An Indecipherable & Indistinguishable Blending of the Two Advents
In moving forward, it’s important to remember that in many cases of prophecy the 1st Advent is indecipherable from the 2nd Advent. This is because, originally, God intended to accomplish both in the same generation. At first, the acts of the Messiah were intended to be conclusively victorious in the fulfillment of all Messianic Prophecies before the eyes of all mankind in one generation. In other words, it wasn’t meant to be, nor was it expected, that 2,000 years would span between the 1st Advent and the 2nd Advent (God in the Ways of Man). For, remember, the prophecies which were seemingly exclusive to the 1st Advent and then later turned out to be superiorly declarative of the 2nd Advent (as is the case in Daniel 9:27), are captivating to our attention only because the 2nd Restoration Generation of the Jews steadfastly refused their Messiah (as is duly accounted in the Gospels, the Book of Acts, & the Epistles). Had the two Advents taken place as originally planned with comparatively little time in between them, the 2nd Advent would be less emphatic to our attention as Gentile Christians of this era. For, wondrously, the LORD would have done all that He said He would do exactly as planned.
According to the Book of Acts, this is why the apostles thought the return of Christ was imminent. Rightly so, they expected a full performance of all Messianic Prophecies that pertain to the 2nd Advent of Christ; and, seeing that this was the original intent of God that was frustrated by the sin of the Jews, ancient prophecy didn’t speak of a time gap or a waiting period wherein God would largely halted His original intent to save the Jews. According to the foreseeable future declared in Biblical Prophecy, this feature of the Messiah’s Ministry doesn’t exist. In other words, up until the 1st Century it’s a complete mystery. Not only is it undeclared, it’s completely unexpected. According to Biblical Prophecy, the 1st & 2nd Advents are almost indistinguishable because they are blended together as one cohesive, continuous, and unstoppable work of the Messiah. In fact, our ability to distinguish the 1st Advent from the 2nd Advent is mostly due to our standpoint of retrospection – a looking back after the fact, with the 1st Advent having come and gone. Therefore, it was to be expected that Christ would imminently return to Earth after ascending into Heaven, thence to accomplish all of Holy Writ uncompromisingly and victoriously.
The completion of the 1st Advent is so emphatic because of how the apostles were moved to interpret Biblical Prophecy in justification for what we now call the Gentile Church Age; and, therein, we have come to understand how and why a profoundly different work of redemption is presently underway until, at last, God turns back to the Jews to accomplish what was originally intended at the first. In being informed on this wise by apostolic instruction (Rom. 11), in retrospect, we know that there is an enormous time gap between the two Advents. In retrospect, we know that there are differing ministerial acts being accomplished in the two Advents. However, originally, and according to God’s intention at the first, the two Advents were two hallmarks of one mission which was to be completed in the lifetime of one generation, and therefore an explicit prophetic deciphering between the two Advents isn’t important. Rather, foretelling what the Messiah would accomplish in His lifetime is what is most important. Take, for example, some of the last prophecies of the Messiah from the latest Prophets of the Old Testament, Zechariah & Malachi. In prophetically beholding the work of the Messiah, they said,
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” – Mal. 3:1-4 (Elijah: Matt. 11:10, Lk. 7:27)
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” – Mal. 4:1-5 (Elijah: Matt. 11:14-15, Lk. 1:17)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.” – Zech. 9:9-17 (The Triumphant Entry: Matt. 21:4-5)
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” – Zech. 13:1-9 (The Crucifixion of Jesus: Matt. 26:31)
Upon quickly glancing at Matthew 11:10 & Matthew 11:14-15, while being knowledgeable of Malachi 3:1-4 and Malachi 4:1-5, one would think that these prophecies would be completely fulfilled in the forerunning ministry of John the Baptist and the 1st Advent of Christ. Or, upon quickly glancing at Matthew 21:4-5 & Matthew 26:30-75, while being knowledgeable of Zechariah 9:9-17 & Zechariah 13:1-9, one would think that these prophecies would be completely fulfilled just after Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem (as described in Zechariah 9:9), or, right after all the disciples forsook Jesus and He was smitten in being Crucified (as described in Zechariah 13:6-7). Yet, this didn’t happen in either case. The magnificent events directly associated with the coming of the Messenger / Elijah and the coming of the LORD, as foretold by Malachi, didn’t happen. The magnificent events directly associated with the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem and the Crucifixion, as foretold by Zechariah, didn’t happen. Furthermore, there is no indication of a 1st & 2nd Advent in Malachi or Zechariah’s prophecies, neither is there any explicit or implicit indication of a time gap between the Advents.
Justifiably, what was foretold was reliably reported and further confirmed by the prophecies of Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13, & Luke 21. Namely, that Jesus would have returned in the 2nd Advent and accomplished all in, around, and after 70 A.D. had not the Jews of the 1st Century rejected their Messiah (Rom. 11:1-36). Therefore, a repentance took place in the heart of God and the Gentile Church Age was born (as is duly accounted in the Gospels, the Book of Acts, & the Epistles). Nevertheless, how is such an age of unprecedented redemption among the Gentiles justified in Holy Writ? The Gospels exemplify the mystery and Paul explains it. By way of introduction (let the reader understand), the prophecies that are seemingly exclusive to the 2nd Advent are now being partially fulfilled in an elongated span of Messianic Acts resulting from the original goals of the 1st Advent being frustrated because of sin.