Christ’s Parousia (Second Presence) In 1874

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“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:12).

Three “stepping stones” to understanding the time of Christ’s invisible presence and “parousia” which IS (part of) our present inheritance of “the truth,” are the 1260, 1290, and 1335 “days” of Daniel. The first of these is found twice in Daniel, and five times in Revelation. This provides a foundation for the other two.

The 1260 years are expressed in Daniel as 32 “times.” The meaning of this is clarified by the references in Revelation, which refer to the same period not only as 32 “times,” but also as 42 “months” and 1260 “days” (Revelation 11:2,3, 12:6,14, 13:5). This makes it apparent that a “time” is a prophetic year of 12 months, of 30 days each — for in this way the three descriptions are equal to each other. In prophecy a “day” is fulfilled as a year. We know this, because it is the key that makes the 70 weeks of Daniel chapter 9 take us to the time of the first advent. (See also Ezekiel 4:5,6, Numbers 14:34.)

These three prophetic periods (1260, 1290, and 1335 years) begin “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up” (Daniel 12:11). This text points back to Daniel 11:31, which describes the setting up of Papacy (with their false doctrine of the mass). Papacy received political authority in a sense in AD 538 when the Pope was left in control of Rome, but more fully in AD 539 when Ravenna, the political capital of Italy at the time, fell to the forces of the Roman Emperor Justinian (ruling then from Constantinople).

Justinian had only a few years earlier decreed that the Pope be recognized the religious head of all Christian churches. With the Gothic power thus subdued, this left the Pope the effective authority for the region. Papacy had now entered the field of political authority. Papacy, with its doctrine of the mass, had now been “set up” in authority.

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1260 years: AD 539 to AD 1799 = The Period of Papal power.

(See Daniel 7:25, 12:7, and compare with Revelation 12:14, 17:3.)

During this period the true Church is depicted as symbolically fleeing into the wilderness. This is represented also, in the Old Testament, as a period of 3 1/2 years of drought during the time of the prophet Elijah (Luke 4:25, James 5:17).

In 1798 the Pope was taken prisoner out of Rome, and died in 1799 as a prisoner of Napoleon, who for a time refused to allow the election of a successor. Papacy never again regained their status as an authority directing the policy of nations. Their 1260 years allowed for that had closed. Subsequently Bible Societies sprang up that distributed the Bible by the millions, fulfilling Revelation 10:10,11.

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1290 years: AD 539 to AD 1829 = Prophecies Clarify.

Daniel 12:10,11 indicates that at this time “the wise shall understand” the prophecies of Daniel in a clearer way.

In Daniel 12:11 we read about the 1290 years. “(11) And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

In 1829, a notable series of prophetic studies in England made good progress in understanding the prophecies of Daniel, and clarifying expectations for the approaching Kingdom of Christ. (See www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_5.htm, subhead “Meanwhile, in England.”) Subsequently, in New England, The Adventist Movement was spawned by the time prophecies of Daniel. This movement coalesced around the studies of Bro. William Miller, and expanded widely through the Protestant Christian world.

It is interesting to note the following:

“In 17 BC King Herod, in the 18th year of his reign, began to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem (John 2:20). “This was 45 years before the year our Lord was baptized at Jordan to commence his First Advent ministry. In like manner, 1829 was a beginning in rebuilding the Church, the spiritual temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16)—45 years before 1874, when the work of Christ’s Second Advent commenced” (Br. David Rice, “Daniel: Conclusion,” Faithbuilders Fellowship, p.10).

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1335 years: AD 539 to AD 1874 = Return of Christ.

Daniel 12 begins by referring to the second advent work of Christ when “Michael” (Jesus) would “stand up” in royal authority. This would precipitate a deliverance for Daniel’s people. There would subsequently be an unprecedented “time of trouble,” and also a resurrection of the dead (verse 2).

The 1260 and 1290 years are markers toward that time, but the 1335 years lead us directly to that time. We know from Luke 12:36,37 that there would also be a blessing of Truth, spiritual nourishment, for the saints of God from this time forward.

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1874 marks the end of the 1335 years. It also marks the time beginning the works described earlier. With the return of Christ came the time for raising the sleeping saints to glory, quietly, unobserved by the world.

Since that time, one by one, the gathering proceeds until the end of the harvest, or ending period of this Gospel Age (See Matthew 13:39, as included in the passage below, and Matthew chapter 24).

“37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.

38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,

39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels” (Matthew 13:37-39, KJV).

The restoration of Israel commenced soon thereafter. The Jewish settlement Petah Tikvah was formed in 1878, and 70 years later the nation of Israel became independent. In 1914 began a time of trouble with two World Wars in succession.

“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (Daniel 12:12). This text compares to Luke 12:37, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching.” What proceeds thereafter is a spiritual feast — the Divine Plan of the Ages. This opened up to the Bible Student world through the service of Br. Charles Russell, who was baptized about the year 1874.

In Revelation chapters two and three, Jesus gave a message to each of seven churches of Asia Minor, which represent the Church class in seven stages through the Gospel Age. To Church Four, Jesus said “hold fast till I come.” To Church Five he said, “I will come as a thief.” To Church Six, “I come quickly.” But to Church Seven — Laodicea — our period in history –— Jesus says “I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 2:25, 3:3, 11, 20). That time has come. Today, our understanding of the Truth is a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise.

The saints have waited long, and now the blessed time is here. Jesus has knocked at the door of our hearts with the rap of prophecy, and we have the honor to sup with him on a rich spiritual feast of truth.

Those who have come into the light of Present Truth recognize it as from our master.

The Divine Plan is sparkling with hope for everyone.

Christ died to redeem both the Church of the present age, and the world to be blessed during the approaching Millennial Age.

(For more information and specifics, please see the article “Daniel: Conclusion,” pages 10-12, Faithbuilders Fellowship, May-June 2009 edition, at 2043ad.com / button “Journal.”)

Other signs marking Christ’s return:

Evils exposed as never before — Luke 12:2, 1 Corinthians 4:5

All of this shaking and turmoil is because Christ is tearing down this old order and ushering in his Kingdom. Psalm 72 speaks of this as dashing the old civil, social, financial and corrupt religious systems of this world.

