Day of Christ

The Day of Christ begins with the appearing (the epiphaneia) and kingdom (basileia ) of Jesus Christ (2 Tim.4:1) and the blazing forth of the glory of the great God, even our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). This is when the hope of the calling of the Mystery is realized. This is when our faith gives way to sight. This is the next event on God's prophetic clock. This is when Christ Jesus, in His role as the Head of the high calling, convenes [calls into session] His Ecclesia (Church) which is His Body. As the Great Convoker, He, alone, calls His Ecclesia into session. This marks His assumption of sovereignty over the nations. Those who have been memberd into “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” will either be raised out from among the dead, or will be changed from mortal to immortal, and will take their place, or station, in His Government. Concurrently with the many events taking place when Christ Jesus assumes sovereignty over mankind and the nations, the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) will actively and aggressively restrain evil (John 16:7-13). People who sin will die for their own sin (Jer. 31:30). The Spirit will hinder transgressions because man’s conscience will have been quickened (made alive). The Day of Christ is synonymous with all of the above, including the Kingdom of God, and comes before the tribulation and the second coming (Parousia) of Christ. During the Day of Christ, heaven and earth will be governed by Christ Jesus from His heavenly Throne. This dispensation is set in contrast to the Millennium or the Day of the Lord. To say the two are the same is to say that “one-plus-one equals one.” Most all Christians realize that the Day of the Lord (i.e. the Tribulation and the Millennium) begins with revolution, bloodshed and violence which will be an unprecedented event in all of human history. The Old Testament has a lot to say about this Day—the Day of the LORD. Isaiah speaks about the Lord's imposition upon the world of His Millennial Rule; “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with wrath, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord will be many” (Isa. 66:15-16). Psalm 50:3 says; "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: A fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him." Psalm 97:3; “A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about.” These verses relate to Jesus Christ Personally returning to earth to put an end to the nation’s revolt against His Rule from heaven (2 Thess. 2:1-12). When the Kingdom of God comes to Israel, it comes silently, “without observation” (Lu.17:22). It will not come suddenly or dramatically. Its’ coming is likened; “as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mk. 4:26-28). When the Kingdom comes, it comes without calamity with no harm being done to anyone. Notice a much overlooked passage; “He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory” (Matt.12:19-20). Matthew quotes from Isaiah 42:1-4 which informs us that the Kingdom (i.e God’s Government) begins with the Gentile nations. Israel will not be a nation at this time. They will still be scattered, or dispersed, among the nations. While ruling over the nations, the Lord begins His work of re-gathering the Jews. Over time, He leads them back to the Promised Land ─as believers. No unbelieving Jew will be brought back to Palestine; no, not one! The unbelieving will remain scattered among the nations. [This brings up the question; ‘What about the Israel that now is?’ All we’ll say for now is; the present Israel is not of God’s doing. When He brings them back, there will be no disputes regarding borders or whose land it is]. “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezk.20:38). If words have any meaning, then we must conclude that something begins silently, mysteriously, without observation, without strife, without Christ being heard, and without damage being inflicted. On the other hand, something else begins (i.e. the Lord’s Day) with a colossal display of vengeance, wrath, and cataclysmic punishment which will be openly displayed. It is a contradiction to insist that the two descriptions relate to the beginning of the same event. In plainer words, the Prophetic Word informs us that there is coming the Day of Christ which is another term for the coming Kingdom of God. We are met with a non-Scriptural term, The Millennium, which relates to the 1000 year reign of Christ upon the earth. The Biblical term for this is the Day of the Lord. It is essential to distinguish between the two. The Holy Spirit does. We should do so, also. If we force all truths connected to the Day of Christ into the Day of the Lord, the result is utter confusion. Not only that, but we rob the Lord Jesus Christ of His Day of Exaltation. During the Day of Christ, He will draw, or compel, all men unto Himself. He will be exalted from the earth as every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord to the Glory of God the Father. His Day begins with His “appearing and Kingdom,” and He begins to judge the quick and the dead. (2 Tim.4:1). This is when the glory of the great God, even Jesus Christ our Savior, blazes forth (Titus 2:13). Isaiah speaks of this event in 40:5; “And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” and at the same time. What is seen is the glory of the LORD, not the LORD descending from Heaven; to this, Numbers 14:21 agrees; “But truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” When the Kingdom comes, “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters covers the sea” (Hab.2:14). The Psalmist says; “And blessed be His glorious Name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory” (72:19). The world will experience the revealing of His Glory without Christ Jesus leaving His Heavenly Throne. The shining forth of the glory of God takes place before the Day of the LORD. It is noted in Isaiah's vision that the seraphim see Christ's Day and say; “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts: the earth is full of His glory.” During the Day of Christ, the “times of refreshing comes from the presence of the LORD.” All things are rejuvenated while the Heavens retain Christ (Acts 3:19-21). The pristine, pre-Noah flood conditions will be re-created (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). When the Day of Christ begins, all of mankind will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and realize that Jesus Christ is LORD! Christ will begin His benevolent rule of the world. Then, He will begin converting His ancient people, Israel. Read Ezekiel 20:23-33, and notice how the Lord begins a work in their hearts and will lead them back into the Holy Land as a Christ-believing people. As the Day of Christ draws to a close, the restraints of the Spirit are gradually withdrawn.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Church Which is His Body

