They needed to remain steadfast in the faith and reject the wicked if they were to be saved. If they had fallen into the zealous Judaist cause they would have been caught unawares at His return and would have been destroyed with the rest
Understanding the Reward Scripture Promised At Christ’s Coming
By Nathan DuBois
1 Corinthians 1:7 says they were rich in everything so that they would not lack any spiritual gift while eagerly waiting for the “revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What was this revelation? Was is literally visual or was it a matter of perfect knowledge of the life they had received? I have already showed that Paul said that he then looked as in a mirror, but that he would later be “face to face.” Was Paul literally looking into a mirror so that he would literally be “face to face?” What was the result of Paul’s “face to face?” He said that he would know as he is “fully known.” Perfect knowledge was the result of the “face to face” analogy he used in conjunction with his mirror analogy. What does the book of Hebrews say is the result of the new covenant of “God with man?” Hebrews declares that they would not need to teach their brother saying, “know the Lord, for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest…and I will remember their sins no more. ” Once again the result is perfect knowledge and a perfected conscience. The revelation of Christ was the knowledge and perfection they would receive.
What does the Bible say would happen when the ones who pierced the Lord “saw” Him? How would He reveal His truth to them? How would He reveal Himself to them? During their judgment they would know it was Christ, whose words at that time would be coming true to the letter, that they had nailed to the cross and they would mourn. It is their knowledge that they had killed their Messiah that would make them mourn. They would know this because they would realize that their day of visitation had come and gone.
“1 Cor 4:5 Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.”
Once again Paul is preaching about the knowledge. The Thessalonians were sons of the light. Light and knowledge are synonymous in the scripture. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.” They knew the signs because they were “of the light.” It was the knowledge of the Truth, that Hebrews declares and Paul affirms, that is the light, which would “reveal the intentions of the hearts.” The world would know the true sons of God by their obedience and lives in that time. They would be left standing as the vindicated sons of God.
“2 Tim 4:8 In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.“
Those who “loved His appearing” would receive the “crown of righteousness.” Those who did not love His appearing, because it came to them as judgment, would not receive the “ministry of righteousness.” What is the difference? Would Paul get a literal crown on his head? Did he wear a literal “breastplate?” Did he carry a literal “sword of truth?” His reward was the thing he expected, the mercy that Jude called “eternal life.” The two came simultaneous. When the “ministry of death” had vanished, the reward, the mercy, life, had come with the “ministry of righteousness.” There was one reward taught in scripture under many picturesque descriptions; eternal life.
1 Peter 1:13 tells the believers to have their minds “set for action.” Why would they need to be “set for action” if they were going to be delivered miraculously and without effort? This verse actually confirms the opposite. They needed to be ready to take action at the “revelation of Jesus Christ.” When Christ lived up to the words He spoke against Jerusalem, exactly and on time, He would be revealed as the true Messiah and the believers would be revealed as the true sons of God. They needed to be ready to flee. Their grace at that time was freedom from the wrath and life “at the end of the days.” The grace and the mercy would come and they would have perfect knowledge and perfected consciences.
Revelation 6:10 addresses the judgment on those who were guilty of the shedding of the blood of the martyrs and saints. This was a judgment given specifically to the harlot “Babylon” in Revelation and Christ Himself decreed this punishment against the Jews inMatthew 23:31-38. It addresses the one “time of vengeance” in scripture which occurred in AD 70 during the 3 1/2 years of wrath. This expectation by the saints under the altar was completely adjudicated in AD 70.
“They were promised “rescue,” “relief,” and “reward.” Did they get relief? Did they know they got it? Did they see and experience it?…Did they see and experience it?”
There are equally as many listed proof texts for these expectations. I have already showed that it is not the passages used that I disagree with, it is the interpretation that goes beyond the results of AD 70 and makes literal interpretations out of a need to explain the silence where I find disagreement. As I cover these verses I will again show how it simply was that they did receive complete relief of conscience and body. This happened when they were vindicated as the true sons of God and the Jews were judged. It would have been an experience felt and known all throughout the empire and the persecution would have been silenced. They would have been perfectly knowledgeable of this relief because Paul said they would. How could they not know they were no longer being persecuted by a religion on the run from the empire? How could they not know that they had received all they expected when Christ lived up to His decree and returned how and when He had said He would? How did they not experience the guilt free relief of a perfect conscience? How did they not see, or perceive that they had perfected consciences when their God lived up to every detail of His promised mercy and grace? How did they not experience physical relief from persecution when their antagonists had been taken captive or slaughtered after the Christians had fled to the hills?
