Saturday, October 9, 2010

Who is the Prince of this World? - A Response

...I write now mainly in response to the recent article you sent me entitled ‘Who is the Prince of this World?’ I must confess I found this particular article rather erroneous, to say the least. My dear brother, in what I have to say, please do not take it that I am lashing out at you personally. I do not intend to do any such thing. However, I cannot but think that in this article you are in error. Please do not take my comments as personally attacking you. I trust and believe that you, like myself, only desire to speak the truth and to hold all that the scriptures declare to be true. Hence I believe that you will not resent my examination of your article. I have always enjoyed your writings, which have been most stimulating, but I must confess this particular article does not contain the truth of God’s Word on this subject.

According to the light that I have received and, indeed in accordance to the scriptures themselves, I am obliged to state my reasons and at least try and explain why I defer from your own conclusions. I trust these words assure you of my sincere love and affection towards you, however much I might disagree with you on the point discussed here. Besides, I would gladly acknowledge that you are far more matured and learned than myself, ... I have profited much from your writings and praise God for His grace towards you in the Ministry of His Word. However, I feel obliged to state my views and, because I believe your own to be false, to try and explain them in however feeble and inadequate a way I might be able to.

To begin with, I would like to point out that in your article when you quote John 16.32 you insert the words ‘to heaven’ thus – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (to heaven), will draw all men unto me.” Now those are your words added to make, as you say, better and complete sense. But if this is what was meant, why did the Spirit of God not say so plainly? Besides, that expression ‘lifted up from the earth’ explains what we have in the following verse 33, “This he said, signifying by what death he should die.” If all that Jesus meant by the expression ‘lifted up from the earth’ meant His return to heaven to the Father, how would this expression signify the type of death He should die? Clearly, being lifted up from the earth meant our Lord would be literally lifted up or made to be raised up from the earth.

Interestingly, John 3.14 uses a similar expression, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:” Clearly, the Lord Jesus was not referring to His returning to Heaven to His Father. (Of course in dying, Jesus would return to His Father. This we do not deny.) The serpent of course we know was not lifted up into heaven but was raised or lifted up, elevated upon a staff, and similarly, Jesus Himself would be thus raised, lifted or elevated, when He would be crucified.

Now this is brought out clearly when later in John 8.28 we read, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” These words were spoken by our Lord to the Jews, as seen clearly from the context. Did the Lord Jesus mean that these Jews would send Jesus back to Heaven? That they would lift Him up into Heaven? No. The context was clearly the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 21 the Lord had said, “...I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come.” In response, the Jews ask in the following verse, “...Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.” Clearly, the Jews understood Jesus’ words to mean that He would die, only they wondered if He would kill himself. The context was clearly Jesus’ death. And in this context of Jesus’ death, He uttered the words of verse 28 and stated clearly that the Jews would be responsible for His death, His crucifixion, which type of death chapter 12 verses 32 and 33 intimate. (Here of course, we are not denying that our Lord laid down His life of His own will and that no one was able to take it from Him. Nevertheless it is also true that the Jews rejected their Messiah and had Him crucified. Compare Peter’s words in Acts 2.23 and 3.15)

Your quotation of John 14.30 does not make good sense. This is how you have given the verse along with your clarifications and questions.

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: (Why will He not talk much with them?) for (because) the prince of this world comes, (Christ, this prince comes...) and has nothing in me (because Israel refused to give Him His true title, Prince of this world!).”

Please allow me to quote from Darby’s translation of this verse. Darby’s reads, “I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world comes, and in me he has nothing;” Young’s literal translation reads, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world doth come, and in me he hath nothing;” In both the above translations, the Lord Jesus is contrasting the ruler of the world with Himself in saying ‘in me he’ has nothing; unlike the KJV translation, in which the emphasis of this contrast is not brought out clearly. The Greek of this verse definitely bears this out.  All the major Greek texts read, “kai. evn evmoi. ouvk e;cei ouvde,n as the last line of this verse. Clearly evmoi (emoi) ‘in me’ is contrasted with e;cei (echei) ‘he has’; the ‘me’ and ‘he’ being contrasted. Obviously, two different persons are here intended by these words, as is also clear from the two translations I have quoted.

