountains of waters: and
know we have died (upon our death) is a              God shall wipe away all tears from their
m a t t e r of u n s p e a k a b l e joy for God's   eyes." Revelation 7:17. This is perfect in
child-for death has no sting! "Death is              glory. Thus the suffering of the saints on
swallowed up in victory. 0 death where is            earth does not cause the saints in heaven
thy sting?" I Corinthians 15:54-55. This             to weep for they know fully the victory in
question in this text requires the answer            Christ.
of the child of God, "There is none."                      Still further, we must remember that
       Further the Lord teaches us in the            our earthly house of this tabernacle is
parable of the rich man and Lazarus found             dissolved. that we might be clothed upon
in Luke 16:19-31,that the elect upon death           with that house not made with hands
are received consciously in glory, as well            reserved in heaven for the saints in Christ.
as the wicked upon death enter a state of            cf. I1 Corinthians 5:lff. This results not
conscious anguish and torment in hell.               only in the wonder that the old man of sin
Verse 24, "And he cried and said, Father              is put away, but also that our earthly ties
Abraham, have mercy on me, and send                   and bonds are dissolved, and that we
Lazurus that he may dip the tip of his               enter in and continue in that perfected and
finger in water, and cool my tongue; for 1           everlasting fellowship of our spiritual
am tormented in this flame."                         covenant bond with God in Christ. And we
       So indeed man consciously realizes             rejoice in the salvation of the saints and
his death!                                            the church. Our joy is there in God's just
Question: Do we then know that our loved             judgment of the wicked and the salvation
ones are sorrowing over our death?                    of the body of Christ.
Answer: A teaching of the parable quoted                   Understand the saints in heaven know
above is that there is a conscious activity           too that the loved ones in Christ also are
of the dead in knowing what still takes               given to understand death and glory
place in the history of God's creation.               through death. Thus they are not left in
Further we read, that the saints in heaven            sorrow, but by grace continue to walk the
await with prayer the day of judgment and             pilgrims journey-til God b e pleased to
final deliverance of the body of Christ in            bring them also to heaven. Our consola-
its fulness, Revelation 6:10, "How long, 0            tion is in Christ crucified and raised!
Lord, holy and true. dost thou not judge
and avenge our blood on them that dwell              Question: Two types of death-is there such
on earth?" And upon seeing God unfold                a thing as a true death-that is dying and
                                                                               BEACON LIOHTSl3
then having a doctor or someone revive         for the hardening of the wicked. It is like
your life-bring you back into this world?      the Scriptural example of the magicians
Answer: At the outset, we must answer          who were able to duplicate the first three
that there has been such a happening. We       wonders of God brought to pass through
are reminded immediately of the miracles       the means of the rod of Moses and Aaron
recorded in Scripture of this happening.       in Egypt. But they were limited by God
For example the son of the widow of            and could go no further, and through it all
Zarephath died and was restored to life by     Pharoah's heart was hardened s o that he
God through the means of Elijah. This is       would not let Israel go. This unto his
recorded in I Kings 17:17ff. Also we are       damnation and destruction and unto the
all aware of the raising of Lazarus by         glory of God when H e p a s s e d just
Jesus after Lazarus had been dead four         judgment upon Pharoah and Egypt.
days. cf. John 11. In connection with               Further we know our Lord instructs:
these recorded instances in Scripture, we      so shall it be in the last days before His
must r e m e m b e r t h e s e were miracles   coming again. Man is given a limited
which drew attention to the miracle of         power to d o wonders that God's purpose
miracles-God come in the flesh to deliver      of ready~ng this wicked world for final
His people from the bondage and death of       judgment be accomplished. These won-
sin. These occasions were Divine dis-          ders are those of science and medicine,
pensations of God to reveal His wonderous      etc. for the large part. And Satan uses
and gracious salvation in Christ. They         them to deceive the church, if it were
were then Divine exceptions to the usual       possible to destroy her. But God who
working of God in His creation.                governs all things, uses them for the
     However, your question has to do          hardening of a world that ripens in sin for
with the present day and is really the         judgment. Hence, in God's Word, we
question: do such things take place today?     read, "And except those days should be
We are aware that there have been              shortened, there should no flesh be saved:
instances when some of the vital life signs    but for the elect's sake those days shall be
(medically speaking) have stopped, and         shortened. Then if any man shall say unto
then through the means of a doctor, etc.       you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it
and by using various techniques, a person      not. For there shall arise false Christs,
once again gained these vital life signs       and false prophets. and shall show great
and continued to live. Technically by some     signs and wonders; insomuch that. if it
medical signs, the person was "dead";          were possible, they shall decieve the very
however. life had not departed in actual       elect." Matthew 24:22-24.
fact, and in truth the life still continued.        It is for this reason, too, that it is
We never read of raising someone from          good t h a t w e s t u d y t h e Scriptures
the dead after he was in the grave four        concerning such a topic as death, which
days, nor even hours after one was             you have brought up in this series of
pronounced dead!                               questions. They make us consider God's
     But in this connection, even the very     purpose with all things. and that, that we
fact that man is "able to bring one back       might be watchful in these last days. We
from the brink of death," (that man is         have three more questions related to
able to restore these life signs through       death. These will be considered next
modern technology) is quite a thing. One       month the Lord willing. In the meantime,
may even say, it is a wonder. But              if you have any further questions concern-
remember, that even this possibility is        ing these matters, please write.
given by God. And often is given today
                               GOD'S TIlME
                                                   by Barry Grfttere