(1) Text 1
“Luke 21:36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the son of Man.”
Once again Christ makes it clear that like in Noah’s day, they would need to take action to escape the things listed in Luke 21. Luke 21 is the passage where Christ warns them to flee to the hills when armies surround Jerusalem, because that was going to be the “time of vengeance.” They would have to heed the signs and seasons, for which they were to be watchful and sober, and then obey their Lord by fleeing to the hills to escape the wrath to come. If they were expecting a miracle vanishing, which required no action, why did they need to pray for “strength to escape?” Fitting with the context of verses 20-35, they would have to physically flee to the hills.
(2) Text 2
“2 Thess 1:6-10 since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction, away from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength, 10 in that day when He comes to be glorified by His saints and to be admired by all who have believed, because our testimony among you was true.”
This passage only confirms even more that the way that God would be glorified would be in the “light of the knowledge of God’s glory.” The knowledge that the “ministry of righteousness” had arrived and was true, is the means by which they would be glorified. Christ would be glorified “in His saints” because the ones who had believed the true testimony would be left standing and the enemy, who had persecuted them, would be judged.
Let’s look at this from a literal rapture perspective and ask concerning this passage; if all righteous would be rewarded with eternal life and relief, and all wicked would be rewarded with “everlasting destruction,” then why would only the Christians disappear from the earth? Why would the wicked not also be raptured to judgment? Clearly there is a truth to the thought that the judgment against the Judaizers would be felt all throughout the world by all the wicked. Did they all disappear too? The only feasible explanation is that the Romans took vengeance against Jews everywhere, and the Christian escaped this destruction. If there is as equally a widespread aspect to the judgment as there was to the reward, then both parties would have had to disappear and literally face the white throne, or neither was literally whisked away. Instead, it was in the knowledge that came with the judgment by the Romans when the Jew was taken and the Christian remained, that the Jews and Christians alike would realize that the true sons of God were the believers because they were the ones left standing. This perfect clarity, by both parties, sealed their fate for eternity. One was able to carry on in perfect confidence, knowledge, and conscience, while the other was slayed, enslaved, and/or eternally condemned in conscience.
(3) Text 3: Dealing With the Elect and the Gentiles
2 Peter 2:9 (text 3) declares the power of God to deliver the righteous from trials and hold the wicked under punishment until the day of judgment. There is nothing in this verse to swing the expectations one-way or the other.
“2 Peter 3:13-14 But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwell. 14 Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for all these things, make every effort to be found in peace without spot or blemish before him.” (Text 4)
I discussed the new heavens and new earth which arrived in AD 70. They describe the new covenant of God with man. What I have not discussed yet is the reason that there was such an important need for the elect who were being brought in to remain separate and “without spot and blemish.” I have hinted to the need but I want to deal with it more firmly now.
It is their faith that saved them. Faith was a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9) that came through revelation from the Spirit (1 Cor 2). They would not be made “perfect” until the parousia (Rom 8, 1 Cor 15, Heb 11), however they were to live lives separate from the world and be kept without spot or blemish. I believe these statements are the same. Being separate from the world would keep them without “spot or blemish.” Timothy was told to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” and have “made a good confession before many witnesses.” Christ said that a believer would be known by his fruits. Paul declared that being in the Spirit showed in a man by his producing the fruits of the Spirit. Separation from the world was what kept them “without spot and blemish.”
There were other ways in which believers were being showed as being separated from the world. In the case of baptism, it was being separate from the branches that were to be “cut down and thrown into the fire.” In the book of Luke, at the story of Christ’s baptism, John the Baptist related baptism and the producing of fruits “consistent with repentance.” Baptism was an external sign that they were repenting. It was a sign of separation. Christ declared it was the way in which they were to “fulfill all righteousness.”
