Jeremiah 51:44

Jeremiah 51:44 “I will punish Bel in Babylon,
And I will make what he has swallowed come out of his mouth;
And the nations will no longer stream to him.
Even the wall of Babylon has fallen down!

These words were fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ when the dead were raised to heaven.  Sheol (Hades) was emptied of its contents, never to have power over humanity again.

Satan was dethroned…and death lost its sting:

Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…

1 Corinthians 15:55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

Revelation 18:2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!…

The close of the New Testament age marked the time when God brought in a new creation wherein death no longer reigned.  This is the eternal gospel.  This is the eternal age in which we live, and this is the eternal gospel which we believe.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Day of the Church Versus the Day of the Lord

The day of Israel gave way to the day of church.  That is, when Jesus was raised from the dead, He called to Himself all of the true sons of Israel.  The faithful of Israel became the faithful of the church, and we read about them in the New Testament.

However, the day of the church quickly gave way to the day of the Lord, for the New Testament’s vibrant pulse is the expectation of the coming of the Lord in that generation.  Indeed, Christ came in the kingdom of God and thus ushered in the eternal day of the Lord.

Of course, we live in that day.  Let us therefore stop focusing attention on church and focus it instead on the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 7:11

2 Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned on doing in the house of the LORD and in his palace.

Solomon being a type of Christ, this verse prophesies that Jesus would complete the promise of the new heavens and new earth, which would provide a home for the resurrected dead.  As Jesus Himself said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).  And as Isaiah said:

Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

This was completed in the coming of the kingdom of God (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).  Thus, Jesus finished what He started.  He kept His promise.  The dead now rise to heaven (Everyone Is Going to Heaven).  “Solomon” thus finished “the house of the Lord and His palace.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Unbelief Is Unsurprising

In this verse, Jesus wonders aloud about how much faith He’d find awaiting Him at His Second Coming.

Luke 18:8 “… when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Given that there’s so much unbelief about it still today, it’s no wonder His expectations were low.

Don’t be unbelieving.  Be believing.  Jesus Christ has come, just as He promised.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Why Would You Want Jesus in the Flesh When You Can Have Him in the Spirit?

Some people long for a physical Second Coming of Christ.  This is neither wise nor scriptural.  Even during His earthly ministry, Jesus corrected those who preferred physical realities to spiritual ones:

Luke 11:27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.”
Luke 11:28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Thus Jesus makes clear that physical proximity to Him is of no significance, but doing the word of God is.

It was always God’s plan that Jesus would come to the earth in the flesh but come the second time in the spirit.  For this reason Paul wrote:

2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

Christ already came in the flesh.  And He’s already come in the spirit as well.  The only place left for Christ to come is your consciousness.  Invite Him in, and provide for Him an eternal home.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Apostles Prophesied a Spiritual Second Coming of Christ

The apostles did not prophesy a physical Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as many Christians today maintain.  Rather, they prophesied a spiritual Second Coming.  See, for example, this passage from Paul:

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
2 Thessalonians 2:2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first…

If Paul thought and taught that the Second Coming was physical, his explanation to these believers would not make sense.  If the coming of Christ was to have been a physical cataclysm interrupting the space-time continuum, then someone saying that the Lord had come would have been refuting.  That is, a physical cataclysm interrupting the space-time continuum removes all need for anyone to tell anyone else, “Hey, the day of the Lord has come.”

For a more extended explanation of the difference between a spiritual and physical Second Coming, see Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?, which is a biblical case for the Second Coming of Christ having occurred just when Jesus and His apostles said it would – in the late 1st Century A.D.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Apostles Were Preparing a People for the Lord

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,

Paul is speaking here of a “gathering to the Lord.”  During the time of the apostles, the people – Jews and God-fearing Gentiles – were gathered to each other and calling upon the Lord.  The coming of the Lord would be a coming to human hearts, and thus the gathering henceforth would be to Him and not to each other.

The Lord has come.  Let us therefore gather to Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Jesus Came in the Glory of His Father

In Matthew 16:27, Jesus promised that He would “come in the glory of His Father.”  This, of course, is exactly what He did.

Why did so many people miss it?  After all, that sounds like a lot of glory – how then could folks miss it?  For the same reason that they missed the glory when the Father had it.

Stated another way, why do people expect Jesus to come in earthly glory when He specifically said He was coming in the glory of His Father?  The Father’s glory, of course, transcends the physical creation.  By that glory, the physical creation is sustained.  Therefore, the glory in which Jesus came was no different from the glory that surrounded the Father through all the ages before Jesus came.  It is a spiritual glory, seen with spiritual eyes.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Acts 7:17-18

In this passage we see a foreshadowing of the time of the apostasy in which the Lord would come for His people.  That is, men of lawlessness arose in the churches (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Acts 20:29-30; 3 John 1:9-10), such that Jesus would come and say to them just as He had warned:

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’  [Jesus is here quoting Psalm 6:8.]

That is, these leaders did not know Jesus, just as the pharaoh Moses faced had not known Joseph.

Be sure you know Jesus.  I don’t just mean “know about” Jesus – I mean be intimately aware of Him.  He will not reject those who come to Him (John 6:37).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Difference Between Seeing and Recognizing

The scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus, but they didn’t recognize Him.  That is, they saw the same Jesus of Nazareth that all His followers saw, but they did not recognize Him as the Messiah.  Because of this failure to recognize, they crucified Him.

Acts 13:27 “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.

Likewise, anyone can read Paul’s letters, but only the spiritual can recognize them for what they are:  the word of God.  As Paul himself says:

1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.

Similarly, Paul could thank God for the Thessalonians’ ability to recognize the word of God in his message to them:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Thus when someone says that the Second Coming of Christ has not yet occurred because Revelation 1:7 (quoting Zechariah 12:10) says “every eye will see Him,” recognize yourself that though every eye sees Him not every eye recognizes Him.  As Isaiah said (quoted here by Paul):

Acts 28:26 saying,
‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY,
“YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
Acts 28:27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”‘

Therefore, do not be like them.  Look up and recognize that “the One “whom we have pierced” is looking on us now:  Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

For this reason, we should be Practicing the Presence of Christ and recognizing that The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

We should recognize that Church Is Not the Answer; Christ Is and therefore be about Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who  read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verse are rendered in all capital letters.)

Matthew 21:38 – The Son Was the Heir

Matthew 21:38 “But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’

Note that they “saw the son” and said “This is the heir.”

Jesus is “the Son”promised by the prophets.  As Isaiah put it, “a son will be given to us” (Isaiah 9:6).

This son is the heir.  Thus the letter of Hebrews begins by saying, among other things, that “the Son” was “appointed heir of all things.”  Of course, since all things belong to God, it is only to be expected that His Son would inherit all things.

For this reason Isaiah wrote “they will hang on Him all the glory of His Father’s house,” and Jesus said that He would “come in the glory of His Father” (Matthew 16:27).

The “heir of all things” has indeed inherited all things.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

How Could the Apostles Be Sure They Were Living in the Last Days?

The apostles could be sure they were living in the last days because of the testimony of Israel’s prophets through the holy Scriptures.

Isaiah had written:

Isaiah 2:2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
Isaiah 2:3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 2:4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

In this passage, Isaiah is describing what will happen in the last days.  Therefore, if the disciples were observing those things happening, they could be sure they were living in the last days.  (This sort of assurance is the same sort Jesus gave to John the Baptist in his moment of weakened faith; see Matthew 11:2-6.  That is, the Scripture is a more sure word of testimony than anything else; in this regard see also Luke 16:31.)

