The Coming of Temporal Judgments and The Coming of Final Judgment
There will be a second coming of the Lord (Acts 1:11). All will then be raised and the judgment will occur at that moment. (1 Cor.15:23-25; John 12:48). That will be the last day of earth history. However, not every passage that talks about the coming of the Lord is talking about the final coming of the Lord. The Lord came upon Babylon (Isaiah 13) and Egypt (Isaiah 19). The language is identical to the coming of the Lord that would bring down the Jerusalem temple (Matt.24:1-34). That very generation saw that coming of the Lord just as Jesus promised. His word did not fail.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic uses that kind of language. "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" is the common way of describing a war and disaster when a righteous cause is involved. The Jews saw the glory of the coming of the Lord when they were in Babylonian captivity and the Medes and Persians trampled the Babylonians who enslaved them. The Battle Hymn of the Republic was written with a view to seeing the Union troops freeing the slaves and being the means of God coming in wrath against the enslavers. Christians had been persecuted by the Jews. By AD 68 all the apostles except John were executed. Jerusalem had been the evil center of persecution against God's holy people, the church (spiritual Israel). In AD 70 the world saw the glory of the coming of the Lord in a terrible outpouring of wrath against the unbelieving center of Judaism. That was as much a "coming of the Lord" as was His coming against Babylon (Isaiah 13) and His riding on the clouds against Egypt (Isaiah 19).
Let us consider the style of language that was used to describe the fall of Babylon by the Medes and Persians.
The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. NKJV
The Lord of hosts musters
The army for battle.
5 They come from a far country,
From the end of heaven —
The Lord and His weapons of indignation,
To destroy the whole land.
6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore all hands will be limp,
Every man's heart will melt,
8 And they will be afraid.
Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them;
They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;
They will be amazed at one another;
Their faces will be like flames.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine. NKJV
TB: Notice that it is described as a "coming of the Lord". Notice also that it uses the language of cosmic darkness. We understand that 9-11-2001 was a day of great darkness. Physically it was a clear day, but in our minds and hearts it was dark. The sun was not shining. All was dark. That is the way destruction has always been described. In the death camps of Germany and Poland, we cannot even imagine that the sun was ever shining or the stars and moon gave it's light. It was such a dark day in the world.
Brzezinka, Poland—The most terrible thing of all, somehow, was that at Brzezinka the sun was bright and warm, the rows of graceful poplars were lovely to look upon, and on the grass near the gates children played.
It all seemed frighteningly wrong, as in a nightmare, that at Brzezinka the sun should ever shine or that there should be light and greenness and the sound of young laughter. It would be fitting if at Brzezinka the sun never shone and the grass withered, because this is a place of unutterable terror.
And yet every day, from all over the world, people come to Brzezinka, quite possibly the most grisly tourist center on earth. They come for a variety of reasons—to see if it could really have been true, to remind themselves not to forget, to pay homage to the dead by the simple act of looking upon their place of suffering. http://www.nexuslearning.net/books/Elements_of_Lit_Course4/Collection%206/No%20News%20from%20Auschwitz.htm
One writer said of those days: "The sun will never truly shine on Majdanek again".
That outlook has characterized many songs of broken hearts like: "I don't care what's going on...The sun don't shine anymore ..."
Now, back to the language used in Isaiah 13:1-10. The explanation is found in verses 15-19.
Everyone who is found will be thrust through,
And everyone who is captured will fall by the sword.
16 Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
Their houses will be plundered
And their wives ravished.
17 "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them,
Who will not regard silver;
And as for gold, they will not delight in it.
18 Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces,
And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb;
Their eye will not spare children.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
The beauty of the Chaldeans' pride,
Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. NKJV
Verses 15-19 explain why the sun was darkened and the stars did not give light. It explains that the coming of the Lord was in the form of the Medes destroying Babylon and reducing it to rubbish like Sodom and Gomorrah. It was not describing the end of the world, but the end of the Babylonian world as they knew it. Was that a "coming of the Lord"? Yes! Was it the final and literal coming of the Lord? No! What Jesus described in Matt.24:1-34 was a coming of the Lord. Was it a coming of the Lord in AD 70? Absolutely. Was it the final and literal coming of the Lord? No! The language of cosmic darkness because of the doom of war and destruction is in place because that was a common way of describing such dark, gloomy days of history.
The coming was not like He left, a physically visible ascension (Acts 1:11). It was a coming though. People saw it in the effects that clearly indicated a wrath of God destruction. Thus, the clouds were clouds of darkness, fear, and dread. The Lord was in those clouds like He was in the clouds of darkness over the Babylonians and Egyptians. They all saw the coming of the Lord. But, that was a different kind of coming from the one promised in Acts 1:11. When Jesus visibly comes back as He left, it will be to "deliver up the kingdom to the Father" and "put an end to death itself"(1 Cor.15:23-25). There are no signs to look for. It will come when people say "peace and safety". It will come as a thief in the night. (1 Thess.4:13 - 5:6). He will not come to reign on the earth. He will come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God (2 Thess.1:7-10) and to bring rest to those who suffered for His name. It will be the final day of judgment.
Can the final coming of the Lord be real soon? Yes! There are no rapture periods and tribulation periods that will precede it. There will not be a future 1000 year reign on earth to precede it. The Lord can come any time. There won't be a second chance for the anyone. Today is the day of salvation. The only rapture (being caught up) that will ever occur will be on that final day when the righteous are raised and caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (not on the earth) and so shall we EVER be with the Lord (not just seven years) (1 Thess.4:17). Are you ready for THAT final day? Will you be in THAT "rapture"? If you are not born again to enter His kingdom NOW (John 3:1-6; Col.1:13), and if you are still in the dark thinking that the kingdom has not come yet, and thus have not been translated out of darkness and into the kingdom (Col.1:13), then you will not be ready for the final day of the Lord. The Jews missed it for the most part because they were looking for an earthly kingdom. Premillennialists are blinding people with the same erroneous thinking. Having eyes they see not. Don't allow Satan to blind you to the fact that you can be in the kingdom now which will be prepared to be taken back to the Father when Jesus comes on that final day. There will not be two comings. There is only one final coming left. Make it as sure as you can.
By Terry W. Benton
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