BE PREPARED FOR THE SECOND COMING
‘Therefore, brothers, rather be diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things, you shall never fall’ (2 Peter 1:10). ‘The path of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more to the perfect day’ (Proverbs 4:18). We are to prepare through prayer and righteous works in the midst of the dark days that lie ahead. My sister website, creation6000.com, contains a companion article on this topic, The Last Generation.
LESSONS FROM HIS FIRST COMING
In a fascinating book and New York Times best seller, “The Paradigm”, Jonathan Cahn reminds us that biblical history repeats itself and will impinge on our era. This is precisely what the apostle Paul foretold would happen in 1 Corinthians 10:11, ‘all these things happened to them as examples; and it is written for our warning on whom the ends of the world have come’.
It is no coincidence that at three critical times Satan has killed, and still intends to kill, the newly born. In each case Satan foreknew of a deliverer to come. To eradicate the forthcoming danger Satan arranged to have many newborn killed at these times in history. He obviously only has limited foreknowledge as to the whereabouts and exact identity of his nemesis. In recent years moves to legislate a woman’s right to abortion is a key feature of Satan’s strategy to thwart God’s predetermined plan to bring forth a ‘man-child’ (Revelation 12:4).
Two millennia ago Satan could not tell King Herod where the baby Jesus lay. However, he motivated Herod to seek out and destroy (Matthew 2:16). Our safeguard is that God only allows Satan to have limited insight. Satan blunders along in fury unwittingly completing God’s plan along the way.
Consider the pattern of Satan-inspired mass killings of babies
- All new born Hebrew males were ordered to be killed at the time of Moses (Exodus 1:16). But not all the midwives obeyed because they feared God.
- Males below the age of two in Bethlehem and vicinity were ordered to be killed by King Herod in his effort to eliminate the future King of the Jews.
- World-wide changes in abortion laws will kill many of the yet unborn. Why? Because Satan can read scripture and knows that a ‘Man-child’ arising through the church will bring about his utter demise (Revelation Chapter 12). He is determined to kill off godly seed.
Satan knows that the ‘Man-child’ is figurative of a multiple, a group of people sanctified for a task that will precipitate in him being cast out of heaven for good. Therefore, Satan is targeting the very young and unborn on a world-wide scale. Some abortion laws allow children to be killed in the birth canal during birth. His particular interest is to generate an atmosphere where a godly woman will find it socially acceptable, even within some churches, to desire to abort her godly seed.
For example, consider the White Ribbon Australia Position Statement on Women’s Reproductive Rights:
White Ribbon Australia believes that all women should have complete control over their reproductive and sexual health.
We take this position because:
- We are opposed to all forms of control, violence and abuse. Restricting or denying a woman the autonomy to make decisions about her body is an attempt to maintain power and control over a woman. This is also known as reproductive coercion[i].
- Sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights. Denying a woman access to contraception and abortion is a denial of basic rights to health care. It impacts on a woman achieving economic and sexual self-determination and having full access to education and employment[ii]. It is a woman’s right to choose if and when she gets pregnant. It is a woman’s right to seek an abortion.
- Women want access to abortion and control over their reproductive rights[iii].
- Criminalisation of abortion and restricted access to abortion and birth control (through high cost and limited availability) endanger women’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing[iv].
- It is consistent with community attitudes on abortion with most Australians being pro-choice. The 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes found that the vast majority of Australians are pro-choice, including 77% of people who identify as religious[v].
There are many other well-funded secular and religious groups that promote, at the level of the United Nations, that a woman should feel no guilt for aborting her baby. One of the arguments is that God does not make a baby into a person until the woman welcomes it. This deceitful psychological attack on women’s minds plays right into the hands of Satan:
‘There appeared a great sign in the heavens, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head, and having a babe in womb, she cries, being in travail, having been distressed to bear. And another sign was seen in the heavens. Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads! And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman being about to bear so that, when she bears, he might devour her child. And she bore a son, a male, who is going to rule all nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God and to His throne. The woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God so that they might nourish her there a thousand, two hundred and sixty days. There was war in Heaven; Michael and his angels warring against the dragon. The dragon and his angels warred, but did not prevail. Nor was place found for them in Heaven any more’ (Revelation 12:1-8).
