This exposition is dedicated to my beloved Brother in Christ Jesus (Yeshua HaMashiach), Curtis Taylor.
A Little Background
I have a certain friend who’s been blessed with tremendous insights into the spiritual meaning of scripture, especially as it concerns Torah/Tenakh (The Old Testament) and it’s relationship to the New Testament (B’rit Hadashah). He also has rightly perceived how that the church as a whole, especially since the 4th century, in departing from it’s Hebrew roots, has in many cases supplanted the teachings and commands of scriptures with traditions based upon a greco-roman/pagan mindset, resulting in all sorts of heresy, misunderstanding, and confusion.
This friend of mine, after a lifetime of pastoring, because of his keen perception of the spiritual meaning of scripture, is no longer certain of a literal and physical 2nd coming. He’s seen how Christians have hyper-focused upon this concept to their own detriment in a multitude of ways. One of the statements he makes is “if we focus on the God ‘who is to come’ we’re going to miss the God of ‘who is'”. I think this is extremely profound, as it’s essentially a call to redirect our focus towards our relationship with God today, and how He can use, be with us, help us, teach us today, and therefore how we as His people can fulfill our role and calling as the light of the world, today. That rather than praying to be removed from refining fire and floods of life, we learn to praise Him and rely on Him through them, allowing the Master Potter to shape our earthen vessels according to His will, for His glory and our good.
The other thing I admire about this brother in Christ, is he has his priorities straight. He maintains that the most important thing is the spiritual condition of our hearts towards God, the brethren, and a lost world. He has an exceeding fervent zeal, and is “sold out” for the Lord. He maintains “doctrine is like body odor”, it shouldn’t necessarily be a divisive issue, so long as the fundamentals are agreed upon, and that we should tolerate, and embrace our different views, while embracing one another in love and pressing together, that we may become one, even as Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) prayed.
I couldn’t agree with him more concerning the primacy of these matters. We, as Bible-believing followers of “The Way” should always be ready to stand before our Lord and give an account, that no matter when our time come, we may confidently say “Lord I laid down my life for you, and gave it my all”. Whether by death or “rapture” a personal end for each living individual will come “in the twinkling of an eye”, and therefore we should live everyday, heartily, as if it were our last.
Nonetheless, at the same time I also believe God wants His people to be well informed concerning the subject at hand for following reasons: 1) so that we may fulfill our moral duty of combating dangerous heresies (Eph. 5:11, Acts 26:18, 1 Pet. 3:15, 1 Tim 5:20, etc.) of false prophets, which tendeth towards unbelief /deception, and therefore ultimately spiritual death, and 2) that His people may be comforted through knowing what He has planned for us (see Jn. 14:29, 15:15 for instance). So we can be sure He has given us sufficient evidence to come to a definite conclusion on this matters.
It’s my goal therefore in the following to relay the objective consensus of the scriptures (“old + new”) concerning the literal/physical 2nd coming of Messiah.
Necessity of a Balanced View
Now before we jump into the scriptures regarding this subject, I believe it’s important to lay some groundwork. I imagine most of this goes without saying, but nonetheless, please bear with me and consider the following, before we proceed to the “meat and potatoes”!
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.“-Romans 11:11-12, 17, 23, 30-31
let’s consider that just as it’s possible to look at the scriptures in a overly literal sense and therefore miss their intended meaning (I don’t believe this needs demonstrating), so it’s possible to over spiritualize them. Take for instance the prophecies loaded in Is. 53, or in Daniel 9 concerning Messiah being cut-off, the temple being destroyed, and the termination of the sacrificial system. These prophecies were all literally fulfilled, and if we attempt to spiritualize away their meaning we’re going to run into problems. In fact Messiah even literally “anoint[ed] the most Holy.“(v. 24) with His blood (upon the earth being rent and stuck in the side with a spear as described in the gospels) running down and splashing the Ark of the Covenant, consummating the Sacrificial system, which by the providence of God was hidden underneath the very spot where Messiah would be crucified, some 618 years earlier before the Babylonian captivity (see my Ark of the Covenant Tract , based on the discoveries of archaeologist Ron Wyatt).
I propose that while, yes, scripture as a whole in many cases does speaks in terms of immediate/physical circumstances while also having a prophetic/spiritual meaning, we must consider both and cannot miss one for the other. Because the Bible is filled with interwoven and intersecting threads of literal events that took place in history, symbols, allegory, poetry/song, and prophecy (both literal as well as spiritual events in the future to fulfilled), the immediate context as well as the whole of scripture must be the determining factor to arrive at a balanced conclusion, while also considering the possible historical relevance. In fact, if such an approach is not taken, the entire Bible (on the surface anyways) appears to be a book riddled with contradictions and confusion from cover to cover.
