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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Second Coming of Christ Pt. 2

Continuing from where we left off last time (Matthew 24:23) , we were going through the list of events that Christ said would occur before His 2nd coming.

2nd warning: don’t be deceived by false christs. Why should we worry about being deceived if we aren't going to be here? We are, that's why we are told to not be deceived.

False christs and prophets showing great signs and wonders (again we will see this in Rev.).

If possible they shall deceive the elect. First of all, how can they deceive the elect if the elect aren‘t here? So Christians are still here. If Christians are still here, the Holy Spirit is still here. Is it possible to deceive them? I believe there will be some who will be deceived. I think it may be possible for some who are unaware of what is going on because they have listened to false teachers, false doctrines, who have let their itching ears determine what they want to hear or what is comfortable to hear, and/or are living lives that resembles the world‘s to be deceived. The delusion will be great. Those who will not acknowledge the truth, [and that includes more than acknowledging Jesus Christ is who He is, it includes acknowledging that antichrist is who he is and that the tribulation has begun] will choose to believe the lie as it will be easier, plus it says that God will make those who have refused to accept the truth, believe the lie. Those who don’t accept the lie (believers) will have to suffer horribly. And some people will not have been prepared for that. I know many an American Christian who think they could never be asked to die for Christ. They simply aren’t prepared to do it, as other Christians around the world are. Just as a question to those who would say that we won’t have to suffer this, is it not arrogance of the highest order to believe that we in this generation and in this country especially, are too good for suffering? We know that this is the apostate generation. We have been told that. Look at the rest of the world. Christians are being persecuted, tortured, and martyred for Christ’s sake. What do they think of Christians living a life of luxury and worldliness in America who so self-righteously and arrogantly say, “We will be gone. We will not suffer. God doesn’t want (and I quote someone on this) a battered and bruised bride.”? He doesn’t? Tell that to the thousands and millions of Christians who have been martyred since the time of Christ. Christ wants a pure bride and that is going to take some refinement of the Christians in this country. That may sound hard, but it is the truth.

3rd warning: Again Christ has told us beforehand to not be deceived. Again I have to ask, how on earth can we be deceived if we don't have to worry about being here?

As lightning shines from the east to the west, so shall the coming of Christ be. (Even the west can see the lightning flashing in the east. Christ’s coming will be seen by everyone as it will light up the sky like a lightning flash. There will be no missing it. No secret here. And it will be sudden.)

Wherever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. I have heard that this was a common saying of Christ's day. I don't know whether that is true or not. This verse is a puzzle to many. Some say it should say vultures instead of eagles as eagles are not carrion birds, but according to my Greek translation, the word is eagles and I believe God has kept the meaning intact when it was translated into English (KJV). The second thing is, when we get to Luke’s parallel passage, it will be seen that the word used there is body, not carcase. Now therein lies a dilemma, for the Greek word for carcase does mean dead body, but the Greek word for body means a sound body. In other words a healthy body. This changes the meaning of the saying. So we must reconcile the two. How could there be a dead body, but a living healthy body? And what or who are the eagles? I have heard of two interpretations for this verse. The first is one with which I found I had already come to, based on scripture, and was grateful to see someone else had come up with that thought too. In Isa.40:31 it says “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” We are compared to eagles in this verse. Christ died, yet lives. He is the body to which the eagles would flock. It says that Christ will return to Zion (Zech. 14:4 “and his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”) and as we studied the signs of the Day of the Lord we see that he gathers his elect and deliverance comes for them in Zion. This is where Christ (the body) will return and this is where the eagles (we) would go to await His return. The other interpretation that I have heard uses the word vultures and dead body to say that it means that people who are vultures will flock after the false preachers and prophets (comparable to the Pharisees who were white sepulchers - repositories for dead bodies.) I have no other interpretation for this verse, and I don’t say categorically that either of the ones I presented is the absolute right one, so if anyone has another feel free to add it in the comments.

Immediately after the tribulation the following heavenly signs occur:

The sun will be darkened.
The moon doesn’t give its light.
The stars fall.

The powers of the heavens will be shaken. The word powers means miraculous powers - possibly this is referring to the demonic powers that live in the heavens. Christ’s coming would certainly shake them up. And the heavenly bodies will be shaken and moved. These signs should now look familiar having gone over them numerous times while studying the Day of the Lord. These are the signs heralding the Day of the Lord. Take note that these signs come after the tribulation. Many teach that the 70th week, the tribulation, and the Day of the Lord are all the same thing, and it is because of the interchanging of these phrases that they have come up with the theory that they teach. It is dangerous, and in this case erroneous, to build a belief upon false interpretations. It only leads to further false interpretations and beliefs. The Day of the Lord is not the tribulation, which has now been stopped or cut short. It is not the 70th week, which began before the abomination of desolation. This (the Day of the Lord) begins after the tribulation according to what we have studied in the O.T. and Christ‘s teachings here. Remember Christ would have expected the disciples to immediately recognize these signs as the Day of the Lord, as they would have studied the scriptures too. They would have immediately made the connection that Christ was speaking about the Day of the Lord and that was His intent, which is why He tells them these particular, specific, unmistakable signs that would only occur once. This is the way we need to understand it also. I often think God must shake His head when we take what He meant to be so easily understood and twist it all out of whack to come up with ideas that He never intended. He meant it to be easily understood. We can’t listen to the approach that so many since the early church have taken, that only the scholars have enough intelligence to understand God’s Word. He meant it to be easy enough that anyone could, with the help of the Holy Spirit, understand what was being said. People tend to complicate it in ways God never intended.

