Pristine Grace

A Fresh Examination of Bible Truth on Christ's Final Advent
by Bob Higby

A Fresh Examination of Bible Truth on Christ's Final Advent

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. Acts 1:11

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 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. Heb. 9:27-28

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. Mt. 25:19

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Mt. 25:10

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Mt. 24:44

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. Mt. 23:34-36

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Mt. 24:32-39

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Rev. 17

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev. 19:11-16

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thess. 4:16-18

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 2 Thess. 1:7-10

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess. 2:3-12

     There is no teaching of scripture more sure and certain than that of Christ’s final advent, which will end the present world and consummate all things. More than any other phenomenon, the Preterist movement has caused many Christians to doubt the certainty and reality of cosmic redemption. But the whole premise of the Preterist system is faulty. It is based on a doubtful interpretation of he genea haute (this generation) in Mt. 24:34. If the interpretation is wrong, the whole system falls to the ground. Robert Morgentaler writes of the expression as used in the New Testament:

     In these passages the demonstrative has a pejorative character, i.e. the reference is to a class of people who in this world stand over against the children of light and are further described as faithless (Mk. 9:19), faithless and perverse (Matt. 17:17), adulterous (Mk. 8:38), evil and adulterous (Mt. 12:39), evil (Lk. 11:29), crooked (Acts 2:40), crooked and perverse (Phil. 2:15). The Song of Moses in Deut. 32 (vv. 5 and 20) seems here to have had a certain influence on the wording. In these passages the temporal, ‘genealogical’ element is completely absent. The emphasis lies entirely on the sinfulness of this class, this type of people. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 2, (Zondervan, 1976) p. 36. 

     The expression refers to a race or class of people that will not pass away until the events prophesied by Christ have been fulfilled. It has nothing to do with a promise that at least one person then living would still be physically alive on earth when all of the prophesies reach fulfillment.. Such a notion goes against the very statement of Jesus that no one knows the day or hour of the events surrounding his final advent, nor of the advent itself. In the estimation of this writer, Christ is referring to the race of unbelieving and scoffing Jews. This race will be preserved to the very end and will continue to suffer the temporal wrath of God until the eschaton; Jerusalem (representing Talmudic Judaism) will be trampled underfoot throughout the entire gospel era.

     Some Preterists are so dogmatic on the meaning of ‘this generation’ that they propose the Zacharias mentioned by Christ in Mt. 23 to be the father of John the Baptist! This is because Christ accuses the Pharisees (‘this generation’) of his Zacharias’ death and promises that judgment for the guilt of such murders will come upon them. But such strained interpretation is only necessary when a faulty view of a ‘generation’ is adopted. Again, the reference of a generation strictly referring to ‘those now living’ is foreign to the meaning of Christ.

     Another teaching that needs to be challenged, to a lesser degree, is Futurism or ‘last generation’ dogma. This is the notion that the ‘showdown’ of the ages between the gospel and its enemies will concentrate in a short time-span in the last days prior to Christ’s final advent. The premise of futurism is largely based on passages such as Rev. 17, which refers to a future resurrection of a beastly kingdom after its present manifestation (in the time of John) is destroyed. But this passage is only evidence that the great pseudo-Christian apostasy prophesied by Paul would finally become united with the power of government and carry out a great persecution of true Christians. That manifestation of beastly power had not yet occurred in the first century. So the issue of this prophecy has to do with a future dimension to the persecuting power of government: the rise of pseudo-Christian religion to the level of state-sanctioned murder.

     There is no unfulfilled prophecy in the Bible except the final appearance of Jesus Christ. In the very hour that man thinks the Lord cannot come, he will descend from heaven with all his saints and angels. History will suddenly come to its predestined climax! The kingdoms of both light and darkness will continue to grow and bear additional fruit until that moment. How much further each will grow none can tell. The world today looks very much like the situation that Christ describes will exist on the day of his coming. We can only remain prepared and anxious to see Christ’s face at any time–whether at our personal death or at the eschaton. But all things will not forever continue as they have since the beginning of creation. History has its appointed goal, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!