Words mean things. I was schooled by my husband until he finally convinced me that you do not take lightly the words you speak or pen to paper, especially if you are writing concerning the scriptures.
With that established, let me say I understand that it is difficult to always be right when expounding on the scriptures because we are progressing in God not having the absolute on everything. (Our security is not in being right, but in being loved) I believe our Father understands this as He knows our limited condition, but does become a problem for all of us when we misinterpret the scriptures over and over on a subject until it becomes a fixed position as a major doctrine. The NAS states in James 3:1: Do not become teachers in large numbers, my brothers, since you know that we who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment. I looked up 20 different versions concerning the above scripture and it says teachers in each one of them except for the KJ. KJ says “masters”.
I have ever been puzzled about a so-called “second” coming and I could never put my finger on why until now.
Most of you reading this do not realize that the scriptures never say a “second” coming in speaking of a final return of Christ as many have been led to believe and yet, over and over there are many who preach it that way. I have heard it repeatedly, and being a mixed word, I could not receive it.
As far as I researched this subject, I could find only one place where “second” is mentioned with any appearing of Jesus. It was shortly after His resurrection. Let’s examine it in context. All scriptures used are taken from the KJ version unless otherwise stated.
Hebrews 9: 24:8
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
In context, it is a comparison. First, He appeared in the presence of God for us. This happened when He offered His blood on the mercy seat in the heavenly tabernacle. He appeared a second time to the people with forgiveness for them. Notice when He did this: At the end of the world. I believe this is exactly where the problem of calling a return to the world, a “second” coming, happens. Obviously, salvation has come to us, and the end of the cosmos has not happened. But the term “world” is also explained as “age” in the Greek language as many of you reading this already know. The word “world” is used 2 times in verse 26. The first one means earth/cosmos and the second time it is used, it is speaking of the end of an age, thus ushering in a new age with salvation for all, which we know happened at His resurrection. Look up “world” in Strong’s concordance for the evidence.
So, what happened here? Let me see if I can shed some light on this. Hebrews is a book specifically written for the understanding of the Jewish converts. Their background in sacrificing was as follows: They shed the blood of many animals. The High Priest would then take the blood and offer it in the presence of God behind the curtain in the third section of the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. He would pour it on the mercy seat for the sins of the people. This was not a physical presence of God, but this is where God would meet with the High Priest once a year. (The requirement for the people to know if God accepted the sacrifice, was for said High Priest to appear once again to the people and when He did, they would know their sins were covered for a year…only covered). Thus, the second appearance in this comparison was exactly that. Jesus also appeared the second time to the people so they would know their sins were forgiven. The difference this time was that it was for salvation; sin had been paid for without another need to do it again. Thus, God would NOT be holding their sin against them. This time the word “world” is “cosmos” in the Greek, meaning ALL of us.
So, you can see this was already another physical appearing of Christ. Which brings me to the point I am hoping to make; Christ comes more than once or twice in many different forms. How many times? They are too numerous to list. However, He has been coming and coming and coming to us since the creation of humanity.
When we examine the word “come” in the scriptures, I think you will see my point.
Why is this important? Well, as I have already stated, He has come back in a physical form more than once, but this is only part of the problem. Christ came as fire and as a cloud in the Old Testament; He came as an earthly child and then as a man with a spiritual body in the New Testament. Then again, in the form of the Holy Spirit. What will His form be when He comes again and again to you? We tend to limit Him. He came to us in various forms in both Testaments. He comes many times in different aspects of His nature to reveal to humanity who He is.
What I have mentioned concerning the scriptures is also only part of the problem, albeit a big part of it. (Remember I wrote – making a major doctrine out of mixed truth – making the word say something it doesn’t) When we mix the truth with error, it gives us a different picture and many times it keeps us from hearing the truth of the matter as it did me in this case.
However, the main issue I personally have with it is how this has affected the body of Christ. Do you realize there are many (you may know some of them, or maybe you are one of them) who have received Christ and never engaged in a real personal relationship with Him because they/you haven’t realized He comes over and over to us in many and diverse forms. Oh yes, they get the ticket to heaven (so to speak) and that’s it. Now they are just waiting for His so-called “second” coming so they can go to heaven even though they don’t know Him. I don’t know about you, but this bothers me. Our teachings should always encourage believers to know Him intimately.
There are 39 words for “come” in just the New Testament alone according to Vines New Testament dictionary. Our English mind can barely, if ever, make sense of them all. However, it demonstrates for our purpose here how many and varied are the times that the Lord come to us. Here are 2 of my favorites.
