Two Secret Comings of Christ

Saturday, November 5, 2011

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV).

The Old Testament prophets foretold Israel’s coming Messiah. Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapter 53 described a suffering and dying Messiah. Isaiah 9:6,7 and Zechariah 14:1-4 prophesied a Messiah who would win battles for Israel and ultimately be her King. The prophets could not understand how one Messiah could fulfill both roles (1 Peter 1:10,11), so they wondered if there were two Messiahs.

In hindsight, on this side of Calvary, we understand that there is one Jesus Christ, but His coming described in the Old Testament is actually two comings. Christ came to Israel 2,000 years ago to die and resurrect (His First Coming), but He will one day return to Israel as King (His Second Coming).

But, we Berean Bible students understand that God kept our Dispensation of Grace a secret from those Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:5,9; Colossians 1:25-27). Until the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed it to Paul, God never told anyone of a secret time period between those two comings of Christ. So, in addition to two prophesied comings of Christ (His earthly ministry and His millennial reign as King), there are two secret comings of Christ in Scripture.

Our Dispensation of Grace opened in Acts chapter 9, when the ascended Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul (later the Apostle Paul) on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:13-18). Instead of pouring out His wrath, which should have occurred after the Jews stoned their prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7 (Acts 7:55,56 cf. Psalm 110:1), God poured out His grace on Saul and saved him! This coming of Christ to open our dispensation, save Saul, and make him Paul the Apostle, was unknown to the Old Testament prophets.

Likewise, there is a secret coming of Christ to conclude our dispensation and take us (the Body of Christ) to heaven. The rapture, a “mystery” (secret) unknown to the Old Testament, is only revealed in Paul’s epistles (today’s Scripture).

You only see these marvelous truths when you study the Bible dispensationally.

No Feel-Good Message

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66 KJV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ was loving and kindhearted, the meekest man who ever lived. However, He boldly spoke God’s truth, even if it meant offending most of His audience. If you defend the rightly divided King James Bible, expect some of your audience to be irritated and offended. Do not compromise, for God’s preferences are always unpopular with mankind.

Unfortunately, modern-day Christendom disagrees with the Lord Jesus’ approach. Visit today’s “inspirational” bookshelves. Notice visages and names of “Christian” celebrities, authors of heretical books that teach health and wealth (the multi-volume “Spiritual Larceny Series”).

Today, most people seek a “loving Jesus,” a non-offensive “Sunday school teacher” who offers brief counsel sessions, instant healing and deliverance, and great material riches. They deliberately overlook the true Jesus, the righteous Judge who will not overlook man’s sin. Listen to the garbage on “Christian” television networks, radio stations, and websites. Even those with the most perverted theological persuasions see and hear something they like! This is reminiscent of what the Jews told God’s prophets (Isaiah 30:10): “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth [“feel-good”] things, prophesy deceits [lies!]:”

Man in his natural state hates God; he is God’s enemy. “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7a). Our Lord Jesus Christ never spoke to entertain His audience. He taught them doctrine that would save their soul! Before it is saved, a soul will become uncomfortable. It realizes that it is headed for hell, in desperate need of salvation—salvation that it cannot provide itself.

Offended individuals in today’s Scripture permanently left Jesus Christ. His righteous statements insulted them. They saw their need for Him, the Bread of Life, and their wicked hearts despised Him.

The Gospel of Grace—Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—is no feel-good message. Christ’s finished work on Calvary is always offensive to religious people (Galatians 5:11): it testifies to their inability to save themselves. We politely, relentlessly, and unapologetically preach this “offensive” message.

Impressionable Minds and Effectual Doctrine

Monday, October 31, 2011

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV).

Today is Halloween. We mull the idea of sincere children arrayed in costumes going door-to-door and exclaiming, “Trick-or-treat!” They have never been taught that this “innocent looking” holiday is rooted in the spiritually toxic soils of Celtic paganism, devil worship, and superstition.

Considering the “Harry Potter” franchise and Halloween, the gravity of devil worship has been downplayed. Future generations are receiving mixed messages from the Church the Body of Christ. Christians, rather than speaking against these atrocities, have become permissive regarding the activities that God hates. They remain silent, greatly reducing their impact on the world, and allowing the world to impact them! Ephesians 5:14-17 exclaims, “Wake up, O sleeping Christians, Wake up!”

God clearly forbade witchcraft in Israel (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Micah 5:12). Witchcraft is sin, according to Galatians 5:20. God wanted Israel, His earthly people, to not participate in Satan’s policy of evil. They were not to mingle with the works of darkness. God wants the same thing for us, the Church the Body of Christ. Note how the Ephesians burned their spell books in Acts 19:19.

There is no law “Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween,” yet notice today’s Scripture. Although they are not explicitly forbidden, some activities harm others and ourselves, and are inconsistent with our identity in Christ Jesus. Thus, we avoid those activities. If an activity does not bring glory, praise, and honor to God Almighty (the Lord Jesus Christ), it is devil worship. Satan wants you to worship something other than the one true God.

We desperately need our young people to realize the weightiness of sound doctrine, especially regarding the occult, witchcraft, et cetera (and its most subtle forms like Halloween and Harry Potter). God Almighty instructs us to educate them with sound Bible teaching. We know that God’s Word will “effectually work also in [them] that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). God’s Word will reach their minds, we just need to plant and water, sowing it into their minds, and let God take care of the rest.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or the study video can be viewed here.

As I Ought to Speak

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20 KJV).

