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.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Salvation Bringing Grace

The word sOtErion is the Greek word that is translated "salvation" in Acts 28:28. It is of the utmost importance since it is the subject of the sentence that makes up this passage. If we do not know for sure what it means then we can never be certain as to what Paul was saying in this important announcement. If we do not arrive at a faithful translation of this word, we will be guilty of changing the subject and have Paul saying something that he is not. This word does not mean "salvation", as it is translated in the KJV and most other versions. If Paul had been speaking of salvation here he would have used the noun sOtEria, not the adjective sOtErion.
The noun sOtEria is found forty-five times is the New Testament and is translated "salvation" in forty of these occurrences. The adjective sOtErion is found five times as shown in the following concordance:
  • Luke 2:30 -- For mine eyes have seen thy salvation
  • Luke 3:6 -- all flesh shall see the salvation of God
  • Acts 28:28 -- the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles
  • Eph. 6:17 -- And take the helmet of salvation
  • Tit. 2:11 -- the grace of God that bringeth salvation
From this list it will be seen that the translators have treated this divinely-inspired adjective as if it were a noun when it is not. This is not a grammatically correct translation, and it robs the reader of the exact truth that the Spirit of God intend ed to convey by the use of this adjective.
There is no doubt but that this word literally means saving, even as we would use it in speaking of "saving grace" or "the saving work of Christ", and it is also clear that in four of the five occurrences in the New Testament it is substantivised; that is, it is used as if it were a noun. Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is an adjective, and there is one fixed rule about adjectives that cannot be altered; they never stand alone. If they seem to stand alone, as they do in the five passages cited above, then the noun which they qualify must be found in the context. More on this later, but first of all we must define this word more accurately. There is no question but that it has a technical meaning and is so used in the New Testament.
The King James Version came very near to the true meaning of this word in Titus 2:11 where it was translated by using three words "that bringeth salvation," for the technical meaning of sOtErion is salvation-bringing. The lexicons are practically unanimous in regard to this:
  • Abbott-Smith: "saving, bringing salvation."
  • Cremer: "saving, bringing salvation."
  • Lidell and Scott: "savings, delivering, bringing safety."
  • Thayer: "saving, bringing salvation."
  • Bullinger: "saving, delivering, bringing salvation."
  • Arndt and Gingrich: "saving, bringing salvation."
  • W. E. Vine: "saving, bringing salvation."
Moulton and Millegan say that in the papyrus this word is used in the neuter as a substantive with reference to what produces sOtEria, e.g., a sacrifice or a gift.
As stated before, this word is an adjective and no adjective ever stands alone in a sentence. In fact this is so true that one meaning of the word adjective is "something that cannot stand alone." In any sentence where it seems to stand alone we must always seek for that which it modifies. In such statements as, "It is beautiful," or "This is good," we have adjectives which appear to stand alone, yet these words say nothing about anything until we find something in the physical context that supplies the subject. If we are gazing at a sunset or eating a meal when these words are spoken they become full of meaning at once.
Adjectives can be used as substantives only when the idea that is being qualified or modified is clear from the context, either written or apparent. Even a sentence like, "The young are impatient," if spoken without context would quickly bring the terse question, "Young what?"
With these facts before us we can now take up the examination of the five passages in which this adjective is found, keeping in mind that it means salvation-bringing.
If this definition is followed out it would mean that Luke 2:30 would read, "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation-bringing." This is evidently not a complete statement and yet it is exactly what Simeon said, as literally as it can be translated. And it is bound to cause the question to be asked, "Salvation-bringing what?" However, this is good, for the question sends us at once to the context to find out what it is that is described as "salvation-bringing."
Moffitt recognises the adjective here and renders it "thy saving power," as does also Lenski, translating it "thy saving gift." Both of these are linguistically wrong as there is nothing about "power" or "gift" in the context.
