A “Heads Up” On Things to Come
The Entrance to Paradise-Peter’s Final Gospel
by Steve Santini
Man came forth with an innate sense of the divine. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, discord was sown into his heart. Even so, man has sought to attain the divine throughout his history. Yet, as a result of this discord, man's attempts have, for the most part, been for his own self-serving purposes.
Both Peter and Paul, in their epistles, describe a period of time they call the end of "the last days." These are the most discordant of times. At the end of the last days Paul writes that men, will become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God and that men will be lovers of their own selves. Today, the epitome of man being a lover of his own self has come forth with the announcement of the first cloned individual. This successful attempt is not the first self serving attempt to bring forth perfect man. Just before the Noahatic flood, man, by then present means, by his own hands attempted to bring forth what God intends and only can achieve.
Some may scoff that this first replication of an individual is the epitome of man loving his own self. They may say that man is the same today as he has always been and that this cloning indicates nothing about the deteriorating condition of man in relation to God. Yet, when corresponding current events are also taken into consideration the condition of the times should not be readily “shrugged off.”
In Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, he prophetically writes that when they, who do not trust in the Lord, shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them. It is interesting in light of current events that the word for safety in the Greek language has an underlying sense of saying, “we shall not fail.” Today, world leaders, themselves are blatantly and arrogantly saying, “we shall not fail” to bring economic, social, and governmental unity to this present world. In antithesis to the spirit of Christ they use illusion and violence to bring forth their corrupted sense of divine’s intention.
It is also interesting in light of prophesied heavenly events that the Greek word for sudden in the phrase, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, means “without light or darkness.” This is Joel’s prophesied day of Lord for which Peter looked diligently. Joel describes it as a day of darkness.
For those who consider these things as signposts in the degradation of man's attempt, by his own means, to attain the divine, prayerful thought and study should be given to what lies beyond the end of these last days.
This extensive study covers the following topics:
Peter's Second Epistle
The Subject of Peter's Second Epistle
The Second Beloved of Peter’s Second Epistle
Elements of this Second Time Period from Peter's Epistle
Considerations on the Day of Darkness
Deliverance for the Beloved
Messengers of Deliverance
Two Groups and Two Events
The Manifestation of the Saints and the Out Resurrection
Considerations on the Evangelical Doctrine of the “Rapture”
A Time Line of the Second Heaven and Earth
Peter's Second Epistle
The second epistle of Peter is the most succinct and reliable framework for "end times" events from the perspective of the "faithful in Christ Jesus."
Although there is a great deal of substantiation for Peter and Paul's "end times" revelations from the Old Testament prophets, the prophets were each seeing chords of truth that had taken earlier incremental steps toward fulfillment and were not fully blended together. They, also, in their then present understanding, through the terminology and belief of their culture, were looking primarily to the salvation of Israel. After the crucifixion, Peter and Paul were able to see these strands more clearly and weave them together into a more expansive tapestry.
In contrast to Paul’s revelation, the author of the book of Revelation based his work on the law and misaligned interpretation of Old Testament prophesies. It seems most likely that he was either ignorant of, or purposely contrary to Paul's revelation of the mystery. The book was written decades after Paul’s death and originated from the one area of which Paul had said that everyone had turned away from his message. What is termed as the " better and/or out resurrection" that was so important to the apostle Paul is only vaguely alluded to in the book of Revelation. The manifestation of the saints and their purposes are never clearly defined in the book. Throughout the book special favor is given to being Jewish while Paul had made it clear that there was no longer to be a distinction between Jew and Gentile. In considerate reasoning from scripture, all offers of future mercy and the ministration of a kingdom exclusively composed of Israelites derived from Old Testament records was accomplished and ended within the forty years of Jesus’ ministry, the ministries of Peter and Paul and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem. Today the Old Testament records and gospels and their former exclusive application to Israel are now types that are to be expanded and applied to all mankind regardless of bloodline. There is never again to be exclusivity applied to bloodline Israel.
In addition, even though Peter wavered in mid ministry, according to Paul's epistle to the Galatians, he became familiar with Paul's revelation and more fully understood and accepted it in his later ministry. Silvanus, who had traveled extensively with Paul, was with Peter in Peter's late ministry in Babylon. Peter, at the end of his second epistle, writes that Paul, in all of his epistles, also writes of the things about which Peter is writing in his last epistle.
Paul's confrontation of Peter in Antioch of Syria revived Peter's ministry. At the time Peter was slipping back under the law, rather than remaining in faith, due to the influence of those in Jerusalem who believed, yet were still zealous for the law. When Peter returned to Jerusalem his eyes were opened to the corruption in Jerusalem. His immediate response is unknown. His eventual response was to leave Jerusalem and reposition his ministry in Babylon.
(Later, after Peter's Galatian experience with Paul, when Paul returns to Jerusalem for his final appeal to those in the nation of Israel, it is evident that the original apostles were not present. In all previous records in Acts, when Paul returns to Jerusalem from his journeys, it is recorded that the apostles were present, yet in the final record only James and elders were recorded as being present. The epistle of first Peter, written to the dispersed tribes of Israel was written from Babylon, as stated within. Babylonian rabbinical letters of the fourth century attest to Peter's former presence in Babylon and subjectively indicate that his success was limited. Why relocate to Babylon? Babylon, at that time, had the largest number of Jewish inhabitants of any city other than Jerusalem. Many were Jews who did not return after the Babylonian captivity and were considered to be more open-minded than those in Jerusalem.)
In his second epistle, chapter two, verses ten through twenty-two, Peter addresses the condition of those who have forsaken his ministration and that of the other apostles. He concludes by writing, "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, “The dog is turn to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
One of the things most important to Peter after the resurrection of Jesus yet before his ascension was knowledge of when Jesus Christ was to establish the kingdom for Israel. Jesus, at that time, said that it was not for Peter to know the times and seasons. He was told that he was to receive power on the forthcoming day of Pentecost and, thereby, become a witness of all that Jesus said and did unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The first revelation after the day of Pentecost was that of the times and the seasons from the Old Testament prophecy of Joel. There are five sequential elements within the section recorded in Acts, chapter two, and verse seventeen through twenty-one. At this time and within this particular record one sees the extent and the Old Testament source for Peter's new understanding. Later in Peter's second epistle, one continues to see his faith in the words of the Old Testament prophets. He writes, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." One can also sense that at this later date Peter had a reliance on Paul's writings. He ends the epistle by writing about the similar points within all of Paul's epistles.
