THE COMING OF THE LORD
Victor ProposchTHESE days are filled with national and individual apprehension, and in the word of the Lord Jesus we observe 'Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.' (Luke 21:26) We who are aware of the Bible which is the Word of God know that in these last days we will undergo a time of great trouble. Jeremiah called it 'the Time of Jacob's Trouble' while Daniel wrote of the period immediately preceding the time of restoration and of resurrection in this manner:
'And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, 0 Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.. many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.' (Daniel 12:1-4)
I am confident that all of us here are anxiously looking forward to that great day when the Lord Jesus shall appear in Glory and Power. The specific day of His coming has not been revealed to human minds. This was stated by the Lord himself, for He made it clear to His disciples as we read in Mark 13:32-37:
'But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.'
It seems significant that all of the servants were given instructions as to their particular duties, but that only one was commanded to watch for the coming of the Master. All are required to be prepared, but one was the watchman. Many of us here today are watchmen, but not all have the ability to observe the signs of His Coming. To those who see, there is a clear duty to sound the alarm to awaken the sleepers, who if they rise and obey, are preserved from harm, while the others who scoff are denied access to the marriage feast reserved for the Elect at His Coming. Thus, the parable of the ten virgins shows that all slumbered and slept, and all awoke at the great cry 'Behold, the Bride Groom cometh', but only those properly prepared were admitted to the Feast. It is of interest to observe that women as well as men are considered to be friends of the Bride Groom, at this Feast. In the context of marriage at the time of the Lord's first coming, the Bride was admitted towards the end of the Feasting, and presumably the virgins were there to bring her in at the appropriate moment when she, the Bride, has made herself ready.
In this context, we rnust read I Thessalonians 4:13-18:
'But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first.. then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.. and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.'
In the Greek text, the phrase is oti autos o kurios en keleusmati, en phone arxaggilou, kai en salpiggi Theo..., literally 'because Himself the Lord with a word of command, by a voice of an archangel, with a trumpet of God'. The introductory word in the Greek to each incident is the word en, indicating that three separate things occur. This is mentioned because modern translations make the word of command being uttered by the Archangel. The little Greek word EN clearly separates each of the three.
Consequently, we think of His Coming as occurring in separate but connected phases. The first indicator is the word of command. Whether this is the LORD God, the Father, commanding the Son to return, or whether this be a command to the Elect to be ready, or whether the command is to the spirits of the dead in Christ, is not clearly identified within this passage, nor is it defined elsewhere in the Scriptures as far as I can see. Readers may have their own ideas about this, and I have no intention of making anything certain, that remains essentially uncertain to me. But it does seem clear that the Coming of the Lord Jesus is divided into three quite distinct and separate sections. There may be but little time difference between the three parts.
Let us take the first command! This is the reference to the parable of the ten virgins indicating that all ten slumbered and slept. Let us read the parable in Matthew 25:1-13:
'Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily 1 say unto you, 1 know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.'
The question is: Who cried out 'Behold the Bride Groom cometh'? Can we identify this cry with the command from which the LORD referred to, or is it the watchmen who identify the coming of the King and Master?
If it be the watchmen, we have an awful responsibility laid upon us. That responsibility will become greater as the time nears. The signs of the times that the Holy Spirit reveals to some among us imparts a tremendous feeling of awe, and invokes an horrifying responsibility upon our shoulders. Not all of us are appointed watchmen, but everyone has a responsibility to listen to the ringing alarms.
When the tocsin (alarm bell) sounds, the servants of the Master are to get up, and prepare the house and themselves for His appearing.
The next stage is the voice of the Archangel. This reminds me of the parable of the field of Mixed Seed. We read Matthew 13:24-30:
'Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
But he said, Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.. and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.'
The Lord's own explanation of this parable is set down in Matthew 13:36-43:
'Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.'