“Luke 3:3 He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, ‘Brood of vipers!Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruits consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you thatGod is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
What is taking place here is not new to the preterist, but I do believe the understanding of the separation in repentance, producing the works of repentance and the Spirit, and the necessity of the absolute truth have been lost to some degree. The elect needed to be a separate entity from the world, or Judaism. The elect had to include the gentile for God to become “all in all.” This was the result of the parousia, God becoming “all in all.”
“1 Cor 15:28 And when everything is subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who subjected everything to Him,so that God may be all in all.”
Ephesians 1:23 states this same result in a way a little better understood. God was going to fill “all things in every way.” Colossians clarifies what it meant to be “all in all” even more and also gives us a critical foundation to begin to understand the separation of the elect and the Judaizers and the inclusion of the Gentile.
“Col 3:1 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
Once again this is speaking of the glory at the parousia. The glory that was to be revealed in them with Him is the revelation of the “sons of God,” the true sons of Abraham (Romans 8:18-19, Gal 4:1-7, Eph 3:1-13). Why was this glorious? Because the revelation of whom the “sons of God” were to the world, would confirm and consummate the coming and permanence of the “ministry of righteousness” whose glory outshone that of the glory that was present with the giving of the “ministry of death” (Col 3). Paul said that they would reflect the glory with “unveiled faces.” To be unveiled was to be revealed to the world. If Paul states that the literal veil Moses wore remained over the hearts of the Jew at the reading of the law, then this aspect of showing the glory of the “ministry of righteousness” without a veil would mean that the veil over the hearts would be lifted. The law represented the veil (Heb 9:8-9) and the removal of it proves the consummation of the “ministry of righteousness.” Being glorified, lifted up, stood up, confirmed, as the only “sons of God,” when those who hated and persecuted you and your Lord were removed, judged, enslaved, and killed, would indeed be a revelation to the world. It would indeed fulfill the idea that the “ax is ready to strike the root of the trees.”
“5 Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the Creator.”
Once again we see this aspect of the fruits of repentance and being separated. Because they were to be in the Spirit, separate from the world, they were to act separate from the world. It was the behaviors of the world, which would identify them as being “in” the world and would lead them into the wrath of God. They would be “cut off.” The works of righteousness and fruits of the Spirit showed that the Christian, who were claiming the rights as heirs, according to their faith, were separated from the world. It is clearly important that those who would be proven the “sons of God,” live lives worthy of the calling. Their “love” and works of righteousness would prove who the elect of God were. When the set apart elect, who had faith in Christ and claimed the rights as heirs, were left standing, it revealed the glory of the Lord and the “ministry of righteousness” to the world.
“11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.”
In no better words could the meaning of “all in all” be revealed to us. When God set apart His elect in righteousness, through a “baptism of repentance,” in faith, and then vindicated them in that time we know as the destruction of Jerusalem, that is how the glory of God was revealed. The “sons of God” received the confirmation of their adoption in AD 70. The glory of the “ministry of righteousness” shone on the faces of those who were redeemed when the elect was confirmed holy and their consciences were made perfect. The claim of having Abraham as an earthy father was proved to be an illegitimate claim when it was the elect of the Jew and the grafted in Gentile who were remaining. This knowledge brought the perfect clarity Paul desired when God revealed Himself to them “face to face.” His intentions, character, and plan for man was confirmed. His promise of “eternal life” through the blood of Christ was proven true when His word of returning in that generation came to fulfillment. Ultimate vindication, pure freedom, perfect clarity, relief from persecution, perfect confidence, and a perfected conscience is what the Christian expected and received in AD 70.
Romans eleven gives the picture of the elect in the process of God becoming “all in all.” Paul is discussing the sons of Abraham and their claim as the “sons of God.” In chapter nine he declares, like John the Baptist, that being a Jew does not give automatic claim to inheritance. He says that “neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants,” because it is “the children of the promise are considered the seed.” This means that the true Israel are those Jews who pursued righteousness by faith (Rom 9:30-33). Likewise, those who were being called “heirs” included the Gentile (Gal 3).
“Rom 11:11 I ask then, have they stumbled so as to fall? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their stumbling brings riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full number bring! 13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. In view of the fact that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if I can somehow make my own people jealous and save some of them. 15 For their being rejected is world reconciliation, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 Now if the firstfruits offered up are holy, so is the whole batch. And if the root is holy, so are the branches.”
