COMINGS OF GOD
By Allen Brooks
A Theophany is a visible manisfestation of a deity. An epiphany is appearance or manifestation of a divine being or perception of the nature or meaning of something.
Manifestation means easily understood or recognized by the mind.
The question is have there been comings of the Lord in early Biblical history.
Let us take a look.
Read Exodus 19:1-24
Verse 9 “And the Lord said unto Moses, lo I will come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with them.”
Verse11 “And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai”. The word sight here is in Hebrew is ayin (ah’yin) and means literal or figurative to know or presence. Now to quickly compare this word see in Matthew 24 verse 30, “and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the Clouds. “ Here in Matthew the word see in the Greek is “eido” which means to manifest, have knowledge, or perceive with the mind according to Strongs
Verse16 “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
Verse 17 “And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.”
Verse 18 “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace and the whole mount quaked greatly.”
Verse20 “And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai on the top of the mount.”Question time folks:
Did the Lord come down on mount Sinai as the Bible records? Yes or no?
If you believe the Bible the answer is yes.
How did the people know that the Lord came down on Mount Sinai? Now the Bible says that no man has seen God at anytime: John 5:37 says. “And the Father himself which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time…”
So how did the people know that the Lord came down on the mount. His coming or presence was manifest or made known by the signs of smoke, fire, thunderings, lightnings, and quakes. These were the signs of His coming.
Let look a some more Old Testament language of God’s coming against other nations and peoples. We should take care to note the language being used. It is symbolic language.
When God came against Edom in 713 BC, Isaiah chapter 34, verses 4 and 9 records it like this:
“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all the host shall fall down.” “The streams shall be turned to tar and the dust into fire and the sand shall become..”
Let us look at a coming of the Lord against Assyria by Babylon. Remember Assyria had taken the Northern kingdom captive before this time:
Isaiah 30: 27-30.
Verse 24 “Behold the name of the Lord cometh from far burning with his anger and his tongue as a devouring fire.”
Verse 30 “And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard and shall show lightning down of his arm with flames of devouring fire with scattering and tempest and hailstones.” Now in this verse it says “his glorious voice to be heard” is in direct conflict with the verse in John 5:37 where John says: ”you have never heard his voice at any time” How do we reconcile this? Because this is metaphoric or symbolic language meaning a manifestation of God’s voice not an audible voice. This is where we have to let the Bible speak for itself.
Lets look a s Isaiah 37:33 “Therefore this saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria”
Verse 35, “For I (the Lord) will defend this city for my sake and for my servant David’s sake”.
Verse 36-37 (God came and destroyed 185,000 of Sennacherib’s Army.) This was a coming of the Lord.
Let us look at another Old Testament coming of the Lord in Isaiah 13. God’s coming and destroying Babylon.
In Jeremiah 50 verse18 “Therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I have punished the king of Assyria.”
Verse 6 “The day of the Lord is at hand” Folks look very close at the day of the Lord.
Verse 9 “the day of the Lord cometh cruel both with wrath and fiery anger.”
Verse 10 “The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: and the sun shall be darkened in his going forth and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”
Verse 13 “There I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of her place in the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.”
Verse 17 “Behold I will stir up the Medes against them”. This language is describing a coming of the Lord against Babylon. But the Bible is using metaphoric or symbolic language to describe the Lord using Darius the Mede in destroying the powers and princes of Babylon. The Lord did not come physically and shake the earth, turn the sun and moon dark, and make the stars fall from heaven. This is the language used to describe His coming and removing principalities and governmental powers.
Let us look at a personal example of King David offering thanksgiving to God for David’s deliverance form Saul.
In Psalms 18:7-15, “The earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils and devouring fire from his mouth; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens and came down with darkness under His feet. And he rode on a cherib and flew. He flew upon the wings of the wind..The most high uttered His voice, hailstones, and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them”
David said God rode out of heaven on the clouds, with fire, and heaven and earth were removed at His presence.
None of this happened literally, David was expressing his deliverance with symbols.
In each of the preceding comings of the Lord, against Israel, Assyria, Edom, and Babylon, God’s coming was describes by the use of clouds, fire, smoke, thunders, trumpets, quakes, the heaven and earth destroyed, the sun and moon darkened, and the stars falling from heaven. Did any of this happen literally? No, it did not! The Bible was describing God’s coming against these kingdoms by using other kings and armies. The Assyrian army captured the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, Babylon captured the Southern Kingdom. Babylon overthrew the Assyrian Empire. The Medes and Persians overthrew the Babylonian Empire. The Greeks overthrew the Persian Empire, and finally the Romans overtook the Grecian Empire. This language is expressing the comings of the Lord, but as we can plainly see, none of these comings was a literal, eyeball seeing of the Lord, but was manifested by the signs. This is important.
