Thursday, June 29, 2017

Colossians 3:4

When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.

Here the verb phaneroo is used twice. And here we find plainly stated the hope of the members of the body of Christ, the church. It means to shine forth, to make manifest. From this verb comes the noun epiphaneia, the appearing or manifestation. Only once is this latter used in the pre-Acts 28 epistles of Paul. And there it is used to describe the parousia, hence the brightness of His presence or coming. On the other hand, bema, the judgment seat, does not appear after Acts 28:28. But is there any judgment for members of the body?

It is for this reason that we write this article. Some folks, not knowing the secret too well, have gotten the idea that members of the body of Christ are so perfect that they cannot sin, hence no need for a judgment.

But if that be so, then why all the warnings, such as beware, let no man beguile you, and the like? This is just another version of the sinless perfection error so common today.

2 Timothy 4:1, I charge thee therefore hef0re God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. For those who rely on words for their theology, rather than the intent, this verse is a puzzle. But it is clear that at the appearing of Colossians 3:4, some will still be living. Others sleep. And there will be a judgment (of rewards) as in the past dispensation. But this judgment will be where they are resurrected, in heaven.

And the word kingdom has stumped a lot of folks, thinking that the millennial kingdom is all the kingdom there is. Note in Colossians 1:13 members of the body have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son. Surely something must be wrong here too. But looking back after the divorce of Israel in Acts 28, in the 31st verse, Paul preaches (proclaims) the kingdom of God. In looking all thru for this expression, we must come to the conclusion that it may mean anything from the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, to all that is under the sovereignty of God, in earth, in heaven, and in the heavenlies.

So do not be surprised if you find that the church of the mystery is also a part of the kingdom of God, and specifically the kingdom of His dear Son.

You would do well to search and see other usages of kingdom in the post-Acts epistles of Paul. You might be surprised. Just look at Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:18. Now you can better appreciate what was being said in Acts 28:31.

Not only do we have the judgment of the quick and the dead in 2 Timothy 4:1, but we have a judgment mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:24. So there is a judgment for us today. And that is where Paul expects to receive the prize of the high calling.

When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.

We repeat our text, as it must be remembered and kept in mind as the great hope of the church which is the body of Christ. This is in glory, not here on the earth. It is where Christ sitteth. It is where heavenly beings are.

After this appearing will then be realized the mystery of God's will, that all things in heaven and earth be brought under one Head, even Christ. And these all things are the new creation which includes the church on earth and the powers in the heavenlies (see Ephesians 1:9,10).

The new creation is spoken of again in Colossians 1:16-20 and consists of things on earth (the body of Christ, the church) and things in heaven (thrones, dominions, principalities and powers). They meet there in heavenly places for they have a reconciliation, an introduction to each other for mutual living together in high places. And this after the appearing.

In Colossians 1:2'7 it is evident that the saints then were to know, what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ among you, the hope of glory. Note what the hope of glory, the heavenly places, is. This takes us right to the appearing.

And this all prepares us for the admonition in Titus 2:11-14. We must repeat it in full here for the reader to ponder. Here is practical living with a living hope. Read it slowly and with feeling. Do not miss any words.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Now pick out the skeleton of this quote. Live looking for that blessed hope. What hope? The glorious appearing (epiphaneia). This is not the rapture. This is not the revelation. And this is not Israel's hope. It is the hope of the Gentiles with their heavenly calling.

Where will we be when we really look for that blessed hope? Philippians 3:20 tells us that it will be where our citizenship is, and that is not here on the earth, but in heaven.

There is an inheritance in the holy of holies (Ephesians 1:18). And it is in this most holy place that the household of God is, of which those who are looking will have a part (Ephesians 2:19). Members are made meet to partake of this inheritance in the holy of holies in the light, the Shekinah glow (Colossians 1:12). The inheritance will be awarded after the manifestation. A glorious hope. Not many are interested in it. But it is to be a great event for the Lord, and His.

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