IDOLATRY IS INVOLVED IN THE 2ND COMING OF CHRIST?
Is It because of our ignorance or could it be a form of Idolatry?
Or, Is It Just A Mixture Of Old Fashioned Selfishness And Unbelief?
We demand to see a physical Christ.
John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (KJV)
In this text we have some fellows looking for Jesus and after their request to see him was passed onto him, He answered them by saying that those who would follow him would be with him. This was a peculiar way of answering their request.
Are born again Christians with Christ?
Are they supposed to be able to see him?
1 Pet 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 1 searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (KJV)
From what we see in this text, it would appear that seeing Christ walking around again on the earth might well be anti-climatic. There were then, in those days, glorious happenings, following Christ's sufferings and resurrection, but immediately, with in days, came Pentecost, yet a great part of His glory was still yet to come, was to be soon, and to be at hand, and some who heard Him speak were to, (did), live to see Him return, etc.
Following Christ's telling his disciples that he must leave so the comforter could come he added the following. -
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Do we know where he is and do we know how to get there? Do we have the comforter? Did Jesus come back to, and during the life time of some of his first century followers?
Is He here with us now, in power and in glory, healing and saving, even today, in fulfillment of both Old and New Testament Prophecy?
John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (KJV)
(John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.) (NIV)
John 16:18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (KJV)
John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: - again, I leave the world, and go (back) to the Father.
In this age, (the age that we are in, which is the age, or the day, that followed the end of all things then), we can ask the Father for things in the name of Jesus and he will do it. This is because Christ went back to his position of glory and is no longer limited by being relegated to the lowly position of inhabiting a human form.
The above admonitions were made in the first century. We are now enabled, by His indwelling presence, to see Him in the now. Unfortunately we have become addicted to a fantasy that is similar to bowing before pictures and icons, but we have substituted mental images for physical ones. We long to see a physical being return in physical clouds though no one has seen this now for two thousand years. Where does this leave the loved ones who have preceded us in death? Have they become lost somewhere in space and time or are they already with the Lord?
Paul spoke of having his hope focused on the resurrection. We also know that he too was looking for the return of Christ with great expectation. This brings up more very important questions. Just what all was to happen when he returned? Was he to be seen in a physical body? This erroneous thought has since become a central theme of the Christian Church. However, - as I intimated above -
There are reasons for believing that his return would not involve his physical bodily presence, but would rather be one in which he would return in clouds of judgment and as such he would then be seen from one end of the earth to the other.
Matt 24:25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
We have no other commandment concerning his appearance, or the seeing of him in human form, then this. On the basis of this text we should never expect to see him as such again in this earth. If anyone ever tells us we can see him at any geographical location we will know they are lying. If we take note of his emphasis on the spiritual we can add that information to this and should never expect to see him in a visible human form on this earth. Again, why is it, so to speak, that we keep standing looking up when he has already been here for so long?
Let us imagine that you were able to see and touch his physical body. Would this, in any sense, make you a better Christian? Yes, we need to see Jesus, but not in a physical sense.
We are to seek his kingdom and his righteousness, not a glimpse of his physical return.
Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (KJV)
It appears that these angels my well have been chiding the disciples. Ask yourself, - Just why was it that they kept standing there looking up? According to Matt. 24:25, they were not to be expecting him to come back in that fashion, but would see him coming in clouds, his literal person not being seen. That is how he left, (He disappeared from their sight into a cloud), and is why the angels chided them. However, the wrath they all knew was coming would be produced by him as he came back in power and in glory. This devastation of his enemies would deliver his Church from becoming extinct. His coming would be the physical redemption of his church and it would involve the revelation of the presence of Christ in his unlimited reigning power, there and then, in the first century, in keeping with all that he and the NT taught. This is the story told in the Book of Revelation - which is a revealing of him coming back in power and glory and pouring wrath on his enemies. Again - All of this being the final proof of His position and ability to deliver His people from both their physical extermination, and from their spiritual bondage.
Still, with all of this behind us we are still incessantly demanding that he come back in the flesh, but to do what?
Are we not doing just like Israel did when they demanded that Samuel give them an earthly king?
Is this not a form of Idolatry? We demand to see our God, to have an earthly image stand before us, one that we can see and touch? We justify our giving into carnal earthly feelings as we slight the spiritual inner man. Are we not already new creatures in Christ?
