The Study of Scripture
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.
And on the seventh day God ended His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work that God had created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished . .
. . . And they [contextually, faithful Tribulation saints who had been slain] lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead [contextually, unfaithful Tribulation saints who had been slain] did not live again until the thousand years were finished . . .
they [the faithful slain Tribulation saints] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-6)
The goal, the climactic point toward which the whole of Scripture moves, is seen at the very beginning in the foundational framework (Genesis 1:1-2:3). And this is where one must begin if he is to see and understand the matter correctly.
As seen in previous chapters of this book, Scripture begins with:
1) A Creation (Genesis 1:1).
2) A Ruin of the creation (Genesis 1:2a).
3) A Restoration of the ruined creation covering six days time — six days of restorative work (Genesis 1:2b-25).
4) A following day of Rest — a seventh day, a Sabbath day in which God rested from all His restoration work over the preceding six days (Genesis 2:1-3).
And this sets the pattern for the whole of Scripture that follows. All subsequent Scripture — save for a few brief portions having to do either with matters preceding man’s creation or with matters beyond the Messianic Era — has to do with a subsequent restorative work of a subsequent ruined creation, followed by a day of rest. It has to do with the restoration of ruined man (and the ruined material creation once again), for a purpose revealed at the beginning.
Man, an entirely new creation in the universe, found himself in a ruined state following his eating of the forbidden fruit. And man’s fall not only brought about his own ruin but that of the entire restored creation as well (Genesis 3:6-19). As the federal head, the one created to hold the scepter (Genesis 1:26-28), Adam’s fall “subjected” the whole of the restored creation to “the bondage of corruption,” as Satan’s fall had previously done to the newly created heavens and earth over which he had been placed (Genesis 1:2a; Romans 8:20-22; cf. Isaiah 14:12-17; Jeremiah 4:23-28; Ezekiel 28:14-16).
For Satan though, following his fall, there had been no redemption, leaving both the one who had fallen and the material creation in a ruined state. But things were different for man, which, of necessity, also resulted in things being different for the material creation at this time as well.
Following man’s fall, God provided a means for his redemption, which, correspondingly, necessitated that the material creation ultimately be removed from “the bondage of corruption.” Man, created to rule the restored material creation, was now inseparably linked with this creation, which provides the reason why God cursed the material creation following man’s fall (Genesis 3:17-19).
The material creation had previously been restored for man, not Satan. It had been restored with a view to man rather than Satan holding the scepter and was, from that point forward, connected with man’s destiny. And as man’s fall was inseparably linked to the subsequent ruin of the material creation, so is his redemption inseparably linked to a future restoration of the material creation.
God, in complete accord with the pattern established in Genesis 1:1-2:3, is presently working six more days to restore man. And once man has been restored (once God’s work in man’s redemption has been completed), the material creation will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21). The curse will be lifted, and this will be followed by God resting a seventh day, resting from His redemptive work (as in the established pattern [Genesis 2:1-3]).
God though is not presently working six solar days of twenty-four hours each to effect man’s restoration, as in Genesis 1:2b-25. Rather, He is presently working six days of 1,000 years each. And the seventh day of rest that follows will also be 1,000 years in length (2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-8).
In this respect, the six days of work, with a following seventh day of rest, in the opening two chapters of Genesis (solar days), foreshadow, they typify, six 1,000-year days of work, with a following seventh 1,000-year day of rest. This typical structure would hold true relative to both the time involved (six and seven days) and the events occurring within this time (events in Genesis 1:1-2:3).
Thus, the pattern that God laid down in Genesis 1:1-2:3 forms an overall type (comprised of numerous individual types) upon which the whole of subsequent Scripture, forming the antitype (also comprised of numerous individual types and/or antitypes), rests.
(Though the sun was not restored until the fourth day, all six days of God’s restorative work could only be viewed as solar days. The sun, previously darkened and requiring restoration, was still there during the restorative work of the first three days. And the next three days are clearly controlled by the sun relative to evening and morning comprising a day, which is the identical expression used relative to that which comprised a day for the first three days [vv. 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31]. Thus, there could be no difference in the nature and course of any one of the six days relative to the length of the day or that which constitutes a day.
Refer to Chapters 2-4 in this book for a more detailed exposition of Genesis 1:1-2:3 in relation to the remainder of Scripture.)