This inclusion of the Gentiles was going to be a means of making all Israel (all the elect who would be set apart by faith) jealous and they, as a whole (all the elect), would turn to God. The idea that “all Israel” would be saved does not change the condition laid upon salvation; faith. In fact, the identity of Israel was conclusively shown to be those who were of faith (Rom 9). Being of the bloodline of Abraham did not make them secure as an heir (Luke 3).
Here the necessity for the inclusion of the Gentile into the promise of Abraham is shown in making God “all in all.” When confirmation of the “sons of God” came to the elect, which included Jew and Gentile, it showed God as “all in all.” If the firstfruits were shown to be holy, the whole batch would be holy. If the root (Christ) was proven holy, then the whole batch (the elect of Jew and Gentile) was also holy. Christ’s return in judgment proved that the “sons of God” were those who were set apart. Those who received the “baptism of repentance,” who lived by the “fruits of the Spirit,” who lived in the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,” who were being taught and believed in the “ministry of righteousness,” were the ones who were proved the true “sons of God.” It was they who received the “freedom of God’s children,” it was all the elect, which was “all creation” who groaned for the “adoption.” It was the Jew and Gentile of the elect who were vindicated, proving that God was “all in all.”
How could this vindication be done by a disappearance? Why would the saints disappear to reward but the wicked receive a temporal judgment? If the wicked received a temporal judgment in AD 70 that brought them from death to 2nd death, why didn’t the saints receive a temporal reward that lasted from life at AD 70 to life after death? A disappearance would not accomplish this worldwide recognition of the true sons of God. The fact is that Christ was going to be revealed to the world. They would “see” this revelation when they knew that the Christian remained and they were killed, enslaved, judged. The world knew who the sons of God were and there was no need to “teach his brother,” preach it, declare it, nor state it as if it was not already completely understood. Silence proves that they received exactly what they expected, and rested in that knowledge.
(4) Text 5
1 Thessalonians 1:10 is addressed above with the texts from the second expectation quote from the book.
(5) Text 6
“2 Tim 4:8 In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”
I must ask a few questions to bring this into perspective. Is this a literal crown he wanted to wear or is it righteousness he expected? Was it a crown that held the glory or was it the “ministry of righteousness?” Was it the expectation that he would be made righteous or an expectation that he would receive a crown, which held him to keeping the faith? There was a breastplate of righteousness also, but it was not literal. One was how he armed himself in his actions, the other was how he was crowned a prince, a “son of God” and made righteous. God is not the God of the dead and the dead are not righteous. For Paul to be a son, a crowned prince, he needed to be made righteous. Being made righteous was the result of being vindicated and declared one of the true “sons of God.” It was not a literal crown he would put on his literal head. Paul awaited the “crown of righteousness” like Jude awaited the mercy of “eternal life.” Paul would be crowned righteous and Jude would be granted merciful eternal life. It was manners of speech about the expectation, not declarations of literal treasures to be received in heaven.
The text also says that he would not be the only one to receive this crown of righteousness, but also those who “loved His appearing.” This is indeed curious language. Some would clearly love His appearing and some would not. Those who did love it would receive the crown. This is not a phrase that declares an expectation of disappearing, but rather one that shows that all who loved His appearing would receive the gift of being crowned righteous. What would those who did not love His appearing get? They would obviously know He appeared but still not love it. They would be judged for it. They would more than likely received condemned consciences. This language declares as I have been saying, that clarity would come to all concerning this coming. The wicked would know it and hate it and it would condemn them. The faithful would know it and love it, and it would perfect their conscience.
(6) Text 7
“1 Peter 1:4-9 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Christ. 8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
First Peter could not be any more clear about what the hope of salvation is. The hope of salvation that Paul taught, the expectations that the believers awaited, was the “salvation of your [their] souls.” The “goal” of their faith was not a physical resurrection. The “goal” of their faith was not a disappearing. The “goal” of faith was the salvation of the soul. It has been shown clearly that the salvation of their souls was to come when the law went away. To have a saved soul does not require a literal rapture. To have a saved soul means to be in relationship with God. All those dwelling in the “ministry or righteousness,” in the heavenly Jerusalem, are there because they received this salvation. Access could not be granted to God for dead men, they had to be made alive. The goal was salvation of the soul, which meant life with God, either in this world or the next.
