The ministry of the apostle Paul was for, and from a certain time associated with, “them that heard” the speaking of the Son. The twelve had heard what He speak on earth; Paul heard what He spake from heaven. We have thus a double conformation; and though we expect to find the same testimony given on the same lines, we may expect also to find some advance upon it.
When Paul was called, Peter’s proclamation had been already made; and all who believed were baptized with John’s baptism unto repentance, in view of the return of the expected Messiah, whom God had promised to “send,” and “the times of refreshing,” and the restoration of all things which should fulfil all the prophecies which God had spoken by the prophets ( Acts iii. 19-26).
We are not concerned therefore with the particular shades of meaning which may be given to the words used to describe the expexted sending of Jesus Christ. We are not “building from the top” by a discussion of the usage of the words parousia, epiphaneia, or apokalupsis. Whatever words were used, one thing was meant, viz., the sending of Jesus Christ, in connection with which, “ALL that the prophets had spoken” would have received fulfilment in due course, including the Revelation (Apocalyps) given by John’s writing.
There was plenty of time for all that was necessary to be included in “the restoration of all things.” Another forty years of probation for Israel was given between the Crucifixion of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem – a period which was nearly covered by the Dispensation of the Acts of the Apostles. It must be evident to all who will give their attention to the great dominating fact of Peter’s proclamation following immediately on Pentecost, that the whole of that Dispensation was unique. It had one purpose, one subject, one object, one testimony, given by one special class of witnesses, and by no others. All is summed up in Acts iii. 19-26 a Scripture which, though not cut out of their Bibles by most of its readers, is nevertheless practically ignored.
The traditions that Christ came to found a Church, and that that Church was founded at Pentecost, have made Acts iii. 19-26 absolutely meaningless, for it has no place whatever in those traditions of men, and is made of none effect by them. The consequences, as affecting a right dividing of “the Word of truth,” and a true understanding of the rest of the New Testament, are most serious and important. All the “difficulties” manifested by those who seek to have their “questions” answered, are caused by the confusion that has been thus brought about.
The earlier Epistles of Paul are hopelessly obscured by their not being studied chronologically. Let us look at them again in the light of the order in which they were written; and let this particular thought of the sundry times and divers manners have its due weight in their interpretation.
This was the first written Scripture of that Dispensation after the proclamation of Peter in Acts iii. 19-26. All beside 1 Thessalonians was oral. Unless we are to believe that God was really mocking His people Israel, that He had no intention of fulfilling His promise to “send Jesus Christ” and “restore all things,” and fulfil all prophecies, we must believe that His first written Scripture which followed that proclamation would necessarily have had special reference to it.
The Epistle starts from that promise of God; and unless we read it in that light, it is impossible for us to perceive the teaching which God intended to convey by it. It was addressed to an assembly at Thessalonica of those who believed the testimony of those who were confirming the Word of God’s Son. It was no modern “church” with its organisations and institutions, but a simple assembly of those who had “received the word” of Peter and Paul, and were “waiting for God’s Son from heaven.”
The promise had been made; Paul had taken it there, and Acts xvii. tells us how he went, and what he said. There ”was a synagogue of the Jews” there, “and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out the Scriptures.”
Not out of his own head, but out of the Scriptures. He was not founding a church with its “services” so called, and institutions and organisations, dramatic performances and whist drives. No, only the Scriptures. He had the old Scriptures, not any modern criticism of them. He needed none of the modern methods, tricks, and contrivances, which are the staple of an effete system of “organised Christianity,” for he had all he needed in the “Scriptures of truth” – the Written Word, and the Living Word. So he “reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and setting forth that the Messiah must needs have suffered as Peter testified (Acts iii. 18), and have risen again from among the dead, and that this is the Messiah - Jesus, Whom I announce to you” (Acts xvii. 1-3).
What more he announced appears from the charge brought against him and Silas before the magistrates. It was that they said, “There is another (and a different) King, one Jesus” (verse 7). Here then was a confirmation of Peter’s proclamation. Here was their “work of faith” (verse 3) in “turning to God from idols” (verse 9); the very word used by Peter in Acts iii. 19 (“be converted”).
Here was their “labour of love” (verse 3) in “turning to serve the living and true God” (verse 9). Here was their “patience of hope” (verse 3) in turning to God “TO WAIT FOR HIS SON FROM HEAVEN” (verse 10).
The heavens had received Him; He was to be sent from hence (Acts iii. 20,21). That was why they “waited for God’s Son from heaven” (1 Thess. i. 9,10). That Blessed One for Whom they waited had been raised from among the dead, and had “delivered them from the wrath about to come.” John the Baptist had given the same warning (Matt. iii. 7). The Lord had spoken of it (Luke xxi. 22,23). The apostle again mentions it in chapter ii. 16. There he tells them that this wrath was coming upon the nation for an end (eis telos), but in v. 9, he could say, ”God hath not appointed US to wrath, but to obtain deliverance [from it] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is why they “waited for God’s Son from heaven.”
It will be noted that the apostle includes himself as waiting for this deliverance. Paul has been charged with having been mistaken in thus waiting for and expecting the Lord, by those who seek an excuse for their own neglect. But it is clear that he held it as a very present hope both for himself and for those to whom he wrote – a hope, the fulfilment of which of which was to be enjoyed together, and at the same time.
God had promised to “send” His Son; that was why Paul and those to whom he wrote at Thessalonica were waiting. Paul was consumed with a great wish to see them and be in their presence, and see their face. He longed, he says, to go to them “with much desire, even I Paul; and this, once, and even twice, but Satan hindered us.”
Nevertheless, he had great joy when he remembered that it was not for long. For, he asks, “What is OUR HOPE, or joy, or crown of boasting? Are not even YE before our Lord Jesus Christ at His parousia? For YE are OUR glory and OUR joy” (ii. 17-20).
In the third chapter he again expresses his great desire to see them (verses 5-10), and prays (verses 11-13) that “God Himself, even our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ may direct OUR way to YOU. But [in any case] may the Lord make you to exceed and abound in love one toward another, and toward all, even as we also [do] toward you, to the end that He may establish YOUR hearts blameless in holiness before God, even our Father at the parousia (or presence) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His holy [angels]“ (iii. 11-13).
Was not this “presence” very near to these Thessalonian believers who had obeyed Peter’s call, and repented and “turned to the Lord,” and waited for the speedy fulfilment of the Lord’s promise? It was no far-off matter with them. It could not have referred to a presence which is even now far off. It was a near, yea, even a then present hope to be realised by these very believers who were thus being addressed – a hope that even they themselves might live to see and enjoy.