Six Days, Six Thousand Years
The necessity of studying Scripture from a typical standpoint cannot be overemphasized; nor can a correct understanding of the opening verses of Genesis be overemphasized. After all, this is the manner in which God structured and established His Word.
As previously seen, a foundational type covering the whole of subsequent Scripture is set forth in these opening verses, and this foundational type is comprised of numerous individual types dealing with various facets of the overall foundational type. And, in order to place the whole of subsequent Scripture in its correct perspective, this opening section of Scripture must be viewed correctly at the outset.
The central thought covered by events during the six days in the type is restoration, with a purpose in view (having to do with the restoration of the ruined material creation, for a revealed purpose). And the central thought covered by events during the 6,000 years in the antitype is exactly the same. It is restoration, with a purpose in view (having to do with the restoration of ruined man, for a revealed purpose). And this restoration, man’s redemption — foreshadowed by God’s work during the complete six days — will include the complete man, spirit, soul, and body (ref. Chapter 4 in this book).
In the type, the material creation was originally restored (complete with plant and animal life) with a view to man inhabiting and ruling the restored domain (cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Isaiah 45:18). Man, created on the sixth day, was to rule the earth — a province in the kingdom of God — in the stead of Satan and his angels.
Then, in the antitype, man’s redemption is for exactly the same purpose. Man is to be redeemed (along with the restoration of the material creation once again), with a view to man ruling the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels.
Thus, the purpose for man’s redemption is exactly the same as the purpose for his creation in the beginning. He was created to rule the restored earth, Satan’s intervention brought about his fall and disqualification, and man’s redemption (being brought about in exact accord with the pattern concerning how God restores a ruined creation in Genesis 1:2b-25) will ultimately bring about a realization of the purpose for his creation in the beginning.
Man is going to rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels, for “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [without a change of mind]” (Romans 11:29). God is not going to change His mind concerning the reason He brought man into existence. And this rule by man is going to be realized after six days, after 6,000 years, which is what is taught in both the type in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the antitype in Genesis 2:4-Revelation 20:6.
Viewing the whole of the matter, one can immediately see how types and antitypes are inseparably connected with any correct study of Scripture, at any point in Scripture. The whole of Scripture (Genesis 2:4ff) is built on a type (Genesis 1:1-2:3). And within that overall type-antitype structure, there are innumerable individual types and antitypes.
All biblical history is typical in nature. There is really no such thing as biblical history being separated from typology. Man may not see the type in a particular historic account, but it’s there nonetheless.
Note 1 Corinthians 10:11 in this respect:
Now all [not part, but ‘all’] these things happened to them as examples [Greek, tupos, types], and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
(Though the context of the preceding verse only deals with a select number of events in the history of the Israelites under Moses, illustrating the point, attempting to restrict typology to the events listed becomes meaningless in the light of other Scriptures bearing on the subject, such as Luke 24:25-27, 44 or Hebrews chapters three and four [reference Chapter 8 in this book].)
Man’s Day, the 6,000 years encompassing the whole of Scripture from Genesis 2:4 to Revelation 19:21, typified by the six days in Genesis 1:2b-31, is looked upon as one age divided into three dispensations. The three dispensations correspond to God’s three divisions of mankind — Jew, Gentile, and Christian. God dealt with the Gentiles for 2,000 years, with the Jews for another 2,000 years (seven years yet remain), and He is presently dealing with Christians for the last 2,000 years of man’s allotted 6,000 years (reference Chapters 5, 6 in this book).
Ages follow ages, and dispensations within the ages follow other dispensations. There is a divine purpose behind the entire sequence, which was foreknown and predetermined in the eternal council chambers of God before the ages even began, with the ages arranged around the preordained work and activity of God’s Son within time covered by these ages (Acts 15:18; Hebrews 1:2).
There are two ages rather than one within the scope of time typified by the seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3. Time typified by the first six days covers one age, and time typified by the seventh day covers another age.
And so it is with dispensations. There are four dispensations rather than three within the scope of time typified by these seven days. Three dispensations cover three 2,000-year segments of time (6,000 years, one age), during which time God deals (relative to redemption) with the three divisions of mankind separately. And the fourth dispensation will cover the last 1,000-year segment of time (a succeeding age), during which time God will deal (redemptively and regally) with the three divisions of mankind together.