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More about Christ’s PAROUSIA (presence) can be read about in the following booklet:

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Suggested Further Reading – With Direct Online Reading Reference Links —

“Daniel: Conclusion” by Bro. David Rice. Faithbuilders Fellowship — “Journal” section, May-June 2009 edition (at 2043ad.com / button “Journal.”) Here is the direct link to this article:
http://2043ad.com/journal/2009/2009c.pdf

“The Prophetic Date – 1874”. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_5.htm

“Coming Blessings” by Bro. David Rice (www2043ad.com). The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Sept-Oct. 2012 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2012/12so_9.htm

“An Important Greek Word – Parousia” by Bro. David Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_8.htm

“Every Eye Shall See Him” by Bro. Gilbert Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_4.htm

“The Harvest — The End of the Age” by Bro. Carl Hagensick. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_2.htm

“A Secret Coming – A Thief In the Night.” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_9.htm

“Times and Seasons — The Seventh Trumpet” by Bro. Michael Brann. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_3.htm

“Chronos and Kairos – Times and Seasons.” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2003 issue.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_7.htm

Epoch Periods In God’s Plan. BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

Is the “Sabbath Day” a Saturday, Sunday or any Day of the Week? BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/10/19/is-the-sabbath-day-a-saturday-sunday-or-any-day-of-the-week/

This post’s URL is:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/10/christs-parousia-second-presence-in-1874/

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ISRAEL – No Longer Dry Bones!

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  • The second presence of our Lord is here! (Matthew 24, Daniel 12, 2 Timothy 4)
    Invisibly he is active and the time of the Millennial kingdom reign of CHRIST is near,
    When a new covenant shall be established with Israel… (Hebrews 8:8-13, Jeremiah 31:31-34)
    Between the Heavenly Father and His people—Israel, and all who shall become “Israelites indeed”.
  • Then a golden standard of GODLY RIGHTEOUSNESS shall apply to all on earth. (Isaiah 26:9, 28:17, 35:8)
    Whoever will do things their own way—disobeying the will of GOD’s will—
    Upon such, judgment will be executed speedily and they will learn not to stray (Psalm 1:5);
    Learning that the only way to eternal perfect life, is by OBEYING GOD faithfully each day.
  • As we now remain in the flesh executing GOD’s will with careful discipline and training,
    Let us rejoice as we see how the nation Israel is blossoming like the rose (Isaiah 35:1);
    The work of CHRIST and his raised sleeping saints is happening before our still carnal eyes, (1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
    And these, now divine jewels, are fulfilling Bible prophecies according to Jehovah’s plans and purposes. (2 Timothy 1:9)
  • The process of Ezekiel 37 has begun, since our LORD’s invisible presence—his “parousia.”
    Ezekiel’s vision of “the valley of dry bones” reflects this. (Ezekiel 37)
    And it can be recognized as occurring in stages—
    Through a process of years and many developments, the Kingdom shall be inaugurated.
  • In 1874 the first stirrings (Peta Tikva)—here we see bone coming to bone…
    In 1896 the sinews (ligaments) are evident, to join Israel’s bones…
    In 1917 there is muscle that forms to cover the bones…
    And in 1948 the skin is applied—to complete the “bone” of Israel.
  • There is no breath—no life still—there in the land of the ancient heros of faith (Ezekiel 37:8),
    Until Armageddon shall hit the earth, when the four winds are let loose—showing their worth. (Ezekiel 37:9, Revelation 16:16)

    Then the financial, religious and political systems will collapse—false papal doctrines destroyed!
    And the breath into Israel shall herald earthly restitution—a millennial age enjoyed! (Acts 3:21, Revelation 20:6-7)
  • The nation of Israel will then recognize the one they have pierced on Calvary (Zechariah 12:10).
    Then CHRIST—head and body complete—shall reign for 1000 years with greatest vitality!
    GOD’s spirit of Truth and understanding poured into each heart and mind (Ezekiel 37:14),
    And at the end of the Millennial Age, after a final “little season” of testing for the world—ALL evil destroyed and eternal JOY and NO PAIN ever more! (Revelation 20:7-15, 21:4)
  • By considering the dates of Israel’s history and studying the Biblical prophecies unfolded,
    May our Faith be strengthened and our lives be JOYOUS, as into CHRIST we are moulded.
    With humble gratefulness and sincere thankfulness, let us continue to watch and pray.
    Why? So that we, with the yoke bearers in CHRIST, can faithfully reach the end of our narrow pathway.

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/02/israel-no-longer-dry-bones/

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ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C: The Order of the Resurrection Process

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According to Christian beliefs, you can only get to heaven and God through Jesus. How did people get to heaven before Jesus came on the scene?

Answer: They didn’t.

Jesus opened up the “New and Living Way”—that is, he opened up the heavenly calling.

The rest of mankind from Adam until now who have not come in through Christ will get a resurrection on the earth. You are familiar with the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on the earth as it is in heaven…”

The faithful Christian is part of the “first resurrection.” If there is a first then there is at least one more. They are the resurrection of the “just” or justified, and the rest of the world is the “unjust” or unjustified by Christ. Their resurrection is not to condemnation as some translation say, but to judgement—that is the Millennium is a period of trial for all of mankind. Not a sentencing, but trial. They come back and will “know the Lord from the least unto the greatest”—they get an opportunity not afforded them in this life.

Two Salvations and Two Resurrections

Here are some texts that explain that there is one Ransom but two salvations and two resurrections.

  • “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
  • “…There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [the spiritual classes: Bride of Christ & Church, and the earthly class: the Ancient Worthies] and the unjust (the world of mankind)” (Acts 24:15).
  • “(28) Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, (29) and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life (Heavenly Salvation), those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment (Earthly)” (John 5:28-29, NAS).

The Overcomers in the 1st Resurrection

In John 16:33 Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We read in 1 John 5:4 that “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

These “overcomers” or “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) have been redeemed from Adamic condemnation (Romans 8:1), and committed their earthly life to be a “living sacrifice” in the present time (Romans 12:1). They have become begotten to a new life, a spiritual life, and thus are on trial for their spiritual life presently. These are the Church members. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, RVIC: “(51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall all fall asleep [Acts 7:60- also says “fell asleep”], but we shall not all be changed (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

[NOTE: RVIC – THE REVISED VERSION (AMERICAN EDITION) IMPROVED & CORRECTED BIBLE – is the most accurate up to date English version of the Holy Scriptures available, compiled from manuscripts discovered and published to AD 1999.]

The ones who died long ago were “raised” to life at the Lord’s return in 1874, at the sound of the last, or seventh, trumpet. Those who die within the present harvest period of the Gospel Age are “changed” at the moment of death.

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The ORDER of the Resurrection Process

1st ­– Christ, “the firstfruits” (1 Corinthians 15:23)—Christ has inherited DIVINE NATURE = IMMORTAL LIFE.

2nd – The Sleeping Saints—these are the OVERCOMERS and they that are Christ’s at his coming i.e. the Bride of Christ—the Elect, 144,000 members of Christ’s “body”.