In the fourth chapter he makes a further revelation of truth as to this hope – a truth which the twelve could not reveal. Both they and he said much with regard to those who were alive; much about their repentance, and turning to the Lord, and waiting for Him to be sent from heaven; but what about those who had fallen asleep? How could they participate in this promised sending of Jesus Christ, and be the apostle’s “crown of rejoicing”?
Those who had fallen asleep had repented; they had turned to the Lord; they had been waiting for Him. To meet this difficulty the apostle comforts them with a “word of the Lord.” With this he answers their questionings, allays their grief, and gives them hope. He says, “I would not that ye should be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are falling asleep [This is the reading of all the critical Greek texts, including Tregelles], in order that ye be not grieved, even as the rest also, who have no hope:
A - a - If we believe b - that Jesus died c - and rose again, A – a - So [we believe] also that b - those who are fallen asleep c - God, through (or by means of ) Jesus, will bring [again from the dead] together with Him.
In this verse we have two corresponding statements: one concerning the Lord, and the other concerning His people. The first in each case respectively (“a” and “a“) has for its subject, faith (or what we believe); the second (“b”and “b”) speaks of death; and the subject of the third (“c” and “c“) is resurrection.
The Lord had died. But God, who “brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. xiii. 20), would BRING AGAIN from the dead, in like manner, by means of Jesus (as in 2 Cor. iv. 11), those who had fallen asleep.
This was not the mere assertion of the apostle. He was only confirming that word which had already been spoken by the Lord to Martha, when He was not speaking of the Church or revealing the Mystery, but when He was revealing a further fact concerning ressurection.
Martha believed in the first and second ressurections; but there was another. She had begun her words to the Lord: – “If Thou hadst been there, my brother had not died.” It was concerning this statement the Lord was teaching her. He was telling her that His presence meant ressurection, as she truly said; and it meant more. It meant not merely preservation of temporal life, but ressurection for those who died, and preservation unto eternal life for those who shoud be “alive and remain,” and thus know Him as “the Life. “His words may be thus read: -
B - John xi. 25-. Even I am the ressurection, C - -25-. And the life. B - -25. He that believeth on Me, even though he die – he shall live [again in ressurection]. C - 26. And every one who [is] alive, and believing on Me, shall by no means die at all (or for ever).
This was “the word of the Lord” which Paul was now confirming, when he said: -
“For this we say unto you by a word of [the] Lord, that WE, the living, who remain unto the parousia (or presence) of the Lord, shall in no wise precede those who are fallen asleep [in death], because the Lord Himself, with a shout [of command], with an archangel’s voice, and with a trump of God, SHALL DESCEND from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then WE, the living who remain, shall be caught away, together with them in clouds, for [the] meeting of the Lord, into the air, and THUS (i.e., in this way and manner) WE shall be always with the Lord. Wherefore encourage one with another with these words” (I Thess. iv. 13-18).
Paul was here confirming what the Lord had said in Matt. xxiv. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” (which would have taken place within those forty years of probation covered by the Acts of the Apostles, the wonders in heaven and on earth would have been seen, as already foretold by Joel (Joel ii. 30,31), which Peter declared to be “that” which was signified and portended on the Day of Pentecost): “then shall be seen the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, then shall all the tribes of the land mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a trumpet [yea] a great sounding [trumpet], and they shall gather together His elect out of the four winds from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. xxiv. 29-31).
This “great trumpet” is the “trump of God” in I Thess. iv.; and the gathering is the gathering of “them that are alive and remain.” This is the work assigned to the angels; but the raising of those who had fallen asleep was to be effected by God Himself, ”through Jesus.”
The Lord went on at once to teach His disciples by the parable of the fig tree, and said: “When its branch is become tender, and the leaves are put forth, ye know [by experience] that the summer is near. Thus, YE ALSO, when YE SEE these things, get to know that it is near – at the doors. Verily I say unto you, IN NO WISE will THIS GENERATION have passed away, until all these things MAY COME TO PASS. The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but MY words shall NO WISE pass away” (Matt. xxiv. 32-35).
No words could be more solemn, more certain, or more definite, or more unmistakable. That generation did not pass away, till those things might have come to pass. All was conditional on Israel’s repentance. The Lord had given the sign “whereby” “that generation” might know that the FIG TREE was putting forth leaves, that the summer of NATIONAL restoration was near, and that “He Himself was near, even at the doors” (Matt. xxiv. 33). That sign was the arising of many coming in His name, saying, “I am the Messiah.” That sign did take place, and those who heard the Lord’s words did SEE it, and thereby did know that the end of that Dispenstaion was “near,” and that it was “the last hour” of it (I John ii. 18).
James had written and said, “the Judge standeth before the door” (James v. 9), and “the coming (parousia) of the Lord has drawn near” (v. 8). The Lord sent the same message to Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. iii. 20).
Peter’s address on the Day of Pentecost linked on the events of that day with “the day of the Lord,” showing again that ”THIS” signified “THAT” which was prophesied by Joel concerning that day when (as Joel said), ”for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance (that is the ‘salvation’ of I Thess. 1. 10, and v. 8-10), as Jehovah hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel ii. 32). Could any doubt this when they heard Peter’s appeal: “For the promise is unto you and your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts ii. 39)? Who those were that are “afar off” we may learn from Daniel’s prayer (Dan. ix. 7).
When Paul identified his confirming testimony with that of “them that heard Him,” did he not belong to “this generation” (of which the Lord spoke)? Did he not see the signs? and, not knowing whether Israel would repent and turn to the Lord, did he not use the pronouns “WE” and “US” with a special and personal reference to himself? Was not this a then present hope, shared in equally by the apostle and those to whom he wrote?
Through not seeing this great fact, Paul has been thoughtlessly charged with labouring under a “mistake.” True, it is granted on all hands, that he did write of it as a hope in which he was personally concerned: therefore it is said he was mistaken!
But this is our very point. He was not mistaken!! How could the Holy Spirit indite Paul’s words in any way which would assume that Israel was going to reject the promised offer to “send Jesus Christ”? Impossible. All was real, and solemnly earnest.
In the fifth chapter (1 Thess. v.) Paul again speaks of “the day of the Lord.” As Joel had done, and as Peter had done when he said that “this” gift of tongues at Pentecost was “that” which Joel had spoken of as associated with “the day of the Lord.”
