Expectation Of The Acts Believers

Posted in: 2004
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 4, 2008 - 9:17:56 PM

November 10, 2004


Years ago, before there were plastic pacifiers for babies; Southern parents would place a tablespoon of sugar in a soft piece of cloth. Then, a knot was tied in the cloth so that the sugar was at one end. When the baby cried, parents would place the sugar end of the cloth into the baby’s mouth. The baby would suck the end of the sugar-filled cloth and was very content sucking on it. Southerners called the home made pacifier a “sugar t_ _.” I’ll refrain from using the term and refer to it is as a “sugar pacifier.” It was “the old timers” way of providing a pacifier. When the “sugar pacifier” was removed, oh how the baby would cry!

Many Christians are so content or pacified with certain “biblical doctrines.” Even when these “pet” doctrines are proven to be in error, they don’t ever want to let them go. These doctrines are their “sugar pacifiers.” I can recall, in my early days of Bible study, I began to see that further study would lead me to the truth concerning the dead. I really wanted to believe that the dead were either in heaven or a devil’s hell. That was part of my soul-winning testimony to the lost. I thought that without the fear of someone dying and going to hell, my soul-winning days might become fruitless. That false doctrine of dying and going to a burning hell was my “sugar pacifier” I didn’t want to relinquish it. I was comfortable sucking on that sugar filled rag. But, alas, I “gutted-up” and set the “sugar tit” aside. I found out that I didn’t miss it after I was weaned from it.

The predominant idea, today, among Christians is the belief that the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ and all believers during the Acts of the Apostles, were expecting the 2nd Coming of Christ during their lifetime. They are comfortable and content with this idea. Perhaps, it can be said it is their “sugar pacifier,” One of the verses they find comforting is 1 Corinthians 1:7;

“So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This would seem to indicate that the Corinthians, as well as the Apostle Paul, were waiting for the 2nd Coming (i.e.the Parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greek word translated as “coming” is “apokalupsis.” It is used 18 times in the NT. It is only translated as “coming” once. The other 17 times, it is translated as: appearing, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, or revelation. “Apokalupsis” simply means “unveiling.” According to Strong’s Concordance it comes from the word “apokalupto” which means “to take off the cover, i.e. disclose.”

Why the KJ translators rendered “apokalupsis” as “coming” in 1 Corinthians 1:7, I do not know. Did they want it to fit in with their theology? I don’t know. But, the evidence certainly seems to be that the KJV causes the passage to say something that the Spirit of God did not say when these inspired words were given through Paul. Seven other translations that were checked-out corrects the King James Version, even the New King James Version.

“So that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” NKJV.

There is no way “apokalupsis” can mean “coming.” It means they were waiting for the unveiling, or manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ in His Kingdom. That would have been possible in their lifetime had not the Lord suspended His administration and brought into being His Sacred Secret (i.e. the Mystery). The “apokalupsis” is associated the with Kingdom of God becoming manifest in the earth. That was the Acts period believers hope, or expectation.

The Corinthian believers were eagerly waiting the majestic unveiling or manifestation of Jesus Christ’s Kingdom. They were not eagerly waiting for the 2nd Coming. There can be no 2nd Coming until the Kingdom of God has been established in the earth. The grand consummation of the Kingdom age is the 2nd Coming (the Parousia) of Christ to the earth. The Parousia of Christ does not usher in His Kingdom rather it is the magnificent finale of it.

Verse eight is testimony to this:

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Corinthians 1:8.

The “Day of the Lord Jesus Christ” is an INSPIRED name given to the Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit for the Kingdom of God because it will be the time of His (that is, Christ’s) exaltation. The word “day” doesn’t refer to a twenty-four hour day, but to an extended period of time in which Jesus Christ is acknowledged as Lord. Look at the other references to the “Day of Christ”:

“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” 1 Corinthians 5:5.

“As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus” 2 Corinthians 1:14.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6.

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” Philippians 1:10.

“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” Philippians 2:16.

The references enumerated above do not refer to the millennium. They relate to the “latter days,” or the coming Kingdom of God.

The Acts period believers had a foretaste of the kingdom (Hebrews 6:4-5); perhaps, they were even living during the first stage of the Kingdom’s restoration to Israel. The blade stage (Mark 4:28).

The next overt action the Lord takes will be when He speaks from heaven (Psalm 46) and assumes sovereignty over the world (2 Timothy 4:1). When the blazing forth of His Kingdom occurs, this will be the time the Church which is His Body will be raised (exanastasis) out from among the dead, or be changed. The Lord Jesus Christ first reigns over the Gentiles:

“And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust”
(Romans 15:10-12).

This is centuries before the Second Advent.

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law” (Isaiah 42:1-4).

The Day of Christ begins with His reign over the nations. It has been pointed out in other Plainer Word studies that there will probably at least two-hundred years in which five universal monarchs will reign under the direction of Christ Jesus, before the Government of Israel becomes the predominate world Government.

During these years of Gentile rule, He will be identifying and re-gathering Israel. He puts His Law in their hearts and then directs them back to the Promised Land. There will be no need for the Twelve Apostles to be resurrected until the twelve tribes are back in the Land. Likewise, King David will not be raised until he has a nation to be the king of.

But, as members of the Church which His Body, we will perform Governmental Service which I think will be as Christ’s ambassadors to the nations of the world as they exist in that future day: The Apostle Paul being the Ambassador-in-chief—the Ambassador of Christ.

Tom L. Ballinger