This verse alone proves that the ruler of the world could not be the Lord Himself. Whoever the ruler is, it is not the Lord Himself. His identity would have to be discovered from other passages of scripture. But this much is clear, the ruler is not the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (Revelation 1.5 of course states that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “prince of the kings of the earth.” Here our Lord Jesus is called the ‘Prince of the kings of the earth’, not ‘Prince of the world’. The two expressions do not mean the same thing. Besides, in the book of the Revelation, the kingdom of this world is contemplated as having become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev.11.15) and the Lord is viewed as the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, who is and who was, and who is to come (Rev.1.8). With this in view, nothing hinders the Lord being addressed as the Prince of the kings of the earth, as indeed one day He will show Himself to be truly so.)

Besides, your quotation of the verse does not make good sense. Within the verse you ask, “Why will He not talk much with them?” in brackets, and then you answer within brackets, “because…Christ, this prince comes…)”. Frankly, this is rather odd. It would have been understandable to say that He would not speak much with them because Christ goes…(Granted that the word for ‘comes or coming’ can also be translated as ‘goes or going’, however, in view of the following words, it is rightly translated ‘comes’ and not ‘goes’.) But here the word says because He comes. And if so, what sense can be made of the fact that Jesus will not speak much with his disciples because He comes! Here something is quite amiss. Your words don’t seem to make good sense.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that simply because we find an expression to mean something in John 12 and John 16, it need not be conclusive that if that expression occurs in between, as in John 14, it should mean the same thing referring to the same person or thing. This is what you ask,

‘is it possible that our title, “the prince of this world,” could refer to the Lord Jesus Christ in John 12:31 and also in John 16:11 and then refer to the devil in John 14:30? – a verse in between? Unthinkable indeed!’

Now, assuming that your conclusions on John 14.30 and John 16.11 are true, this would in itself not be a proof that John 12.31 should also be treated in like manner, or that the words necessarily refer to the person they refer to elsewhere. No doubt they could mean or refer to the same person or thing, but this logic alone cannot be applied to prove it to be so. Other considerations would have to apply.

In scripture, expressions and even words that occur in the same context may not necessarily have the same meaning, i.e., in the sense, that they need not refer to the same person or thing.

Allow me to explain. If you turn to Daniel chapter 9 and verse 25 you will find the words, “…unto Messiah the Prince…”. And in the next verse 26 too you will find the words the prince. Now in the KJV, the translators have put the word ‘Prince’ in verse 25 beginning with a capital letter but the one in the next verse is in lower case. The original of course does not have this distinction. Now you are probably aware of how covenant theologians interpret these verses. And simply because the word prince occurs in two consecutive verses, people have generally made the mistake of assuming that in both instances, the same person is referred to. I believe you will agree that in verse 25, the word Prince refers to our Lord Jesus Christ himself, whereas in verse 26 the word refers to the Roman Prince whose people destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. Clearly, two very different persons were described here with the same word within two verses.

Obviously, we cannot and ought not to be guaranteed that if any word(s) occur within the same book, chapter or even, as in the example quoted, within two verses, they should necessarily refer to the same person, or thing as the case may be. The words in themselves could mean the same, and they probably ought to, if words have to be interpreted at all. But that they should and therefore refer to the same person or thing, etc. is not guaranteed simply because they occur so. Of course, when all things are taken into consideration and the words clearly ought to be understood to refer to the same thing or person, no one would deny that they definitely ought so to be taken; but not otherwise and definitely not simply because of their close proximity of occurrence.

Dear brother, please do not take offense since I do not wish to offend you in any way. I do not desire to attack you personally. I only wish to arrive at the truth of God’s Word and nothing else. If I have in any way misread or misunderstood your article, or if my own understanding is faulty, please do feel free to correct me. I would be only too grateful to you for pointing out the truth to me and I would be most happy to learn from you.

I trust my motives and intentions in writing have been made fairly clear and that you will in no wise have any misgivings about anything I have written.

Please allow me to once again assure you of my deepest respect and sympathy, love and affection in the Lord. I pray the Lord would grant us all much grace even by the help of His Spirit, who alone can lead us into all Truth, the Truth of His Word.

I close with much love and prayers.

Who is the Prince of this Word?