The apostles knew that “the mountain of the house of the Lord was established as the chief of the mountains” when Jesus was raised from the dead and taken to the right hand of God according to Psalm 2:6 and Psalm 110:1-2.  That is, Jesus was installed as the Messianic King in the Zion of heaven – heaven being God’s “holy mountain.”  No first-century Jews had been expecting a heavenly Zion to replace the earthly one they knew…but the resurrection and ascension of Christ made the true meaning of the Scripture undeniable – and altogether preferable, to those who truly understood its import.

The apostles knew that “the nations were streaming into it” by their own testimony in Acts 15, especially when they cite Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:15-18 as being fulfilled in their experience.

The apostles knew also that the glorified Jesus was pouring out the Holy Spirit on those gathered in His name (as in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14), making known to them God’s words and teaching them God’s ways.

The apostles also knew that Jesus had taught them that the ways of war, practiced by ancient Israel, had become obsolete.  Thus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) He put forth a way of life that would not resist evil (see especially Matthew 5:39).  As if to dramatically prove the point, He told Peter later in the same gospel to put away his sword when His own life was threatened, saying, “All those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”  Thereby, Jesus “hammered swords into plowshares.”

It was the nonviolent approach of Jesus – after centuries of fighting by Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, and all the kings of Israel – that dramatically marked an undeniable turning point in Israel’s experience.

Therefore, enough of Isaiah’s prophetic signs were being fulfilled that the apostles could indeed be fully assured that they were living in the last days – the days just before the coming of the Lord.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Who Is Following the Apostles?

All three major branches of organized Christianity claim to be following the instructions of the apostles of Jesus Christ.  The word “apostle” means “sent one.”  Thus the apostles are the ones sent by Jesus.  We have no record that Jesus ever produced any writings of His own.  Therefore, we are dependent on the writings of His apostles to know His teachings.

The Eastern Orthodox Church claims they are following the apostles because they are maintaining churches under the authority of bishops set up by the apostles.

The Roman Catholic Church claims it is following the apostles because Peter was chief among them and that their pope can trace a line of succession all the way back to Peter.

The Protestant Churches claim they are following the apostles because they ignore the bishops and popes, substituting their own leaders who, it is claimed, adhere more closely to the teachings of the apostles than the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic do.

The remarkable thing is that none of these three churches interpret the Bible in the radical Christocentric way that the apostles did.  Even more remarkably, none of these three branches of organized Christianity believe one of the boldest, clearest, and most frequent proclamations that the apostles made: that the Second Coming of Christ would occur in the apostolic generation.  So much for organized Christianity being faithful to the apostles’ teaching.

It is strange indeed that these organizations would claim legitimacy from apostles that they do not think were right about a central tenet of the faith they proclaimed.

If you want to truly follow the apostles, repent and follow Jesus – for that’s what they did.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

The New Age Was Carried in the Womb of the Old Age Until Birth

The New Testament church was birthed in the waning days of the Old Testament.  The New Testament church was thus like an infant in the womb of its mother…that would  be born in the new age.  Thus the new age was conceived in the womb of the old.  And the mother died in bearing that child.

The seed that was conceived in the womb of the old age was Jesus of Nazareth.

Conceived in the womb of a virgin, he grew to be a man.

Rejected and crucified, he died…but was raised from the dead.  In that process, there was a transformation from “he” to “He.”

This Jesus was taken up into heaven and He called His disciples to Himself. This body of disciples (that is, His body – the body of Christ) grew and grew throughout the coming decades.

When it was finally time for the new age to be birthed, out it came with this Christ as Lord over all.  Christ inherited all things according to the promise of Psalm 2:8, remembered in Hebrew 1:1-2.

Since such great things can come from such small things, we should “despise not the day of small things”  (Zechariah 4:10).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The New Age Began Before the Old Age Completely Expired

If you’ve ever watched a relay foot race you know that one runner passes the baton to the other runner on his team while both are running.  The first runner is winding down and the next runner is winding up, and for a brief period of time they are running together.

In a similar manner, the old age was winding to a close in the days of Jesus of Nazareth.  He Himself began His course during the last era of that old age.  It would be just a few more decades before the new age would dawn but the New Testament era was preparation for that new age.

Thus when we read the New Testament and witness its history, we are seeing before us the two runners running together – the old age ending its run and the new age beginning its run.  The baton is being passed from the old age to the new – and eternal – age.

By this understanding we can appreciate a statement like this from Jesus:

Luke 17:20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;
Luke 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

How could Jesus speak of the kingdom as “coming” and yet already present?  Here’s how: It was present in Him – and no one else.  The future, however, would include His inheriting the universe as Lord (Hebrews 1:1-2) which would mean then that everything came under the kingdom of God because it came under Him.   Some Christians call this the “already but not yet” aspect of the kingdom.  That’s a valid observation – as long as you recognize that it only applies to New Testament times.  That is, the kingdom was “already but not yet” for them in that time.

Similarly, Jesus said to the woman at the well in Sychar:

John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The hour was “coming” for everyone else but it was “now” for Jesus who bore and manifested the kingdom in Himself.

This eternal kingdom of God is entirely present for us, however, because we live almost two thousand years after the kingdom came.  We today should never think of the kingdom as not yet.  We should think of it as entirely present, and we should seek it according to the apostles’ instructions (such as 2 Peter 1:5-11).  Whether the kingdom is future or present, one still has to prepare properly in order to enter it.  It’s only for those who love righteousness (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 1:9; Romans 14:17).

Keep in mind always when you’re reading the New Testament that you are reading what happened at the crossroads of the ages.  That was the time when the old age ended and the new age started – ever so slightly – in the context of eternity – overlapping each other.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Jesus Proved Himself as a Man, and Then Proved Himself as a Lord Before He Inherited the Universe

Through the earthly life Jesus lived (as described in the gospels of the New Testament), he proved himself worthy of resurrection.  And He was resurrected, accordin to promise.

Through the heavenly life Jesus lived (as chronicled in the book of Acts and the epistles that follow it in the New Testament), He proved Himself worthy of inheriting the universe by the way He led the Israel of God – that is, the church.  And He came again, according to promise.

In the coming of the kingdom, Jesus inherited all things – just as He was promised (Hebrews 1:1-2).

We often speak of the noteworthy life Jesus lived as a man, and it is right that we do.  Nevertheless, we should not overlook the life He lived at the right hand of God as He led the greatest generation of Jews who ever lived.  This was the bride of Christ, the true church of God that none of today’s churches can replicate.  And the Lord Jesus was the shepherd who led them.  He thus proved Himself worthy to govern all the nations.  Thus was fulfilled this scripture:

Psalm 2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

And with that passing of the baton, Christ became all in all.  The kingdom of God came, and it was His.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Coming in the Clouds

When Daniel 7:13-14, which is about the Son of Man coming, is invoked in the New Testament, we see its expression “with the clouds” rendered in various ways, such as:

“coming with the clouds” – Mark 14:62 and Revelation 1:7

“coming on the clouds” – Matthew 24:30 and 26:64

“coming…in the clouds” – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

“coming in clouds” – Mark 13:26

“coming in a cloud” – Luke 21:27

And all this variation is within just one translation (the NASB).  Nevertheless, as you can see, all the variation is minor in nature.  The general idea holds in every occurrence: that the coming of the Lord is associated with the clouds of heaven.  And heaven is, of course, out of our physical sight.  We must relate to it by faith.