Simeon, the one who spoke these words, was an aged man who had been told that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah, that is, Jehovah (Luke 2:26). When this man, led by the Spirit of God, came into the temple and saw the infant Jesus he declared to God, the One who before had spoken to him, "Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation-bringing." This is literally what he said, and the context leaves no doubt about the noun that should be supplied. Simeon had seen God's salvation-bringing Messiah (Christ), the world's long awaited Saviour . He had seen what God had told him he would see -- not power, not a gift, but the Christ.
In the second occurrence of sOtErion (Luke 3:6) the noun that needs to be supplied is not so readily apparent, yet there can be no mistake as to the intent of the Spirit in this place. Literally this passage would read, "And all flesh shall see the salvation-bringing of God." This is grammatically correct, and it is true to the Greek. Yet some will again respectfully inquire: "Salvation-bringing what?" and again the answer must be found in the context. This makes it plain that this statement is in complete harmony with something written in the prophecy of Isaiah, where it says "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isa. 40:5). In view of this the noun to be supplied is glory, making the passage under consideration to read, "And all flesh shall see the salvation-bringing glory of God." The reference here is to world salvation.
The occurrence in Eph. 6:17 belongs to a portion on which so many sermons have been preached that few are now able to distinguish between these and the actual message of God. If this is translated literally it would read, "And receive the helmet of the salvation-bringing, even the sword of the Spirit, which is a declaration of God." Here again we must seek an honest answer to the question, "Salvation-bringing what?"
In this passage "the helmet" equals "the salvation-bringing" for they are appositional -- one defines the other. And then by a further apposition these are defined as "the sword of the Spirit" which in turn is described as being "a declaration from God." In view of this we should read here, "And take the helmet of the salvation-bringing declaration (the gospel)." And let it not be thought strange that the salvation-bringing declaration of God is both the believer's helmet and the Spirit's sword. There is no mixing of metaphors here, but two distinct metaphors setting forth two separate uses of the same thing. It is my firm opinion that the salvation-bringing declaration of God is the gospel according to John, the only book in the Bible that was written so that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have life through His name (John 20:31). The one who is not securely grounded upon this message will not be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. We need this helmet.
In Titus 2:11 we do not need to search for the noun which the adjective qualifies as it is in the passage. This passage should read, "For the salvation-bringing grace of God has shone forth in behalf of all humanity."
We will now consider the occurrence in the main passage under consideration, Acts 28:28. If this is translated literally it will read, "Let it then be known to you that the salvation-bringing of God has been authorised (made freely available) to the nations and they will hear it." But again we must ask, "Salvation-bringing what?"
In the context this "salvation-bringing of God" is something that the nations will hear; therefore, it is a divine communication. Thus we should read here, "the salvation-bringing message of God." Some may prefer some other term such as word, utterance, declaration or gospel, and there can be no objection to these since they all describe a communication that is intended to be heard. They are somewhat synonymous terms and they can be used for emphasis and variety. Thus it is that we have the subject of Paul's great declaration in Acts 28:28. He is talking about the salvation-bringing message of God.
The words "has been authorised" declare an accomplished fact, the effect of which continues, so the tense here is the second aorist. The words "they will hear it" declare a future result so the tense is future.
The great change that took place at Acts 28:28 is declared in the words "has been authorised to the nations." It is quite evident from Acts 10:36 and Acts 13:26 that the salvation-bringing message of God was authorised and made freely available to the nation of Israel from the day of Pentecost. At Acts 10 Peter was authorised to proclaim it to one Gentile household, but his commission did not go beyond this. The Apostle Paul was authorised to proclaim it to Gentiles, but it was severely restricted. It had to be to the Jew first in every place that he visited. Thus that which had been freely available only to Israel became freely available to all other nations at Acts 28:28.
In the words "they will hear it" we have a pledge and guarantee from God made by His agent and spokesman, Paul. These words actually mean that it will get through to the nations for their benefit. God made good on this pledge when He caused the Gospel of John to be written. The salvation-bringing message is no longer in the hands of men. It is written and it stands written. NEXT

No comments:

Post a Comment