All comings of the Lord are described by the use of symbolic language.
All of this language in the New Testament describes how the Lord was going to come against Israel in the Last days and destroy them. He would destroy the Temple, Jerusalem, the Mosaic Covenant, and apostate Israel. Thus my dear friend, the Old Testament plainly tells us in what manner and what time Jesus would return after his ascension into heaven.
I will deal in what manner first, then give a few comments as to what time.
So let’s look at some New Testament scriptures that use symbolic language to describe the coming of the Lord. The day of the Lord is the same as the coming of the Lord. In each of the previous comings that I have presented, they are stated as the “day of the Lord.”
2 Peter 3:10-12
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
Verse 12 “The coming of the day of God wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat”.
“And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.”
Matthew 24:29, “Immediately, after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken..”
Verse 30 “and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven.”
The Greek word ‘See” is eido which means to know or perceive in the mind, the same as ayin (ah’yin) in the Hebrew for sight which means to manifest or to know.
The imagery here is the same as the Old Testament symbols. The sun, moon and stars represent religious powers or peoples of the Mosaic system. The Pharisees, Sadducees and the Sanhedrin were those powers. The heaven and earth is the temple because it represented at that time the Abode of God. The elements were the principles of the law such as washings, sacrifices, and tithing. The abomination of desolation is the Roman Army which would destroy Jerusalem, the temple, and many of the Jews living at that time.
The wars, earthquake, famines, false prophets, all of these were the signs of Jesus coming, just like the signs of thunder, quakes, smoke, fire, etc, at mount Sinai.
The let me ask you a question, if Jesus is describing the last days of Israel and the Mosaic Covenant in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the end of the old covenant world, why would Jesus not use the same language as the Old Testament? The Jews were well versed and understood the language of the old scriptures and that is why Jesus used the same symbolic language. Folks, once we understand this, the Bible then makes a lot more sense.
Now, I think one must agree, that the Bible will interpret itself if we let it. We do not have to make up a literal meaning for the symbolic language that God has already described. Isn’t it time to let the Bible interpret the Bible.
Let me address the timing of the “coming” of the Lord against Jerusalem in the New Testament as stated in the Old Testament. I won’t spend a lot of time here, but you can look up the scriptures and decide for yourself.
Write this down, the main scriptures which tell of the judgment coming of the Lord against apostate Israel are as follows:
Daniel 8:26, Daniel was told the time, but was told to seal up the vision for it shall be for many days”
But the question is, when was the time that Daniel was told that the end would be?In Chapter 8 verse 17, “So he came near where I stood, and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face, but he said, unto me, Understand, O son of man; for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” Notice, it says the time of the end, NOT THE END OF TIME. The time of the end, was the end of the Old Covenant of Death, the destruction of the temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and Apostate Israel.
Daniel 7:22 “Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Verse 27-28, “And the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter.”
A corollary to this is Matthew 24: 14, “and the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come.” Now, Paul, plainly says that the gospel was preached in all the world during his day. Jesus said in Mark 1:14-15, “Now after that John was put in prison Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe ye the gospel.” Luke 9:27, Jesus said, But, I tell you of a truth there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God”. Luke 11:20, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, not doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”
Daniel 9:24-27, tell us that 70 weeks are determined upon thy people(that is Israel) and upon they holy city (that is Jerusalem) to finish the transgression, to make and end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. Seven weeks to rebuild the temple after the Babylonian captivity, and after another 62 weeks Messiah would be cut off. Verse 26 says, “and after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people (Israel) of the prince (Jesus) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary and the end there of shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. Now if Messiah was cut off after the 69 week, we know that 70 comes after 69, therefore Jesus was crucified in the 70th week and this was around AD 30. So the 70th week of Daniel was then folks, not two thousand years into the future and in the seventh week, Jerusalem, the temple, and the Mosaic covenant would be destroyed. That puts the latter part of Daniel 9 through Daniel 12 between AD 30 and AD 70. Now, we know by historical records of Josephus, that the Zealots destroyed most of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem long before Titus razed the city in AD70. The end thereof shall be is the end of the Old Covenant world, not the end of the material universe and of time.
Daniel chapter 12, tell us more about when the “end” or coming of the Lord against Israel shall be.
Verse one: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time and at that time thy people shall be delivered every on that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Here is the prince in the previous chapter. Sometimes Christ was attributed to being the angel Michael. Secondly, this verse is describing the tribulations of Matthew chapter 24. Also, this verse is alluding to the resurrection of the saints in Sheol, but more importantly, it is talking about going from the Old Covenant of Death, to the New Covenant of mercy and grace or Life in Christ. Jesus said, he that liveth and beliveth in me shall never die, but is passed from death to life. Folks, this is resurrection. Verse 4, But thou O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Please notice, Daniel was told to seal the book, until the time of the end. Folks, you have got to read your scripture, it plainly says the time of the end, it does not say THE END OF TIME. There is no such thing in the Bible as the end of time. If you can show me the end of time in the Bible, please do so.