This parable looks to Israel as she is in this age: a field of mixed seed. The good seed, the true sons of Abraham, is sown in this field. But even of these who are of Israel, there is a separated Elect. Revelation shows that there is a symbolic 144,000 who are the Elect out of Israel. Do we look to this Elect, out of all Israel, who are a separate class, the friends of the Bride Groom?
Jesus referred to His Elect, when speaking of His Return in Glory.
He said: 'And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.' (Matthew 24:30-31)
Does this indicate that the archangel sends forth His angels to gather the Elect? The Elect, however, are more than just of Israel. There are elect from all nations, who are His Body, the spiritual Temple. There is a mystery here. On the one hand, we have Israel, seemingly separated into two groups, with a portion out of Israel meeting with the Lord, yet the remainder, still the good seed, are gathered into the barn. On the other side there is the Elect from all nations.
The third sound is the Trump of God. This signals the process of the rising of the dead in Christ at first, and then we who are left are to rise together with them to be ever with the Lord. We may think, then, that the going forth of the angels relates to the Elect still living in Israel when He comes and are gathered with the Lord, while the remainder of Israel still living are separated into the barn, so that the Bride can make herself ready.
With the Trump of God, we the Elect are all changed into new clothing for the wedding feast, into which we enter with gladness and rejoicing.
During the Feast, the Bride, Israel, is made ready - purified, cleansed and renewed. It is not altogether clear what is involved here, but one may consider that at this time, during the absence of the Elect, Elijah returns in the full regal livery of His Master, to bring Israel to her God. The events for the residue of Israel are apparently first: the end of Jacob's trouble, with the entry of Israel into her chambers, and secondly: to the calling together of the dry bones and of their renewal by the Holy Spirit. All this is decreed in order that the Bride make herself ready.
At the appropriate time, Israel is brought before the Bridegroom and the Sacred Marriage of Heaven and Earth is finalised. The Bride receives the New Covenant as the Gift of the Bridegroom.
At about this time, while these things are happening within Israel before the marriage, the enemies of God gather themselves for the final battle. It is probable that the nations will gather in mighty force and march against Israel. The chambers may possibly be defined by water barriers, such as the surrounding seas, or in relation to the remnants of Israel within Europe, by major river barriers such as the Oder or the Rhine. The flooding of the Oder a couple of years ago, if repeated, will provide a barrier to advancing land forces, but cannot prevent air or missile attacks unless the LORD God creates conditions making such weapons ineffective. In any case, the nations are led to attack Jerusalem in anticipation of the Great Battle wherein the Lord intervenes, and His Feet stand on the Mount of Olives.
In my view, this gathering of the nations begins when the Elect are taken to the Marriage Feast. As we suggest, when Jesus comes for His Elect, then every eye shall see Him. The natural reaction of unregenerate men must be 'We saw it but do not believe it. It must have been just imagination or some trickery coming out of Hollywood.'
Yet the movement of Israel, at this time, out of Babylon, must create great fury among the nations, making them desirous of punishing such a nation and destroying them utterly 'That the name of Israel be no more remembered among men.'
With these comments in mind, it may be useful to examine some Time Measures relating to the Throne of the Lord.
Elizabeth was crowned on 2nd June 1953, since when attacks upon the Throne have escalated, amidst increasing attacks upon Israel. It is significant that from the Coronation, an interval of exactly 17,640 days will end on September 18, 2001. This latter day is the date of the Hebrew Feast of Trumpets in that year. The interval is seven times 2,520 days, where 2,520 represents the seven times punishment of Israel.
Now, 2,520 is seven times 360, so that here we have 49 Prophetical or Adamic years ending on that day. The final 360 days is therefore a Sabbatical Year on this particular time scale which begins at the Coronation. The final 360 day period, will commence on September 23, 2000. In that year, the Feast of Trumpets, the beginning of the Agricultural year under the Israel Calendar, begins at sunset on September 29, running into the 30th September. This is just one week after our Adamic Calendar Date. However, this suggested Sabbath Year, is a 49th Year, so that under the Law of the Land, the following Hebrew year is a Jubilee Year.
