Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How did God's Old Testament prophets understand the Parousia of Christ?

So far in the first part of our study on the "Parousia of Christ” we have seen how the author of Hebrews developed a central theme that Jesus as High Priesthood was superior to that of Aaron and the Levitical priesthood.   Christ entered into heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God for us; (Hebrew 9:24)   And he would appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation blessing those  who eagerly waited for Him to.  (Hebrews 9:27-28)

They saw one short fulfillment period with two phases to it; a suffering humiliation phase to bear the sins of many and a victorious consummation phase apart from sin for salvation.   Christ was the substance that fulfilled all that was foreshadowed under the Old Testament dispensation Priesthood.

Today we are going to look into God’s Old Testament prophets.   How did these prophets understand the Parousia of Christ?  A vital point, that has been totally ignored, is the Old Testament prophets never implied two comings.  In fact the only place in the entire Bible which even comes close to teaching a (second advent) is Hebrews 9:28 where it says Christ will (appear a second time).

They saw one short fulfillment period with two phases to it a suffering humiliation phase and a victorious consummation phase.  They expected the consummation of all these things during one short fulfillment period.

A good book of the Bible that reflects their thinking that both Jews and Christians accepts as highly Messianic is the book of Isaiah.   All one needs to do is read straight through the book noticing’ the “time indicators” i.e. “God will come” vengeance” “save you” “ liberty to the captives ” “the day of vengeance of our God” and the Messianic events that are attached to them.

In Isaiah 34:4-6 we read, Say to those who are fearful hearted, Be strong do not fear! Behold, your God will come WITH VENGEANCE, With the recompense of God, He will come and SAVE YOU. 
And in Isaiah  61:1-2 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And THE DAY OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD; To comfort all who mourn.

Isaiah  40:10-11 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him:
BEHOLD, HIS REWARD IS WITH HIN, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and  shall gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 62:11  Indeed the LORD has proclaimed To the end of the world: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely YOUR SALVATION IN COMING;  Behold, HIS REWARD IS WITH HIM. And His work before Him.' "

Other scripture are Isaiah  63:1-6, 66:6-16; Zech. 14; ).   There is no TIME distinction in these Old Testament Scriptures between a appearing in (VENGEANCE AND SALVATION).   Isaiah  closely connects the language of the  "Parousia of Christ” with both salvation and vengeance (judgment).

 The parousia of Christ, is mentioned quite frequently in the Old Testament.    In Malachi 4:1-6 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.  But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts. "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.  BEHOLD, I WILL SEND YOU ELIJAH THE PROPHET BEFORE THE COMING OF THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD.

In Malachi 4:5 we find this statement,  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.    This prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist.  In Matthew. 17:10-13: Jesus’ disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."

This brings out two points.   First, that John the Baptist  was Elias, which was to come.  Second the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord was in the same time period of the coming of John the Baptist.   John the Baptist even announced this judgment in Matthew 3:10-12  "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."   More on this in my next article.

So God’s Old Testament prophets saw one coming with two  phases to it.   A suffering humiliation phase where God would save his people and a vengeance victorious consummation phase.  Isaiah 35:4-6  Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come “with vengeance”, With the “recompense”  (make restitution for that which was damaged)  God; He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.

Since it was the prophets via Jewish prophets who first taught the notion of a Messiah it seems quite reasonable to me to respect their inspired writings about the event.