Paul says the same: but he goes on to explain how the “sudden destruction” would come on those who rejected the testimony then given; and how they should “by no means escape.” But he adds that it shall not be so with those who “received the word” and believed the testimony. These were not “sons of the night.” These were not acting as those who go to sleep in the night; but were awake and watching; ”waiting for God’s Son from heaven” (i. 10): “Let US who are of the day (he says) be sober, having put on the breast-plate of faith, and love, and [as] a helmet, salvation’s hope, because God hath not appointed US for WRATH, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the [One Who] died for US, that, whether WE may watch or [whether] WE may sleep, together with Him we may live; wherefore encourage one the other with these words, even as ye are doing also” (v. 8-11).
Finally, the apostle concludes the whole epistle with a prayer which sums all up in another brief reference to the parousia of the Lord, which was regarded as being so near that those who read his words might be preserved from death and dissolution altogether, and be among those who should be “alive and remain” “to meet the Lord in the air.” He says: “Now the God of peace sanctify you wholly (to the end); and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved whole (in every part) blameless AT the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that promised, Who will perform [it] also”; the promise of I Thess. iv. 16, which was based on God’s promise by Peter, also in Acts iii. 19-21.
That promise was for all who should obey the call to repent and turn to the Lord, “I adjure you [by] the Lord (were his closing words) that this epistle be read to all the brethren.” Had Israel obeyed God’s call to repentance, by Peter, His promise, “He shall send Jesus Christ,” would have been kept; and “ALL the Scriptures of the prophets” would have stood sure, and would have been fulfilled and all things restored. But Israel did not repent. A few small assemblies here and there “received the word” (Acts ii. 41; 1 Thess. ii. 13) and obeyed; but the nation, as such, rejected the double call of Peter and the twelve in the land and elsewhere, and of Paul in the synagogues of the Dispersion.
But the question for us now is: Has then Israel as a nation, as a whole, forfeited this promised blessing? or is it merely postponed? Will not these “times of refreshing” ever come? Will God not send Jesus Christ? and will He not yet fulfil al that the prophets have spoken? Assuredly He will. And that is why the first written epistles are put last in our canon of Scripture. The dispensational, historical, and chronological order no longer speak to us as they did to them. For believers to-day the canonical order in which, by Divine orderning, they come into our hands, is the order that concerns us now. We, too, wait for the Lord. But on what grounds? Was the promise made unto our fathers? Was it made unto us, and to our children (Acts ii. 39)? Assuredly not.
Where then do we “sinners of the Gentiles” come in? On what ground do we claim this promise? Have we any title to an “inheritance”? What is that title? The answer to these questions is the key to the canonical order of the Pauline Epistles. We, as Gentiles, have no right, no claim, no title in ourselves. We inherit no promise made to our fathers. But we have an inherit all IN CHRIST! This, however, we learn not from the earlier epistles of Paul but from the later epistles.
At the outset of Ephesians we come upon the whole secret. “Wherefore, remember, that YE being in time past …
Gentiles in the flesh … called uncircumcision, without Christ, being aliens from the commomwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, not having hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. ii. 11,12).
Here in these seven solemn statements, we learn our position by nature as Gentiles. Then follows the blessed promise, “But now, IN CHRIST JESUS, ye who were once afar off are become near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. ii.13).
But again we ask: On what ground are we then brought nigh? The only answer is that given in Eph. 1., “IN HIM, in Whom WE obtain inheritance also, being predestinated according to the PURPOSE of Him Who worketh all things according to the COUNSEL of his WILL: for US to be the praise of His glory, who have foretrusted in the Messiah, IN WHOM YE ALSO, having heard the word of the truth – the glad tidings of your salvation, IN WHOM, having believed also, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit (of the promise, John xvi. 12-15), which is the earnest of our INHERITANCE unto the redemption of the acquired possesion, unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. i. 11-14).
Here then is where we ourselves and our readers come in. Here is our title. We have ALL – and more – not because we are in Abraham, but because we are “IN CHRIST”; not because we are in the “covenant of promise” made to Abraham and his seed, but because we were predestinated in eternity; ”chosen IN HIM BEFORE the overthrow of the world” (Eph. i. 4), i.e., as recorded in Gen. i. 2, when “the world that then was” became a ruin – empty and desolate.
This is the opening statement of the later epistles of Paul. But before we can understand this, we have to learn the foundation doctrines which were set forth later than 1 Thessalonian in the epistle to the Romans. There we have the great question of Jew and Gentile explained and settled. This is why that epistle is now placed first. This is why it is necessary for us to-day to begin with Romans. Believing Jews and Gentiles in that day (just as necessarily) had to begin with Thessalonians.
Here we see the Divine reason for the canonical order of the whole of the Pauline Epistles. They had their inheritance in Abraham: we have ”an inheritance also” as well as they, but it is “in Christ.” And yet there are those who think we (as Gentiles) have ”lost” something; and are robbed of our hope, because Israel’s blessing is postponed! But it is all the other way round. It is we who have robbed Israel of the promise of 1 Thessalonians; and as is often and proverbially the case, there is the usual disagreement over stolen property.
When we come to consider the later Pauline Epistles in which the “Spirit of truth” fulfilled the Lord’s promise in John xvi. 12-15, ”He will guide you into all the truth,” we shall find that we have lost nothing; but have gained all that there is yet to know both grace and glory.
We need not rob Israel of its postponed hope. For instead of being “caught away into the air” (1 Thess. iv. 17), we have the glorious promise of a “calling on high” (Phil. iii. 14). Instead of a raising of “the dead in Christ” (1 Thess. iv. 16), we have the promise of “an out-resurrection from among the dead” (Phil. iii. 11).
And yet because “the hope of Israel” is in abeyance, some of us fancy that we have lost something! Surely we can afford to leave them their hope, ”forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching out the things [that are] before”; if by any means we may arrive at that out-ressurection, and pressing towards the goal unto the prize of our calling on high (Phil. iii. 14).
Our hope now “in Christ” means much more for us than 1 Thess. iv. did for Israel then. We also are waiting for God’s Son; our politeuma (or seat of government) [already] exists in the heavens “from whence we are awaiting the Saviour also – the Lord Jesus Christ Who will transform our body of humiliation that it may be conformed to His body of glory” (Phil. iii. 21).
This is our “blessed hope”. May the Lord speedily bring it to pass!
