October 21, 2007
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
The Return of Christ – Part Three
by Jack Northart
In Part One of this study, we looked at records in the Epistles that were specifically discussing the “Gathering Together” of the Church of the One Body. In Part Two, we studied the two distinct and separate things that have occurred and will occur in the future. And we looked at two basic keys to studying God’s Word understanding the different administrations, or time periods in the Bible, and understanding TO WHOM the various records are addressed. Utilizing these two basic keys makes a big difference when studying the scriptures, and gives us a clearer understanding of many subjects in God’s Word, including of the return of Christ.
A third key in unlocking the scriptures is to understand God’s classification of people.
I Corinthians 10:32
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.
This key goes hand in hand with understanding TO WHOM a passage of scripture is addressed. It will always fall into one of these three categories: Jews, Gentiles or Church of God. When it comes to the return of Christ, there are records addressed specifically to Jews, and records specifically addressed to Gentiles, and records specifically address to the Church of God, which is the Body of Christ. Thessalonians is addressed specifically to the Church.
II Thessalonians 2:1-3
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
The context of these three verses is summarized in verse one, “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” (See I Thessalonians 4:13-18). The exhortation was to not be shaken in mind, or upset neither by spirit nor by word as if it were an epistle written by Paul or another man of God, telling them that the Day of Christ, or Day of the Lord is present.
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, shape or form, because the Day of the Lord is not going to happen until there is a “falling away first.” The words, “falling away first,” are one word in the Greek text, apostasia, and it means departure. Again, the context of this record is the gathering together, which precedes both the appearance of the man of sin, as well as the Day of the Lord.
The departure mentioned in verse three is explained in the following verses.
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
The departure is explained as a removal of a restraint. Putting all of these verses together suggests that the removal of a restraint, or the departure refers to the gathering together of Body of Christ. The only thing that restrains the lawless one, the man of sin today is the Church. We restrain him from coming into manifestation until we are “taken out of the way,” and then he will be revealed. He will set himself up according to the working of Satan.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
Satan would love nothing more than to have this lawless one in power right now. However, there is one major obstacle holding him back; US!! We have the power and authority over all of the power of the enemy.
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
It is Christ in you, the hope of glory! The same Christ that performed all of miracles and healings is in us! We have the power and authority now, and we have the hope of the glory that is to come. We don’t have to wait for a special anointing, or another Messiah to come to exercise this power. It is here now!
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
So many believers today are waiting for something to happen. Watching, listening, sitting still and wanting something more from God. Waiting for someone else to rise up and do the works of Christ. Making excuses why they don’t want to do what they have been charged to do. Blaming their lack and neglect on somebody else. It’s time to stop making excuses and start living life; walking the walk, and talking the talk! Either the Word of God is true, or it isn’. If you don’t think it is true, then quit pretending that it is something special in your life.
We have so much ability and authority that God has given us. If Satan would have known how powerful the Church would be, he never would have crucified the Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 2:7-8
But we speak the wisdom of God in a [regarding the] mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Satan played his hand when he had Jesus crucified. If he would have known about the greatness of the mystery, and that it would be Christ in every single believer, he would have never crucified Jesus Christ. He would have much rather had one Christ to deal with, than Christ all over the world in believers who know it, speak the Word, and operate the power of God! How does he handle this problem? For the most part, he convinces believers that they are lowly little nobodies. They believe that they can’t trust what the Bible says because it’s so unclear and objective. “I’ll just go to church on Sundays like I always have, let my pastor preach to me, and be a social butterfly.” They let themselves get talked out of what they really have in Christ. It’s time to WAKE UP!
When we see the power and ability that we have, and utilize it, life becomes so dynamic and vital. We have a lot of work to do until Christ returns to gather us together. Let’s do it!
In summary; the first part of the return of Christ begins with the gathering together of the Church of God. Details of this event are recorded in 1Corinthians 15 and 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
The gathering together concludes the Administration of Grace in which we are now living, and marks the beginning of the Revelation or Appearing Administration, and the man of perdition is revealed. At that time, the events that are recorded in the Book of Revelation, as well as some Old Testament and Gospel prophecies will take place. Until that happens, our job is to make known Christ and the power of his resurrection.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
Return to main page