In the Biblically recorded progression of Peter's ministry one sees the fulfillment of the instructions given to him by Jesus Christ just before Jesus' ascension. First Peter centers his ministry on those in Jerusalem and Judea. Then he moves to Babylon among the dispersion from which he writes his first epistle that is addressed to those scattered. Then one sees that the second epistle of Peter is not addressed to a specific group other than those of faith. This final epistle is intended, according to Peter's own testimony within the epistle's context, to go well beyond his own lifetime.
Here in his second epistle, near the end of his natural life, after Paul's subsequent revelation, Peter had become more fully aware of the pattern of the coming times and seasons. This pattern, given at the ending of his life, was the "sum and substance" of this message and the finality of his temporal ministry that has now, in this day, reached unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
*For more detail see the article Considerations on the Spuriousness of the Book of Revelation
The Subject of Peter's Second Epistle
The subject of Peter's second epistle appears in the first chapter and in the sixteenth verse.
For we have not followed cunningly devise fables, when we made know unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ….
The English word coming is the word parousia in the Greek texts. Parousia is a state produced by a thing arriving along side another thing. It is not an instantaneous event. It includes the span of a particular condition.
Before this verse, in the same chapter and in verse eleven, there is an affirmative noun and a descriptive verb pertaining to this condition of the parousia.
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
In this verse the noun entrance is the Greek word eisodos. Eisodos is composed of the word eis, which means motion unto a point with an emphasis on the motion, and hodos, which literally means a road and figuratively means a means of progress.
The Greek verb for ministered has a unique descriptive meaning. In the Greek texts it is the word epichoregeo. One meaning is to furnish beside. This word, epichoregeo, is a compound word composed of two Greek words. Epi the prefix, means over or down upon and choregeo, from its roots, means the leadership of circling singers and dancers.
This word becomes most revealing when one considers that on several occasions Jesus likened the entrance into the kingdom to an Eastern wedding feast and that one of the primary elements of the elongated feast was a circuitous choral dance around the town by the groom and his party the night prior to the ending of the feast. The final act of this circuitous wedding dance occurred when his party of singers and dancers preceded the groom from this peripheral dance around the village to its center. When they arrived, the bride's party came out to meet them as the groom came forward through his party unveiling himself.* Both Peter and Paul refer to this as the coming of a thief in the night as translated in the English language. They also refer to it as the apocalypse. The three words, thief, veil and apocalypse in the Greek language have a common family member. It is the Greek word kalupto, which means to cover or hide. Apocalypse literally means away with the veil.
This wedding dance itself was patterned from antiquity upon the interrelationships of the cycling of the nightly heavenly bodies from the east to the west along the ecliptic of the sun. (Psalm 19) This final act of the apocalypse or taking away of the veil was also based on the unique activity of the stellar bodies. In the later context of this chapter, in verse nineteen, Peter refers to these lights of the heavens just after writing of Jesus' glorious transfiguration on the Mount.
The subject of Peter's epistle is the period of time of entrance into the Lord's everlasting kingdom in which the lights of the heavens play a central role.
Next one needs to consider to whom this epistle was addressed. In the introductory sentence those to whom Peter is writing are identified as those who have "obtained like precious faith with us." Can one find more, in the context of this epistle, that elucidates upon the "us of faith" and "you of like faith" of this epistle from Peter?
*For more details see An Eastern Wedding Feast
The Second Beloved
As with all epistles Peter was sending this epistle to his followers yet in the introductory sentence he tells his present followers that he is writing to another group in addition to his then present followers. He identifies the other group as them who have obtained like precious promises with us.
In chapter three, verse one, there is a clarification as to whom the they are. In the King James Version the translators rendered the initial phrase of this verse as;
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you…
In the uncial Greek texts that A.E. Knoch used for his ultra literal translation, the word order in the Greek and translation for this phrase is such;
This already beloved second to you I am writing epistle…
J. Gresham Machen, in his Greek grammar books, writes that the word order in Greek is the same as the English except for emphasis or euphony. The King James translators moved the noun epistle to a remote position in the phrase to be modified by the adjective second. Although this is contrary to standard translation according to word order, it is understandable since both epistle and second have accusative case endings in the Greek language while the word beloved has a nominative case ending. According to the Greek rules of grammar the case ending of both noun and its modifiers must agree. Yet, according to Machen there are exceptions. One he terms as "accusative of specification" and is used in other places Biblically for numerical specification. According to its application an adjective ending in the accusative can make specification to a nominative case ending noun. When applying this principle and the principle of word order, this phrase may be translated as such:
This already, second beloved, to you I am writing an epistle...
As written in this epistle, Peter knew that his life was ending soon. He also knew that Jesus had told him that he, Jesus, had another flock that were not of that present fold of which Peter was then an integral part. Here, you might say, are Peter's "dying words" to a future group of like faith to whom an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God would be ministered.
The Greek word for another used in the statement by Jesus concerning the second flock, is allos. It means another of the same kind in greater quantity and/or quality. In his first epistle, Peter writes of these two flocks by characterizing the differences of the time periods in which they are brought forth. He, was, as stated by Jesus and evidenced by history, a part of the first flock.
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. I Peter 1:11
Another confirmation, within the epistle, that Peter was writing primarily to the distant flock of which he would, in culmination, also become a part, is in chapter one, verse fifteen.
Moreover I will endeavor that ye may after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
In this verse hekastote is the Greek word for always. It is a very different word than the underlying Greek word that is translated always in verse twelve.
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things
That word is aie and means continuously. The word hekastote in verse fifteen is a compound word composed of the words hekas, to, and te. Hekas means far off. To is the definite article and te is a primary enclitic which means both or also with emphasis on the later part of the two.
Here, in Peter’s second epistle, he is writing primarily to the later part or second part of the flock of which he knew would not appear until the time of the glories of Christ.