The last verses of Daniel 9 and 12, tells when the daily sacrifice will be taken away and the abomination that maketh desolate setup, and Daniel to go thy way until the end be.
We know the daily sacrifice was taken away when the veil in the temple was split in two. We also know that when all the priests of Israel were killed during the Jewish wars that the daily sacrifice stopped because there was no one to perform them. We also know that the abomination of desolation is described in Luke where Jesus plainly says “when you see the Armies surround Jerusalem know the desolation is near”. We have a tie in between Daniel, Matthew 24 and Luke 21. It should be plain to see this.
Now let us move to Zechariah 12,13, and 14 to see if we can determine when the Day of the Lord or coming of the Lord would be.
In Zechariah chapter 12, versed 8-10:
“In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
Let tie chapter 13 together with chapter 12 before we exegete these verses.
Chapter 12 verses 6.8, and 9.
Verse 6, “and one shall say into him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Verse 8, “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.”
Verse 9, “and I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them; I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” Now we know that two thirds of the Jews were destroyed in the Jewish Wars of AD 67-70. Most of them were killed in Jerusalem either by the Zealots or the Roman armies. As a matter of history, 1,300,000 Jews were destroyed in and around Jerusalem at this time. But we also know that a remnant was saved because they fled to Pella when Jerusalem was surrounded by the Armies. Jesus warned them to flee in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Romans 9:25-27 says this, “As he saith also in O’see, I will call them my people; which were not my people, and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people; there shall be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved. For he will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” This quotation is in response to the completion of Daniel 9:24-27 as well. God is saying in Zechariah, that those who pierced Jesus and wounded him in the house of His friends would see Jesus.
Now we must look at Zechariah chapter 14 to know exactly when the manisfestation of the coming of the Lord would be.
The first two verses give the time and the later verses tell what is going to take place.
Zechariah 14 verse one:
“Behold the day of the Lord cometh and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.”
The day of the Lord is the coming of the Lord in the destruction of Jerusalem and verse two makes that plain. Verse 2: For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle: and the city shall be taken and the house rifled, and the women ravished; and the half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then (it is important to note then shall the Lord) shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley: and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. ..And the Lord shall come, and all the saints with thee. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord and his name one. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”
Jerusalem went from the Natural city to the Heavenly Spiritual Jerusalem coming down in John’s vision. Therefore, New Jerusalem cannot ever be destroyed again, because Paul said it was the Jerusalem from above, the Church, the mother of us all. Makes sense doesn’t it? This is the everlasting Kingdom of whom Jesus rules and reigns forever.
Therefore there was a judgment of Christ against apostate Israel, a resurrection of the dead from sheol, and the establishment of the everlasting Kingdom of God. Jesus said, the kingdom is within you, and it cometh not with observation. Folks, that means it cometh not with the eyeballs.
What one must see is that this coming of the Lord is when Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple was burned, and the Mosaic Covenant was fulfilled. This happened with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
I am going to use just a few more verses to determine the time factors, because my discourse here is really not the timing, but more so on the nature of the comings of the Lord as explained in the Old and New Testament.
Jesus said, in Luke 21 verse 21, “For these be the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled. In verse 32, Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say into you, This generation, shall not pass, till all be fulfilled.”
Folks, it is time to let the Bible speak for itself. I have tried my best to show you what it says. I know this is not what you may have been taught, but all that I can say, it let scripture be the authority.
The only epiphany or coming of the Lord in the New Testament is the judgment coming of the Lord against Israel to destroy the old Judaic system, the temple, and the sacrificial system that could not save people from their sins. Jesus came the same way as God came in the past. He came in signs and wonders and the destruction of kingdoms and powers. He came in the glory of His Father. It was never about the physical heaven and material earth. The coming was about Jesus establishing a New Covenant of mercy and grace. It was about restoring mankind in a personal relationship with God that man destroyed in the Garden of Eden. The first Adam brought spiritual death and separation from God. The second Adam, Jesus, brought forgiveness of sins and presence in the Holy of Holies with God. Let us now enter boldly into the throne of grace. This was and is restoration in the presence of God. The veil has been removed that kept us separated from God. We no longer offer animal blood sacrifices for our sins. Jesus offered His own blood once and for all and is our Mediator of a more perfect covenant. Jesus’ righteousness has been imputed to us and is acceptable to God the Father. We are now Sons and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. How can we possibly say, that Jesus has not completed all the work necessary to restore us back to God and that my dear friends includes not only His birth, death, and resurrection, but also Jesus’ judgment coming to completely fulfill all the old law and prophets and institute the New Covenant of grace and mercy. Praise to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope I have given you something to think about.