2 THESSALONIANS i
We now come to the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, written by Paul probably within a year after the first Epistle, while still in Corinth, and some twenty years or more after the Ascension of hte Lord.
The forty years of probation for Israel had run out half their course; but plenty of time remained for the fulfilment of all that had been foretold by the prophets concerning the “restoration of all things,” the rise of the antichrist, the wonders in heaven and on earth foretold by Joel (Joel ii. 28-32), and by our Lord (Matt. xxiv. 4-35), and by John in the Book of the Revelation.
We have seen that all these things were “near” to that generation; they were “shortly coming to pass” (Rev. i. 1); the judge was still standing; He had not yet taken His seat; He was standing “at the door” (James v. 9), and He was still knocking at it (Rev. iii. 20). The day of the Lord had not yet actually set in, but it was “near – even at the doors” (Matt. xxiv. 33).
The tribulation had not set in, but troubles were increasing on all hands for those who “received the word” (Act. ii. 41; 1 Thess. ii. 13). ”The beginning of the birth-pangs” of the tribulation were being felt, as the Lord had foretold (Matt. xxiv. 9); “Then will they deliver you up to tribulation, and will kill you, and ye will be hated by all Gentiles on account of My name, and then many will stumble (Dan. xi. 34,35), will deliver up one another, and many false prophets will arise and will mislead many; and because lawlessness shall have been multiplied, the love of the many (or the most part) shall grow cold. But he who endures to the end, he shall be saved.” The Thessalonian believers were beginning to experience the truth of these words. So much so, that the apostle was falsely reported to have said or written that “the day of the Lord had actually set in” (2 Thess. ii. 2). This was the immediate reason why Paul wrote this second Epistle to these Thessalonian receivers of the word.
When he wrote the first Epistle he could praise God for their “work of FAITH, and labour of LOVE, and patience of HOPE” (1 Thess. i. 3). But when he wrote this second Epistle, he says nothing about their “hope”!
He thanks God for their FAITH which had grown exeedingly, and for their LOVE which abounded (2 Thess. 1. 3), but he does not mention their “hope,” because this false report had for the time marred, if not destroyed it.
In the first Epistle he had assured them that “the day of the Lord” would come as a thief in the night, ”and sudden destruction should come on unbelievers”; but that day should not overtaker them “as a thief.” They were to put on HOPE as a helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thess. v. 8), and deliverance from “the coming wrath” (1 Thess. 1. 10).
No wonder that their hope was upset when they heard (the false report) that the same apostle had said “the day of the Lord” was actually “present,” and they had not been delivered. In the case “that day” had overtaken them “as a thief” (1 Thess. v. 1-11).
No wonder he exhorts them not to let anyone deceive them. By no manner of means (neither by a spirit, nor by a message, nor by an epistle); and he gives them a sure sign and token “because, he says [it will not be] unless the apostasy shall have first come, and the man of sin [Tischendorf and Tregelles read "lawlessness"] shall have been revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. ii .3). He then goes on to describe his apocalypse and the manner of his revelation, so that they could be in no doubt that, until that apostasy had come and that apocalypse had taken place, they might be perfectly sure that “the day of the Lord” had not actually set in.
The word was “received”by them in trouble, as we learn from Acts xvii. 5, and that trouble did not decrease, as we may gather from 1 Thess. ii. 14-16). Here then we are to look for the reason of the writing of this second Epistle. The apostle had promised them “rest,” by the word of the Lord, before that day should come. They would be caught up and delivered from the “wrath” of that day. And now, in the interests of that “hope” which he had thus given them, and of their “gathering together unto Him” which he had promised them (2 Thess. ii. 1), he writes this second Epistle to them.
To him and to them that “rest” was very near. They were to have, he said, “rest with us” (i.e., with himself and Silvanus and Timothy) (i. 1), not “when” (as in vers 10), but in, or at the apocalypse of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven with His mighty angels, in flames of fire, taking vengeance on those who [would] not know God, an on those who [would] not obey the glad tidings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who (as a class) shall suffer the penalty of eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when HE SHALL HAVE COME to be glorified in His saints, and to be wondered at in all them that believe in that day (because our testimony to you was believed) (1 Thess. ii. 10; Acts xvii. 1-3).
The words “when He shall have come” tell us that before the day of the Lord with all its “wrath” is manifested, the Lord would already have come, and taken them, both writers and readers of that Epistle, unto His “rest”.
That day was among the “all things” spoken of by the prophets, which Peter declared in Acts iii. 19-26 would be fulfilled in the sending of Jesus Christ. But the fulfilment of that great prophetic announcement was conditional on the rependance of the nation.
Alas! we know that that condition was not then fulfilled. From the very first, national repentance was the one condition of national blessing, as may be seen from Lev. xxvi. 40-42 and Hosea v. 15, etc., to the present time. That repentance is yet future; but it is certain. The prophecy of it will yet be fulfilled, as fortetold in Zech. xii. 10-14, Matt. xxiv. 30, and confirmed in Rev. 1.7.
All this shows us that the “rest” of which the apostle wrote was regarded as a reality, and as being very near. It was not to be brought to them individually by death, but collectively and “together,” according to the promise of 1 Thess. iv. 17. It was thus dependent on the sending of Jesus Christ before His apocalypse or revelation described in 2 Thess. i. 7-9. That great unveiling will not be until He shall first have come to be glorified in His saints (verse 10).
As the nation did not repent, the condition was not fulfilled; and the hope not being realised then was postponed. Those who looked and longed for that “rest” fell asleep, and are now “the dead in Christ”; but they will yet enjoy it with those who shall be “alive and remain” at the sending of Jesus Christ.
These things being so, it follows that the same signs as to the apocalyps of Jesus Christ remain to-day for all who have eyes to see and “ears to hear.”
No one need be deceived, either by the teachings of a class of commentators who maintain that the Lord did come at the destruction of Jerusalem, or by the vain assertions of politicians who would have us look for heaven on earth from their various schemes; or by the false hopes and promises of modern Socialists (Christian and otherwise); or by the blasphemous teachings of the New Theology which dreams of “realising the Kingdom of God on earth [now]” without the King; or by the vain efforts of those who labour for “peach on earth,” not seeing or knowing that men murdered “the Prince of Peace.”