       In the beginning, God created that            strength to do this and that is through
creature called time. God is a God that i s          prayer-prayer to God for the strength to
eternal, but in order that His creatures             fight that old man of sin and to keep us
might have an orderly life, God created              from falling into the hands of sin. Only
time. As David wrote: time, like an ever             through the grace of God can we be sorry
rolling stream, bears all it's sons away.            for these weaknesses; and God uses this
That stream is the stream of life which              as a means also to strengthen our faith.
begins at conception and carries us to               That is our only comfort a s children of
death. Through life, God gives us man)               God. His only Son died for us that we
privileges-privileges to walk in those good          might have that eternal life and when we
works which H e has prepared for us. The             are faced with these evils we can only turn
means God uses to bring these privileges             to the cross and pray "Father, forgive
it time.                                             me." Then we are truly blessed by being
        Ephesians 5:15 and 16: "See then             able to say: My only comfort in life and
that you walk circumspectly, not a s fools.          death is that I am not my own, but belong
but as wise. Redeeming the time because              unto my faithful Savior. Jesus Christ:
the days are evil." Our calling as children          who, with His precious blood, hath fully
of God, therefore, is very clear. We may             satisfied for all my sins.
not waste that time as a spiritual fool                    Our life here on earth is a preparation
does, whose life is filled with eating and           for our life in eternity. That is why we
drinking and merriment; but we should                 must serve God and use those God-given
grasp every minute of our life and fill it           privileges. "So teach us to number our
with the things of God's kingdom.                     days, that we may apply our hearts unto
        Often t i m e s we, too, b e h a v e a s     wisdom." Psalm 90:12. We must put on
 spiritual fools because by nature that's            the armor of God and walk circumspectly,
 what we a r e . W e a r e faced with                 not as a fool, but a s a regenerated child of
 alternatives in our life as to what to do            God. We must desire and seek the
with our time. Our human nature tells us              communion and fellowship of one another
to read that magazine we picked up                    especially a s w e a r e o n e in public
yesterday, but our soul tells us to read the          confession. The truth of God's Word lives
 S t a n d a r d Bearer. What shall 1 do              in our hearts, so we desire one another's
tonight, watch T.V. or finish my home-                fellowship. We go to society so that we
work. Our walk in life is more than just a            may s t u d y t h e Scriptures and enjoy
couple of questions like these. Our walk i 4          Christian fellowship. W e read the Beacon
 a whole outlook. We must constantly make             Lights and the Standard Bearer so that we
 God the center of our life, desiring this            may be edified. We attend church because
 with our whole heart, mind, and soul, and            we are thirsty and hungry and need to b e
 confirm it with our speech and actions. It           fed.
 is an occasion for humility and repentance                Our time is not our own. It is God's
 to God when we find our pleasures outside            time and when we forget this, we can only
of the sphere of the church of Christ.                pray "Father, forgive." and the rich
        There is only one way to find the             blessing of God is to know that that prayer
                                                                               BEACON LIGHTS15
has certainly been heard and answered.         wind passeth over it. and it is gone. and
     Let us, children of God, prepare          the place thereof shall know it no more.
ourselves for that eternal glory that we.      But the mercy of the Lord is from
too, may say with the psalmist David: "As      everlasting to everlasting upon them that

for man, his days are as grass: as a flower    fear Him, and His righteousness unto
of the field. so he flourisheth. For the       children's children." Psalm 103:lS-17.

                  W H O DO YOU SERVE?
                                          by Ben Wigger

     While r e a d i n g t h e October. 197'   singles. the former "poor cousin" of the
issue of The R e d e m Digest. I came          show biz world will this year take in more
across an article entitled. "The Mad Mad       money than either of the others.-over S2.5
World of Rock 'n' Records". A rather           billion".
interesting account of the modern da!                The author also goes on to make a
record business. I say interesting because     comment which is worth taking some time
of the facts which that article presented      to look at. He says: "To those for whom
about this worldly entertainment. The          rock is part of a creed. spending money on
author begins his article by saying:           records is like putting a five-dollar bill in
     "It Thomas Edison could hear and          the collection plate."
see what has happened to the phonograph              Of course. the resemblance to any
record he invented a century ago, hc           form of Christianity ends right there. Any
would stand aghast eyes bulging, limbs         person, even the most ardent defender of
atremble. For the recording business is        rock, would have to admit that there is a
today the maddest segment of American          certain streak of nuttiness which domi-
industry, a cacophonic three-ring circu\       nates the whole industry.
aboil with egomania, sweet-life philo.               Now don't stop here and jump to any
sophy. piracy, sex. and electronic wizardn     conclusions. assuming that this will be
-all driven by incredible a m o u n t s of     just one more article in a long line
long-green do-re-mi.                           condemning the music of young people. Is
     To begin with, the record business.       there really any doubt in your mind about
not television or movies, is now the larges~   the validity of rock music? Could you
part of the entertainment industry. With       make any kind of argument in favor of any
1200 recording companies annually pro-         of this worldly music? You can read an
ducing some 2600 albums. and 6200              article about this very subject in the
February 1, 1978 issue of the Standard                      Matthew 6:24, "Not man can serve two
Bearer page 21 1, "X-Kating Rock Radio"                     masters: for either h e will hate the one,
by Rev. G. Van Barcn.                                       and love the other: or else he will hold to
       But what 1 would like to call to your                the one. and despise the other. Ye cannot
attention, is that one quote which was                      serve God and mammon."
mentioned a few paragraphs back. Could                            The power of Satan is always a
that be applied to you? Do you support the                  problem for us, young people. We will go
pleasures of this life, in this case, records?              through all of our pilgrimage here on this
       It is so very easy to support all of the             earth confronted with this choice. Bur we .
p l e a s u r e s and e n t e r t a i n m e n t s of this   cannot overcome this temptation on our
world. This is especially true. 1 am afraid.                own merit or strength. The minute we
of young people. Many sinful pleasures                      think we can stand fast, that is the minute
exist simply because young people con                       we fall.
tlnue to support them.                                            Each one of us. whether we be young
        And I believe that this can also be                 or old. can only answer this question; no
said of the Protestant Reformed young                       one can do it for us.
people. We are not above this temptaiton                          Which do we support: the world, or
        And I believe that this can also be                  the Kingdom of Christ? If we, by the
said of the Protestant Reformed young                        grace of God, fight against this world's
people. We are not above this temptation.                    evils. there awaits for us the victor's
After all, the music of this world makes us                  crown. James 1:12, "Blessed is the man
tee1 good, it appeals to our sinful nature.                  that endureth temptation: for when he is
And it's just so casy to go along with it all.               tried. he shall receive the crown of life.
Ln a way, it would be easier to fight                        which the Lord hath promised to them that
against this temptation if we could get                      love him."
away from it. But it's everywhere. We all                         Therefore, young people. pray about
have radios in our homes or cars. And a                      this problem before God. And do not be
 large percentage of us have record and                      afraid to stand on the Word of God for
 tape players.                                               your strength, for it is the only solution to
        The Word of God also speaks of this                  the question.
 very prohlem that we are faced with

                 THE SEASON OF SPRING
                                              Sharon Bylsma

                   The barrier of winter has lifted.
                   As April silences have been awakened,
                   In earnest, nature awaits this new season,
                   Portraying a still quality, God has given.