It is no coincidence that Peter refers to the inheritance as being “unfading.” The glory of the “ministry of righteousness,” which brings life to the believer, will never fade. Some might say that the inheritance is “kept in heaven” and we do not receive it until we die. Revelation 21:3declares it differently. The inheritance, the heavenly Jerusalem where righteousness dwells, was an inheritance that came “down” from heaven and then John saw that God’s dwelling was with man. First Thessalonians 5 declares that whether they were dead or alive, “awake or asleep,” the result of the rapture/resurrection would be God with man, to be “with Him.” This is possible in this life and continues to the next.
Peter also addresses the aspect of a literal physical aspect to the reward they awaited. If some are expecting a literal crown made of gold, Peter says that the inheritance is “more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire.” Why would the inheritance be compared to this material metal, which represents physical wealth, and then have them teach that they will receive that very same type of corruptible wealth? I think it is clear that the scripture teaches that all physical aspects are perishable and the reward they were to receive in eternal, imperishable, and invisible.
So far Paul, Peter, Jude, and Christ have all told them to expect a reward from heaven. They have all taught that reward to be eternal life and that it was to come “soon” and was “at hand.” I truly am baffled at those who still feel the necessity to add a physical aspect to the eternal God’s reward when all things He has declared as eternal are “unseen,” “spiritual,” and “not of this creation.” There was no expectation of physical resurrection or a literal catching away. It was “God with man,” Edenic restoration, covenantal permanence, life after death, which they expected.
Text 8 was addressed in the second expectation.
(7) Text 9
“1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receivethe unfading crown of glory.”
Paul says he expected to be “further clothed with life.” Paul says the “ministry of righteousness” had an unfading glory. Paul was expecting the crown of righteousness, which Peter declared would not fade like gold. Now Peter calls his crown an “unfading crown of glory.” The crown he would receive, that Paul would receive, that would cloth him, is eternal life in the unfading “ministry of righteousness.” Every verse produced shows this to be the truth more conclusively. The uses of these descriptions for the expectations reduce the opposing interpretations to rubble. Either the expectation was “physical” resurrection, a literal crown of gold and jewels, a literal catching away into the presence of God, or the expectation was eternal life with God, whether “awake or asleep” in the unfading “ministry of righteousness;” the new covenant.
(8) Text 10
“Rev 11:18 The nations were angry, but your wrath has come. The time has come for the dead to be judged, and to give the reward to Your servants and the prophets, to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
Preterists understand that the Judaizers were the harlot Babylon of the book of Revelation. Christ declared it was upon the unrepentant Jews that the blood of the saints and martyrs would be avenged culminating in the desolation of their temple (Matt 23:31-38). This was the same reason that the harlot Babylon would be judged (Rev 19). In Revelation 19 the heavenly multitude said that He has judged the notorious prostitute who “corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality.” Likewise, in chapter eleven verse 18, it declares that it was time to “destroy those who destroy the earth.” To corrupt the earth and destroy it are the same in this sense because they are both addressing the judgment at the time of vengeance, which came upon the same group of people, the Judaizers and Jerusalem, specifically, to avenge the blood of the saints, prophets, and martyrs.
With that background we can see that it was at this time that the judgment was going to take place. This timeline is in perfect concert with Luke 21, Daniel 12, and Matthew 23-25. The judgment to the wicked was death, the reward for the righteous was eternal life. It came in AD 70 when the temple was destroyed, exactly when, how, and why Christ said it would.
Second John 1:8, which is the eleventh text in this section is speaking of losing what they worked for. They were to keep the teachings of Christ and not turn away from it so that they may receive a “full reward.” They were to remain separate and holy in order to receive the reward, just as John the Baptist and Paul also taught.
Hebrews 10:35, which is the twelfth text in the this section, encourages the believer to also not throw away their “confidence, which has a great reward.” They were to hold to the faith as Paul encouraged Timothy, and to “run with endurance” in the same manner as the patriarchs (Heb 12:1), keeping the unity in faith till the time of “fullness”(Eph 4:13).