Since the coming of the Lord, therefore, was to take place behind the curtain of heaven, why have so many for so long insisted that Jesus’ Second Coming would be an earthly appearance? After Jesus ascended into a cloud on His way to the right hand of God, the angels alluded to His coming which would similarly be “in a cloud” and therefore out of the apostles physical sight (Acts 1:9-11).  That is, if they didn’t physically see the first event why would they expect to physically see the second?

There is ample reason to believe that the apostles taught that the coming of the Lord would not involve Jesus making a physical appearance.  This is just one more of them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Two Bookend Events of the New Testament

Two great events anchor the open and close of the New Testament age: the resurrection of Christ and the coming of Christ.  These events therefore can be thought of as bookends – one on the left and the other on the right – for the New Testament age.

Yes, the gospels wrote of the time before the resurrection, but these accounts were only compiled after the resurrection.  It was the resurrection of Christ that launched the movement in His name that still continues until this day – and that therefore made the gospels worth writing.  You can best understand this when you consider the book of Acts.  Acts was, of course, written by the Luke of gospel fame.  Thus, Luke 24-Acts 1 provides the bridge between the gospel period (that is, “the days of His flesh” as Hebrews 5:7 would put it) and the apostolic period.  Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, but the rest of the dead were to rise in the great event to come.  Thus resurrection was a two-step process, and these two steps are the two bookends about which we are speaking.

In the days of His flesh, Jesus ministered only in Israel, but He sent His apostles into all the world.  Thus the earth-bound Christ was restricted to Judea and the surround regions, but the resurrected Christ had no limits on His geographic reach.  Everything Christ did on earth was preliminary to, and preparatory for, His resurrection from the dead.  This marks the left bookend of the New Testament.  The gospels are the remembrances (or “memoirs” as Justin Martyr called them in the middle of the 2nd Century) of the apostles about those events that led up to the resurrection of the Messiah.

The apostolic period, or New Testament age, was launched with that single, seminal resurrection.  The book of Acts describes what happened in its wake.  The rest of the New Testament consists of letters, or epistles, which were written or sponsored by the apostles.  The right bookend of the New Testament age is the coming of the Lord – an event to which practically every book, if not page, of the New Testament looks forward.

The coming of the Lord – that is, the coming of the day of the Lord, or the kingdom of God – was considered imminent in that age.  The apostles believed that they were living at the end, or consummation, of the ages (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:1-29:26), and that Jesus promised them that at least some of them would live to see the kingdom come (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34).  Thus the New Testament never announces that the day of the Lord, or the kingdom, has come – but it does keep describing it as drawing nearer and nearer.  The book of Revelation – twice in the first chapter and five times in the last – perhaps describes that coming with the greatest sense of imminence.

Only if we doubt the word of the Lord and His apostles will we doubt that the kingdom came when they said it would.  It did.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

Both Peter and Paul Realized at the End That They Would Not Last Until the Coming of the Lord

The original disciples of Jesus always knew that death was an occupational hazard of the ministry they had received from the Lord.  After all, He had been killed – why should they escape such a fate?

Specifically, Jesus had said to them:

Matthew 16:28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

In Peter’s first letter, you can tell that he has his hope fixed on the Lord’s coming.  See especially 1 Peter 5:1-4.  But by his second letter, he seems acutely aware of that he will die in service to the cause even before the soon approaching moment of the Lord’s coming.  See 2 Peter 1:12-15.

Similarly, Paul at first speaks with great expectation and passion of the Lord’s coming.  See Philippians 3:10-14 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.  But then he says after having become an “aged” man (Philemon 1:9) to Timothy that “the time of my departure has come” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Peter had known in advance that this would be his fate (John 21:18:23).  Neither is it likely that Paul was surprised by this outcome (Acts 9:16; 21:13).  However, it was surely a poignant moment when they both came within sight of that kingdom to which they would not enter as living.  The comfort was that they would not lie asleep for very long at all before they were raised to be with Him in that very kingdom.

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Can You Give a Calendar Date for When the Kingdom of God Came?

His coming was “not with signs to be observed” (Luke 17:20-21).  It was in “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).  Only the sanctified experienced it (Hebrews 12:14); to the unworthy He came like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  Thus I do not know how to make the date more precise than between 70 A.D. and the death of the last original disciples (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34) .  As you know, precise dates for the deaths of the disciples are unknown, but it is unlikely that any were after 100 A.D.  Thus, we can say that the Second Coming of Christ occurred sometime  70-100 A.D.  Since the apostle John could have lived into the 90’s and wrote with the Lord’s coming still in the future, we might say that the Lord’s coming was probably closer to 100 A.D. than to 70 A.D.

The point for us is not to yet one more day to circle on a calendar that we might make a feast of it, but rather to know that it occurred in the first century – that is, long ago.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The New Testament Documents Were Insurance

The New Testament documents were insurance against subsequent generations misrepresenting what the apostles had taught.  With the New Testament documents we have direct evidence from the apostles themselves about their teaching.  Churches may tell us that oral traditions were passed on from the apostles which should also be taken into consideration.  However, since the apostles spoke for the Lord and would not for that reason contradict themselves, we can reject any alleged oral traditions which contradict the writings penned by the apostles.

The apostles taught that the coming of the Lord would be a great spiritual event with momentous earthly consequences.  Therefore, every sanctified believer under the teaching of the apostles would know when the Second Coming occurred (Hebrews 12:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10) and would be able to pass this knowledge on to his children and their children.  However, the church would become apostate in the latter days of the apostles.  Therefore, what would happen to the true teaching about the arrival of the kingdom of God since it would be carried by individuals and not an institution that had fallen into unbelief regarding this teaching?  And how would any individual be able to preserve the apostles’ writing, or make sure that each generation faithfully passed on this information?  The answer is that the apostate institution would eventually canonize the apostles’ documents, not realizing that they were, in so doing, guaranteeing that ultimately the truth would come out to all generations even if the earliest generations had no way to faithfully pass on the apostles’ teaching themselves.

Therefore, you can look at today’s churches – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant – and note that all three agree on 27 apostolic documents for the New Testament – no more, no less.  Those documents contain the very teachings that these churches proclaim (e.g. “Jesus is Lord!”) but also they teachings they deny (e.g. the certainty of the Lord’s coming in the first century).   Oh, the wisdom and patience of our Lord to provide insurance so that His plan of proclaiming to the nations the all-sufficiency and finality of His work through Jesus Christ!

The New Testament documents are insurance against any group using “tradition” or “church authority” to deprive humanity of the truth of what Jesus taught through His apostles.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Age to Come Came

The New Testament speaks of “the age to come.”  (See Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Ephesians 2:7; Hebrews 6:5; see also Daniel 7:18.)  Did that age come?  Yes.  (See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.).  In fact, there is no Bible prophecy that has gone unfulfilled.  (See All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ.)

We live in that age that the apostles said was to come.  Thus “the age to come” came.  In fact, it had come by the time that all the New Testament documents were gathered into one collection.  The apostasy of the church was the last sign before the coming of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and one of the apostles (in fact, the one thought to have lasted until the end: John 21:22) testified that this apostasy had come (see 1 John 2:18 and 3 John 1:9-10).

Thus whenever we read in the New Testament about the age to which they looked forward, we should keep in mind that we live not in their age, but in that very age they foresaw.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Christ’s Church Started on the Day of Pentecost and Ended When the Kingdom Came

Like the cocoon which protects the caterpillar that is becoming a butterfly, so the church of Christ, about which we read in the New Testament, carried believers like the apostle John from bosom of ancient Israel to the bosom of the kingdom of God.