The following article was written by Pastor Ivan L Burgener and mailed out to me. I believe Ivan's article is erroneous and have therefore also put up my response. In the interests of the saints, I've also putting up Ivan's full article so that you may judge for yourself if he has written truly.

                        WHO IS THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD?

It might surprise the reader that one would even question the identity of “the prince of this world” when it has long been assumed that this title refers to Satan. Why bother to question that which has been taken for granted by so many for so long?

To state that the bible teaches that “the prince of this world” is the Lord Jesus Christ, and not the devil, might, at first, seem almost irreverent. An explanation is therefore in order.

Great caution must be observed so as to not confuse our terms. It must not be assumed that terms or titles which seem to be similar refer to the same person. Care must be exercised to identify all the words which make up any title under consideration. For example, the rather lengthy title, “the prince of this world,” has five English words (four in the Greek), but this term is often confused with the longer title, “the prince of the power of the air,” which has eight English words (six in the Greek). Ephesians 2 clearly identifies this prince as the devil, “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.”

Paul wrote of “the god of this world...” who blinds the minds of those who do not believe
(2 Cor. 4:4). Clearly this title also refers to Satan, but it should properly read, “the god of this age [not world]”! Thus any similarity imagined between this phrase and our subject title diminishes greatly when it is translated correctly.

Just as “world” is better translated “age” above in “the god of this age,” the same must be said of the title “the princes of this age [not world]” from 1 Corinthians 2:6 & 8. Those princes or rulers of this age, whether governmental or angelic, are the leaders who crucified Christ as the text plainly shows. The term here is plural, not singular, as in the title we are considering.

But what about “the prince of the kings of the earth” found in Revelation 1:5? There is no confusion with Satan in that verse when we read the preceding words, “...from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness...the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.” Thus whether the title “prince” (which means ruler) refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, the devil, or some other person, the context must determine to whom the title belongs. In all these titles the Greek word “archon” is translated prince.


This exact title in question is found only in the Gospel of John and in only three verses: 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11. We shall examine each occurrence in its context, taking them in the order most helpful to understand the title’s true owner.

In our first passage, John 16, the Lord was in the upper room preparing His disciples to face tough opposition. He warned that people will think they were doing God service if they killed the disciples. Of course, this would be the aftermath of Israel’s imminent rejection of Jesus as Messiah. In His “upper room discourse,” the Lord said,

5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asks Me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Clearly the Lord is referring to His being rejected by Israel and His sending the Holy Spirit back to minister in His place. The Lord said the ministry of the Spirit would involve a three-fold rebuke, reproof, or conviction.

John 16:8-11
  8        And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of sin,
            and of righteousness, and of judgment:
  9        (He will convict the world) of sin, because they believe not on Me;
10        (He will convict the world) of righteousness, because I go to My Father,
            and ye see Me no more;
11        (He will convict the world ) of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

This will be the ministry of the Spirit. He will convict (or convince or reprove) the world, that is, Israel, of the three things stated in verse 8: “...sin...righteousness, and...judgment.”

THE FIRST ISSUE, convicting the world of “sin,” is relatively easy to explain and understand. Their sin would be pointed out such that the offenders could unmistakably realize their involvement and be faced with their need of repentance. Verse 9 gives the Lord’s explanation why the Spirit would be convicting the word of sin, “Because they believed not on Me.” The world here is clearly Israel. Their rejection of Christ and demand for His crucifixion prove they “believed not” on Christ as their Messiah. This was the sin the Spirit of God would be pressing on the Jewish nation (here called the world) during His ministry recorded in the early chapter of Acts.

THE SECOND ISSUE: convicting the world of “righteousness,” is not as easy to understand. One might easily convict another of sin, but how might we “convict someone of righteousness”?
Is not righteousness what they are supposed to have? How then could one convict the world of it?

The Lord’s explanation in verse 10 does not seem at first to be much help, but that is all we have t work with. He said, “...because I go to My Father and you see Me no more.”

How does this help “convict the world of righteousness”? It sounds almost backward, does it not? Can you imagine someone coming to you to convict you of righteousness? Would you not respond, “Say on, dear friend, this sounds great”? Obviously this cannot be what the Lord had in mind.

