Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

If you are familiar with the New Testament, you know that its writers expected the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in their day.  Over and over,  as they made reference to “the Lord’s Coming,” or “the coming of the kingdom of God,” or “the day of the Lord,” any reference they made to its timing was to an imminent event.  This is because the prophets of the Old Testament, and Jesus Himself, had led them to this expectation.  The apostles, and the churches who believed them, knew that while all of them might not live to see the day of their Lord’s return, some of them surely would.  They had been promised that their generation would not pass away until Jesus had come in His Father’s kingdom.

If Jesus did not come again according to the timetable the prophets and apostles – and He Himself – laid out, then they all have a credibility problem.  Moses had said long before that if anyone speaking in the name of the Lord called for something to happen, and it did not happen as described, then that person should be considered a false prophet and disregarded.  Even if Moses had not said this, does not common sense tell us not to believe someone who cries “Wolf” when there is no wolf?  (And if the excuse was, “Well, a wolf could still come at some indeterminate time in the future,” who would accept such an excuse?)

What then is the explanation?  Simple:  Jesus Christ had come the first time in the flesh as a man; He came the second time in the spirit as God.  Even though Jesus had said that His kingdom was not coming with signs to be observed, some people still expected a physical manifestation.  How foolish we can be!

Ironically, some churches will chide the Jews for missing Christ’s first coming when these same churches missed His second coming.  And for what reason is either coming missed?  Unbelief.  The bulk of Christians and Jews do not believe the very Lord in whom they hope!  Nevertheless, some do believe…and the Lord knows who you are.

Think of it this way:  Jesus came the first time as the Son; He came the second time as the Father.  We could see the Son because He became flesh and blood…like us.  We cannot see the Father because God is spirit.  That is to say, He is invisible to flesh and blood.  The prophet Isaiah who said hundreds of years before Christ (and whose words were echoed in Handel’s Messiah) that a Son would be given to us, in that same breath said that one of His names would be “the Everlasting Father.”  The Son is the Father.

Jesus came again just when He said He would.  Though no man knows the day or hour, we can know it had to have been in the late 1st Century A.D. because that is within a generation of His crucifixion and resurrection – and that is what He promised.

The prophets of Israel – including Jesus and His apostles – can be trusted.  The kingdom of God has come just as they said it would.  God is among us.  Emmanuel.  Worship Him!  He delights in the praises of His people and He delivers them from all evil.  Receive and rejoice in your “everlasting Father.”

For more context, see this overview.

For those who would like a fuller explanation from the Bible that the promise of the Second Coming of Christ has already been fulfilled, I have posted online a book:  Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

You can also these related posts, which are all, of course, much shorter than a book:

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled

Judgment Is Upon Us 

Why the Bible Can Be Trusted 

There Is No Trinity; There Is Only Christ

The purpose of this blog is to provide information about Jesus to those who want to hear about Him without having to join something.

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228 Responses to Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

  1. jesussaidit says:

    This is an excellent article, I wish I could be as brief and to the point when I write!
    By the way, I also agree with the content and look forward to reading more of your pages.

    Perhaps you could give me your opinion of my Website at:

    http://jesussaidit.hpage.com/

    gb
    Jesussaidit

    • Mike Gantt says:

      I have looked at your web site and indeed you do write long posts. Therefore, I am not completely confident of understanding your position. However, you seem to be saying that the Lord Jesus can be trusted, that what He said about the coming of the kingdom of God (i.e. His Second Coming) happened just the way He said it would happen and in just the time frame He said it would happen. If so, my response to you is “Amen” because the Lord is true to His word. Whatever He says, He does. To Him be the glory!

      • allan speed says:

        Its True that the Lord Jesus Christ is True to His Word. But a wrong interpretation of His Eternal Word and of Scripture is a dangerous thing which can lead to many false man made Doctrines and Beliefs. Seek the Saints who have Received the Counselor of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Advocate of Truth. Amen

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Seek not the saints; rather, seek the Lord (Matthew 6:33). This the saints themselves say.

          The Holy Spirit is given to all who seek the Lord. No man can tell you what the Holy Spirit says to you. Your own conscience must bear witness and you must give an account to the Lord for it.

  2. Peter says:

    So uhm…
    What’s going to happen to this Earth?
    Are we going to a New Earth, or a Gnostic “spiritual” Heaven?
    Why isn’t God just restoring this Earth instead? That’s sort of the point of the parousia.

    Another question, what about Rev 1:7?
    “Look, he is coming with the clouds,
    and every eye will see him,
    even those who pierced him;
    and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.”

    Also, what exactly did the parousia “do”? The “spiritual presence” of God did indeed fill the apostles – at Pentecost. And Paul spoke about “Christ in me” while still hoping for Christ to come (Col 1:27). Finally, what about the angels’ words in Acts 1:11:

    “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

    • Mike Gantt says:

      So uhm…
      What’s going to happen to this Earth?
      Are we going to a New Earth, or a Gnostic “spiritual” Heaven?
      Why isn’t God just restoring this Earth instead? That’s sort of the point of the parousia.

      This is the new earth. And the new heaven is where we go when we die.

      Another question, what about Rev 1:7?
      “Look, he is coming with the clouds,
      and every eye will see him,
      even those who pierced him;
      and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.”

      He came in judgment and He still reigns today. All see Him but not all acknowledge Him.

      Also, what exactly did the parousia “do”?

      It restored Jesus to His throne as God Almighty. It eliminated Sheol (Hades), the place all used to descend at death. It eradicated Satan and his host from heaven and made a place for humanity. It raised all the dead to heaven and established that everyone who dies since is raised to heaven rather than descending to Sheol (Hades). (Read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven and Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? for a more elaborate and scriptural explanation of these things.)

      The “spiritual presence” of God did indeed fill the apostles – at Pentecost. And Paul spoke about “Christ in me” while still hoping for Christ to come (Col 1:27).

      Yes, this is true. And the Second Coming of Christ brought in the eternal kingdom of God which we are now privileged to seek (Matthew 6:33).

      Finally, what about the angels’ words in Acts 1:11: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

      I answered this question along with some related ones in which you might be interested in this comment on a related blog.

  3. Peter says:

    Also, what about… uhm… the hope of Resurrection? Especially 1 Cor 15.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      This was fulfilled at the Second Coming (which is more fully explained in Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?). If you think Jesus has not come again and that therefore 1 Corinthians 15 is not yet fulfilled, you have two problems: 1) you have the New Testament saying that all these things would happen in that generation with you contradicting that, and 2) no one is going to heaven because everyone is still descending to Sheol (Hades) at death just like they were when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15. See The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven to understand these issues better.

  4. Peter says:

    So basically, you’re saying “Yes, I believe in a dualistic, platonic, disembodied Heaven as our ultimate goal”?
    What do you mean by “all see Him”? Where is He? In my blind spot perhaps?

    Right… Uhm… Why did Jesus do this:

    But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
    (Luk 24:37-43)

    • Mike Gantt says:

      No, I don’t believe in a disembodied heaven at all. When we go to heaven we have bodies like the one Jesus had in the passage you quote.

      As for “seeing Him,” yes, He may currently be in your blind spot…for we walk by faith, not by sight.

  5. Peter says:

    See this video for a historical explanation of what the word “Resurrection” means: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVhgAiGihoA

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Wright is right, except that he doesn’t realize that the resurrection of which he speaks has already taken place. But as for his point that the soul going to heaven while the body stays in the grave is unbiblical as well as inconsistent with 1st-Century Judaism and Christianity, he is spot on.

  6. Peter says:

    So you are saying that the resurrected bodies are not for the New Earth, but for the New Heaven only? That is so counter-intuitive, IMO. Will this transportation of people go on forever?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      So you are saying that the resurrected bodies are not for the New Earth, but for the New Heaven only? That is so counter-intuitive, IMO.