All these turn the statements of God’s Word upside down. For that Word assures us that the day of the Lord will not come until the apostasy shall have come. The Church says it will not come until the world’s conversion comes. The Word declares that the world is not bad enough, modern teachers assure us that the world is not good enough! and, being ignorant of God’s Word, they are labouring to bring about “the restoration of all things” without the sending of Jesus Christ!
Could there be surer evidence for us that though the apostasy has not yet culminated, it must be far on its way when Modern Criticism is enthroned in the churches, and the secrets [spirit and workings] of lawlessness are rampant both in the Church and in the State?
The Thessalonian believers had their “signs”, and we in our day have ours. By them we know that the day of the Lord draweth near. But what promise have we of deliverance from it? What assurance have we that it “shall not overtake” us? Where is the “rest” for us, which was promised to them?
We can quite understand how that promised “rest” was so near to their hopes, when we read these epistles in their chronological setting as written during that Dispensation of the Acts of the Apostles; but not, when we read into them this present Dispensation of the Mystery, t0-day. That is why so many make much of 1 Thess. iv., but make nothing of 2 Thess. 1.; as they still do to-day.
We can quite understand, and fully sympathise with, those who like ourselves have spoken or written on 1 Thess. iv. as being the great charter of our hope of the Lord’s coming. But we ought thankfully to relinquish it when we find we have a better hope; which we can enjoy all the more because we need not reproach ourselves with having robbed Israel of their hope, which is only postponed, and will yet have a wondrous and literal fulfilment for them.
It may, after all, be the pattern of our hope, as presented later in Phil. iii. 11, 14. The realisation of our hope may be framed on the same model as theirs. The order of the two events may well be the bery same: -
- First, our “out-ressurection” (exanastasis) corresponding with their ressurection (anastasis), and
- Second, our “calling on high,” corresponding with their being “caught up.”
What do we lose? Is it not a gain? and a glorious gain? Alle we have to do is to make a restitution of stolen property, to give up what we have (it may be innocently) taken, and rejoice in what is really our own by a special deed of gift from our Saviour, for Whom we look.
We and all our readers have long been cured of an unconscious and Biblical kleptomania by which every promise of blessing was taken from Israel and given over to the Church; while we were in the place of the burglar. He is careful to take the silver and leave the plate, and so we were careful in our selection, and left all the curses and judgments for Israel and took the blessings for ourselves. There was method in our mania, but it was wrong, nevertheless. Let us now be consistent and content; and while enjoying all that God has promised, yea has made ours in Christ, let us live looking for the Saviour (Phil. iii. 20, 21); waiting for our “calling on high” (verse 14); and if called to fall asleep, let us be sure and certain of that blessed hope which ensures our “out-ressurection out from among the dead.” Again we ask, what have we lost?
When we are called on high, will there be no Bibles left on earth? And those whom we leave, and who will then believe and come to a knowledge of the truth, to be left without any hope either of escaping the terrors of the day of the Lord, or the knowledge of what is provided for them in 1 Thess. iv. and Rev. v.?
If we take away 1 Thess. iv. from them, and make it our hope now, what remains for those who are left, to save them from the coming wrath, or to bring others out of the great tribulation? We make every Scripture to centre in ourselves! But we are not everything, or every one. There are others besides ourselves who need salvation and require a hope. Let us be content with God has revealed for us. It is quite good enough; yea, it seems too good to be true!
Let us then leave those things that are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before, and press toward the goal for the prize of our calling on high by God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Phil. iii. 14).
2 THESSALONIANS ii
When we come to the second chapter of this second Epistle, we learn more about the “all things” which had been spoken by the prophets as being fulfilled in connection with the Lord’s coming.
The apostle believed what our Lord and they “that heard Him” had spoken, viz., that His coming had drawn nigh (Greek eggizo, Matt. iii. 2, translated “at hand” in iv. 17; x. 7; Mark. 1. 15). See also Luke x. 9,11; xxi. 20, 28; Rom. xiii. 12; Heb. x. 25; James v. 8; 1 Pet. iv. 7; and eggus in Luke xxi. 31; Rev. 1. 3; xxii. 10.
But that was a very different thing from the false report that the apostle had said that “the day of the Lord” had already set in. The verb enistemi does not mean the same thing as eggizo. So that, while the coming of the Lord had drawn nigh, “the day of the Lord” had not actually set in. Even then, as the apostle penned 2 Thess. ii., there were at least two events which had to take place – (1) the apostasy, and (2) the revelation of the lawless one.
We can well understand that those Thessalonians who had “received the word” (1 Thess. ii. 13; cp. Acts ii. 41) and believe it, had been “shaken in mind” and were “troubled.” The verb saleuo means to be shaken, so as to be excited and disturbed (see Acts xvii. 13), and throeomai means to be terrified. [It occurs only here and Matt. xxiv. 6 and Mark xiii. 7, all refering to the same cause].
They had need to be both one and the other if “the day of the Lord” had actually set in, because the apostle had promised that “that day should not overtake them as a thief” (1 Thess. v. 4), but that, before it came, those who had died would be raised and caught up together with those who would be “alive and remain,” to meet the Lord in the air, so to be “ever with the Lord” (1 Thess. iv. 16, 17). This was the comfort wherewith they were to “comfort one another” (1 Thess. iv. 18; v. 11).
But if “the day of the Lord had already set in,” that comfort was gone. The exhortation was all in vain. They had been misled; apostles had deceived them, and their hope had gone. No wonder the apostle could not mention the word “hope” in 2 Thess. 1. 3, as he had in 1 Thess. 1. 3. No wonder he besought them in the interest of the precious truth of the parousia, or (speedy) presence of the Lord, and of their thus “gathering together unto Him” in the air, not to be “troubled.”
The reason why they were not to be deceived was that that day could not come without two great signs, which we have named above. We need not say more about them here; for that is not the point now. The question is, did they happen in the lifetime of those to whom the apostle was writing? Have they happened since? or are they yet to take place?
There are many who believe that those two signs were seen, and did actually come to pass; or, it is argued, that it would have been useless to give them information about “matters which were not at all urgent, and which in fact did not concern them at all.” But the matters were urgent. It did concern them to know and learn that the apostle had not misled them, that their hope was still a real and blessed hope. It did matter that they need not be excited or terrified.
The apostle was led to dwell on the “lawless one” so as to prove to them that he could not have been already unveiled then. Moreover, the one inspiring Spirit knew that the words would matter to us in this later day. So that we may not be misled, or suppose that the Lord’s day has already set in now. Those who hold that Nero was the lawless one, and those who hold the Popes represent him, would both mislead us; for they take away from us the only signs which God has given to be our guide on this important subject.