                   Rowers of ardent growth and passion.
                   Daintily increase their natural beauty.
                   Showing the similitude of a painted picture,
                   The blossoms sprout in an elegant way.
                                                                                      BEACON LIGHTS17
              The mighty thunder rumbles loudly.
              And streaks of light flash rapidly about,
              The rain thrashes against window panes.
              Suddenly ... all is calm and the rainbow appears.

              At the break of the morning dawn,
              When the moon's last silver has disappeared.
              And the dewy earth sparkles like diamonds,
              God hangs the sun in the sky.

              When springtime is fulfilled,
              What secret pleasures we enjoy,
              The fragrant hyssop is full with color.
              And the infinite heavens declare peace.

              New hope is continually being born,
              When our sorrows are heavy,
              And God melts our painful fears
              With the tender touch of spring.

              That glowing candle keeps burning.
              For He keeps His comfort near,
              We have celebrated our Lord's birth.
              And in this season is His resurrection.

              We see His unending love and glory
              In the precious season of spring.
              For it's beauty stays eternally with us,
              And gives us His sustaining grace.

                       THE LAST DAYS
                                     by Greg Van Overloop

     In the year 1000 A.D., thousands of      historians believe that there will be a
so called "Christians" fled to the hills of   repeat performance of this in the year
their countries. The reason for this was      2000 A.D. We who hold the Scriptures to
because they believed that Christ was         be the inspired Word of God know that no
coming in the year 1000 A.D. Same             human knows of the second coming of
Christ. When Christ walked on earth, He        b e put to death for Christ's sake. Luke
taught His disciples the signs of the times.   21:12-15 says "But before all these, they
It is the signs of the times that will give    shall lay t h e i r h a n d s on you, a n d
clues to the second coming of Christ. All      persecute you delivering you up to t h e
things must come to pass that is written in    s y n a g o g u e s , a n d into prisons, b e i n g
heaven before Christ shall return.             brought before kings and rulers for my
      Christ taught Peter. James, John and     name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a
Andrew on the Mount of Olives about the        testimony. Settle it therefore in your
last days. In Mark 13. Christ says that        hearts. not to meditate before what ye
many men will try to deceive the elect.        shall answer: For I will give you a mouth
Men will say that they are Christ and          and wisdom, which all your adversaries
many will follow. That is what happened        shall not be able to gainsay nor resist."
in the year 1000 and maybe will happen in             1 Thessalonians 55-8. Christ through
the year 2000 too. Another sign of the         Paul says. "Ye are all children of light,
times is written in Mark 13:8, "For nation     and the children of the day: we are not of
shall rise against nation, and kingdom         the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let
against kingdom: and there shall be            us nor sleep. as do others; but let us watch
earthquakes in divers places, and there        and be sober. For they that sleep in the
shall be famines and troubles: these are       night; and they that be drunken are
the beginning of sorrows." Isn't this true     drunken in the night. But let us, who are
in the Mid East, Africa. Far East, and         of the day, be sober, putting on the
even in the "Christian" United States.         breastplate of faith and love; and for a
      Christ also taught of persecution.       helment, the hope of salvation." The Lord
 When the nations have come to peace,          will come as a thief in the night. The Lord
they will turn against the elect Church of     went on a small trip and soon shall return.
God. The elect will be betrayed by their       The elect must b e ready. Watching.
own brethren and kinsfolks and many will

                  George M. Ophoff (23)