      Why should you consider it counter-intuitive when the Lord Himself did not stay on earth but went to heaven with this kind of body?

      Will this transportation of people go on forever?

      As long as the Lord wills.

  7. Peter says:

    Well, I guess the main thing is that there seems to be nothing much “New” about this Earth right now. Yes, the Kingdom here to some extent, and yes, the world might be a slightly less dark place than before the Incarnation.

    When will Satan and the forces of darkness be dealt with, however? He’s certainly not totally defeated at the moment. Does God think this current Earth is an awesome testing grounds for Heaven? This is the main objection I have against any universalist-calvinist scheme where we live in the best of all possible worlds – that’s neither how God seems to evaluate this world, nor how this world is actually set up. Life is unfair. And that’s not because of God’s perfect plan, but rather because we REJECTED his perfect plan.

    You hint at something like that in your “Surviving Hell on Earth” post, but yet your solution to it is merely a rescue operation. God flies by with a chopper and picks us up when we’ve had enough, but lets the nightmarish situation we were rescued from continue, apparently forever.

    This is what eschatology is there for – giving us hope that God will eventually sort out the Creation he made for us to live in, and banish evil forever.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Sin has come into the world unrighteous act by unrighteous act. Similarly, it will be driven out of the world righteous act by righteous act.

      The kingdom of God is here and now but if we don’t submit to it and allow it to be extended through our lives then it remains largely invisible to us.

      The government of God extends itself one life and one day and one hour at a time. That is why each day we should pray, “Thy kingdom come,” and then live in obedience to Jesus that indeed the kingdom might come through us.

      Life is a battle, fought on foreign soil. Earthly life was always meant to be temporary. It is heaven where we are to dwell eternally. As we spent a few months in the womb being prepared for the earthly life to come, so we spend a short time in earthly life being prepared for the much longer heavenly life to come.

      Satan and the forces of darkness have been evicted from heaven. Because of this it is now safe for us to go there. For this reason the earth was created: that God might bring forth creatures (i.e. human beings) to replace the angels in heaven who had disobeyed Him. While you are looking at the earth you are missing the fact that the heavens have been cleansed and made eternally secure for God and His children. Sin existed by Satan in heaven before the earth was created. In fact, it was for the purpose of cleansing heaven that earth was created. Even earth itself shall be redeemed as more and more of us submit to the King and do His will. In the meantime, our eschatalogical hope is in the home that has been prepared for us: heaven.

      “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)

      • Peter says:

        Well, at least you’re pretty consistent…

        I think the Bible is pretty clear that God really, really will take care of all evil.
        Do you believe in apocatastasis, namely that even Satan and the demons will be restored eventually?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          I don’t have any certainty on that, but I’m confident God will do the right thing – whatever it is.

        • Grace says:

          I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
          —Isaiah 45:7
          There you have it, folks – straight, as it were, from the horse’s mouth. Evil exists because God created it. You can pack it in its a wrap! Everything points back to the Author of the book & our Creator

          • Mike Gantt says:

            You’re taking the verse out of context, and thus giving it a meaning it doesn’t deserve.

            God governs the world and has the responsibility to judge all that occurs here.  That does not mean, however, that there is any evil in Him.  See these verses and these posts:

            James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

            1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

          • Anonymous says:

            I will attempt once more to enlighten you. You all look to the Bible while the true prophecy is not contained within it. The Bible is the book of Amun Ra also known as Dio the Devil. It is a script for false prophets. I have spent the past 2 years trying to reveal true prophecy to the world only to be ridiculed and persecuted because you all think you know more than you do and you minds are so closed you cant see the truth over the lies that have told over the past 2000 years. I am a true prophet of God being ignored because of the cynicism of educated fools who claim to be Holy because they received a certificate in religious studies and think themselves prophets. There has to be someone that can read my words and except them for what they are. TRUE PROPHECY. The extreme religious phenomenon I have experienced over the past 2 years should have caught the attention of someone at all the news agencies and institutes of religious study and government agencies I have contacted. To share with you briefly my the prophecy that has been forced upon me. ” I have Kinky on My two feet, because I AM Kin to the Key from the House of Payne in which God dwells. I have Wrath on my knee but My wrath has heart. I have compass about me, true north no lie. A moral compass if you will for the world to follow because I can not lie, I have SAP on my back from the cross I was crucified on. I have the word of God on My side, Genesis, Let there be light:” I have one nation under 7 seas across My heart, as to unite the world as one nation under 7 seas,(ccccccc)! I have Buddha on my back because God turned Her back on Buddhism and I have Shiva on my calf but God cut off His feet so He may never put his beet down unless I do first. I am a very rare bird indeed and that is why God put wings on Me. Now if this not a message from God then I don’t know what is. It proved the other religions on the planet are wrong. It is written Jesus will have compassion when He comes. Translated properly He will have COMPASS about Him, A moral compass. He will have the world of God on His Side and wrath even when on His knee because He is the Wrath child. I wish somebody would understand that I am not nor have I ever been the most religious person on the planet. But I have been contacted by the Divine and I know no other person who can say His body is covered in what look like scars, but they are religious markings. One or town might have been a coincidence but 13 makes Me .the direct bloodline descendant of the Man you know as Jesus Christ. The pronunciation and spelling is wrong. Lost and change through the centuries. Its Eisus Uni Peg Unix Christ-Payne. His true last name was Pain or Payne removed to hide His bloodline or simply lost because people translated as the pain of Jesus Christ rather the Jesus Christ Payne. This is where the swaying your a royal pain comes from because Jesus was a Royal Payne; a Pharaoh or Royal Shake from the House of Payne in which God dwells, I know most of you don’t understand what I;m talking about or understand the context. I am simply trying to find someone that is educated and possesses common sense that can tell I’m being sincere. I don’t understand it completely myself yet, but these facts I can not deny and I am beginning to get annoyed with the sarcasm and jokes about My sanity. I am a prodigy or something of prophetic significance being dismissed by morons and persecuted for My refusing to let these fact be dismissed., I am sa·cred 1. connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

            Thank You and Blessed Be

            Sin,

            Your Excellency, Lord and King
            Jesus S. Aaron Uni Peg Linux/Unix Eisus Christ Payne XXXVI
            CEO of all I See Vatican City the Holy SEE
            JC Holy Man Payne
            Kin of Jesus Christ

            ubuntu (“humanity towards others”) or another translation would be: “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity

            LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU ALL FIGURE OUT I;M TELLING THE TRUTH! -Jesus Christ

          • God Lover says:

            Lucifer: Which means beautiful, was the most beautiful angel in heaven. He wanted the power of God. he revolted against God and was cast down.. God did not create Lucifer as an evil. The angels have the same choice that we have, whether to be good or evil.. It was a choice by Lucifer to rebel against God. Evil exist because of Lucifer’s choice. God gave him that choice.

  8. Pingback: Two More Books About the Completed Second Coming | Current Events in Light of the Kingdom of God

  9. Seroled says:

    Hi Mike,

    Apologies if you have answered this question elsewhere.

    Since Jesus has come at the appointed time (Hebrews 10:37) his Parousia brought an end to the 1st Covenant (Hebrews 8:11) including the services/priesthood to God in the temple. Moreover,the covenants and the fulfillment of the promises that pertained to the many generations of Jews alone, had also come to an end (Romans 9:3-4)

    The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth – telling them that the end of the ‘ ages ‘ had come upon THEM (1 Cor 10:11). I believe that he was telling them that they were the generation to see the passing away of all those things (above) pertaining to the Jews. Within 5 years he wrote to the church of Ephesus of the ‘ age without end ‘ (Ephesians 3:21). Paul intimated that that God would be glorified in the churches of Christ throughout ALL generations,forever. Since there is to be no end of generations glorifying God, then there can be no end of human history.