We are like the Thessalonian believers as to these signs. They had the promise that “the day of the Lord” should “not overtake” them (1 Thess. v. 4), and we in our day have a precisely similar blessed assurance. They looked for an anastasis or ressurection of their sleeping fellow-believers, and a rapture to those who should be “alive and remain.” We also look for an ex-anastasis for the sleeping members of the one body, and their and our heavenward call. The latter is (or should be) a very present hope wit hus, as the former was to them.
The same signs assure us that our blesses hope must be realised and enjoyed before the apostasy is fully developed and the lawless one is unveiled. We, therefore, do not look for these signs, but for the Lord. We are not looking for antichrist, but for Christ.
True, we see the beginnings of the coming apostasy, the former of these two signs; and we see enough to tell us what will be its nature, and what form it will take. The daily news-desk and papers teem with evidences of this; and, as in that day the disciples were to look up, for their redemption was drawing nigh, so we may look up in a still truer sense for our heavenward call. There should be nothing between our hearts and this. It waits for no events on earth. There is nothing that must happen. It is to be a call, and it is the call of Him for Whose voice we are listening.
The word (klesis) occurs eleven times, and is always used of a Divine call: whether it be His calling which sets us before Him in grace, or which presents us before Him in glory. These are the two parts of His calling; and all who receive the one, must be recipients of the other also. We thus learn that while the hope in 1 Thess. iv. is for those who shall be left, we have a hope peculiarly our own. Instead of losing anything, we have an immense gain.
The realisation of the hope in 1 Thess. was dependent on Israel’s repentance; and when that takes place (Rev. i. 7), then we see the glorious fruition in Rev. vii. How do those multitudes out “of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues stand before the throne”? There is not a word said about how they came to be there. The angel answers John’s inquiry as to who they were simply by saying, “These are they who came out of the great tribulation.” [Lachman reads "away from great tribulation" instead of "out of the great tribulation."] That is all. But they must have got there in some manner; and what could that be but the one of which we read in 1 Thess. iv. 16,17?
Had Israel repented, that promise must have been fulfilled in those who read and received the word of promise; for “all that the prophets had spoken” would have been fulfilled, and these believers would have been “caught away” before it could “overtake” them. In that case Rev. vii. would have been the record of its fulfilment. But Israel did not then repent. Consequently, “all that the prophets have spoken” is postponed, and 1 Thess. iv. and Rev. vii. are still future and will be accomplished to the very letter.
The great multitude of Rev. vii. will yet be seen in heaven, and they can get there only by being miraculously “caught up” thither by ressurection and rapture. That is clear; for it is emphatically stated that it shall be “so” or rather thus, in that manner, that they should ever be with the Lord.
We have now noted all that is said about the Lord’s coming in the first two epistles ever addressed to an assembly of believers after the Lord had ascended into heaven. They can be properly understood now, only when read in their chronological order, and in the light of Act. iii. 19-26, and xvii. 1-9.
Only thus can we get to know the meaning of the apostle’s words of warning, of instruction, and of hope. He had a meaning for everthing he said, and we can properly interpret his words only in proportion as we thus rightly divide the word of truth.
(The Foundations of Dispensational Truth – E.W. Bullinger)
Parousia … and afterwards!
Whilst it is arguing from a negative, it is very noticeable that certain words which appear in Paul’s epistles prior to Acts 28:28 do not appear, in those [epistles] written afterwards. One example is the word ‘parousia‘, a word literally meaning ‘presence’ or ‘being beside’. It is used in reference to the coming of the Lord in the Pentecostal period and is synonymous with the hope of Israel. In Matthew 24 the word appears four times: …
- ‘ … what shall be the sign of Thy parousia, and of the end of the world (age)’ (verse 3);
- ‘For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the parousia of the Son of Man be’ (verse 27);
- ‘But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the parousia of the Son of Man be’ (verse 37);
- ‘ … until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the parousia of the Son of Man be’ (verse 39).
Thus, in its first occurences the parousia is stamped with the impress of the kingdom. 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 are the references to this same coming in the Thessalonian epistles. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 mentions ‘the archangel’ who is Michael and who is always connected with Israel (Dan. 10:21; 12:1; Jude 9).
The word ‘parousia‘ is used of antichrist as well as of the Lord, for Satan travesties truth. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, ‘whose parousia is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders’. This forges a link with Acts 2 and 3, where we can see that this is identical to Acts 2:17-21 and 3:19-21. A reference to Hebrews 2:4 will show that the miraculous gifts of Pentecost are spoken of under the very same terms as these false miracles of Satanic origin. Just as the parousia of the thrue Messiah is in direct connection with the signs and wonders of Acts 2, so the parousia of the false messiah will be preceded by a display of miraculous gifts also. Peter and James, who wrote to the dispersion of Israel, and not to the Gentile believers, or the Church of the Mystery, have several references to the parousia, namely, James 5:7,8; 2 Peter 1:16 and 3:4-12.
The first references in Peter links the ‘parousia‘ with the kingdom. He says: …
- ‘For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased’ (2 Pet. 1:16,17).
It is clear from Psalm 8:5 that ‘honour and glory’ pertain to Kingship: …
- ‘Thou … hast crowned Him with glory and honour’.
There is a cross references in 2 Peter 3:4-12 to the teaching of Paul’s epistles. The coming of Christ was not part of a secret hidden since the age times because we read that scoffers were saying: …
- ‘ … Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation’ (2 Pet. 3:4).
Peter would feel this keenly, for he had declared that God would ‘send the Messiah’. Israel had not fulfilled the conditions, however, and had beeen set aside. Peter confesses that he did not know how to account for this. He is quite sure that ‘the Lord is not slack concerning His promise’ (vers 9). He is still waiting for Israel to come to repentance – but to get a really full explanation Peter refers his readers to the writings of Paul. He tells them, in reference to the long delay: …
- ‘And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things’ (2 Pet. 3:15,16).
Peter knew the truth concerning the ‘parousia‘ but he did not understand a great deal of the teaching given to Paul (2 Pet. 3:16). In that case is seems hard to believe that the teaching of the parousia is the hope of the Church which is Christ’s body. The parousia is mentioned again in 1 Corinthians 15:22,23, which is connected with Isaiah chapters 24 and 25 by the words of verse 54 …
- ‘When‘ this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, ’then‘ Isaiah 25:8,9 will be fulfilled. However, Isaiah 25 has no word about the secret hidden by God.