Peter refers to the lights of the heavens as prophetic. In the center of the heavens, on a clear night, one can see both Ursa Minor and Ursa Major. The ancient Eastern names for these two signs are "the little flock" and "the greater flock." Separating these two, one can see the sign of Draco spread across the present center of the heavens. This is the "manner of time" between the sufferings and the glories of Christ that Peter referred to in his first epistle.
Paul describes this period of time in several ways. It is the period of man's day that Paul refers to in his epistles. Jesus describes it as the times of the Gentiles. The ending of the last days is described as a time when men will be lovers of their own selves rather than lovers of the truth and will scoff at the coming of the Lord. In this regard it is most interesting that the introduction to the book of Hebrews begins "at the end of the last days" according to George Berry's Greek-English New Testament Lexicon. After this introduction the book proceeds beyond the end of the last days.
After these intervening last days of separation between the first flock and the second flock, during man's day, come the glories of Christ. As the sufferings of Christ covered a relatively short period of time so to will the glories of Christ. Paul wrote of this "bookend" period of time as a short work of righteousness in the book Romans. The Greek word for work in this verse is logos and means a communication. Paul also, within the context of his exemplary warning to the Corinthians from the history of Israel in the wilderness, described the then current church as those upon whom the two ends of the age are come. Even James wrote symbolically of these ends as the former rain, during which the ground was softened for plowing and planting, and the heavier later rain that brought the crops to maturity. When we consider that the church of the first century was within the sufferings of Christ and that its faithful members will, in the Lord's day, be resurrected in the "out resurrection" to stand together with subsequent faithful others of the second flock, as the combined greater flock, in the glories of Christ to end this age, the statement Paul made to the early church relating to the ends of the age becomes clear.
The Lord's Day, in which this short work will be manifested upon earth, follows man's day. This will be a time requiring sanctification of the spirit and faithfulness to the truth for those in mortality or, in other words, naturally alive during this time. This day will reveal the glories of Christ when the earlier flock will eventually be raised from the corruptibility of the grave and combined with those alive. With the changing of faithful mortals and this "out resurrection" or “first rising,” of the faithful who have died out from among all the other dead. The other dead will eventually be resurrected for their own judgment based on works rather than faith. After this final resurrection of the just and unjust the millennial kingdom will begin.
Elements of this
Second Time Period from Peter's Epistle
In the section from chapter one, verse sixteen through verse twenty-one there is an overview of and the basis for Peter's prophetic words concerning the parousia.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made know unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shinneth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise. In your hearts, knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of men but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Peter 1:16-21
First he likens the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the events on the Mount of Transfiguration of which he was an eyewitness. Then he goes on to say that there is a more sure prophetic word than this record of this voice on the mount for the entrance into the parousia . In this verse he writes of “a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the daystar arise." It is to this one phrase that is more certain or firm in relation to the power and coming of the Lord that Peter earmarks to which the church to pay closest attention.
In the English translations of the Peshitta texts this phrase is highlighted as a figure of speech by parenthesis. The phrase “in you hearts” that follows the parenthetical expression in the this translation belongs at the beginning of the next verse since it is outside the parenthesis. Even in the standard King James Version translations from the Greek “in your hearts” is not distinctly separated from “knowing this first.” It seems that in uncertainty the phrase’s placement was divided from verse twenty by only a colon rather than a period. Another proper way of handling this dangling prepositions phrase, “in your hearts” would be to place it as a modifier of “take heed” which precedes the parenthetical expression. In either case “in your hearts” does not modify “day star.”
The Greek word for light in this phrases is luchnos means a portable source of light which is lit and extinguished. It could and does a times refer to what would be multiple sources of light from a singular lamp stand as in the Hebrew Menorah. In this important sequence of phrases the Greek word, auchemeros, for dark is used singularly in scripture and means dusty, obscure or cloudy. The Greek word for place is topos, which means a space in place or time, or condition of opportunity limited in occupancy. The English word day is hemera in the Greek and means a period of time, most especially a day. One needs to keep in mind that a day in Hebrew culture began at sunset rather than sunrise. The word dawn in the Greek is diaugazo and means glimmer through. It is never translated as morning. The word daystar is very interesting. It is phosphoros and is used singularly in scripture and as such is not the Greek word translated as star or stars in many other places in scripture. It is never translated star or planet in secular Greek either. In secular Greek it does refer to the planet Venus only when preceded by the enclitic article ho. Here in the phrase the is not the article ho or any other article. Other times in secular Greek it means light bringer. At times it is used as a torch bearer of dieties, a singular eye when used with the Greek word for eye, and a title of a priestess who is a torch bearer. It is a compound word. Phos means to bring forth light or shine. At its root it means to disclose or make manifest. Phoros means to carry or bear. The word for rise is anatello and is used of heavenly bodies. It means to cause to rise to the limit, purpose or result. Its prefix ana indicates a repetitive action with tello indicating limit or conclusion or purpose.
As one considers the context of the phrase, the definitions of the words, and the importance Easterners’ placed on celestial events heralding the changes in spiritual seasons and Peter’s emphasis on this as something of which to take heed, a picture begins to emerge.
Peter is writing to the second beloved who he knows will not come until a day in the future after his demise. He is writing to them of an entrance that is to be ministered unto them and a more sure word of prophecy regarding the advent of that entrance. The definitions of the words point to celestial lights. From the earliest of Biblical events lights in the heavens have been the moving force of the development through men of God’s unfolding plan of salvation. Abraham’s seed where to be as the stars in heaven. Moses was to design the tabernacle according to the pattern shown him in the heavens. The Biblical listing of scriptures relating to the movement of man’s soul from observations of celestial events in God’s plan goes on and on. Here in this phrase, “a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the daystar arise,” Peter is pointing to celestial events as a more sure foundation for expectation of entry into the transitory period that shall usher in the kingdom of God which he had so ardently desired from the time when he first started as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In consideration of recent and upcoming celestial events one should consider that what Peter wrote about in this verse is now on the doorstep. For the observant and concerned there have been a repetitive series of celestial events that fit the description of Peter in this important phrase. After sunset in the western skies as viewed from Jerusalem during the Hebrew spring feast season that spans the time between Passover and Pentecost there has be a repetitive pattern of naked eye visible comets that pass through or will pass through the cloudy Milky Way that spans from the sign Pisces, through the sign of Taurus without interruption to the sign Gemini when they are at their brightest. What is most astounding is that they have appeared or will appear in associated pairs on three different occasions! Biblically two is the number for confirmation or conclusiveness and the number three Biblically denotes completion. In the spring of 1996and 1997 respectively, comets Hyakutake and Hale Bopp passed at their brightest through Peruses in the Milky Way. In 2002, comets Utsunomiya and Ikeya Zhang had their paths intersect near Andromeda in the spring feast season. In 2004, Linear T7 and Neat Q4 will pass directly through the cloudy Milky Way and intersect in their individual paths at their brightest in a spot close to Sirius the brightest star in heavens. What is here are multiple lights as a lamp stand, again and again, breaking through the cloudy place of the Milky Way, condensed in time, at the beginning, each time, of a new day according to Hebrew reckoning. In light of this could it very well be the more sure word of prophesy that Peter wrote to the second beloved? Only soon coming the time will reveal it.
In consideration of this entrance into that which Peter was writing to the second beloved one should go on to consider what this time period entails. The prophet Joel, whom Peter quoted in his first proclamation to Israel after the day of Pentecost, wrote of a day of darkness in which there would be a generation like none before and none after. Jesus spoke of a generation in which all things would be fulfilled. In the immediate context prior to this statement about fulfillment, Jesus describes a time period when the heavens shall be shaken resulting in distress of the peoples of the earth with the waves of the sea roaring and men's hearts failing. Paul writes of the parousia as a period of consumption of the wicked one which ends with a final destruction at the epiphany of Christ’s personal parousia. The writer of Hebrews describes this period of time when the heavens and the earth are shaken as Christ speaking from heaven in contrast to the time when Jesus spoke on the earth.
A generation was considered as a forty-year period of time in Eastern culture. The book of Hebrews mentions a forty-year period of time when it refers to the reign of David, which lasted forty years, and the wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness that also lasted forty years. It also refers to this time as the "another day" that Jesus spoke of. The Old Testament prophet Micah wrote, "According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvelous things." Micah continues from this verse to describe the distress of nations and then the mercy to be shown to the faithful in Christ Jesus as represented, then, by former bloodline Israel.
Even today, outside of scripture, there are early church traditions that still exist marking this forty-year period of time. Although this is so, the roots of the traditions may be somewhat obscured from their original basis. In Damascus of Syria, where once stood one of the largest Christian worship centers, there is now a mosque with one minaret dedicated to the forty-year time period in which Jesus will return for judgment. Likewise, the early church tradition of lent in which ashes were daubed on the forehead and adherents sacrificed for their beliefs for forty days prior to Easter may very well had its foundation in the belief of this forty-year time period. Even the Egyptian Book of the Dead speaks of a forthcoming generation of the gods.
This forty-year time of opportunity for the “another” flock of like faith or the second beloved is a time of trail yet with the sustenance of the Holy Spirit and, as one will see, a time to be co-joined with messengers who bring forth victorious deliverance for the one body of Christ.
Considerations on the Day of Darkness
Where does this wind carried dust originate that causes this time period of darkness and what causes the waves of the sea to roar during this time period? Peter likens the deliverance of this time period to the deliverance of Lot from Sodom and Gomorrha. In the Old Testament record of this event God rained down fire and brimstone from heaven upon these two cities. In Peter's account the word overthrow is used. This word, in the Greek, means to scatter down upon. Where could have this fire and brimstone come from? Reasonable sources would be the meteoric debris trail of a comet trail or concentrations of solar plasma entering the lower atmosphere.
In more recent observations singular meteors entering the earth's atmosphere leave long dust trails that linger in the atmosphere. There are also sonic booms and radiant energy expended. From examination of some meteor craters on the earth’s surface there has been enough radiant energy and corresponding plasma released to melt sand into glass. And with the solar plasma incursion in Tunguska during 1908, there would be enough energy to melt steel.
In the third chapter this epistle, to the second beloved, Peter writes again of this element of the parauosia.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with a fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. II Peter 3:10
In this verse, during this day of the Lord, there is great whizzing with crashes that pass beside from the heavens, the elements are loosened, and the works that are in the earth are burned from top to bottom by something that comes down upon them according to Greek word meanings from Strong’s Analytical Concordance. This again sounds like the results either a large high speed solid body striking the earth or an act similar to the Tunguska event of 1908.
Where does the apostle Paul write of these event? In II Thessalonians, chapter two, verse eight Paul writes, within the context of the parousia, the following:
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
In this verse the word consume is the Greek word analisko, which means to use up or gobble up. The prefix ana indicates repetitive action while the root word, lisko, is derived from the obsolete Greek word hellomai. This word, hellomai, is within the same word family as the Greek word hellos, which means a ray of light. When hellos is preceded by the definite article the it refers to the sun while without the definite article it refers more generally to any or all other luminous bodies or events in the heavens. So this repetitive action of using up the wicked one relates to luminous bodies or events. The English word mouth in the underlying Greek text is the word stoma, which has, as one of several meanings, an opening or gash. Yes, as with all geomagnetic storms, the magnetosphere is opened as a gash by perturbations or deviations of its force lines that span from the North to the South Pole. It is the disruption of these magnetic forces that allow the plasma of the solar wind to penetrate the ionosphere producing auroras and, in the very worst case, concentrations of solar plasma reaching the lower atmosphere sometimes striking the earth like the Tunguska 1908 incursion.
It was the opening of the widows of heaven that caused the Noahatic flood. With the previous in mind it is telling that Peter, just before his reference to Lot's deliverance from Sodom and Gomorrha, writes, as an example, of the former Noahatic flood as the means of destroying the ungodly. (Scientists have found meteor and /or asteroid impact craters on the sea floor. They have performed computer simulations on the results of impacts in the ocean. Moderate sized meteors cause tidal waves of significant proportions - enough to devastate a coastal city.) These events, as first described by Jesus, would certainly cause men's hearts to fail in the condition of a dark place, especially if they were unaware of the spiritual truths relating to them.
Deliverance for the Beloved
How then are the godly to be delivered out of this time period of darkness punctuated by luminous bodies? Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans in chapter fifteen that the things written aforetime were written for learning so that they might have hope. So, in many ways, the things of the Old Testament have pertinent meaning for the future. An example would be Jesus statement that as Moses lifted up the serpent on the pole so shall the son of man be lifted up. In the Mosaic record the children of Israel, while wandering in the wilderness, were being bitten by snakes. Moses killed a snake and lifted it upon a pole so that when the children of Israel attentively gazed upon it they were healed of the venomous effects of the snakebites. Within this record one sees the actual event and a symbolic representation although not an exact replication, of the effects of the future event of the cross. Within an Old Testament record there may be multiple and layered symbolism representing the reality of future events that, with understanding, brings hope.
Like wise in Peter's second epistle one sees a past event that has similitude to a much larger future event. In chapter two, one sees Peter's reference to Lot's deliverance out of Sodom and Gomorrha. Then he writes that the Lord knows how to deliver the godly. In what manner was Lot delivered? First, messengers came to Lot and warned him of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha. Lot, his two unmarried daughters and his wife believed the messengers, though his married sons did not. When the day came the two messengers grabbed a hold of the believing and took them outside of the city as Sodom and Gomorrha were being destroyed. Contrary to the instructions of the messengers, Lot's wife turned back and was vaporized by the heat leaving only a pile of salts. Lot and his daughters continued and came to rest within a cave. It was within this cave that a new bloodline of Lot was engendered through his two daughters. When they eventually came up from the darkness of the cave, the daughters were carrying the new life of Lot.
In the first epistle to the Thessalonians, chapter one, verse ten, Paul writes that Jesus delivers those who turn to the living God from the coming wrath. The word from is apo in most Greek texts. Apo means away from. In some Greek texts the word from is ek that means out from. In either case those who are faithful are delivered from the wrath of the Lord's Day, as Lot and his two daughters were delivered from the wrathful destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha.
Messengers of Deliverance
In the future, this series of geophysical and astrophysical events will produce the period of wrath out of which, or away from which, messengers will deliver those of faith. Who then will these messengers be and whom will they deliver?
Paul's epistle to the Ephesians is addressed to these two differing groups. The introductory sentence identifies these two groups.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
The two groups are joined in the statement by the Greek conjunction kai. Kai is a conjunction of annexation and joins two distinct things together. As Ephesians is read and attention is given to the pronouns we and you it becomes evident that Paul, as a saint among saints, is addressing both the saints, as we, and the faithful in Christ Jesus, as you. Again, as in many places in this epistle and others, in the third chapter in the fifteenth verse, he indicates the address is to two groups.
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Kai is also the conjunction used for and in this verse. The Greek texts have the preposition epi before the word earth in this verse in contrast to the preposition en before the word heaven. Grammatically this kai strengthens the distinction between the part of the family that is heavenly and the part of the family that is upon earth.
As Paul is approaching the conclusion in this epistle he writes of the marriage relationship of husbands and wives and their distinctive functions within one body. He then ends the section with this statement:
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
When one goes to the Greek texts that preceded the English translations, a pattern of primary feminine gender nouns associated with those of faith and primary masculine gender nouns associated with the saints emerges. Even in the English one can see, on rare occasions, differentiations assigned by masculine and feminine words. For example, Paul, in his second epistle to the Corinthians, says that if those that have begun to believe remove themselves from the world's methods they will become mature sons and daughters.
The word agois, in the Greek language, is the word that is translated saint in the English language. Agios has as a meaning from The Analytical Greek Lexicon, as those who are set apart from the common condition. The common condition of the church is faith unto righteousness, and that faith being accounted by God as righteousness itself. On the other hand, the condition of the saints is righteousness. In Hebrews chapter eleven, verse seven the King James translation reads that Noah "became heir of the righteousness which is by faith," yet the Greek reads, "was heir of the righteousness which is by faith." On the other hand, as to the condition of Abraham, who is called the father of faith, the Greek text, in verse nine, reads that by faith Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the "joint heirs of the same promise."
In regard to this and Peter's closing to the second beloved of like faith, Isaiah, chapter sixty three, verse sixteen becomes more revealing. Isaiah, as he pleads for himself as a heavenly one, within a context that includes Moses, writes:
Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. (In the following proximate context he continues, "Oh that thou would rend the heavens")
The Hebrew word that is translated acknowledge in this verse means to see to the end of fully recognizing. Peter, who writes to those of like faith, qualifies the apostle Paul's writing on the same subject in his epistles, saying that in them are some things hard to be understood. Even at that time, when Peter wrote, prior to the coming apocalypse for those of faith, the reality of the saints was translucent and will remain so until the events of the parousia unfold.
In his second epistle, Peter also reveals this pattern of two types within the body of Christ. He likens his experience with James, and John upon the Mount of Transfiguration to the events of the coming of the Lord. In this experience Jesus, Moses and Elijah were clothed in light while they, the three apostles, were not.
This record in Matthew, chapter seventeen begins with the statement, "after six days," and then describes the event on the mount. According to the day age theory that is based on Peter's statement that a day in the Lord's mind is equal to one thousand years, the symbolism of this event is now within reach of reality since it has been about six thousand years since the record of the beginning of modern man's creation.
In regards to the appearance of Moses and Elijah one sees the saints who never, in the heavenly sense, die. The book of Hebrews refers to these as those after the order of Melchisedec with an endless life. In chapter seven, verse eleven, verse thirteen, and verse fifteen the word another preceding priesthood is the Greek word hetros, which means another of a different kind. In verse twenty-three, the author describes one of the differences. He writes, referring to the more evident Levitical priesthood, that it was subject to death while throughout the book he reiterates that the other priesthood of a different kind had neither beginning of days or end of life as Melchisedec. In verses thirteen and fourteen are two words that show that this other priesthood is a group with Jesus Christ as the High Priest, as declared in the first verse of chapter three of Hebrews. In verse thirteen, this group is defined as a tribe and in verse fourteen, as in the majority of Greek texts used to compile the Greek Interlinear by Berry, the word priesthood is plural.
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And yet it is far more evident: for after the order of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment but after the power of an endless life.
(In this regard to the establishment of two differing groups during the Lord's coming, it is an interesting confirmation that Eziekel's vision of the Oblation of the Millennial City included two equally sized portions - one for the Levites and one for the priests with the sanctuary being within the priests' portion.)
The apostle Paul was clearly a saint among saints with an endless life in the tribe after the order of Melchisedec. He addresses his epistle to the Philippians exclusively to the saints who are associated with the bishops and deacons. In the epistle, he states that for him to die is gain since upon his departing he would be with Christ. Also, in second Corinthians, when Paul is addressing the ekklesia concerning himself and Timothy as saints, he states:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Saints spiritually never die. They transcend earth to be with the Lord as the family in heaven and they return for judgment upon unbelief and for service unto the faithful in Christ Jesus, as one will see, prior to the Lord at the beginning of the parousia.
Two Groups and Two Events
When one returns to Peter's second epistle and combines his statements with those of Paul regarding similar matters it is apparent that not only are there two differing groups but there are also two differing events in the parousia that bring forth each group. As mentioned previously the events on the Mount of Transfiguration were a prophetic and symbolic portrayal of the parousia. Again, in this portrayal one sees Jesus, Moses and Elijah manifested in light atop the mount. Then one sees Peter, James and John falling to the ground and Jesus coming to them and telling them to arise.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: I Thessalonians 4:16
The first consideration of the differing actions that manifest these two groups is given to the saints. It is the saints who come to the faithful in Christ Jesus before the Lord himself descends to raise those dead in Christ. Paul's epistle to the Colossians is addressed to both the saints and the faithful yet again, generally, as in Ephesians, the two groups within the one body can be distinguished in the English by pronouns we and you. As previously stated, they may also be distinguished by studying the genders of the Greek words within the epistle. In chapter one, verse four Paul writes to those of faith the following:
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which [ye have] to all the saints,
"Ye have" is in brackets because the King James translators did not have it within the texts they were using for their translation. In their printing, these two words are in italics. The texts used for Berry's Greek-English interlinear show that this "ye have" is in most of the Greek manuscripts he used. Here you have those of faith and their love towards the saints. The next verse's first phrase continues pointing beyond in space and time. It gives the reason for Paul's prayers and thanks for those of faith and their love directed towards the saints. It states, as can be translated, "on account of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven."
In verse twelve of this chapter, Paul more clearly defines this hope laid up for those of faith.
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light
Although the word us in the majority of the Greek texts used by Berry is the word emas, in some texts, including the older uncials, it is umas, which is translated as the plural you. In consideration of the context of Colossians and the further scope of the subject the word you would be more appropriate. The word partakers used here in the Greek language means to share a portion and is in the feminine gender. The phrase “of the inheritance of the saints” is in the genitive case that indicates that the source or those to which the inheritance belongs as Noah who was an heir of righteousness. With these things considered and additional word definitions this verse can be translated as such:
Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made you competent in season to share a part of the inheritance of the saints in light.
This duality regarding the possessors of the inheritance and the sharers of that inheritance is reiterated in Romans, chapter eight, verse seventeen, where Paul is addressing both the masculine saints and the feminine faithful.
And if children then heirs; heirs of God, and [moderate contrast-de] joint heirs with [sun-associated with, not mixed with] Christ
The following summary is, in review to this point, in answer to the question, "Who then will these messengers be and whom will they deliver?"
1.There are two groups in the body of Christ - the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus
2.The saints are represented spiritually as masculine while the faithful in Christ Jesus are represented spiritually as feminine.
3.The saints are delivered from the power of darkness and are the living portion of the family of God in heaven.
4.The faithful in Christ Jesus are still subject to death and are the portion of the family of God upon earth.
5.There are two distinct events that bring forth each the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus to serve together as a household of priests in the millennial kingdom or paradise.
The Manifestation of the Saints and the
The first event manifesting the saints is revealed, in one of several places, from scripture in the epistle of first Thessalonians, chapter three, verse thirteen. When reading this verse, consideration should be given to its prior location within the epistle in relation to the later chapter four, verse sixteen, which makes known the first rising of the dead. In this latter verse attention should be given to the self-reflexive pronoun himself. The usage of the word himself indicates that there is something of the Lord that comes before his own descension. The earlier of the two verses mentioned in chapter three, verse thirteen reads:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
The word at in the phrase at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Greek word en and renders the translation as, "during the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Greek word meta which is the word translated with has a distinct meaning that sets it apart from other words that are translated as with. There is no singular English word that conveys the meaning of the Greek word meta. It has the meaning of in companionship with and afterwards in relation to time. Meta also has the sense of being mixed with equally throughout while the Greek preposition sun that is also translated with has the sense of being with in association with or attached to. When meta's object is in the genitive case the meaning "with" is emphasized and when its object is in the accusative case the meaning "afterwards" is emphasized. In neither of these two cases is the less emphasized meaning of the preposition eliminated. With this awareness, the final two phrases can be translated as "during the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ mixed with and after (in time) his saints." Thus the verse can readily be translated;
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, during the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ within and then after all his saints.
Jude uses a different Greek preposition for the coming of the saints that conveys a slightly different, yet confirming, aspect.
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints. Jude 14
Here the Greek, the word for ten thousands is the same as the word translated innumerable company in Hebrews chapter twelve, verse twenty-two. The preposition translated with here is the Greek preposition en which is most often translated within, during or by. This preposition has the sense of all three of these meanings plus the meaning of among. Like the Greek word meta, there is no singular English word that conveys the full meaning of the Greek word en. The thing that brings forth the particular emphasized meaning of the preposition is the case of the object of the particular preposition. In Jude fourteen the object ten thousands is in the plural dative case. As such, according to the rules of Greek grammar, en should be translated among rather than with. (Bullinger, Companion Bible, Appendix 104) Jesus Christ comes first among, within, by and during yet after his saints, as the bridegroom is among his approaching party yet comes forward through his gathered party last.
Some thoughtful questioning may arise now when second Thessalonians, chapter one, verse seven is read. It states that the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. Again, the English word with here is the word meta in the Greek texts. The meaning of the word angels from the Greek language is messengers. The question now being, "Does the Lord Jesus come with and after his saints or with and after his angels?" The answer is in the gospel of Luke chapter twenty, verse thirty-six. It equates those in heaven who never die with angels. The saints spiritually never die. All heavenly saints are classified as angels although all angels are not saints. Saints are only a portion of all angels or messengers. The saints or heavenly ones in their coming before the Lord Jesus Christ himself bring forth the age to come and its out resurrection.
But they which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world (age), and the resurrection out of the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Luke 20:35
The word obtain in this verse comes from a root word that means to make ready or bring to pass. It is the power of the manifestation of the “sons” of God or saints that energizes this heaven and earth including the first resurrection for the restitution of all things by Jesus Christ that Peter spoke of in Acts.
The further context of second Thessalonians bears these things out. Verse ten begins with this phrase, "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints…." (Here again the preposition is en and the noun, saints, is in the dative plural.) In the parousia the saints shall come first then the Lord himself shall descend for the out resurrection of the faithful in Christ Jesus who are among the dead and the transformation of the faithful in Christ Jesus who are alive.
Now, what about saints who are still living in their mortal bodies at this proceeding manifestation of the saints? Luke, chapter seventeen, verses thirty-four through thirty-six describes what happens to the living saints at the commencement of the parousia. It comes just after Jesus' exemplary description of the times of the Noahatic flood and the destruction of Sodom. Each of the three verses contains the phrase, "one shall be taken and the other left." The word taken is the Greek word paralambano and means to subjectively receive into manifestation beside something else. The word other in the Greek language is hetros and means other of a different kind. The word left is aphiemi, which means to leave in the same condition.
I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Luke 17:34-36
It is to those who are left in the same condition who yet believe, that Peter was writing to as the second beloved. It is at this point that the short work (logos), referred to by Paul in Romans, chapter nine, commences. The book of Hebrews is that short work. At this point its application begins for those who are left and do believe. The first begotten saints are brought into the habitable world from the spiritual realm. They are referred to as angels or messengers. They are identified as being in the midst of the church in Hebrews. Those that are left in the same condition who believe are subject to a time of test as Israel was in the wilderness. The book of Hebrews states that they who believe have come to a point next to (proserchomai), not the mountain that burned with fire in the wilderness, but mount Sion, and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to a myriad of angels, to the universal assembly of the first begotten which are away from their registration in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the righteous spirits made perfect.
It is within this book that the author writes, as an example, of those of faith who endured so that they might obtain a better resurrection. It is well know from scripture that there is to be a resurrection of the just and the unjust for judgment. Yet, this better resurrection, as referred to singularly as the “out resurrection” by the apostle Paul in Philippians, chapter three, verse eleven, precedes the resurrection of the just and unjust, as the dead in Christ rising first.
The noun for resurrection in this verse in Philippians differs from all other words translated resurrection in that it is prefixed with the Greek preposition ek. It is also telling that the word resurrection is in the feminine gender. This word in its verb form is used in the book of Acts of a group within a certain sect of Pharisees that rose up out of that sect to oppose Paul's ministry. In the uncial texts, the noun for the word dead in this verse is also unique. It is the Greek word eknekros, which means out dead. The better resurrection or “out resurrection” is for the faithful in Christ Jesus and brings those out of all others who will be resurrected later for judgment either as just or unjust. This first raising of the dead in Christ is this out resurrection of Philippians and is for those who have been, are being or will be faithful until the end whether in death or as the living faithful in Christ Jesus at this “out resurrection.”
Where then are more details of the out resurrection recorded in scripture? Keep in mind that the light of the saints breaking through the darkness occurs during the commencement of the parousia and that the Lord Jesus comes first mixed with his proceeding saints. This event is called the manifestation of the sons of God in Romans, chapter eight.
At this point, second Thessalonians, chapter one verse ten becomes a reality.
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and (kai) to be admired in all them that believe in that day. (parenthetical expression from text accepted)
At this point the saints, as the messengers of deliverance, are manifested and are to be admired by all of faith. The book of Hebrews commences, as the saints, as messengers among messengers, break forth in glorious light as ministers unto the living faithful in Christ Jesus. The saints are among the ministering angels sent forth to minister for them who are about to become heirs of salvation upon the forthcoming better resurrection or “out resurrection.” It is also at this point, as Hebrews commences, that the wicked one begins to be consumed in a similar fashion as nations outside the wilderness were destroyed when Israel wandered for forty years.
The saints have been manifested in the manner stated in first Thessalonians, chapter three, and verse thirteen. Upon their manifestation the time period of Hebrews begins and the exhortation of Peter's second epistle to the second beloved of like faith who remain living in the natural state, becomes more applicable than it has for the last nineteen centuries. [This time period of Hebrews ends with the trump as the Lord “himself” descends and the mystery of the “out resurrection”, or first resurrection, is accomplished. Those once in faith as the dead in Christ are raised out of the grave into incorruptibility and those alive in faith are regenerated.
More light on this is shed in the epistle to the Philippians, in which Paul addresses the saints. Verse eleven of chapter three has caused much consternation because of the manner in which it has been translated, Yet, when translated in another acceptable manner, that would be more harmonious with the scope of the subject, it is a confirmation of the manifestation of the saints and the subsequent out resurrection of dead who were once faithful in Christ Jesus.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Within the epistle Paul has spoken about his death including the previous verse when he expresses his desire to be conformable to the death of Jesus Christ. In this verse, the if is the most decisive of all instances of various Greek words translated if. This if depends on the certitude of the event rather than the possibility of the event. The event is given in the preceding verse where Paul writes of becoming conformable to Jesus' death. Under house arrest in Rome, although not yet judged, Paul was uncertain of the means of his eventual death, though he was certain that one day he would die before the manifestation of the saints. The Greek word for attain in this verse is katanteo and means to come upon either horizontally or vertically. It is followed by the word eis, which means unto a point with an emphasis on the motion to that point. The point is the out resurrection, as the word for resurrection in this verse is the unique word exanastasis. For Paul to fully know the power of his resurrection, as he desires, and to be conformable to the union of masculine and feminine represented by Jesus’ death on the cross, according to the previous verse ten, it would be necessary for Paul to arrive at the out resurrection.
