Astrape in Luke 17:24; Matthew 24:27 -r

Please note that in this study, the scriptural references to “the Son of Man” should actually read, “Son of the Man.” In Greek, the indefinite “son of man” does not mean the same thing as the definite “Son of the Man”. See our study: “Son of Man and Son of God

While we are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, one of the books many cite related to our Biblical studies is Jehovah of the Watchtower“, by Walter Martin and Norman Klann. Our references to this work are to the Ninth Printing, dated 1981 (Copyright 1953, 1974). On page 88 of that book, we read: “In Luke 17:20-21, the Lord reveals the kingdom of heaven as within the believer in one aspect but clearly states that the heavenly aspect will be visible and observable at His return (vv. 23-26).” Actually, we find nothing in Luke 17:20-21 that says that kingdom of heaven is “within the believer”. Jesus was not speaking to believers, but unbelievers, the Pharisees. Was Jesus saying that the kingdom of heaven is “within” the Pharisees? Was Jesus’ illustration as presented in Luke 17:23-26 meant to say that the kingdom “will be visible and observable at His return”?

Before answering those questions, we first want to note what Martin and Klann next stated: “In Matthew 13, the Lord Jesus portrays the kingdom of heaven symbolically in parables, yet it is always pictured as a reality, not invisible phantom government.” We agree that the parables present the kingdom of heaven symbolically, and that it is always pictured as a reality. Martin and Klann seem to be under the false assumption, however, that an invisible presence means that it is not a real presence. This kind of reasoning, if applied to some scriptures, would mean that God is not real, since he is the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:15) God is a reality, however, even though we cannot physically see Him. Likewise, initially, when Jesus returns in his parousia, we believe that his parousia is unnoticed by the world, as we will show from the scriptures.

In the context, Jesus had stated:

Matthew 24:23 Then if any man will tell you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There,’ don’t believe it.
Matthew 24:24 For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you beforehand.
Matthew 24:26 If therefore they tell you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; ‘Behold, he is in the inner chambers,’ don’t believe it.

Jesus here warns against expecting to see him return in the flesh. As he stated elsewhere, however, “the world will see me no more.” (John 14:19) Jesus knew that the world would not see him when he returned because he knew that he was to sacrifice that flesh for all time. (Luke 22:19; John 6:51; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Hebrews 10:10) He knew that he would not return in the flesh, and yet he also knew that many would be claiming that he had returned in the flesh, and, in effect saying, “Here he is,” and “there he is.” And there have been many false prophets claiming such. Additionally, there have been many false prophets claiming that they have the authority of the Kingdom, and thus the sole right to speak for Jesus, such as the claims for the Papacy and that of the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other religious sects and leaderships.

See our related studies:
The World Will See Me Know More
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation.” (Luke 17:20, World English Bible translation) “nor will they say, `Look, here it is!’ or, `There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, `Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them.” — Luke 17:21-23 NASB translation.

And there have been many, from the first century to this very day, who have proclaimed this or that outward organization to be God’s Kingdom on earth; likewise, there have been many who have claimed to be Jesus, or in some way to exclusively represent Jesus. Nevertheless, because Jesus has sacrificed his flesh for sin (Luke 22:19; John 6:51; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Hebrews 10:10), one cannot point to any human being and claim that this or that human being is Jesus, as many have done are are still doing; when Jesus comes in his kingdom, one will not “see” Jesus’ body of flesh, since Jesus is no longer flesh, and since there is to be no more sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:26), he has no reason to come back in a body of flesh.
See our study: “Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being

Then Jesus states, as rendered by the New American Standard version of the Bible in Matthew 24:27:

“For just as the lightning (Greek, astrape: light, bright shining) comes from the east and flashes [Greek, phaino: shines] even to the west, so will the coming [Greek, Parousia: presence] of the Son of Man be. (NAS)

Westcott & Hort Interlinear
hwsper gar hee astrapee exerchetai apo
AS EVEN FOR THE LIGHTNING IS COMING OUT FROM
5618 1063 3588 0796 1831 0575
anatolwn kai phainetai hews dusmwn houtws
EASTERN [PARTS] AND IS SHINING UNTIL WESTERN [PARTS], THUS
0395 2532 5316 2193_5 1424 3779
estai hee parousia tou huiou tou anthrwpou
WILL BE THE PRESENCE OF THE SON OF THE MAN;
1511_4 3588 3952 3588 5207 3588 0444

Astrape means:

lightning; light, ray of light

http://biblestudydata.com/moodle/mod/data/view.php?d=2&rid=845

The old English word “lightning” is a variant of “lightening”:
lightning. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lightning.

This word does not necessarily mean lightning in the sky as is often associated with thunderstorms.

Jesus’ words in Luke 17:24 read as:

“For just like the lightning, when it flashes [shines] out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.”

Jesus, in answering the Pharisees, first lets them know that when the kingdom comes it will not be with observation, something that will be observed as such. No one will be able to legitimately say that the kingdom is ruling here, or it is ruling there, as though it will be actually seen, but that it is to be in their midst. He then explains to his disciples — not the Pharisees — that there will be those however, that will claim that God’s kingdom is ruling and can be seen, and warns not to follow these. Such claims have been made by Rome and many other church-state systems, including, I believe, the JW leadership. These proclamations of God’s kingdom, being seen amongst men, Jesus said, are not the real kingdom, and he tells his followers not to recognize them as such.

Then Jesus tells how God’s kingdom will come upon the world, by describing the light, that progresses from east to west in the sky. Many translations present this light as lightning and use the word “flash” rather than simply shines, but we believe that this leaves one with the wrong idea, as we will present below.

Electrical lightning associated with thunderstorms does not generally come from the east and shine even to the west, but the sun does. The word “lightning”, in the context given, is a poor choice to represent the Greek word “astrape,” which signifies “bright shining” (as given in Luke 11:36 in the KJV), or simply “the light”. The bright “light” actually being described here and applied figuratively to the parousia of the son of the man, as the context indicates, to the sunlight which shines always from the east even to the west, while on the other hand, lightning flashes in a variety of directions, wherever the electrical forces producing it may be discharged. A flash of lightning would only luminate the sky for a split second, which also is not a good illustration of Jesus’ return. When the the Greek word often transliterated as “parousia” is understood and “presence” rather simply as “coming” (in a split second?), the statement is seen to declare that the presence of Christ will be like the sunlight, gradually illuminating the world. It is not a split second of time, in which all the world sees and recognizes Jesus in the instant that he returns, as some have assumed.

Those who are awake and watching, the children of the light, are the first to discern and rejoice in His presence. The children of the night and of the darkness will awake when the Sun of Righteousness will arise in His full glory, and all the sin-sick will rejoice in the healing to be gained through the influence of His rays. Therefore, Jesus uses here the illustration of how the sun brings light as it comes up the east and goes to the west. This well depicts the sun of righteousness who arises with healing in his wings. (Malachi 4:2) The shining is not confined to any one place, but its effect is different in different places. The bright shining (verse 27) means truths and knowledge greatly increases, especially during the time that Christ is returns and is present. That this shining is visible from the east to the west, refers to the fact that our Lord’s presence reveals truth that not only is seen now, but even unto the west, the end of the Millennium, even as the sun gradually moves across the sky from east to west. (Revelation 21:23-24). When the sun first rises in the east, it is not especially bright, but the rays of light can be seen gleaming through the sky. As it continues its journey, the shining gets brighter and brighter.

The sun shine of this new day, however, is different from a normal day, for the prophecy says that the bright shining is darkened by the clouds. (Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15) The clouds, in this instance, we understand to mean obscurity — darkness and trouble on earth. (Isaiah 8:22) It is a unique day, different from what we have known before, for we are told that at evening time, rather than darkness coming, there will be light. (Zechariah 14:7) Thus seen, we can see that this day endures on into the millennial rule, when the world will be instructed in the ways of Yahweh, and the knowledge of Yahweh will fill the earth. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 6:11.

At first, only those who are spiritually awake recognize this presence, (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6) but after Satan is abyssed, all men will become aware of his presence, including those who pierced (who have to first be raised from the dead) him. (Revelation 20:3; Isaiah 25:7; Revelation 1:7) To many of the watchers who compare spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing in order to “see” spiritually, this light is now seen in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, as well as a flood of knowledge that causes understanding of many spiritual truths that were hidden in the darkness of the wilderness for over a thousand years. Thus to them it has a special meaning. But to the world the light first brings a time of trouble, as never seen before in history, for poor humanity, still being out of harmony with God and truth, cannot properly control the increase of knowledge that has so gradually filled the world since 1799. (Daniel 12:1,4) Yet they are still ever learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7) God’s kingdom is in their midst, but they do not recognize it. — Luke 17:21

Thus seen, in agreement with other scriptures, Christ’s parousia, covers a period of time, in which many things occur. Yes, Jesus does arrive at the beginning of his parousia, his presence as King, and thus remains present. His presence is not just a split second event. The Greek word parousia means more than just his arrival, but it also includes the many events prophesied concerning his coming.

W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: Parousia, literally, a presence, para, with, and ousia, being: denotes both an arrival and a consequent presence with. Robert Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible: Parousia, a being alongside, presence.

Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Foreword: “Parousia, as applied to the return of the Lord, is simply the anglicizing of the Greek word which literally means ‘presence.’

One way of showing that the parousia is a period of time can be seen by comparing two scritpures:

Matthew 24:37-39 – As the days of Noah, so will be the coming [parousia — kingly presence] of the Son of Man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming [parousia – Kingly presence] of the Son of Man

Luke 17:26 – As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days [parallels with “parousia” of Matthew 24:37] of the Son of Man.

Thus the world in general is carrying on these affairs in the days of Jesus’ parousia, that is, his parousia is not known to them, as testified by the fact that they don’t know, or understand. When this present evil world is destroyed, then the sunlight of the kingdom and the righteous will be revealed — the revealing of the saints. Then will follow the resurrection of the world. It is not until after the world’s resurrection, that even those who pierced him will be brought back to life so that they may “see” him, and thus “They also who err in spirit shall come to understanding, and those who murmur shall receive instruction.” — Revelation 1:7; Isaiah 29:24.