We can hardly believe that any redeemed child of God would "prefer" to wait on earth for the descent of the Lord from heaven if the "manifestation with Hin in glory" were a possible hope before him.  Manifested  "in glory", i.e. where Christ now sits "on the right hand of God". While, therefore, the hope before all other companies of the redeemed is "the Lord's coming", the "prior-hope" of the church of the Mystery is rather "their going" to be  "manifested with Him in glory"  While the epistle to Titus is not a "Prison Epistle", it belongs to the same group as 1 and 2 Timothy. There, too, we read that we should live  "looking for that blessed hope, and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). Parousia and Epiphany  Believing as we do that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, we must be careful to distinguish between the different words used by God when speaking of the hope of His people. We observe that the word parousia usually translated "coming", is found in such passages as the following:  "What shall be the sign of Thy COMING and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3). "The COMING of the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:15). "The COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:1).  "They that are Christ's at His COMING" (1 Cor. 15:23).  "The COMING of the Lord draweth nigh" (Jas. 5:8). "The promise of His COMING" (2 Pet. 3:4). "Not ashamed before Him at His COMING" (1 John 2:28).  This word is used to describe the hope of the church during the period when "the hope of Israel" was still in view. Consequently we find it used in the Gospel of Matthew, by Peter, James and John, ministers of the circumcision, and by Paul in those epistles written before the dispensational change of Acts twenty-eight.  A different word is used in the Prison Epistles. There, the word parousia is never used of the Lord's coming or of the hope of the church, but the word epiphany. In 1 Thessalonians four the Lord descends from heaven; in 2 Thessalonians one He is to be revealed from heaven. This is very different from being a manifested "in glory", i.e. where Christ now sits "on the right hand of God". While, therefore, the hope before all other companies of the redeemed is "the Lord's coming", the "prior-hope" of the church of the Mystery is rather "their going" to be  "manifested with Him in glory".  While the epistle to Titus is not a "Prison Epistle", it belongs to the same group as 1 and 2 Timothy. There, too, we read that we should live  "looking for that blessed hope, and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).  The four Prison Epistles are:  A   EPHESIANS .- The Dispensation of Mystery. Basic Truth          B    PHILIPPIANS. -The Prize. Outworking.K   A   COLOSSIANS. -The Dispensation of the Mystery. Basic Truth         B 2 TIMOTHY. -The Crown. Outworking.  The reader will find in each of these epistles, evidence that they were written from prison and that they form part of the ministry referred to in Acts 28:31.  The above notes on features (1) to (7) are necessarily brief and are not intended to do anything more than provide the merest outline of the subject. Any reader who is not convinced as to the peculiar and unique character of these prison epistles and the dispensation they reveal, should give them a personal study, noting all their claims, and their distinctive features. This article has not been written to prove to the satisfaction of all that a new dispensation commenced at Acts twenty-eight, but has been prepared rather as a help to those who, having realized that a change most certainly did take place in the dispensational dealings of God with men at that time, desire to understand what effect this change had upon the hope of the church.  It might be well if the reader pondered the marginal reading of Ephesians 1:17 where, instead of "in the knowledge of Him", we read, "for the acknowledging of Him". This raises a most important point. Many fail to go forward with the truth, not because of inability to understand the meaning of plain terms, but because of failure to "acknowledge Him". The Apostle' pauses in his teaching to tell his hearers that before another step can be taken, acknowledgment of what has already been revealed must be made. To acknowledge the truth of the Mystery is to put oneself out of favour with denominationalism; and many a child of God who says, "I do not see it", is really making a confession of failure to acknowledge the revelation of truth connected with the ascended Lord.  What promise is in view? There is but one promise in the Prison Epistles. The Gentiles who formed the church of the One Body were by nature  "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise" (Eph. 2:12),  but through grace they became  "fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel; whereof I (Paul) was made a minister" (Eph. 3:6-'n.  This promise takes us back to the period of Ephesians 1:4, "before the foundation of the world"  "According to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus . . . according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began" (before age-times) (2 Tim. 1:1,9).  It is this one unique promise that will be realized when the blessed hope before the church of the one Body is fulfilled. Its realization is described by the Apostle in Colossians three:  "When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4).  It is impossible to defer this "appearing" until after the Millennium, for the church is waiting for "Christ their life" and so awaiting "the promise of life", which is their hope.  The word "appearing" might be translated "manifestation", and will be familiar to most readers in the term "epiphany".  

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