Dispensational Distortions – The Second Humiliation of Christ Part 2

02Jan12

In the previous post we discussed a concept called the Second Humiliation of Christ. The concept was introduced to me by Dr. Greg Bahnsen and I am indebted to him for the basic background description of the issues involved.

The last post looked at the first two primary problems found in the Dispensational Timeline of events, especially those surrounding the the Millennium. last time we discussed “where is Jesus during the Millennium” and “the Binding of Satan.”

We saw that the binding of Satan was for a specific purpose – restraining his ability to deceive the nation (Rev 20) – and that this binding took place during the first coming of Jesus (Matthew 12) and found it’s expression in the coming of the Kingdom of God and demonstrated by the casting out of demons.

We then discovered that the description of the “placement” of Christ in Revelation 20 is actually in Heaven and not on earth. The description the Apostle John uses to describe his surrounding in chapter 20 are identical to those found in chapters 4 and 6 of Revelation.

We now turn our attention to the two most important and detailed portions of the passage and where it leads to the Dispensational model of the Second Humiliation of Christ.

SATAN’S ATTACK

After Satan is loosed from his chains and he is once again given the ability to deceive the nations revelation gives us a picture of raising up an army to attack the camp of the Saints and the beloved city. This is seen by Dispensationalist as a literal war like action on behalf of Satan and his army is filled with tanks, bazookas, nuclear armaments and jet fighters.

Is that the picture we should maintain and is the literal city of Jerusalem the city in question?

First, let’s take a look at the end result of the Dispensational model as it relates to the work of Christ and His kingdom. You have the perfected, glorified and eternal Jesus along side His perfected, resurrected, glorified and eternal saints residing in His Holy City. Despite His righteous and perfect reign, all it takes is a short respite following the loosening of Satan for Satan to raise up an army against the Christ. Despite a perfect and honorable reign the masses are easily swayed and revolt against their Lord. He is powerless to do anything about it!

He is next seen cowering behind the city walls with His saints with Him. Afraid, outnumbered (?), in peril and soon to be overrun before the father finally send fire down from Heaven to destroy Satan and his army. So, there is Jesus, God incarnate, the Lord over the universe…needing rescue from the Father to escape His own incompetence and inability! What a pitiful picture created by the Dispensational timeline. As if He would be so poor a ruler, so weak a leader, so useless a defender of His people!

The first question to ask, though, is exactly what threat does Satan’s physical army have against the glorified, immortal and eternal Jesus and His saints? What are they going to do to them? Tickle them to death? You can’t kill those who have been perfected, glorified and immortal! I always chuckle when I consider this fact. What a joke!

The second question to ask, though, is the above picture of the Dispensational timeline the Biblical explanation?

First off, we saw that Jesus is not present on earth during this time period as He is seen in heaven with the thrones and the martyrs.

Second, the terms “Camp of the Saints” and “Beloved City” mean something completely different than the City of Jerusalem. In fact, when taken in context with the rest of revelation, Jerusalem is by no means “beloved” at all. It is described as Babylon, Egypt and Sodom. It is described as the place that kills the prophets and murdered the Lord of Glory (Rev 11:8, 16:19, 17:5). This would be the only place in all of scripture where the term “beloved city” would be used to describe Jerusalem. The term “Great City” used to describe Jerusalem in some places also is the term used to describe Babylon.

The camp of the saints follows suit as well. In no other place is the exact term used. The closest comparison would be the Old testament description of the wandering Israelites. Most likely it is a description of those readying themselves for battle. But is this battle a literal one with literal fire coming from Heaven? As we see, the terms used to describe those being attacked are not literal terms and cannot be found elsewhere in Scripture. But in the next Chapter we see a picture of a city that is His Church. This would reckon well the concept of “beloved.” This term, used in a way of endearment directed to His elect, would seem to fit the best.

So here now we have Satan and his army attacking the Church in one last final gasp at the end of all the ages. This attack is stopped by this fire that descends from heaven and utterly destroys the work of Satan and immediately precedes His final judgment as well as the judgment of the world.

Rev 20:9b but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.

Note here again that this fire immediately precedes judgment. This fire also consumes the devil and his owrks and throws him into the lake of fire for all eternity. Finally, this consuming fire appears at the end of the Millennium. So, with that in mind, let’s look at what other portions of Scripture state about the timing of these events.

WHAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES JUDGMENT

Matt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats

2 Thess 1:7b when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction

2 Tim 4: 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

1 Cor 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

As the handful of passages above clearly show, Jesus’ return is immediately followed by judgment. There is no room to place a gap of 7… 1,000 … 1,007 years between these two events. They are simultaneous and one immediately follows the other. These is no gap…again!

So, if the above passages taken within the context of Revelation 20 show that Jesus’ return takes place immediately preceding the judgement, what must one do with the “fire” from heaven. Let’s consider the following.

2 Thess 1:7b when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

So it appears that the Second Coming being seen as accompanied by fire was a common New Testament description. So, if we now take what we just discovered and bring it to the passage in question (Rev 20) we can plainly see that the second Coming of Christ takes place at the end of the Millennium, with fire and immediately precedes judgment. This is consistent with the rest of Holy writ and also not only does not fall victim to creating an unwarranted “second humiliation” for Christ, but shows Him as ultimately victorious and glorified!

There is no second humiliation for Christ! He will not be subjugated to the overpowering onslaught of Satan’s army and he will not need to cower in His castle waiting for help from the father. Rather He is the victorious one who returns as His enemies are made His footstool!

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