       Although the words "polemics" and       the importance of this aspect of the
"polemicist" are bad words in our day.         minister's calling, specifically includes an
nevertheless. the faithful servant of God      article which reads: "To ward off false
m u s t e n g a g e in polemics a n d b e a    doctrines and errors that multiply exceed-
polemicist if he is to be faithful to the      ingly t h r o u g h heretical writings, t h e
c a u s e of Christ in t h e world. T h e      ministers and elders shall use the means
Scriptures enjoin this calling upon us.        of teaching. of refutation, or warning, and
although telling us that we must always        of admonition, as well in the ministry of
give an answer to our hope with meekness       the Word a s in Christian teaching and
and fear. The Church Order, recognizing        family-visitation." And the Formula of
                                                                             BEACON LIQHTSIO
  Subscription which every officebearer                experienced all these pains. Perhaps in a
  m u s t s i g n m a k e s t h e s e officebearers    way they experienced these pains to a
  promise "not only to reject all errors that          greater extent even then most. They were
  militate a g a i n s t ( t h e doctrine of t h e     not, In controversy, t h e h a r d - h e a r t e d
  Confessions) ..., but to be disposed to              men they were so often pictured as being.
 refute and contradict these, and to exert             They wept tears of grief when controversy
 themselves in keeping the Church free                 came. No one was hun niore than they
 from such errors."                                    when they saw their beloved Church torn
       This is not very popular teaching in            by dissension over doctrine. And the h u n
 our day. The spirit of the times is against           of it was close to their own lives so that
 it. The day in which we live, colored by              they knew the grief it brought.
 many false ecumenical movements.                            But there was one calling which
 speaks of brotherly love which ought t c ~            surmounted all others: the truth of God
 prevail over differences in doctrine, oi              was more important than all, and that
 toleration of opposing viewpoints. and of             truth had to be preserved no matter what
 smoothing over differences so that there              the cost. To that goal. they had dedicated
 may be more unity in the Church. The                 their lives from the very beginning of the
 result is that Churches overlook doctrinal            history of our Churches, and they could
 departures, tolerate heretics. turn awa!              never shrink back from it.
 their eyes from that which is contrary t(1                 That this was their goal became
 the Scriptures, and fail to exert them               evident again in the controversy in which
 selves in their calling to maintain the              our Churches were involved in the years
 truth of Scripture.                                  preceding 1953, and which reached its
       This is serious business, for heresy is        climax in that year with the departure of a
the work of Satan; and its toleration lead5           large number of ministers and people who
inevitably t o t h e destruction of t h c             eventually r e t u r n e d to t h e Christian
Church. The Church of God needs to fig111             Reformed Church.
the battle of faith--also in the area of thc                It is not our purpose in these articles
defense of sound doctrine.                            to enter into a detailed discussion of that
       That both Revs. Ophoff and Hoek                controversy. As important as it was, and
sema were polemicists no one can deny                 as important as it may be for our young
They may have been reproached for thi.                people to know about it, a detailed
and hated because of their unbending                  discussion would carry us too far afield.
defense of the faith; but the fact remains            But Rev. Ophoff played a major role in
that if they had not been what they were              that controversy, and no discussion of his
there would b e no Protestant Reformed                life would b e complete without some
Churches today.                                       reference to it and to Rev. Ophoff's part in
      Church controversy is always painful            it.
It is painful because no one likes to set.                  In order to understand a bit of what
the Church of which he is a part torn                 was going on at this time, it is necessary
asunder by doctrinal controversy. It i \              to try to understand some of the reasons
painful because the Church, preoccupietl              why controversy came about. This is not
with doctrinal dissension. cannot get or;             really so easy to do. We are still almost
with all her other work which she is called           too close to the history to put it in correct
to do. It is painful because friendships arc          perspective. Only the passage of time
destroyed, families are torn apart and                gives sufficient distance to see clearly the
breaches are struck which take years to bc            correct viewpoint in all its implications.
healed.                                               But something must be said nevertheless.
      Revs. Ophoff a n d Hoeksma also                       What can we say? It seems to me.
looking back, that one major feature             with all this. Although the Liberated
stands out above all else. That is this.         churches were agreed with us on many
There were a number of our ministers who         points of doctrine, there was one fund-
wanted badly to see the denomination             amental point of doctrine with which they
grow far more rapidly t h a n i t w a s          disagreed. And t h i s w a s t h e truth
growing. This hegan during the war and           concerning the covenant.
continued in the years which followed --              In brief, the differences were these.
i.e.. the forties. It was during this time       While our Churches held to the idea that
that our Churches had a great deal of            the covenant is essentially a relation of
contact with R e v . Schilder in t h e           friendship and fellowship between God
Netherlands and with the Churches which          and His people through Christ, they held
he later founded. This contact was partl?        to t h e idea of t h e covenant a s an
because Rev. Schilder was thrown out of          agreement between two parties: God and
the Reformed Churches in the Netherland          man. While our Churches maintained that
and therefore had experienced a history          the promise of t h e covenant was a
 similar to our own at the time of the origin    particular promise which God makes only
of our Churches; and this was partly             to His elect people. and in baptism, to the
because of the fact that Rev. Schilder was       elect children of t h e covenant, they
not welconle in the Christian Reformed           maintained that God's promise is made to
Church when he came to this country to           all who are born within the covenant and
visit. These circumstances brought him           to all the children of the covenant at the
and his churches (known as the Liberated         time of baptism. While therefore, we
Churches) into contact with ours.                maintained that the promise is uncon-
      It was also in the years that followed     ditionally fulfilled by sovereign grace,
 World War I1 that there was a large             they maintained that the promise of the
emigration of people from the Netherlands        covenant was only realized in those who
 to this country and to Canada. These             accepted the promise by faith. They
 people, when coming to this country.            therefore maintained a general and
 looked first of all for a church home if they   conditional covenant which was dependent
 were from any of the Reformed Churches          for irs fulfillment on faith. Our Churches
 in t h e Netherlands. This was to b e            maintained (and correctly so) that this was
 expected. Those who came to this countc          an introduction into the covenant of an
 from the Liberated Churches could not            Arminian conception and made the prom-
 find such a church home in the Christian         ise of the covenant like the free offer of
 Reformed Church, and so they, quite              salvation -- a doctrine which our churches
 naturally, thought about looking to us.          repudiated already in 1924.
 The only other option open to them was to             It is evident that these differences
 establish a new denomination -- which            were deep and important. and struck at
 eventually they did.                             the very heart of the truth of sovereign
      But those in our Churches who were          grace. The real question was whether our
 interested in rapid church growth (not           Churches were. now after so many years
 something necessarily wrong in itself) saw       of defending the truth of sovereign grace,
 in this movement of Dutch people to the          going to go back to something that had
 shores of our continent, an opportunity for      been repudiated as Aminian after all.
 our Church to grow rapidly by t h e                   But our space for this time is taken,
 incorporation of these people into our           and we shall have to continue our story,
 ecclesiastical structure.                        the Lord willing, in our next issue.
      There was however, one difficulty

                                                                         BEACON L l O H T S l l l
         Leaving Father and Mother (5)
                                            Rev. C. Hanko