That church represented the greatest generation of humanity who ever lived.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

To Those Who Insist the Second Coming of Christ Must Be Physical

The Second Coming of Christ was a spiritual event which occurred in the late first century A. D.  If this is not clear to you and you would like to have it explained, see the post Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again, and (for a fuller explanation) the book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

Yesterday’s post, To Those Who Insist the Second Coming of Christ Must Be Future, dealt with the timing of the Second Coming.  Today’s post deals with its nature.

Some people insist that the Second Coming of Christ is a physical event in which the space-time continuum will be dramatically interrupted and Jesus Christ will be appear in physical form to be physically seen by every human being simultaneously.  These people therefore think it impossible that anyone could “miss” the Second Coming.  Such people should consider the following questions:

  1. Why did Paul say in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, when referring to the coming of the day of the Lord, that some would be as those who sleep in the night not noticing the thief who comes while others would be alert as in the day…if everyone was to experience the same physical sight?
  2. Why did Paul remind the Thessalonians in his second letter to them (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10) that there were those who would be find themselves “away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day” (italics added) if every human being was to see His coming?
  3. Why in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-15 does Paul explain how they can know that the day of the Lord has not yet occurred if it was to interrupt the space-time continuum?  If the Second Coming of Christ could not be missed, why doesn’t Paul tell them that their question is silly?  After all, if the Second Coming of Christ is a cataclysmic worldwide physical event, who would subsequently write a letter asking someone in another town, “Was that it?”
  4. Why does Paul warn against a couple of false teachers in 2 Timothy 2:16-18, saying that they are “upsetting the faith of some” by declaring that the resurrection had already taken place (a promised aspect of the Second Coming of Christ which was, of course, the coming of the kingdom of God) if such events were to be physically witnessed simultaneously by all human beings?  If the apostles had taught that the Second Coming would interrupt the space-time continuum and therefore could not be missed, then any teacher would appear ridiculous when they said that the resurrection had already taken place.  Paul would not have had to give a warning.
  5. If everyone was to see the Second Coming why does the book of Hebrews exhort its readers, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14)?
  6. If the coming day of the Lord was to be a worldwide physical cataclysm why does Peter in 2 Peter 1:19 speak of it in these terms: “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (italics added)?
  7. Clouds.  A key Old Testament text about the Second Coming upon which New Testament writers relied (Matthew 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 1:7, and elsewhere), was Daniel 7:13-14 which prophesied that “one like a son of man” would be “coming…with the clouds of heaven.”  Thus the Bible was clear that the coming of the Lord would be a heavenly, not an earthly event.  This heavenly event would indeed have earthly consequences – great ones, that are rippling still today.  But there’s nothing in the prophecy that should make us expect to see a physical appearance of a human Jesus.  Why all these references to clouds if the Lord’s appearing was to be a physical manifestation to all…as if on a cloudless day?

For a fuller understanding of the Second Coming as a spiritual event, see the short book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

To Those Who Insist the Second Coming of Christ Must Still Be Future

The Second Coming of Christ was a spiritual event which occurred in the late first century A. D.  If this is not clear to you and you would like to have it explained, see the post Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again, and (for a fuller explanation) the book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

Today’s post deals with the timing of the Second Coming.  Tomorrow’s post will deal with its nature.

Some people insist that the Second Coming of Christ is still a future event.  That is, they think that here in the 21st Century it has still not occurred.  The problem with this view is that the apostles who wrote the New Testament documents gave a time frame for expectation which which did not exceed their own generation – much less a century.  And far, far less than two thousand years!   Therefore, to insist that the Second Coming has not yet occurred is to insist that the apostles are wrong.  To get around this,  people will insist that the apostles did not actually predict an imminent Second Coming.  However, this flies in the face of the New Testament itself.  Such a view requires ignoring or contorting verses from one end of the New Testament to the other.  People who insist that the apostles did not predict an imminent Second Coming are arguing with the New Testament itself.  Specifically, such people should consider the following:

  1. In Matthew 10:23 Jesus is commissioning His twelve disciples and tells them, “…truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”  History shows no record of any of these disciples still living when the second century rolled around.
  2. In Matthew 16:28, Jesus is again speaking to His disciples and says, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.  This reinforces the point of Matthew 10:23, yet in different words.  This, by the way, is how the Bible makes certain points so clear to us.  That is, it paraphrases ideas so that our understanding is enhanced.
  3. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus is in the midst of answering the questions of His disciples about when He would be coming.  In the course of giving His answer, Jesus describes many preliminary events which would be signs of His approaching kingdom.  He then says, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”  This is now the third time in the Gospel of Matthew that He has used a different expression to make the same central point.  How could anyone think that the Lord Himself did not deem His Second Coming to be planned for that generation?
  4. Note that all three of Jesus’ statements in Matthew mentioned above are preceded with “Truly I say to you.”  It’s only when you think you might be doubted that you’d add a preface like this.  Jesus obviously anticipated that there would be those of us who would doubt His words.  (Let’s not you and me be among them, okay?)

For a fuller understanding of the Second Coming as an accomplished event, see the short book Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

“The Second Coming of Christ” in Biblical Phrasing

Although we commonly use the terms”The Second Coming,” “The Second Coming of Christ,” “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ,” or even “The Second Coming of the Lord,” none of these precise phrases is in the Bible.  Rather, those who wrote the documents that have been gathered into what we call the Bible used a variety of expressions to denote that event.  The closest the Bible comes to the expressions above is when it says in Hebrews 9:28 “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

How then does the Bible describe this event?  In a variety of ways.  So many, in fact, that it’s simpler to refer to them with one general phrase.  Therefore, “Second Coming” is the catchall term we use to describe what the Bible describes in a diversity of terms.  “The Coming of the Kingdom of God” would be another common catchall phrase.  Here are some examples of the various phrases that the Bible uses:

  • In Luke 17:20-21 it’s called the coming of the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:2 calls it the coming of the day of the Lord.
  • In 1 Corinthians 1:8 it’s called the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • In Philippians 1:6 Paul calls it the day of Christ Jesus.
  • In Philippians 1:10 and 2:16 Paul reduces it to the day of Christ.
  • In 2 Peter 3:12 it’s called the coming of the day of God.
  • In Romans 13:11-13 Paul calls it simply the day.
  • In 1 Corinthians 4:5 and 11:26 it’s called the time when the Lord comes.
  • In Matthew 10:23 and Luke 18:8 Jesus describes it as the time when the Son of Man comes.
  • In Matthew 16:28 Jesus describes it as the time that the Son of Man comes in His kingdom.
  • In Matthew 24:3 Jesus’ disciples equated the Lord’s coming with the end of the age.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Only Begotten God Is Unique

When John called Jesus “the only begotten God” in his gospel (John 1:18), he thereby distinguished Christ from all the other gods of heaven (as angels or heavenly beings were sometimes called in biblical times).  This comports with Hebrews 1:3-5 wherein the writer distinguished Jesus from all other angels or heavenly beings by referencing Psalm 2:7 in which the Messiah was said to be begotten by God in the resurrection (see also Acts 13:32-33 in this regard) – a distinction no angel, heavenly being, or god could ever boast.

Angels (we’ll just use that one term from here on) were created by God for heaven.  Jesus, by contrast, came to earth, died, and then was raised to heaven.  That is, He suffered for the place of honor that He received in heaven.  This distinction caused Him to be seated at the right hand of God.  Of course, we know now that He was – and is – God.  But neither heaven nor earth knew that back then.  God humbled Himself in every way to become Jesus of Nazareth, and only in the Second Coming was His identity full revealed.

