"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay in bed" (Da 7:1). You would think you'd have either a dream or a vision, but it means that visions are frames or parts of an overall dream. That's why "he wrote the dream down" (:1). It was highly symbolic and about the future, which would make it prophetic. That is why it says it "was spoken of through Daniel the prophet'" (Mt 24:15). But it wasn't self-evident because he commented, "'As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me'" (:15). He provides "the following summary" (:1) which covers an amount of time because he said "'after this I kept looking'" (:6,:7,:11,:13) a number of times. Also, time passed because he related that "'I was contemplating'" (:8). In addition, it was an interactive experience because he "'approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this'" (:16). It was similar to John's experience who "was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Rev 1:10). He saw "a door standing open in heaven" (4:1) and heard, "'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things'" (:1). John also asked "one of the elders" (7:13) just as Daniel did and the answer is thereby acknowledged with "he said to me" (:14). Daniel and John's visions were of the future but they were participating in the action "real-time" as if thy were present themselves. On Pentecost Peter used Joel to prove that, we too, can receive dreams and visions (Ac 2:16) saying, "'Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions'" (Joel 2:28). However, consider Daniel responding, "'My thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself'" (Da 7:28).
In 606 B.C. Nebuchadnezzer captured the Jews from Jerusalem and exiled them to captivity in Babylon. Daniel was in that group. He "observed in the books the number of years . . . for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years" (Da 9:2). "For thus says the Lord, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place'" (Jer 29:10). Even nowadays we can find ourselves in precarious predicaments. "But with the temptation [God] will provide the way of escape" (1Co 10:13). "For I know the plans that I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity'" (Jer 29:11). But then he advised, "'Search for Me with all your heart . . . and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you'" (:14). So Daniel gave "attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications" (Da 9:3). Then Gabriel visited him saying, "'At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed'" (:23). God wants to give you "'a future and a hope'" (Jer 29:11) and says "'come and pray to Me'" (:12) and "'I will bring you back'" (:14). Another time Daniel "had been mourning for three entire weeks" (Da 10:10) and was visited again by a messenger referring to Daniel again as a "'man of high esteem'" (:11). He said, "'Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words'" (:12). Therefore, obey God's command to "'Call upon Me . . . and I will listen to you'" (Jer 29:12).
While Daniel "was speaking in prayer" (Da 9:21) Gabriel visited him saying, "'I have now come forth to give you the skill to understand . . . therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision'" (:22-23). He began saying, "'Seventy weeks are determined'" (:24). He then repeated, "'Know therefore and understand'" (:25). In modern times we know that there are fifty-two weeks in a year, so seventy weeks would be one year and eighteen weeks. God defines a week explaining, "'In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth . . . and rested on the seventh day, therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day'" (Ex 20:11). A week is, of course, seven days. God told Moses, "'You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath'" (Lev 23:16). At seven days/week this would be "'seven complete sabbaths'" (:15). In Old Testament language a sabbath would be considered a religious week. The term sabbath can also be used symbolically. God said, "'You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years . . . namely, forty-nine years'" (25:8). Here sabbath means "seven" but the increment is a year as opposed to a day. Laban told Jacob, "'Complete the week of this one . . . which you shall serve with me for another seven years'" (Ge 29:27). Therefore when Gabriel said "seventy weeks" he meant 490 years. We are to know and understand this.
Daniel was studying Jeremiah's prophecies and read, "For thus says the Lord, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place'" (Jer 29:10). Isaiah had prophesied, "It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.' And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid'" (Isa 44:28). To bring this to pass "the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent out a proclamation . . . [saying that God] 'has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem'" (Ezra 1:1-2). Gabriel instructed Daniel that, "'From the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks'" (Da 9:25). Cyrus had "put it in writing" (Ezra 1:1). Zerubbabel said, "'We ourselves will together build to the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us'" (4:3).
