Advancing the Revelation of Truth
The Hope of the Christian
'I am The Light of The World, he that follows me in no wise shall walk in the darkness,
but shall have the light of the life.' Jesus Christ.
The Light of Life is enlightenment and understanding.
As Christians, our Hope concerning The Lord Jesus Christ seems to differ depending on which group we talk to. If the Light of Life is flowing into us, why do we accept different, and sometimes contradictory understanding of what the Word of God is telling us? Does this have anything to do with the self imposed limit of our understanding? Have we become satisfied with what we were taught by Christians many years ago, well meaning, but repeating simply that which they were taught many years before? Have we, in our mature years now recognised that we ourselves can receive the benefits of the flow of Truth directly from God Himself, not being bound by other Christians thoughts ?
Have we given time to meditate upon the Word of God directly, not seeking help from any other, except Christ Himself? The Apostle Paul tells the Christians at Philippi: 'by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God'. If we are really concerned to know what Christ has prepared for us, then should we not ask Him directly, in our quiet time, to tell us. His Word says that He does not want us to remain ignorant or in doubt.
Here are examples of the 'Hope in Christ' expressed by people with different Christian beliefs:
1. The basic Hope.
We believe that after dying, we go to live in Heaven with God and/or The Lord Jesus Christ or any other deified being that we have chosen to be our God.
2. The Religious Hope.
We are working to establish a suitable condition in which The Kingdom of God can be initiated, thereby allowing The Lord Jesus Christ to return and assume His Kingship, under which we shall enjoy great privileges
3. The Evangelical Hope based upon membership of The Kingdom of God.
We are living in Christ's preparatory Kingdom and believe that we belong to the church established during the time of the Apostles. We therefore await the return of The Lord Jesus Christ to become King in His Kingdom following earthly devastation. We expect to be gathered from the earth before the devastation and to return with Christ at the time of His 'Second Coming'. Those who die before, expect to be resurrected at that time. This event is called 'The Rapture'. It is described in Thessalonians ch.4 vv. 13 to 18.
4. The Hope of those who recognise that the Present Administration of God is by Grace alone.
We believe that at this present time, we belong to the one church named and positioned out of The Lord Jesus Christ. The time in which we live at present is Administered by God's Grace. We believe that this new relationship with God was revealed and initiated by the Apostle Paul when the Apostles' work described in The Acts Period, ended. We therefore accept the Hope which fulfilled at the end of this Administration: When Christ, who is our Life is manifested, we will be manifested with Him in Glory. [Colossians ch.3 v.4 and Ephesians ch.5 v.14]
Considering these various beliefs, it is clear that not all of them can be true for those Christians or other people living to-day. Some believe that by their own efforts they can fulfil their Hope, whereas the Scripture says that by God's unmerited favour we are saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves, it is God's gift, not of works, lest anyone might boast. [Eph 2:8-9].
Some believe that when we die we then go to another place to live with God. How can Christ be the Light of our Life if we do not believe that He has said that we are to be with Him for ever and that He will have His throne on earth, ruling the nations. [Rev 21:1-3]
Some believe in what they call 'The Rapture'. This word is not found in the Bible but has been introduced to give a superlative meaning to the statement: 'to be caught up to meet The Lord in the air, to be for ever with The Lord'. The Scriptures describing this Hope, written by Paul in his letters to the Thessalonians, are to be fulfilled when Christ Himself returns to Earth to reign at the end of the 70 week period prophesied by Daniel. This hope is not imminent as many believe because this period is yet to recommence, to continue for the remaining 455 years, thus completing the 490 years as reported by Daniel: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy People and upon The Holy City.
The period of Last Days was postponed in 62ad after only 65 years and will not recommence until God begins to act again in his relationship with the Jews. In the mean time, we who are experiencing this present period of The Silence of God, have a Hope which is appropriate to it. This Hope is based upon the statement of Christ to Thomas: 'Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed'.
During this present period, there is nothing to be pointed to as an act of God, contrary to the erroneous beliefs of the Pentecostal Movement. He is totally silent. His personal relationship to the Christian is by His Spirit enlightening His Word. His Spirit's work is secret and untraceable. This period is revealed only by those Scripture documents related to it. It is therefore in those documents that we find our Hope described so: When Christ, who is our Life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory. No statement of Resurrection because we are identified with Christ in His resurrection [Eph.2:6]. Our Life is hid with Christ in God, that is our Eternal Life is now, awaiting the appearance of Christ.
This appearance of The Christ, which will enlighten the minds of all men then living, will be the foundation upon which God will establish His Kingdom in Israel, and then when He becomes personally present, throughout the world. It occurs when His silence is ended and He again enters the affairs of mankind.
Christ, having enlightened mankind, will set His Throne in Heaven and rule over Israel by His servant, King David and over the nations by His sevant, King Nebuchadrezza
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