We must inquire why the Lord was going away to His Father. Was it not because the nation Israel, in unrighteousness, was refusing His claim as their Messiah? Thus He would send the Spirit of God back to convict that nation of their unrighteousness in rejecting him and sending Him in exile to His Father!

It may sound backwards, but this passage truly means that the Spirit of God would convict Israel of their “lack of righteousness” that is, of righteousness they did not have, because they rejected Christ and they sent Him back to His Father! By no means are we to think of the Holy Spirit convicting the whole wide world of the righteousness of Christ. That does not fit the context at all.

THE THIRD ISSUE is the most difficult of the three. Here the Spirit of God would “convict the world of judgment.” Why? Because “the prince of this world is judged”! Once again, how do you convict someone of judgment? We admit this wording is strange to our modern vernacular. There is a way someone could convict you or judgment, especially if you exercised or displayed poor judgment”! This is the key, for the idea of judgment is a two way street!

Judgment might be received by someone such as the judgment we receive in performance reviews, appraisals of our behavior or work ethic, or in a court room, etc.

Judgment might also be rendered by people as they make choices every day. Do we always use good judgment in the issues we decide? You decide – or judge.

In the setting of this verse, Israel was rendering their judgment of Christ. Had they not called Him a deceiver? (See Matthew 27:63.) Did they not take the position He was a fraud, and not their true Messiah at all? Had not Israel rendered their judgment of Christ, the Prince of this world, such that the Holy Spirit would indeed press this bad judgment upon them and call for their repentance? And would not this understanding or interpretation be in harmony with the first two issues above?

There can be no doubt about it. The Lord’s three-fold statement about the Spirit’s convicting ministry of this world concerns the things the world (Israel) was doing wrong! This is a three-fold statement:

of their sin, not believing on Christ;
of righteousness they did not have, because they rejected Christ and sent Him back to the Father, and of their wicked judgment refusing to own Him and His rightful title,
the true “Prince of this world.”

To suggest that this is some sort of judgment upon the devil is totally foreign to the passage. Surely we cannot interpret these words of our Lord in the Upper Room by the teaching of the Apostle Paul years later, that Christ triumphed over Satan in the cross, etc. Nor would any allusion of Satan’s judgment, perhaps prefigured in God’s judgment of the “prince of Tyrus” in Ezekiel 28:17-18, make any sense in this passage. Furthermore, the devil is nowhere mentioned by John in the near of distant context of our passage.

What sense could it possibly make to “convict the world of judgment” if the devil is the one receiving the judgment? Would we not say “THREE CHEERS!” How glad should the disciples have been to learn that the devil would be finally getting his due!? At last that old serpent would be receiving the judgment which he rightly deserves! Even so, what part would the world have played in this judgment of the devil? Would it make any sense for the Spirit of God to convict Israel of this? Are not such thoughts totally out of place in this passage in John 16?

The above explanation will be helpful as we turn to our SECOND PASSAGE, the Lord’s words in John 12, beginning in verse 27:

27        “...Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?
            Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28        Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying,
            I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29        The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it,
            said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30        Jesus answered and said,
            This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31        Now is the judgment of this world: [the world will express their judgment of Christ]
            now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
            [their judgment: Cast Him out! See how beautifully the next verse fits,
            for when Christ is cast out, where does He go? To be with His Father!]
32        And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (to heaven), will draw all men unto me.
33        This he said, signifying what death he should die.

The comments in brackets in the above verses make additional explanation unnecessary.

Our THIRD AND FINAL PASSAGE: John 14:30 is worded a bit more awkwardly than the others. Before we examine this passage, is it possible that our title, “the prince of this world,” cold refer to the Lord Jesus Christ in John 12:31 and also in John 16:11 and then refer to the devil in John 14:30? – a verse in between? Unthinkable indeed! What then, do these verses say?

Beginning at John 14:27:

27        “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28        Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you.
            If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father:
            for my Father is greater than I.
29        And now I have told you before it come to pass,
            that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
30        Hereafter I will not talk much with you: (Why will He not talk much with them?)
            for (because) the prince of this world comes, (Christ, this prince comes...) and
            has nothing in me
            (because Israel refused to give Him His true title, Prince of this world!).
31        But that the world (Israel) may know that I love the Father;
            and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

The Lord was talking about His going to the Father, a theme that greatly occupied His mind in the upper room. The disciples were sad, very sad. We must remember that the reason He was going to the Father was His rejection by Israel, here called the world.

