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Christianity Under Fire

Christs Coming and Time Gaps
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The rejection of Messiah by Israel brought in a time gap...a delay...which gave us Gentiles an opportunity to be saved.

 
Its interesting to note that the Old Testament prophets seemed to speak of the coming of Christ as one event, while the New Testament apostles seemed to see the Second Coming of Christ in the same way. Though both didn't seem to be aware of the time gaps involved.
 
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
 
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9)
 
Notice that verse six has come true but verse seven is yet to be fulfilled, yet Isaiah presents this prophecy without any indication of a time gap between the two verses.
 
Some people spiritualize verse seven so they can assume that it has already happened but invisibly.
 
Next Joel presents the following prophecy:
 
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (Joel 2)
 
Peter proclaims that this prophecy has been fulfilled at Pentecost, when speaking to the 'All the House of Israel'
 
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
 
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2)
 
Peter speaks as if the whole prophecy here is being fulfilled and the first half is.
 
However from verse nineteen on it is yet to be fulfilled.
 
Again the spiritualists claim that even that was fulfilled when  we weren't looking.
 
Again men of God were not aware of the time gap between verse eighteen and nineteen.
 
Why is that?
 
Could it be that God didn't want them to know, or possibly the fulfillment of the rest of these prophecies were dependent on the nation of Israel accepting Messiah?
 
The rejection of Messiah by Israel brought in a time gap...a delay...which gave us Gentiles an opportunity to be saved.
 
The Time of the Mysteries:
 
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11)
 
Notice the times that Peter and Paul state that they don't want us ignorant, that it has to do with time.
 
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
 
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the 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. (2 Peter 3)
 
The Preterist spiritualizes away the heavens passing away, the elements melting and the earth and the works being burned up' but this passage says that what we shouldn't be ignorant of is the time element, not the watering down of scripture by spiritualists.
 
Peter seems to have come to this time gap realization later in his life and it may be related to his relationship with the apostle Paul.
 
In the same chapter he says of Paul:
 
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you...
 
Again the time element is talked about i.e., 'the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.'
 
So people complain, spiritualize and scoff about the Lord delaying his coming but there is a purpose for it that even the prophets and apostles at one time were unaware of.
 
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (2 Peter 3)
 
Here ignorance and time gaps are connected.
 
But this time it is willing ignorance.
 
Next, we look at the rapture:
 
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. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: (Revelation 4:1?) and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
 
This is typically connected with First Corinthians which says:
 
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15)
 
Notice, when comparing Thessalonians to First Corinthians that they speak of:
 
1) not being ignorant
 
2) A mystery
 
This is similar to the first passage where it speaks of
 
1) not being ignorant
 
2) A mystery
 
3) A time period for the Gentiles to receive the gospel due to Israels rejection of Messiah.
 
Now Salvation is based on Grace not Race
 
 
The mysteries are during the period of the Gentiles, including the rapture.
 
We are now in the time of Grace not race, individual accountability, not group think, Faith not sight, Things above not things on the earth...
 
This is not an argument for a pretrib rapture but just an argument for time gaps and showing the prophets' and apostles' ignorance of these time gaps at one point.
 
Just as the prophets didn't see the First Coming as really two comings, maybe the apostles when speaking of the Second Coming of Christ didn't see the time delay and the two time aspects to this future coming:
 
1) His coming to the air (1 Thess 4), which was part of the mysteries
 
2) His coming to the Mount of Olives, which is part of prophecy and directly related to Israel. (Zechariah 12-14)
 
We can go to the OT to see the coming of Christ prophesied but we cannot go there to see the rapture prophesied.
 
This is not to say that I know how much time may transpire between the future rapture and his second coming to earth, it may be a matter of minutes and might be related to how long it takes Israel to repent and 'look upon him whom they have pierced.' .
 
So don't take this as an argument for pretrib rapture, it is only an argument for a time delay no matter how long or how short.
 
BJ Maxwell 2/27/2006
 
Here is another aspect to the time delays by David Reagan who has a television show on Sundays on the Christian Channel:
 
"Another peculiar feature of prophetic literature is called "telescoping." This occurs when a prophet compresses the time interval between two prophetic events. This phenomenon is very common.
 
The reason for it has to do with the perspective of the prophet. As he looks into the future and sees a series of prophetic events, they appear to him as if they are in immediate sequence.
 
It is like looking down a mountain range and viewing three peaks, one behind the other, each sequentially higher than the one in front of it. The peaks look like they are right up against each other because the person viewing them cannot see the valleys that separate them.
 
In Zechariah 9:9-10 there is a passage with three prophecies which are compressed into two verses but are widely separated in time. Verse 9 says the Messiah will come humbly on a donkey. The first part of verse 10 says the Jewish people will be set aside. The second part of verse 10 says the Messiah will reign over all the nations.
 
These three events — the First Coming, the setting aside of Israel, and the reign of Christ — appear to occur in quick succession, but in reality, there were 40 years between the first two events, and there have been over 1,900 years thus far between the second and third events.
 
Another way of viewing the phenomenon of telescoping is to focus on what are called "prophetic gaps." These are the time periods between the mountain peak prophetic events.
 
Because the Old Testament rabbis could not see the gap between the first and second comings of the Messiah, some theorized that there would be two Messiahs — a "Messiah ben Joseph" who would suffer and a "Messiah ben David who would conquer. From our New Testament perspective we can see that the Old Testament prophets were speaking of one Messiah who would come twice. We can see the gap between the two comings."