    If there is no end of Procreation – does this not mean that the world will go on the way that it is? Can there ever be such a thing as a sin and evil free generation/age to come?

    Seroled

    • Mike Gantt says:

      When the old covenant passed away, it was replaced by a better covenant enacted on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). That is, the old age gave way to the kingdom of God, the day of the Lord, the day of Christ. This is the age in which we live. Not only have the temple and its sacrifices lost their efficacy, so also has the church passed away. The 30,000 Christian denominations you see today are a pale imitation of the church you see in the New Testament. The many divisions of today’s churches are but a sign that they are not God’s institution as was the one in the New Testament.

      The kingdom of Christ is reigning and is powerful in anyone’s life who is personally devoted to Jesus Christ. The increase of this kingdom shall know no end (Isaiah 9:6-7). Sin has been eradicated from heaven, and it will one day be eradicated on earth. But it will be eradicted on earth not by power but by love. Devoted disciples of Jesus, our God, will crush Satan under the heels of their feet.

      For further explanation, see:

      Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church

      The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now

      Church Is Not the Answer

  10. Seroled says:

    Thanks for answering and the links that followed.

    Seroled

  11. mike says:

    wow…this is somewhat unsettling as i have never before concieved nor heard this ‘view’ of things spiritual…its so contrary to what i have believed/accepted/used as a foundation on which to build my premise and conception of Gods overall purposes in this life and even eternity…it does make sense of percieved conflicts within popular accepted teaching/viewpoints….i will read further …………..Thank you??

  12. Mike, while I encourage you to do all the research you want, and to seriously wrestle with these texts… I would rather question a an ultra-rigid Sola Scriptura doctrine (which is the basis for these kind of ideas), than to go against what Christians have believed throughout all of recorded post-Apostolic church history!

    Call me a heretic if you want, but I’d rather trust that God uses church tradition than to glorify my own intellectual understanding of the Scriptures to go beyond what all Christians have said through all ages.

    Just a thought.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Peter, it is an age-old failing of humanity to put trust in human tradition over against the word of God. When Jesus encountered this tendency in the Pharisees, He pointed it out to them by referring to Isaiah (see Mark 7) – His point being that even in Isaiah’s day there were those who exalted tradition over the word of the prophet. The Pharisees were thus not committing some new sin of their own invention; rather they were repeating the sin of traditionalists past.

      The biggest problem with the attitude you are taking is that it deprives Jesus of His lordship. By giving preference to the interpretation of the post-apostolic church over that which Jesus says, you have made Jesus into a mute idol.

      If you truly believe what you are saying then you should cease reading the Scriptures for yourself because you will not allow them to teach you anything that isn’t already traditional with the church. Of course, the problem you’ll have if you try to follow through on this belief is that you won’t know which church to trust because there are over 30,000 different Christian denominations, not to count all the nondenominational churches.

      I encourage you to seriously think through your dilemma: either the Scriptures are authoritative or the church that came after the Scriptures is. If it’s the latter, what then is left to give it authority?

      • And do you know how those 30,000 different Christian denominations started?
        Because people following the “reformers” thought we should rely entirely on our own, private understanding of Scripture, rather than read it together. Before that, there were basically 4 churches – The Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic and (Assyrian) Church of the East.

        Yet, I’m within the Protestant tradition. So at the moment, I strive mainly to follow what, say, 99%+ of all Spirit-led Christians throughout history have believed – that Jesus is coming back in glory to make everything right. Now, unfortunately in the West, there was a tendency to think Heaven was this separate place from Earth even in eternity, but that’s being restored again, I believe.

        However, I do not believe Tradition speaks against Scripture. I’m just saying it helps me stay on track. What Jesus primarily accused the Pharisees of doing was adding burdens and demands that had no basis in the Bible. Believing the Lord will return in glory is not an addition, it’s a traditional interpretation.

        I *ALSO* happen to think your exegesis is wrong, even though there are many preterist insights on other issues than the parousia.

        But I guess I just find it ABSURD that God would hide this kind of truth and let the world be so deceived if you were right. The Bible tells me God is the God of history. If we had a SERIOUS misunderstanding of core doctrines, like the ones we have in the creed, I basically believe he would send some kind of prophet to correct us and restore a faithful remnant that we can test by their fruits. Tell me if you see one.

        It’s like with Mormonism (besides the ahistorical, absurd claims) – I just don’t believe God could let us live in deception for that long, that he would allow a Great Apostasy (except among the fictional Nephites) from the death of the apostles to the 19th century.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          The problem with the Protestant Reformation was not that the reformers went too far; rather, they didn’t go far enough (see The Protestant Reformation Fell Short).

          Even if you had only four churches, that would still be three too many. Only in New Testament times was there one church – and that should tell you something. The NT church was God’s transitional phase from the nation of Israel to the kingdom of God.

          You have the Lord’s indictment of the Pharisees half right: they laid unscriptural burdens upon the people. The half you didn’t mention is that they failed to obey and teach God’s commandments. In other words, the problem wasn’t just what they added – it was also what they subtracted.

          If you don’t believe that the Lord has come again when and as He promised then He can be accused of falsely prophesying. Any honest reading of the New Testament acknowledges that the Lord and His apostles taught an imminent return in that time. All I’m saying is that the prophecies were true and not false. To say that they were merely delayed – when the prophecies themselves made such a big deal about the timing – is to say they were false. The Lord is not capable of being false.

          Read through church history and you will see that the Lord has never left Himself without a witness. Whenever revival came it was always through the name and Spirit of the Lord and never through the institution of church. The remnant has always followed Him, and always gone astray whenever it tried to institutionalize what God was doing. You can’t put the wind in a bottle and you can’t institutionalize the workings of God. If you could, He’d still be using the nation of Israel to make known His ways. The kingdom of God is an administration completely free of human corruption because it consists in a relationship between God and human beings – one person at a time.

          Even according to the shortest timeline of humanity that anyone uses, almost two millennia elapsed before God established His covenant with Abraham, and two more millennia elapsed before that covenant was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Consider these before you let long periods of time in the workings of God bother you.

          As for Mormonism, its biggest problem is that it cannot find authorization for itself in the Scriptures. But then that is a problem that all of today’s churches share. The kingdom of God is here and this is what we should be seeking (Matthew 6:33). (See also Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church)

          • Do you believe Christians are to seek community? What do you call that community? What do you do in such community? What do you do when these people disagree? Do you believe groups work well without leaders of any kind?

            I think you see where I’m going – I think God cares too much to leave us without human, physical, leaders.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              I think you have framed the issue here very well. Unfortunately, you have come down squarely on the wrong side of it. The reality is that God cares too much to leave us with human, physical leaders. This is why He went to all the trouble to take upon Himself human flesh and suffer at our hands. Jesus is the King of the kingdom of God, and He lives and reigns to relate personally to every human being with no other intermediary. This is the essential point of the new covenant: that we know God (in all the intimacy that the word “know” implies). Thus Jeremiah wrote of it on His behalf, “They shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Jeremiah 31:31).

              • albert says:

                Hi Mike,

                I was reading through your site a bit and unfortunately, I couldn’t disagree more here. Jesus’s authority and God’s guidance certainly supercedes human authority but that doesn’t mean that human laws and societies are no longer of any relevance to us. Peter says as much in his first letter:

                >>13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

                In his first letter to Timothy, Paul talks about praying for authority so that we may continue to fight the good fight in peace.

