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Remember Lot's Wife: Part 1

May 26, 2007

The title of this article is taken from Luke 17:32. The problem is that most people do not really know what it is that they are supposed to remember about that story.

The simple and usual explanation is that we should not wish for the good old days when we were able to "live it up" in Sodom. That is, of course, a part of it, but there is so much more.

This Bible passage really begins in Luke 17:20 when the Pharisees asked Jesus "when the kingdom of God was coming." Of course, they had in mind a Jewish kingdom, where they would be given places of authority in the Messiah's government. The Pharisees and Sadducees were competitors, and each thought the other would surely be denied such authority.

But Jesus first made an important correction on their definition of the Kingdom:

The Kingdom of God comes not with outward show; nor shall they say, 'Behold here!' or 'there!' for, behold, God's royal majesty [basileia] is among you." (Emphatic Diaglott).

The Greek word basileia can mean either king or kingdom. That is why Rev. 5:10 can be translated either "hast made us unto our God kings and priests" (KJV), or "Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests" (NASB). The word basileia can be translated either way.

In a footnote to the Emphatic Diaglott's translation, we read, "Basileia here refers to the person to whom the title and honor of king belonged, rather than to his territory or kingdom. Prof. Whitings, an able Hebrew and Greek scholar, says this clause in the 21st verse ought to be rendered, 'the king is among you'."

In other words, King Jesus was already in their midst, but they did not recognize Him. While the Kingdom of God will ultimately have physical territory--i.e., the whole earth--the Kingdom is actually made up of PEOPLE. In this way it is the same as the Church, which is not a building or real estate, but rather the people, the congregation.

For this reason, as I wrote recently, when King David was cast out of Jerusalem by his son Absalom, the Kingdom went with David in exile. Absalom usurped the throne, and his supporters thought that he had taken the "Kingdom," but they were viewing things with their own fleshly perspective.

Things were not as they seemed. From the divine perspective, the Kingdom always follows the Heir to the throne, not to the usurpers of the throne. But in any time of usurpation, things become confused, because there are two claimants to the throne. The usurpers look like they are occupying the throne, and so most carnally-minded people "recognize" the usurpers as having been given the Kingdom. Only those with spiritual eyes will understand what is really going on and will support the true Heir.

This is what happened in the days of King David. This is what happened again in the New Testament story of King Jesus. And if there is any question about who is the true Inheritor, I refer you to Jesus' verdict in Matt. 21:43,

"Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it."

Even as David "took" the Kingdom away from the usurpers at his "second coming" to Jerusalem, so also will King Jesus take the Kingdom away from the usurpers at His "second coming." Though it looks like the Absalom company has won, the true Heir will win in the end. Though many Christians today, in their role as Ahithophel and Judas, support the Absalom company, their king (Absalom) will ultimately be killed, and the usurped real estate will pass into the hands of the true Heir of the throne.

Getting back to Luke 17, we then read a strange word that Jesus told His disciples in verse 22,

"And He said to the disciples, The days shall come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it."

Because the context is about "seeing" the Kingdom coming with one's eyes ("outward show"), Jesus must be referring to the fact that men will fail to see the Kingdom manifested in an outward manner, though they long for it. And so Jesus repeats His admonition not to run after those who say "Look here!" or "Look there!"

This reminds me of those who are constantly looking for the rapture. Right now the focus seems to be upon June 2007, which is 40 years after the Israeli's "Six-Day War." Certainly, this is the completion of an important time cycle, but it will not be the date of a "rapture." The biblical events that men interpret in terms of "rapture" are actually descriptions of the autumn feast days from Trumpets to Tabernacles. June is nowhere near those feast days.

In verse 22 above, Jesus implied that there was more than one day of the Son of Man. He did NOT say you will long to see THE DAY of the Son of Man. He said "one of the days." Therefore, there must be more than one day in question. Again, once we understand that the spring feasts prophesied of Christ's first coming, while the autumn feasts prophesy of His second coming--then it is plain that there is more than one day involved in the autumn feasts.

So would Christ's disciples (Christians) in the latter days long to see the fulfillment of a specific feast day? or "even just one of them"?

I believe He was speaking of the first of the autumn festivals, the Feast of Trumpets. This is the day that signifies the resurrection of the dead, for the dead will be raised at the last "trumpet" (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16). We simply do not know which YEAR this will take place. More than that, no one ever knew ahead of time when Trumpets would begin.

Trumpets occurred on the first of the month, the morning after the first crescent moon had appeared in the sky the previous sundown. The problem was that if the sky happened to be heavily overcast, the moon could have been invisible to the naked eye. In such cases, the priests would wait another day to see the new moon. If the sky were still overcast and if it were still not possible to see that first crescent moon the second day, they would keep trumpets the following morning anyway.

Yet because of this possibility, Trumpets could be celebrated on either day, and no man knew precisely when Trumpets would begin. Hence, it came to be a saying in those days, "no man knows the day nor the hour," and this saying was said specifically with the Feast of Trumpets in mind.

Thus, it appears to me that "one of the days of the Son of Man" that the disciples would fail to see ahead of time would be the Feast of Trumpets. Because that day was set by ocular observation, it seems fitting that this was the day Jesus was referencing.

This would also appear to be the day that would come upon the world "as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2). Paul says in that passage that the day would come with sudden destruction. In those days a "thief in the night" was not a burglar, but a robber band that might swoop down upon a town in the early morning hours when everyone was sleeping in "peace and safety." They would plunder the town, throw everyone out of bed, and then disappear into the hills. The word picture is not like the modern "rapture" at all, which pictures Christ like a burglar.

All of this lends support to the idea that the Feast of Trumpets will be a time of destruction as well as resurrection. But this is only "ONE of the days of the Son of Man." The days are not completed until the last day of the feast of Tabernacles.

Then Jesus seems to talk about "lightning" (Greek: astrape). In Matt. 24:27 He says that this "lightning" comes from the east and goes to the west. Is that how lightning flashes? We will see next time.

This is the first part of a series titled "Remember Lot's Wife." To view all parts, click the link below.

Remember Lot's Wife

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Category: Teachings

Dr. Stephen Jones

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