Someone has objected that lightning does go from east to west. This may be true in some cases, but such lightning is between clouds and still only lasts for a split second. Cloud-to-cloud lightning is said to occur more often than cloud to ground strikes, but such cloud-to-cloud lightning may or may not be seen from the ground, and is more often seen as light behind the shadows of the clouds. While it is very doubtful that this is what Jesus had in mind when he spoke his words, nevertheless, this could describe the conditions set forth in Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15.

The National Lightning Saftey Institute states: “Lightning’s behavior is random and unpredictable.”
http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/lsvl_plans.html

Lightning, as seen from earth in the sky in Israel, usually is seen as going downward, not from east to west. This is in agreement with Luke 10:18, in which Jesus may have used astrape to describe lightning as falling from the sky in the land of Israel, although more than likely Jesus was referring to Satan figuratively as what we often call a “falling star” which falls from the sky.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/top-25-photos-year-gallery-1.1229140?pmSlide=17

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/Pszb-cX0I6q/Lightning+Storm+Brings+Much+Needed+Rain+Holy

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45712602@N07/8125253395/

He said to them, “I saw Satan having fallen like lightning [astrape] from heaven.”

True, Jesus is speaking figuratively, but, as it reads in most translations, the figure be using natural lightning to depict what happened when Satan disobeyed and fell out harmony with God.

However, as stated before, we tend to believe that astrape in Luke 10:18 refers to a falling star, not lightning, which would tend to support the idea that Matthew 24:27 refers, not to lightning, but to the sun traveling from east to west. This view is supported by the fact that astrape is derived from the Greek word *aster* which does mean “star.” Nevertheless, we should not expect that the Bible would use the words for “star” with the same classifications that modern scientists have developed.

Additionally, the Hebrew word often transliterated as ‘owr (Strong’s Hebrew #216) is used similarly, sometimes meaning lightning, sometimes meaning sunlight, light of a lamp, etc.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=0216

Lightning travels in both directions, upward and downward, but that which is usually seen from the earth is the shining which extends downward, not east to west.

http://thunder.msfc.nasa.gov/primer/primer2.html

Someone argues: “The point of Matthew 24:27 is to try to convey a understanding that when Jesus returns ‘every eye shall see him,’ just as every eye (person) sees the sun as it appears to go from east to west.” Yes, “every eye” will see Jesus, but Revelation 1:7 refers to a later stage of his return, not to the first appearance as likened to the sun. Those who pierced Jesus hve to be raised from the dead before they “see” Jesus in glory coming in the coulds. Thus, it is one of the events to take place sometime after the initial return of Jesus. After the sun has arisen, and Satan has been abyssed, all will be enabled to “see” the sun; this will be the time when he comes with all his saints to judge the world, that the world may be delivered (saved) from the bondage of corruption when the saints are revealed. (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Isaiah 2:2-4; Romans 8:19-21) However, Jesus first comes as a thief to harvest the earth, in which the tares are bound in bundles and symbolically cast into the symbolic furnace of fire, after which the sons of God are manifested; when the sons of God are finally made manifest Jesus comes with all his saints, and every eye shall see him, after the harvest is ended, and after Satan has been abyssed.

See the study:
The Parousia, Seventh Trumpet, and the Harvest

But what did Jesus mean when he said, “the kingdom is your midst”? (Luke 17:21) In the King James, and many other translations, this reads: “the kingdom is within you.” This leads to the false reasoning that the kingdom is within a person. Directly, however, Jesus was speaking to the unbelieving Jews; was he saying to those unbelieving Jews that the kingdom was within them? In the first century, the kingdom was in their midst in that the king of the kingdom was standing their in their midst, but they did not recognize him; they could “see” his body of flesh, but did not “see” him for who he was. (Matthew 13:13-17; John 1:10) Although more than likely Jesus was speaking prophetically of the future time when he would return in his kingdom, the circumstances of his first appearance in the first century do provide an illustration of this second appearance. At his second appearance, however, he does not come in the flesh, for he does not come again to sacrifice his flesh, since that flesh was sacrificed at his first appearing, and offered to God after Jesus ascended into heaven. — Hebrews 9:28; 10:10; 26; 1 Peter 3:18.

Addendum One:

Quote from Adam Rutherford:

The translation of the Greek word astrape by “lightning” in Matthew 24:27, Luke 17:24 in our English Bibles is misleading and is partly responsible for wrong conclusions regarding the manner of the Second Advent. It is true that astrape means “lightning” but it also has a wider meaning. Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon gives the meaning of astrape in New Testament Greek as “any bright light”. Jesus Himself, as recorded in Luke 11:36 speaks of “the bright shining (astrape) of a lamp”. The same Greek word is used again in Our Lord’s Great Prophecy of Matthew 24, where in verse 27 He speaks of a bright light “coming forth from the east and shining even unto the west”. There is only one bright light that does this, namely the sun (moonlight is faint and the starlight is small). So the correct translation of Matthew 24:27 is “For as the sunlight (astrape) cometh forth from the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the presence (parousia) of the Son of man be.” Only those who are awake and watching see the first gleams of light and watch the increasing light and dawn, whilst later when the sun rises in the sky and moves over to the west, it is observed by all. So likewise, only those awake to the signs of the times and watching discern the Lord’s presence in the early days of the Second Advent, whilst later, when He manifests Himself, “every eye shall see Him”, for His parousia, i.e. His presence continues throughout the Millennium. (Pyramidology, Book IV, 1972, page 1487)

Related Pages Online
We do not necessarily agree with all statements made.

Signs of Christ’s Presence: Bright Shining Sun
http://www.biblestudents.org/presence/signs_sun.htm

As The Lightning Cometh
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1956_12.htm#_Toc36375045
Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, December 1956.

The Appearing and Revealment of Jesus Christ
http://www.dawnbible.com/2006/0605cl-1.htm

The Promise of His Presence
http://www.heraldmag.org/bookstore/booklet_promise.htm
Herald of Christ’s Presence (booklet)

Messiah’s Kingdom To Be Invisible
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbv5/r5455.htm
Zion’s Watch Tower, Reprints 5455.

Sign’s of Christ’s Presence
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB92.PDF
Beauties of the Truth, February 1992

Parousia (Discourse by Home Montague, Agawam Convention, 2009 – MP3)

Christ’s Second Coming – Its Manner and Purpose
http://www.dawnbible.com/2013/1302-hl.htm
The Manner of His Presence
http://www.dawnbible.com/1963/6302-hl.htm

The Parousia, the Seventh Trumpet and the Harvest

[Bibles, Bible-Related Books and Other Items]
[The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English]
[Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary]


Some have confused the matter concerning the parousia, and have evidently misread the arguments of many of the Bible Students so as to conclude that the word “Parousia” is being interpreted as having the definition of “invisible presence.” In other words, some have made the claim that Bible Students who believe that Christ’s parousia is invisible are presenting the word “parousia” itself as carrying the meaning “invisible.” Without judging the motives of those who would present this kind of argument, in reality the argument diverts attention from the invisible aspect of Christ’s return to the word “parousia” itself, and ends up being a strawman argument.

Some have cited some works of the Greeks and Romans concerning this, as alleged proof that the the word “parousia” does not mean “invisible.” Of course, the Romans and Greeks of the first century, not knowing or understanding spiritual matters, would not think of the word Parousia as expressing a spiritual presence that could not be seen. — 2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:7.

Nevertheless, the word parousia, of itself, does not prove either a visible or invisible presence, and we don’t believe most, if any, Bible Students have intended to leave that impression.

Jesus, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, and having once for all time offered up his flesh, will never be seen in that flesh again. (Hebrews 7:27; 9:28; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18) However, this does not rule out the possibility that Jesus may manifest himself as did the angels of Yahweh in the Bible, who appeared as “men,” ate as men, and looked like men, manifesting themselves with a body of flesh. — Genesis 18:2,8,22; 19:1,5; Judges 13:2,6,8,9; Luke 24:4.
See the study:
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being
http://atonement.reslight.net/archives/1.html

However, Jesus does indeed return bodily, with a body, that is, with the spiritual, celestial body, and with its glory. He no longer has the body of a man, a glory a little lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2:9) Having offered (to his God in heaven) his terrestrial, earthly, fleshly body for sin, once for all time (John 6:51; Hebrews 7:27; 9:11,12,24;10:10), he will never again be seen with that body. (1 Corinthians 15:40,44) Now being a life-giving spirit, he comes again from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:40,45-48), during the blowing of the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 8:2,6), with a celestial, spiritual body, resulting in (not necessarily in the order given):

(1) The end of the age, during which a harvest of the people of God begins. This harvest begins while the nations are still blinded by Satan, but it ends after Satan is abyssed, when the saints, the sons of God of this age, will be manifested and “will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.” (Matthew 13:3-43; Romans 8:19} Unlike many Bible Students, however, we do not believe that this harvest reveals who is of what class by any visible manifestation, except until after Satan is abyssed. Jesus said that the tares, not the wheat, are first gathered and bundled. (Matthew 13:39,40) Although the human servants of God labor in the harvest work, the harvest work itself is not entrusted to men, who would surely misjudge and treat much of wheat as tares, but it is entrusted to angels.

(2) The nations become angry, resulting in a great “time of trouble”, during which time the people in general do not take notice of the parousia. — Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30; Revelation 11:15,18; Daniel 12:1,2.

(3) God’s wrath upon the children of wrath of this age comes to its conclusion — Ephesians 2:2,3; 5:6; Revelation 8:1.

(4) The dead are raised and the unjustified in this age are judged individually during the “last day” — Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 7:9,10; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 12:47,48; Romans 2:16; 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 6:2; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.

(5) God’s servants, prophets, saints are rewarded in the first resurrection. — Isaiah 40:10; Daniel 7:9,10; 12:1,2; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 3:8,14; Colossians 3:24; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 15:18; 20:4; 22:12.

(6) Those who would destroy the earth are themselves destroyed after the judgment day. — Psalm 37:10; Revelation 15:18; 20:8,12; 21:8.