Thus, any way one views Scripture — though man is still living during the six days, during Man’s Day, covering 6,000 years — the focus should not be strictly on events during the six days per se but on the purpose surrounding events during the six days, to be realized on the seventh day. One’s focus should always be the same as Christ’s focus at Calvary (who left us “an example,” that we “should follow His steps” [1 Peter 2:21-25]).
Note that which is stated about Christ in this respect in Hebrews 12:2b:
. . . for the joy that was set before Him [the day when He would rule and reign (cf. Matthew 25:21, 23)] endured the cross, despising the shame [endured the cross during time within the six days, considering His sufferings of little consequence when compared to the joy set before Him, to be realized on the seventh day], and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
But Christ will not remain seated at the Father’s right hand forever. He will remain there for only two days, 2,000 years, while the Spirit calls out a bride for God’s Son (Genesis 24:1ff; Revelation 19:7, 8). Then the Son is going to come forth in the antitype of Melchizedek, with His bride, and rule the nations with “a rod of iron.” He will rule in the midst of His enemies, which will have been made His footstool (Psalm 2:1-12; 110:1-7). And He will rule after this fashion for 1,000 years.
Things of the preceding nature surrounding the Son’s coming rule over the earth all fall within the scope of that which is seen by/through events occurring during the seventh day in this opening section of Scripture, though set forth in detail largely by/through subsequent types.
All Scripture having to do with the Messianic Era beyond the foundation in Genesis 1:1-2:3 will, after some fashion, relate back to the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3. All Scripture must, for Genesis 2:1-3 forms the foundational type to which any subsequent type or antitype having to do with the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period, must be inseparably connected. They have to be connected after this fashion, for they are dealing with the same thing.
To view events during the six days (the 6,000 years) apart from events of the coming seventh day (the seventh 1,000-year period) will present a very one-sided view of Scripture. And contrariwise, to view events of the seventh day apart from events of the first six will equally present a very one-sided view of Scripture.
Viewing the six days apart from the succeeding seventh would be building without a goal, and viewing the seventh apart from the preceding six would be building without a foundation.
Building either way will result in an incomplete structure, an incomplete understanding of Scripture.
All seven days must be viewed together, with things realized during the seventh day being the goal toward which all things move during the first six.
“And After Six Days . . . .”
It was after six days that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up into “a high mountain” and was “transfigured before them.” They, at this time, “saw His glory” (Matthew 17:1-5; Luke 9:32; John 1:14). And this event made such an impact on Peter that over thirty years later, when seeking to emphasize the importance of Christian preparedness in view of the Lord’s return and the establishment of His kingdom (2 Peter 1:1-15), Peter called attention to that which he, James, and John had seen years earlier while on the mountain with Christ:
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty [a superlative in the Greek text — contextually, ‘. . . eyewitnesses of the greatness of His regal magnificance (which, as a superlative, could only be understood as the greatest regal magnificance possible)’].
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)
Then, in his epistle, after commenting on the prophetic word (1:19-21), Peter turns to a discussion about and warning against false teachers (2:1ff). The subject under discussion preceding the mention of false teachers bringing in “distructive heresies” (2:1) has to do with the Word of the Kingdom (1:1-21), which is also the subject under discussion at the conclusion of the mention of false teachers (3:1, 2; cf. 1:12-15).
1) False Teachers (Past)
To remain within context, it must be recognized that the false teachers to whom Peter referred were teachers proclaiming false doctrine relative to the Word of the Kingdom, the subject under discussion. They were proclaiming false doctrine relative to the saving of the soul, not false doctrine relative to the salvation presently possessed by these Christians.
And these false teachers were not unsaved individuals; nor were they ignorantly proclaiming this false doctrine.
These were teachers who had, at a previous time, “escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge [Greek, epignosis, ‘mature knowledge’] of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” but had become “again entangled in them,” and had been “overcome [rather than having overcome (Revelation 2, 3)]” (2:20; cf. 1:4).
According to 1 Corinthians 2:14, an unsaved person cannot even come into a rudimentary knowledge (Greek, gnosis) of “the things of the Spirit of God,” for these things “are spiritually discerned” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
In 2 Peter 2:20 though, these false teachers are said to have gone beyond a simple rudimentary knowledge of the Word, coming into a mature understanding of the Word. Thus, from a Scriptural standpoint, it is not possible to view these false teachers as other than saved individuals.