      John and Mary are engaged. The)             made the most of it, hiring Jacob for
have been going steady for some time.             seven years to earn his daughter, and then
have developed a growing appreciation             by deceit. obtaining seven more years of
and love for each other, have prayed that         service from his son-in-law. But the idea
the Lord would make plain to them                 of a contract, of agreement, between the
whether they were meant for each other            two families w a s common procedure.
and have settled whatever difference5             Third, there was payment of the dowry.
there were between them in regard to              (See Genesis 34:12, Exodl~s22:17). The
their religious principles. church member-        money payment belonged at first ro the
ship and the like. John is elated at the          family, but later the bride shared one
thought t h a t Mary h a s c o n s e n t e d to   third. Before the marriage proper. the
become his wife. Mary is almost beside            bride-to-be stayed in the home of her
herself with joy as she displays proudl?          parents. In the case of a virgin, one year
the ring that John gave her to seal their         elapsed before the wedding, in the case of
engagement. We share their joy on this            a widow, a t least thirty days. T h c
wonderful occasion.                               prospective bridegroom and bridc were
      These two people now enter into an          considered virtually married. so that if
entirely new phase of their lives. Their          e i t h e r party wanted t h e e n g a g e m e n t
betrothal. or engagement, is. after all. a        broken, a divorce process would have to
very serious matter. If one turns to              be sought. This is evident from the
Scripture, he finds that a betrothal had its      incident of Joseph and Mary. Joseph
own spiritual implications. The betrothal         could publicly have exposed Mary as a
as such consisted of three acts. First. a         woman unfaithful to her vow. yet he was
contract was drawn up by the parents or           so reluctant to question her purity. that he
by the friend of the bridegroom. There is         preferred to put her away quietly.
no evidence that the prospective bride had                W e should notice that Scripture
any say in the matter. Think. for example.        makes betrothal a picture of God taking
of Abraham, who sent his servant to               His Church. or His people, unto Himself.
Haran to obtain a wife for Isaac. We              This is beautifully expressed in Ezekiel
cannot help but admire this servant for his       1653: "Now when I passed by thee. and
faith and humble trust in God. The                looked at thee. behold, thy time was the
mission he was sent out to accomplish was         time of love; and I spread my skirt over
too big for him to handle. so he committed        thee. and covered thy nakedness; yea. 1
it into the hands of the Almighty. There i b      sware unto thee. and entered into a
a lesson here for us. Second. the two             covenant with thee. saith the Lord God.
families often met together to discuss the        and thou becamest mine." For Israel as a
terms of the contract. In the case of Jacob       nation, this referred to the time when God
and Leah, this was rather a one-sided             looked at t h e i r affliction in Egypt.
deal. Laban had all the advantages and            delivered them with a mighty hand. and
established His covenant with them at             m u s t , n e v e r t h e l e s s , r e m e m b e r that a
Sinai. That, in turn, is a picture of our         promise is a promise, an oath is an oath, a
spiritual deliverance from t h e forlorn          vow is a vow, none of which may be
nakedness of our sins, into the redeeming         carelessly broken.
grace of Christ, to be taken into intimate              Now the time has arrived for closer
fellowship with our God forever. Also in          intimacy. Before the engagement, both
this spiritual sense, our betrothal to God is     parties dressed, a s it were. in their
inseparably bound up with the eternal             Sunday best. Each had put on the very
marriage of Christ and His Bride. As far          best front, in order to please the other, or
as the figure. "and I will spread my skin         to win the other. That time is past. Both
over thee." is concerned. we find the             recognize the other as more than a dear
same figure in Ruth 3:9, where it refers to       friend: they are prospective life mates. If
Ruth's request that Boaz take her to wife.        any differences of a serious n a t u r e
      All that has been said points to the        remain. they should be cleared up at once.
binding power of an engagement. The               It is to b e expected that there will be
word betrothal nieans literally, "To              sharp differences of opinion, of likes and
pledge one's troth. or faithfulness. to           dislikes. of background. of habits. which
another person". The same idea underlies          become more evident now than in the
thc word engagement. which means. "To             past. Two different lives do not readily
bind or bring under a pledge, as by oath.         mold into one, not even in marriage.
pledge, contract or promise". The formal-         These differences usually prove interest-
ity of an engagement has almost disap-            ing, and pose no serious problem. God in
peared entirely. Not so many years ago, a         His wisdom brings together two people
suitor would have an understanding with           who a r e sufficiently alike, yet a l s o
his girl friend. but would not actually           sufficiently different, that they comple-
become her fiance without first consulting        ment each other. forming one whole,
his parents. and then1 making a formal            forming a balance wheel for each other as
call on his girl friend's parents to gain         well. There may, however. appear serious
their permission to marry their daughter.         character faults, which prove incorrect-
Only after this consent was granted.              able. A prospective husband may show
would she receive a ring. Much of this            certain ambitions. aims in life which are
takes place informally today. No doubt.           contrary to a Christian walk. and may
the couple do seek advice of their parents.       refuse to give up these ambitions. The
or at least their tacit approval, and then        young man may have a drinking habit, or
the young nian takes his girl out to dinner       a drug habit, or may b e enslaved to foul
and presents her with a ring. The parents         and profane language. A girl may reveal
are informed of the engagement later.             that s h e abhocs housework. dislikes
There is one danger in our present                children, and has her own selfish ambi-
practice. and that is that we lose sight of       tions for t h e future. A girl may be
the fact that an engagement is a vow of           domineering, determined to "rule the
fidelity. as well a s a promise to marry.         roost." The young man may be ever so
There was a time, not even in the h o a n         handsome and warm in his affections, the
past, when breaking an engagement was             envy of all the girls around; the girl may
considered such a serious matter, that            be very attractive and appealing; but the
unless good reasons could be produced.            time has come to face reality, the inward
the responsible party was held guilty             person, prayerfully and sincerely. The
before the church or breach of promise, a         young man must not think that a trip to
sin against t h e third c o m m a n d m e n t .   the altar is going to make a radical change
Although this is not practiced today, we          in his fiancee. The motherly instinct in the