Thus, the seventh trumpet begins to sound while the nations are still ignorant and are angry, and continues to sound until after the millennial age, up to the age of the ages, the eternal age.

Of Moses, it is said that, “he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27) In context, “him” could be referring to the prehuman Jesus, who, before coming the earth, had the glory of the invisible, the celestial — the glory that he did not have while on earth. (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40) Or, more than likely, “him” probably refers to the God and Father of Jesus, who is the “invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) Either way, Moses saw him who is invisible by the eye of faith, not by literal sight, for he did not see that which is invisible by means of the physical eye. The point is that “seeing” does not necessarily mean seeing with the physical eye.
On the other hand, the Jews in general saw Jesus at his first appearing in the flesh, but did not see who he was — the Messiah — which could only have been seen with the eye of faith. They did not recognize him. (John 1:10) Nor could they “see” the God and Father in Jesus. (John 14:9) Having seen Jesus in the flesh, however, Jesus said of the world that had seen him in the flesh, that they would see him no more. (John 14:19) Since they had only seen him in the flesh, and had not seen him with the eye of faith as the Messiah, the son of God, then this can only mean that they will never see him in the flesh again. They will see the Son of Man coming [Erchomai] on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen. — Revelation 1:7.

The word “coming” in Revelation 1:7 is not “parousia,” but a form of the verb “Erchomai,” — to come. However, we have no doubt that it is reference to “coming” in the days of the son of man, the parousia. (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26) The statement here is not that he comes on a cloud, a singular cloud, but rather “clouds.”

Another scripture describes this event in the Old Testament:

I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. — Daniel 7:13.

Again, the reference is to clouds, plural, not a cloud, singular. Prophetically, the plural can used to represent two, as “times,” representing two times. (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:14) Regardless, there is the possibility of at least two clouds being spoken of, indicating the possibility of two symbolic meanings. A cloud or clouds can represent: glory (Exodus 16:10; Ezekiel 1:28); guidance (Exodus 13:12); covering of sin (Isaiah 44:24); darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; Job 38:9; Psalm 18:11; Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15); a covenant, a promise of God (Genesis 9:13,16); God’s anger (Lamentations 2:1); alienation from God (Lamentations 3:44); storms (Ezekiel 1:4; 38:9; Luke 12:54; Jeremiah 4:13; Nahum 1:4); a hiding of the sun (Ezekiel 32:7); majesty (Isaiah 14:14); a communication from God (Exodus 24:16; Psalm 99:7; Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:35); trouble, distress (Ezekiel 30:3; Zephaniah 1:15).

In Daniel 7, the one like a son of man, in coming with the clouds, comes before the Ancient of Days, that is, Yahweh, and is presented to him. As a result, there was given to him an everlasting dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. (Daniel 7:14) This brings us into the age of the ages, the everlasting age after the millennial age, the age that will never end.

In Revelation 10:1, we find a reference to an angel coming in a cloud (singular).

Revelation 10:1 I saw another mighty angel coming down out of the sky [heaven], clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

Here is depicted an angel clothed as with a cloud. Of course, the language is symbolic. The “angel” is either Jesus or a messenger (angel) representing Jesus. Jesus, of course, will come as the “sun of righteousness.” — Malachi 4:2.

The “rainbow” probably represents the new covenant, which will be the means by which the seed of Abraham will bring blessings to all the families of the earth.
This angel is clothed with a cloud, a symbol of majesty, and yet we believe that it is also includes a symbolism of mystique, as a cloud hiding the sun, producing darkness. The angel has a face like the sun of righteousness, as a great ruler, but he also has feet like pillars of fire, representing a distressful situation and/or destruction. “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh’s wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy.” (Zephaniah 1:18) “My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” (Zephaniah 3:8) In this is pictured the wrath of Yahweh (Revelation 11:18), which wrath is brought to a finish during the blowing of the seventh trumpet, by means of seven symbolic bowls that are poured out. — Revelation 11:15,18; 15:1,7.

Revelation 10:2 He had in his hand a little book open. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land.
Revelation 10:3 He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.
Revelation 10:4 When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don’t write them.”
Revelation 10:5 The angel who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky,
Revelation 10:6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,
Revelation 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.

Thus, we believe this cloud appears either shortly before or at the beginning of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the last trumpet. The prophetical statement is that when the angel is about to sound his trumpet, the last trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished. The Greek word rendered “about” — transliterated as “Mello,” does not necessarily mean “about,” as though it was something yet to happen. We believe that it can also refer to the actual “being about” of something, that is, the actual doing of what is being spoken of, and we believe, in accordance with the context, “in days of the voice of the seventh angel,” that this is meaning of Mello in Revelation 10:7. When the seventh angel, having the seventh trumpet, is about the business of blowing his trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished. Many believe that this mystery refers to completing the mystery members of the bride of Christ, but we believe it refers to the completing of the mystery pertaining to the ages; in other words, it pertains to bringing to completion God’s purpose of the ages (Ephesians 3:9,11,Young’s Literal), which would bring us to up to the foretold “world without end,” or the age of the ages, the final age that never ends. — Isaiah 45:17; Ephesians 3:21, See Young’s Literal for Ephesians 3:21.

I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. — Revelation 14:14
Another angel came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!” — Revelation 14:15
He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. — Revelation 14:16.

Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” — Matthew 13:30.

The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. — Matthew 13:39.

The “age” being referred to this present evil age, the age in which Satan is god. — Galatians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 4:4.

By saying that the “harvest time” is the end of this age, and then describing events that take place during that “end,” Jesus shows that the “end” is not something that happens suddenly, but that the “end” itself — being “the time of the harvest” — is a period of “time.”

Revelation 14:14 depicts one like a son of man coming on a white cloud, a cloud of glory, and he has a sharp sickle in his hand.Revelation 14:16-20 shows that the sickle is used to harvest the earth.

When Jesus comes, one of the things he accomplishes is the harvest of the earth by means of his angels. This takes place during the “end” of the present evil age, while Satan is still the “god of this age.” As long as Satan is still blinding the minds of people, we know that this “harvest” has not ended. Nevertheless, the harvest does take place as a result of Jesus’ coming on the clouds.

Thus we conclude that the harvest has been going on, especially since about 1874, with an influx of worldly knowledge that is separating the tares from the true wheat. Jesus said that the tares were to be first separated from the wheat (Matthew 13:30), again indicating a time involved; the tares are thrown into the fiery furnace (symbolic of the the severe part of the time of trouble), and the wheat is gathered into the barn (representing a condition of spiritual safety; the spiritual ark, true faith in Jesus’ sacrificed body with its blood by which we are sanctified, set apart — Hebrews 9:12,14; 10:10,29). Then, after this, the wheat — the righteous — will shine forth as the sun, depicting the age to come, when Satan is abyssed so that he cannot deceive the heathen. — Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Revelation 20:3.

Jesus indicated that the foretold time of trouble is pictured by what happened in Noah’s day, thus, it is possible that the last part of the foretold time of trouble is depicted by the 40 days’ flood of Noah’s day. (Genesis 7:4; Matthew 24:37,38) We are now certainly experiencing a flood of knowledge now available through the internet and other means of fast communication. More and more professed Christians are falling into infidelity as a result of this influx of knowledge, thus proving themselves to be tares, rather than wheat. This increase of knowledge, however, brings discontent among the masses, and greed, and thus is also a source of trouble, and ends up being like a fiery furnace, as “fiery feet” stomping upon the people, with the trouble becoming so bad, that unless the days should be cut short, no flesh will be saved. — Matthew 24:21,22.

Addendum:

One asks if we believe that Jesus returned in 1874 and “inspected the temple”.

While we probably not put it that way, we do believe that Jesus began the harvest work related to the separating of the tares from the wheat; this is indeed an inspection of all who profess to be Christian, and since those who are being called to follow Jesus are spoken of as the temple of God,  one could say that this is a inspection of the temple. Many claim that the harvest is carried out along physical lines, but we believe the harvest is along spiritual lines, and that is carried out, not by the servants of Jesus in the flesh, but by the angels.

The questioner further asks:  “Did jesus make a decision during that time period and make a chosing of a particular group?”

The questioner is evidently asking if we have a belief similar the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim that Jesus, in 1918, inspected the temple, and approved of Rutherford’s religion, to which our answer is no. We need to remember that that the choosing of the faith seed of Abraham has been going on ever since the first century. In 1874, we believe that a special period began which is called the “harvest”. However, we also believe that the choosing of the wheat class at the end of the age is done by means of the angels, and therefore, we conclude that the wheat class cannot be represented by any physical group, such as the Bible Students. The revealing of the wheat, however, cannot be until after Satan is abyssed.

The questioner further asks: “Did jesus really return and examine babylon the great, and then appoint a certain group? Was that the great tribulation? “

By “group”, I assume this refers to physical outward group, such the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Bible Students movement. We have no reason to believe that Jesus has appointed a certain sectarian group, nor a certain individual, etc., to be “the true religion”, or “the true church.” Babylon the Great represents sectarianism, denominationalism, organizations (and associated false doctrines created by humans) that separate the sheep. To come out of Babylon the Great would signify rejection of denominational sectarianism and, and to the extent possible, the doctrines of men associated with such demoninationalism. The destruction of Babylon the Great signifies the destruction of all kinds of sectarianism and denominationalism. God is not going to allow such sectarian divisions to continue in His kingdom.

On the other hand, the tares are now being revealed as false Christians, often denying the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, accepting the idea that man got here by evolution, etc. Many of these tares openly deny Christ, and openly declare themselves as deists, agnostics, atheists, etc., while others retain the name of Christ, but in some way deny the power of blood of Jesus. Indeed, one can often hear of some claiming to be a Christian atheist, Christian agnostic, Christian deist, Christian Wiccan, Christian Buddhist, Christian Spiritualist, etc. We do believe, however, most of the Christians who profess Christ today will be found to be of the tare class. Nor does joining in association with the Bible Students movement make one of the wheat class. This does not mean that those who are found to be tares will be eternally destroyed, as the JWs teach; it simply means that their outward standing as a servant of Christ will eventually be burned up in the furnace of the time of trouble. No one amongst mankind, however, has been given any authority to point to this or that professed Christian and say “You are a tare,” although many are claiming they have authority to do so. Likewise, we have no authority to claim that one is of the wheat class because they belong to the Bible Students movement. Nor can we believe we have any authority to designate who among the “wheat” class will be found to arrived at the goal, the mark, of the prize of our high calling, so we should say to this person: “You are one of 144,000”, and to another, “You are not one of the 144,000.” We believe that all three major classes of Revelation 7 will be revealed after Satan is abyssed.