Which decree was Gabriel referring to? When Daniel was in exile in Babylon, King Belshazzar was overthrown. Daniel had prophesied this saying, "'Your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians'" (Da 5:28). After Belshazzar was killed "Darius the Mede received the kingdom" (:31) in 539 B.C. They followed the "'law of the Medes and Persians'" (6:12). "Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian" (:28). However, the Persians under Cyrus the Great overthrew the Medes, conquering Lydia and Babylonia to fulfill Daniel's prophecy. The Edict of Cyrus in 538 B.C. allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. This is confirmed by the leaders testifying, "'In the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God'" (Ezra 5:13). Later this was contested but they searched the archives for the original decree and "a scroll was found" (6:2). Then Darius issued decrees (:8,:11) and said, "'I, Darius, have issued this decree, let it be carried out with all diligence!'" (:12) "They finished building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia" (:14). The temple was dedicated in 516 B.C. However, Gabriel had referred to the "'decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem'" (Da 9:25). The first phase of "'seven weeks'" (:25) or forty-nine years would cover that project.
Gabriel told Daniel to "'give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision'" (Da 9:23). It was the answer he had been praying for. Isaiah prophesied, "He declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built', and of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid'" (Isa 44:28). Gabriel explained that "'from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks'" (Da 9:25). Time passes "'until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes'" (:25 NIV). Seven weeks is equivalent to 49 years and 62 weeks is 434 years totaling 483 years. But Gabriel had just explained that "'seventy weeks have been decreed for your people'" (:24) leaving a week to be accounted for. Gabriel had summarized six phases where the first three were "to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity'" (:24). He addresses this group saying, "'Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing'" (:26). Sixty-nine weeks expire leaving a week which some call Daniel's "seventieth week." God was dealing with "'your [Daniel's] people'" (:24) which was according to the Law. But to complete the 490 year plan it would remain "'to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place'" (:24). The first three purposes were accomplished by Christ's first coming whereas the last three would need to be completed by the second coming. Therefore, transpiration of time was paused after the resurrection until it would resume to complete the 490 years. These are "'times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority'" (Ac 1:7). This would allocate a time for the Gentiles in that "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in" (Ro 11:25). The seventieth week is not mentioned until Daniel 9:27 following the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem.
The temple was completed in "the sixth year of the reign of King Darius" (Ezra 6:15). "After these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, there went up" (7:1) to Jerusalem. "This is the copy of the decree which King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest" (:11). The king stated that, "'I have issued a decree'" (:13) and repeated, "And I, even I King Artaxerxes, issue a decree'" (:21). Consequently a second phase of the return from exile began in 457 B.C. They were even given the authority to "'appoint magistrates and judges that they may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the River'" (:25).
Gabriel instructed Daniel to "'give heed to the message and gain understanding from the vision'" (Da 9:23). He said, "'Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end to sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place'" (:24). Furthermore, "'there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again'" (:25). Sixty-nine weeks are equivalent to 483 years. Counting from the decree of 457 B.C. one arrives at 26 A.D. Scriptural years are 360 days and an extra five days for each year and leap years must be taken into account. Also, scripture tends to round off any part of a day or year to a whole number. Finally, an adjustment to errors in our present calendar of four years must be made which would establish that Christ was born in 4 B.C. Therefore the passage of 483 years would take the passage of time to when Christ began his ministry at thirty years of age. However, Gabriel stated that "'after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off'" (:26). Accordingly, some count the expiration of 69 weeks (483 years) to the year of crucifixion. This would cover "'to make an end of sin, [and] to make atonement for iniquity'" (:24). Therefore, a "seventieth week" remains to be fulfilled which scholars usually associate with the Second Coming.
Jesus' disciples asked him privately, "'What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age'"? (Mt 24:3). He began his explanation saying there will be wars, famines, earthquakes, killing, betrayal, deception, hatred and lawlessness (:4-12). It is not just a short-term phenomenon. Jesus explains "'it is not yet the end'" (:6) but is "'merely the beginning of birth pangs'" (:8). It is a survivable situation because he said "'the one who endures to the end, it is he who shall be saved'" (:13). A guidepost is that "'the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world . . . and then the end shall come'" (:14). Another guidepost is "'when you see the abomination of desolation . . . standing in the holy place'" (:15). This is what "'was spoken of through Daniel the prophet'" (:15). Gabriel told him that "'the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary'" (Da 9:26) and that the end was inevitable (:26). This ruler who would come will "'on the wing of the temple . . . set up an abomination that causes desolation'" (:27). There is a historical tyype which points to this. In 168 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes set up an altar in the temple to the pagan god Zeus Olympius and sacrificed a pig on it. Upon Jesus' sacrifice "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Mt 27:51). However, the Sanhedrin repaired the veil and continued animal sacrifices. Isaiah prophesied God's response saying "'their soul delights in their abominations, so I will choose their punishments, and I will bring on them what they dread'" (Isa 66:3-4).