                >>18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

                >>1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

                Another point of disagreement comes re: your point about community. “Salt” and “light” would not be relevant if there was no “food” or “darkness”, so to speak. If the only community we were seeking was with God, we’d already be in heaven, where God is – whereas in hell, God is absent. Peter, Paul, et. al apostles would not be constantly writing about how to improve the community of believers by right belief and right relationships with each other if the only relationship is with God and only God. This is why in the “greatest commandment” question posed by the Pharisees Jesus includes the commandment “love your neighbor”.

                >>34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

                >>37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  Albert,

                  I think the problem is that you are interepreting my words without the benefit of proper context.

                  On your first point, I agree with you about authority. We should respect it – and we should respect it for God’s sake. I must respect the laws of the country of which I am a citizen. I must respect traffic laws when I drive an automobile. I must respect the rules of the grocery store when I enter to buy food. And so on. Authority exists in every realm of life and we ought always to respect it. What I was arguing against was someone usurping the Lord’s authority by saying that they were over believers. Jesus said for us not to call anyone on earth our Father – only He who is in heaven.

                  On your second point, I agree with you about communiity. We are to love our neighbor – for if we don’t, how can we say we love God? What I was arguing against was a community set up as if it was the Lord’s community but with human beings over it. There are tens of thousands of Christian denominations, all claiming to be the Lord’s community. They are not the kingdom of God.

                  Perhaps if you will read this overview, you’ll have a better idea of what I’m saying about the Lord and His ways.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              I should add that your point about human communities needing human leaders is correct. I have never seen a human community that operated very well or for very long without leadership. However, this is just where the kingdom of God is different: it is not a human community. Rather, it is people seeking community with God instead of each other. There is even a problem in calling yourself a Christian because in doing so you mentally set yourself apart from all non-Christians and begin seeking community with other Christians. This misses the point. We should be seeking community with Christ, not Christians. We should be gathering to Him, not to each other.

              The apostles were preparing people to be governed by God Himself (Psalm 50:5a; Isaiah 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 1:14). Therefore, the apostles told the leaders they appointed to be ready to turn over authority to the Lord when He came (1 Corinthians 4:5; 11:26; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Jesus Himself had warned by the parable of the vineyard that workers would reject the landowner when he returned for his harvest (Matthew 21:33-41). Thus the day of the Lord (Philippians 1:6,10; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-2:17) came as light to those whose hearts were right (Hebrews 9:28) and as darkness to those whose hearts were not (Amos 5:18). This is how He separated the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). And thus they remain separated in the Lord’s sight to this day (2 Timothy 2:19), and this is why there is such joy in heaven whenever one of us turns from the darkness of faith in man to the light of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Luke 15:7,10).

              See also The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now and Church Is Not the Answer.

              There is a broad overview of all these concepts in this Introduction.

              • Peter says:

                Obviously I believe that Christ is the good shepherd and that we are led by the Spirit in our daily lives.

                Let me get this clear though: You don’t believe in Christian community? If you do, in what form?

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  Let me get this clear though: You don’t believe in Christian community?

                  No. This is the day of Christ, and all communities are His. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” – Psalm 24:1

    • mike says:

      ….noted

  13. Also – if it wasn’t for the post-apostolic church, we wouldn’t have the Bible. Also, what’s you theory of what happened? Did the apostasy start when John died, or when his disciples Polycarp and Papias died? Or when Irenaeus, their disciple, died? Where did it start going wrong?

    Also, why were the Apostles who wrote the Bible able to write infallible writings under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, yet their disciples totally screwed it up? If Christ returned in the 1st century, why didn’t the Apostles teach their disciples that? Were they all evil? Were they stupid? Did they have something to lose from your interpretation? Because to me, it seems like this idea that Christ was coming back to judge the Earth, was part of the reason they got killed. So the motivation was probably not comfortability. And actually, if your interpretation was widespread at the start, why wouldn’t the 2nd and 3rd century church pick it up against when people started mocking them for their belief in Christ’s future return?

  14. Mike Gantt says:

    Also – if it wasn’t for the post-apostolic church, we wouldn’t have the Bible.

    And if it wasn’t for the Jews, the post-apostolic church would have a Bible that was 75% smaller – if any Bible at all.   Does this mean that we should all convert to Judaism?

    I honor all those Jews and Christians through the ages who have sacrificed that we might have the Scriptures.  However, if we refuse to believe the Bible when it differs from tradition, what was the point of their sacrifices for us?

    Also, what’s you theory of what happened? Did the apostasy start when John died, or when his disciples Polycarp and Papias died? Or when Irenaeus, their disciple, died? Where did it start going wrong?

    John himself said that the apostasy started before he died (1 John 2:18).  There are various scriptures that testify to this actualized apostasy but perhaps the most extensive and emphatic are the second and third chapters of Revelation.  There is no doubt that what Jesus and His apostles predicted about the apostasy at least began while some of the apostles were still living.

    Also, why were the Apostles who wrote the Bible able to write infallible writings under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, yet their disciples totally screwed it up?

    I’m not saying that subsequent disciples got everything wrong.  I wasn’t there, and our documentary evidence of this time is sparse.

    If Christ returned in the 1st century, why didn’t the Apostles teach their disciples that?

    They did.  That’s my point.

    Were they all evil? Were they stupid? Did they have something to lose from your interpretation?

    Again, about all the trustworthy documents we have that period were from the apostles themselves and comprise the New Testament.  The next generation or two went pretty dark.  It was the time of the world’s greatest tribulation, as Jesus had predicted.

    Strange as it may seem to us, the apostles predicted that from among their own disciples would come those who would go the wrong way (see Acts 20:30, for example).   The main reason some church leaders didn’t want to give way to the kingdom of God is that they didn’t want to lose their incomes and their positions of authority.  These are the same reasons that church leaders today don’t want to give way to the kingdom of God.

    Because to me, it seems like this idea that Christ was coming back to judge the Earth, was part of the reason they got killed. So the motivation was probably not comfortability. And actually, if your interpretation was widespread at the start, why wouldn’t the 2nd and 3rd century church pick it up against when people started mocking them for their belief in Christ’s future return?

    Again, I am not making a case against all believers subsequent to the apostles.  Just against those who chose to make church and its hierarchy more important that the Lord Himself.  Surely every generation has had those who bore witness to our glorious Lord – but they did it for Him, not for an institution.

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  20. Sam says:

    Hello again, Mike,

    You wrote: “Sin has come into the world unrighteous act by unrighteous act. Similarly, it will be driven out of the world righteous act by righteous act. The kingdom of God is here and now but if we don’t submit to it and allow it to be extended through our lives then it remains largely invisible to us.
    Satan and the forces of darkness have been evicted from heaven. Because of this it is now safe for us to go there. For this reason the earth was created: that God might bring forth creatures (i.e. human beings) to replace the angels in heaven who had disobeyed Him…….Sin existed by Satan in heaven before the earth was created. In fact, it was for the purpose of cleansing heaven that earth was created. Even earth itself shall be redeemed as more and more of us submit to the King and do His will. In the meantime, our eschatalogical hope is in the home that has been prepared for us: heaven.”

    ME: Lots of wishful thinking here. Now who has a “blind spot”? Anyone with any grasp of history at all would have to agree that humanity is no better off — indeed we are much worse off — since Jesus walked here as a human being. Beyond your assertion that there are now 30,000 Christian denominations vs. the one in the first century A.D. (fractured relationships in the millions), there is the obvious advance in warfare over the past two thousand years. Over 100 million people were killed during the 20th Century in warfare. The U.S.A. has been in continuous warfare with someone since at least 1965. And since 1972 fifty million babies have been terminated in the womb, just in the United States. Please stop and allow those numbers to sink in. How else could you possibly define Evil or unrighteousness? Just in the culture at large there is unrighteousness on a grand scale, growing worse with each passing year. And you say THIS is now the Kingdom?