Apokalupsis: 602 Strong’s concordance. It was used 14 times in the New Testament. It means revelation or unveiling. The last book in the bible is call Revelation. It is “apokalupsis”, meaning it reveals or unveils Christ. It is filled from Ch.1 throughout the book with the acts of His coming in the progressive work He is doing in each of us.
Please look up the word revelation in Strong’s concordance. You will find it is always “apokalupsis” in the Greek. Reading all these scriptures containing the word “revelation” out loud (knowing apokalupsis meant unveiling Christ) was so dynamic and rewarding for me. I especially like the word “unveils”. The unveiling of Christ throughout the book… WOW!
Epiphaneia: 2215 Strong’s concordance: It means: A physical manifestation
I encourage you to check out the word “come” when you read it in the word. It truly makes a difference.
Another way to demonstrate the comings of the Lord is in the many names of God. Each one of them are ways that the Lord comes to us.
He came as Pentecostal power and many of His own did not receive Him. He is the one who has come, and who continues to come daily. But, oh to know Him that we might recognize it. He has been coming as Christ in different forms since Genesis, long before He came as a babe in a manger.
Again, Christ it ALWAYS coming. Each coming quickens the one who receives Him. Each visitation by His Spirit is Him coming, deep calling unto deep, forming and changing us into His image.
Christ is always coming, coming in ways which the world cannot recognize; coming as joy; coming as revelator, coming as peace, coming in strange and mysterious visitations, coming in silence and in power, visions, corporate refreshing’s and glory. I challenge you to pay attention and notice His comings in your life. You will soon recognize Him in entirely new ways as you become increasingly aware of the things you took for granted, not realizing it was Him. To God be the glory!
Every man and woman of the world, regardless of spiritual stature, needs to look for Christ appearing to humankind; He will appear where they are, and at a level they can receive. He appears to us in greater and greater glory as we walk forward in Him.
One final thought: This comes from John, my husband. “Remember in Job 42:5 when Job said, I had heard of Thee with the hearing of my ears, but now mine eye doth see? His seeing wasn’t speaking of his physical eyesight. He finally knows and understands God to be who He really was in his situation: Lord of ALL the circumstances of his life. Correlate that with His return when “every eye shall see Him.” Wonder what form that will be!?”
An incredibly wise man once told me: “Many times we must unlearn what we have learned.” It certainly has been my experience! What about yours?
Let me take a stab at your question John.
To understand where I am coming from, it is important to lay a little groundwork. I question everything concerning scripture. I especially like the question “how’. I’m always saying, “Well God, how is that going to work?” So, when it came to the church being victorious and yet seemingly so impotent in today’s world, I was at His feet asking how will the church ever become victorious? The more she preaches about unity, the less unity we see happening. The journey from that question has been over a 25-year trek and has led me to so many things I did not understand.
I became a big proponent of the 3 Main Feasts of the Lord in the Old Testament as I discovered they are not only a timeline for a lot of things, but they prefigure our development into the image of God. Spiritually, we are born children, and we grow just like a natural person grows. This was key, (recognizing the growth pattern in the 3 main feasts of the Lord). You can see the pattern on this website by clicking on the teaching: “3 REALMS OF HEAVEN”.
We will look at it from the perspective of a child in the womb. A fetus goes through 3 stages in the womb before his/her birth. It is my belief that every child of God will go through the 3 feasts, one way or another. Again, the 3 main feasts of the Lord prefigure this growth. The feasts are known as Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The difference in the growth of a physical person and a spiritual person is that the natural person is in the womb only 9 months. God’s growth pattern in us, while being the same for each believer, is not measured by time, but by actual growth.
That said, we know the Passover feast in the Old testament found its fulfillment in a believer when they accepted Jesus as their Savior. We also know that Pentecost (the feast of weeks) found its fulfillment in a believer when they received the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, some Jews did not receive the outpouring of the feast of Pentecost in the day that it manifested in the earth. Only a remnant continued to go on with God. Those who would not receive the truth of it, went on to persecute other believers who did, and so it goes on even today as there are those who continue to receive and those who still refuse to see the value of it.
Today, we hear the sound of the trumpets (mouthpieces) again. The message of the Feast of Tabernacles is upon us. Compared to when it began, (not long ago) it has spread throughout the entire earth for those who have had ears to hear… Come up hither!