Jesus had predicted that "'not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down'" (Mt 24:2). Daniel relates that "'its end will come like a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined'" (Da 9:26). Jesus warned, "'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand'" (Lk 21:20). He had said, "'Your house is being left to you desolate'" (Mt 23:38). Then in 70 A.D. Titus, the son of Roman Emperor Vespasian, attacked and destroyed Jerusalem.
"'The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary'" (Da 9:26). Titus did this in 70 A.D. But does that mean that Titus, himself, is the ruler spoken of? In context, they are the people of the ruler they represent who will be instrumental in making decisions. "'He will make a firm covenant'" (:27), "'he will put a stop to sacrifice'" (:27), and there "'will come one who makes desolate'" (:27). Some think that it is a picture of Christ who "'will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering'" (:27) because "He is the mediator of a new covenant . . . since a death has taken place for the redemption" (Heb 9:15). But this ruler to come is the one who "'makes desolate'" (Da 9:27). This causes horror, makes appalled, lays waste, ruins and destroys. It is "'even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate'" (:27). Jesus warned that "'when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand'" (Lk 21:20). This is not the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of "a covenant previously ratified by God" (Gal 3:17). It is rather a prophecy about "a beast coming out of the sea" (Rev 13:1) who is called the Antichrist. "That lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming" (2Th 2:8). Jesus emphasized that "'the reader understand'" (Mt 24:15) "'when you see standing in the holy place'" (:15) the detestable thing causing the desolation. Some see progressive stages of the prophecy being fulfilled. Paul refers to "the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2Th 2:4). He makes people "to worship the first beast" (Rev 13:12) and to "cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (:15).
God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf" (2Co 5:21). However, "without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb 9:22). Therefore "Christ died for our sins" (1Co 15:3). Then "through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb 9:12). Israel fulfilled this on the Day of Atonement where the high priest entered "once a year, not without taking blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people" (:7). It took place on the tenth day of the last month of the religious year during the Feast of Tabernacles. "'It is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you . . . from all your sins'" (Lev 16:30). Christological fulfillment of this day is "where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever" (Heb 6:20). Therefore we must "hold fast the confession of our hope . . . for He who promised is faithful" (10:23). Furthermore "by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement" (:18). We are "laying hold of the hope set before us" (:18) which is "an anchor of the soul" (:19) and "one which enters within the veil" (:19). God told Moses, "'I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat'" (Lev 16:2) which was in the Holy of Holies. In addition, "Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear . . . to those who eagerly await Him" (Heb 9:28). We are "looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of Christ" (Titus 2:13). "Every one who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself" (1Jn 3:3). "When He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is" (:2). It is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). "This perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1Co 15:53).
Jesus told his disciples that "'the Son of Man [must] be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life'" (Jn 3:15). Paul explains that the perishable cannot "inherit the imperishable" (1Co 15:50). Therefore "at the last trumpet . . . the dead will be raised imperishable" (:52) and "this mortal will have put on immortality" (:54). When does this occur? It happens at the "last trumpet" (:52). "With the trumpet of God . . . the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1Th 4:16). Jesus said, "'He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect'" (Mt 24:31). God used trumpets to call Israel together and direct their movement in the wilderness. "The seven priests carring the seven trumpets of ram's horns before the Lord went forward and blew the trumpets" (Jos 6:8). John reported "I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them" (Rev 8:2). Eventually "the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever'" (11:15). "At the last trumpet . . . we shall be changed" (1Co 15:52). The seventh trumpet is the last trumpet. This event is synonymous with "'an hour [that] is coming and now is; when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live'" (Jn 5:25). "'Every one who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day'" (6:40).
