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.

A King Shall Reign and Prosper

Thursday, November 3, 2011

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5,6 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, written over 2,600 years ago, still awaits fulfillment. The nation Israel, and the world, has yet to experience the reign of this King.

The Middle East has been plagued with turmoil and animosity for millennia. Israel in her 4,000-year existence has never dwelt peacefully in her land. She has never enjoyed her earthly kingdom. Israel’s sinful disobedience caused God to righteously punish her using exiles. Gentile armies repeatedly invaded and overran Israel, carrying the Jews off to foreign lands (Leviticus 26:27-35; Deuteronomy 28:25; et al.).

Consequently, the Jewish race is far from its homeland. It is scattered all over the world today. “The days come, saith the Lord,” when that will change. As soon as our Dispensation of Grace expires, and the Church the Body of Christ is raptured into heaven, Israel’s prophetic program will resume. The Jews will experience seven years of God’s wrath, the Tribulation.

One-third of Israel will become believers during the Tribulation, and this remnant of Israel will become the nation Israel in the subsequent kingdom (Zechariah 13:8,9). “And so all Israel [the believing remnant] shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob [Israel]: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:26,27).

After Christ’s Second Coming, He will make the New Covenant with Israel, cleansing her of her national sins (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Acts 3:19; Hebrews 8:8-13). Finally, Christ’s earthly kingdom will be established, and today’s Scripture will be fulfilled. Israel will safely dwell in her land (Jeremiah 23:7,8). “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

A glorious future awaits the world and Israel!

A Land Flowing With Milk and Honey #2

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey” (Numbers 14:7,8 KJV).

God had been faithful in delivering Israel from Egypt. Now, He would bring her into an exceeding good land.” But, Israel doubted God, and wanted to send 12 spies to explore that land. After 40 days of exploring Canaan, the spies return to Israel’s camp. Today’s Scripture records their confession before Moses and Israel.

Canaan, the Promised Land, was abounding with food and water, high agricultural productivity (“a land flowing with milk and honey”—the presence of milk-producing animals implied grasses and other vegetation; honey indicated pollinating creatures like bees). The spies showed Israel the large grape cluster, the pomegranates, and the figs they had collected in Canaan (Numbers 13:21-27). The 12 spies confirmed that God had indeed given them a very great land, but 10 spies feared military defeat by the Gentiles dwelling therein, so Israel refused to enter (Numbers 13:28–14:11). Thus, God, in His righteous anger, punished them via the 40-year wilderness wandering (Deuteronomy 1:21-ff.).

Today, the Promised Land does not exhibit the beauty it had in Moses’ day. It is desolate and barren. But, that will change at Christ’s Second Coming and the following earthly kingdom. The Promised Land will be restored, and the curse of sin will be broken (Isaiah 51:3; Joel 3:17-21, Micah 4:1-3; et al.).

According to Amos 9:11-15, “[Israel will] build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (verses 14,15).

One day, Israel will eternally dwell in her land, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Is Our Preaching a Waste of Time?

Friday, October 21, 2011

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48 KJV).

If most will never trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, then why preach to them at all? Are we wasting our time by preaching salvation through Christ alone, since most of our audience will ultimately go to the everlasting lake of fire anyway (Matthew 7:13,14)?

Frankly, we know not who will ultimately trust in Christ and who will not. We simply preach the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to everyone, and then let them choose to have faith in Christ or reject Christ. If they reject Christ, and most will, our preaching is still not a waste. As Jesus taught in today’s Scripture, the salvation message that lost people reject will be that which condemns them to hell at the Great White Throne Judgment!

God knew only eight people would be saved from the Great Flood, yet He still directed Noah to preach (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Why? So the people who rejected God’s Word would be without excuse and justly condemned.

“Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him” (John 6:64). Jesus knew “from the beginning” that many Jews would completely ignore His preaching, so why did He preach? Firstly, to save anyone who would trust in Him. Secondly, so that He would fair in condemning those who rejected Him. Those who rejected Christ will be condemned by the very words that He preached… the very words they rejected! No one will argue with God, “I did not know” or “I never had a chance.”

The Apostle Paul admitted he would never convert many or most, just “some” (Romans 11:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:22). Even though God knew just a few people would believe His written Word, He still preserved it for the benefit of those who would believe it. Furthermore, God’s preserved Word and our preaching it will be used against the lost when they are ultimately judged.