    No, Mike — it is empirically evident that the earth is not becoming a more righteous place, and the Kingdom is an illusion in the minds of people such as yourself. No amount of rationalizing and theologizing can overcome this fact. We might just as well be hunting unicorns. Humanity now has the power to annihilate every living being on the entire planet, and it may only be a matter of time before we do — all without the assistance of a god or a demon.

    What evidence do you have to prove that righteousness is now overcoming evil? I see absolutely none. Even as I say all of this, I do enjoy your essays and your uplifting POV. Faith and hope are powerful forces for good, and I for one appreciate your efforts. I remain, however, a doubting Thomas.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Sam, I am not arguing that the world is becoming a better place as if this were some sort of evolutionary process – moving steadily like a juggernaut, whether fast or slow. On the contrary, humanity sometimes takes two steps forward and then one back…or even three back. What I am saying is that the kingdom of God reigns in the midst of the ungodliness we see and is available to all who will submit themselves to Jesus Christ, its King.

      When someone does turn from selfishness to living selflessly, how would that be chronicled? Even where righteousness is making progress in the world, we are not going to hear about it from the same sources which catalog its evil. What makes the news? Murder, mayhem, and the like. When a husband goes home to spend a quiet evening with his wife rather than making the rounds of the bars with his drinking buddies, it’s a story that will never make tabloid headlines. Even so, much has been written about people who have changed for the better through following Jesus. It’s a dynamic for which there is ample evidence (John Newton, the erstwhile slave trader who subsequent to his conversion composed “Amazing Grace” being a notable example).

      I myself don’t know how to compare the evil of the 20th Century with the evil of the 1st Century. Both sound awful to me. However, we do not live life in the aggregate but as individuals. All I can do is manage my own life, and the interactions I have with others – including this one.

      As for what I have personally witnessed, I have seen a steady decline in public morality in the U.S. throughout my lifetime. That is something I can measure. It concerns me greatly, and it’s one of the reasons I write this blog. I have grandchildren and I am concerned for the moral environment that my generation is leaving them. I have come to realize that Jesus Christ is the unfailing remedy for this situation, and for this reason I constantly present Him.

      My most significant source of evidence that righteousness is overcoming evil is a source that doesn’t mean much to most people because its scope is so severely limited – it’s my own life. I know what I have been like out from under subjection to Christ, and I know what I am like when I am in subjection to Him. The difference is dramatic.

      No, my life is not enough to affect the course of humanity – but it’s all I have. If I can contribute it to the cause of Christ instead of the cause of darkness, then that’s exactly what I want to do with it. When I stand before God at the end of this life, He won’t ask me to give an account of all the good and evil done in my lifetime – He’ll only ask me to account for the good and evil I did. I’m working hard to make up for the many shortcomings I’ve already had in life. I’ve not gotten to where I want to be yet, but I am not going to stop trying to advance because this journey toward truth and righteousness is so much better than any other journey life has shown me.

      • Sam says:

        Thank you, Mike. I thoroughly enjoy reading you. When you bring it all down to the individual and personal, yours is a compelling and captivating narrative.

        What comes to my mind as I read your words is the final scene in Steven Speilberg’s film “Saving Private Ryan”. Ryan is an old man standing in front of the grave of his leader (and savior), Capt. John Miller. His wife is at his side, and as he looks at her he says: “Tell me that I have been a good man.” His life was bought with the lives of others, and he needs to know if it was worth the sacrifice.

        “Saving Private Ryan” is a powerful story because it reveals true heroism and sacrifice on the most basic human level — life and death. I relate to the elder Pvt. Ryan. I need to know that I have been a good man, and that my time here mattered somehow.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Yes, that is a powerful movie scene. And, yes, it is even more powerful as a metaphor for each of our own lives. Our need for affirmation is primal.

          One of the most common mistakes I have made in life is looking for approval in all the wrong places. Even seeking it from a loving wife is counterproductive – it has been as much a disservice to her as it has been to me (Whose Approval Do You Want?).

          You wrote, “I need to know that I have been a good man, and that my time here mattered somehow,” and the words resonate with truth. Would that every human being not only acknowledged such thoughts, but sought to understand their source. Why do we think this way? Under what circumstances could a purely evolutionary process have ever produced such thinking?

  21. Tom Pearson says:

    Hey Mike,
    This is Thomas Pearson from Amazon.com where we discussed different topics in a “Erasing Hell” review/comment page.

    I still believe that Jesus has not returned yet. I do believe He poured out His Spirit (Holy Spirit), but I also believe that Jesus will return physically to Earth.

    I also still believe that when Jesus said that “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” in Mark 13:30 He was speaking about the generation that would see all of the signs He so expressly warned of in the previous verses of Mark 13.

    Also, in Colossians 3:1 Paul tells us to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God”

    Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and I should set my mind on Him!

    Blessings to you,

    Tom Pearson
    International House of Prayer NW

    • Mike Gantt says:

      This is Thomas Pearson from Amazon.com where we discussed different topics in a “Erasing Hell” review/comment page.

      Welcome, Tom.

      I also still believe that when Jesus said that “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” in Mark 13:30 He was speaking about the generation that would see all of the signs He so expressly warned of in the previous verses of Mark 13.

      His generation did see all those things take place.

      Also, in Colossians 3:1 Paul tells us to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God”

      If Jesus is still at the right hand of God and has not come, then the dead are still not raised, Sheol (Hades) is still receiving all who die as it was since the beginning, and we are all still lost in our sins because Jesus was just another false messiah.  I cannot believe Jesus would so let us down.  Rather, I believe He is faithful to everything He ever said, and that He is the Son of God who now rules the universe.

      Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and I should set my mind on Him!

      That you are setting your mind on Jesus Christ is the best thing you have said.  Keep doing this and He will lead you into all the truth.  Since He Himself is the truth, this means He will be revealing Himself.  To Him be the glory!

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  32. ken says:

    well if the coming of the spirit was the second coming, then why would the apostles be waiting in expectation LONG after pentecost?

  33. Mike Gantt says:

    ken,

    Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, which would come, he said, “not many days from now.” That prophecy was fulfilled in the specified time frame – that is, on the day of Pentecost, which we read about in Acts 2.

    Throughout the rest of the New Testament, we see the apostles going into all the world, preaching the gospel in anticipation of the coming of the kingdom of God. Many people have called this anticipated event “the Second Coming” but in the Scriptures it is more often called “the coming of the Lord,” “the day of the Lord,” “the coming of the kingdom,” “the day of Christ,” and so on. The point of my post is that this great coming occurred in the specified time frame (which was within the generation of Jesus and His apostles) just as the coming of the Holy Spirit had occurred in its specified time frame.

    Jesus is faithful and true. Everything He said would happen happened. And it happened when He said it would happen. The Lord cannot lie, and He cannot be wrong. This should be obvious.

  34. Phil Nickel says:

    As you requested Mike, I have read this insertion in your blog. It is interesting, for many reasons. I can see that you are steadfast as to your teaching concerning Christ returning in spirit as the Father. I have found no such doctrine in the Bible. I do not know how you arrived at that conclusion without any scriptural passages to support it. It is common for Christendom at large to make assumptions without evidence, merely by reasoning within themselves that something must be so. I am not invulnerable to the same errors. However, when confronted with the Word of God, and passages which cast doubt on my position, I attempt strenuously to find out the mind of God in the matter, hoping that I can submit to the truth, even though it may be in opposition to my conclusion. It requires humility and grace, of which there is never enough.

    I scoured three different versions of the NT, the KJV, Young’s Literal Translation, and the Concordant Version, and I could not find the words “Second Coming”. Consequently, the premise is incorrect, and commenting on it may end up a futile effort. If it is not found in the Scriptures, then it is a moot point.