John had written earlier,

“He came unto His own (meaning He came to claim His own things including His royal titles)
but His own received Him not” (meaning that His own people refused His claims) (John 1:11).

In our passage the Lord’s words might be freely translated thus:

30        “After this time, I will not talk much with you for Israel refuses to give Me My rightful place as the Prince of this world, the Prince of their nation, they see nothing in Me.”

This free translation shows the intended sense. It certainly fits the context and the consistent recognition of the Lord Jesus Christ as the true Prince of this world, a title He so richly deserves! Can there be any doubt?

It also bears notice that the Apostle John’s only other use of this term, “prince,” is in Revelation 1:5 (cited above) where it cannot be questioned that it pertains to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we rightly divide the word of truth we do not need to be ashamed. But what should be our response if we now understand that, however well intentioned, we have miss-assigned one of the titles the Lord ascribed to Himself to the devil? Something to consider, “What will we say to Him?”

Ivan L. Burgener

NT Words that describe our Lord's Second Coming

There are 24 verses in the NT where the word parousi,a is used. The following is a list where this word is used in its 4 forms found in the NT.

Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

1 Corinthians 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
1 Corinthians 16:17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.

2 Corinthians 7:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
 7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
2 Corinthians 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.

[Here the word is translated presence and rightly so. Hence the word obviously means the coming and presence of someone; not just the fact that someone is coming or is on the way]

Philippians 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

[see the above note]

1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence (before our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming – Darby) of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
1 Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 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.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
 8 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:
 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 3:4 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.
 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear (manifested – Darby fanerwqh/| ), we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

[The word translated appear is manifested and is again used in the NT 1John 3:2 – “…but we know that, when he shall appear…”  Darby however translates this as “…we know that if it is manifested we shall be like him,…”]

Please note that we are drawing these conclusions based on the fact that the word for ‘coming’ used in the above verses is the same and that the definitely refer to the same event. So even if anyone should argue that since the NT uses 3 different words and they each refer to different aspects of the Lord’s Second coming, the following considerations should suffice to convince them that Holy Spirit has used this very word (coming) to describe all phases of our Lord’s Second Coming. To sum up with regard to this word (coming) used in the above mentioned verses in the NT, we can conclude the following

  •     All believers that have died in Christ and those that are alive and remain, will be on the earth when the Lord comes (notice Paul says NT Church age believers will remain on earth unto i.e. till Christ comes again) Now whether the Lord at this coming comes to the earth visibly or no will have to be determined comparing other verses
  •     The resurrection occurs at Christ’s coming. Christ was the first to rise from the dead – He is the firstfruits, afterwards those that are Christ’s at His coming. Notice there will be no other resurrection after His coming. It will be at His coming
  •     Paul tells the Thessalonians that they were his joy and crown of rejoicing in the Presence or before the Lord Jesus Christ (the sense obviously is that it is in His presence) at his coming
  •     Believers are to be established, unblameable in holiness before God at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
  •     Paul prayed that God would preserve the believers wholly – body, soul, and spirit – blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •     It is at the coming of the Lord that all saints are to be gathered together unto Him.
  •     In talking about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the gathering of the saints unto Him, Paul plainly tells us (2 Thess 2.1-4) that that day would not come or arrive “except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, and sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” In other words, Christ would not come unless there first takes place an apostasy from the faith (see 1 Tim 4:1), the man of sin – probably the Antichrist – is revealed or is manifested for who he really is. This will be clear when he usurps the place of worship in the temple of God, which worship only God is entitled to (This also means that the temple should be standing in Jerusalem). It is at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (and this coming here is surely spectacular and visible) that He shall “consume with the spirit (or breath) of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness (appearing) of His coming...”
  •     The above point makes clear that at the coming of the Lord the wicked one will be destroyed and this obviously will not be invisible. Obviously, there will be nothing secret about this coming.
  •     James exhorts believers to be patient unto the coming of the Lord.
  •     Believers are to look for the coming of the day of God
  •     Believers should so live their lives in Christ that they be not ashamed before Him at His coming when He shall appear (or be manifested)