3rd – The Harvest Saints—these are also the OVERCOMERS—the Bride of Christ, the 144,000 raised “in the twinkling of an eye” in new, spiritual bodies and inherit IMMORTAL LIFE since 1874 until the completion of the Bride of Christ.

“God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). This talks about the necessity of the Church to be a part of blessing all the families of the world.

What is meant by “a better resurrection” in Hebrews 11:35?

This refers to the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies, the “Heros of Faith.” Some of the Ancient Worthies are described in Hebrews chapter 11. In Hebrews 11:39 and 35 we read, “… these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise… (35) Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.

It is understood that Apostle Paul meant that the ancient worthies receive a better resurrection (i.e. eternal life) than those received who were revived temporarily in the Old Testament (which is the subject of Hebrews 11:35).

The Ancient Worthies will be the first humans resurrected onto the earth in the Kingdom. They will be raised perfect, as they already were justified by their faith. They will lead mankind on earth. Psalms 45:16 refers to them as “princes in all the earth.”

4th – The Great Multitude & Ancient Worthies

The Great Multitude:

The Great Multitude will be resurrected after the GREAT TRIBULATION (Armageddon, Battle of Gog and Magog) starts, as indicated in the following passages of Scripture in the Bible:-

  • Genesis 19:23 – “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”

Zoar was the city, not “the mountain.” The mountain, to which Lot fled subsequently, represents the heavenly realm where Lot later went to dwell (Genesis 19:30). Lot is often seen as a picture of the Great Company, who lingers through the severe troubles that close the present Harvest period.

  • Matthew 25:1-13 – the five wise and the five foolish virgins.
  • Micah 7:1-7 – here the Great Multitude realize that the Bride of Christ is taken and there is a time of God’s wrath when deplorable and fearsome conditions on earth remain and all faithful men have perished and there is no one upright on earth – yet in verse 7, God delivers them as they “watch in hope”.
  • Revelation 7:14 – “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Members of the Great Company class have received purging experiences whenever they may have lived during the Gospel Age (since AD 33). However, Revelation 7:14 speaks in particular of members of the Great Company who are living during the Harvest and pass through the “four winds” that close the harvest. In the Revelation 7:3-4, the 144,000 class are “sealed” before the four winds blow which may signify that they are taken to glory—but the Great Company class linger and pass through the experience.

The Ancient Worthies:

  • The Ancient Worthies—it is possible that these faithful ones of old will be resurrected towards the end of Armageddon to bring peace during the 7th (last) plague described in Revelation chapter 16. That seventh plague includes a battle, an earthquake, and a plague of hail.
  • The Ancient Worthies, or at least some of them, evidently will be raised in the midst of the crisis of Israel invaded by the coalition of Gog and his allies. This is suggested by Micah 5:5, and 2 Kings 3:10,11, and context.

“And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men” (Micah 5:5).

Assyriarepresents Gog with his invading hosts, thus Russia, together with their allies.

——-[NOTE: The battle at Israel when God fights for them is described also in Ezekiel chapters 38 to 39. Here we again see that the coalition that comes against Israel includes:

  • Gog (Russia) which is part of Old Christendom
  • Persia (Iran)
  • Cush (perhaps Muslim black Africa),
  • Libya (Libya, perhaps North central Africa, not including Egypt)
  • Gomer (perhaps Western Europe),
  • Togarmah (Turkey).

Except perhaps for Gomer, the identification made here are customary, not unusual, they are however interpretive, so let us “watch and pray”.

On the other side, in the author’s understanding (and this is interpretive), is (according to what we read in Ezekiel 38:13):

  • Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia, always against Iran),
  • the Merchants of Tarshish (England), and
  • the young lions thereof (American, Canada, Australia). They are part of newer Christendom, and not part of the alliance of the sixth plague whose representative governments fall at Israel. The victory at Israel is orchestrated by God, using the forces of the Israelis assisted by God’s overruling power.]——-

Seven shepherds—represents the Church completed beyond the vail. The word “shepherd” was a way of referring to kings in the language of the day. (For as a shepherd has control of his flock, so a king has control of his people.)

Eight principal men—Eight “princes” of men, as contrasted to the seven kings (shepherds). Thus those who will be “princes in all the earth” (who are the Ancient Worthies.) The number seven is about the Church because of the seven stages of the Church—the period following the Gospel Age is then period “eight,” and that is when the Ancient Worthies come back. Thus the number “eight” is associated with them.

In Micah 5:6 we read, “And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

Here it is explained that Israel, under the hand of the completed heavenly Church above and the advice of the Ancient Worthies among them, will have a dramatic
military victory.

The land of Nimrod is the land of Assyria, perhaps because Asshur who came from the land of Nimrod (Shinar) built the initial area of Asshur (Genesis 10:10-12).

Our second lot of verses quoted above is from 2 Kings 3:10-11:

“10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab! 11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.”

Elisha represents the Ancient Worthies, raised at a point of crisis in Israel. Some of the Great Company class may linger to see the intervention of God on behalf of Israel. This may be what precipitates their expressions as prophesied in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

[NOTE: Elisha does represent the Great Company class when they are separated from Elijah (the Church) by the whirlwind. When Elisha then crosses the Jordan from east to west, after the taking of Elijah, Elisha thereafter is a picture of the Ancient Worthies in their experiences during the Millennium. Refer to 2 Kings chapter 2.]

5th – The Remainder of Mankind

All will have an adequate opportunity to be on trial for life in the Kingdom before judgement is received. (Isaiah 65:20)

The “Highway of Holiness” operating during the Millennium will lead people from ungodliness, to holiness as we read in Isaiah 35:8,

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

John 5:28-29 refers to the resurrection of judgment, which will be the point of decision between self will and God’s will:

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (judgment).”

All mankind will be raised by Christ and the Church. They will be raised as human beings, and during the Millennium they will be developed and prepared to receive everlasting life in the judgment following the Millennium. The world will be natural being, fleshly beings, as at present. “There is a natural body (human) and there is a spiritual body” (spirit beings) (1 Corinthians 15:44). The world will be natural, fleshly, human beings.

When is the Resurrection Complete?

The resurrection will be complete when all who have died are raised again. The curse will be lifted at the beginning of the age, by the application of the Ransom for the world of mankind, in order to allow the resurrection of the dead.

The resurrection is the only hope for the dead. Let us conclude with John 11:23-26—

“23Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

The resurrection is our ONLY HOPE and an integral part of God’s Divine Plan!

How thankful we are to our Heavenly Father for such a Perfect Plan that will result in eternal life for all.

Romans 11, 36 - from him and through him... to GOD be the glory.jpg

References

Some source material was used from the power point presentation (a BibleTruth411 Video) titled “The Hope and Resurrection of the Dead.

