Engaging the Critics

My Eyes Are Not Seeing What My Ears Are Hearing!

MY EYES ARE NOT SEEING WHAT MY EARS ARE HEARING!

On March 13, 2004, in Indianapolis, Indiana I engaged in an all day formal debate.1 My opponent insisted that Christ’s coming is yet future and has to be a literal, visible event. He appealed to NT passages that speak of Christ coming on the clouds, with the angels, etc. and said, "What does that sound like? I did not see that, did you see that?" Because his eyes did not see Christ coming on the clouds means it did not happen.

On March 13, 2004, in Indianapolis, Indiana I engaged in an all day formal debate. My opponent insisted that Christ’s coming is yet future and has to be a literal, visible event. He appealed to NT passages that speak of Christ coming on the clouds, with the angels, etc. and said, "What does that like? I did not see that, did you see that?" Because his eyes did not see Christ coming on the clouds means it did not happen.

I responded that Isaiah said that in the kingdom, "they shall learn war no more," and, "they will beat their swords into plowshares." (Isaiah 2:4f). The wolf would lie down with the lamb, the children would play on the hole of the poisonous snakes (Isaiah 11). I asked him, "What does that sound like? Do you see that today?" My amillennial friend believes— as I do— that all of this is currently fulfilled spiritually in Christ! I pressed the point that my eyes do not see the literal fulfillment of these promises, and that our dispensational friends insist that since their eyes do not see what their ears are hearing, that these promises are unfulfilled.

My opponent then said, "Israel misunderstood the nature of her promises. She thought they were literal, but in fact, they were spiritual!" Actually, this is true, but is totally destructive to my amillennial friend’s –and, I might add, the postmillennial– view of things!

If Israel misunderstood the nature of her kingdom promises, then she misunderstood the nature of her resurrection promises. This is true because the coming of the kingdom is the coming of the resurrection! Jesus said he was coming in the judgment (which is resurrection), of all men, before all of his generation died (Matthew 16:27-28). The time of the judgment is assuredly the time of the resurrection in Matthew 25:31f. The coming of the kingdom and resurrection are synchronous (same time) events (2 Timothy 4:1/ Revelation 11:15ff). Now, since the judgment, kingdom, and resurrection are all synchronous events, consider that Jesus said, "The kingdom does not come with observation" (Luke 17:20f)!

If the kingdom and the resurrection are same time events, and if the coming of the kingdom was an unseen event, that means that the resurrection was an unseen event! Paul said, when discussing the resurrection: "We do not look on the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen." (2 Corinthians 4:16f).

Consider Isaiah 26:9f in this regard. In this Messianic context, YHVH promised that He was going to bring about the resurrection (26:19). This would be the time when He would descend out of heaven and walk on the tops of the mountains. It would also be the time when the earth would disclose its blood, meaning that it would be the time when the martyrs would be vindicated, and their persecutors judged. We need to develop this idea from Isaiah.

Isaiah 2-4 predicted the Last Days (2:2f), and the consummative Day of the Lord (2:9f; 19f). In that Day, YHVH would rise to shake the earth mightily, and men would run for the hills! Needless to say, Isaiah’s description of the Day of the Lord allows no room for an earth-burning, time ending event that would happen, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"! In chapter 3 the prophet continued his description of the Day. It would be a time of famine, warfare, and judgment against Israel (3:1-4, 13f, 18f). This Day would be an in history judgment of Old Covenant Israel.

In chapter 4, the writer speaks of the coming of the Branch of YHVH, to be glorified. In that Day the remnant would be saved (v. 3-4), and God would cleanse the blood-guilt of the daughters of Zion from her midst, "by the spirit of judgment and of fire" (4:4). We can definitively identify this Last Days event foretold by Isaiah!

As Jesus stood in the Temple at Jerusalem, he castigated the Jews for their internecine history of killing the prophets (Matthew 23:29f). He said they had killed all the prophets sent to them, and were going to kill the prophets that he was about to send. In doing so, they would fill up the measure of their father’s guilt, and be judged in that generation (Matthew 23:34f). With this in mind, take a look at Luke 23:28-31.

Jesus was being led to his Passion. The women who loved him wept and mourned. However, he said to them: "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ "Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"’ It is widely acknowledged that Jesus was citing Isaiah 2:9f; 19f, and applying it to the impending judgment of Jerusalem.

The application to Isaiah 26 should be more than apparent! Isaiah 26 foretold the time of the avenging of the blood of the martyrs when YHVH descended out of heaven, at the time of the resurrection! Isaiah 2-4 predicted the avenging of the martyr’s blood in the Last Days Day of the Lord, when YHVH cleansed Jerusalem of her blood guilt. Jesus applied Isaiah 2-4 to the judgment of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Luke 23). Jesus said all the blood of all the martyrs all the way back to Creation would be avenged in the A.D. 70 judgment of Jerusalem (Matthew 23)! This means that Isaiah 26 was to be fulfilled in the A.D. 70 coming of Christ in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood! And this directly impacts the, "my eyes are not seeing what my ears are hearing" argument.

In Isaiah 26:9f, YHVH said that when His judgments are in the earth, the righteous learn wisdom. Remember, the judgment He is discussing was the resurrection and vindication of the martyrs at the Day of the Lord! While the righteous would learn wisdom, the wicked would not "see" His judgments! Do you catch that?

Isaiah was being told was that the righteous and the unrighteous would both view the same event, the Day of the Lord. The righteous would see and perceive that it was YHVH’s Presence. The wicked on the other hand, would see those identical events, but would fail or refuse to see that YHVH was involved!

It should go without saying that if the Day of the Lord is an earth burning, time ending event, that whether righteous or wicked, no one could fail to grasp what was happening!

The point is that the physical eyes would not see what the ears would hear! Their ears heard the prediction of the Day of the YHVH when the Lord descended from heaven, tread on the tops of the mountains, and the dead would be raised. The righteous and wicked would see the same event. The righteous would see, perceive, and know–through faith. The wicked, because their eyes were not seeing what their ears were seeing, would deny the reality of what was happening, until it was too late for them. And of course, Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 23 shows that the fulfillment of Isaiah was in the Day of the Lord in A.D. 70.

Yet, today, the majority of Christianity deni
es that the Day of the Lord was in A.D. 70. Their eyes did not see what their ears are hearing! They are in fact making the very same mistake as the Jews who rejected Jesus as king, because, after all, their eyes were not seeing what their ears were hearing about this "king Jesus!" Is it not time to open the eyes of faith, to see the reality of what occurred, right on time, in A.D. 70?

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