Note that these individuals are seen to even be guilty of “denying the Lord that bought them” (2 Peter 2:1b; cf. Numbers 14:2-4; Romans 1:25, 28; Hebrews 6:6; 10:29-31). Further, the word “knowledge” in the passage in Romans 1:28, is epignosis in the Greek text, clearly showing that the latter part of Romans chapter one deals with the saved, not with the unsaved.
(Romans chapter one naturally divides itself into two parts, having to do with the saved alone. The first seventeen verses introduce the subject [introducing “the gospel of Christ,” the good news concerning the One who will rule and reign], with these verses having to do with the faithful. Then the last fifteen verses [vv. 18-32] continue this same subject, dealing with the unfaithful.
And dealing with the unfaithful, Paul takes the matter to extremes in what could only be considered the depths to which it is possible for Christians to sink in man’s perversion of God’s truth, textually, even by Christians having come into a mature knowledge of the Word of the Kingdom.
Paul references the homosexual [women with women, men with men, “committing what is shameful,” referring to something shameless, indecent (vv. 26, 27)], And this is in complete keeping with Paul’s reference to the same type of individuals in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, who, because of their manner of living, will be rejected in that coming day for an inheritance in “the kingdom of God.”
The matter, as it is dealt with in the cited Scriptural references, has to do with the saved, with the people of God, not with the unsaved, with those estranged from God [as in Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain in Genesis 18, 19]. And the matter has to do with the people of God in relation to the theocracy — both aspects of the theocracy, heavenly and earthly [the Israelites under Moses, past, with a view to the future; Christians under Christ, present, with a view to the future].
Thus, in both Testaments, this perversion is dealt with in relation to the saved and the theocracy; and, as well, the end result of the matter is dealt with exactly the same way in both Testaments. The penalty in both Testaments is the same, death — physical death in the Old Testament [a cutting off from the house of Moses and all that appertained thereunto (Leviticus 20:13; cf. Hebrews 3:1-6)], and spiritual death in the New Testament [a cutting off from the house of Christ and all that appertains thereunto (Romans 8:13; Revelation 2:11; cf. Hebrews 3:1-6)].
Why such a harsh penalty for this sin in both Testaments? The answer would be very simple. Homosexuality is a negative reflection on the way God established matters in the beginning, it is a negative reflection on the Husband-wife relationship between God and Israel [both past and future, in line with the way God established matters in the beginning], and it is a negative reflection on the Husband-wife relationship yet future between Christ and His Church [in line with the way God established matters in the beginning].)
And the word epignosis (“mature knowledge”), as used in Romans 1:28 and 2 Peter 2:20, is used in other places in the New Testament having to do with biblical doctrine pertaining to the saving of the soul as well (cf. Ephesians 1:17; 4:13; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9, 10; 2:2; 3:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:2, 3, 8). It is evident from both the context of 2 Peter 2:20 and the way epignosis is used throughout the Greek New Testament that these false teachers had come into a knowledge of the Word of the Kingdom, had turned from it, and were teaching false doctrine concerning the message that they had at one time understood and embraced.
It is teachers of this nature that Peter warns against — teachers proclaiming a similar message to the “evil report” proclaimed by ten of the twelve spies during Moses’ day (spies who had seen and understood the things surrounding the land set before them [Numbers 13:26-33]). And Peter concludes his warning in the same manner he had used to emphasize the importance of Christian preparedness in view of the Lord’s return and the establishment of His kingdom prior to his warning against false teachers. Though not mentioning the event directly, as he had previously done, Peter alludes to that which he, James, and John had seen while on the mountain with Christ.
By/through a reference in 2 Peter chapter three to past and present worlds (“the world that then existed” [3:6] and “the heavens and the earth which are now” [3:7]), Peter puts to silence the claim by the false teachers that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (3:4). The “world that then existed [which included the heavens also, for the sun was darkened]” was destroyed (3:6; cf. Genesis 1:2a), and “the heavens and the earth which are now” will be destroyed (3:7, 10-12).
Then Peter draws the whole matter to a climax by alluding to that which he had previously said about being on the mountain with Christ (1:16-18):
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing [lit., ‘. . . stop allowing this one thing to escape your attention’], that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
There is a septenary structure to Peter’s second epistle. The event on the mountain occurred “after six days,” on the seventh day (Matthew 17:1). That would be an allusion back to the foundation in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and it was this septenary structure within God’s dealings with man that Peter referred to in 2 Peter 3:8 (a statement also reflecting back on that which is revealed in the immediately preceding verses concerning the destruction of two worlds).