(9) Text 13
“Luke 21:34 Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come upon you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Once again the language of scripture goes against a literal and miraculous disappearance in the fact that they were to remain on “guard” and sober so that they may not be taken “unexpectedly.” Like Paul said to the Thessalonians, they were not of the darkness for that day to overtake them “as a thief.” The true “sons of God,” who were set apart from the world and watched for the coming of the Son of Man would need to “have strength” for they would need to “flee the wrath to come.” This is because just 13 verses prior Jesus said that at the time of vengeance and judgment, which was the time the Son of Man was to come (Dan 7), they would need to flee to the hills (Luke 21:21). If this salvation and protection was a magical and involuntary disappearance, why did they need to “watch?” Rather, this was a time that was as in the days of “Noah.” Noah had to build an ark in faith, and then Noah had to manually go into it when he was told. Noah’s faith and action produced the salvation of the Lord when the wicked were judged and “taken” and the righteous were vindicated for their faith and “left.”
Romans 8, the fourteenth text, has already been addressed at length in the second section of the expectations.
Revelation 3:10 again addresses their need to remain separate and faithful. If they remained faithful and endured they would be kept from the “hour of testing.” The way in which they would be delivered has been addressed at length.
D. Expectation 4
“They would actually know about it, and ‘see’ Him ‘revealed,’ meet with Him at His coming, and ‘marvel at Him’ and ‘glorify Him’ and have ‘great joy’ in His presence at His return.”
I have already at length discussed the manner of revelation and sight and knowledge that the Christians would receive according to their expectations. It should be no surprise now in which manner I will address the following text for this section. First Corinthians 13undoubtedly states that Paul expected to “know” as he was “known.” I have already addressed my confidence in the fact that the first century Christians, and even the wicked Judaizers who hated His coming, had a perfect clarity as to what was taking place in AD 70, and they had no misgivings about who was being judged as wicked and who was being rewarded as the true “sons of God.” Christ was not going to be seen by the righteous only, but also the wicked, and this is where the literalist in this aspect loses his argument. To be “revealed” is another way to describe being “seen.” If a mans sins are revealed by the light, it means that others have seen their wickedness when they are made knowledgeable of their wrong doings. Likewise, when Christ’s judgment came against the wicked, He was “revealed” by the fact that everyone “knew” that He was the Son of Man. This knowledge revealed the truth of Christ to the world, to the righteous and the wicked, and they “saw” Him. One does not need to see Christ’s literal wounds, eyes, or face to have Him revealed. Likewise, the world did not need to literally “see” Him for Him to be “revealed.” They saw Him when He was revealed to them in AD 70. He was revealed through His truth in the judgment against Jerusalem.
Does it require a literal viewing of Christ to be in His presence? When the glory cloud of God descended upon the temple and the people trembled at His presence, did they see His features? Likewise, God was going to come down to man and dwell with us forever. His presence would forever be with us and we would be with Him, whether “awake or asleep.” Knowing that Christ was true in word and deed, being vindicated fully and having your faith confirmed in the deliverance from persecution exactly when you expected it, would no doubt create a joy that we, in the twenty-first century could not possibly comprehend. If we do not see it from their perspective, if we cannot grasp the fact that through the events of AD 70, they witnessed first hand their deliverance, then we will not be able to possibly understand their joy and our inheritance. This is why, though not critical, this topic is very important to our lives in the world today. Once we grasp the joy, freedom, relief, and knowledge they didreceive, and leave behind the inaccurate and unbiblical ideas of things they did not receive, we will be able to change our lives and this world like never before.
Second Thessalonians 1:6-10, which is the first text in this section, was addressed in the last section. It again addresses the vengeance that would come against those who have afflicted the saints. This was the punishment against Jerusalem and Babylon as declared by Christ in Matthew and recorded in Revelation by John. The Lord would come down from heaven with His angels and punish the wicked. He would come in the clouds, as He did many times in the Old Testament. His judgment against the wicked would be eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord. His reward, as stated by Peter, was the salvation of their souls (1 Peter 1:9). Jude declared the reward to be eternal life (Jude 1:21). Both Peter and Paul declared the reward to be a crown of righteousness and life that had an “unfading” glory (1 Peter 5:4, 2 Tim 4:8).