Suggested Further Reading

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What is Jesus All About?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B. Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

Epoch Periods In God’s Plan
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

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STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud by Day and The Pillar of Smoke by Night

“Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.” (Nehemiah 9:12)

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THE HISTORY ABOUT THE PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE

The First Appearance of the Cloud and Fire

God’s miraculous guidance of Israel from Egyptian bondage was evident through the sign of a pillar of a cloud. The first account of this pillar of cloud and fire in the Bible, is in Exodus 13:20-22 (ESV):

20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.”

This text suggests that the pillar appeared when the Israelites departed Succoth, the first camp after departing Rameses on 15 Abib (Nisan), 1445 BC (2513 years after the creation of Adam ). Smith’s Bible Dictionary (at BibleHub.com) says Succoth (“booths”) was reached at the close of the first day’s march and that the distance traversed each day was about 24 kilometres (fifteen miles).  Following is a map of Israel’s journey through the first part of their 40 years in the wilderness.

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(This map follows a conventional view. “More recent opinions place Mount Sinai further north at Har Karkom. Please see http://www.Harkarkom.com for specifics”, Br.David Rice, 2016. For a detailed account of Israel’s journey, giving each encampment, refer to Numbers 33.)

The Second and Subsequent Accounts of the Cloud and Fire

The next account in the Bible of this pillar of cloud is in Exodus 14:19‑20, after God instructed Moses to raise his staff, stretch out his hand over the sea, and divide the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape Pharaoh and his army pursing the Israelites. They had overtaken the Israelites as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon (Exodus 14:16, 9).

Exodus 14:19-20 (ESV) reads, “19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.” Subsequently “during the last watch [“morning watch” – KJV] of the night, the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion” (Exodus 14:24, NIV). If there were four watches in the night, the last would have been about 3‑6 am. This suggests that the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea during the night, around the hours of 3‑6 am which would be classified as the 4th watch of the night (if there were four night watches).

The Pillar of Cloud and Fire and Its Association with the Tabernacle

When it was time for the long awaited moment of God’s glory to “move into” the newly built and consecrated Tent of Meeting:

34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys.

37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.

38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:34-38).

This occurred on the first of Abib, the following year, after the Tabernacle had been erected (Exodus 40:1, 17). Later, when God led them away from mount Sinai, He continued to direct them by the movement of the cloud representing His presence. “They departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the Lord was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp” (Numbers 10:33-34).

The Last Account of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

The pillar of cloud and fire was present throughout Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness (Exodus 40:38). Numbers 12:10 refers to it in the incident of Miriam’s complaint against Moses. “When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.” It is mentioned also in Numbers 14:14, 16:42, Deuteronomy 1:33, and Deuteronomy 31:15 as the life of Moses was drawing to a close.

In 960 BC the Temple of Solomon was dedicated, replacing the function originally served by the Tabernacle (and any other “temple” that may have been temporarily in use between the two, 1 Samuel 1:9).

The pillar of cloud was no longer required after Israel settled in Canaan, for they no longer needed a token from God to direct their travels, giving “them light on the way they were to take” (Nehemiah 9:12).

One commentary suggested the following about the Feast of Tabernacles that Israel observed after settling Canaan. “This feast, also called Succoth, was to commemorate the protection God provided in the wilderness and it may have marked the cessation of the fiery pillar” (The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 2006, “A Pillar and a Fire,” Br. Carl Hagensick).

The manna had stopped the day after the Israelites ate the food from Canaan (Joshua 5:12).

Perhaps the pillar of cloud and fire had completed its purpose about that time also. Notably, the account of the crossing of the Jordan River into the Land of Canaan (Joshua chapters 3, 4) does not mention Israel following the cloud. Joshua 3:3‑4: “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. 4Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”

The “Dense Cloud”

The “dense cloud” over Mount Sinai apparently was different than the “pillar of cloud,” for “dense cloud” brought darkness, whereas the pillar of cloud evidently had not.

The Israelites came to Mount Sinai at the opening of month three after the Exodus (Exodus 19:1). At Sinai, God told Moses “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you” (Exodus 19:9).

Three days later there was thunder and lightening with a thick cloud over Mount Sinai and a very loud trumpet blast. “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently” (Exodus 20:16, 18, NIV). Then God called Moses to the top of the mountain where he stayed 40 days and nights and was given the ten commandments. “The people remained at a distance while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:21).

Though the “dense cloud” and the pillar of cloud were distinct, both indicated the presence of God. This would have been an enduring sign to the Israelites that God was with them all during their 40 years of wandering.

POSITION

If the pillar of cloud and fire remained over the Tabernacle, after it was constructed, then it would have been over the center of the camp of Israel, for the various tribes camped about the Tabernacle (Numbers 2:17). The Tabernacle was no longer “outside the camp”, where “Moses used to take a tent and pitch it … some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting”. (Exodus 33:7)

When the cloud lifted to direct Israel, it moved forward, ahead of them. However, in Exodus 14:19, 20, 24, it move behind them to protect them. “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. … And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.”

Over the Most Holy

Apparently the usual resting place of the cloud was over the Most Holy of Israel’s tabernacle. It is theorized by some that the Shekinah light, that shone between the two golden cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant, was caused by an interaction between the electrically‑charged cloud and the Mercy Seat with its two carved angelic figures. If this conjecture is correct, it shows that divine wisdom, represented in the light, is a product of GOD, whose presence was indicated by the cloud, and the harmonious balance between the attributes of love and power, shown in the cherubim, and justice, represented by the Mercy Seat itself.

At the Door of the Tabernacle

On occasion, however, when GOD wished to make a pronouncement to His chosen people, the cloudy pillar took up a position at the door of the tabernacle. Three such occasions are mentioned (Exodus 33:9,10, Numbers 12:5, Deuteronomy 31:15).

SHAPE

There are two thoughts as to the shape of this miraculous cloud. Some view it as an upright plume as suggested by the word “pillar”, as shown here:

3-smoke
Others envision it more as a canopy similar to the cloud in this picture.

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PURPOSE OF THE TWO PILLARS

The pillar of a cloud and of fire served in the following ways.

(1) God’s compass

It showed the Israelites where God wanted them to go and what God’s will for them was. The Psalmist David draws inspiration from this guiding light.

As Spirit begotten Christians, our compass is:

(a) God (Psalm 32:8) and Jesus (John 1:1‑12);
(b) the holy Spirit (Romans 8:26);
(c) the Word of God in the Bible;
(d) from the mouth of our brethren in Christ (Psalm 119:105).

