Series: Eschatology, Christ in us
Sun am 20 February 2011 – Kobus Swart
Gal. 4:4, 19; Rev. 22:13; Eph. 1:9-10; 2 Cor. 5:16; 1 John 4:17; Rev. 22:13; John 12:20-25; John16: 7; 1 John 4:17; 2 Tim. 4:1-8; Matt. 6:10; 1Tim. 6:14-16; 2 Cor. 3:12-18; John17: 21
The way you see the future impacts the way you live in the present. Eschatology is not a hobby for some but it is a part of what is happening to the Christian community. Christianity is eschatology in action.
The original Greek in the New Testament contains six different words – all referring in some way to the “second coming”. In most cases these Greek words have simply been translated as “coming”.
Parousia: His presence. There is also a difference between manifested and un-manifested presence. (Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen. 28:16)
Apokalupsis: to uncover or to unveil.
Epiphaneia: to appear or bring to light; to manifest.
Phaneroo: to make apparent; to perceive.
Erchomai: the act or event of coming.
Heko: the point of arrival at a certain place.
These words refer to six aspects or stages of the progressive unfolding of the presence of Christ in His body, the church.
His first coming is described as follows: But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law (Gal. 4:4). All types and shadows have been fulfilled in Jesus. He was the Word made flesh; He came and tabernacled with man.
We are still in the fullness of time and the fullness of time will continue until the conclusion of the Messianic age. For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan and it is this, He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ that everything that exists in heaven or earth should find its perfection and fulfilment in Him (Eph. 1:9-10 – Phillips Translation). “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13). Jesus the Alpha, Christ the Omega – Jesus Christ the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, fills the whole picture from His first coming to the final consummation of all human history in Christ.
Jesus Himself explains the progression from Jesus (the individual) to Christ (in His Body): Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”… What was Jesus’ answer?“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over(MSG).He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal (John 12:20-25). Jesus meant “unless I die, I remain alone, one man, one place in one body”. That is why Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come (John 16:7).
The Greeks (and the world) need to know that “You are not going to see Me, but you are going to see the Christ in His many-membered body”.
Paul explains it further: Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer (2 Cor. 5:16). It is very important to know the historical Jesus – what He did, why He came and what happened, but then we have to move on to know Him in the present: because as He is, so also are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
Are we ready for sound doctrine? I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing(Epiphaneia) and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
I believe it is possible in our partnership with God to shepherd history to its consummation. God, who wants to fill all in all, has given us a pattern and I believe He is waiting for a partnership with His Church to shepherd history to its conclusion. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). There is an amazing responsibility resting upon this generation. Paul tells Timothy; walk pure, walk straight. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2). God is looking for a generation (the redeemed community), that will take seriously the whole question of human history consummated in Christ. Lift your horizon, there is a whole new challenge awaiting the Church! Let us participate in God’s plan.
Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:12-18). The veil will be taken away when we turn our face to the Lord.
It has become clear that all those teachings that tickled the ears, have only produced a passive people waiting to escape this world.
Here is the present apostolic burden. My children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ is fully and completely formed in you (Gal 4:19 AMPL).
When is the first travail? It is when you are born again. Now Paul travails for believers (the Church) until Christ is fully formed in you.
The world needs to see the corporate manifestation of the full stature of Christ – then they will believe that Jesus had, in fact, been sent from the Father! (Jn 17:21)