The six and seven days in Genesis foreshadow six and seven thousand years, and so do the days in Matthew 17:1. And this is exactly what Peter had in mind when he stated, “But, beloved, stop allowing this one thing to escape your attention . . . .”
(Note that the destruction of “the world that then existed” in 2 Peter 3:6 can have no reference to the destruction of the earth by water during Noah’s day. This would not be in line with either the evident parallel between past and future destructions of the earth [3:6, 7] or the septenary structure of the epistle [1:16-18; 3:5-8].
The future destruction will include the heavens as well, and, within the parallel, so must the past destruction. The only past destruction that included the heavens was the pre-Adamic destruction in Genesis 1:2a. The Noachian Flood in Genesis 6-8 had nothing to do with the heavens [apart from waters that God had placed above the earth’s atmosphere in Genesis 1:6-8 falling to the earth as torrential rain, providing part of the water that flooded the earth].
Also, the main emphasis in the destruction wrought by the Noachian Flood was a destruction of the people on the earth, not the earth itself. No restoration of the earth occurred afterwards, as in Genesis 1:2b-25, for such was unnecessary. The waters were simply caused to recede over time [with a lifting of certain land masses and a lowering of others (Psalm 104:6-9, NASB)], with the earth’s terrain then remaining essentially the same, save for the terrain being left water-ravaged [with remnants of this still clearly visible in numerous parts of the western United States today (e.g., the Grand Canyon, other parts of Arizona, parts of Utah, etc.)].
Though a destruction of the earth occurred during Noah’s day [Genesis 6:13], this was not the same type of destruction that occurred in Genesis 1:2a; nor was it the same type of destruction referred to in 2 Peter 3:6 [necessitated by both the septenary structure of the epistle and a parallel between past and future destructions in this section of Scripture].
The two destructions in 2 Peter 3:6, 7 are separated by at least 7,000 years. One occurred at a time prior to the 7,000 years, necessitating a restoration of both the heavens and the earth at the beginning of the 7,000 years; and the other will occur at the end of the 7,000 years, necessitating the creation of “new heavens and a new earth” [cf. Genesis 1:2b-25; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1].)
2) False Teachers (Present)
During the first century “the gospel of the glory of Christ,” “the word of the kingdom,” “the hope of the gospel,” Paul’s “gospel,” “the saving of the soul” (cf. Matthew 13:19; Romans 16:25; 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4; Colossians 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:11; Hebrews 10:35-39) — all referring to the same central teaching — was widely proclaimed within Christendom. In fact, Paul states in Colossians 1:23 that this message “was preached to every creature under heaven,” which would be to say that the message was proclaimed throughout all Christendom (for this message is to be proclaimed to the saved, not the unsaved).
Today though the situation has almost completely reversed itself. This is a message seldom heard in Christendom. The leaven that the woman hid in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33 has done its damaging work, and it will continue working until the whole of Christendom has been leavened; and, because of the working of the leaven, the Church will exist at the end of the dispensation in the state depicted by the Church in Laodicea — “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:14ff).
Both the destructive work depicted by the leaven in Matthew chapter thirteen and the deterioration depicted in Revelation chapters two and three center on the Word of the Kingdom, not other realms of biblical doctrine (e.g., salvation by grace), though these other realms would be adversely affected. Such is evident from both sections of Scripture, understood within their contextual settings. In Matthew 13:33 the matter relates to the kingdom of the heavens and the Word of the Kingdom (cf. vv. 11, 19); and in Revelation chapters two and three the matter relates to works and overcoming, with the judgment seat of Christ and the coming kingdom in view (cf. 1:10-20; 2:2, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17, 19, 26; 3:1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 21).
(Attention was previously called to homosexuality among Christians from both Romans chapter one and 1 Corinthians chapter six, particularly in the light of that which Scripture has to say about the matter in relation to the Word of the Kingdom. Christendom, in its departure from the Word of the Kingdom, has, toward the end of the present dispensation, correspondingly departed from that which Scripture has to say about homosexuality. And this is the reason why an increasing number of local churches and Christian leaders today are straying farther and farther away from the Scriptures, beginning to look upon and accept the homosexual as someone with simply a different lifestyle, no longer recognizing a problem with this lifestyle.