[This is why the Hebrews were chastised for still needing milk, when they should have been on the meat (the O.T. scriptures are where a lot of this information is - remember, the N.T. wasn‘t compiled for them as it was for us, and Revelation hadn‘t been written until the end of John‘s life so he is speaking of the O.T. as the meat). This is why it is so important to study the O.T. So that you can correctly divide the Word of Truth by comparison. God says that His people are destroyed for their lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” This is a frightening condemnation, yet Christians blithely go their way not studying God’s Word which just might save them in the Day of Trouble. (Pr.22:3, 27:12).]

So the order according to Christ and Daniel is: the 70th week begins, the abomination of desolation occurs, the tribulation begins, the tribulation is cut short of the 3 ½ years, (we shall see how in Rev.) and the Day of the Lord begins (and will finish out the 3 ½ years), after which the Lord returns, which is in the next few verses.

Now at some point after the Day of the Lord signs, the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven. As Christ will be bringing New Jerusalem with him and that will be lit by the Shekinah glory of God, it might look like another sun in the sky. (See Rev. 21, esp. vs. 23-24) Possibly this is the sign of His appearance - a new “sun” (New Jerusalem).

The tribes of the earth will mourn. (this is the Jewish tribes - Zech. 12:10, Rev. 1:7)

The Son of Man will be seen coming in the clouds with power and glory. The 2nd coming will involve several identifying features. The first is clouds.

There will be a trumpet blast. This is a second identifying feature.

Christ will send the angels to gather his elect. These are the third and fourth identifying features. There are angels with him, and they gather His elect. They are not gathering people to throw into the winepress of God’s wrath, although the wicked will be thrown into the winepress afterward. This clearly says they are gathering His elect. They are gathering up Christians. (We have already given scriptures to show that Christians are the elect). So the 2nd coming involves Christ coming with 1) clouds, 2) a trumpet blast, 3) angels in attendance 4) who gather His elect to Him. Now, just as God gave us specific signs to identify the Day of the Lord, we are given specific signs to identify His coming and gathering us up. Anytime He speaks of our gathering, we should find some if not all of these mentioned signs. God wants us to understand and He is trying to make it easy.

Parable of the fig tree. When we see all of these things, we are to know it is at the door. This generation will not pass before these things are all fulfilled. Many say that the signs began when Israel became a nation as the fig tree is a symbol by which God called Israel. (Joel 1:7) and that its putting out leaves was when it started to gain back its land, especially Jerusalem in 1967. This is a possibility as Israel is now 61 years old and a generation is 70 years. From 1967 when it began to put out “leaves” would be 42 years, a generation by reckoning of the 40 year’s wandering in the wilderness. So two types of generations would end about the same time. It is easy to believe that things are about to begin, so it could easily be done before the generation that was born and saw Israel become a nation passes away. Another way to read this is that when we see the events occur that Christ tells us are the start of the end (vs. 15), it will be accomplished before another generation passes away.

2 comments:

  1. "3rd warning: Again Christ has told us beforehand to not be deceived. Again I have to ask, how on earth can we be deceived if we don't have to worry about being here?"

    What makes you think God is speaking to the church here? We will be in heaven!! But as soon as we are gone, many more will turn to Christ. Not to mention, Jesus was speaking to Jews about the end of their age, so it is, for the most part, the Jews that will or might be deceived. Remember, they are still looking for the Christ.

    lecoop

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  2. "What makes you think God is speaking to the church here? ....We will be in heaven."

    I thought I made the answer to that perfectly clear before, but maybe I was not clear enough. I think you need to reread it as I believe I answered those questions, but I will try again. Christ is speaking to the disciples who were BELIEVERS. He is speaking to BELIEVERS. It so happens that BELIEVERS are now called the church. The New Testament was written to BELIEVERS. Where did Christ say we will be in heaven? I don't see that until the end where he gathers the elect. I think I understand why you have trouble accepting this. You (as I was) were taught the dispensations. You are all hung up in the thought that there is this distinct line of demarcation between God's dealing with the Jews and the church. There isn't that clear of a line. You are treating the disciples as only being Jews, but you are conveniently forgetting that they are also Christians. If not in name at the time, in belief. What would you have done if one of them had just happened to be a Gentile? Remember one of the apostles was born and raised as a Greek, Timothy. Paul had to circumcise him because of the Jews. If you recall it took forty years after Christ's crucifixion before God saw fit to make it impossible for the Jews to worship at the temple. There was a time of transition. And how can you honestly believe that we are not going to suffer for Christ considering how apostate the church is? Or is it that the terminology is bothering you.? Are you equating the Day of the Lord's wrath with the tribulation and 70th week, as I mentioned that position does? If you just take the time to really study it, you will see that those three things are NOT the same thing. And I think I am clearly and scripturally showing that. And that makes all the difference.

    You have made the comment that the church was a mystery. It was a mystery in the Old Testament, so of course the tribulation couldn't be referred to as a time of tribulation for the church also. At that time God could only reference it in a way they would understand. By Christ renaming it, and further what He said in Matthew, it is clear that He is now giving new revelation that the Christians would be included in that time. To say that the church was a mystery in the O.T. and therefore Jacob's trouble doesn't apply to them is the same as saying that salvation is for the Jews alone, because the church isn't mentioned in the O.T. Would you say that is the case?

    Let me ask you a few more questions. You are so very sure you won't be here. For your sake I will say "hypothetically" even though I believe it to be a fact, what would you do if a temple went up and you were still here? What about if suddenly some guy took over that temple proclaiming himself God and you were still here? Would you believe there was no pre-trib rapture then? Or would you believe there was something else going on and that it really wasn't the 70th week and tribulation? Hypothetically that is. Would you accept you were wrong and prepare to die, or would you deny that it was what it appeared to be? I'm just curious.

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