He who descended for us is also He who ascended for us.  He who suffered for us is also He who was glorified for us.  Truly, His story is unique among all heavenly as well as earthly beings.  There is none like Him.  Thus the Scripture puts the words in our mouths “There is none like You, O Lord!”  (Jeremiah 10:6).

For more on how God became Christ so that Christ might become God, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

A Temporary Power-Sharing Arrangement Between Father and Son

The New Testament church age was one of a power-sharing arrangement between the Father and the Son.  That age ended with the coming of the day of the Lord when Christ began to rule all.

Here’s how it happened:  Recall that in Matthew 11:25 Jesus prayed aloud to the Father, whom He called “Lord of heaven and earth.”  And indeed God was rightly called the Lord of heaven and earth.  Yet after the resurrection, Jesus said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).  This is because Jesus was being seated at the right hand of the Father according to David’s prophecy in Psalm 110:1.  From that perch, Jesus ruled all those who followed Him in that generation – that is, the church.  In this regard, you’ll recall that Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus saying, God gave Jesus “as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22, italics added).  Those who were outside the church, God still judged.  Thus 1 Corinthians 5:13 says, “Those who are outside, God judges” (“outside” meaning “outside the church”).

This power-sharing arrangement would last only until the end of the age when the day of the Lord would come and “the Lord alone would be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11, 17).  That occurred sometime late in the first century A.D.  Since then, until now, and forevermore, the Son will rule all of heaven and earth.  The two became one once again.

For more on how Christ is now the only true God, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

The Death of Christ Was the End; the Resurrection of Christ Was the Beginning

The death of Christ marked the end of the old creation – the old heavens and earth.

The resurrection of Christ marked the beginning of the new creation – the new heavens and earth.

Because Christ came (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again), we walk on the new earth He had in mind.  And when we die, we go to the new heaven.  Let us therefore prepare ourselves.  See Judgment Is Upon Us and We Must Repent!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Will God Overcome the World with Force or with Love?

It’s clear from the example of Jesus Christ that God does not intend to overcome the world by force.  Rather, He has chosen to overcome it through love.

Therefore, overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).  Overcome the world through your faith (1 John 5:4).

Jesus made seven glorious promises in the book of Revelation to those who would overcome through Him (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).  Just as He fulfilled those promises to the original recipients of that letter, He will fulfill them to you.

All the force God exerted in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ was in the spiritual realm.  In the physical realm, it came like a thief in the night – so many people were none the wiser.

Therefore, don’t seek to overcome in the world by force.  Rather, seek to overcome through love.

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Should God Have Overcome Evil with Force?

The crucifixion of Christ demonstrates that God seeks to overcome evil with good – not with force.  The resurrection of Christ occurred three days after His death.  The resurrection did not prevent Christ’s death.  Neither did it prevent the rejection and suffering Christ experienced leading up to the crucifixion.  Evil has its way, and God overcomes.

Thus we should overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).  Thus our faith overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).  We should not think that God is going to stay evil with His hand; rather, He wants us to overcome it with our hearts.

For this reason the Second Coming of Christ was “like a thief in the night” with hardly anyone noticing.  Those who notice, believe…and overcome even more confidently because of His presence in the earth.

It’s a Salvation of the Soul…Not Circumstances

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If Our Victory over the World Is To Be by Faith, How Can It Be by Force?

1 John 5:4 says the victory that has overcome the world is our faith.  Why then do people think that the Second Coming of Christ would overcome the world by force?

Most Christians in the United States today who expect the Second Coming of Christ yet in the future expect it to be a forceful intervention and domination of circumstances by God.  Yet this would be in conflict with God’s stated and demonstrated purpose which is to overcome the world through faith…as He did through Jesus, and as He did through the first-century church which testified to Jesus.

We do not glorify God by controlling circumstances but by controlling ourselves through circumstances.  In this, we are simply imitating Him.

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If the New Testament Is Unfulfilled Prophecy, Then It Is False Prophecy

Moses made clear the test for a prophet in Deuteronomy 18:14-22.  If the prophecy comes true, the person has truly spoken for God.  If the prophecy does not come true, then the prophet is false and should be disregarded.

Therefore, to say that the New Testament speaks truly of Jesus and yet is wrong about the timetable for His Second Coming (as most churches say today) is not only self-contradictory, it is contradictory to the standard God set for prophecy through Moses.

Be assured that the New Testament is true.  Its prophecies have been fulfilled.

See also:

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If the Second Coming of Christ Has Not Occurred by Now, We’re All Sunk

Repeatedly, the writers of the New Testament made reference to the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  The terms they used included “the coming of the Lord,” “the day of the Lord,” the coming of the kingdom,” “the resurrection of the dead,” and others.

If what they said did not happen, then the New Testament is false prophecy and we cannot depend on it.  Then the Old Testament is just a collection of unfulfilled promises.

The good news is that the New Testament is fulfilled prophecy, and it describes fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises.  We are not sunk.  We are on our way to heaven.

See also:

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

Everyone Is Going to Heaven

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Signs Jesus Gave for His Second Coming Would Only Be Recognized from a Posture of Faith

When the unbelieving Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign of the coming of the kingdom in Luke 17:20-21, Jesus would give them none.  Yet when the disciples asked for a sign of it in Matthew 24:3, Jesus gave a response so long and detailed it took two chapters to contain it all (Matthew 24-25).  Why was Jesus so tight-lipped with one group and so talkative with the other?  Easy: one group believed and the other didn’t.  Faith enables you to see things that unbelief cannot enable you to see.

Note that this is not simply Jesus arbitrarily withholding information from one group and giving it to another.  Rather, it’s that the unbelieving group could not understand the signs He described even if they were to have read Matthew 24-25.

Here’s an example:  Jesus said that apostasy (a “falling away”) would mark the time just before His coming (Matthew 24:10).  Well, who is an apostate?  Someone who falls away from the faith.  But doesn’t that depend on your perspective?  To Saul of Tarsus, all those Jews calling on the name of Jesus were apostate (that is, “falling away” from the truth).  But when Saul had his Damascus Road experience, I’m sure his erstwhile companions considered him to be the one “falling away.”  Jesus, of course, was speaking from the perspective of those who would fall away from Jesus.  Only if you believed Jesus was the way would you think anyone falling away from Him was an apostate.  The Pharisees would not “see” people falling away from Jesus because they were not participating in the movement.

Another example to consider is Philippians 1:27-28 where Paul told the believers in that city that having opponents to their worthy walk for Christ would be a sign of destruction for those opponents and salvation for the believers.  The opponents certainly wouldn’t see things that way.  What was a sign to one group was nothing to the other.

This is why we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Only when we walk by faith, can we see the biblical signs God has given us.

As Jesus said in Matthew 16:4, “an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign but none shall be given it but the sign of Jonah.”  That’s because such a generation can only see a preacher calling for repentance.  Unless they accept that call and repent, everything else he says will seem like nonsense to them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How Could Someone Read the Letter of Jude and Not Realize That the Apostles Expected the Lord’s Return To Be Soon?

Read the epistle of Jude.  It’s not long: just one chapter of 25 verses.  Do you not feel the urgency of Jude?  He’s exhorting his readers to stay faithful until the coming of the Lord.  He makes no allowance whatsoever for a delay in the Lord’s return.