What about the thief who on the cross believed in Christ? He was to be with Jesus that day in paradise. No mention of him being resurrected after being in the grave for 2000 plus years. He had a resurrection experience by accepting Christ then, while still nailed to that cross. Those who were standing below had to wait and be baptized etc. But not that thief. Think about what is being said at Christian funerals. They look for a resurrection sometime in the future with Christ coming back with a loud shout, etc. That is not scriptural. To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ, period. No waiting.
Why do we not see the spiritual glory of his kingdom and the glorious effects it has had on this planet over the last 2000 years? Our fascination with the fantastic speculations, concerning his supposedly eminent 2nd coming, put down the glorious power of Christ that is portrayed during the conversion of a soul. Again, these speculations take away from the glorious power revealed as God heals both spiritual and physical problems.
Our blindness further implies, First, that he did not keep his word, for he said he would not forsake them and would come back quickly. Secondly, it implies that he did not finish his earthly ministry in the first century.
Just like them - the Jews - but even worse - we too are standing around looking up and wasting time, for he came back in fulfillment of all that he said he would do.
We should be concentrating on the job at hand, which is to save the lost and to change this world. We make a terrible mistake when we set down and accept the false premise that this world is none of our business. Jesus did come to save the world and this job is on going and on going and on going, and He left us in charge and equipped.
Unfortunately, we have instead covered our eyes with a veil of literalism. In so doing we are following the same path that Judaism took and so we too are now filled, centrally, with futuristic expectations of a climaxing earthly utopia. This happening after two thirds of the Jews have been killed.
This nonsense has all happened because we have such little faith, and this causes us to slide back into idolatry. Being thus we are then blinded and so cannot fathom the truth concerning spiritual reality.
The unlimited dynamic spiritual power of the living Christ that has been repeatedly manifested around the alters of our Churches and in our homes is forgotten? We are so blind that we no longer are able to see Jesus?
Like the children of Israel, who ended up worshipping the brazen image, many of our churches have put the emphasis upon Christ's image. It is the spiritual indwelling of Christ that is all important. He and His Father take up their abode within the heart of the godly believer.
Some more questions. What was that carcass mentioned in Matt 24:25 above, and what was he pointing to when he said there will the birds be gathered?
There is the old and new wine skins. There is the born again experience. The old was vanishing and to be replaced by the new. Jesus said that the kingdom would not come through observation, but would be in the heart. He said it would not be of that world. He also told numbers of people that some of them would live to see him return.
When Jerusalem was destroyed, and that primarily by the Jews themselves, we have a picture of a carcass that was surrounded then by an army whose signature was a bird of prey. There were also many heretical factions, birds, involved in the civil war that raged within the walls of Jerusalem as it fell. Jews against Jews. Well over one million of them died during their own inward siege.
Matt 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
1 Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
We demand to see Jesus return, yet we are to presently, in the now, supposed to be able to see the glory of Christ's kingdom, via his Spirit. We are supposed to be able to see the great things that the prophets were looking forward to and longed to see, for Jesus said they were present even as He spoke.
2 Cor 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Why is it that we have convinced ourselves that a temporal view of Christ's physical body would be more glorious and powerful then seeing him through our spiritual eyes? Since when is it that we have come to believe that physical reality is more real and powerful and glorious then spiritual reality?
Must our God have skin on him? Must we be able to physically touch him before we can see Him?
Have we lost our first love?
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I Jn 3: Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Is the sin of unbelief stopping us from seeing Jesus?
3 Jn 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
In counseling Christians who were plagued by depressing situations I have told them to look away to Jesus.
This works, for he is not far from any of us.
Let us, once and for all, and from now on, recognize that Jesus did come back and has been saving and healing and building his church, and for nearly 2000 years - already.
Let us focus our attention on the present order and keep our priorities strait. The gates of hell are to give way before the advance of the Church.
Let us embrace the thought that it is Christ in us that is our hope of glory and embrace our responsibilities.
Let us no longer pass or responsibilities off onto a future erroneous hope that Christ will come back and do our work for us.
We have been equipped to do the job through the indwelling presence of Christ and are not to fear this world, for he overcome death hell and the grave nearly 2000 years ago.
11/15/98 - 07/13/00 - 06/28/06