(2) God’s instruction

The Israelites learned to discern God’s will by being given instruction through the movement of the pillars of cloud and fire. “Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them” (Psalm 99:6,7).

As Christians we receive instruction also from the Word and God and the holy Spirit: “But the Comforter, even the holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, it shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” (John 14:26).

(3) Israel’s Protection Mechanism

a) Shelter

Isaiah 4:5‑6 (RSV) sheds light on this point. “Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion (“defense” in the KJV). It will be for a shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.”

The cloud served as a “canopy” that provided both “shade by day from the heat” and as “a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” This implies a large cloud for the horde of two million Israelites plus their flocks and herds. Usually clouds bring rain, not shelter from rain. Clouds are porous and thus incapable of keeping out rain. But this miraculous pillar of cloud was unique in its ability to prevent the saturation of a down pour of desert rain.

Perhaps the lesson for us as Christians today is this: that God’s wisdom will not lead us where his grace cannot keep us. Faith can firmly trust him, come what may!

b) Security & Protection

The pillars of cloud and fire gave the Israelites a feeling of security—that God was watching over them. God accompanied the nation of Israel by either going ahead of them or placing himself in the rear of their group, thus protecting them against their enemies and against death itself (Exodus 14:19‑20).

Spiritual Israelites have the protection of the “armour of God” (Ephesians 6:10‑18):

“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

(4) A visual reminder to reverence God

The pillar of cloud and fire reminded the Israelites about who they were to serve. It was thus a warning, in a sense, to not worship foreign gods. It was a faith‑building and trust‑in‑God provoking tool for the Israelites (Exodus 19:9).

God wanted the Israelites to also show respect to Moses, the Mediator of the nation. So we, also, are taught to respect the Elders of the ecclesias that we meet with either for online meetings or physical meetings. They are chosen mouthpieces of God who deserve double honor (1 Timothy 5:17), “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

Do we remember what happened when Solomon’s son Rehoboam did not listen to the Elders but followed the advice of the young men who he had grown up with? (1 Kings 12:6‑19). Let us learn from such examples to respect our Elders.

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The spirit begotten Christian is given reminders through the holy Spirit working within—we develop an educated conscience through studying the Word of GOD and through prayer. We also receive reminders from Brethren in Christ such as the Apostle Paul reminded the Brethren through the disciple Timothy (1 Timothy 1:14‑16, ESV) –

“14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.”

In Titus 3:1‑11 (ESV), Paul wrote to Titus these words about what to remind the brethren in Crete.

“1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,

5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self‑condemned.”

(5) A sign of God’s power

Not only were these two pillars a witness to the Israelites but also a witness to the surrounding nations that Israel’s God was wise, powerful, and protective of his chosen people: “And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night” (Numbers 14:14).

6-tab

CLOUDS IN THE BIBLE

Clouds are mentioned throughout the Bible and often signify trouble, or a time of judgment. Here are some examples.

Psalms 97:2“Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”

Job 37:11 “Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning.”

Revelation 14:14 “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.”

Here the white cloud represents blessing as opposed to dark thunder clouds. Jesus sits on it showing that he is in control since the beginning of 1874 (Christ’s invisible second presence) when the end of the harvest, and the sifting of wheat and tares, began. This continues until the last member of the 144,000 Bride of Christ goes beyond the vail, that is, completes their sacrifice until death and becomes a Divine being. The sharp sickle held by Jesus is for gathering the Church, not the world.

1 Thessalonians 4:17“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

This verse also applies to Christ’s (invisible) Parousia—the Suntelia periodthe ending period of the Gospel Age, described in Matthew 24.

Leviticus 16:2“The Lord said to Moses: ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the vail, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.'” This refers to the cloud of incense, not the cloud over the Tabernacle.

1 Kings 8:10‑12“It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.”

Fire in the Bible

Fire in the Bible represents: purging and destruction. Here are some examples of Scripture:

Hebrews 12:29“For our God [is] a consuming fire.”

Luke 3:16“John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”

Jeremiah 20:9“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But [his word] was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not [stay].”

Jeremiah 23:29“[Is] not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer [that] breaketh the rock in pieces?”

Luke 12:49“I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?”

1 Corinthians 3:15“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Revelation 20:9“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Revelation 21:8“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The fire that purges evil from the world, is not literal fire, but a symbol of destruction of the evil systems of the world approaching in Armageddon. This will lead into the most glorious world government ever seen. Earth will be ruled by Christ and his Bride for 1000 years during a reign of righteousness until God shall be all in all.

No cloud or fire either figurative or literal will be required
in the future eternal eternities.

No longer will a Tabernacle or Temple be needed (Revelation 21:22-27), and God shall dwell in the hearts of all people as His laws will be in their minds (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).

As the fiery pillar led Israel safely to the promised land of Canaan, may God’s presence in our lives lead us to our promised Zion, our heavenly and perfect and holy home.

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Acknowledgement

We wish to thank Brother David Rice for his great zeal in the Lord’s work and patient endurance in the editing and sharing of content for this post in the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” Series on http://www.BIBLEStudentsDAILY.com

References

Special thanks to Br. Carl Hagensick for source material from his article “A Pillar and a Fire,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 2006.

Further Suggested Reading

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy   https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 6: The Levites
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

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The Book of Revelation: A 2016 Perspective

John the Revelator  - 1 -crossFINAL

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which GOD gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” — Revelation 1:1

The Book of Revelation is a prophetic picture of the experiences and purpose of the Christian Age. Its symbols illustrate what the true Church would suffer at the hands of the false church and the glorious outcome of patient endurance through agonizing trials of faith. As with many prophecies, these events would not be fully understood by the Church until their fulfillment. But now, at the end of the Christian Age, since many of these prophecies have been fulfilled, we should expect to have a clearer insight into what the signs and symbols of Revelation mean. Indeed, this book itself reveals that the complete prophetic picture written in symbolic code would be shown only to the end time Church.

The Unfolding of the Vision

While in prison on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John received the “Revelation of Jesus Christ to all of the Churches.” As its name implies, it is a revealing—an unfolding. In his vision, John was shown amazing scenes which were prophetic signs of things to come. Note the first verse: “…he sent and signified it by his angel…” Signified here means “to put into signs—symbolic depictions.” This book, therefore, is written in a kind of code language, and so, when it says “beast,” it does not mean a literal beast, and when it says “angel,” it may not refer to an actual spirit-being.

When symbols such as these are understood, the results are inspiring—as we might expect from a book given by Jesus to the Apostle John for the Church living in the last days. And, while some view these signs and symbols to be terrifying, the Christian who longs for a better day finds hope for everyone in its words, as the final chapters portray.