What I just said about Jude can be said about practically all of the books of the New Testament.  One of the clearest themes to be found in the New Testament documents is the expectation of the Lord’s imminent coming (what we would call the Second Coming).  Why then – almost two thousand years after these documents were penned – does organized Christianity act as if this is something that has not yet occurred?

See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How New Testament Church Unity Gave Way to Apostasy

Yesterday’s post (The Apostasy) recounted how apostasy in the church would be the final sign that Jesus’ return was imminent.  The unity of the church and of its witness to Christ, which had been so important to the apostles was covered in the post published the day before yesterday (Ephesians 4:13 – The Unity of the New Testament Church Was for a Specific Purpose).  Thus the unity of the church would be lost in the apostasy of the church, but the coming of the kingdom of God would redeem all those who stood fast in the gospel.  Thereafter, unity would be found in the kingdom, not the church.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Apostasy

The word “apostasy” means to “falling away,” “forsaking,” “defecting,” or “revolting.”  The apostles knew that apostasy would afflict the church they were building because Jesus told them it would.  He was specific that it would occur in what we have come to call the waning days of the 1st Century.

Paul spoke of this falling away in Acts 20:25-32 when he said that “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock,” and “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul reminded the church at Thessalonica that the day of the Lord would not occur unless the apostasy had occurred first.  Jesus had not given the disciples a specific date of His return, but He had given them a sequence of events or signs.  Just before His coming there would be “much lawlessness” (Matthew 24:10); in the midst of this lawlessness, “false Christs,” and “false prophets” (Matthew 24:5, 24) would arise.  Judas had been the example to prepare the apostles for the fact that sometimes those you least expect of falling away, will fall away.

In both of Paul’s letters to Timothy, the subject of this apostasy is addressed.  In 1 Timothy 4:1-3 Paul describes how the false prophets would operate.  In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul gets specific about the various forms the lawlessness would take.

In 2 Peter 2:1 and 3:3, Peter confirms that the apostasy would manifest itself through false teachers.  Jude also bore witness to this in Jude 1:18-19.

By the time John writes 1 John, the apostasy is already manifest because he says, “We know that it is the last hour because many antichrists have now arisen in our midst” (see 1 John 2:18 and 4:3).

Thus, we need look no further than the New Testament itself to find the apostasy that Jesus and His apostles prophesied would come.  This is yet one more reason we can know that Jesus Christ came again just when He said He would (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Apostles Did Not Appoint Apostles

The apostles did not appoint apostles because they did not have the right to do so.  Only the Lord was able to appoint apostles, and those whom He appointed were witnesses for Him.

Thus the apostles could give no one else the authority that they had.  They did appoint temporary and limited leaders in local congregations, but that was only until the Lord Himself would return – which was in that very generation.

Thus the apostles could appoint caretakers, but not replacements.  Any church that says its leadership was appointed by the apostles cannot be telling the truth.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

When He Came to Be Glorified in His Saints on That Day

In 2 Thessalonians 1:10, Paul writes to the disciples in Thessalonica telling them that the day of Christ’s coming will be one when He is glorified in their hearts.  That is, Christ will be exalted in His saints – those who are holy.  (The word “saint” means “holy one.”)  He had said in the immediately preceding verses that those who did not know God, those who did not obey the gospel, would be found away from the presence of the Lord.  Thus, what made the difference between sheep and goats (see Matthew 25:31-46) was holiness.  This, of course, is consistent with the promise (prophecy, exhortation) made in Hebrews 12:14 that only peaceable and righteous souls would see the Lord on that day.

Why then do people continue to insist that the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ would be a “visible” event to all?

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

The kingdom of God is the kingdom that “cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:25-29).

The kingdom of church can surely be shaken.  It was shaken in New Testament times and it has been shaking ever since.  The kingdom of God, however, since it requires no human rule, is not subject to such shaking.  It is sure and steadfast for it is administered by the Lord Himself.  He is its government (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Who can be a member of a church and not experience shaking?  On the other hand, who can be in the kingdom of God and be shaken at all?

“The kingdoms of this world they have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.”  (Revelation 11:15)

Seek the kingdom that cannot be shaken…so that you may no longer be shaken.  The Lord shows the way!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Eternal Kingdom That Replaced the Temporary Kingdom

In 2 Peter 1:10-11, Peter writes of the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ that was to come.  He was writing to those who belonged to the temporary kingdom of Jesus: the church of the New Testament.

The church we read about in the New Testament was a temporal kingdom of Jesus, set in place until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1).  The last enemy that was abolished was death (1 Corinthians 15:26).  At Christ’s Second Coming, which is one and the same with the coming of the kingdom of God, all things – including death – were placed beneath the feet of Jesus.

Those in the church during New Testament days knew that theirs was “not a lasting city” (Hebrews 13:14).  The “city which was to come” (Hebrews 13:14) was “the eternal kingdom” of which Peter wrote.

This eternal kingdom came and – precisely because it is eternal – remains until now…and always will.  It makes no more sense to seek the church in the days of this kingdom than it would have made to seek Moses’ tent of meeting in the days of Solomon’s temple.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Christ’s Second Coming Was a Time When He Separated Us

The coming of the kingdom of God was a time of separation.  It marked the separating of  sheep from goats (Matthew 25:31-46), of wheat from tares (Matthew 13:24-30), of wheat from chaff (Matthew 3:12) – all according to the parables of Jesus.  It was a time of one being taken while another was left (Matthew 24:40-42) – again, according to the teaching of Jesus.

This separation was a spiritual separation.  In the physical realm, it would not have been visible.

God knows human hearts.  We cannot see beyond the veil of flesh, but He can.

When He returned, Jesus noted those who were worthy and brought them into the kingdom of God.  Everyone else was left outside.  And this separation continues today.

If you honor the Lord continually in your heart, He will know it and He will bring the blessing of His kingdom upon you.  But don’t look for visible signs.  They were not present in the coming of the kingdom of heaven so neither will they be present for you to enter the kingdom.  We must live by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God.  Faith trusts the unseen Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Elect Were Gathered to Him – That’s Why No One Saw It

When the kingdom of God came, the elect were gathered to Jesus – just as He promised (Matthew 24:30-31).  That’s why no one saw it happen.  This was a spiritual transaction between human hearts and God – not a transaction between human beings.

Disciples had been gathered to churches, to each other.  But the coming of the kingdom was the time to be gathered to the Lord – the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5).

To those whose hearts weren’t ready, His coming was like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43-44).  That is, He escaped notice.

He is still escaping notice.  The churches can’t find Him.  Not that they’re seriously looking for Him anyway.  They’re too busy trying to grow their attendance or their offerings.  I know, I used to be one of them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Apostles Believed Their Lord About the Timing of His Second Coming

Jesus made clear that He would return in His kingdom before His contemporaries would all pass away.  In other words, He would return in that generation.  We see His teaching about this time frame recorded in multiple places in the very first book of the New Testament: Matthew 10:23; 16:27-28; 23:36; 24:34.  The other gospels also testify of Jesus’ teaching on this point.

Throughout Acts – and all the epistles that follow – we see the apostles who wrote these documents accepting, believing, and declaring this same timetable, though often expressing the truth in different ways.  Most notably, the book of Revelation, considered by many as one of the last New Testament documents to be written, concludes with five statements all declaring the great event to be “soon.”

Truly, the apostles believed their Lord on this subject.  We should, too.

