Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Second Coming of Christ Pt. 8

Now we go back to a scripture we have already covered with the Day of the Lord.
2 Thess. 2:1-12. The Lord returns and then we are gathered together to him. This is the order given in the verse and now that we have looked at Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we see that this is the same order that they gave. The Lord returns and gathers the elect. As we have already covered this scripture, it seems unnecessary to go over it in detail again, but Paul verifies that he understands the 2nd coming and rapture just as given by Christ to the disciples. The Thessalonians thought the Day of the Lord either had begun or was about to begin. Paul told the them not to be worried that it had begun as it couldn‘t have yet, as there were signs that had to precede it. He then tells them what events must happen before the Day of the Lord can begin and they follow the same pattern as laid out in the gospels. But just as each of the disciples/apostles added to the information, so Paul adds some. He tells us that another sign will be the apostasy of the church. Then the tribulation. And he gives us the information about the restrainer, which coordinates with Daniel’s information.

Just as a reminder, this scripture says that during the 70th week, after the abomination of desolation, there won’t be multitudes of people coming to the Lord during this time. This says that there won’t be any coming to the Lord. They will all believe the lie. They may not take the mark out of other reasons (Jews won’t believe in Christ until he returns, but they won’t accept antichrist either as many still believe in God and righteousness, and some people are simply anti-New World Order- those who will help but not be sincere), but this clearly says that if you haven’t accepted the Lord before this, you won’t during the tribulation or Day of the Lord. Those who don't take the mark will probably make it into the millennium, but they won’t be part of the bride of Christ as they didn't believe the truth in time.

2 Peter 3:3-13. Peter mentions the 2nd coming in the context of it being mocked, and he goes on to describe the end and Day of the Lord, so I will include it in this section even though it also covers the Day of the Lord, (since the Day of the Lord precedes the 2nd coming.)

First Peter warns that in the last days (end times) there will be scoffers (of God and His word and His coming) who will walk after their own lusts. They will mockingly ask where is the promise (evidence, announcement) of His coming. For (and this is interesting) they say that since the fathers fell asleep (since the beginning of time) all things continue as they were (this is the definition of uniformitarianism - an evolutionary teaching, God actually included here the fact that evolution would be taught in our age) from the beginning of creation (or the beginning of the big bang in their belief system). They are willingly ignorant (deliberately ignore) of the fact that the Bible teaches that the heavens were created first, then the earth was created out of water and was in the water (before land and such were brought forth) and that the world that was then (before the flood) was overflowed with water (the entire earth was flooded) and the world that existed then perished. Noah’s flood accommodates all of the geological fossils and strata and all of the “evidence” for evolution. It is merely that they choose to interpret the evidence to accommodate their belief system. Which is a problem with interpreting scripture also. People approach scripture with a theory in hand and look for the verses to back it up rather than studying scripture to see what it straightforwardly says and take their belief from there.

But the heavens and earth which exist now, also by the word of God, are being kept in store and are being reserved to be destroyed by fire on the day of judgment (Day of the Lord) and the damnation of ungodly mankind.

Next Peter says that we should not be ignorant that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. I happen to believe that Ussher’s chronology is fairly accurate as to how old the earth is. I believe from Adam to Abraham there was roughly 2,000 years. From Abraham to Christ there was 2,000 years, and from Christ to us there has been 2,000 years. During each period God revealed Himself further to mankind. I believe the earth is 6,000 years old. And I have a reason for believing that other than just his chronology. It has to do with God’s laws and observances. He created the world in seven days. Six were for work, one was for rest. He demanded that Israel observe this week. He also created a seven year week for them. Six for the land to be worked, the seventh for the land to have a rest. If the world is indeed 6000 years old, and we know the end times are here and the Lord is close to returning, then the world would have 6000 years for mankind, and one thousand years for the Lord (to reign). We know that the millennium is called a time of rest for the world and Christians to enter into. It would be another type of week where each day is a thousand years. In other words, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. In a seven day week, the last day is the Sabbath (or rest) Day belonging to the Lord. In a seven year week, the seventh year is the Sabbath year, belonging to the Lord. In a 7000 year long world, the seventh millennium would be the Sabbath or Day of (belonging to) the Lord. Most of the time people think of the Day of the Lord as a short period just before the millennium where God pours out his wrath. What if the entire period is a Sabbath “day’s” rest - the Day of the Lord? A Sabbath for the earth (and mankind). Before the Sabbath began in temple days, right before sundown (when the Sabbath day began) the priests would do a thorough house cleaning to make sure that everything had been cleansed for the Sabbath day. So we see that just before the Sabbath “day” of the millennium God cleanses the earth. Patterns are one of God’s chosen ways of teaching us. Perhaps this is a pattern too. And actually this understanding of the Day of the Lord as being the entire period from the time the heavenly signs start until the Great White Throne Judgment makes some scriptures more understandable.

Now we are told that (although it has taken 2000 years) the Lord is not slow to keep His promises. It is merely that He is so very long suffering toward us and not willing that any should perish, that He holds back.

Then Peter says that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (unexpectedly and suddenly without warning, but only to unbelievers) in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, the elements will melt with heat and the earth and all its works will be burned up. There will be great devastation in the heavens. We know the sun and moon go dark. What is going to happen to them? We shall see. The earth will be burned up. Fire will destroy this time, not water.

Then we are given a warning that seeing as all of this will happen, how should we be behaving and speaking. We should be looking forward to this regardless of the devastation, because we look forward to the new earth (a renovated one at this time, just as the new world after Noah) and new heavens where righteousness will be the way of life. We will see how the heavens may change in other scriptures.

Jude 14-15. Enoch - an antediluvian patriarch prophesied about the 2nd coming of Christ. This is interesting as the first coming had not taken place yet. He said that the Lord would come (return) with ten thousands of his saints (us) to execute judgment on all. This is because of the world's gross ungodliness. We will see later that this will be truly fulfilled at Armageddon when He does come with His saints riding behind Him. Many point to this as confirmation that the church must have been raptured previous to the 2nd Coming as the saints come with Him. This verse doesn't contradict a rapture at the 2nd Coming. There are two ways of looking at this verse that fit perfectly with what I have been teaching. First is the one already mentioned, we will see in Revelation that when Christ comes at Armageddon, it will be with the saints in tow. But there is another very rational explanation. When Christ comes to earth, he will be bringing all the saints that have died in the Lord up to that point to resurrect them from the graves. So He will be bringing His saints with Him. Again, there is no discrepancy here. There is another thing that must be understood about the Coming of Christ. It isn't a momentary thing that happens and is over in a second. When Christ comes, first He will take the time to resurrect the dead. When that is accomplished, He will meet the raptured saints in the air. From that vantage point, in New Jerusalem which will be orbiting the earth, He will continue to pour out His wrath on the nations. This will all take time and will encompass the minimum time of a month, possibly more. Then He will come down to earth itself at Armageddon with the saints accompanying Him. In relating this, I jump way ahead of myself into Revelation, but the apparent discrepancy of His having the saints with Him at His Second Coming here had to be reconciled, so it was necessary to cover some material that we are not really ready to cover yet.

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