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● 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. “At the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (ASV).
Is this eternal destruction at the beginning of the millennium?
The destruction of the disobedient begins as they are exposed to light and truth beginning with Jesus return and all during his second presence. This light, as it grows brighter and brighter, will expose and eventually burn out all sin and evil where ever it exists. That is precisely the purposeful work of the Millennial
Age, a long process of exposing and burning out all sin and iniquity from mankind, whether it is found in the man-made systems in the earth or each individual person.
First in order, the present governing systems are to be utterly destroyed (Isaiah 34:1-2, Jeremiah 30:11). Thenceforth, sin will be exposed and eradicated from every individual in Christ’s earthly kingdom if they wish to gain everlasting life. Any individuals that refuse the offered blessings of the Millennial Kingdom, and continue to harbor a love in their hearts for unrighteousness will face destruction. For some it will be manifested after a hundred years of failing to progress, after being given a full opportunity and every encouragement to reform to the ways of Christ’s kingdom (Isaiah 65:20). For other subversives destruction will come at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-9). Their unyielding nature will result in their eternal destruction.
The mission of Christ is to rid the world of all sin and unrighteousness, and this will be accomplished in totality. 1 Corinthians 15:24-26 (The Voice), “and then the end will come.
After He has conquered His enemies and shut down every rule and authority vying for power, He will hand over the Kingdom to God, the Father of all that is.” All sin and disobedience having been rooted out all will rejoice that “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” itself. Ultimately every inhabitant of earth will come to know that the pathway to life is living within the laws and by the spirit of our creator. Those that find life will do so because they have come to love this truth.
Further, see 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Zephaniah 3:8-9.
● 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Revelation 1:7. At our Lord’s return, what is the sequence of events?
At our Lord’s return, the harvest activities of the Gospel age begin. The sequence of events can be divided into three contemporary tracks. Events in one track can be prerequisites
to events in another track, such as the marriage of the Lamb occurring just prior to Armageddon, or Israel coming under the New Covenant before the rest of the world of mankind.
(1) A spiritual track, which includes completing the heavenly call, the selection and glorification of the Church, the marriage of the lamb, the raising of the Great Multitude, and the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“The dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
The harvest work of gathering the saints takes place (Luke 12:36-38, Revelation 3:20, 14:15-16).
The progressive judgment of Christendom in seven stages (Revelation 15:1, 18:4).
A last message from the Church to the troubled world will be with hope (Acts 27:22-24, 2 Kings 2:8), before the saints go to glory midst a building whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11).
(2) An Israel track.
The regathering and restoration (Acts 1:6, 3:21) and ultimate deliverance of Israel from Jacob’s trouble. (Consider the steps in
Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Jeremiah 16:14-15),
The raising of the ancient worthies and the establishment of the new covenant with Israel and Judah. The invasion of Israel by Gog and associates (Ezekiel 38, 39);
(3) A world track, which includes the destruction of the present order of things in seven stages:
(1) Long Depression (1873-1890s)
(2) World War I (1914-1918)
(3) Great Depression (1929-1939)
(4) World War II (1939-1945)
The decolonization of the world takes place during the two world wars (Luke 21:29-31, Ezekiel 20:34, Amos 9:11-13).
Globalization brings dissatisfaction, revolutions, civil unrest and even violence (Isaiah 43:9; Luke 12:2; Amos 9:13; Hebrews
(5) East vs. West Struggle (1945-1989)
(6) Deep Depression (Future expectation)
Destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 24:10-14, Revelation 14:19, 16:19, 18:21-23).
Inauguration of the Kingdom and The Millennial Reign of Christ (Psalm 46:10; Isaiah 25:6-10; Revelation 16:19-20).
As the final stage of our Lord’s harvest work, and based on Exodus 12:29, the Bride class will be complete as Armageddon commences, devoted ones in the Christian world will encourage Israel to look to Jesus (Song of Solomon 5:8-6:1), the Great Company will linger into the trouble (Revelation 7:14, Genesis
19:19-23), the Ancient Worthies will be raised during Armageddon to point Israel to their deliverer (Micah 5:5), Israel will come into harmony with God’s arrangement, and gradually blessings will flow to others of a weary world. LG
Editor’s note: The sequence of events on Jericho’s last day, in Joshua 6, is: (1) They rose early, (2) Priests blew the trumpets, (3) Joshua commands, Shout!, (4) The people shouted. This typifies “the last day” of the Gospel Age. But 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 gives the sequence in reverse: (4) A shout, (3) Voice of
the archangel, (2) The trumpet of God, (1) The dead in Christ rise first.