What can we learn from the first coming of Jesus 2000 years ago?
The first coming took three distinct phases, two private and one public. His coming was progressive. As discussed below, the Second Coming of Jesus will also be progressive.
Phase 1. The birth of Jesus was a private affair revealed to only a few, to the shepherds, the wise men and to Anna and Simeon. Others, including King Herod, only got to hear about it indirectly.
Phase 2. John the Baptist announced Jesus. Jesus had a public ministry lasting 3 ½ years.
Phase 3. His post-resurrection appearance was restricted to close believers only.
THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS
The first phase of His Second Coming will also be a private affair, restricted to believers. He will reveal Himself to His bride. In Chapter 12 of the book of Revelation His bride is shining as the Sun and crowned. By this time she is already noticeably pregnant! This is the result of the first encounter of Christ with His bride. Unbelievers will hear about it indirectly but will ignore it after showing initial interest.
Wearing a crown means only one thing in the Bible – she will be reigning, by the power of the Holy Spirit in her case. Her public ministry will cost her much labour. The fruit of this ministry will be the formation of a select group of people figuratively symbolised by the ‘Man-child’. This group will be caught up to heaven before Satan can destroy them. Since we know that the bride is a multiple her ‘Man-child’ will also be a multiple.
The literal return of Jesus three and a half years later is the third and final phase. He returns in judgment to destroy the wicked with the brightness of His coming. All the wicked, including Satan, will be cast into Hades. At this stage ONLY the beast and the false prophet, not Satan, are cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20; for a very good reason). Simultaneously, the righteous are resurrected to be with Christ forever (2 Thessalonians 2:8). It is possible to deduce three phases of His Second Coming that parallel His first coming:
Phase 1. Jesus reveals himself to His bride in private and the ‘spiritual marriage’ is consummated. She finds herself pregnant with the will of God and labours much to bring it forth over a 9 month term (‘The Man-child’).
Phase 2. Jesus empowers the bride with the fullness of His glory that is revealed in a powerful public ministry that brings forth much fruit (the ‘Man-child’ and others that are of her seed – Revelation 12:17. That seed is of the bride but is not to be identified as the man-child group. These bear the testimony of Jesus Christ but are not in the bride because they will be left behind when the bride is taken into the wilderness – Revelation 12:17). The bride has the authority of the order of 12, as indicated by her crown of 12 stars – apostolic authority. She rules as Queen/bride for 9 months. Following her public ministry she is protected from harm’s way by God in a place called the ‘wilderness’.
Phase 3. After the 3 ½ years of rule permitted to an evil trio, the Antichrist, the dragon and the false prophet on Earth, Jesus will return in person to judge the wicked. All the tribes of the Earth will mourn at His revealing. They will be struck dead by the brightness of His coming. He will grant resurrection to all believers, to both the dead and the living. This begins the millennium rule of Christ on the Earth. He now reveals Himself only to resurrected believers until Satan and all the wicked are released from their prison (Hades) 1000 years later.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR CHRIST TO COME TO THE BRIDE IN PRIVATE?
Bible commentaries agree that the humble but joyous ‘black’ woman, consumed with desire in the book Song of Solomon, is symbolic of the bride of Christ (Song of Solomon 1:5-6). She is black because she has toiled much under the Sun. Her lover comes and goes tantalizingly. They delight in each other. They praise each other in glowing terms. He calls her his spouse. She is smitten with love, but he doesn’t stay around, but keeps coming and going. He has much to do elsewhere even though she is His spouse. The other virgins and watchmen belittle her (Song of Solomon 1:6; 5:7).