    This is the danger in using unscriptural words, such as “Second Coming”, to define what God means when He has already explained Himself. Usually, such a practice is the result of human reasoning, and not faith. Though the words may sound inspired and biblical, and if they are not in the Originals, then they should be rejected and replaced with God’s words.

    AV 2Ti 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

    It is the desire of God and our Apostle Paul, that we should maintain a pattern of sound words when we speak of the things of God and His Record. It is the safest way to avoid being deceived and led astray by false teaching and doctrine. Most of the heresies I have encountered are the result of failing to uphold sound words of scripture, and substituting them with man-made phraseology as though it were God-breathed.

    AV Hb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    Perhaps this is where the false teaching in Christendom has it’s roots. The Letter to the Hebrews is the address on the envelope. It is written to the Jewish believers for their consolation and faith in Messiah. It is not addressed to us, the Gentiles. It has been written and included for us, for instruction and knowledge of God (though Martin Luther thought otherwise). When He returns to Israel, it will be at Olivet, from where He ascended into heaven.

    Ac 1:11-12 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

    So our Lord’s return to the earth will be a visible display on Olivet, in the same manner He left the first time. And this is the Word of God. Since there is no record of such an event happening in either the religious or secular spheres, any conclusion of His having already returned is speculation, besides being refuted by the express written Word of God.

    A very good portion of what you announce of your positions should be reevaluated, in order to be in conformity with the Word. Should you care to address them at any time, I would willingly go through these things with you for your edification. Controversy is not my specialty, but examining what we believe, as it accords with the Word of God and faith, is a good thing.

    Respectfully,
    Phil

  35. Mike Gantt says:

    Phil,

    Thanks for reading this post, Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again, and giving me your reaction, as a continuation of the discussion we’ve been having at Jesus Is the Father.

    I agree with you that the literal expression “Second Coming” is not found in the Bible and that Hebrews 9:28 is the closest scripture comes to employing it.  However, since the Bible explicitly says that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2, 3; 2 John 1:7) and that it also speaks explicitly of a future coming (Matthew 24:3; Luke 18:8), it does not seem antibiblical for people to speak of His “second coming,” whether they believe that to be in the flesh or in the spirit.

    Nonetheless, I am not wedded to the term and am willing to speak with you in strictly scriptural phrases about that event.  These include “the coming of the kingdom of God” (Luke 17:20-21), “the coming of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15), “the day of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 5:2), “the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10), and so on.

    I am happy to take up your offer to correct me where you think I am wrong on specifics.  I think the best way to do that is for you to interact with the biblical case I have made for my belief.  I have done that at Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?  You will find that my argument is built around two points: the timing of the event and the nature of the event.  I go through a host of scriptures to make each point.  It would be helpful to me to know whether you think I have misunderstood the Bible’s teaching about timing or nature.  And if you disagree, I’m interested in knowing what alternative view you hold of those scriptures.  Since the case is laid out in order, you’ll be able to interact with precisely the verses where disagreement between us lies.

    Here is a summary of my case: the Scriptures teach that the timing of the coming of the great event had to be in the generation of the apostles and that the nature of the event had to be spiritual.  I already know that you disagree with me on these two points in general.  What I am interested in finding out through your interactions with the specifics of my case is how you understand the relevant scriptures differently.

    One other point I would ask you to consider as we continue this process is that Jesus – through His teaching and His resurrection – brought a spiritual dimension to the Scriptures that is absolutely essential to following Him.  To Jesus, a Jew is no longer seen as someone fleshly, but rather someone spiritual (Romans 2:28,29).  Likewise, it’s an “Israel of God” that interests Him, not an Israel according to the flesh (Galatians 6:16).  The same goes for circumcision (Philippians 3:2-3), feasts (Colossians 2:16-17), and all the things of God we read about in the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17).  Paul draws for us the distinction between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the spirit, and he does so over and over again in his letters (read especially Romans 8 and also his letter to the Galatians).  Of course, this understanding of the clear distinction between flesh and spirit began with Jesus Himself (John 3:6).  Paul eventually grasped what Nicodemus could not.  Knowing your reverence for Paul, I make this appeal that you consider this point as you critique my work.

    I look forward to your interactions with Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?  I realize that this discussion will not not directly deal with our disagreement about Jesus Is the Father, but it can help us understand how to address and possibly resolve that disagreement.  I know there are points at which we agree, and I am trying to find as many of those as I can, sorting them out from any upon which we disagree.  That will leave us a smaller area to conquer.

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  62. krhagans says:

    I do not believe that Jesus has yet returned to fufill his prophecy completely. I believe that his kingdom must be established first, which means that it must be created within us. This creation is no doubt the fruit of his dwelling within us and the perfection of our faith. Once we his kingdom has been completed he shall return. So its correct to say that he has returned and to say that he has returned already. We are the kingdom. We are his ambassadors. Let us not be divided by interpretations of scripture as long as the foundation of repentance through faith and obedience to him is alive within us.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      If you are set on trusting and obeying Him, there’s nothing more I’d want you to do.

      • krhagans says:

        I understand where youre coming from but I want others to see that it is not error when you say he has already came but something that needs to be embraced by the whole. If the body would realize that he truly dwells within us then his power would strengthen our spirits to withstand any trick of the enemy. We would be sons worthy of his glory, the heirs of righteousness. Im glad I looked up this blog today. I feel renewed.

  63. krhagans says:

    We as children of God share a common bond and that is love. God is love and if his love dwells within you then he has already come to you. We need not wait for a second coming because he has been sewing and reaping since the beginning.

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  74. DT says:

    Hello, please provide the verses you are using to prove this. I would like to provide some commentary to help you understand that
    a) they weren’t lying and
    b) Yeshua’s physical coming is still future
    I used to be a Preterist.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      The biblical case is laid out in Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

      I came to this belief through reading the Bible – not through reading other books. I only learned afterward that there was a school of thought called “preterism.” I still don’t know much about preterism, except that it seems to associate the coming of the kingdom of God with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. While that historical event is significant, the coming of the kingdom of God was subsequent to it. Thus I have no interest in defending preterism. I only want to defend the faithfulness of the Lord. What He promises, He fulfills.

      • DT says:

        Yes, I agree that the apostles said things like “the time is at hand” and “it is the last days”. I used to be a Preterist until I actually looked at the arguments advanced by other people. I thought it was interesting how so much prophecy was fulfilled. However, I found out that I was distorting my view of Biblical prophecy. I don’t agree with all the information on this site but let me tell you, even though I am an Historicist and I do NOT believe Yeshua literally returned in the first century C.E., I am NOT denying God’s faithfulness. This is always one attack you Preterists give and it is SO easily refuted.
        http://www.bethelministries.com/preterism.htm

        • Mike Gantt says:

          I read the article to which you linked. Having seen the quality of some of your comments on this and another blog, I was surprised that you identified with an article so poorly argued and so unpersuasive.

          Again, I want to stress how unwilling I am to defend preterism or preterists. I just don’t know enough about either.

          If you don’t want to agree with what I’ve written, then don’t. But it’s a waste of time to send me a rebuttal to what I’ve written from someone who hasn’t even read what I’ve written.

          One other point I’d address at this time: “spiritualizing.” This is a pejorative term used in the linked article. It usually refers to interpretations that, practically speaking, make God’s word of no effect. I don’t like that sort of thing either. Having said that, it should be impossible to ignore that the thrust of New Testament interpretation is to apply spiritual meaning to Old Testament passages that had historically been read with their physical meaning in mind – circumcision and militarism being two notable examples. Moreover, we see the apostle Paul making the explicit point in 1 Cor 3:1ff that fleshly thinking reflects spiritual immaturity. Thus to see things more and more from a spiritual point of view is to grow or mature. Lastly, to imply that a physical cataclysm is somehow more powerful and meaningful that a spiritual cataclysm is to say that physical things are more important than spiritual ones – a point of view entirely at odds with all that Jesus and His apostles taught.