On the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month in the Jubilee Year, the trumpets were sounded in Israel to proclaim release of debts and the return of heritable lands to families. We read of this in Leviticus 28:8-13:
'And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. It shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return everyman unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed, For it is the jubilee, it shall he holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.'
But let us apply a few calendar facts. The Hebrew year is based upon both the moon and the Sun. Twelve lunar months total 354.367 days, falling short of the adopted year value of 365.2425 days now applied in calculating the Gregorian Calendar. This is 10.754 days longer than the twelve lunar months. In order that the Hebrew year of lunar months be maintained in reasonable harmony with the Solar year, it is necessary to add one lunar month of 29 or 30 days every second or third year. Consequently, Solar years should be applied to calculating the 49th Hebrew Year and the Jubilee in the 50th Year.
Now, the Accession of Elizabeth is dated in 1952, when her father died. From the Hebrew year beginning in 1952, 49 solar years end in 2001, making the year 2000 to 2001 a Sabbatical Year, and 2001-2002 a Jubilee Year.
In this case, as the end of the Adamic Age of 6,000 years is fixed by Davidson as at the even of the Feast of Trumpets 2001, we do not use the modern Calendar January to December as the reference. The Hebrew Calendar operates in history, and did so even before it was a legally defined year under the Law.
However, if we adopt the year of the Coronation (and this is implied from the equation of seven times 2,520 days ending on 18th September, 2001), then the Sabbatical Year begins on that day, ending at the eve of the Feast of Trumpets in 2002, beginning at Sunset on September 7, 2002, The Jubilee year of Elizabeth's reign, using the terms of the Law of the LORD, begins on that day, but will end at the Eve of the Feast of Trumpets in 2003. That day is equivalent to September 16/17, 2003.
The purpose of advancing these differing schedules is a warning to everyone that the Day of the Return of the Lord Jesus remains hidden from human understanding. We are not aware of God's timetable, yet there is sufficient here to alert the watchers that His Coming is nigh, even at the doors. He may indeed come at any time for His Elect. We do not know the interval between this coming and His appearance at the head of His armies, to fight against Satan and his armies and the Beast. It is probable that He will appear before Jerusalem, for Zechariah 14 defines a time when all nations gather against Jerusalem. We read, then:
'Behold, the day ofthe LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished, and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against these nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.' (Zechariah 14:14.)
We are standing on the brink of a collapsing man made world order. There are numerous signs that point to this. The things that you have read here reveal some of the mysteries of the Divine Over-Rule and of the Divine Plan and Purpose. May we lift high our heads, looking up, for our redemption draws near. It is not the end of the planet earth, as some think it, for the Coming of the Lord will herald restitution and restoration, and the fulfilment of the Promise of God to Abraham, when the kingdom of God is a reality on this planet earth, and all Israel will indeed 'Rule with God'.
Is it correct to refer to the year 2000 as the Millennium? There seems to be some confusion, especially among Christians, regarding the correct meaning of the term.
Yet an earlier generation of Bible-believing Protestants had no difficulty. To them the Millennium meant the thousand year reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Astronaut, upon our planet. See Rev. 19:11 and Rev. 20:4 etc.
There will be an all-powerful kingdom. The word of the King of Kings will be final. There will be no question of His commands. It is well to remember that Christ is not returning to establish a democracy, but a Theocracy. As a result the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. A request we make every time we say the Lord's Prayer.
The scriptures tell us that the time of the second coming is very near. All the signs are there, Matt. 24. Everywhere people cry out for law and order. Society is breaking down. We witness the rise in crime, drugs, immorality and 'wickedness in high places'.
However, Luke 21:28, tells us for our comfort 'when these things begin to come to pass look up and lift your heads for your redemption draweth nigh'.
Miss A. Mayson
Church of Britain, Blackburn
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