Again the Bible declares that Christ, when He comes, would be “glorified” by His saints. What does it mean to be glorified? According to Paul, the glory of the visible faded, and the glory of what was unseen was eternal. The glory Paul expected was the glory of the ministry of righteousness. When Christ returned in judgment in AD 70, He was revealed to all. When the Christian was vindicated and the Judaizers were judged, Christ was lifted up, magnified, “glorified” in and by His saints. The Christians being left and the wicked being taken, as in the days of Noah, revealed the true sons of God to the world, and therefore, revealed the Messiah to the world as well. He was glorified in His saint and praised for this salvation by His saints.
First Peter 1:7, which is the second text in this section, was also addressed in the last section. It speaks of the glory that they would receive, better than gold, which fades “though it be refined,” and would come at the revelation of Christ. The glorious “ministry of righteousness,” which brought eternal life and God with man, was the glory that they received. The thirteenth verse of First Peter, which is the third text, describes the glory as “grace.” Jude said that eternal life was the mercy that they were waiting for, likewise eternal life, which came with the ministry or righteousness, was the “grace” they were to receive.
(1) Text 4
“1 Peter 2:12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in case where they speak against you as those who do evil,they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation.”
Here Peter discusses the need for separation through works of repentance and actions consistent with the fruit of the Spirit. If there was a separation to occur, a vindication of on group and a judgment of the other, and this would be witnessed by the world, then it was of extreme importance that the Gentile witness the difference in their fruits. For the Gentile to see those who acted uprightly in the face of adversity, persecution, and violent scrutiny, would cause them to glorify the Lord in that day. They would “see” the true Messiah when the Christian they had witnessed living uprightly, was vindicated before the eyes of all men. The vindication received would prove who the “sons of God” were and by the Christian remaining blameless, the Gentile witnesses would be compelled to glorify God as well.
(2) Text 5
“1 Peter 4:13 Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiahrejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.”
Peter encourages those being persecuted to rejoice. He says they would rejoice with “great joy at the revelation of His glory.” The revelation of the glory of Christ would produce “great joy.” How could it not produce joy when those who were being persecuted had been relieved from that persecution through the judgment and affliction on those who had “afflicted” them (2 Thess 1:6-10)? How could they not have exceeding joy and thanksgiving when they had just witnessed Christ revealed in glory as He came in judgment against those who the Christian received unending persecution? With the vindication came a relief from persecution, perfect confidence, perfect clarity, perfected consciences, and perfect rest. These were the results of the salvation of their souls. It is the inheritance that we can know if we understand what really occurred in AD 70. It gave them “great joy” as likewise it should give us great joy if we truly understand the results of the consummated kingdom of God.
First Peter 5:1, which is the sixth text in this section, declares that Peter was a witness to the sufferings of the Messiah and would participate in the “glory about to be revealed.” Peter did, in fact, participate in the resurrection and rapture of the believer. His soul was saved when the “ministry of righteousness” had come in fullness and the revelation of the true sons of God came to the world. Peter, like Paul, knew that eternal life would be his at the coming of Christ. The unfading glory of the covenant he was going to receive was something he believed in and affirmed and we do it an injustice when we fail to understand its true nature and its implications for them in that day, and for us today.
I am actually surprised that 2 Peter 3:12, which is the seventh text used in this section, is used at all. I know that it is not believed by any full preterist that literal heaven and earth, meaning the planet and space, was dissolved in AD 70. Isaiah and Josephus are two good examples of those who addressed the “heavens and earth” as being represented by the temple and the law. The power and durability of the law was linked by Christ to the “heavens and earth” (Matt 5:17-18). The “end of the age” was linked by the disciples to the temple when Christ declared the temple would be destroyed and that revelation prompted them to ask Him when it would take place and what would be the sign of His coming and the “end of the age” (Matt 24:1-3). Daniel links the “shattering” of the “holy people” to the end of the days of the great tribulation, resurrection, and judgment (Daniel 12:6-7).
(6) Text 8
“Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumblingand to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy”
To be able to stand blameless at his coming was addressed by Peter when he said that the Gentiles would see their blameless behavior and glorify God in the day of visitation. They would do this, again, because they would witness the vindication of God for the Christian and the judgment of God against the Jew. It was their actions that would set them apart from the wicked in the eyes of the men that would see them. In this vindication, God likewise was declaring the Christian as blameless. They had faith in the Son of Man and His sacrifice and their faith would save them in the day of the Lord, when it was rewarded with eternal life; the salvation of their souls (1 Peter 1:9).
