SEED & BREAD
THE DAYS OF GOD UPON THE EARTH
(Originally published 10 Oct. 86)
It is written in the Word of God that there was a time when God was upon
the earth in the form of man. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us"
is the plain testimony of the Apostle John concerning this (John 1:14).
"He emptied Himself and took upon Him the form of a slave, and was found
in fashion as a man" (Phil. 2:7), is the delaration of Paul. We ignore
the difficulties that arise when we seek an understanding of these
truths, knowing that "no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father, and
who the Father is but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him"
(Luke 10:22). Thus, since it is that these ineffable truths were
declared by John and Paul to our faith, we answer and say ó this we
believe, and incorporate them into our thinking about God. The godly men
in Israel "in the days of His flesh" (Heb. 5:7), men who discerned "the
signs of the times," knew quite well that they were living in the days
of the Son of God upon the earth. This appearance upon the earth of
Godís Annointed One, the Christ, had been prophesied and had been long
expected. Certain definite signs gave witness to the reality of the Son
of God upon the earth, and these were manifest. Even as the Lord said:
"If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though
ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe,
that the Father is in Me, and I in Him" (John 10:37,38).
There was in Israel an erroneous idea that when the Messiah (Christ)
appeared as a man upon the earth He would "remain for the eon" (John
12:34). The term "the eon" is one applied to the kingdom of God upon the
earth. (See Issue No. 128 as to why the kingdom is called by this name.)
However, they were wrong in thinking that when He appeared His visit
would turn into a permanent residence. This idea came out of their
desire and wishful thinking, inasmuch as there were clear intimations in
the Old Testament that He would come, do His work, then go away. David
had said: "So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about;
for their sakes therefore return thou on high" (Psa. 7:7).
The Lord made it plain that He would return to His throne in heaven,
saying: "It is expedient (to your advantage) that I go away, for if I do
not go away the Paraclete will not come unto you, but if I depart, I
will send Him unto you" (John 16:7). Thus, with the Lord on His prepared
throne (seat of government) in the heavens (Psalms 103:19) and the
Paraclete in all places and in every person upon the earth (Joel 2:28),
a communication network will be established that will be one of the
foundational features of the kingdom of God. God in Christ can speak in
heaven and His word will be heard by every man, individually and
personally, upon the earth. Or, he can speak, if He so desires to any
one man upon the earth. This explains how: "And thine ears shall hear a
word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn
to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa 30:21). Would to
God that all men had such directions today. "Thy kingdom come."
The theme of the Old Testament was (and is) the coming of a time of
divine government upon the earth. Abraham saw (discerned) this day and
rejoiced in it (John 8:56). The sacred literature from Genesis to
Malachi was filled with promises of the great blessings that would be a
reality in the day that Godís government was upon the earth. "Then the
eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be
unstopped. Then shall the lame leap as an hart (a male, mature deer),
and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness shall
waters break out, and streams in the desert" (Isa. 35:3-6).
But beyond all this there was another day ó a time so magnificent that
it goes beyond the power of human words to express it. The fact of this
glorious time was known to the Old Testament saints, even though they
tell us very little about it. "To olam and beyond" is about the most
that the Old Testament tells us about the glorious time that follows the
time of Godís government of this earth.
To the Hebrew olam was the time of Godís government and ad was the time
"beyond." However, there is in Deuteronomy 11:21 an intriguing passage
which in the KJV speaks of "the days of Heaven upon the earth." Upon
reading this the first question that comes to the inquiring mind
concerns what is meant by the word heaven in this passage.
As to this there are numerous opinions, but in these as a rule the word
is taken to mean "heavenly conditions" which someday will characterize
things upon this planet which is our home. "What else can it mean but
this?" an inquiring student asked of me. However, much truth will be
lost to us if we make "heaven" to mean "heavenly conditions."