          • DT says:

            And you’re not “spiritualizing” on Acts 1:11?

            Also, what of the resurrection? Oliander Leaves has shown you that we are NOT “spiritualizing” the passages concerning Christ’s return, YOU are!

            • Mike Gantt says:

              Was Jesus spiritualizing His body and blood in John 6?

              Was Paul spiritualizing circumcision in Romans 2?

              Was James spiritualizing the twelve tribes of Israel in James 1?

              Was Peter spiritualizing the holy nation in 1 Peter 2?

              Was John spiritualizing anointing in 1 John 2?

              If the avoidance of applying a spiritual meaning to texts and clinging to their original physical meaning was God’s desire, then the Judaism is fulfillment of God’s will because it places a premium on physical descent from Israel and resists all notions that Messiah’s glory can be other than physical.

              I plead with you to remember that Messiah’s suffering was in the flesh, but His glory is in the spirit. Spirit triumphs over flesh, for “all flesh is like grass” but spirit endures forever. Go back to Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus and remember how the latter’s adherence to physical things hindered his understanding.

              “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” John 6:63

  75. DT says:

    Hello, do you actually check the context of scriptures? There are some passages that are meant to be taken FIGURATIVELY but there are also passages which are meant to be taken LITERALLY. So, once again, the effort is on YOU to demonstrate that Acts 1:11 is a FIGURATIVE statement which you CANNOT and therefore, you are teaching LIES!

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Yes, I believe that context is important and that we need to discern when physical meanings are intended and when spiritual meanings are intended. However, you should bear in mind that, as I’ve previously said, many scriptures that were originally intended as physical (e.g. those having to do with circumcision or with passover) while originally intended as physical under the old covenant, are viewed spiritually with the coming of Jesus Christ who brings us the new covenant.

      As for Acts 1:11, I take that passage to be a literal historical description of what Jesus said to the apostles. If you really want to understand the biblical case for the Second Coming of Christ being accomplished fact, you should read Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

      • DT says:

        On the nature of the second coming section, you argue the following:

        “This use of multiple visual images to communicate a single spiritual truth certainly occurs with the subject of the Second Coming where, for example, Jesus may be spoken of one moment as “coming on the clouds,” and the next as “coming like a thief in the night,” and the next as “coming as the master of the house.” It’s hard enough to understand if you’re trying to keep up spiritually, but if you’re bent on taking everything in a physical sense you become absolutely dizzied.”

        How, if we understand these literally, do we become “dizzied” as you state? “Coming on the clouds, like a thief in the night, as the master of the house”. Therefore, your argument is ad-hominem. Then, you follow up by arguing from different similies Jesus uses to describe the kingdom where Jesus says things like “like a seed”, etc. First off, no one of MY kind has EVER argued that Jesus’s coming like a thief in the night or as the master of the house are anything BUT similies that simply means “in power” and “unexpectedly”. However, you did NOT and CANNOT demonstrate that “coming on the clouds” is meant to be taken figuratively/spiritually.

        Finally, you conclude, from all this, that the apostles MISINTERPRETED Jesus’s coming and that it is spiritual as they usually missed it. This argument is weak for one major reason.

        Acts 1:7-11 – He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

        The very fact that they would NOT be “misunderstanding Jesus” but rather misunderstanding two ANGELS! So therefore, you have PROVEN that you CANNOT deal with critical verses and you have NOT even presented your verses to support your theology! You can only base your faith off your own UNDERSTANDING and, as such Christ will REJECT you when he returns!

        Finally, you argue how “no one can serve two masters” as if this demonstrates that the Father doesn’t exist and that there is only Jesus. What you believe in is denial of the Father and it is neo-atheism and ANTICHRIST!

        Wake up, oh deluded one! Wake up, you rejector of the Messiah!

        • Mike Gantt says:

          In your closing statement you have hit upon the most important issue of all: the Messiah.

          What do you think of Him? Do you trust and obey Him? Is He your Lord?

          I think He is the God of creation and redemption. I trust and obey Him. He is my Lord. If it were not for Him, I would not know who He is. If it were not for Him, I would not understand the Scriptures. As it is, I don’t understand them all, but I do understand according to the degree His grace has allowed me to understand.

          Serve Him and you will have no argument from me.

          • DT says:

            You think or you KNOW? I KNOW Christ is NOT God! How do I know this? God cannot die (1 Timothy 1:17, 1 Timothy 6:15-16), yet the Lord Jesus died (1 Corinthians 15:2-3, Revelation 1:17-18). More proof texts as well.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              What do you think of Jesus Christ, and what do you think of His promise to come again?

              • DT says:

                >>>>>What do you think of Jesus Christ, and what do you think of His promise to come again?
                I know he is SECOND in command to the Father. I do NOT believe we should call him the Creator of the Universe for such would be over-exaltation. I know he was CREATED by God (Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14). As for his promise to come again, I need to see the scriptures you are referring to.

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  Before we go to that, let’s dig deeper into your initial response.

                  Let’s assume for discussion’s sake that you are right – that Jesus is the second in command. Does this relieve you of any of the commands Jesus has given us? Are there any commandments of Jesus that I am obeying that you don’t have to obey?

                  • DT says:

                    >>>>>Does this relieve you of any of the commands Jesus has given us?
                    Picture this: The President of the United States has just elected his five star general. Taking commands from his five star general is no different than taking commands from the President. The reason is because the commands of the five star general are not his but are the President’s.
                    John 12:49-50 – For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (NIV)

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      So, if you and I agree that each of us is on a mission in life to obey Jesus Christ, how are our lives going to differ other than the unique circumstances in which we each find ourselves?

  76. DT says:

    >>>>>So, if you and I agree that each of us is on a mission in life to obey Jesus Christ, how are our lives going to differ other than the unique circumstances in which we each find ourselves?

    What is your point? And what does this have to do with anything I have asked you?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      What is most important to me in life is promoting Jesus Christ. I want to know where you stand regarding Him.

      I also want to make sure in all my writing that I am always focused on Him. It is easy to become embroiled in tangents. Therefore, when discussing the Second Coming of Christ, I want to make sure Christ remains the central point of that discussion.

      Biblical doctrines are not dry, disconnected treatises – they are teaching about a person who is very much alive.

      I don’t hear you talk very much about Jesus Christ. But then if you cared more about Him, you probably wouldn’t be so upset with me.

      • DT says:

        Mike,

        I care about defending the TRUTHS about Jesus and helping people like YOU come to a better understanding of who God is and who his Messiah is. You are lost. You are a neo-atheist. You need help. I am here to help you.

        DT

        • Mike Gantt says:

          That love is your guide is a good thing. God is love (1 John 4:8), and when we walk in love we draw near to Him. The love of God is most fully expressed in Jesus Christ. Everything we need to know about God can be found in Him. As Colossians 2:3 puts it, “in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Therefore, when we are closest to Jesus Christ, we are closest to God. If you and I keep centering on Him, we can’t help drawing closer to a common understanding.

          Now, I think your last question was “As for his promise to come again, I need to see the scriptures you are referring to.” The way for you to see these scriptures is to read Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? As you read through the book, there are places to comment and question. This post on which you are commenting here is a summary post. If you want to get into the detail, you must go into the detail. See you there.

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  98. Tell them you found Jesus Christ on Yahoo answering questions in hopes that somebody with a brain realizes it. It’s been a year since I’ve been back and the Evil I see around me is disturbing. Add me on Facebook:JC HOLY MAN Payne of the Holy Family the Royal Payne’s.