For more, see the post Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again or the full biblical case for this in Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Writer of Hebrews Warns

In Hebrews 6:1ff the writer urges his readers to move beyond the elementary teaching of Christ to the mature teaching about Him.  This is because the day of Christ’s return was rapidly approaching (Hebrew 10:23-25) and only those who were prepared would see Him on that day (Hebrews 9:28; 12:14).  Of course, this “seeing” would be by faith (Hebrews 11:1) which “sees” the One who  is unseen (Hebrews 11:27).

The Epistle to the Hebrews was an exhortation (Hebrews 13:22) to its recipients that only faith would sustain them in the then rapidly approaching day of the Lord.  That day came and we still live in it today because it is an eternal day.  When the Second Coming of Christ occurred, it was witnessed by faith, not by sight.

Why did Jesus go to all the trouble to teach faith if His Second Coming could be experienced without it?  (Luke 18:8)

See the post Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

This Is Not the Day of the Church; It is the Day of the Lord

The New Testament – from Acts to Revelation – chronicles the day of the church.  It was the last days of Israel, the days in which Israel’s remnant (another name for the church) was saved.  The Old Testament prophets had prophesied of that time.   It would come just before the great and glorious day of the Lord (see Acts 2::16-21, and Joel 2:28-32 which is it quoting).

Let me say that again, more compactly this time: The New Testament chronicles the last days of Israel which heralded the coming day of the Lord.

All of us who have lived subsequent to New Testament times are living in that day – the day of the Lord.  When, throughout history since that time, you see the church exalting Jesus Christ , then you see the church flourishing.  Whenever the church has not exalted Jesus Christ, it has languished.  The reason for this is clear: this is the day of the Lord and whoever exalts Him is blessed by God.  The church has nothing to do with it.  God’s blessing is not on the church; it is on whoever is exalting the Lord.  The only church He blessed was the one you read about in the New Testament.

The phrase “day of the Lord” per se is written about 19 different times by the Old Testament prophets and 5 times by the New Testament apostles.  There are, by the way, many more occurrence of synonymous phrases (such as “that day,” “the day of God,” or “the day of judgment”).  One of these synonymous phrases is “day of eternity.”  That is, the day of the Lord is the day of eternity.  Thus, we live in that day which will stand forever – the day of Christ (another synonym, this one from Philippians).

Those who exalt church in this day are under a curse because it is a day for the Lord alone to be exalted (Isaiah 2:11, 17).  The church (that is, the church of the New Testament) was the remnant of Israel which bore glorious witness to its greatest Son.  We (that is, the entire human race) are now heirs of all the promises of God – the promises to which the true church bore witness as a first fruits to the age that would follow them.  Let us therefore look to the Lord in order to receive favor from His hand while we are on this earth, for we surely need it.  This is obviously a day of wrath for all who do evil.

May the Lord Jesus Christ – and He alone – be exalted in this day that shall last forever.

For elaboration, see these posts:

Everyone Is Going to Heaven

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

Judgment Is Upon Us

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled

Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church

Call on His Name

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Apostles Presented Jesus as Lord

During the days of His flesh (that is, essentially the time period recorded in the four Gospels), Jesus did not present Himself as Messiah (Christ) or Lord.  On the contrary, He conducted Himself as a descendant of Abraham, heir to the covenant of promises that God had granted.  Jesus’ teaching and miracle-working power were very much in the vein of Israel’s long line of prophets which had preceded Him – men such as, Elijah, Elisha, and Isaiah.  Granted, His display of miracles in quantity and quality exceeded them all.  Nonetheless, He was presenting Himself to His fellow citizens in the same way that the prophets always had – as a man of God.

When He was occasionally acknowledged as the Messiah, He urged discretion and did not want this fact publicized prematurely.  The last time He was pressed to acknowledge that He was Israel’s king was at His trial.  And for this admission He was condemned to death for blasphemy.

Once He was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, however, all reason for hesitation and reticence was gone.  Jesus was seated at the right hand of God and the apostles were commissioned to declare this fact with boldness.  Beginning in Jerusalem, the apostles went from city to city declaring to Jews, and soon after to Gentiles as well, that Jesus was Lord, and should be honored as such.  Thus, though God had permitted the nations to go their own ways in times past (Acts 14:16), He was now overlooking those times of ignorance and declaring that all people everywhere should repent in preparation for the day of judgment that was coming (Acts 17:30-31).

To be declared “Lord” in this way was technically not a declaration that Jesus was God.  However, for all practical purposes, it meant the same thing.  That is, at the right hand of God, Jesus was just as invisible to mankind as was God.  To have all authority in heaven and on earth was the authority God had.  To command the obedience of all mankind (which is just what the apostles were insisting on when they declared Jesus as Lord) was a privilege than only God enjoyed.  Thus to be declared Lord in this way was to sit in the place of God as far as the inhabitants of the world were concerned.

You might ask why God didn’t just tell all the nations to repent a long time before.  Why did Jesus have to be crucified and raised to the right hand of God for humanity to turn its eyes toward heaven and repent?  Because humanity needed a strong reason to believe they would find mercy if they looked in that direction (Psalm 130:4).  Creation made clear to us that there was a throne of power in heaven; we needed a redemption of similar scope to convince us it was also a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).  Jesus provided that assurance because He was the Lamb of God (John 1;29,36).

While the apostles boldly and repeatedly proclaimed Jesus as Lord, they did not explicitly and emphatically proclaim Him as God.  Why not?  Because that fact was to be proclaimed from the heavens through the Second Coming (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; and therein launched the judgment of the day of the Lord, or, as Paul calls it in Philippians, the day of Christ).  For in looking heavenward from that point on, we human beings realize that the one we pierced was actually God Himself (Revelation 1:7; Zechariah 12:10).  That was the Revelation of Jesus Christ for which the apostles told everyone to look (1 Peter 1:13), and oh what grace it brings!

See also

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Parousia by James Stuart Russell

I am not the first person to declare that Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again – not by a long shot!

In 1878, James Stuart Russell wrote The Parousia: A Critical Inquiry Into the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming.  In it, Russell argued that the Second Coming is an accomplished event – the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Romans being the most notable earthly fulfillment of that set of prophecies.  The book is still available today from a variety of sources.  It’s even available online, being old enough to have lost copyright protection.

I myself have not read the book.  I have read its Table of Contents (which is a quite thorough outline of the book) and sampled its pages.  I have also read reviews of the book – both positive and negative.  This is how I know the book’s basic argument.  I do not therefore offer the book as proof for my belief.  For that, I rely exclusively on the Bible.  I mention the book, however, so that 1) you may know that this idea of a past Second Coming is not unheard of, and 2) so that you might refer to the book should you find his arguments easier to follow than mine.

I should also mention that there is a school of thought called Preterism into which Russell’s views fall.  Not all preterists would agree with everything that Russell writes (in fact, there are varieties of preterists), but the point is, again, that the idea that Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again is not one that is new to the earth.  In fact, there are preterists who trace their views all the way back to New Testament times, declaring that it is the “futurist view” (that is, the belief that Jesus’ Second Coming is still future) that is “the new kid” on the theological “block.” 

Again, I am not suggesting that Russell specifically or preterists in general would support everything that I write.  Nor am I suggesting that I would support everything they write.  Nor yet am I saying that I derived my ideas from any of these people because I certainly did not.  I learned these things by reading and studying the Bible, and only learned about these folks afterward.   

All I am saying is that even if not widely accepted, the idea that Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again has been around for a long, long time and it has been held by many, many people.  If you’re rejecting it because it’s new to your ears, you owe it to yourself to check further.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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The Key to Understanding the Book of Revelation

The reason that the book of Revelation is so often misunderstood and misquoted is that readers jump over the easy parts and try to comprehend the hard parts.  If they paid more attention to the easy parts, they wouldn’t be so quick to distort the hard parts.