There is a Festival of Trumpets in the Feasts of Israel. It is one of three parts (one is the Day of Atonement) of the Feast of Tabernacles which occurs in the last month of the religious year. The first tripartite feast is composed of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. The second is Pentecost. God instructed Moses, "'These are the appointed times of the Lord . . . which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them'" (Lev 23:4). "Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; pay your vows" (Naham 1:15). The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates Israel entering the Promised Land. They blew trumpets for the ten days of the Feast of Trumpets. The feasts are reminders of what God did historically for Israel. Also, Jesus pointed out that Moses "'wrote of Me'" (Jn 5:46) and "'all the prophets and the law prophesied'" (Mt 11:13) which means there would be a future fulfillment of the feasts in the life of Jesus. There is also an experiential fulfillment in a believer's life. They "will go up from year to year to worship . . . to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zec 14:16). Whoever "does not go up to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them" (:17). "Blow the trumpet in Zion . . . for the day of the Lord is coming" (Joel 2::1). "What will you do on the day of the appointed festival and on the day of the feast of the Lord?" (Hosea 9:5).
Before the Sanhedrin the high priest said, "'Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God'" (Mt 26:63). Not only did Jesus confirm it but also said "'hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven'" (:64). Afterwards at his ascension "clouds received Him out of their sight" (Ac 1:9) and "two men in white . . . [told them that Jesus] will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (:10-11). Later Peter warned that there will be those who ask, "'Where is this 'coming' he promised?'" (2Pe 3:4 NIV). They will be those "walking according to their own lusts" (:3) saying, "'Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation'" (:4 NIV). They are Jews referencing their ancestors but ignoring "that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water" (:5 NIV). Jesus had asked, "'When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?'" (Lk 18:8) and Peter cites the lack of faith of these scoffers. He says "they deliberately" (2Pe 3:5 NIV) and "willfully forget" (:5 NKJV) "for when they maintain this, it escapes their notice" (:5 NASB). However, Paul warns that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against . . . [those] who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Ro 1:18). "Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (:20). Peter instructs "that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us" (2Pe 3:2). He reminds that "the Lord is not slack concerning His promise . . . [and is] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (:9).
Jesus told his disciples, "'There are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom'" (Mt 16:28). Six days later three of them accompanied him up a mountain and "He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light" (17:2). Peter later related that "we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2Pe 1:16). You could say that this was done as a demonstration to dispell imaginations they might have harbored. You might say Jesus had to bring "down to earth" understandings that they otherwise might incorrectly develop about heaven. Also he knew his disciples would feel left out once he departed so to encourage them he advised, '"Let not our heart be troubled'" (Jn 14:1). He told them, "'In My Father's house are many dwelling places . . . [and] if I go prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also'" (:2-3). He confirmed it saying, "'If it were not so, I would have told you'" (:2) and reiterated, "'You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you''" (:28). This is not just mentioned in passing. He said, "'Now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass you may believe'" (:29). "'I am coming quickly'" (Rev 22:7,12,20) is reinforced three times. In fact, the Second Coming is specifically mentioned in twenty-four books of the New Testament. I read where one author had counted over 300 references and another approximately 450 occurrences.
We are to anticipate the return of Christ with expectancy. "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah" (Mt 24:37). "They were eating and drinking . . . until the day Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away" (:38-39). It is cited by two heavenly representatives saying, "'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven'" (Ac 1:11). "When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Col 3:4). "As to this salvation, the prophets [testified] of the grace that would come to you . . . [and were] seeking to know . . . the glories to follow" (1Pe 1:10-11) the sufferings of Christ. "In Christ all shall be made alive but each in his own order" (1Co 15:22-23). Consequently "you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Eph 4:30). So "straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Lk 21:28). "Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Heb 9:28). You "are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1Pe 1:5). "We through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness" (Gal 5:5).
They asked, "'Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming?'" (Mt 24:3). Jesus answered, "'This gospel of the kingdom shall [first] be preached in the whole world'" (:14). "'Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky'" (:30). However, he explained "'you do not know which day your Lord is coming'" (:42). "'For this reason you must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will'" (:44). "'What I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!''" (Mk 13:37). "'Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes'" (Lk 12:37). Be a person "'who knew his master's will'" (:47) because "'from everyone who has been given much, much will be required'" (:47-48). However "do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will" (1Co 4:5) "'bring about justice for them quickly'" (Lk 18:8). "He who is coming will come, and will not delay" (Heb 10:37). "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits . . . [so] you too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near" (Ja 5:7-8). Jesus instructed Thyatira saying, "'What you have, hold fast until I come'" (Rev 2:25). He said, "'Behold, I am coming quickly'" (22:7). He "will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Heb 9:28).