God is preparing a people to come into His fullness. It will be as in any other move of God. First, God begins with a remnant. He chose the nation of Israel out of all the peoples of the earth to carry His word. Then, He chose a remnant out of Israel to be the first fruits of the Feast of Pentecost. Not all will believe in the beginning as in the other feasts. Remember in the Passover and Pentecost feasts, many others experienced them afterwards. They received the ministry of those who had already believed and received. There are more than the first fruits in a natural season. In fact, the second crop is usually more abundant than the first crop. So also is it in the realm of Spirit.
This first fruit company will be a part of the first resurrection (as this is when the full inheritance is received: when Tabernacle fully comes). They will sit upon thrones. Judgment (correction and restoration) will be in their hands, and they will begin with the church. Those in the first resurrection will be blessed and holy. (Rev. 20:4-6) When the church has received their ministry, she will be in unity and turn and reap the harvest of the earth. (Thy sons shall marry thee – For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. Isaiah 62:5) Marry means to be at one with…union (I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and has loved them, as Thou has love Me. John 17:23 Ah, that’s the “HOW”!
So John, to answer your question. His form will appear in a people called the manifestation of the sons of God (Love). They shall be like Him for they shall see Him face to face.
I tried to keep this short and to the point. Of course, I could pen pages and pages, as, like I said, I have had 25 years searching Father out concerning the study of this subject. I know you have more questions, John. Ask away! I love to at least try to fill in the blanks.
Revelation 20: 4-6: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years.
A reader responded to this article in an email: “Thanks for that Bonnie. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the second coming. And as you said, we are all still progressing at this point anyway. Would you be willing to share how you reconcile Acts 1:11 with those thoughts? That’s probably the toughest one for me to understand with that view in mind. Very interesting though.” Allen Weathersbee
My response: Yes, I would be happy to Allen. JFYI, I told John that if anyone is really listening, they will ask me about Acts 1:11. So, thank you for listening. I will offer my thoughts for your consideration.
Acts 1:19: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
When I study, I ask myself questions. In this case, I ask a couple of things. 1. Can a cloud receive? Receive means: to show hospitality, to reply, to suppose, think, believe, answering, and to take up. Literal clouds can do none of those things. 2. What does cloud mean. Well, it means cloud. So, I go to question 3. What does “a cloud” represent? Aha! The children of Israel were led by a cloud. That cloud was a manifestation of God’s Presence, not a natural cloud. I dare say it was the Shekinah Glory cloud of God that received Christ out of sight. Not some ordinary rain cloud in the sky. This is why the two men basically said to them: Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? (Heaven means “a realm of Spirit) Christ went into a realm of Spirit. That same real of Spirit now lives in us. The manner in which Christ left was “in the Spirit”. He returned in that same form and baptized His church in it.
When you think about it, of course The Shekinah Glory of God received Christ. Did not Christ ask: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with Thee before the world was!
If you will permit me… scripture indicates that we are surrounded by a great “cloud” of witnesses… To the disciples who asked what His coming would be like, He said, “They shall see the Son of man coming IN THE CLOUDS of heaven, but that would take us on another journey. I do believe if we were to take all the scriptures on “cloud”, we could spend hours investigating. I just hope that we can see that “Behold, He cometh”. Right now! I AM that I AM. This “cometh” is present indictive. He comes as a present tense reality, and one day it will manifest outwardly (when all the elect of old join us) like we have never known. Wow
Finally, I want to rightly divide the scripture that in my mind, is the toughest one concerning the so-called coming. Consider this please!
It is Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Coming, in the above verse, in the Greek is “Parousia”, meaning Presence.
After a thorough investigation, I realize how it got so twisted in the minds of many. They focused on “the lightning” instead of the true comparison indicated by the following words of Matthew 24:27: “cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west!”
The word for lightning in the Greek is ASTRAPE. In the verse we are considering, the meaning is “bright shining” as more fully understood with Luke 11:36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining (ASTRAPE) of a candle doth give thee light.
Instead of thinking of it as a “flash” of light… it is really more of a continual bright shining light (which Jesus is). So, we can say the continual bright shining light of His Presence…
Consider the following questions:
1. Does lightning always come out of the east and shine unto the west?” No, it can flash from all directions according to where the clouds are in the sky.
2. What light always comes out of the east and shines unto the west? The light of daytime always arises in the east, and it gradually brightens the horizon as the sun slowly becomes visible until it shines unto the west.
Christ’s Presence does not just “flash” for a moment as has been incorrectly portrayed. His Presence (Parousia-coming) comes from a sustaining grace in our lives which will continue to appear until He has brought all of humanity into a love relationship with Himself… Praise God forevermore.
I SURELY HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE,