STAND & COMFORT Newsletter|
Email NEWSLETTER #30 (Vol 2 No 15)
By Ed Tarkowski
PART 2: PERVERSIONS OF OUR ONE HOPE
The Bible tells us that our hope is the person of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Tim 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
Jesus' returning in the power and glory of the Father will be earth-shattering to those who have refused the gospel, for He will come in judgment upon the nations of the world. But His coming will also fulfill all His promises to those who have believed on Him and hoped for His return. These things are called part of our inheritance:
1 Pet 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The following are some of those things which Christ manifests in us when He, as our hope, appears:
1. THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE
Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The return of Christ will totally satisfy the promises and will enable us to live forever with the Lord in the Father's Kingdom:
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
2. THE HOPE OF THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY/SALVATION
1 Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
The fullness of our salvation will be revealed with the redemption of our bodies, with the dead being raised and the living being changed to be like Him. Therefore, the resurrection of the saints is one aspect of the hope that proceeds from Christ and completes our salvation:
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
3. THE HOPE OF THE FULL MANIFESTATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Because we have righteousness by faith rather than by the law, we have hope for its full manifestation when Christ returns. This includes the reward associated with this righteousness, which is based on one's faithfulness to that which God has given him to do. Paul said,
2 Tim 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
4. THE HOPE OF BEING CHANGED TO BE LIKE HIM
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
The hope of being changed to be like Jesus is the incentive to purify ourselves of all that's detrimental to this promised change.
5. THE HOPE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The Christian will be glorified by the glory of God Himself.
FALSE DOCTRINES THAT PERVERT OUR HOPE IN CHRIST'S RETURN AND ITS TIMING
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul describes Christ as the hope of the Christian. He then goes on to tell how the dead saints, who believed in their hearts that Jesus died and rose, are not without this hope. They had died in the sure hope of returning with Christ, to be raised from the dead in their bodies just before the living are changed:
1 Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
These verses describe Christ as the hope of all Christians, past and present, dead or alive. It is the only hope for all who are His, for there is only one hope described in the Scriptures:
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
What the verses in 1 Thessalonians describe is Christ physically returning in a very visible way (shout, the voice, the trump, etc.). In this coming, He fulfills the hope of every person who ever believed in Him, whether dead or alive. Only He can raise the dead and only He can change the living, conforming their bodies to be like His glorious body. In the gospel of John, Jesus described Himself as this hope:
John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he [Lazarus] shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
When He returns, Jesus will be the Resurrection to the dead saints and the Life to the living. The hope of all believers from all time will be fulfilled by Christ at His coming. Romans 8 tells us that even creation groans for this day because it, too, lies in corruption as a result of man's fall and sin. But at Christ's coming to glorify the Church, this corruption also will be removed because the time of the restoration of all things will have come:
1 Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Acts 3:21 [Jesus,] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
The creation itself, which also abides in hope, will also be restored when Jesus returns and raises and glorifies the bodies of the sons of God. There is only one hope in the Church and in the creation itself, and when He comes again (Hebrews 9:28), this hope is fulfilled. Christ alone is our hope and the very hope of creation.
PRETRIBULATIONISM AND OUR HOPE
This one event (the resurrection of the dead saints, the changing of the living saints, and the deliverance of the creation from corruption) does not occur at the beginning of or just before the tribulation period, as Pretribulationism proposes. If that were true, then the world would pass through the tribulation period under the reign of antichrist IN A CREATION RELEASED FROM ITS SUBJECTION TO CORRUPTION. If that were true, the Church would have been glorified and taken to heaven, not be reigning with Christ over the restoring of all things. Believing that this event happens before the tribulation perverts the glorious picture of creation's, and our, one hope fulfilled. Just as Pretribulationism splits the coming of Christ into two parts, it does so also to the one hope of the Church.
Pretribulationism objects to this argument, saying the manifestation of the glorious sons of God is speaking of the "second" return after the tribulation in Revelation 19. But the context of Paul's writing is TO THE CHURCH AT ROME. It is THEY whom he is saying this to in the context of the resurrection (v.11-18, especially 11, 17 and 18). These saints have already died and will be raised WHEN Jesus returns. In these verses, Paul is speaking about them being glorified and then continues by tieing that same hope of creation to the time they are glorified. Will they skip the resurrection that Pretribulatio9nism proposes, which occurs before the trib? If not, then creation must be changed when they are raised. In Pretribulationism, there is NOTHING to justify the creation's having to wait seven years to be released from corruption after the glorification of the sons of God.
FULL PRETERISM AND OUR HOPE
Another doctrine (Full or Radical Preterism) teaches that the return of Christ and the resurrection of believers is long past, having occurred in 70 AD. But Jesus said that when He returned, He would raise those who had died and immediately change those who were still alive. It's at the time of the resurrection of the dead that the changing of the bodies of the living saints is to take place. From that time on, those living would never die. But Full Preterism teaches that Jesus already returned in 70 AD, and the resurrection took place, and that from that time forward, the resurrection became a spiritual resurrection: the believing dead go to be with the Lord in heaven in their spiritual bodies. The Scriptures are perverted because the hope of a physical resurrection and redemption of the body is changed. Our one hope is changed from a single, sudden event - which includes the entire body of Christ in heaven and on earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) - into an ongoing process of hope being fulfilled over the entire life of the Church on earth. If this doctrine were true, this hope has been in the process of fulfillment for 1932 years, and creation's hope as stated in Romans 8 has not been fulfilled at all.
Full Preterism proposes that when Jesus supposedly came in 70 AD, the resurrection of the dead was not seen because those who had died were raised in their spiritual bodies. But what about those believers who were alive at the time and had the hope of being changed and living forever? Thinking this through, we come to two possible scenarios:
1. Those believers who were alive in 70 AD didn't die, but were changed to be like Jesus and then were caught up together with the dead in their spiritual bodies. This means they also are in spiritual bodies and are no longer in this world. Since THE ENTIRE Church was moved to heaven in 70 AD according to its one hope, there have been no Christians on earth to preach the gospel since 70 AD.
2. Those believers who were alive in 70 AD didn't die, but were changed to be like Jesus and then allowed to remain on earth so God would have someone to preach the gospel in the world. But since they were changed at His return, THEY COULD NOT HAVE DIED AFTER HIS RETURN. Where are they, then? THEY SHOULD STILL BE ALIVE ON EARTH AND OVER 1932 YEARS OLD!
But because there's been no lapse in gospel preaching since 70 AD and there are no ancient spiritual bodies doing the preaching, we should ask: Did God restore Christians to the earth for the purpose of preaching the gospel after 70 AD? What would be their hope, since the one hope of the Church has already been fulfilled? And we could ask another version of the question we'd put to Full Preterism: was the one hope of creation, deliverance from the bondage of corruption, fulfilled in 70 AD, and if not, why not? Paul said it would be.
Perverted doctrines such as these destroy the truth about the one, true, God-given hope of the gospel. In Ephesians 1, Paul prayed,
Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and is fully capable of fulfilling the hope God gave us. We are to know these things, and also to know WHEN our hope will be fulfilled, lest we look for another time and be deceived. As Peter said,
1 Pet 1:12 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.
TAKING THE COVER OFF
Our hope will be totally fulfilled at THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. That revelation will be to the world and the Church, when every eye will see Him. The word "revelation" means to take the cover off, to disclose (Strong's G602):
1) a laying bear, making naked
2) a disclosure of truth, instruction
2b) used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all
3) manifestation, appearance (Linked Word Project, KJV)
1) to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up
2) to make known, make manifest, disclose what before was unknown
If someone is in bed and fully covered up with the sheets and one takes the covers off, they are disclosed. If one has an antique car and it is covered by a canvas and the canvas is removed, the car is fully seen. Jesus will return in the power and glory of the Father to fulfill the hope of the church. He won't be revealed before the tribulation, nor was he already revealed in 70 AD. The Christian's hope will be fulfilled when the sky rolls back and Jesus is revealed to the world in wrath, and to the Christian for salvation from that wrath. The dead in Christ will rise, living believers will be changed and caught up in the air, and the creation itself will be given the glorious liberty of the children of God. Such is our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
NEXT ISSUE: Part 3