Taking the above considerations together, it would be impossible to assume or make the aforementioned verses to mean that Christ’s coming for His saints occurs years prior to His Coming to the earth. Notice at this point of time we are limiting ourselves only to verses that use the word parousia translated often as ‘coming’. Since the Holy Spirit would not have used words arbitrarily, but with a good intention, it is only fair and wise too that we consider all the verses above referred to and count them to refer to the same event, viz. the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And when He comes, the resurrection of those who belong to Him takes place, the man of sin that wicked one is destroyed by the brightness of His coming, ministers will be able to rejoice at the fruits of their labour (those they were instrumental in bringing to Christ and shepherding), believers will be established unblameable before God our Father, nevertheless believers should so live their lives in Christ that they be not ashamed before Him at His coming.

Now for the second word used in the NT to describe the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

There are 6 verses in the NT where the word evpifanei,a| is used. The following is a list where this word is used in its 3 forms found in the NT.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness (appearing – Darby) of his coming:

[In the above verse, both words appearing and coming (evpifanei,a|  parousi,aj) are used. Hence Darby’s translation.]

1 Timothy 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Once again based on the above verses, we may conclude the following

  •     Ministers of the Word are to keep Paul charge without spot and unrebukeable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ
  •     The Lord Jesus Christ appeared the first time in this world physically, He will appear the Second time too bodily
  •     The Lord Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead at His appearing
  •     At His appearing will able be His kingdom, ie, the manifestation of His kingdom. He will reign at His appearing
  •     Believers are to love His appearing and for all such there is laid up a crown of righteousness
  •     This crown of righteousness will probably be given out at His appearing. This is not stated explicitly, but Paul seems to imply so. At least Paul doesn’t say this will be at his death or departure from this world. He seems to anticipate a future day
  •     The Glorious appearing of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ is called the blessed hope of the believers
  •     We are to look forward to that blessed hope

Taking the above considerations together we can safely conclude that servants of Christ are to serve the Lord until the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord will appear in this world bodily as He did the first time, at His appearing the Lord Jesus will judge the living and the dead, at His appearing the Lord Jesus Christ will manifest or usher in His kingdom, we are love His appearing which is our blessed hope for which we are to eagerly look forward, viz. the appearing of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Now for the third word used in the NT to describe the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

There are 18 verses in the NT where the word VApoka,luyij| is used. The following is a list where this word is used in its 6 forms found in the NT.

Luke 2:32 A light to lighten (for revelation of – Darby) the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation (revelation – Darby) of the sons of God.
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

1 Corinthians 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming (revelation – Darby) of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Corinthians 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
 26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

2 Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Ephesians 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (revelation – Darby) of Jesus Christ:
 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

From the above mentioned verses, we can conclude that

  •     Believers are to exercise their spiritual gifts for the Lord waiting for the revelation of the Lord
  •     Believers who are now troubled by those who persecute them will find rest when the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with the angles of His might
  •     The tried faith of the saints will be found unto praise, glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ
  •     We are to be sober and hope to the end for God’s grace towards us
  •     This grace will be given us at the revelation of Jesus Christ
  •     Suffering saints can afford to wait until the Lord’s Glory is revealed. Then they will have joy

Putting the above considerations together, we may safely say that believers will be on this earth using their spiritual gifts for the Lord until the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saints who are now persecuted by unbelievers will find rest when the Lord shall be revealed from heaven, therefore they are to wait soberly and hope to the end for God’s grace that will be given them at the revelation of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, they faith, though severely tried and tested and more precious than gold will be found to be unto praise, honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, and then they will have joy.

Finally, in summing up all that we have looked into.

Believers will be upon this earth unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto His revelation. This is our blessed hope and we ought to be soberly waiting for His appearing. Nowhere are we told that we are to look for a secret coming of the Lord into the mid-air to be caught away. Paul tells us that the Lord will descend from the heavens. He did not say, the Lord will descend into the heavens or into the mid-air. And when He descends from the heavens the dead in Christ will rise first and then living believers will be changed and caught up together with those who were dead, but have now be made alive.