What are the easy parts?  Well, if you’ve ever tried to read it you’ll notice that it is a letter written by the apostle John on behalf of Jesus.  It’s directed to seven churches in seven cities of what we today call Asia Minor (John just says, “Asia” but since he names the cities we can look on a map and see where they are).

Both Jesus and John knew that the contents of the letter were likely to be misunderstood, so they make something crystal clear in the beginning and again at the end of the letter.  Two times in the first chapter and five times in the last chapter the letter says that the events described would occur soon.

It is impossible to misunderstand the letter on this point.  Yet people ignore this fundamental point all the time.  If the timing was near future in the late 1st Century A.D., how could it be anything other than past to us in the 21st Century?

Therefore, anyone who interprets anything in the book of Revelation as prophesying something yet in our future is off base, having ignored the book on one of its central and most easily understood points.

Read or re-read the first and last chapter of Revelation and look for the seven affirmations of the nearness of fulfillment.  Of course, if you think the book is wrong on this point of timing you won’t want to waste your time interpreting anything else in it because you would believe that it couldn’t be trusted.

The good news is that you can trust the book of Revelation.  Everything happened just as the Lord Jesus told the apostle John that it would.  For more, see All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled or Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If Hebrews 10:37 Says That Christ Will Not Delay to Come Again, Why Do Churches Say That He Has?

If God went to the trouble to have the New Testament say that Christ would not delay to come again – and it was a lot of trouble  because people have died to bring these words to us – how can today’s churches contradict those words and say that Christ did delay?

Christ did not delay.  See any one of these five posts which will explain further:

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again 

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled 

The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now 

Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church

Why the Bible Can Be Trusted 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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Why Do Churches Contradict the Bible to Which They Profess Allegiance?

Churches claim the apostles and the New Testament as their authorization.  Yet the apostles and the New Testament said that Christ would come again in that age while today’s churches say that He did not. 

Rest assured, however, that today’s churches are wrong.  Jesus did come again just as He said He would.  See any of these three posts:

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again 

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled 

The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now 

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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If a False Timeline for the Second Coming Is a Sign of a Cult, Then Aren’t All Churches Cults?

Churches and leaders are routinely labeled as cults if they predict Christ’s return in a timeframe that has expired – and especially when they continue to push out the return after the expiration date.  Yet all churches who proclaim that Christ’s return is in the future are pushing out the date beyond the period when the Lord and His apostles said it would occur. 

Read the New Testament, from the Gospels to Revelation, and see that its writers expected Christ’s return in that age – before the generation of Jesus’ contemporaries completely died out.  Thus, when churches today push to the future the date of Christ’s return they are behaving just like those they label cults.

Be assured, however, that our Lord is entirely faithful and true.  See  Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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If You Can’t See Him at the Right Hand of God, How Will You See Him Coming on the Clouds?

At the trial before His crucifixion, Jesus was asked by the leadership of Israel if He was the Messiah.  He said that He was, and that thereafter they would see Him sitting at the right hand of God and coming on the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:64 and Mark 14:62).  After Jesus was raised from the dead, He ascended into heaven.  Although none of the apostles testify to seeing Him take a seat at the right hand of God, they believed it…because Psalm 110:1 states that to be His destination upon ascending. 

If therefore no one physically saw Jesus sit down at the right hand of God, why do some insist that we will physically see His coming again?  The reality is that neither statement can be physically verified and both statements must be accepted on faith.  See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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When the King of Israel Became King of the Nations

When Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead He was installed as king of Israel in the heavenly Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:22-24).  From the right hand of God, He reigned as King of Israel (Psalm 110; Galatians 6:16) throughout the church age (that is, the days during which the New Testament was written). 

At the “Second Coming,” He was made King of all nations (Revelation 11:15; 15:3-4; Psalm 2:8), for He came up to throne of God itself (Daniel 7:13-14).  As to the fact that Jesus’ Second Coming is past tense, see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.  Jesus reigns forever as the King of Israel and King of the Universe (Hebrews 13:8; Isaiah 9:6-7). 

Jesus Christ Is God!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

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Why Are People Looking for the Kingdom of God To Come with Observable Signs?

Jesus could not have been more clear.  In Luke 17:20-21 He told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God would not be coming with signs to be observed.  Why then do so many people still look for Jesus to come in His kingdom with signs to be observed?  It’s folly!

The kingdom is in our midst now for surely it came just when Jesus said it would.  (For elaboration, see The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now .)

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible. For a list of verses relevant to this post, see this post on related blog.

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Like a Thief in the Night

How does a thief in the night come?  Without warning and without detection, until the morning when you realize your loss.

This is how Jesus said He would come again (Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2).  Why then do people continue to look for Him to make a grand physical appearance? 

Do they not understand that He came just as He said He would?

See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible. For a list of verses relevant to this post, see this post on related blog.

Jesus Is the Forerunner

Over and over in the New Testament, the apostles made reference to the location of the Jesus who had been crucified: heaven.

Jesus’ ascension into heaven was remarkable for many reasons, but not least of which was that He was the first human being to ever do so (John 3:13; Hebrews 6:20).  That the rest of the dead were not yet raised at that time is made clear by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, and 2 Timothy 2:18.  This is why Micah prophesied that “the Breaker” would “go up before them”  (Micah 2:13, underlining added).  Jesus “broke” through heaven, making a place for us.  For this reason, He told His disciples the night before He died that He was going to “make a place” for them (John 14:2-6).  Yet, at the time of Paul, as we have seen, no one else had yet ascended with Jesus.

What then happened, you ask?  The answer is that the rest of the dead arose to heaven to be with Him at the Second Coming.  They’ve been with Him there in heaven ever since.

Here then is the question I have for those of you who believe that Jesus’ Second Coming has not yet occurred:  Given Paul’s insistence that the resurrection of the rest of the dead would not take place until the coming of the Lord, how is it that you believe anyone else is now in heaven?

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms for those familiar with the Bible.

Do Not Withhold Good

You know that the Scriptures say that we should not withhold good from those to whom it is due when we it is within our power to do it.  Therefore, if we see a man in need and have the resources to help him, we should help.

You also know that the Scriptures tell us that hope deferred makes the heart sick.  Therefore, if we do not have the present ability to help the man but promise to provide it later, we should send the help as soon as we are able.  It almost goes without saying that we should not continually put off fulfillment of our obligation.

It’s clear that God led the early church to expect the return of the Lord and the coming of the kingdom before their entire generation passed away.  Almost every page of the New Testament pulsates with this hope.  The sense of expectation is palpable.  Yet here we are, dozens of generations since that time, and some people say that the Lord still has not fulfilled that promise.  That would mean that He has led generation after generation to expect something that He promised, but has still not delivered – almost two thousand years since He said the time would be “soon.”  How can this be?

The answer is that it cannot be!  It cannot be that God would make the hearts of His people sick…time after time.  It’s always been in His power to effect the coming of the kingdom.  How could He withhold what He Himself had promised and led His people to expect? 

The good news is that God has not withheld from us the good that He promised.  He has not made our hearts sick by a repeated deferring of our hope.  Rather, He did everything He promised in the time frame that He promised.  The Lord has come…and has reigned over heaven and earth ever since!  (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again )

Therefore, do not proclaim the Lord Jesus who is to come again.  Instead, proclaim the Lord Jesus who has come again just as He said and who reigns forevermore.  Those who have eyes of faith see Him now…and serve Him gladly!

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