This also applies to our “school” or tradition of interpretation. I believe just as it’s possible to interpret scripture in an overly greco-roman/pagan mindset (again, I don’t believe this bears demonstrating), so it is likewise to do in an overly jewish/rabbinical tradition mindset. One need only consider the wearing of the phylacteries on the head/arm or the nailing of a mezuzah to a doorpost, which while not “wrong”, clearly miss the intended meaning of the scripture.
I propose that Just as God from the beginning intended Jew and Greek (gentiles) to become one in Messiah, that all mankind should have opportunity to salvation, so it is no coincidence that the translation of the Bible which God in His providence chose to use more than any other to evangelize the world for the last 400+ years (the King James) has been based on the original tongues of Hebrew + Greek, i.e. representative of both Jew and Gentile (notice also this trend in scripture: Rev. 9:11; Lk. 23:38, etc.).
The Koine Greek language with it’s “perfect” tense and articles, etc, is the most definitive as well as expressive language to have ever have existed. And it’s no coincidence that the majority of all extant manuscripts have been in this language (i.e. the textus receptus or “received text” of the Reformation Bible; while ALL subsequent translations embrace the Council of Trent’s diabolical counter-reformation-proJerome’s Latin vulgate-Westcott & Hort text as well those of the “higher critics”, which are largely based on the “Vaticanus” & “Sinaiticus” (the latter manuscript literaly being found in a trashcan!) and ultimately have their source in the Alexandrian gnostic/kabbalistic school of mysticism (and likewise does the Septuagint, the origin of the “Apocrypha”). And so we must be careful how we read/interpret the scriptures, as Yeshua said, “by their fruits shall ye know them”. While the King James Version is a translation, and is not perfect, it is the most honest of them all, and God has clearly blessed it above the others, which is why from it’s inception the devil sought to destroy it (see Jesuit ‘Gunpowder Plot‘), and when he couldn’t, he inspired all sorts of other ‘Bibles’ to be translated which the masses would embrace for ease of reading, but being compromised: not based on the Majority Texts but rather the counter-reformation texts, translated by dishonest men who have ecumenical and other agendas.
While ‘truth’ is absolute and objective, sometimes the ‘truth is in the middle’ in the sense that the different proponents may each have elements of truth as well as error. So while we need to bring all tools to the table in our interpretation, consulting the original tongues, commentaries, alternate translations, etc. when necessary, it’s wisest to primarily use the medium God has evidently blessed and chosen unless there’s an apparent contradiction, error, or more light required. Why would God choose to evangelize the World with the KJV if it isn’t mostly reliable? And how can we justify, judge ourselves wise, or even act in indifferently, choosing any other translation as our “go to” when they’re ultimately popish, gnositc, ecumenical translations, and that often have Jesuits in their committees. (see following articles for example: The Roman Catholic Church, her Jesuits, and Modern Unauthorized Bible Versions, Out From Her). The moral of the story is, if we’re using deceitful translations, we’re going to be deceived.
Koine Greek at the time of the apostles (the authors of the original manuscripts), was as the English language today in the sense that it was nearly universally spoken and understood. So it makes sense that upon Messiah declaring to the Jewish People “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Mt. 23:38), likewise Paul and Barnabas, “it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46), that God would use the language of the Gentiles as the basis for the dispensation which was to follow. We all agree God is sovereign. Nothing happens by chance, God works all things according to the counsel of his will. And hence why God has chosen chiefly to use the gentile English Bible based on both the Jewish and Greek autographs to bring the world to knowledge of Salvation through Messiah, the one true God, creator of heaven, earth, and all that in them is. So we must ask, why did God allow that for a period of time the Hebrew origins, concepts, and names of the only true religion should be lost site of? Obviously God has allowed this for a purpose. And I believe because A) of the change of dispensation for a period of time, and this to the end of B) provoking the Hebrew/Jewish people to jealously. This is especially true today as the gentile believers in Yeshua the Messiah start to embrace the Hebrew roots of their faith like never before.