John prophesied, "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him" (Rev 1:7). Enoch prophesied, "'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones'" (Jude 14). He "shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire" (2Th 1:7). "The Lord will come in fire and His chariots like the whirlwind" (Isa 66:15). The Second Coming will come "'immediately after the tribulation'" (Mt 24:29). In "'those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken'" (:29). There will be "'men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world'" (Lk 21:26). "'Just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be'" (Mt 24:27).
His angels "'will gather together His elect from the four winds'" (:31). "In Christ all shall be made alive . . . at His coming" (1Co 15:22-23). "In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (Zec 14:4). But "that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed" (2Th 2:3). Therefore, "we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). However, "not everyone has faith" (2Th 3:2) but we do not "grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1Th 4:13). Many "come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14). "The armies of heaven following him . . . were dressed in fine linen" (Rev 19:14) which are the "righteous acts of the saints" (:8).
Peter cited how the Old Testament prophets sought to know what "time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow" (1Pe 1:11). Jude reports "that Enoch . . . prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones'" (Ju 10:14). Zechariah prophesied that "'the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations'" (Zec 14:3) and "'you will flee . . . [and] the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!'" (:5). These are those who "God will bring with Him" (1Th 4:14) who "will be caught up together" (:17) in "our gathering together to Him" (2Th 2:1). "Creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the Sons of God" (Ro 8:19) and "the glory that is to be revealed in us" (:18). This revelation is an unveiling or exposure to view. We are to "wait for His Son from heaven" (1Th 1:10). Knowing that "our citizenship is in heaven" (Php 3:20) we set our "mind on the things above" (Col 3:2) and when Christ is revealed "you also will be revealed with Him in glory (:4). Paul prayed that God would "establish your hearts without blame in holiness . . . at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints" (1Th 3:13). Peter prayed that your faith "may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1Pe 1:7). Paul prayed "that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Co 1:7).
The event of the Second Advent is called the parousia. Jesus, whose presence is in heaven, comes to earth where his arrival is observed by everyone. When it occurs is not known but there are metaphors to describe it. "'Just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be'" (Mt 24:27). It "'will be just like the days of Noah'" (:37). "'They did not understand until the flood came and took them all away'" (:39). "'On the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed'" (Lk 17:29-30). "'The powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory'" (21:26-27). He will come "with His mighty angels in flaming fire" (2Th 1:7) "'and then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds'" (Mk 13:27). Therefore "'when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near'" (Lk 21:28). "'What will a man give in exchange for his soul?'" (Mt 16:26). "'All the tribes of the earth will mourn'" (24:30). He "will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts" (1Co 4:5). "Each man's praise will come to him from God" (:5). Paul explains that he will receive "the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2Ti 4:8). He "will repay every man according to his deeds'" (Mt 16:27). He "rescues us from the wrath to come" (1Th 1:10). "'Then He will sit on His glorious throne'" (Mt 25:31).
Christ's appearing is called an epiphaneia. It is a bringing forth into light causing something to shine. An epiphany is a sudden, intuitive perception into the reality of something. His appearance is "when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and be marveled at among all who have believed" (2Th 1:10). Therefore, it is important "that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Ti 6:14). "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those [who have died, and] . . . we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord" (1Th 4:14-15). "In Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order . . . who are Christ's at His coming" (1Co 15:22-23). We will be "caught up together . . . to meet the Lord . . . and so we shall always be with the Lord" (1Th 4:17). Peter says "when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1Pe 5:4) and "at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation" (4:13). But we must "abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (1Jn 2:28). John explains "it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (3:2). "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first" (1Th 4:16). "Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming" (2Th 2:8).
The circumstances of the Second Coming are that "the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle" (Zec 14:3). He "will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty . . . that he may be abased" (Isa 2:12). He will "execute judgment upon all, and to convince all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds" (Jude 15). He will "render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire" (Isa 66:15). He will "deal out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (2Th 1:8). "The Lord alone will be exalted in that day" (Isa 2:17). "It will be a unique day which is known to the Lord" (Zec 14:7). "In that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one" (:9). "'The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn'" (Mt 24:30). "'They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory'" (:30).