Time Frame One: THE CHRISTIAN / GOSPEL AGE

The Book of Revelation is neatly divided into three sections corresponding to the three major time periods of GOD’s dealings with the Church of Christ and their role in the ages to come.

The first time frame is from chapters 1 – 13, which primarily refer to the history of the Church from Christ’s death to his second advent (‘Parousia’, invisible presence, in 1874). This period of time was set apart for calling out from among mankind a group of people referred to by various scriptural names: the Church, the Bride, Christians, a people for His name, the 144,000, the little flock, saints, etc. (Acts 15:14; Acts 11:26; Philippians 1:1; Luke 12:32; Revelation 21:9)

This time frame tells of the suffering of Jesus’ true followers at the hands of the powerful apostate (false) church systems, of which the Apostle Paul warned. (2 Thessalonians 2:2-7). Jesus summed up this history in only a few words: “the beginning of sorrows…” Matthew 24:4-14

The history of the Church, as shown in Chapter 1, is divided into seven time periods which are each unique in both their doctrine and experiences. Jesus watches over these seven Churches as symbolized by his appearance “in the midst of seven candlesticks...the seven Churches.” (Revelation 1:13, 20)

Recall that Jesus told his disciples they were like candles on a candlestick—“the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14-16

In Revelation 1:16 Jesus holds seven stars in his right hand. Stars are used in Scripture to symbolize teachers—both good and bad. (Daniel 12:3; Jude 13; Revelation 12:1)

In Revelation 1:20, the seven stars are identified as the seven angels sent to the seven Churches described in Chapters 2 and 3. Note that the word angel has the meaning of messenger in the Greek, and GOD has sent a special Messenger to each of the seven time periods throughout the history of the Church. The Apostle John was one such messenger.

Between Chapters 2 -11, these seven periods of Church history are illustrated three times under different symbols.

The seven Churches are listed in Chapters 2 – 3:-

(1) EPHESUS             =     33 ad, Paul
(2) SMYRNA              =    73 ad, John
(3) PERGAMOS         =     325 ad, Arius
(4) THYATIRA           =    1157 ad, Waldo
(5) SARDIS                 =    1517 ad, Luther   
(6) PHILADELPHIA  =     1667 ad, Penn (he was baptized that year)
(7) LAODICEA           =    1874 ad, Russell

The 7 Messages to the Churches (for the godly) are as follows (each message corresponds to the same church number):

(1) Jesus surpasses Judaism
(2) Gnosticism is wrong
(3) Jesus was the son of GOD
(4) Christian discipleship
(5) Reform
(6) Brotherly love
(7) Harvest message

The Scroll of Revelation 5:

The scroll contains judgments against the ungodly. In particular, the judgments of the seven trumpets. That is why the seven angels blaring forth the seven trumpet judgments follow immediately upon the loosing of the last seal — for now the scroll can be unrolled and read and its judgments expressed.

Let us compare Zechariah 5:1-4 which is clear on this point with also Ezekiel 2:9,10 :-

Zechariah 5:1-4:- Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

Ezekiel 2:9-10:- And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.

The scroll contents are the seven trumpets.

Those trumpets are judgments.

Note: The scroll in Hebrews 10:7 is a different scroll than the one in Revelation 5; Hebrews 10 refers to the Old Testament. The scroll of Revelation 5 is a series of judgments that form the seven trumpets.

While the seals are being loosed, we are not progressing through the Gospel Age. We are merely seeing a vision on each loosing, representing what will later occur in the development of the Gospel Age. They are foregleams of coming events. The entire scroll is opened before the first trumpet judgment. The scroll was opened at the beginning of the age, not the end of the age.

The seven seals are listed in Chapters 6 – 8;

We believe the seals were all broken when Jesus was given the scroll after his resurrection, and that the 1/2 hour of silence was the pause before the judgment followed on Judaism.

The seals describe events that would later develop during the Gospel Age. Let us remember that the visions of the seals do not reflect the contents of the scroll. They are merely visions of coming events. Not until the seventh seal is loosed do we actually get to the contents of the scroll itself. Those contents are the judgments of the Trumpets.

The visions revealed at the loosening of each seal are these (very briefly):-

SEAL 1.  Christianity spreading rapidly
SEAL 2 False doctrine coming in
SEAL 3.  Famine for the word of GOD
SEAL 4Spiritual death rampant during dark ages

SEAL5.   Reformation and the hope for release from oppression
SEAL 6.  French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, followed by the second advent. The vision following the loosening of this seal includes events that pertain to periods six and seven of the Gospel Age. Thus when the 7th seal is loosened, we proceed to the judgments contained in the scroll.

The seven trumpets are found in Chapters 8 – 11.

The message of the trumpets contain judgments on Judaism, Pagan Rome, wayward Christendom, and the nations supporting Papacy.

Recall the text in Ezekiel 2:10, “it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.”

These judgments of the 7 trumpets and the 7 blasts under the 7th trumpet do not include original sin and the curse. The trumpets are against Gospel Age systems. The original curse was upon Adam and Eve and descended to others. Of course original sin is related to all other problems. But nothing in the trumpets speaks to Adam or Eve.

So, the trumpet judgments usually highlight a particular distress during the period of the church that corresponds to that trumpet period, and they are as follows:

JUDGMENT 1. The judgment against Judaism and the polity of Israel, that really fell hard from 66 to 73 ad with the seven years of the Roman Wars against Judea.

JUDGMENT 2. The overthrow of the Pagan Roman Empire. That would not pertain to the saints. (But it was a big relief for them.)

JUDGMENT 3. The third trumpet describes the pollution of the sweet waters of truth, which made the message “bitter” and caused the forfeiture of many spiritual hopes.

JUDGMENT 4. The fourth trumpet take us to the darkest part of the “dark ages”, when the Gospel Sun, the light of the Apostolic Stars, and the typical teachings of the Law were substantially darkened.

JUDGMENT 5. The Reformation.

JUDGMENT 6. The French Revolution (1789-1799) and subsequent Napoleonic Wars that ravaged Europe and broke up the hold of Papacy in 1799.

JUDGMENT 7. The Harvest in 1874 and its accompanying Time of Trouble from 1914 onward.

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1260, 539ad – Some Specifics about the 1260 years of Papal Power.

The date 539 ad is used as the time when Papacy came into temporal political authority. In 538 ad the Pope was left in control of Rome as Belisarius, general of Justinian the Roman Emperor from Constantinople, left Rome to pursue the Goths who had recently sieged the city. Thereafter, in 539 ad, Ravenna, the then capital of Italy, was taken by Belisarius, and he subsequently left Italy to return to Constantinople with his victory. In his wake the Pope was left as the political ally and figurehead in Italy — thus the beginning of his political authority.