The first phrase in the next verse gives the condition to be meet to come down and move to the point of the out resurrection. It reads, in the King James Version, "Not as though I had already attained." In this phrase the word translated attained is the Greek word lambano that means to receive subjectively into external evidence. This lambano corresponds to the paralambano of those taken in contrast to those left in the same condition in the gospel of Luke, chapter seventeen. Lambano is used here rather than paralambano because Paul's manifestation comes from heaven, like other saints who have already left their mortal bodies, rather than being manifested from beside other living bodies as would be the case for those saints who would still remain in their mortal bodies when the parousia commences.
In review, from Peter's second epistle to the second beloved, who are those of like faith that are left in the same condition upon the manifestation of the saints, the text reads:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made know unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shinneth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of men but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Peter 1:16-21
One of those holy men of old time was the prophet Joel. He writes of that day as the Lord comes forth that there will be darkness and gloominess and a generation like no other before or after. In the conclusion to his writing as he pleads for this day he writes, "cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord."
Considerations on the Evangelical Doctrine of the “Rapture”
In light of the foregoing, considerations of first Thessalonians, chapter four, verses sixteen and seventeen need to be given.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
In the study of this section two points will be made. For expansion and more details on this topic see our publication, The Appointed Times of Salvation for All Men. The first point is that the term "eternal life or everlasting life" used throughout the New Testament is not synonymous with the term "to forever be with the Lord" used in first Thessalonians chapter four verse seventeen. The word everlasting in the phrase everlasting destruction and everlasting life throughout the Bible is the Greek word aion, which means age or age long. However, the Greek word ever, in the phrase "so shall we ever be with the Lord," is different and means always.
The second pivotal point in understanding this section rests in the connection, then, between verse sixteen and verse seventeen. The word then that begins verse seventeen is the Greek word epeita which means then after a period of time. It is not the Greek word tote, which means then at that time or then immediately thereafter. The word epeita is also translated as afterward in some places. It is used in first Corinthians chapter fifteen, verse forty six when Paul was writing of Adam and Jesus Christ.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
There was quite a long time between Adam and Jesus Christ as this epeita translated afterward indicates.
So, because the usage of this then (epeita) at the beginning of verse seventeen between the dead in Christ rising and the meeting of the Lord in the air, there is a period of time between the two events which could be quite long. This is the period of age long or everlasting life in the millennial kingdom of one thousand years. At the end of the millennial kingdom all will be gathered together to meet the Lord in the air and be ever with him as all things will have been subdued unto the Lord Jesus Christ and as all things are being delivered up to the Father.
A Time Line of the Second Heaven and Earth
In the gospel of Luke, chapter twenty-one, Jesus, in prophecy recounts the early events of the parousia. In his concluding remarks he admonishes those of faith not to become diverted so that the day comes upon them unawares. The Greek word for unawares means non-apparent or literally without light. Also, in Matthew, as a comparative admonishment to be prepared, he symbolically speaks one of his parables about the unwise virgins who were unprepared for the coming of the groom during the wedding feast. Since the time seems to be at the door it would behoove all the family to seek understanding of what lies beyond so that we are not unawares.
The book of Revelation is a scattered disarray of truths, half-truths, and misinformation that is diversionary from the truths of this day of the Lord as recorded by both Peter and Paul. There are erroneous doctrines within the book that if held fast will leave one in the dark when the day of the Lord comes. For example, if one believes that everyone is dead until the first resurrection and that any manifestation of a previously alive person before that time is a conjured up evil spirit, then one would identify the manifestation of the saints as conjured up evil spirits. In so believing one would become easy prey for the delusion fabricated by the spirit of antichrist. In addition, if one believes, as the book of Revelation promotes, that this day of the Lord now centers on the previous bloodline of Israel, one would miss the significance of and the expansive ministry of the saints. Also, if one believes the long held tradition that all who believe are gathered into the clouds before this day of darkness, and one would remain in one's same natural state at the commencement of this period one could lose hope not understanding that this is the period for regeneration by faith. Man is so close to this transition into the millennial kingdom that, as these things are meditated upon, patience, preparation and faith in the day of the Lord are the answers. At that time each group will come to fully understand their unique calling and the eventual reward - union as one in eternal life ministering to the nations of the world for the eventual fulfillment of all things through Jesus Christ
Rather than a feeling of loss for the faithful in Christ Jesus at the manifestation of the saints, this event is meant to bring the greatest hope. It is tangible proof that complete redemption is nigh at hand. Knowing that resurrection and transformation are around the corner, it delivers the faithful from the fear of death and inspires them to fulfill their function in a final push through the glories of Christ to reach their fulfilling manifestation of righteousness. It is then, in this time that is chosen, that the term “being born again” as Peter expresses in the English translation or, more accurately, “regeneration” for the faithful in Christ Jesus will take place. Yes, it is by faith that salvation in this regeneration becomes complete. (Ephesians 2:8, I Peter 1:5)
One may feel that with this understanding of the differences between the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus, that a new ministry should be formed in which saints and faithful in Christ Jesus are designated. To this author, it seems that the time is so close that now to do so is not in the plan yet considerations should be given to these things in the body of Christ. For those individuals who have come to maturity by the work of the Holy Spirit, the saints will be easily recognizable. (Faith, for those called, in this time, will not be easy. Those at the apex of the strong delusion will fabricate lies concerning the manifestation of the saints and those who believe the saints will, at first especially, be persecuted.) It was given to Paul to first fully reveal “the types” of masculine and feminine for future fulfillment by glory. He and myriads of others like him will soon be present upon the manifestation of the saints and, at that time, the differentiation between the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus will be evident to all who believe.
What then is one to do? Now, it seems that man is so close to this latter time of transition into and through the Lord’s Day that prayers for understanding, forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ of self and others, love of the brethren and patience in hope for righteousness yet to be fulfilled are wise choices.
The Threshold of Entrance into the Kingdom of God
From Joel, Chapters Two and Three
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants in the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall there be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one in his own ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb upon the houses; they shall enter in the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shinning: and the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
Copyright, Steve Santini, 2003