Near the end of the Book of Revelation John concludes "This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection" (Rev 20:6). This is said just after John observes "I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True" (19:11). In addition, "the armies which are in heaven . . . were following Him on white horses" (:14). This is commonly referred to as Christ's second coming. However, didn't the "resurrection of the dead" (1Co 15:21) come first when Christ was "raised from the dead, [and became] the first fruits of those who are asleep" (:20)? Resurrection is said to be when "in Christ all shall be made alive" (:22). Is this instantaneous or sequential? Paul explains that it happens to "each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming" (:23). Therefore, the first resurrection can be defined as this period of time where certain related events transpire. However, others argue that there is only one, single resurrection. Daniel first recounted, "'Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt'" (Da 11:2). Jesus said, "'All who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds, to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment'" (Jn 5:28-29). Paul explained to Felix, "'There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked'" (Acts 24:15). Jesus also cites "'the resurrection of the righteous'" (Lk 14:14).
Those who observe only one, official resurrection put forth the "sea" (Rev 20:13) and "Hades" (:13) giving up "the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds" (:13) as a general resurrrection. This would agree with Jesus saying, "'All who are in the tombs shall hear His voice'" (Jn 5:28) because it is said that the graves "gave up their dead" (Rev 20:13). Jesus said, "'I Myself will raise him up on the last day'" (Jn 6:40) and Martha concurs saying, "'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day'" (11:24). At the Second Coming, Christ "shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin" (Heb 9:28) "for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1Pe 1:5). But Hebrews goes on to say it is for "those who eagerly await Him" (Heb 9:28). However, they do not appear to be waiting in their graves. "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1Th 4:16-17). Paul also mentions "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him" (2Th 2:1). Does he define this "coming" (:1) as the Second Coming? Jesus said that angels would "gather together His elect'" (Mt 24:31) when "'they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds'" (:30). At this time everyone sees Christ's appearance and "in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (Zec 14:4). But only believers are "lookng for the blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) "who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord" (1Th 4:15) who will "see Him just as He is" (1Jn 3:3). Premillenialists see this as a separate resurrection they call the Rapture. Others may see it as the Day of Atonement being "the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13).
We are "justified as a gift by His grace" (Ro 3:24) made possible by "redemption through His blood" (Eph 1:7). "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul . . . which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us" (Heb 6:19-20). Therefore "by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light" (Ac 26:23). In the interim we are "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Ro 8:23). We know that "we have been buried with Him through baptism into death" (6:4) since "the body is dead because of sin" (8:10). But we are not temporarily stuck depending upon our own devices in order to survive. "Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (6:4). "You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if Christ is in you . . . [and] the spirit is alive because of righteousness" (8:9-10). "The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1Co 15:45) for "just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so even the Son gives life to whom He wishes" (Jn 5:21). God will "give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit who indwells you" (Ro 8:11). He has "raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6). "As He is so also are we in this world" (1Jn 4:17). "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Php 3:20). "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col 3:1).
It is natural to perceive resurrection as being spiritual. But is there more to look forward to? We know our body is "the earthly tent which is our house" (2Co 5:1) as Peter said "I am in this earthly dwelling" (2Pe 1:13). But we also know as Paul explained that "our house is torn down" (2Co 5:1) and Peter related it's "laying aside" (2Pe 1:14). If we were always kept guessing then it would cause anxiety. Therefore we are told "just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1Co 15:49). We believe "knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus" (2Co 4:14). "We have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (5:1). "It has not appeared as yet what we shall be" (1Jn 3:2). He "will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory" (Php 3:21). Paul said "some one will say, 'How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?'" (1Co 15:35). "God gives it a body just as He wished" (:38). It is an "imperishable" (:42) "spiritual body" (:44). Adam and Eve made a mistake in this regard when "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (Ge 3:7). "We, having put it on, shall not be found naked" (2Co 5:3). It is accomplished "by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself" (Php 3:21). "God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power" (1Co 6:14). "This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead" (Jn 21:14). He told them, "'A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have'" (Lk 24:39).