This came to an end 1260 years later in 1798 when the Pope was taken out of Rome by the French General Berthier, and subsequently died in 1799 in France, Napoleon declaring that no new pontiff would be elected (though one was by other arrangements after a few months). One history of the poes throughout the age breaks for a new chapter at 1799.

1914 was the end of Gentile Times – representing the smiting of the image of Daniel chapter two, thus the end of the political assemblage that had governed Europe for so long, as the iron (political) and clay (imitation Christian church) system.

Babylon at first conquered the holy land from 607 to 603 bc — a four year period — the corresponding four year period 2520 years later is 1914 to 1918, World War I.

—————————————

Each period of the Church has its corresponding concurrent seal, vision and trumpet.

Here are four examples illustrate just a few of the many parallels between the Churches, seals and trumpets:

1.“Four angels” are mentioned in both the sixth seal (7:1) and the sixth trumpet (9:15).

2. An earthquake is shown in both the sixth seal (6:12) and in the sixth trumpet (11:13). An earthquake pictures, in symbol, the shaking up of earth’s society through discontent and revolution.

3. The return of Jesus is mentioned in both the seventh Church (3:20—he is “standing at the door”) and the seventh trumpet (11:15—his “reign” begins).

4. Increased enlightenment is shown in both the seventh Church (3:20—Jesus promises to serve the evening meal—“sup”) and in the seventh trumpet (10:7—enlightenment clears up “the mystery”).

One fascinating example of symbols related to the seals of Chapter 6 is the picture of the four horses.

Horsesin symbol, often represent doctrines, ideologies. (Isaiah 31:1-3, Deuteronomy 17:15-16).

Horsemenrepresent the teachers who bring forth those doctrines.

White horsethe 1st horse pictures the pureness of doctrine delivered to the early Church by the twelve Apostles. (Revelation 3:5, 15:6, 19:8,14)

Red horsethe 2nd horse, illustrates how the doctrine began to be polluted with sinful heresies by the developing apostate church. Red is the colour of war and speaks of spiritual warfare because of doctrinal changes. This horse represents the period of time in history from Nero (37-68 AD) until Diocletian (244-311 AD).

Black horse – the 3rd horse, represents a dark period in Church history brought about by dark age doctrines. Black is the colour of famine—Lamentations 5:10.

Pale (Greek-greenish)the 4th horse, symbolizes doctrine so sick and devoid of any life-giving qualities that the rider that sat upon him was even given the name “death.” The symbolism refers to spiritual pestilence.

This sad history portrays how the beautiful truth once given to the early Church was increasingly corrupted by the traditions of men.

But, as will be seen in Chapter 19, the white horse returns with a valiant rider—Christ in glory—who brings back life-giving truths to the end-time Church. These truths prepare the true Church for the final victory over the apostate systems.

Time Frame Two: HARVEST of the Christian Age

Chapters 14 -19 focus on the events which impact the close of the Christian Age—the Harvest.

A careful examination of Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares helps in understanding this Harvest time. (Matthew 13:24-43)

During the Harvest, the world at large is experiencing troubles it cannot handle, and the Christian world in particular is faced with the kind of scrutiny that exposes false doctrines and practices.

“Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven [the Christian world] … that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Hebrews 12:27-29

In the Harvest, three works are progressing at the same time:

  1. The unseen presence of Jesus is actively manoeuvring the affairs of the true Church and the world in preparation for the peaceable Kingdom. 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15; 14:1
  2. False Christianity is being judged by GOD and also by man based on both doctrine and conduct. Revelation 14:8,15; 18:1-9
  1. A great increase in understanding Scripture is fed to sincere, truth-hungry Christians. Revelation 14:6; 17:1; Daniel 12:4, 9, 10

This Harvest parable first summarizes the Gospel Age by stating that Jesus sowed seeds of truth which, springing up in the hearts of his disciples, transformed them to newness of life, thus becoming true Christians — wheat.

Once the Apostles died — while men slept — Satan sowed seeds of error which created false Christians — tares. This tendency toward imitation Christianity was active in the Apostles Paul’s day and developed into what he called the mystery of iniquity and the man of sin. John refered to this as the developing Antichrist. (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 John 4:3)

Revelation calls this that great city, Babylon. Revelation 14:8

Jesus taught that this combination of true and false Christianity would exist together until the close of the Christian Age, at which time a separation—a Harvest—would occur. The work of destroying the errors of the false church systems would cause true Christians to come out of Babylon and gather together where truth is being served.

The central theme of Chapter 14, then, is the time for harvesting two groups:

  • The Harvest of the earth (wheat—verses 15-16) and
  • The Harvest of the vine of the earth (tares — verses 18-19). See also Luke 17:34-37.

The central theme of Chapters 15 and 16 deals with the plagues upon Babylon the false church system.

We believe we are currently in the sixth plague. It is a lengthy one, and we have not reached the deep part of it as yet — we may in another 13 years. The sixth plague is a withering of the economic vitality of the western world. We saw things relevant to this in the market declines of 2000 and 2008, with perhaps more impending.

Here is a list of all 10 judgments, and some suggested applications:

1 — Protestant Reformation
2 — French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars
3 — Advent movement
4 — Truth movement (1874) – bothersome difficulty for nominal Christians
5 — World War I – the deadly strife that began the Time of Trouble in 1914
6 — Western weakening in Depression
7 — Modernism consequent upon World War II
8 — Papal woes in the cold war era, perhaps until 1989

9 — Financial withering
10 – Armageddon, followed by a great “earthquake”, and subsequent “hail”

The seven plagues are seven judgements or troubles during the Harvest, as a consequence of things that have transpired during the seven church periods. These seven judgments constitute the overall judgment of the 7th trumpet, which is the 3rd “woe” of Revelation 8:13. The seven circlings of Jericho on the seventh day pictures this “sevenfold” judgment of the seventh trumpet.

In Chapter 18:4, GOD warns the wheat—my people—that if they do not come out from Babylon during the Harvest, they will be subject to the “death, and mourning, and famine” which bring Christendom down (Revelation 18:8).

In the midst of the plagues of Chapter 16 appear three symbolic characters unified in a final attempt to preserve control and stabilize society over the world – the beast, the dragon and the false prophet.

The beast = Papacy.

The dragon = Political power under the influence of Satan.

The false prophet = the Church of England and their protestant allies.

The Pope (as reflected in the beast) would like to retain influence. But his authority wanes. Revelation 10:1 shows that the power of Papacy to persecute as before, closed during the sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-11:14), the longest of all the trumpet descriptions. The “rainbow” of Revelation 10:1 symbolizes that the past distress of Papal persecution has ended and will not be repeated – just as the rainbow in the cloud after the Flood meant that the experience would not be repeated.