When we turn from Matthew, 2 Peter, James, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians to Paul’s epistles written about the dispensation of the Mystery, we do not find the parousia mentioned at all. We read through Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Timothy and Titus, but we find no trace of it. The Scriptures concerning the dispensation of the grace of God to the Gentiles have no place in them for the distinct hope of Israel, the parousia‘. Chronologically, 1 Corinthians 15 is the last reference that Paul makes to it and the words ’till He come’ must be interpreted by this fact. The coming connected to the keeping of the Lord’s Supper was the ‘parousia‘, the hope of Israel and this was to take place immediately after the tribulation (see: Matt. 24:29,30). When the hope of the coming of the kingdom was set aside, everthing connected therewith was set aside also.
(The Berean Expositor – Paul A.J. Kreling)
Uit het bovenstaande valt op te maken dat de jaar weken uit de profetie van Daniel in de heilsgeschiedenis van Israel zich bleven manifesteren tussen de jaren 30 - 70 A.D., en die naar deze profetie (9:24-27) in die tijd haar volheid zou bereiken; want ook na het kruis van Golgotha telt de Schrift de jaar weken gewoon door in die enerverende Handelingen tijd. Dat Israel de Leidsman ten leven had gedood, wordt Israel vergeven (Hand. 3:15-17). Het was een tijd waarin de Koning en het Koninkrijk der hemelen ofwel het Messiaanse rijk konden doorbreken, als Israel zich als volk zou bekeren (Hand. 3:19-21). Toch worden in het jaar 62-63 A.D. die weken in de 67e jaar week abrupt afgebroken daar Israel als volk zich niet bekeerde, en Paulus het oordeel van Jesaja 6:9-10 in Handelingen 28:26-27 over het volk uitspreekt. Daar stopt pas Gods tijdklok te tikken voor Israel, dus niet op het kruis van Golgotha in het jaar 30 A.D., of op de Pinksterdag (Sjawoe’ot=50), waar bijna iedereen bij de uitleg van Daniel 9 van uit gaat. Er zijn dan 62 + 5 = 67 weken verlopen van de zeventig. Totaal kreeg het volk Israel 5 weken de tijd zich te bekeren en haar Messias te aanvaarden, eerst door het optreden van Hemzelf, daarna door het optreden van de 12 Apostelen der besnijdenis in het land Israel, waarbij de apostel Paulus zich buiten het land manifesteerde (Hebr. 2:3-4). Het getal 5 is het getal van de genade. Ondanks dat Israel haar Messias verwierp en Hem nagelde aan kruis, werd hen genade verleend en kregen zij uitgebreid de gelegenheid Hem alsnog te aanvaarden, 5 weken (35 jaar) lang.
Het waren de woorden en de gezichten die de profeet Daniel (Matth. 24:15), in het jaar 454 B.C. op bevel van de man Gabriel op moest schrijven aangaande de toekomende dagen van het volk Israel en de stad Jeruzalem (Dan. 9:22-23).
- ‘En hij begon mij te onderrichten en sprak met mij en zeide: Daniel, nu ben ik uitgegaan om u een klaar inzicht te geven. Bij het begin van uw smeekbede is er een woord uitgegaan, en ik ben gekomen om het u mede te delen, want gij zijt zeer bemind. Let dus op het woord en sla acht op het gezicht‘ (vs. 22-23)
- ‘Zeventig weken zijn bepaald over uw volk en uw heilige stad, om de overtreding te voleindigen, de zonde af te sluiten, de ongerechtigheid te verzoenen, en om eeuwige gerechtigheid te brengen, gezicht en profeet te bezegelen en iets allerheiligst te zalven‘. (vs. 24).
- ‘Weet dan en versta: vanaf het ogenblik, dat het woord uitging om Jeruzalem te herstellen en te herbouwen tot op een gezalfde, een vorst, zijn zeven weken; en tweeenzestig weken lang zal het hersteld en herbouwd blijven, met plein en gracht, maar in de druk der tijden‘ (vs. 25).
- na de tweeenzestig weken zal een gezalfde worden uitgeroeid, terwijl er niets tegen hem is; en het volk van een vorst die komen zal, zal de stad en het heiligdom te gronden richten, maar zijn einde zal zijn in de overstroming; tot het einde toe zal er strijd zijn: verwoestingen, waartoe vast besloten is’ (vs. 26).
- En hij zal het verbond voor velen zwaar maken, een week lang; in de helft vande week zal hij slachtoffer en spijsoffer doen ophouden, en op een vleugel van gruwelen zal een verwoester komen, en wel tot aan de voleinding toe, en waartoe vast besloten is, dat zal zich uitstorten over wat woest is‘ (vs. 27).
Het was naar het woord van Jesjoea (Hand. 1:8) dat de twaalf met later de apostel Paulus in hun midden, zij zich beijverden in de Handelingentijd om zowel in het land als daar buiten de hoop op die belofte levendig te houden waarvan de apostel Petrus tijdens het Pinksterfeest de 50e dag ofwel het Wekenfeest (Sjawoe’ot) van sprak: …
- ‘Kom dan tot berouw en bekering, opdat uw zonden uitgedelgd worden, opdat er tijden van verademing komen van het aangezicht des Heren, en Hij de Messias, die voor u tevoren bestemd was, Jesjoea, zende; Hem moest de hemel opnemen tot de tijden van de wederoprichting aller dingen, waarvan God gesproken heeft bij monde van zijn heilige profeten, van oudsher’ (Hand. 3:19-21).
- ‘ … om mijn hoop op de belofte, die door God aan onze vaderen gedaan is; welke onze twaalf stammen, door voortdurend nacht en dag God te vereren, hopen te bereiken. Om deze hoop, … (Hand. 26:7).
- ‘ … want om de hoop van Israel draag ik deze keten’ (Hand. 28:20).