Thus, we do not believe that Jesus came in 1874 to inspect and approve any outward “group” as being approved as the JWs teach in doctrine concerning 1918. The inspection is of individuals, not of an outward “group.” Nor do we teach, as to the JWs, that one has belong to and/or recognize the Bible Students, Charles Taze Russell, or any other outward group, etc., in order to be saved, as as to live into the new age.

As Charles Taze Russell pointed out many times, the true church is not about an outward organization, but it pertains to individuals.

See also:

The Great Multitude
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes

Charles Taze Russell and sectarianism

The questioner asks if we “are saying that jesus inspected the temple in 1874, and found that the sect called ‘russelites’, or ‘bible students’ were thus in an approved condition?”

We do not know of any place that Russell taught expressly that Jesus “inspected the temple” in 1874, but Russell’s view of the temple had nothing to do with any external sect, group, denomination, etc. His view of the temple was that the temple is the church that belongs to Christ. Russell was non-sectarian.

Russell stated:“the Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly — whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.— and none others…. Do we not see that a part of our mistake was in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ, instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of those who become reprobates?… We must see that the Church is a comparatively small company of saintly footstep followers of Jesus, irrespective of sectarian lines.”

And Russell stated: “all who are worshiping any church organization should be warned. See thou do it not.’ These are thy fellow servants.‘Worship God.’`Rev. 22:9`.”

He further stated:“so far as the true Church is concerned, the only authority in it is the Lord, the Head of the Church, and his Word, and the words of those whom he specially chose to be his mouth-pieces, the apostles.”

And,“we believe that in every nation and denomination there are some true saints of God, members therefore of the true Church of God.”
http://ctr.reslight.net/?p=505

Thus, Russell viewed the temple of God to be any true Christian, regardless of what external group or denomination he might be associated with. His view of the temple of God was not restricted to a “group”, such as the Bible Students, nor a denomination, nor a religious organization, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Indeed, Russell preached against the kind of authoritarianism and sectarianism that is found in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization.

See: Charles Taze Russell and the one true church

Related

Russell’s Disappointment Over 1878
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes – Revelation 7
Astrape in Luke 17:22; Matthew 24:27
Bible Chronology and Bible Time Prophecy

Matthew 13:43 – When Will the Sons of the Kingdom Shine?

We have been asked concerning Matthew 13:43, as to when the sons of the kingdom shine forth. Before answering that we will to take a look at the whole parable of the wheat and the darnel (tares), and our great pastor’s (Hebrews 13:20) explanation of the parable.

Matthew 13:24 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field,
Matthew 13:25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel also among the wheat, and went away.
Matthew 13:26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel appeared also.
Matthew 13:27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?’
Matthew 13:28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’
Matthew 13:29 But he said, ‘No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel, you root up the wheat with them.
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

Our Pastor’s (Hebrews 13:20) explanation:

Matthew 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the darnel of the field.”
Matthew 13:37 He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,
Matthew 13:38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the darnel are the sons of the evil one.
Matthew 13:39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
Matthew 13:40 As therefore the darnel is gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be in the end of this age.
Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity.
Matthew 13:42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

In this parable, Jesus speaks of the Son of the Man as the householder who sows seeds of wheat, of the enemy who sows darnel (or tares), and servants of the householder, and also of angels (reapers) who are to gather the darnel to be burned in the furnace. It is this aspect, particularly, of the harvest, the gathering of the tares from the wheat, that Jesus says takes place in the end of the age. After the darnel has been gathered and burned in the furnace of fire, then we are told that the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, which can only apply after Satan has been abyssed.

We should note that the wheat (the righteous in God’s kingdom) do not shine until after the wheat has been burned up in the furnace of fire.

The setting of the parable begins while Jesus (the Son of the Man, David) was here on earth. Jesus is the householder who plants the seed of wheat. The seed planted is the Gospel Message, the word of truth, which brings forth regeneration to the Sons of the Kingdom. Thus the wheat that is produced from the seed planted must be those regenerated sons of God, who are not recognized by the world. (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1) The evil one comes in while men sleep to plant the seeds that produce tares. The seeds planted by the evil one are all those forms of doctrine that would negate the atoning sacrifice of Jesus: trinity, oneness, eternal conscious suffering, inherent immortal soul, etc., as well as those practices that would hinder true worship — forms of idolatry, sectarianism, ritualism, etc.

The field is not the church, but the world. The church members are in the world, but at the same time they are called to become sons of God who are not of the world; they, as new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) of the age to come, are not of the world that is now condemned in Adam. (Romans 5:12-19) Of course, their being sons of the coming kngdom age results in their being separated from the world. This separation from the world could be referred as a harvest, a gathering from the world (Psalm 50:5; John 15:19; 17:6,14,16; Ephesians 2:2-5; 4:17; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 4:1-3; 1 John 5:19), but that is not the application of harvest that is being spoken in the parable since the harvest being referred to in the parable would have the darnel being gathered from amongst the wheat, and then wheat are gathered into the symbolic barn where its fruitage will be put to use. In this parable, however, the true church is the crop produced from the seed that is planted in the world, which seed is depicted as growing into wheat. Satan comes along and plants seed that in the field, the world, that produces a cropt that appears to belong to the church, but is not actually the church.

As both the wheat seed and the tare seed produce their fruitage, it is hard to see the wheat because of the tares that are growing right alongside the wheat. Please note that the tares do not represent all the wicked people of the world, but represent only those who falsely claim to be sons of the kingdom, growing alongside the true wheat, the true sons of the Kingdom.

In the parable, the servants of the householder asked the householder (Jesus) if they should gather up the darnel. The householder says not to, lest the wheat be also gather with the darnel, but that to let both grow until the harvest, when Jesus said was the end of the age. The servants are obviously the servants of Jesus, and the householder is evidently Jesus. At the end of the age, Jesus sends forth his angels to first gather the tares (not the wheat) so that the tares may be burned up in the furnace of fire, and then the wheat can be gathered into the barn.

These questions arise: Are the servants actually of the wheat class that are growing in the field, or are the servants others than the wheat? Are the reapers of the wheat class? Are the reapers the “servants” being spoken of? Many seem to assume that the servants, the wheat, and the angels, are all of the same class. However, we have some problems with such a conclusion.

We should note, however, that the parable may not be delineating the individuals as such, but the aspects of those being referring to, one as “wheat” being cultivated, and another as “servants” of the householder.

Are the servants the reapers that Jesus sends to gather the darnel? From the way the parable reads, we fail to see how the two are the same. Jesus depicts the householder as saying to the servants: “Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.'” Thus, the servants that the householder speaks to are evidently not the reapers (since the householder is depicted speaking to the servants that he was going to send reapers), but Jesus identifies the reapers as “angels”. Thus, we conclude that the reapers really are angels, mighty spirit beings, that do the reaping, that is, the gathering of the darnel so that it might be burned up in the furnace of fire. Such work cannot be done by the wheat class being cultivated, nor the servants of the householder, but the angels can do such work. Such work is not expressed as separating the wheat from the tares, but of gathering the tares to burned up in the furnace of fire, which furnace represents the final phase of the great tribulation, leaving the wheat to be gathered later.

Thus the conclusion we draw from the scriptures is that it is after the tares are thrown into the fiery furnace that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth by tare class, and then, after that, the sons of the kingdom (which we believe are represented by all three classes spoken of in Revelation 7, not just the 144,000) will be able to shine forth as the sun — the new sun of the age to come. This shining forth should not be understood as part of the harvest itself, but rather the after effects of the harvest. The harvest itself belongs to this present evil age, not the age to come. This shining forth cannot be until after Satan has been abyssed so that the he will not be allowed to deceive anyone. (Revelation 20:3) Once the sons of God are being the revealed (Obadiah 1:21; Romans 8:19; 2 Peter 1:19), the gathering of the wheat into the barn will have already been completed.

A further question arises concerning the wheat: if the wheat represents all three classes spoken of in Revelation 7, how will all three classes be harvested before the end of the age? Of course, in reality the three classes mentioned are not actually manifested as such until after the great tribulation. We should not be concerned about the details of trying to judge for ourselves as to who are of which class, since that is yet to be revealed. All three classes are being called under the same general calling, and all three classes become new creatures as a seed planted. What that seed will eventually bring forth — whether a spiritual body or a physical body — is determined by God. (1 Corinthians 15:35-38) Nevertheless, in this age, it appears that only the 144,000 will have been fully developed; the other two classes will still need to bring their high calling to perfection in the age to come. Does this mean that only the 144,000 are gathered as part of the harvest in the end of the age? We have no reason to think so. The parable is meant to illustrate a general separation of the tares from the wheat in the end of the age, not to reveal the aspect of the various degrees of development of the new creatures during the end of the age. The latter will not be revealed until this present age has passed away.

At any rate, we believe that all of the above goes together to show that the sons of the kingdom do not shine as the sun until after Satan is abyssed.

See also:
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes – Revelation 7
The Great Multitude – Revelation 7:9-17
The Parousia, the Seventh Trumpet and the Harvest

Matthew 24:34 – This Generation

Matthew 24:34 Most assuredly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. — World English.
See also Mark 13:30,31; Luke 21:32,33.

There has been a lot of speculation amongst some as to what “this generation” means in Matthew 24:34. We believe that when Jesus said “this generation [genea]” he was referring to the corrupt Adamic generation that Paul spoke of in Philippians 2:15:

The Greek word for generation here most often refers to a specific generation of people living a specific time. Yet, it can also be applied in a broader sense to a generation suffering under a certain condemnation. In Philippians 2:14,15, we read:

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and divisive reasonings,
Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world.