The Beast (Papacy), Dragon, and False Prophet will coalesce and croak like frogs endeavouring to support society. Their individual weakness is the motive for collaboration, but their efforts will prove abortive (Revelation 16:18,19).

(Note that the “four beasts” of Revelation 4:6-9, associated with GOD, are better rendered “living creatures,” distinguishing them from the dreadful beasts representing false religious systems. The four “living creatures” represent GOD’s attributes of justice, wisdom, love and power.)

In Scripture, the true Church is often represented by virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and so, by contrast, we see in Chapter 17 that Babylon is pictured as a harlot.

The harlotry of the apostate church is due to her having a unification (adulterous marriage) with the governments of this world.

The true saints, on the other hand, strive to keep themselves separate from all entanglements with the world.

In highly symbolic language then, Chapter 17 shows how the apostate (catholic) church throughout history amassed political power to further her interests and rule the western world, Christendom.

This Chapter shows the steps by which both the harlot and the people and powers she ruled (the scarlet beast) meet their ends (as systems, not as people) in the Harvest period.

The “hour” of Revelation 17:12 is the time of demise of the Catholic Church when she is eaten by the horns (political powers) and peoples (body of the beast). Note: Revelation 17:16, where better versions say the whore is destroyed by the “ten horns… and the beast.”

Compare also Revelation 18:10, in “one hour” her demise comes. The “one day” and “one hour” of verse 8 and 10 both express the relatively brief climax during which Papacy succumbs.

Chapter 18 begins when Babylon is fallen from GOD’s favor, and it ends with her total overthrown as detailed in verse 21. The focus here is on the manner in which Babylon’s destruction will affect various segments of society which have become dependent upon her for their subsistence. These elements of society are symbolically called:

the kings of the earth (18:9);

the merchants (clergy) of the earth (18:11);

every shipmaster, all the company in ships, sailors (i.e. bishops), and as many as trade by sea (18:17)

This illustrates that the world, as we know it, functions on a political/commercial basis, and the weakening of that international economic system, according to this chapter, will soon cause it to fall apart.

Chapter 19 could well be two chapters. The first ten verses deal with “the marriage of the lamb,” and the remainder describes how the current social order will meet its end.

(Note that, for emphasis, the Revelator often jumps back to a point in time, re-telling the story from another point of view.)

This “marriage of the lamb” is a symbol for the time when Jesus’ Church, his Bride, is complete — when he has gathered all of the wheat into the (heavenly) barn.

Thus, Chapter 19 confirms what we saw in Chapter 14 that the Harvest has two worksharvesting the wheat to glory and harvesting the vine of the earth—the system of Babylon—for burning. Compare also 14:19, 20 with 19:15—depicting the same event.

Time Frame Three: The MESSIANIC AGE

Although most of the prophecies of Revelation focus on the Harvest of the Gospel Age, Chapters 20 through 22 relate to the grand and promising outcome of the previous nineteen chapters, which portray the end of the old world order and the beginning of the new. We are now living in that transition time. These last three chapters of Revelation basically refer to the Messianic or Millennial Age. This age is referred to in the Scriptures by various names: the Kingdom, the thousand years, the Day of the Lord, the Day of Judgment, the regeneration, the times of restitution of all things, etc. Matthew 26:29; Acts 1:6; Revelation 20:2-6; 2 Peter 3:7,8; Matthew 19:28; Acts 3:20,21

Revelation 20 illustrates several events of the thousand-year Messianic reign of Christ with his Church:

Verses 1-3 show that the actual devil will be bound as well as a symbolic devil—the systems built upon his lies. Thus, all stumbling blocks in the way of the peaceable Kingdom will be removed. This is the reason for not only binding the literal devil, but also binding the influences of the beastly governments which have made life so difficult for the human race.

Verses 4-11 show:

  1. The reward of the true Church who will reign with Christ;
  2. Satan’s little season of testing upon the world of mankind at the close of the thousand years— the end of mankind’s period of education; and
  1. The everlasting destruction of Satan, his followers and the corrupt civil and religious systems.

Verses 12-15 : show the final judgment of earth’s billions at the end of the Messianic reign. This will be the last judgment event of history where GOD will destroy in everlasting death all those not in full harmony with His perfect law of love. Both hell and death are consigned to fire — complete destruction, oblivion—this is the second death (20:14).

By contrast, everlasting life will be the reward for all who progress to perfection through the thousand years and who stand the test of the little season because of their faith and obedience.

The Left Behind series of novels promote an overly dramatic, literalistic and sadistic view of Revelation, telling of the horrors of a vindictive GOD destroying three billion people by literal fire and earthquakes. These fictional depictions of prophecy ignore the last three chapters of Revelation—the Good News of the Bible. They ignore that Jesus gave his Revelation to John in symbolic language.

The Scriptures do speak of a momentous time of trouble coinciding with the return of Christ and culminating in Armageddon, however, as we have seen, the true purpose of Armageddon is to cleanse the earth of the corrupt ecclesiastical and civil systems under the control of Satan and his servants.

These evil SYSTEMS will be destroyed—not the people misled by these systems.

GOD does not intend to burn in eternal flames billions of good-hearted people just because they have not known and accepted Jesus now. The conversion of these people—“the remainder of men” — will be after the cleansing work of Armageddon which prepares the way for the Righteous Kingdom of Christ and his Church. (See Zephaniah 3:8-9; Acts 15:14-17) Then, under their benevolent reign, “the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” without the fetters of devilish, selfish and oppressive powers. Isaiah 26:9

Chapters 21 and 22 describe the new heavensChrist’s righteous government—which will uplift and educate the new earth—the world of mankind—thereby bringing them back into harmony with GOD. What joy to know that Jesus’ return means the restitution of all things! (Acts 3:19-22) All of the loss suffered in the opening three chapters of Genesis is here undone in the last three chapters of Revelation. It is a glorious ending, worthy of a merciful GOD.

All that was lost when sin entered the world—life, health, happiness, freedom from fear and a loving relationship with GOD—will be restored to mankind. The healing of the nations occurs because of the fruitage of the trees. These trees are the Church glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

Jesus and his Bride offer the water (truth) of life to all who thirst, without the deceptions of Satan to hinder them.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him TAKE the water of life FREELY.” Revelation 22:17

This is the true hope of the Gospel when it is finished.

Acknowledgment:

  • Bro. David Rice
  • The End Times Bible Report Quarterly – Summer 2013

Suggested Further Reading:

The Book of Revelation

 

The URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/30/the-book-of-revelation-a-2016-perspective/

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