The Apostle Paul, writing from his Roman prison (“in bonds”), exhorted the Ephesians to not only pray “for all saints,” but to pray for him too. Why?

Today, there is a battle between good and evil, a war between God and Satan. We Christians are soldiers in that war: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (verse 12).

As Christians, we are Satan’s enemies. In order to attack God, the devil will target us, God’s children! Thankfully, in Christ Jesus, we have been equipped to “stand against the wiles [tricky schemes] of the devil” (verse 11). In Christ, we have “the armour of God” and “the power of [the Lord’s] might” (verses 10-16). God has also given us His written Word, the Bible, “the sword of the Spirit,” to defend ourselves (verse 17). “But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This battle intensifies when Satan distracts Christians so they lose sight of their victory in Christ. We Christians, in discouragement, begin to retreat. The Holy Spirit, knowing this, interjected today’s Scripture into this passage. There are times when we fear speaking out for God and His Word. We fear rejection and shame. This is why Paul, in today’s Scripture, asked the Ephesians to pray for him—he needed to “speak boldly” and preach Christ Jesus in that awful, nerve-racking prison.

Saints, pray for all our Christian brethren who, like us, also experience trepidation when evangelizing the lost and teaching God’s Word. Pray that they be bold, for remember, “they [and we] ought to speak….”

The Ever-Luminous Beacon

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105 KJV).

Life is sometimes a lonely, dark, confusing maze. During these disappointing and chaotic periods, where should we turn for advice? Today’s Scripture enlightens us. The Bible is a beacon shining brightly in the midst of life’s troubles.

Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The Bible is “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16): it came from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Scripture gives us God’s wisdom regarding marriage, the workplace, parenting, friendships, enduring difficult times, but most importantly, how to be saved from our sins and obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ.

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God never intended His Word to answer every possible question. Contrariwise, God gave us His Word to teach us what we need to know—information that is of eternal value. We need sound doctrine that will carry us through this earthly life and right into eternity. The Bible does not give us all the answers, but it does educate us about God’s purpose and plan for the heaven and earth. Furthermore, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon teach us what God is doing today.

God has “magnified [his] word above all [his] name” (Psalm 138:2). “The word of the Lord endureth for ever” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25). The Bible is “truth” (John 17:17). God’s Word is unlike any other book. The King James Bible is God’s preserved Word in English, so it should serve as your final authority in life. As we study God’s Word rightly divided as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs—understanding what Scripture is written to and about us versus what is written to Israel—and place our faith in what we read, God the Holy Spirit will then take His Word and use it to work within us for His glory.

With the King James Bible in hand, we always have the (free!) counsel of God, the ever-luminous beacon, literally at our fingertips….

As We Stand Before God Our Saviour

Friday, October 14, 2011

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV).

Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians concludes with a reference to the rapture, Christ gathering the Church that is His Body (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:17; 5:23). Actually, today’s Scripture describes an event that will occur after the rapture.

Saints, one day (the rapture), the trump of God shall sound and we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)! After the rapture, we will stand before “the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not where we answer for sin, but rather when Jesus Christ evaluates our Christian lives and spiritual maturity. Each of us will give an individual account to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). Jesus Christ will compare our spiritual maturity (the doctrine we believed) to Paul’s epistles. On this basis, the Lord will give us a role (a position in the government of the heavenly places) (Ephesians 2:6,7).

But, notice Christ’s coming in today’s Scripture is not His coming “for all His saints” (the rapture), but rather with all His saints.” After the spiritual capacities of the members of the Body of Christ have been judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus Christ will take us with Him to meet God the Father. Today’s Scripture describes when Jesus Christ will present us to our Father God. Wow!

God the Father will then appoint us to those positions of the heavenly government that Jesus Christ determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Remember that our individual roles (offices) are determined by how much sound doctrine we built up in our inner man. This is why dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth,” is so important. We do not want to stand before God “ashamed,” which will SADLY be the case for many Christians because they never studied the Bible God’s way (2 Timothy 2:15).

Seeing the World With a New Perspective

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

Yesterday, after 10 days of being unable to use one of my eyes, I was exuberant to hear and “see” the world from a new perspective. As it is in the physical world, so it is in the spiritual world. Just as infection rendered one my physical eyes useless, and thus my being unable to see with it, so sin renders man’s spiritual eyes useless.

Several passages in the Bible use the word “darkness” to describe lost mankind in his natural spiritual blindness (for instance, Psalm 69:23; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:2; Matthew 4:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 1:21; Romans 2:19; Romans 11:10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Ephesians 4:17-19; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9-10). In this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel’s spiritual eyes are temporarily blinded (Acts 13:6-11; Romans 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

The heart of a lost (unsaved) person is totally dark, spiritually blinded. A lost man’s spirit is dead, unable to function and commune with God (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He knows nothing about God and avoids God.

Suddenly, the glorious light of God’s Word shines brightly, penetrating that callous, dim soul. As that lost soul hears and believes the Gospel of Grace—how that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—it is regenerated and “quickened” (made alive; Ephesians 2:1,5). God’s Holy Spirit illuminates that soul so that it realizes what it never knew before: it was destined for hell, but by God’s grace, it is now “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

Before we trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, our souls (minds) were dark. Now that we are in Christ, the indwelling Holy Ghost teaches us through His written Word that which we knew not in our natural (lost) state (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; Ephesians 1:17,18). We “see” the world from a new perspective—God’s perspective.