Here Paul speaks of a crooked and perverse generation, and associates this generation with “the world” in which the sons of God shine as lights. The word translated from the Greek as “world” here is the Greek word that is often transliterated as “kosmos”. This is the word that John used in John 1:10, when he spoke of the world that had been made through the Logos, the Word. This is the word that Jesus used in John 17:5, and it is the word that Paul used in Romans 5:12, when speaking of the world into which sin had come through one man. It is therefore speaking of the world of mankind, and it is this world and the present generation existing ever since Adam sinned that Paul is speaking of. It is this generation, this creation, that God has subjected to the sun of vanity and is under a bondage of corruption, made to be in a perverse and a crooked condition from which it cannot make itself straight (just, justified). — Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; 7:13; Romans 1:24,28; 3:9,10,23; 5:12-19; 8:20-22.

It is into this world of mankind that Jesus came, and it was while he was in the world that Jesus was its light. (John 3:10-12,19; 8:12; 9:5) It is then this world, this generation of Adam, that has become perverse and crooked that the sons of God are to serve as lights, and thus it is this generation that Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 24:34 as not passing away until all had been accomplished. This may be seen in the next verse:

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Thus, we believe that this generation of Matthew 24:34 pertains to the whole creation of Romans 8:22, which creation has been subjected to vanity, and is under bondage to corruption: the Adamic generation that is of the heaven and earth that is to pass away.

In speaking of this generation as passing away [Parerchomai], Jesus uses the same expression as he used when speaking of the present heavens and earth passing away. (Matthew 5:18; Mark 13:31) Thus, in the context of Jesus’ words concerning all these things as happening before “this generation” passes away, he parallels the passing away of “his generation” with the passing away of the heavens and earth.

Hebrews 1:10 speaks of the foundation of this heavens and earth as being laid down by Jesus, referring to the time of the creation of world of mankind, thus of the time spoken of in the six days of creation. (John 1:10) John uses a similar word in 1 John 2:17, where he speaks of the world passing away. Peter uses the same expression as Jesus in speaking of the present heavens as passing away, although he is referring to ‘heavens’ as having existed from the flood of Noah’s day, not as from the original creation. (2 Peter 3:10) However, Peter earlier speaks of the corruption that is in the world (kosmos) through lust (elevated desire). (2 Peter 1:4) That corruption that is in the world (kosmos) came through the sin of Adam and Eve: Eve’s desire for knowledge and to become like God, and Adam’s desire to please his wife rather than his Creator. Paul uses the word kosmos, saying that sin entered into the world (kosmos) through one man. (Romans 5:12-19) And Paul refers to this creation as the “whole creation” or “all creation” that has been subjected to vanity and that is in bondage to corruption. (Romans 8:20-22) Solomon wrote of this generation as being under the sun of vanity and crookedness. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; 7:13) Thus, it is this creation through Adam, this generation through Adam, this corrupt world/creation through Adam, this heavens and earth that “shall perish” (Hebrews 1:11), but shall not pass away until all thing are fulfilled. In becoming free from the bondage of corruption, the old passes away, present crooked creation will pass away so that a new creation, a new heavens and new earth, come into being, even as the believer in this age becomes reckoned as a new creation before the passing away of the world in general. — 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 1:12; Revelation 21:1-5.

Some have thought that “this generation” refers specifically to the Jewish people as a “race”. Others have thought it refers to the “new creation”, those regenerated through the holy spirit. Some have thought it applies to a specific people living during one generation, of say, 100 years or so. The thought in the Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 4, Study 12, “The Battle of Armageddon”, states:

Certain Christian writers have been led to claim that the words “this generation” really meant, this race, the Jews, shall not pass away until all these predictions have been fulfilled.

But we must dissent from this interpretation for several reasons:

(1) Although the words “generation” and “race” may be said to come from a common root or starting point, yet they are not the same; and in Scriptural usage the two words are quite distinct. [D603]

Notice that in the New Testament when the word generation is used in the sense of race or posterity, it is always from the Greek gennema (as in Matt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7) or from genos (as in 1 Pet. 2:9). But in the three different records of this prophecy our Lord is credited with using a wholly different Greek word (genea) which does not mean race, but has the same significance as our English word generation. Other uses of this Greek word (genea) prove that it is not used with the significance of race, but in reference to people living contemporaneously. We cite in proof– Matt. 1:17; 11:16; 12:41; 23:36; Luke 11:50,51; 16:8; Acts 13:36; Col. 1:26; Heb. 3:10.

The author of the above would disagree with our conclusion presented earlier, but we believe that by looking at the context, and including Philippians 2:14,15, as well as many other scriptures as we have presented, that our conclusion is correct: the generation that is to pass away is the crooked and perverse generation that has extended all the way back to Adam.

See the following:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/genos.html
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/genea.html

The common root of the above two words:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/ginomai.html

Titus 3:5 presents the form that is often rendered as “regeneration.”
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/paliggenesia.html

Peter expresses the same thought of regeneration as recorded in 1 Peter 2:9 (see 1 Peter 2:2, where he speaks of the believers as newborn babes). In other words, Peter, although he used different words, was referring to the same thing that Paul referred to when Paul spoke of the new creation, and that as new creatures they were a chosen-out/picked out generation. (1 Corinthians 5:17). The word Eklektos, usually rendered “chosen” means more than just chosen, as part of the word is formed from “EK”, which means “out of”.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/eklektos.html

The “chosen” are picked out of the world by Jesus. — John 15:19.

Having become a new creation, as new-born babes, they are counted (reckoned/imputed/considered) as justified and alive — with the glory of terrestrial life (1 Corinthians 15:40; Romans 6:11), as though already in the age to come, when all things are made new. — 1 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 1:1-5.

They are indeed picked out of the world as a new generation, a generation not belonging to the wicked generation of Adam (Acts 2:40), called to become “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” — Philippians 2:15.

Nevertheless, when we look at gennema in Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Luke 3:7, and in comparison with other scriptures, we should see that Jesus is not referring to “race” or “nationality” as such, as though to the Jewish nation, but rather to the standing of these Jews in relationship to God. As long as they continued in disobedience, they were children of disobedience, and thus offspring of vipers, as the rest of humanity condemned in Adam. (Ephesians 2:2,3) That they are considered a part of the “world” (kosmos) can be seen by Jesus’ words in John 12:47,48, where Jesus parallels the “world” with those who rejected him. At that time, Jesus had only gone to the house of Israel, and thus the words could only apply to Jews who had rejected him. Such Jews, instead of obtaining the righteousness offered through the Law to any who could obey that Law, the Law only actually showed up their disobedience, and thereby their continuance as offspring of vipers. (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 9:31) Israel was indeed the offspring of Abraham, who had been justified by means of his faith, and of his particular obedience in harmony with that faith. — Romans 4:3,13; 4:15.

We should remember that, as a nation, Israel was indeed called a ‘holy nation’ (Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 49:7), a nation set apart, chosen by God, out of the world. As individuals, however, they are not of a holy generation simply by being of that holy nation, or by having the law, since obedience, and not just hearing, was required. (Leviticus 18:5; Deuteronomy 31:12; Romans 2:12,13; 10:5; Galatians 3:12) Jesus did recognize (reckon) justified Abraham as the father of the disobedient Jews by physical ancestry, but he also said that Satan was their father. (John 8:38-56) We can thus assume that, as a race, as a nation, Jesus spoke of Abraham as the father of Israel, but as disobedient children who were not individually justified by faith, they continued to be children of wrath, a generation of vipers.

At any rate, our conclusion is that when Jesus said this “generation will not pass away” until all things are fulfilled (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32), he was saying that the offspring condemned in Adam will not pass away until all things had been fulfilled. This harmonizes with his following statement that “Heaven and earth will pass away.” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33) The present heaven and earth [the present ecclesiastical and social order that has been corrupted through lust — 1 Peter 1:4] is the “generation” that Jesus speaks of as passing away.

See our study:

Yahweh’s Plan of the Ages

Will God Save the Earth (Christians Questions Radio)

Part One

Part Two

Answers questions: Is the earth doomed to destruction, by man’s own doing or by God’s will, or does God have other plans for it? Does God tell us what will happen to the Earth? What does God have in store for humanity?

We do not necessarily agree with all conclusions given in the radio show, but believe the information provided to be beneficial.

(We are presenting the scriptures from the World English, unless otherwise stated, that the Holy Name may be glorified. In the NT, we are restoring the Holy Name at appropriate places that, as best as we can determine, we should expect to find the Holy Name.)

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of [Yahweh] will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Genesis 6:1 It happened, when men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them,
Genesis 6:2 that God’s sons saw that men’s daughters were beautiful, and they took for themselves wives of all that they chose.
Genesis 6:3 Yahweh said, “My spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; yet will his days be one hundred twenty years.”
Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when God’s sons came to men’s daughters. They bore children to them: the same were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6:5 Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 6:6 Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.
Genesis 6:7 Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes. 9 This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God.
Genesis 6:10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Genesis 6:11 The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
Genesis 6:12 God saw the earth, and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Genesis 6:13 God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Genesis 8:20 Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Genesis 8:21 Yahweh smelled the sweet savor. Yahweh said in his heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again strike everything living, as I have done.
Genesis 8:22 While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Genesis 9:8 God spoke to Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
Genesis 9:9 “As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,
Genesis 9:10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every animal of the earth with you. Of all that go out of the ark, even every animal of the earth.
Genesis 9:11 I will establish my covenant with you; neither will all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither will there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Genesis 9:12 God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
Genesis 9:13 I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.
Genesis 9:14 It will happen, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud,
Genesis 9:15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Genesis 9:16 The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
Genesis 9:17 God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Psalm 102:24 I said, “My God, don’t take me away in the midst of my days.” “Your years are throughout all generations.
Psalm 102:25 Of old, you laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the work of your hands.
Psalm 103:26 They will perish, but you will endure. Yes, all of them will wear out like a garment. You will change them like a cloak, and they will be changed. 27 But you are the same. Your years will have no end. 28 The children of your servants will continue. Their seed will be established before you.” — Quotes changed as they appear in the WEB to harmonize with Hebrews 1:10-12; see the following:
Does Yahweh Speak to Yahweh?
Did Paul Misquote?