                                                                                 BEACON L l Q H T S l l 3
woman must not give her the notion that                      and the church considered this a censur-
h e r k i n d n e s s a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g car1   able sin. Times have changed. Today
reform the man she sees in her future. M\                    separation and divorce have become so
personal comment at this point would bt.                     widespread that even the churches sym-
that 1 have seen weddings which wertb                        pathbe with a divorced person, consider-
much more painful to me than a funeral                       ing that a divorce is a lesser sin than
service. 1 would rather have brought one                     living together in disharmony. The hope is
or the other to the grave than witness                       always cherished that the next venture may
them taking a step that was bound to lead                    prove more successful. As covenant young
to disaster. My warnings were all tcw                        people contemplating marriage. you
often proved well-grounded. It is better             111     should not allow these tragic experiences
agree to break an engagement than 1 1                        to fill your souls with fear. You have a
continue together in what obviously car,                     security that the world does not have;
only be a sinful walk. which can rlever                      which no one who dashes headlong into
carry the approval of the Lord. There i.                     nlarrlage with no greater idea than sexual
one time when an oath is not binding, anc'                   satisfaction has. First. you have the love
that is. when we would sin against o u ~                     of God in your hearts. which is the basic
God by carrying it out. Remember. love i \                   bond of unity between you. Second. you
not as blind a s it is put up to be. and purc                have prayerfully committed your way to
sentiment must not determine your future                     the Lord, so that you becanie engaged in
       This raises the subject of cornpatibil                t h e a s s u r a n c e that God brought you
ity. about which much has been written in                    together in His goodness. (By the way.
recent times. Various tests are inlpru                       God also brings sinners together and
vised, discussion groups organized, visits                   unites them in marriage, but only in His
to psychologists are scheduled, all in order                 sore displeasure.) Third. you both know
t o b e certain t h a t t h e two person5                    that you are sinful saints, and that you
contemplating marriage are properly suit                     both have your character sins, which you
ed for each other, and to caunsel the111                     together will have to fight all your lives.
accordingly. The reason for this concern                     Finally. you have learned to bring your
about compatibility must arise from thc                      own sins to the foot of the cross every day.
ever increasing number of divorces, as                       and you know that you will have to go
well as from the many marital problems                       t o g e t h e r to t h e cross whenever sin
that vex a n d d i s r u p t families. Somr                  disturbs or disrupts the intimacy of your
persons are so reluctant to bind them                        marriage. Never hesitate to admit when
selves in marriage. that they prefer to livl-                you are wrong.(one of the hardest things
t o g e t h e r without t h e formality of a                 in the world to do). and be ready always to
marriage license. Others would like                  1c1     forgive each other, even as God in Christ
marry on a contract basis, binding                           has forgiven you. Be sure to visit your
themselves for only a limited time, to be                    minister, maybe even a few times, not
free to separate if their relationship proves                only to discuss your wedding plans, but
wearisome or unsuccessful. There is n o                      also to have a frank and open talk about
doubt about it that the rapid degeneration                   your future and what you may expect in
of the human race is making its inroad.                       married life. Above all, be sure to have
into marriage relationships. In the pas1 .                   your private devotions every day, present-
there were also those who did not get                         ing your concerns, your problems before
along as husband and wife, some of whoni                      the Lord, and seeking His guidance as you
sought a divorce. but the majority ot                         proceed toward an entirely new phase of
whom bore up with a bad situation. The                        vour life. May I suggest that you read
world frowned upon breaking up a home.                        Genesis 24, taking particular note of verse
63 which speaks of Isaac meditating in the          instituted marriage for the very purpose of
field as he awaits the return of the servant        having children. It is the most natural
who went to fetch him a wife from Haran?            thing in the world for a husband to want a
Prepare yourself for daily devoticns                son that looks like him, or a girl that is the
together after you ,are married, for times          exact image of her mother. It is more than
when you can freely discuss your spiritual          the natural maternal instinct of a Christian
problems (which so many married couples             wife to want to have a baby. In a covenant
ignore) as well as your physical concerns.          home. the eonsideration of bringing forth
Nothing keeps you closer together than              covenant seed. the Church of the future.
keeping the lines of conimunication open            far outweighs any other consideration. I
with God before you are married, as well            have said before. that if my parents had
as afterward.                                       waited to have children until they could
      This is the time to make your plans            "afford" them, they would never have
for the future. You buy your furniture, you         had any. If they had followed the modern
plan your h o m e , you receive your                day pattern of insisting on a small family,
household gifts at showers, and vou make             i would never have been born. for I was
t h e necessary a r r a n g e m e n t s for t h e   the eighth child in a busy family. Again, if
future. You do that together, in order tcl          in the early years of my marriage, in
learn each other's likes and dislikes, and          which the depression of the thirties hit us
to mold your thinking into one. Particu-            with full force, my wife and I had asked
larly such questions as to which church              whether we could afford children, our
you will belong, where is the most suitable          home would have remained childless.
place to live, what sort of home best                Apart from the sin which we would have
serves your purpose, must be decided                 committed, the lack of faith in God that we
together, in full understanding of each              would h a v e s h o w e d . we would have
other's needs. You should also agree to              missed the real joy of our married life.
 have children, as many as the Lord ma?              Children are. indeed. a heritage of the
 deem proper to entrust to you. The one              Lord. an asset that makes the home
 serious. sinful error many young people ol          complete, an assurance that we have not
 our day make is. that they agree to                 lived our lives in vain, a comfort especially
 practice birth control until the opportune          in old age. The lonely people, even the
 time arrives for having children. The!              lonely senior citizens. are those who never
 agree that both will work until their home          had children t o brighten their lives.
 is well furnished and at least partially paid       Planning your future includes planning to
 for. The mere agreement that both shall             have children. and not postponing that
 work until the first child arrives can lead         until some convenient time in the future.
 to disaster. So often the wife enjoys that                Finally, a word of warning. Engage-
 freedom of going out to her job, making             ment time is a time of real intimacy, as it
 her own money. buying luxuries she                  should be. You are preparing for your own
 otherwise could not afford. keeping thc             exclusive future. which you hope to share
job, the attachments, the friendships of             together. This is the time to prove your
 the past. that she finds it extremel!               love for each other by sexual restraint. Do
 difficult, if not impossible, to give them up        not indulge in the sexual privileges which
 when a child in the honie is long overdue.          God has ordained only for the married. Do
 Birth control for carnal, selfish reasons is         not let anyone tell you that you should
 sin. In this day when planned families are          experiment with sex to find out whether
 not an impossibility, we must be able to            you are properly mated. The sex problems
 give a good account to God how we have              that you read so much about in the
 spaced our children and why. God                     lovelorn columns originate in other marital
                                                                             BEACON LIGHTS115
problems, never in themselves. If you love              If you love each other, as you say you do.
one another in the fear of the Lord, you                respect each other's morals, encourage
can resist temptation. resting assured that             each other to resist temptation, to stand
the Lord will bind you together in holj                 firm in the right. Keep that marriage date
wedlock in His favor. which is your on]!                a day to look forward to in all the purity of
sure guarantee for a happy marriage. Do                 the children of God. Be happy that the
not tempt each other beyond endurance.                  white gown gives expression to your
This is sin. When God gave us the seventh               faithfulness to God and to each other.
commandment. forbidding adultery and                    Wait with patience until the Lord reveals
all related sins. He did not do this to lay a           to you, that marriage is very really a holy
hard. virtually impossible burden up011 us.             institution. its bed spotless, and that even
He gave us that commandment as a rule                   your sexual relationship in marriage is a
of life, to make us happy and blessed in                most beautiful picture of the most intimate
His fear. Also in this respect. it is joy to            communion of life that we have with God
do His will. It really is. We bring upori               in Christ Jesus. You will thank your God
ourselves untold misery, a bad conscience.              for years to come, if you pray now for a
d i s t r u s t a n d suspicion, f e a r for t h e      pure heart and a pure walk together.
c o n s e q u e n c e s , a n d many o t h e r griefs
when we play with things holy and drag                  Next time: Preparing for the wedding
them into the cesspool of unrighteousness.

     The Scholarship Fund Committee is again offering scholarships this
year. An essay of 300 words written on the topic "Reflecting back -
Why was your covenant education an asset to you?" is required along
with a record of high school a n d / o r college g r a d e s , a n d a
recommendation from your consistory. The scholarships are applicable
to tuition only. If you are interested in an application contact:
                               Deb Miedema
                           2850 36th Street S. W.
                        Wyoming, Michigan 49509
                              Phone: 538-4835

                         Applications must be in by May 1, 1978
                                THE CROSS
              E N G U L F E D IN D A R K N E S S
                             BY R E V . V. K A H P S

                               Luke 23:44-
"And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all t h e
earth until t h e ninth hour."

