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.

Friday, December 11, 2015

God Presents Us Manifests Us With Jesus In Glory

In all languages there are commonplace words that seem to be of no great importance, yet when they are used in certain contexts they take on a great significance and deliver an important message. The Greek word agO is one of these — a word so simple that it is often used when one is being taught to conjugate the verb forms. It means "to lead forth" or "to bring forth" and is used of such ordinary actions as a shepherd leading or bringing forth his sheep from the sheep-fold in order for them to drink or to graze. It is used of "Elymas the sorcerer" who, when smitten by blindness went about seeking for someone to lead (agO) him by the hand (Acts 13:11).
It can be readily seen how this word takes on a new and enlarged significance, when in Acts 9 the newly converted Saul (Paul) sought to attach himself to the disciples. They wanted nothing to do with him because of his notorious past conduct, and did not believe he was a disciple. They took him to he an infiltrator, seeking to identify the followers of Jesus Christ. However, Barnabas, who knew that Paul had truly become a disciple of the Lord Jesus, took him and brought (agO) him to the apostles and declared the facts of his conversion and subsequent bold proclamation of Christ (Acts 9:27). In other words, Barnabas took him and presented him to the apostles so that they would truly know the facts concerning him. Thus we see that agO when used in certain contexts means not simply to bring forth but to present. This presentation of Paul by Barnabas changed the whole picture, so that he found fellowship with the apostles and labored as a bold proclaimer of Jesus Christ.
In John 19 we find the word agO used in a different context that is highly informative. There is here a presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is presented in the worst possible light. It was when Pilate went forth before those who were demanding the death of Jesus and said: "Behold I bring Him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in Him." (John 19:4). In this passage "bring forth" is agO, and since Pilate did not physically lead Him forth or bring Him forth (He came forth Himself, 19:5), this was Pilate saying, "I now present Him to you so that you may see for yourself what an abject, helpless, and harmless person He is."
So Jesus came forth, wearing the dreadful crown of thorns, hair matted with blood, clothed in the ridiculous, cast-off, purple robe:
  • "And Pilate said unto them, ‘Behold the man!’"
This was Pilate’s presentation of Jesus Christ to His enemies, a presentation that should cause every believer to long and pray for that day when God will present Jesus Christ to the world, and every man on this earth will know Who Christ is in the sight of God.
This presentation of Jesus Christ by God to every man on earth is a plain truth of Scripture that has been absent from all theologies. Men have emphasized His incarnation, His ascension, His coming, His unveiling, and His manifestation, and rightly so, but they should not have missed altogether the great truth of His presentation. Even now as I write, I wonder if many will understand it. Will they accuse me of teaching that the time will come when God will give Christ to every man on earth? Well, if they do, then: "They say what they say so let them say it."
We can best advance our knowledge of this great truth by carefully considering Paul’s inspired words in 1 Thess. 4:14: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring (agO) with Him."
Two great facts stand out in the last half of this passage. Jesus Christ is going to be presented, and those who are sleeping in Jesus are going to be presented with Him. This guarantees their resurrection from among the dead; otherwise there could be no presentation of His own to the world. Thus, this passage marks the time of their resurrection, which makes it to be one of great importance in the prophetic program.
Bible students have long struggled with this passage, not knowing just what to do with it. As a rule they have added to the confusion by failing to see that this passage speaks of God’s presentation of Christ to all mankind and of our presentation with Him. Once this has taken place it can never again be said: "Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knows Him not" (1 John 3:1). This passage is not dealing with His second coming or with His parousia (personal presence) that follows His coming. We need to clearly understand that there is a time gap between 1 Thess. 4:14 and 4:15, and this gap covers the entire period of the kingdom of God. The kingdom begins with His presentation and it ends with His parousia. We should not confuse these two events. There is a resurrection in 4:14 and another in verse 15 and these are centuries apart. A consideration of the outstanding facts will show this.