I believe that we are at a time now, where we need each other in order to see the big picture. We need to learn from each other, bringing both schools of thought/interpretation and traditions based on scripture together. God has given both Jew and Gentile a piece of the puzzle, in order that it would require our mutual participation, love, respect, and embracing of one another, for us to truly become one in Messiah. If we throw out the Hebrew roots of our faith the teachings of our Jewish Messiah and the rest of the new testament cannot truly be understood at any level of depth. And yet at the same time, if we relegate the gentile expositors and other men through Whom God has chiefly worked and given light for the last 400+ years, we will also miss out on invaluable insights into God’s plan for man and depth of understanding concerning the scriptures, as well as rich hymns, glorious oratorios, etc. Both parties have a rich heritage and gifts which God has given, in order that we may bless and appreciate one another.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek….for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.“-Gal. 3:28
As my one Messianic friends says “God must have a sense of humor, he put the answers to understanding the prophetic symbols of the new testament in the old testament, and the answers to understanding the Messianic prophecies of the old testament in the New Testament”. Indeed, the key to an accurate understanding of the intended meaning of scripture is using the old and new testaments together, to interpret one another. If we deem either as being more or less important/central we will ultimately ending up missing pieces pivotal to seeing the bigger picture. Behold the two witnesses!
What a beautifully dramatic and dynamic love affair! Just think of the the volumes the way God has chosen to work speak about His character. And so shall we conclude with the prophet, as he concluded concerning these very matters:
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.“-Romans 11:33-36
2nd Coming in ‘The Day of Atonement’
Let’s start with examining Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) as given in the scriptures. For brevity sake, I’m going to assume that the reader is at least somewhat familiar with these passages and the concept that the feast days and ceremonial rites given to the Hebrews, as outlined in the Old Testament, were given among other reasons, chiefly as a prophetic outline of God’s plan for mankind (this is to one degree or another explained by the Apostle Paul (Sha’ul) in his epistle to the Hebrews). In any case, what one finds is that when the passages in Leviticus are compared with those in Revelation, they are inexorably linked.
In Leviticus Ch. 16 we read of the Scapegoat or aza’zel (Strong’s H5799, agreed by Jewish commentators agree is a symbol of satan, (see Easton Bible Dictionary, Practical Lessons from the Experience of Israel for the Church of to-day by F.C. Gilbert, a “Hebrew Christian”, author of “From Judaism to Christianity”, etc.), who, after the Lord’s sacrifice was offered, is to be presented alive before the Lord, (v. 10) to finally receive upon himself the iniquities of all of God’s people (v. 21) as the originator of sin, before being sent by “a fit man into the wilderness” or ‘separation’, a “land not inhabited” (v. 22). This is paralleled in Ch. 20 of the book of Revelation which details details satan being temporarily thrown into a “bottomless pit” by an angel (vv. 1-3), to be finally destroyed at a latter point (v. 10, and keep in mind passages such as Isaiah 14:12-17!) Once again, if we spiritualize away the literal meaning of such passages, we’re left in a quandary. Since satan is a spirit being, he’s not going to just die of old age, disease, etc. Neither will he just go away or give up his mystery of iniquity. Obviously God is not going to just let this malevolent spirit being continue to exist, he’s going to be dealt with, and the only way that makes sense, is exactly as the scriptures describe.
So getting back to the point at hand, so likewise, just as a literal 2nd coming is apparently depicted in John’s vision (Rev. 6:14-17, 19:15-21), turning again to Leviticus 16 we read of the high priest, “And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.” (v. 17) As was previously stated, the book of Hebrews tells us the tabernacle was a figure of the true in heaven, and is where Christ is currently carrying out the work of the high priest, mediating on our behalf (as is also indicated in other portions of scripture). ***And based on the Bible, we know that the dead are in the ground until the 1st resurrection/judgement, and that no humans have yet taken up a heavenly abode*** (see Acts 2:29-30, 1 Cor. 15:20, Ecc. 3:20, 12:7, Ps. 115:17, Ps. 146:4, Ecc. 9:5-6, Rev. 20:5-6, 11-15, etc.) These are the types of scriptures that if overlooked lead to the confusion.
Now lest peradventure one say “it’s speaking of the Holy Spirit”, let us turn to the book of acts. When Messiah very literally and physically ascended to heaven before the disciples eyes, what did the angel say to them? “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.“-Acts 1:11. And Yeshua had already told them (v. 8) that they would receive the Holy Ghost, so obviously it would’ve been redundant if that’s to what the angel was referring. There’s no getting around the significance of a special mention that he would come the same way he went up, which was literally and physically. And get this, isn’t it also interesting to note that the disciples were rebuked when focusing on when this would take place (vv. 6-7)!