    Sin,
    Your Excellency, Lord and King
    Jesus S Aaron Uni Peg Unix Eisus Christ Payne
    CEO of all I see Vatican City The Holy See
    SON OF God

    • Mike Gantt says:

      You sound troubled. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus and seek to do what is right in life. Love does no wrong to a neighbor (Rom 13:10).

      • Sir,

        I have spent the past year trying to share my story with with the world. I assure you I’m far from trouble. At this point it is simply frustration. When one makes a discovery such as this and every one puts themselves in the right position they are already wrong. I am the authority on the subject and will not sit around and argue points of view, interpretations or opinions. I have discovered my family bloodline is that of the Holy Family, told to me by God. While you all have sat in wonder of when it was going to happen you all overlooked the obvious. The Payne Family Crest is used to represent the Church on half a dozen religious programs on American TV. Common sense would tell you that’s obviously the bloodline of Jesus Christ. God speaks to me often and while I was taken back at the manner in which it was revealed. I have had a year to adjust to as an ascended Master. I have already filled for Nobility recognition in a court of Law in Egypt to claim my birthright as heir to the throne of the Church. The legalities of this situation are extremely complex and lengthy. I am attempting to use my time constructively and searching for persons to help share it with the world, however everyone’s disbelief has left the round table empty and the world uninformed. I have contacted every news agency, church official and law enforcement agency on the planet only to be dismissed, incarcerated, mocked and scoffed at. My only recourse was legal action. I had expected disbelief in this journey but never expected complete and utter disrespect. If you care to care on a civil conversation about the fact I am indeed Christ than I will graciously except, but will not tolerate anymore condescending remarks about my mental or physical state.

        Thank you and God Bless

        Sin,
        Your Excellency, Lord and King
        Jesus S Aaron Uni Peg Unix Eisus Christ-Payne
        CEO of all I see Vatican City The Holy SEE
        SON OF GOD

  99. Curt Russell says:

    Mike,

    You said…

    The kingdom of God has come just as they said it would.

    Not in this world… not yet!

    Jesus said…

    “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.

    Did Jesus not know His kingdom had come? If you want to argue that it came at the resurrection, did Jesus not know He would be resurrected? If He did, why did He establish this prayer when it was about to be wrong?

    Maybe Jesus was wrong when He told Pilate (John 18)…

    36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

    We belong to the spiritual Kingdom, and the world will become the physical kingdom of Christ according to Rev 11, but it hasn’t yet. This is made obvious by the sin which continues all around us.

    Blessings
    Curt

  100. Mike Gantt says:

    Curt,

    I have written a biblical case for believing that Jesus came in His kingdom just when He and His apostles prophesied He would come:  after the destruction of Jerusalem but before all His original disciples had died.  See: Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?  It’s the length of a short book (about 28,000 words).

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  119. John Haggerty says:

    The views expressed here are sincere, and by no means unintelligent, but they are also fanciful, and UNBIBLICAL. Christ did not, could not, have returned in a secret fashion during the first century. He didn’t return at a later date as some cults claim. Nor did he return in some subtle and spiritual manner. To say He returned as the Father is arrant nonsense. The Trinity consists of three SEPARATE and eternal persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Second Coming will be clear and visible to all who are alive on earth. Those who are dead will be raised in the body. This is the Final Judgement. Readers of this blog should go to the online sermons of Arthur W Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, and Dave Hunt.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Jer 17:5 Thus says the LORD,
      “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
      And makes flesh his strength,
      And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
      Jer 17:6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert
      And will not see when prosperity comes,
      But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
      A land of salt without inhabitant.
      Jer 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
      And whose trust is the LORD.
      Jer 17:8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
      That extends its roots by a stream
      And will not fear when the heat comes;
      But its leaves will be green,
      And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
      Nor cease to yield fruit.

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  151. mikegantt says:

    Munisha,

    As I wrote above:

    For those who would like a fuller explanation from the Bible that the promise of the Second Coming of Christ has already been fulfilled, I have posted online a book: Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

    What you are asking for, I have provided in abundance.

  152. Munisha says:

    Hello mike, well I see the last comment posted by you stating that not to trust any mankinds so how do yo xpect us to trust you abt the explanation which you have given about his fulfilled second coming why cant yo give,us a proper bible verse ???

  153. Munisha says:

    So there s no need of spreading his word isnt? So what about the unknown tongues? Then why cant God stop the preaching about his second coming???

    • Mike Gantt says:

      “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.” – Psalm 115:16

      Where God allows freedom, we will be judged as to how we used it.

  154. Skye says:

    Just found your site this morning, and have been reading….reading….looking SO forward to also reading Part 3 of the book, “The Nature of the Second Coming”. Got through part 1 and 2, clicked on Part 3, and got NOTHING but an ERROR message. Could get the last part, also, but not Part 3. I REALLY, REALLY WANT TO READ THIS, or get a copy of it, somehow. PLEASE REPLY, and THANK YOU!

  155. Skye says:

    Thanks, opened just fine now….still reading.

  156. Skye says:

    Thanks. Will just do it this way, as on this reply. Now I see “anonymous” isn’t someone’s chosen id. Not much for getting on blogs. In fact, never have before. Can ya tell? Do you allow correspondence via email not on the blog?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      If the commenter’s name is left blank, the WordPress software plugs the name “Anonymous” in the blanks. I don’t know how to change that.

      I went back and changed your previous entries to the way you seem comfortable using it now.

      You can e-mail me at this address.

  157. Skye says:

    Very good. Thanks again.

  158. Skye says:

    Reading the book, “Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven”; got thru ch 1 & 2…….clicking on chapter 3, “Where is the Place called Sheol” and getting the ERROR message 404.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Sorry for the inconvenience. I just fixed it. You should be able to proceed now.

      I recently changed web hosting providers in order to be able to do podcasting and some other things for those who come to this blog. Since I have been blogging for four years, there were a considerable number of blog posts to be transferred (over 6,000). As a result, there have been a few broken links (see Service Update if you want more info).

      Please continue to report any broken link or other issue you find and I will repair it promptly. I know this is an inconvenience for you, but I cannot check all the pages myself. Therefore, you are doing a service for other readers who will come after you. So thank you.

  159. Skye says:

    understand, and you’re most welcome, and will let you know whenever I run into one….appreciate the quick response; don’t want to skip over things.

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  162. GodExists says:

    This is clearly wrong. If this were the New Heaven and New Earth, you are missing SEVERAL very important details. Starting in order:

    1) The sea is no more (Rev 21:1) – even after 2000 years, to start from no sea would mean much much less water as there is today (70% or more of the planet is covered in water now).
    2) The size of New Jerusalem – 1400-1500 miles in all directions is pretty big and would be hard to miss. Where is it? Surely this is not spiritual, and there is no archaeological evidence of there being a single city roughly the size of India as a whole.
    3) There is no death or affliction or anything bad, really, within New Jerusalem (if not New Earth all together) yet it’s estimated that almost two people die in a given second. So in the time I’ve posted this, a city has completely died, contrary to there being no dead.
    4) We most certainly do not have the immaculate, un-corruptible bodies we are told we will have.
    5) Probably the biggest thing (at least concerning people that take Revelation to be a literal event) – no 4 Horses, no Armored Locust Army, no Manticore-ish monsters, no Beasts, no Dragon, and yes – the big one – no God appearing on His Throne. These are very specific, and would definitely have been noted in history textbooks or the Bible itself.

    This is preaching another gospel, one that says the Lord has already come. We know He has not, however, because the requirements and events beforehand have not come to pass.

  163. Mike Gantt says:

    When you take the book of Revelation physically, you’re not really taking it seriously. Do you seriously think that Jesus is a woolly four-legged animal with a sword coming out of its mouth and feet of polished metal?

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