If man was judged by God and received eternal life as His reward, he would be blameless before God. One has to be blameless and without fault to be in the presence of God, and it was the presence of God that was coming down to dwell with man. The aspect of blameless before man and blameless before God both rested in the fact that they escaped the judgments of God and remained. For them to disappear would weaken this aspect of being declared blameless before both parties. For the Lord to be revealed to the world, and not just to the Christian, required a continuing presence of the believer on earth, as a standing testimony to prove that they were the true sons of God. It would then be stated by some that silence makes this entire point moot, however they fail to realize that this revelation of Christ, this clarity of whom the sons of God were, would be revealed to the righteous andthe wicked. There would be no need to proclaim this victory in an epistle, when the world had just witnessed and realized it for themselves.
Matthew 25:1 and 6 are the ninth and tenth text in this section and are from the parable of the virgins. The parable of the virgins again explains a necessity to head the Grooms call. They needed to be ready and have their lamps filled so they could go “out to meet the groom.” Some people believe the oil was the Spirit of truth, which I believe to be accurate. The believers were going to be sanctified in truth (John 17, 2 Thess 2:13). When the believers were warned of false teachers they would know them because they preached a different gospel. The false teachers did not have the whole truth. They needed to know the truth in order to take action and flee. To go to meet the groom, they would need to know the signs and when they hear the announcement of His coming, they had to “go.”
Matthew 25:21 and 23 are the eleventh and twelfth texts in this section and speak of the workers who invested their talents receiving a reward and an increase in responsibility. If there was a literal rapture, how was there an increase in responsibility? What were they entrusted with in heaven? Instead, when they were vindicated, they were then looked upon and “revealed” as the true sons of God. Peter said that when that day came, the Gentiles would rejoice because of the believers blamelessness. They would now be the proven sons and the literal example of Christ on earth. They strove to be such before AD 70, but after God Himself separated the sheep from the goats in AD 70 with the world as witness, they would be an even larger example. The temporal reality of what occurred was that Christ was revealed to the world when the sons of God were left standing as the shining chosen of God.
(7) Text 13
“Eph 5:11-14 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead, expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. 13 Everything exposed by the light is made clear, 14 for what makes everything clear is light. Therefore it is said: ‘Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.'”
Is this light that exposes literal of light of the knowledge of the truth? How can one be considered true? By their testimony proving accurate. Here we have another example of why they were to remain blameless. When the “revelation” of the Messiah and the sons of God was made, the evil ones would be exposed. This is not speaking of a literal forensics light which shows the blood on a crime scene that had been hidden by external washing, it was the light of clarity brought at the revelation of Christ. The wicked were exposed in the vindication of the righteous, when their testimony proved true.
(8) Text 14
“Phil 2:14-16 Do everything without grumbling and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like the stars in the world. 16 Hold firmly the message of life.Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing.”
The aspect of blamelessness as an example to the world is again the focus. When the vindication would come Paul could “boast in the day of Christ.” He knew that the day of the Lord would prove his work worth while and he could be proud that he ran the race he did. Paul did not live till AD 70 according to tradition but all Christians who could not boast in themselves, would be able to boast in the Lord that He had proven to be true, and they, the true sons of God. It may be remarked that Paul said he would boast yet all we have is silence. However, how would they boast if they disappeared in “rapture” either? Rather, when the clarity came, the Christian could stand up in the truth that they had been vindicated, and the world had no other choice but to admit that fact. Christ glorified Himself in them, they would not lift themselves up, but would be lifted up. It was Christ’s actions that proved them true, and His Spirit was the reason they knew the truth. The boasting came from God.
(9) Text 15
“1 John 2:28 So now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
The context of this passage is lost without the entire chapter being read. This chapter is about their need to stray from sin and the world. There were anti-Christ’s who had departed the fold and there were false prophets trying to return them to Judaism. They needed to remain steadfast in the faith and reject the wicked if they were to be saved. If they had fallen into the zealous Judaist cause they would have been caught unawares at His return and would have been destroyed with the rest who hated Him. They would know they had left the truth, when they saw Him coming with the armies of Rome, and trapped, they would have been ashamed. However, those who had remained steadfast would be bold that they had kept in the path of righteousness. They would know they had believed the truth and their consciences would be perfected before God and they could go to Him with boldness.