Again and again we find the scriptures reiterate this same concept: “The LORD said unto my Lord [(Yeshua, see: Mt. 22:42-46)], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool….And at that time shall Michael [(Yeshua, see: Rev. 12:7; 1 Thess. 4:16)] stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.“-Ps. 110:1; Dan. 12:1-2
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?“-1 Cor. 15:12
Now tell me, was Christ LITERALLY risen from the dead? Or was it some sort of spiritual mumbo jumbo? You see this is actually exactly the issue the apostle was addressing in these verses (as well as in other places of scripture), because the gnostics were the “fathers” of spiritualizing away God’s plan and Messiah’s work, and the Apostle John referred to this as the spirit of Antichrist.
Let’s read on, I think the context should render it pretty clear:
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.“-1 Cor 15:17-28
(and note verses 18-19 which conclusively prove this is not some sort of spiritual language, as the apostle draws the parallel between the asleep [G2837, translated “dead” in 1 cor. 7:39]in Christ perishing, and and having hope only in this life)
You see, we need to also keep in mind that the scriptures indicate that things will get darker and more evil up until the end, rather than that all the sudden the world will start embracing the light, and darkness the darkness will just go away. Remember this is ultimately a battle between God and satan and other spirit beings, which has been carried down to our planet. And hopefully it’s obvious that God’s not going to let humans just indefinitely keep being born and reproducing in a temporal existence while his kingdom reigns in heaven. Even if the linear devolution of man weren’t apparent, Jesus Himself stated we would eventually we would destroy ourselves (Mt. 24:22, notice no “FLESH” would be saved). This is why we create confusion if we ignore the distinction of new heaven & earth and the millennial reign, or seek to spiritualize them. So there must be a consummation of the “great controversy” as Ellen white called it. God has allowed men to be fruitful and multiply for going on 6,000 years in order to to achieve the numbers he purposed to enter the God family of Elohim. Even traditional rabbinical interpretation recognizes the 7 day week as being prophetic of 6000 years of man’s rule, 1000 years of God’s reign (see Rabbi Elias and Rabbi Kattina, Sanhedrin 96b-99a, etc. )
2nd Coming in the Parables/Teachings of Yeshua
In Matthew 22 we read the Parable of Marriage Supper, clearly describing literal events concerning the Kingdom of God and history of mankind. It opens up in v. 2 explaining that the Parable describes God’s appointment of the reception of His Son, vv. 3-6 detail that those who were supposed to receive Him, were not ready when it was announced the Son should come, that they hadn’t take their role seriously, and that they slew the prophets which were sent unto them. V. 7 describes the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and his Armies in 70 AD, vv. 8-10 deals with the “time of the gentiles (Lk. 21:24)” or the preaching of the Gospel to the gentiles, and primacy of “the church”, and then finally in v. 11 we see the Son coming as King, followed by the description of a judgement that culminates in the unworthy being cast into “outer darkness” in vv. 12-14. And notice the parable makes special mention of one at the wedding, but lacking the proper garment (righteousness of Christ). This is paralleled by Mt. 7:21-23, which indicates that the judgment will take place on a day. This is the only way the scriptures can properly be reconciled, because according to the Apostle Paul the judgment day (described in both the old and the new testaments: Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14; Rev. 20:11-15; 1 Cor. 6:2-4; Rev. 20:2-4 ) takes place after death (Heb. 9:27).
When one considers all the other details included in context of these scriptures, for instance satan being bound for a thousand years, to at some point be released again, and eventually to finally to be cast into the lake of fire; the description of a second death and a 1st Resurrection for only a few (which will not be subject to the second death and reign with Christ for the thousand years that satan is bound); and ultimately death and hell being cast into the lake of fire, along with those who are not written in the Lamb’s book of life (which it says is the second death), it’s really becomes impossible to spiritualize away a literal element. We’d be force to relegate the e
Especially as we see these same themes re-occuring in scriptures:
I think part of the reason for the confusion today is that we haven’t reconciled the various aspects of scriptures so that they make sense. So let’s begin by setting a few things straights: 1) This is the devil’s world system 2) few will accept the ways of righteousness 3) scriptures indicates that rather than things getting brighter and brighter with men turning to truth, that it will get worse 4)
In 2 Pet. 2:4-9; 3:3-13 we read, “God…spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished…Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
day of the lord = darkness