Psalm 104:5 5 He laid the foundations of the earth, That it should not be moved forever.

Isaiah 24:1 Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants of it.
Isaiah 24:2 It shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest to him.
Isaiah 24:21 It shall happen in that day, that Yahweh will punish the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth.

Zephaniah 3:8 “Therefore wait for me,” says Yahweh, “until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Zephaniah 3:20 At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, says Yahweh.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens, the God who formed the earth and made it, who established it and didn’t create it a waste, who formed it to be inhabited: I am Yahweh; and there is no one else.
Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of darkness; I didn’t say to the seed of Jacob, Seek you me in vain: I, Yahweh, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

Matthew 5:18 For most assuredly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished.
See the study:
The Fulfilling of the Law

Other scriptures (full quotes may be provided later, Yahweh willing. Placing your cursor on the verses given however should display the verse from the American Standard Version, which presents the Holy Name in the OT as “Jehovah”.)

Isaiah 13:11
Isaiah 13:13
Haggai 2:6
Haggai 2:7
Ephesians 2:2
Revelation 21:1
Revelation 21:2
Revelation 21:3
Isaiah 51:4
Isaiah 51:5
Isaiah 51:6
1 Thessalonians 5:1
1 Thessalonians 5:2
1 Thessalonians 5:3
1 Thessalonians 5:4
1 Thessalonians 5:5
Matthew 24:32
Matthew 24:33
Matthew 24:34
Matthew 24:35
Matthew 24:36
Matthew 24:37
Matthew 24:38
Matthew 24:39
Luke 21:29
Luke 21:30
Luke 21:31
Luke 21:32
Hosea 9:10
Luke 13:6
Luke 13:7
Luke 13:8
Luke 13:9
Matthew 23:37
Matthew 23:38
Genesis 3:17
Revelation 22:3
Psalm 46:1
Psalm 46:2
Psalm 45:3
Isaiah 57:20
Micah 4:1
Micah 4:2
Psalm 46:4
Psalm 46:5
Psalm 46:6
Psalm 46:7
Matthew 24:21
Matthew 24:22
2 Peter 3:6
2 Peter 3:7
2 Peter 3:8
2 Peter 3:9
2 Peter 3:10
2 Peter 3:11
2 Peter 3:12
2 Peter 3:13
2 Peter 3:14
Psalm 46:8
Psalm 46:9
Psalm 46:10
Psalm 46:11

Christ’s Parousia – Presence or Arrival?

Some present the thought that the parousia of Jesus refers to his arrival, not “presence.” We present below our short study regarding this.

Initially, Christ comes as a thief in the night, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation.” (Luke 17:20, World English Bible translation) “nor will they say, `Look, here it is!’ or, `There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21, NASB translation) Then Jesus states, as recorded in Matthew 24:27:

Matt 24:27 “For just as the lightning (Greek, astrape: light, bright shining) comes from the east and flashes [Greek, phaino: shines] even to the west, so will the coming [Greek, Parousia: presence] of the Son of Man be. (NAS)

Lightning does not generally come from the east and shine even to the west, but the sun does. The word “lightning” is a poor translation of the Greek word “astrape,” which signifies “bright shining” (as given in Luke 11:36 in the KJV), and really refers here, as the context indicates, to the sunlight which shines always from the east even to the west, while on the other hand, lightning flashes in a variety of directions, wherever the electrical forces producing it may be discharged. A flash of lightning would only luminate the sky for a split second, which is not a good illustration of Jesus’ return.

When the word “presence” is substituted for “coming,” the statement is seen to declare that the presence of Christ will be like the sunlight, gradually illuminating the world. It is not split second of time, in which all the world sees and recognizes Jesus, as some have seemingly assumed.

Those who are awake and watching, the children of the light, are the first to discern and rejoice in His presence. The children of the night and of the darkness will awake when the Sun of Righteousness will arise in His full glory, and all the sin-sick will rejoice in the healing to be gained through the influence of His rays. Therefore, Jesus uses here the illustration of how the sun brings light as it comes up the east and goes to the west. This well depicts the sun of righteousness who arises with healing in his wings. (Malachi 4:2) The shining is not confined to any one place, but its effect is different in different places. The bright shining (verse 27) means truths and knowledge greatly increases, especially during the time that Christ is returning. That this shining is visible from the east to the west, refers to the fact that our Lord’s presence reveals truth that not only is seen now, but even unto the west, the end of the Millennium, even as the sun gradually moves across the sky from east to west. (Revelation 21:23-24). When the sun first rises in the east, it is not especially bright, but the rays of light can be seen gleaming through the sky. As it continues its journey, the shining gets brighter and brighter.

The sun shine of this new day, however, is different from a normal day, for the prophecy says that the bright shining is darkened by the clouds. (Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15) The clouds we understand to mean obscurity — darkness and trouble on earth. (Isaiah 8:22) It is a unique day, different from what we have known before, for we are told that at evening time, rather than darkness coming, there will be light. (Zechariah 14:7) Thus seen, we can see that this day endures on into the millennial rule, when the world will be instructed in the ways of Yahweh, and the knowledge of Yahweh will fill the earth. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 6:11.

At first, only those who are spiritually awake recognize this presence, (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6) but after Satan is abyssed, all men will become aware of his presence. (Revelation 20:3; Isaiah 25:7; Revelation 1:7) To the watchers in Zion, this light is now seen in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, as well as a flood of knowledge that causes understanding of many spiritual truths that were hidden in the darkness of the wilderness for over a thousand years. Thus to them it has a special meaning. But to the world the light first brings a time of trouble, as never seen before in history, for poor humanity, still being out of harmony with God and truth, cannot properly control the increase of knowledge that has so gradually filled the world since 1799. (Daniel 12:1,4) Yet they are ever learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7) God’s kingdom is in their midst, but they do not recognize it. — Luke 17:21.

Thus seen, in agreement with other scriptures, Christ’s parousia, covers a period of time, in which many things occur. Yes, Jesus does arrive at the beginning of his parousia, his presense as King, and thus remains present. The Greek word parousia means more than just his arrival, since it also includes the things prophesied to happen during his parousia.

W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: Parousia, literally, a presence, para, with, and ousia, being.denotes both n arrival and a consequent presence with. Robert Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible: Parousia, a being alongside, presence.

Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Foreword: “Parousia, as applied to the return of the Lord, is simply the anglicizing of the Greek word which literally means ‘presence.’

One way of showing that the parousia is a period of time can be seen by comparing two scritpures:

Matthew 24:37-39 – As the days of Noah, so will be the coming [parousia — kingly presence] of the Son of Man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming [parousia – Kingly presence] of the Son of [the] Man

Luke 17:26 – As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days [parallels with “parousia” of Matthew 24:37] of the Son of Man.

Thus the world in general is carrying on these affairs in the days of Jesus’ parousia, that is, his parousia is not known to them. It is not until after the resurrection, that even those who pierced him will be brought back to life so that they may “see” him, and thus “They also who err in spirit shall come to understanding, and those who murmur shall receive instruction.” — Revelation 1:7; Isaiah 29:24.

For more on this, see:

Astrape in Luke 17:22; Matthew 24:27

Related:
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being
Did Jesus Raise Himself from the Dead?
Jesus’ Appearances in the Locked Room

For various viewpoints being presented on chronology, see:
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/bsllinks/Doctrine.htm

Matthew 13:13 – Why Did Jesus Block the Way for Unbelievers?

The claim is made that Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 13:13 gives his formula for abandoning what he considers to be unbelievers! The thought was presented that Jesus “tells us that he speaks in mysterious parables to that the unbelievers can NEVER perceive, and that the unbeliever can NEVER understand!” Although not stated, the claim appears to be denouncing Jesus as being unjust, and the Bible as unreliable, possibly with the traditional view of “hell-fire” that has been added to the Scriptures.

What Jesus actually said:

Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand. — Matthew 13:13, World English Bible translation.

Yes, Jesus did speak in parables so that the unbelievers would not perceive; this does not mean, however, that the unbeliever of today will “NEVER ‘understand’!” Jesus did not say that they will NEVER perceive, or that will NEVER understand. Jesus certainly did not say that those in this condition would spend an eternity in indescribable excruciating pain, as some have claimed.

The real question is why did Jesus say what he said? And some related questions are: Why does God permit such a great portion of the earth to remain in darkness? Why is the Bible, to a large degree, a book of parables, symbolisms and dark sayings? Why is it not completely open and clear so that everyone, everywhere would be able to understand it? Why is it that Doctors of Divinity find its details perplexing, mysterious, incomprehensible? What excuse can be offered for the secrecy connected with a subject in which all should be interested? Will those that Jesus spoke of spend an eternity of conscious indescribable suffering?

The four gospels of the Christian Scriptures (commonly called New Testament) are supposed by many to be the simplest and plainest portion of the Bible. They tell about the deeds and words of Jesus Messiah while he was on this earth. However, in harmony with the prophecies, the Great Teacher himself delivered his message in parables and dark sayings. “He never spoke to the people without using a parable,” that “Hearing they might hear and not understand; and seeing, they might see and not perceive.” (Matthew 13:14) There are many mysteries or secrets connected with the Bible. We have not reached the time when absolutely everything can be understood in the Bible, not even by the true servants of God. No one on earth today can grasp absolutely everything about the Bible. The conditions of Isaiah 29:18,24, when the deaf will hear the words of the book, and when the blind will see out of obscurity and out of darkness, have not yet come. But the Bible does say that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more until the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). We have not yet attained that perfect day.