In this allegory of Christ and His bride (Song of Solomon 7:13) it is significant that the Shulamite woman laid out mandrakes awaiting the return of her lover (for erotic reasons). Mandrakes meant a lot to women in the Middle East. They were used to seduce men. In Genesis 30:14-16 Jacob’s wife, Leah, purchased the right to spend a special night with Jacob. She purchased one of Rachel’s nights using mandrakes. Leah had to make the extra effort because Jacob’s romantic feelings were towards Rachel and not her. Mandrakes, described as fruit or love-apples in other translations, have stimulating and narcotic effects that would entice Jacob despite his lack of romantic feelings for Leah.
Therefore, what was once allegorically offered in the Song of Solomon by the bride to her lover would become substantial and consummate the mystical marriage between Christ and the bride. After nine months the Man-child is born (Revelation 12:5). Using this indirect prophetic evidence allows us to estimate that the bride’s great and last public ministry will last about nine months, but her evangelism will come at great cost and discomfort, as any woman who has gone through labour will testify. Its joyous outward manifestation will be the uninhibited praise and expression of love to the Lord Jesus at meetings.
WHERE WILL THIS OCCUR? THE SECRET IS REVEALED
Whether on Earth or in heaven praise and expression of love by the bride is of necessity a corporate event. Yet it is also private, in the sense that it is only experienced by believers who attend gatherings. Consider how Jesus revealed Himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. By the breaking of bread – the communion; ‘And it happened as He reclined with them, taking the loaf, He blessed it, and breaking it, He gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. And He became invisible to them’ (Luke 24:30-31).
When Jesus told the disciples about the coming of the Son of Man, He also revealed the secret about how and where He would reveal Himself for the Second Coming. ‘For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered’ (Matthew 24:28). Whether the disciples understood what He was hinting at we cannot tell. He will reveal Himself to His beloved ones as we gather around the communion table! He will reveal Himself during communion – exactly how is a mystery because it will be world-wide. Consider these scriptures; ‘Now we beseech you, my brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him’ (2Thessalonians 2:1). ‘Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:25). Aren’t you particularly glad for communion now?
The way world political events are unfolding the time of the end can’t be all that far away! As Jesus said, in the days of His return it will be as in the days of Lot, ‘And as it was in the days of Noah, so it also shall be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and the flood came and destroyed them all. So also, as it was in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but the day Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from the heaven and destroyed them all. Even so it shall be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed’ (Luke 17:26-30). We are surrounded by the spirit of Sodom these days no matter what country we live in. Gone are the days when Australia could be called a Christian country.
Jesus asks the question: ‘I say to you that He will avenge them speedily. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth? And He spoke ……. to certain ones who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others’ (Luke 18:8-9).
Those who forsake the community of believers gathering together will surely miss out on these intimate spiritual experiences with the Lord. In temple language, God has already described those who will miss this great opportunity. The Contemporary English Translation explains it clearly: ‘An angel gave me a measuring stick and said: Measure around God’s temple. Be sure to include the altar and everyone worshiping there. But don’t measure the courtyard outside the temple building. Leave it out. It has been given to those people who don’t know God, and they will trample all over the holy city for forty-two months’ (Revelation 11:1-2).
This scripture describes Christians who only have an ‘Outer Court experience’ of the Lord. It is symbolically significant that the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses and in Solomon’s Temple had no covering but was illuminated by natural light. The Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was illuminated by the candlestick and by glowing coals that had been carefully and specifically prepared according to priestly instructions. Thus, we can conclude that ‘Outer Court Christians’ are carnal Christians who obey their fleshly desires in their Christian walk and disobey the moving of the Holy Spirit. It is distasteful to them. Therefore, it is no wonder that God will also have an aspect of distaste towards them before their resurrection into heaven.
The temple building includes only the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place which was situated towards the West end of the Outer Court. See the companion article ‘The Last Generation‘. In this context, the altar refers to the altar of incense within the Holy Place, which is symbolic of those devoted to much prayer and are planted in a home church.
‘Another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer. And many types of incense were given to him so that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God from the angel’s hand’ (Revelation 8:3-4).