Naar deze verwachting zagen zij uit, dus naar een spoedig wederkomen van hun Heer en Heiland Messias Jesjoea, waar zij dan ook vurig van getuigden in hun brieven die zij schreven aan de plaatselijke huis-gemeenten of synagoge uit die tijd dat het wederkomen van Hem nog in hun generatie (geslacht) plaatsvinden (zie: 1 Petr. 4:7; Jak. 5:7-9; Hebr. 10:37; 1 Joh. 2:18; 1 Cor. 1:7, 7:29, 10:11, 16:22; Rom. 13:12, 16:20; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
De apostel Paulus spreekt in die zin dan ook voortdurend over de ‘parousia‘, dus het aanwezig zijn van hun Heer, dus Zijn komst in het land tot verademing en verkwikking voor de gelovigen, en die de aanvang moest worden van het beloofde Koninkrijk der hemelen of wel het Messiaanse rijk van tenminste duizend jaar. Maar Paulus spreekt ook over een andere ‘parousia’, die van de antichrist en de valse profeet waar ook de profeet Daniel op doelde in zijn profetisch geschrift, … die in de 70e jaar week het verbond dat hij met de leiders in Jeruzalem sluit voor velen zwaar zal maken, waar ook Jesjoea Messias in zijn profetische rede over profeteerde (Matth. 25:15).
Zo waren de omstandigheden in die tijd naar de woorden van Jesjoea alles dan behalve aangenaam, en Hij zegt daarbij: …
- … ’Doch dat alles is het begin der weeen’ (Matth. 24:6, 8), wat men aan den lijve rond het jaar 70 A.D. reeds ondervonden heeft, zoals: valse messiassen, oorlogen, hongersnoden, pestilentieen en het martelaarschap.
De realiteit van nu … anno 2013
Dus met andere woorden gezegd staan er momenteel dus nog 3 jaar weken van de in totaal 70 weken, dat is 21 jaar, voor Israel op het programma. Totaal 21 jaar, waarin Israel nu als economische en militaire grootheid, omringd door een vijandig Russisch-Islamitische alliantie (Ezech. 38-39) wachtend op een geestelijk [39:12] herstel, en 21 jaar lang als Gods volk in de staat van Ammi (Mijn volk) in een Apocalyptische tijd zullen functioneren.
We leven in profetische tijden dat staat buiten kijf! Over precies een jaar zal op ‘Pesach’ dus op de 15 Nisan in 2014 een begin worden gemaakt met een reeks eclipsen van bloed rode manen. Ongelofelijke wegen waarin de Geest van God z’n weg gaat! De laatste keer dat dit gebeurde was bij de herovering (re-united) van Jeruzalem op de 3e dag van de ‘Zesdaagse Oorlog’ in 1967; en waar vervolgens vanaf die dag er een omlijning van 49 ‘Prophetic years as a year of Jubilee’ (7x7x360), zullen uitmonden in Mijn gezette hogtijden, de Feesten van Israel (Lev. 23:2; 25:8-10; Ap. 5:1-14).
Die 68e jaar week die het begin is van de nog 3 openstaande weken zal dus na een zeer lang intermezzo ergens in de tijd weer moeten aanvangen en manifest worden naar de voltooiing van die 70 weken; waarbij de 67e week zo abrupt in het jaar 62-63 A.D. werd afgebroken.
Opmerkelijk is dat de tekenen in de Apocalyps (6:1-17) en die uit Mattheus (Matth. 24:4-30) identiek aan elkaar blijken te zijn.
- Een wit paard … Valse Messiassen – een rood paar … Oorlogen – een zwart paard … Hongersnoden – een grauw paard … Pestilentien en wilde dieren, dood, zwaard, en honger (Matth. 24:4-7 – Ap. 6:1-8).
- Weest niet verontrust; want dat moet geschieden, maar het einde is het nog niet … Doch dat alles is het begin der weeen (Matth. 24:6, 8).
- Martelaren – Tekenen aan de hemel – Een dag van grote toorn … De komst des Heren (Matth. 24:9-30 – Ap. 6:9-17).
Dus het lijkt er veel op dat die 68e en 69e jaar weken zich zullen manifesteren als ‘het begin der weeen’, en met het oog op de ontwikkelingen in het Midden-Oosten van vandaag dichtbij zijn gekomen, daar het geopolitieke spel der grootmachten nog steeds uit is op het Sieraad land Israel en de stad Jeruzalem, want ook in die zin is er ‘niets nieuws onder de zon’.
Zo zal de laatste die 70e jaar week waarin de schalen van toorn worden uitgegoten, een dag zijn van dikke duisternis als zijnde de ‘Dag des Heren’. Deze dag heeft in die zin dan ook vele overeenkomsten met de uittocht van Israel uit Egypte waarin de 10 plagen over het land ‘Gosen’ werden uitgestort en die hun afgoden belachelijk maakten!
Het boek Exodus en de Apocalyps!
De schalen … [in de laatste 70e jaar week (Openb. 16:2-21 en Exod. 7-9)].
1e. Op de Aarde
2e. Op de Zee (Bloed).
3e. Op de Rivieren (Bloed).
Ik hoorde. De engel der wateren. ’Rechtvaardig zijt Gij’.
Van het Altaar. ‘Zij zijn waarachtig‘.
4e. Op de Zon (Lasteren).
5e. Op de Troon (Lasteren).
6e. Op de Grote Rivier de Euftaat.
Ik zag. De Demonen. Armageddon.
7e. Op de lucht. Stem uit de Tempel: ‘Het is geschied’.
- Grote Aardbeving
- Grote Babylon
- Grote Hagel(stenen)
De overeenkomst tussen de schalen van toorn en de plagen van Egypte:
Schalen - Oordelen - Plagen - Oordelen
1e. - Zweren (16:2) - 6e. - Zweren (9:10)
2e. – 3e. - Water/Bloed (16:4) - 1e. - Water/Bloed (7:20)
5e. - Duisternis (16:10) - 9e. - Duisternis (10:21)
6e. - Demonen/Kikvorsn (16:13) 2e. - Kikvorsen (8:3)
7e. - Hagel (16:20) 7e. - Hagel (9:18).
Zo vervult zich in de ‘dag des Heren’ deze 70e en laatste jaar week, hetgeen Daniel moest opschrijven (Dan. 9:24-27); waarbij in een periode van 21 jaar de weg bereid wordt naar een nieuwe eeuw (aioon), die van het Koninkrijk der hemelen of ook wel het Messiaanse rijk genoemd en waarin vele beloften der profetie nog in vervulling zullen gaan!
- ‘Deze zal groot zijn en Zoon des Allerhoogsten genoemd worden, en de Here God zal Hem de troon van zijn vader David geven [in Jeruzalem], en Hij zal als Koning over het huis van Jakob heersen tot in eeuwigheid, en zijn Koningschap zal geen einde nemen’ (Luc. 1:32-33).
Gerard J.C. Plas