We know that many say that Jesus spoke in parables or illustrations so that the people might understand better, but this is not the reason Jesus himself gave. The followers of Jesus once asked him why he spoke to the people in parables. In giving his answer he said: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13) Jesus then quoted from Isaiah 6:9,10, which we will quote from the Jerusalem Bible: “Go and say to this people, `Hear and hear again, but do not understand; see and see again, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people gross, its ears dull; shut its eyes, so that it will not see with its eyes, hear with its ears, understand with its heart, and be converted and healed.” Then Jesus said to his followers: “But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!” (Matthew 13:16, JB) In Mark 4:11,12, Jesus’ answer to his disciples is very clear: “Unto you it is given to know the mystery [secret] of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand.” If this explanation is to make any sense at all, we must conclude that he was saying that he spoke in parables to keep the multitudes of people from understanding his message, while a few, his true followers, were permitted to understand.

This, of course, must be the way that God has intended for it to be. But why? Because God knows, even as he promised, that eventually `all will be saved, and come the knowledge of the truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:4) He knows that the time will come when “the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and darkness” and that
those “who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmured will learn doctrine.” (Isaiah 29:18,24 — New King James Version, hereafter referred to as NKJV) Yes, the time will come when he will “turn to the peoples a pure language” that they may all call upon him with one consent. (Zephaniah. 3:9) However, that time is not yet come.

“For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.” — Romans 11:32

In the Bible, the special illumination of truth through the Holy Spirit was direct toward the apostles — not all of the church, as some suppose. (John 14:26; 16:4-13; Acts 1:2; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:2) Therefore, we who are not apostles have the truth revealed to us by means of God’s holy spirit through the writings of the apostles, the sayings of Jesus, and also through the prophets in Old Testament times. (Mark 12:36; Luke 4:11; 10:21; 24:27,44; Acts 1:16; 2:33; 10:38; 28:25; Hebrews 1:1,3; 3:7; 1 Peter 3:10-12; 2 Peter 1:21) Christians today have these truths available in the writings of the Bible itself. (Ephesians 3:3-12; Colossians 1:25,26; 1 John 4:6) One has to, however, walk after the spirit in order to understand the spiritual things revealed in the scriptures. The natural man, being by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), who walk by the flesh, not the unseen things of the spirit (Romans 8:4; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 2 Corinthians 10:3; 2 Peter 2:10), cannot appreciatively understand these matters not yet seen except by the eye of faith. — Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Hebrews 11:1.

Even true Christians who have received God’s spirit, however, can fall short of walking fully in the spirit, may offend the holy spirit of God — the mouth of God, in effect speaking or acting in disobedience to the mouth of Yahweh (1 Kings 13:21; Ephesians 4:30), so that on some matters their minds are carnal. (1 Corinthians 3:1,3,4; James 4:4; 2 Peter 3:17)
Most Christians remain babes all of their life. They never allow the holy spirit to operate in them so that they can understand the deeper things of God.

In this age, thousands may read the Bible but fail to understand it. As strange as this may seem, God is keeping its truths secret from the unbelievers at the present time, not because he does
not love them, but because he does love them. Under the present conditions
the truth would be injurious to the majority of people. This is because of
the sinful nature of mankind as shown in Isaiah 29. But God still loves
them, and whom he loves he disciplines. (John 3:16; Hebrews 12:6) So God has
“shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Romans
11:32) How well the true believer today may exclaim: “O the depth of the
riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” — Romans. 11:33.

There are many scriptures that speak of the secrecy connected with the
message of the Bible. The apostle Paul refers to its tidings as the message
“which was a hidden mystery for generations and centuries and has now been
revealed to his saints [dedicated ones].” (Colossians 1:26, JB) At this
point we want to emphasis that the Good News of the Bible was not made known
to the world at large, but only to his “saints”. Jesus also, when speaking
to his Father in prayer, said: “I bless you, Father, Ruler of heaven and of
earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing
them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.”
(Matthew 11:25-26, JB) Often those that are well spoken of and respected by
men are passed by, while outwardly despicable people may be chosen to
receive His secrets. — 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Proceeding the apostle Paul shows us the necessity for this
secretiveness as respects the true message of Good News. He shows that if it
were generally known amongst men, the Divine program would at times be
interfered with. He tells us that none of the princes or prominent ones of
the world understood the wisdom of God — for had they known it, they would
not have put Jesus to death. As he explains: “But as it is written [in
Isaiah 64:4]: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the
heart of man the things God has prepared for them that love him. But God has
revealed them to us by his Spirit …. We have received, not the spirit of
the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God.” — 1 Corinthians 2:8-13.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says
Yahweh. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher
than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8,9

But isn’t God interested in converting the world? Doesn’t he want to
save as many as possible? And if he is, why didn’t he make the Bible so that
everyone could easily obtain and understand it? The God who created the
Universe is thoughtful of all the interests of his people. All their needs
have been supplied as far as He has seen good. He made food for the
nourishment of our bodies, and beautiful things for our eyes to see, and
sweet sounds for our ears. If he would provide these for us, would he not
also provide things for our minds concerning the future?

If we had been living before God gave His people a Bible, and He had
told us that he would give man His revelation in a book, we would have
looked forward to it eagerly, and with pleasant anticipation, and we would
wonder what kind of book it would be. A man who writes a book generally
tries to make his subject as plain as possible, so that his meaning can be
easily understood. Likewise some might conclude that if God should provide a
book, He would make it so plain that none could fail to understand. We might
expect that it would be so wonderful, that it could not be written by man,
but by angels; that he would put a bright shining light around it, so all
would know that it was His book; that it would have a miraculous power which
would heal the sick; and if anyone should say anything against it, he would
drop dead instantly; and that all might be born with this wonderful book,
and be able to understand it. But when we read scriptures such as Isaiah
55:8-11, we answer: “NO! God thinks differently from man.” Therefore, God
has given us a Bible, and a message, very different from what man might
expect. Instead of angels writing it, poor imperfect men wrote it. There is
no bright shining physical light gleaming from it. No one drops dead talking
against it. There are millions on earth today that still do not even know
that there is a Bible, much less be born with it or understand it. Yes, God
could have made the Bible so plain that one could not get more than one
meaning from it. How easily we might think that the world could be converted
if such were the case. But God knows better than we, and therefore the Bible
that we have is the best kind of Bible, better for us than the miraculous
kind would have been.

However, it is a mistake to suppose that God is not interested in
converting the world. (Psalm 22:27; 150:6; Romans 14:11) He is more
interested in it than any human could possibly be. Why then did He not give
us a simple Bible? The reason for its obscurity must be that men have failed
to understand the heavenly Father’s design and purpose for the present
world. We have already given evidence that He confirmed that there would be
much misconception and misunderstanding of Him and His purpose. But once we
understand God’s purposes, then we can answer the question.

The Truth is…
God Is Not Now Trying to Convert the World

We must get rid of the misconceived idea that God is NOW trying to
convert the world, or that he is NOW trying to save as many as possible from
some eternal doom, as most religious people suppose. If God were trying to
convert as many as possible of the world to save them from some eternal
doom, would he have not been anxious for his disciples to go to all peoples?
Instead he told his disciples NOT to go to the Gentiles. (Matthew 10:5)
Jesus was not here being cruel, but he knew of His Father’s purposes to
enlighten the whole world at a future date. We know that God is not now
trying to convert the world, because the world is not converted — far from
it! God accomplishes everything he purposes to do. (Isaiah. 55:10,11) If it
were God’s purpose to convert the world NOW, then the Good News failed — it
did not accomplish its work. But God has not been trying to convert the
world. He does not have to try, because He is omnipotent (John 12:37-40). If
people of the world had understood the true Bible message, they would have
believed, but that was NOT God’s purpose (Matthew 13:10-17; 11:23; 10:5,6;
Acts 16:6,7; 1 Peter 1:10-12). God did NOT intend that they should NEVER be
converted, because he has promised a time to come when they will be
converted, but this has not yet begun, nor will it be accomplished as long
as this present evil world continues (2 Timothy 3:1,2; 2 Peter 3:3,4;
Matthew 24:37; Isaiah 6:9-11; Dan. 12:1; Zephaniah 3:8-13). The Bible tells
us that in “the time of the end” of this world there will be a “time of
trouble”. This will mean great distress and sorrow for the world of mankind.
But this does not mean the destruction of this planet, for the promise is
that the earth will blossom as the rose. (Isaiah 35:1,2; Genesis 8:21,22;
Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:17,18; Genesis 13:15; 15:18; Acts 7:4,5) The
present order of things will be destroyed, and a new order of things will be
established. God’s Word will continue to be misunderstood until this age
(this present evil world) is over. (Zephaniah 3:8,9) Then the darkness
surrounding the true Good News will be removed (Isaiah. 25:7; Haggai 2:7).
God has purposed the conversion of the world, but not during the past 2000
years. The reason why the Good News is kept secret is that his plans might
be hidden from all but the truly meek and lowly at heart who respond to his
call, until the due time for all to know. Our Lord was glad that these
things were hidden, and thought it right for the Heavenly Father to keep
them hidden from the worldly. — Matthew 11:25,26.

In Isaiah 29:11 it is declared prophetically that the vision of all
things (Lesser) is become as the words of a sealed book. Men have turned
things upside down, as was foretold (vs. 16). The world needs to be
enlightened! Will the world be enlightened by missionaries being sent out in
this present evil world? The facts indicate that it will never happen this
way. The day in which the world will be enlightened is called in the Bible
the “judgment day”. It is not a 24-hour day, but as shown in 2 Peter 3:7,8,
it is a 1000 year day. During that judgment day the inhabitants of the earth
will learn righteousness. — Isaiah 26:9

What now stands in the way of the enlightenment of world? -1- Satan
the Devil puts evil thoughts and desires into men’s minds and hearts. Hence,
if the world is to be enlightened, Satan must be removed that he might not
use his power to mislead people. (Revelation 20:2,3) -2-Imperfect
missionaries now lack the power and means to accomplish the work. Worldly
governments interfere. It will not be so in that Millennial day, for the
entire world will then be under the control of Jesus and his authorized
agents. (Daniel 2:35,44; Isaiah 11:9; Psalm 72:2-8) -3-Suitably trained
teachers must be chosen. Men have thought that they could chose and train
them, but only God can do that, and instead of a three or four years’
training, it takes all of a dedicated lifetime (Romans 8:18,19; 1
Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 26:9). -4-Ignorance, darkness,
confusion prevail now, and there are many confusing, contradictory, false
religious teachings; but in that day the knowledge of God will fill the
whole earth, and all will know him. (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34) The Good
News message contained in the Bible will come out of its obscurity as its
message is made plain (2 Corinthians. 4:4; 1 Corinthians. 11:13-15). Will
God give mankind a new Bible? We do not think so. However, provisions will
be made so that its books will be opened and all will be judged by the
things written in those books (Revelation 20:12,13; Isaiah 29:18). God will
remove the vail that is spread over all nations (Isaiah 25:7; 2 Corinthians
4:3). The way will then be made so plain that even a foolish man will not
err therein (Isaiah 35:8). Now the Good news message is so obscure that even
the wise men stumble at it (John 6:60,61). Yes, the day of judgment is
coming, when Jesus will judge everyone in righteousness — Acts 17:31.