      That darkness was the speech of God       had declared openly His identity in the
at the cross. God's voice prevailed over        temple and now there was no need to do
the land for three long hours. That speech      so again. To Herod's many questions
of God was devoid of love and grace. It         Jesus "answered him nothing." Before
was God's speech of wrath and judgment.         Pilate, only a few words were spoken.
      Often times when we consider anew         Jesus the Christ is "brought as a lamb to
the events of the cross, we contemplate         the slaughter and as a sheep before her
the speech of mere men. Pilate and Herod        shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His
"examined" the Christ. Neither of them          mouth."
found any fault in Him worthy of death.               Not one word fell from Jesus' lips to
Annas and Caiaphas "tried" Him before           express the homble injustice of it all. NO
the seventy elders, and found Jesus guilty      bitterness, no rebellion, no hatred. Only
of blasphemy because He claimed to be           silence. The Son of God, the Lord out of
the Son of God. The Jews, upon the              heaven, was silent before His accusers,
instigation of the Sanhedrin, cried out         judges, and crucifiers. Would not God in
 away with Him and crucify Him. They            heaven speak. God had spoken in the past
desired that the murderer Barabbas be            audibly addressing men: "This is my
 released to them rather than the Prince of      beloved son ..." But at the cross was there
 Life. Some slapped Jesus' face. Others          no speech of God Almighty?
 platted a crown of thorns upon His head.             God spoke indeed: for three long
They mockingly robed Him in purple.              hours darkness covered the land and
 Pilate and the soldiers scourged the Christ.    engulfed the cross. That darkness was the
 The soldiers following Pilate's orders drovc    speech of God. Men had to listen in
 the spikes through His hands and feet. All      silence to this word of God concerning
 this we often contemplate. The deeds and        God's wrath and hell.
 words of wicked men captivate o u r                  What specifically happened? Luke
 attention.                                      tells us that from the sixth hour till the
      All men it seemed scorned, ridiculed.      ninth hour darkness covered the land. The
 and mocked the Christ. Contempt and             sixth h o u r according t o t h e J e w i s h
 hatred toward Jesus of Nazareth the King        reckoning of time would be noon day.
 of the Jews reigned in the hearts of men.       twelve o'clock. How unusual that darkness
      But Jesus was silent. Many times, He       should cover the land, for especially in the
                                                                         BEACON LIGHTS117
 sun scorched land of Canaan one would                     though the cross of Christ was completely
 expect the brightness of the blasting sun                  in man's control. Apparently, men ruled.
shining forth out of a cloudless sky. No                   Had not mere men captured the Christ.
one expects darkness at midday. This                       having bribed the betrayer and plotted
darkness prevailed for three hours.                        Jesus' capture.
       That was not an ordinary darkness of                       Men had Jesus in their power. Had
the night. Ln an ordinary night, we have                   t h e y not buffeted, s p a t upon Him,
the light of the moon and stars. Some                      scourged Him, and finally condemned
nights the moon and stars give s o much                    Him and all this apparently with impunity.
light, that we can speak of the brightness                 No one was apparently able to stop the
of the night. But the darkness at Calvary                  execution of their murderous plan. Even
was different from anything the Jews had                   Simon the Cyrenian was forced into the
ever experienced. It was a thick, gloomy                   act. Men ruled. For the three hours before
d a r k n e s s which terrifyingly precluded               the darkness engulfed the cross, men wt   ih
movement. Maybe the darkness of the                        wicked sneers enjoyed the sight of their
inner caverns of a cave approximate the                    helpless victim. Jesus could save others,
d a r k n e s s t h a t s u r r o u n d e d t h e cross.   Himself He could not save. Jesus was in
Undoubtedly, one could not see any longer                  their power. His life's blood was slowly
the cross and the object of his scorn. The                 escaping from Him a s men watched and
darkness removed their neighbors from                      jeered the suffering Nazarene. Man and
sight. The hand raised close to the eyes                   the Devil had all things the way they had
was undoubtedly indistinguishable.                         wanted it. Wicked apostate men held
       Nor do we doubt for a moment that                   dominion over the hill of Golgotha.
this darkness had a profound affect upon                          So it seemed.
the multitude gathered about the foot of                          But the cross and all the events
the cross. The mouths of those who                         surrounding it were completely in God's
defiantly mocked and ridiculed and taunt.                  control. Prophecy had foretold the be-
ed the King were silenced. This darkness                   trayal. Jesus Himself had spoken earlier
was so thick and oppressive that the Jews                  of His death on the cross and of being
were not only silent, but they in all                      lifted up even as Moses had lifted up the
probability shivered in terror. The dark-                  serpent in the wilderness. Death upon the
ness of hell was upon them.                                cross had been accursed of God. Was not
       This d a r k n e s s also silenced t h e            Jesus known from the beginning of His
Christ. From the third to the sixth hour.                  ministry as the Lamb of God? Do we not
Jesus spoke the first three cross words.                   read in Revelations 13:B that Jesus is the
But during the darkness Jesus cried out                    lamb slain from before the foundation of
only once. During the three hours of                       the world? God had willed the death of
darkness, there could be heard no doubt                    His Son in our flesh eternally. The seed of
the shuffling of feet among the multitude                  the woman must crush the head of the
a n d also t h e g r o a n i n g of t h e dying            serpent. Had not Isaiah and King David,
malefactors; but nothing else could be                     as prophets of God, declared what would
heard till the piercing cry of despair burst               transpire according to the counsel of our
forth from the heart and lips of the                       God. (Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22) The cross
forsaken Son: My God... Why ...me?                         was God's, who delivered the Christ unto
       The significance of this darkness is                d e a t h according to His d e t e r m i n a t e
two fold. First of all, by causing this                    counsel and foreknowledge.
darkness to descend upon Golgotha, our                            Not men ruled at Golgotha; but God
God hath shown to all that the cross is His                alone and sovereignly over and in the lives
cross and not man's. It had seemed as                      of men.
     The descending darkness made that               as the legal Head of the Church He was
fact crystal clear even to the spiritually           the sinner guilty before our Holy God.
blind. Before the darkness, the soldiers,                  W e must not overlook the fact that
the Sanhedrin, the Jews, and the people              this darkness symbolically pictured the
that passed by, jeered and wagged their              just visitation of God's wrath as it shall be
heads in scorn. Pmud and wicked men                  poured out in hell eternally. In Matthew
deriding the Christ triumphantly cried out:          8:12 we read: "But the children of the
"He saved others; let him save himself, if           Kingdom shall b e cast out into outer
he be Christ the chosen of God." But the             darkness; there shall b e weeping and
darkness revealed that the cross belonged            gnashing of teeth." The impenitent Jews
to God and not men. God sovereignly                  would b e cast into hell. So also, hell and
ruled and by this miraculous act men were            all it represents as the place of everlasting
silenced and as it were set aside by the             punishment of the guilty sinner is pictured
hand of God.                                         to us as the blackness of darkness in Jude
     Secondly, t h e significance of t h e           verse 13 and II Peter 2:17.
darkness is that it symbolically spoke of                  Christ descended into the depths of
God's wrath. His wrath over against sin              hellish agony during the three hours of
and guilt. The light of God's favor and              darkness. During those three hours. the
grace was removed from Calvary.                      billows of God's just wrath swept over His
     With whom was the God of heaven                 soul.
angry? Undoubtedly, God's wrath was                        For whom? For those whom the
kindled a g a i n s t t h e m e m b e r s of t h e   Father had inseparably joined to Him
Sanhedrin, who willingly had been the                according to His eternal and sovereign
tools of Satan in this ungodly deed. To              purpose of election. The shepherd died for
those who were impenitent the remem-                 His sheep. In Him they have redemption
brance of that afternoon must ever have              and the right unto everlasting life.
spoken of the wrath of God. It was for the                 Historically, the darkness gradually
a foretaste of hell.                                 was removed. Atonement had been made
     But first of all and chiefly, God's             and Christ was no longer engulfed in
wrath was not directed toward mere sinful            darkness. Triumphantly, Christ cried out:
men; but God's wrath was toward the                  "It is finishedl" And: "Father into thy
Christ. Jesus. However, this wrath was               hands I commend my spirit."
not directed towards Christ for any sin He                 Jesus' spirit was placed in the loving
had committed for our High priest was                Father's hands in order that Christ Jesus,
holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate              who had redeemed us by His death, may
from sinners. But the Christ had taken               also surely save us by His life.
upon Himself your and my sins and guilt                     Repentant believer, upon you shines
and that of all His elect people. Therefore,         the sun of righteousness ... forever.