Some have tried to retranslate this passage making it to say, "as the
days of the heavens are above the earth," telling us that it means "as
long as the heavens endure." However, this is not translating at all,
but simply a rewriting of the passage in the hope of removing the
The Hebrew word for "heaven" in this passage (shamayim) is plural and
the definite article is indicated. A reading of the portion that
includes Daniel 4:17, 25, 26, 32 will show positively that the words
"the most High" and the words "the heavens" are used interchangeably in
reference to the same exalted Being, both terms being descriptive titles
That the word "heavens" in numerous places in the Bible is used as a
synonym for God is a fact that must be acknowledged by all who have
honestly considered the matter. Part of the work of "rightly dividing
the Word of Truth" is to discover where in Scripture the word "heaven"
denotes a place and where it denotes God. It is difficult to read Luke
15:18 and not realize that the word "heaven" is used of God.
After careful consideration it is my conviction that the word "heaven"
in Deuteronomy 11:21 is also a synonym for God, and that Moses knew
about and spoke of "the days of God upon the earth." Thus the concept
must have been known to the other godly men of Israel who heard his
words as he spoke that day. And while this may be the only direct
statement to be found in the Old Testament concerning this period of
time, it suddenly appears in the New Testament where there is much
additional truth concerning it.
It needs to be carefully noted that this "day of God upon the earth" is
not the 33 years from Bethlehem to the ascension. These years are the
days of the Son of man. Neither are they the days from His assumption of
sovereignty to His actual return to earth. There are the days of the
government of God, the days when He rules this earth from heaven. For as
great and glorious as conditions are in the kingdom of God they are
succeeded by a far more glorious period of time, declared in scripture
to be a thousand years in length, and characterized by the personal
presence of the glorified Christ.
The Old Testament is literally filled with truth concerning the kingdom
of God, a period of time when God will govern this earth. Thirty-three
years after the death of Christ, Paul is seen testifying and expounding
the kingdom of God out of the law of Moses and the prophets. The twelve
disciples had this knowledge and during His three years of ministry to
them the Lord made many of the truths concerning the coming kingdom
quite clear. However, as the days of the Son of Man on earth were coming
to a close, His disciples came to Him privately and asked a question
concerning the distant future, of things that would follow His long time
of government from heaven. This was a proper question since during the
kingdom of God they would be sitting on twelve thrones judging the
twelve tribes of Israel.
The question they asked was: "Tell us, when shall these things be;" thus
making it clear that the thing they wanted to know was: "What shall be
the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3). But
it is somewhat surprising to find these men asking about His coming when
standing before them and was certainly present with them.
If the Greek of this portion is considered three very important words
are found in it: parousia, sunteleia, and aion. The first word does not
mean "coming," the second does not mean "end," and the last does not
mean "world." Nevertheless, a confused jumble of ideas concerning things
to come have been built upon these erroneous translations.
The word parousia is found for its first occurrence in this chapter,
where it is used four times (verses 3, 27, 37, 39). Its very elements
cry out its true meaning, which is para with, and ousia being, a being
with, or personal presence if it used of persons, and an actual presence
if used of things. (See Seed and Bread Nos. 24 and 25).
This word speaks of the great personal presence of the Son in the
character of God so fully that they can be described as the days of God
upon the earth.
The term "the eon" (tou aionios) is another descriptive title of the
kingdom of God, due to the fact that everything, without exception, that
gives that period of time its true character is based upon the
outflowings of God. (See Issue No. 55). The consummation of the kingdom
eon will be the personal presence, and this will be for a thousand
years. This is the time that men call "the millennium," but this tells
us only of its duration. The word parousia tells us of the supreme fact
that produces the character of this glorious time, the personal presence
of Jesus Christ as God.
Christianity has been filled with men who are described as
amillennialists. The prefix "a" in this word means "no" and declares
that there is to be no thousand years of Godís presence upon the earth.
The same as atheist means "no God."
In another issue we will consider the long attempt that has been made to
exclude the kingdom of God, and the thousand years of His personal
presence from the theologies of men.
Issue no. 196