Paul did not want the Thessalonians "to be ignorant concerning them which are asleep" (1 Thess. 4:13). And to this we reply very good. We do not want to be ignorant concerning those who have died and now "sleep in Jesus." Yes, we would like some concrete word from God’s spokesman (1 Thess. 2:13) concerning them. Give us something solid to believe and to tell to others. Otherwise, we too will be sorrowing as those who have no hope.
So, in answer, Paul continues: "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again. . ." Very good, but permit us to interrupt and declare that we do believe, we most certainly do. This is fundamental with us and we cannot walk in fellowship with anyone who denies it. Jesus died, Jesus was buried, and Jesus rose again on the third day in harmony with the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3,4). And this was because God raised Him up (Acts 2:32). He who was dead became alive again (Rev. 2:8). However, speak on, Paul, and tell us about those who have fallen asleep and are now in the state of death. His declaration is brief: "Even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God present (agO) with Him."
What else can this mean but what it says? There is to be a bringing forth, that is a presentation of Jesus Christ, and all who sleep in Jesus are to be presented with Him. This presentation of Christ and His own is beyond all doubt to mankind as a whole, so that for the first time in the history of the human race the world will know Who Christ is in the sight of God and also what the children of God mean to Him.
God’s presentation of Christ to mankind as set forth by Paul is not a new revelation. The Old Testament declared that this was to be, and reveals it to be the initial act of God when He assumes sovereignty and brings His government upon the earth. In Isaiah 40:5 we are told, "The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it." It should be noted here that it is the glory of the LORD (Jehovah) that is to be revealed, and this comes about as a result of the mouth of the LORD declaring that it shall so be. The word glory has to do with esteem, so much so that it would make a better translation in most occurrences. Thus this passage tells us that suddenly, universally, and miraculously the whole of mankind (all flesh) is going to be informed by God of the esteem in which He holds Jesus Christ. Every living man will then know Who Christ is and What Christ is in God’s sight, and all will know it in the same amount and at the same time.
How else can "the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14), unless God makes a universal and official presentation and declaration concerning Jesus Christ?
In 1 Corinthians 1:7 we find that the Corinthian believers were waiting for this grand presentation of the Lord Jesus. The translators of the KJV not knowing what to do with this simple declaration, they having no place in their theology for a future unveiling of Jesus Christ to mankind, used the word "coming" as a translation of apokalupsin, something that it could not possibly mean, as its elements clearly show. The prefix apo means "from," and kalupsin (from kaluptO) means a covering or veil. And yet this egregious error of translation is often cited as proof positive that the first century believers expected Christ to return during their lifetime. This idea is totally false. What they were waiting for was the unveiling of Jesus Christ. This is identical with His presentation, but a different word is used in order to emphasize another aspect of this many-faceted event.
In Titus 2:12, 13 we are exhorted to live: "Awaiting that blessed expectation, even the blazing forth (epiphaneia) of the glory of the great God, even our Savior, Christ Jesus" (TRV). This event is identical with that set forth in Isa. 40:5 and 1 Thess. 4:14.
This same glorious truth is set forth in other words in Colossians 3:4: "When the Christ, Who is our life, shall be manifested (phaneroO) then shall ye also be manifested with Him in glory." This corresponds to 1 Thess 4:14. Thus, whether it is called presentation, unveiling, or manifestation, it is the same event. If we are among the dead when this takes place, we will need to be raised to participate in it. If we are living we will need to be changed. But this presents no problem to the one familiar with the secret revealed in 1 Cor. 15:51,52.
There has been a struggle by some students to make the words "in glory" in Col. 3:4 refer to a place, a very special and exclusive place, far above all heavens, for those who are now believers. But all one needs to do is to check out all occurrences of the Greek phrase en doxE, and he will find that trying to hold this idea is about the same as trying to carry water in a sieve. It simply will not work.
Thank God that when we are presented with Christ, when we are manifested with Him, it will not be in shame, disgrace, or humiliation, but in the esteem in which God holds the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, it needs to be noted that all such events as the divine presentation, the unveiling, the manifestation, the blazing forth of His glory are all aspects of a still greater all-encompassing event, the divine assumption of sovereignty. So we pray, "Thy kingdom come."

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