NEWS                     From, For, and *bout Our Chorehe.

BIRTHS                                               South Holland were blessed with the birth
     Mr. and Mrs. Tim Orme of South                  of William James.
Holland were blessed with the birth of a                 Mr. and Mrs. Mike McClaury of
son.                                                 Redlands were blessed with the birth of
     Mr. and Mrs. James Hanemaayer of                Robert David on February 16.
                                                                              BEACON LIQHTSI19
     Mr. and Mrs. Randall Poortinga of      Redeemer".
South Holland were blessed with the birth        Hope's Young People's Society spon-
of a daughter.                              sored a casserole supper in Hope School
     Mr. and Mrs. John Kalsbeek of          on March 22. h e e d s were for the 1978
Redlands were blessed with the birth of     Convention.
Kristen Sue on February 28.
     Mr. and Mrs. Jon Smith of Hope,        OTHER ACTMTIES
 rand Rapids were bl'essed with the birth        The members of Trinity Prot. Ref.
of Arend Ray on March 17.                   Church in Houston held a "Millennium
                                            Seminar" on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 9:30
CHUBCH MEMBERSHIP NEWS                      ti1 noon. Rev. Bekkering presented the
    Southeast has sent dismissal papers     amillennial view and Rev. Lewis Bulkeley.
to Clarence Rietsema at his request.        pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church
                                            presented t h e postmillennial position.
CONFESSION OF FAITH                         Time was given for questions and
    Craig Dykstra made public confession    discussion afterwards.
of his faith in Southeast Church on              Hudsonville Choral Society presented
February 19.                                a program in their church on March 5.
                                                 Adams Street Christian School pre-
YOUNG PEOPLE'S ACTMTES                      sented a program "The Suffering and
     South Holland's Young People's So-     Resurrection of Christ" in F i s t Church on
ciety had an overnight outing at Lake       March 17.
Geneva, Wisconsin on March 3 to check            South Holland's Choral Society spon-
out the campgrounds for the 1978            sored a Singspiration on Easter Sunday.
Convention.                                 March 26.
     The Beacon Lights sponsored a               Trinity Prot. Ref. Church has pur-
Singspiration in Hudsonville Church on      chased a church building and a parsonage.
March 19. The theme was "Christ, Our

                 TEST YOUR MEMORY
1. What is the first book of the Bible not written by Moses?
2. What does the word Golgotha mean? Matthew 27:33
3. In what direction was the veil of the temple torn? Mark 1 5 3 8
4. Who was compelled to carry Jesus' cross? Matthew 27:32
5. Who told Pilate that he should have nothing to do with Jesus?
   Matthew 27: 19
6. Whom did Jesus call a fox? Luke 13:31-32
7. From what city was the Joseph who buried Jesus? John 19:38
8. Fill in the blanks: "God resisteth the ,but giveth grace unto the ."
   James 4:6
9. What is the first commandment with promise? Ephesians 6:2
10. What are we told to do to show ourselves approved unto God?
    I1 Timothy 2:15
                    D E A R READERS!
     We are trying to compile two more complete sets of the Beacon
Lights from 1940 to the present. We are doing this in order to make
them available to the Librarian of the Federation Board and also for the
Seminary library.
     We are calling on you to help because we are missing some issues
and are hoping you may have them around somewhere. The following is
a list of the issues that we NEED, and we would appreciate it if you
could send them to the address below.

1941-1948 All issues
1949-Jan., April, May, June, July, Sept.
1950-July, Sept., Nov., Oct.
1951-Jan.. April, July, Sept., Oct.
1952-July, Sept.
1953-Jan., June, July, Sept., Oct.. Nov., Dec.
1954-Jan., July
1956-Jan., Feb., July, Oct.
1957-July. Aug., Sept., Nov.
1958-Jan., May, June, July
1961-April, Aug., Sept.
1964-June, July
1968-Aug., Sept.
1972-May, June, July, Oct., Nov., Dec.
19 7 3 - A u ~ .
Please send your available issues to:
         Barry Gritters
         1501 Maderia S.W.
         Grand Rapids, Mich. 49504

Or in Grand Rapids area call: 453-1673 ask for Barry.

                                                          BEACON LIGHTS121
(   THE       38Q A N N U A L            P.R.Y.P. CONVENTION    I

          T H E SOUTH H O L L A N D P . R . Y . P .   SOCIETY


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