The Deliverer

Monday, October 3, 2011

“This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush” (Acts 7:35 KJV).

Moses is a type (figure, preview) of Jesus Christ. By commanding Moses to do what he did for Israel, God was foreshadowing what the Lord Jesus Christ would accomplish for Israel millennia later.

When Moses approached Israel in Egypt for the first time, Israel rejected him. Today’s Scripture quotes Exodus 2:14, where a Hebrew asked Moses, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” Moses, who had just murdered an Egyptian soldier, fled Egypt and disappeared for 40 years.

After that 40-year period, the LORD appeared to Moses in the famous burning bush account to inform Moses that He would now deliver Israel (Exodus chapter 3). By faith Moses returned to Egypt to deliver God’s people from slavery. As Moses led Israel out of Egyptian bondage, so Jesus Christ will one day deliver Israel from satanic bondage.

When Jesus Christ came to Israel the first time, they rejected Him too. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). In fact, the Jewish priests shouted (John 19:15): “We have no king but Caesar!” Jesus Christ was crucified on Calvary’s cross, murdered at the Jews’ behest and executed by the Roman government. In the early Acts period, Jesus Christ, as a royal exile, ascended to His Father’s right hand, where He still sits today.

As Moses left Israel for 40 years, Christ has left Israel for nearly 2000 years. Jesus Christ will return at His Second Coming to deliver Israel from her sins, from Satan’s power, and from the Gentiles’ rule (Isaiah 59:20,21; Jeremiah 31:34; Romans 11:26-29; et al.). This second time, the believing remnant of Israel will accept Jesus as their Messiah-King, and He will set up His earthly kingdom (Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:8,9; Acts 3:19-26; Hebrews 9:28; et al.).

As Moses lead Israel to the Promised Land, so Jesus Christ will one day lead Israel to that same land, to dwell in it forever.

To a Wearied Christian Soldier

Thursday, September 29, 2011

“But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing” (2 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV).

Job was in terrible shape—he lost his livestock, his children, and his health. He was so despondent that he wished he were dead (Job 3:3,9-13)! In fact, Job lamented: “My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul” (10:1).

Sometimes, a believer’s can be downright depressing. We are hated and ridiculed for being Christians and labeled “hindrances to progress.” Our lives may be threatened and our family and friends will ostracize us because we serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole world is against God’s purpose and plan, thus it opposes us Christians. Oftentimes, it seems like we Christians are fighting a losing battle. Deception, corruption, and injustice are just so widespread. How will we ever reverse the course of this evil world? Rest assured that our Lord Jesus Christ will take of that mess at His Second Coming!

The key is to focus on sound doctrine, not on our circumstances. We focus on the things we cannot see: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are heaven bound. This evil world system is not our home—that is why we are not welcome here! The present evil world in which we live is only temporary. Our world will not always be so dire and gloomy. One day, Jesus Christ destroy this heaven and earth, and He will create a new heaven and a new earth. We rejoice in that hope!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). It is worth the suffering! 😀

The Precious Blood of Christ

Friday, September 23, 2011

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

The term “redeem” means “to buy something back that which was originally yours.” When God created Adam (the first man), mankind was in complete fellowship with God. There was no sin or death. That all changed when Adam disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6,7). Sin had ruined God’s perfect creation. There, in Eden, God lost the human race to sin and mankind became part of Satan’s policy of evil, “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 2:2).

Coming up through the Scriptures, we see God setting His plan into motion. Somehow He would redeem man, and restore the fellowship He and man had once shared. God purposed in Himself to die for man—God would become a man to shed His sinless blood for our sins. The sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, has “purchased us with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

First and foremost, Jesus Christ died to redeem the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Matthew 20:28: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many [Israel]” (cf. Luke 1:68). But, 1 Timothy 2:5,6 says: “the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” When we come to Paul’s ministry (“in due time”), God reveals that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for Israel and for everyone else (us Gentiles!).

Just as God will restore Israel at Christ’s Second Coming (Acts 3:18-21; Romans 11:26-29), Christ has restored us unto Himself now: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…” (Galatians 3:13). If you have not done so, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, His dying for your sins, His burial, and His resurrection for your justification, and God will save you forever.