This, of course, is something seen in a similar respect out in the world. These days though — with the world often finding it advantageous to claim an association with Christendom, and Christians often intermixed with the ways and practices of the world — it is difficult at times to see a clear distinction between the world and the Church, where one ends and the other begins.
Suffice it to say that history is replete with accounts of nations that can trace their fall to the people forming these nations beginning, in an ever-increasing manner, to engage in sexual perversions — both hetrosexual and homosexual. And, if time during Man’s Day were allowed to continue long enough, the United States, for this very reason alone, would find itself one day occupying a place in the graveyard of nations, with the tombstone properly marked.
And Scripture is quite clear as well that Christians following suit will one day find themselves in similar straits as matters relate to the Church rather than the world. They will find themselves among those, as seen in Revelation 2:5, whose “lampstand” will be removed, which, contextually, has to do with being overcome rather than having overcome [having been overcome by the world, and/or the flesh, and/or the devil], subsequently failing to realize an inheritance in the kingdom [cf. Revelation 2:7, 26, 27; 3:21].)
3) The Message (Past, Present)
A false message concerning the Word of the Kingdom today, unlike in the first century, would come more from ignorance than it would from knowledge. Christians in general today have little to no understanding of the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom. And not understanding this message, they end up with all types of perversions of Scripture when dealing with the numerous passages having to do with this subject.
(A good example would be the so-called Lordship Salvation teaching, which takes passages having to do with the Word of the Kingdom and attempts to apply these passages to the message of salvation by grace through faith. Such not only corrupts one facet of the overall gospel message [the good news of the grace of God] but it destroys the other facet of the overall gospel message [the good news of the glory of Christ]. And this type of message is presently being widely proclaimed and received throughout Christendom, in both liberal and so-called fundamental circles alike.)
That’s where Christendom finds itself today. And things are not going to improve. In fact, according to Scripture, the opposite will result. Things will instead deteriorate even further. The leaven is going to continue doing its damaging work until the whole has been leavened (reference Matthew 13:33), resulting in conditions when Christ returns being exactly as He said they would be.
When Christ was on earth the first time He asked His disciples,
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith [the faith] on the earth? (Luke 18:8)
The answer to the question, according to the manner in which the question is structured in the Greek text, is “No.” The Son of Man is not going to find “the faith” on the earth at the time of His return.
The expression, “the faith,” has a peculiar reference to teachings surrounding the Word of the Kingdom (cf. 1 Timothy 6:11-15, 19; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8; Jude 3; see also the contextual setting of Luke 18:8). And this is the message Christ will not find being proclaimed in the churches at the time of His return — the central message universally proclaimed to Christians during the first century, and the central message that should have been proclaimed throughout Christendom during the whole of the dispensation, throughout the past 2,000 years.
Matters though have become so far removed from reality in Christendom today that Christianity, from a biblical perspective, is hardly recognizable. The Word of the Kingdom is ignored, despised, rejected, etc. Christians have done about everything with the message but proclaim it.
In this respect, false teaching surrounding the Word of the Kingdom at the end of the leavening process is being accomplished after an entirely different fashion than it was at the beginning of this process. At the beginning there were numerous Christians who understood this message. Thus, a false message pertaining to the kingdom was necessary (e.g., 2 Peter 2:1ff; Jude 4ff). Today though very few Christians have any comprehension of the message surrounding the kingdom at all. Consequently, the present silence on the subject renders a false message, for the most part, unnecessary.
And both antagonism toward the message at the beginning of the dispensation and mainly silence concerning the message at the end of the dispensation will, together, serve to bring about the same end. The Son of Man will not find “the faith” on the earth at the time of His return.
4) But Nothing Has Changed…
All of that which has occurred throughout the dispensation changes nothing insofar as God’s plans and purposes are concerned. It changes nothing insofar as the structure of Scripture is concerned, that which God has revealed is concerned.
Nothing has changed. Everything surrounding God’s revelation to man remains the same.
In this respect, it matters not whether man sees or doesn’t see foundational teachings concerning the saving of the spirit and the soul in Genesis 1:2b-25; and it matters not whether man sees the purpose for restoration having to do with the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3.
The Word of God has forever been “settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). The teaching is there, it’s not going to change, and it’s not going to go away.
To illustrate the point, note God’s promise to His people in Malachi 4:2:
But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings . . . .
(The rising of the sun, bringing about a new day, is used in a metaphorical sense to describe the Son’s return. God has established the time in which the sun rises above the horizon in relation to the rotation of the earth on each new day, at every point on earth.
Everything was set in motion by God, through His Son, in the beginning [cf. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3]. The sun will rise at a divinely-set time each day, and man can exert no control whatsoever over the matter. Man cannot change the time or stop the movement; he can do nothing whatsoever about that which God has established in this respect or in any other respect.
Thus, exactly the same thing said about the rising of the sun can be said about the divinely established timing of events surrounding the Son’s return. The whole of the matter has been set in motion by God, in complete accordance with set times. Until these set times arrive, man can do nothing to hasten their fulfillment. But when these set times arrive, man can do nothing to slow down or stop their fulfillment.
And all of this has been foretold in God’s Word, in minute detail.
The nearness of that which will usher in the whole of the matter for the Church — God’s set time of arriving — can be seen on practically every hand, particularly in the decadent condition of Christendom, seemingly existing today in exactly the condition that Scripture had foretold that it would exist at the end of the dispensation.
And, the nearness of that which will usher in the whole of the matter for Israel and the nations — God’s set time of arriving — can equally be seen on practically every hand. The distant hoofbeats of the four horsemen from Revelation chapter six, whose arrival will usher in events of the coming Tribulation, grow closer with each passing day, with each passing hour, with each passing minute, with each passing second.)
Thus, everything within the six days is still moving out toward that seventh day ahead, first spoken of in Genesis 2:1-3, referred to throughout Scripture, and climactically referred to with respect to a future realization in Revelation 20:1-6. Whether man talks about it or doesn’t talk about it, whether man believes it or doesn’t believe it, whether man cares about it or doesn’t care about it is of no consequence whatsoever insofar as the finality — the bringing to pass — of that which is set forth at the beginning is concerned.
And viewing matters from another perspective, contrary to popular teaching, and for those who have eyes to see otherwise, it should be easy to understand that Revelation 20:1-6 is not the first mention of the thousand years in Scripture, providing the length of the coming Messianic Era. Contrariwise, this is the capstone to all previous revelation on the subject, a subject beginning with the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3 and spoken of throughout Scripture. Then viewing another perspective of the matter, can man place too much emphasis on events surrounding Christ’s return and the establishment of His kingdom? Can he, so to speak, “go to seed” on these things, as often expressed by those seeking to cast reproach upon this message?
The questions can be easily answered by simply seeing where the triune Godhead in the eternal council chambers of God placed the emphasis (Acts 15:14-18; Hebrews 1:2), where the writers of Scripture placed the emphasis within that which they wrote as “they were moved [‘borne along’] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), where Christ placed the emphasis during His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:17-Acts 1:9), and where the emphasis is placed within His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary on behalf of Christians today (Hebrews 10:19-39).
Everything in Scripture moves toward this one goal, beginning with that which was foreknown and predetermined in the eternal council chambers of God at a time before man was even created.
Peter stated the matter after this fashion:
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things [things having to do with Christian preparedness in view of Christ’s return and the coming kingdom], though you know and are established in the present truth.
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. (2 Peter 1:12-15; cf. 2 Peter 3:1, 2)
It is man who has turned Scriptural matters around, resulting from the working of the leaven. There is a goal connected with the salvation that Christians presently possess (the salvation of the spirit [John 3:6], foreshadowed by events on day one in Genesis 1:2b-5); there is a goal connected with the present working out of one’s salvation (the salvation of the soul [Philippians 2:12-16; Hebrews 10:35-39], foreshadowed by events on days two through six in Genesis 1:6-25); and that goal is occupying a position with Christ during the coming day of His power (a realization of the salvation of the soul [Hebrews 1:13-2:10], foreshadowed by events on day seven in Genesis 2:1-3).
Thus, apart from a brief mention of events occurring after the Messianic Era has run its course, along with the ushering in of the eternal ages that follow (Revelation 20:7-22:21), Scripture ends where it began.
Scripture began with a Sabbath rest following six days of restorative work, and Scripture ends with a subsequent Sabbath rest following six subsequent days of restorative work. It is God’s revelation to man concerning His plans and purposes, covering two ages — 7,000 years of time — which God has placed between the eternal ages past and the eternal ages future.
The whole of God’s revelation has a divine structure, it is spiritual, and it must be spiritually discerned.
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10).