But what about those who have died — especially those who have died
without ever hearing of Jesus (Jesus)? How will they benefit from this
enlightenment if they are dead? God has promised that he will awaken all of
these from the sleep of death. “Marvel not at this, for an hour is coming,
in which all those in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth,
they that have practiced good to a resurrection of life; and they that did
evil, to a resurrection of judgment [Greek — krisis].” (John 5:28,29 —
King James II Version). Jesus is the true light that enlightens every man
that comes into the world (John 1:9). The light will enter their hearts also
(1 Timothy 1:4). God wills all men to be saved [delivered from death], and
to come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4) The salvation
spoken of here is not salvation into life for all eternity, but rather
salvation [deliverance] from the death state. Having arisen from the dead,
they are then taught the truth that they might be saved eternally.

Someone may ask, “Does the Bible declare that everyone will live
forever?” We answer: “No.” (Psalm 18:44; 66:3) As soon as they understand
about God and his purposes, many will obey him, but will still not develop
the right heart attitude. With some, as they see the goodness of God and
happiness righteousness brings, this feigned obedience will change to
meekness and heart obedience. But others will refuse to obey at heart. “Show
favor to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness, in the land of
uprightness will he deal falsely.” (Isaiah 26:10) Some will thus show that
they are wicked at heart. For such there will be no excuse. There will then
be no inherited weaknesses, and none will suffer for the sins of others; it
will no longer be said that “the fathers have eaten the sour grapes, and the
children’s teeth are set on edge.” — Jeremiah 31:27-30.

Will The World Receive A Second Chance?

Will it then be a second chance? This question could be answered yes
and no, for it depends on which way you are viewing matters. We must
remember that our first chance to live forever was lost for us through Adam
when he disobeyed in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12,15-18). The human race
that descended from Adam never received an individual chance in that trial.
But in the Millennial day each person will be tried individually — and in
that sense it will not be a second chance, but the FIRST real opportunity
they have ever had to understand and respond to the Good news. Yet none who
have had a full opportunity in this present evil world will have another one
(Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-29). A full opportunity means one that is broad and
complete, such as few have had amidst all the confusion and turmoil in this
present evil world. Even in countries where the Bible is printed in
abundance, children are raised with such incorrect training of mind and
inclinations, and there is so much confusion as to what is and what is not
right, can one honestly say that these have received any complete and
absolute chance for life? Jesus said that such are not judged NOW but that
they will be judged in the “last day” — that judgment day when they will be
enlightened. (John 12:47,48; Isaiah 26:9; 29:18,24) This will actually be
their FIRST individual chance to live forever.

There is yet another reason that the Bible message is kept secret from
the world of mankind. It is only by keeping it secret from the world that
the world seeks to try out all its own devices separate from God. God wants
to teach man a lesson concerning the vanity of life separated from him. As
the wise King Solomon said concerning all of man’s own works: `Vanity of
vanities; all is vanity.’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2) `Seeing there be many things
that increase vanity, what is man the better? For who knows what is good for
man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow?
For who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?’ (Ecclesiastes
6:11,12) `What profit is there for the worker in that which he works? I have
seen the travail which God has given the sons of men to be exercised by it.’
(Ecclesiastes 3:9,10) Man tries to better this world in many ways. He tries
one thing after another, not realizing the vanity of his efforts. All of
mankind’s experimentations are being permitted by God. God is allowing man
to rule over another to his own hurt, so that they will better appreciate
who Yahweh is and the righteous rule that will come. (Psalm 83:18;
Ecclesiastes 8:9; Isaiah 2:1-4) It is a disciplinary process that will
eternally benefit all who avail themselves of Messiah’s righteous rule.
While the whole world is now being subjected to this vanity by the will of
God, God knows that he will bring the world of mankind out of this
corruption and back into harmony with him (Romans 8:19-22). What a happy
prospect for those who are now blinded by Satan’s evil influence!

For a proper appreciation of the true Gospel, more is required than
what is popularly taught by the nominal churches. Jesus said that true
worshipers must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23) It is not enough to
say that you claim Jesus as your savior and lead what is considered a good
moral life. God does not accept worship that is not in accord with his will.
Again Jesus said, “Not every one that says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but he who is doing the will of my Father who is
in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your
name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess to you, `I never
knew you: depart from me, you who work illegally.'”

In Proverbs 2:3-6, we are promised: “If you cry for discernment,
lifting up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and
search for her as hidden treasures, then you will understand the reverence
of Yahweh, and find knowledge of God.” See what is required? This seeking
must become the most important thing in our life. Our minds must rise above
everything we see, feel and touch so that we might receive the holy spirit.
(1 Corinthians 2:10,12) Jesus said: “True worshipers will worship in spirit
and truth, for the Father seeks such who worship him. God is a spirit, and
they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23,24)
Without this total dedication to seeking and the doing of God’s will, one
may understand a few bits and pieces here and there of God’s word, but he
will not be given the more precious things of the treasures hidden in its
pages. With whole-souled dedication, we will continue to seek and understand
more and more each and every day. These words of our heavenly Father become
to us more precious than any earthly treasure. Praise Yah!

See also:

“Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment”
http://hereafter.reslight.net/cdj.html

Regarding hell, and the condition of the dead, we recommend some of the other studies at:
http://hereafter.reslight.net/

Ronald Day, May 19, 2008

Some items written by others:

Christ Teaching By Parables

Why Has God Given Us a Bible So Hard to Understand?

Clicking on the the numbers below will take you to sites that present different idea on this verse; we do not necessarily agree with the ideas being presented.

1 * 2 * 3

Matthew 5:22 – Jesus and “Fool” – A Contradiction?

The following quote from “THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIBLICAL ERRANCY,” by C. DENNIS MCKINSEY, on page 37, has been given to us as a proof of the Bible’s self contradictions:

This question goes to the heart of Jesus’ character. In Matt. 5:22 he condemns people to hell for calling others “fools” although he engages in the practice himself: Matt.23:17 and Luke 11:40 he refers to others as fools. The obvious question then becomes, Shouldn’t Jesus be sent to hell too?

Matthew 5:22 – But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna.

Jesus did not condemn one to eternal suffering for calling one “fool”, but he did show that such a person was in danger of the judgment of Gehenna. Although many mistranslate “Gehenna” as “hell”, in reality Jesus said nothing at all about the Bible hell, which is represented by the Greek word “hades”, not “Gehenna”.

The word fool above is the Greek word “Moros,” which is normally used as an adjective.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3474&version=nas

The word “moros” is the basis for the English word “moron,” but if applied in English as a adjective, the more correct word would “moronic.” However, lest we be misunderstood, the meaning of the word “moronic” in English does not exactly correspond with the Biblical Greek word “moros.”

In Matthew 5:22, Jesus illustrates the Greek word “moros” as a defamatory expression, not in its simple use as the proper adjective that it is. There is a great difference in saying “You Fool!” in the sense of a personal defamation of someone and “you are being foolish.” In most cases, the latter is the way the Greek word is used and it is proper to use it as such, if the circumstances call for it, in order to show or warn one of a foolish course of action or thought, or to point out that which is foolish. Nevertheless, as with many words that can be used a proper way, the words can also be used in way that would displeasing to God.

In Matthew 23:17, most translators usually make the statements stronger than Jesus probably intended. “You are being foolish and blind” would probably have been a better translation. The BBE renders it: “You foolish ones and blind: which is greater, the gold, or the Temple which makes the gold holy?”

Luke 11:40 does not use the word “moros” at all, but rather “aphron”, meaning “without reason”. Thus Young translates this as: “unthinking! did not He who made the outside also the inside make?”

Jesus did not condemn anyone to hell (sheol/hades) for calling someone by the defamatory name “Moros;” mankind has already been condemned to hell (sheol, hades – the realm of death) because of Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:17-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) What he said is that a knowledgeable person would be “liable” to, in danger of, the condemnation of the fiery Gehenna (valley of Hinnom). Jesus was, of course, speaking figuratively. He was not speaking of the literal valley, but he was using that valley with its fires as symbol of destruction, the second death, which actually belongs to the next age, as result of the individual judgment of the age to come. Jesus, in this illustration, is referring to the degree of influence that a knowledgeable person’s actions has on his character. The greater one sins against his own degree of knowledge, the greater influence it has on one’s character. Thus in the day of judgment it will be easier for the Sodomites to repent than for the people who rudely rejected Jesus. — Matthew 10:15; 11:23,24; John 12:47,48.
See:
“Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment”
http://hereafter.reslight.net/cdj.html

Regarding Jesus’ being sent to hell: The truth is, Jesus went to the Bible hell (sheol/hades) and paid the price (death) to release all who are there so that the world will be able to come forth in the day of judgment for individual judgment (as opposed to judgment through Adam). – Acts 2:24-32; Romans 5:17-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Revelation 20:13.

Jesus, however, did not go to the Bible hell because of his usage of the word “moros” toward others, nor was he sent there because of his having committed any sin at all. Rather, he went to the Bible hell willingly, for he gave himself for the sin of the world.
See our website regarding the atoning sacrifice of Jesus:
http://atonement.reslight.net/

May 16, 2008
Ronald Day