Editor’s note: While “now we see in a mirror, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), each of us should continue to watch the coming world events with our eyes open.
● Revelation 1:7, Zechariah 12:10, Acts 1:9-11. How can an invisible Jesus be seen at his return?
The world of mankind will only “see” Jesus through their “spiritual sense” of perception, not with their physical sense of sight. God defined this spiritual sense of perception in Isaiah
6:9; “See ye indeed, but perceive not.” Jesus himself told the Pharisees in Luke 17:20 that “the Kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” At Jesus’ ascension, “a cloud received him out of their sight, and the angels said, “Jesus … shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven” (Acts 1:9, 11).
His disciples were told that upon his return, only his disciples would see him. And Jesus confirms this in John 14:19 by saying; “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me.” The Apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:10 that Jesus would begin to establish the Kingdom of God as “a thief in the night,”
and he details the great destructive work of Jesus that will surely be noticed, “seen,” by the whole world of mankind.
With this more important spiritual sense of perception, the world of mankind will “see” Jesus but only through identifying his righteous work during the Time of Trouble in the world
… and only then by connecting the dots (by faith) to his second presence. Jesus told his disciples (and by extension us) that through faith, we were able to grasp and understand the truth
of his words in Matthew 13:16, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” The only way we can get clear spiritual eyesight is by studying the word of God and observing His work in our lives and in the world of mankind. TNA
Editor’s note: Invisible things can be clearly “seen:” “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [effects]”
● Matthew 24:34. What is the generation that “shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished”?
By way of introduction, barley ripens first, near the Spring Equinox; barley pictures Jesus Christ (e.g., Judges 7:13-14). Next ripens the wheat, about seven weeks later; the wheat pictures the faithful church (e.g., Matthew 3:12). Then the figs ripen after another few weeks; the fig tree pictures Israel (e.g., Jeremiah 24:1-9).
The passage in question is introduced by the fig tree putting forth leaves (which in fig trees happens only after the figs sprout). Correspondingly, we see Israel today returning to
their land. So “summer is nigh … it is nigh, even at the doors.” So what is the “generation” that shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished”? Some suggestions for “this
(1) The generation alive when Jesus spoke these words, and ending with Judea’s collapse in AD 70-73 (about a forty-year generation). But Judea was then dying, not “putting forth
(2) All them living in 1874, 1878 or 1914 (or all spirit-begotten). But almost all of them have now died.
(3) Or even the generation who knew some who had been spirit-begotten in 1914. But it is hard to extract this meaning from the wording of the scripture.
(4) The generation living when Israel again became independent in 1948. But 69 years already seems long for a contemporary generation.
The simplest explanation would seem to be suggested by Psalm 22:30 (KJV): “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” The seed is the promised seed
of Abraham (Genesis 22:15-18). That is, the spirit-begotten are all sons of the same Father — they are all one generation — even though living up to two thousand years apart. Thus, the verse is simply saying that all these things will have at least begun to happen before the church is complete; these are all signs for the
Technical note: In the Greek, the ends of verses 32 and 33 show a play on words (a common practice in Hebrew). Theros (summer) …thyrais (doors). The original Hebrew might
have been “near is the reaping time (kalah) …near it is, even at the door (dalah).” In any case, to be “at the door” would imply it (or he) is present. JP
● Expectations and Pastor Russell
Q. (mid-1914). Dear brother Russell, in the event of October of this year coming and going, and you should still be in the flesh, do you think that that would be an indication that the Lord had
left you out of the High Calling class?
A. I would not. … Now further, we have seen and been expecting the Jews would be going back to Palestine … We thought more
Jews would go than have, but we were not wise enough to
know how many were going. What we do see is a sufficient number to fulfill God’s word — a gathering of some of the most earnest Jews from all parts of the world. Not always the richest
Jews, but it is said some eighteen millionaires are living at Jerusalem now … my faith in the ultimate carrying out of all these things is the same that it ever was.
There is another matter. What is going to slip past in October, 1914? I suppose you think the Gentile times won’t end there?
I do not know anything of the kind. I do not know but what they will …I will grant, dear friends, perhaps three-fourths of this audience know exactly what is meant by the term “Gentile Times” now as well as after I give a more detailed explanation
but for the sake of the one-fourth I will say …(etc.) (Question Book, pages 89-99).