Bible Study: Three Minute Message

"A New Day Dawns" by Dr. J.W.Bernard

Matthew 24:37-39 "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Look at Gen. 6:9).   

Jesus taught His disciples that His Parousia (arrival) would be like the deluge in Noah's day.  The flood victims had been warned, little by little for one hundred and twenty years until it had become forgettable and common place.  Suddenly it had arrived and caught the people unaware, without a quick warning.   

The flood period was not brief nor sudden.  It continued forty days and nights.  Everyone was not convinced over the one hundred and twenty years of warnings.  And too, they were not ravaged on the first few days of the downpour.  I would think that many said to themselves, "This too shall pass."  It became a very radical destruction and took some time to end its course.  So, if the Parousia is to be like the days of Noah, then the disciples should not look for sudden events, nor the quickness surrounding this extraordinary advent.  

In Noah's day, everyone was eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah and his family entered the ark.  Verse 39 says that the people did not know anything until the flood came and destroyed them all.  This involved some time.  It was not sudden.  Noah had taken one hundred and twenty years to build the ark.  Everyone had progressively grown more wicked each day that passed.  God must do something.  His plan of fashioning men into His likeness would have to take a radical turn.  God must end one age and start over with man in another age.  

God found a man.  Noah was the savior of the world.  However, he could not do the fashioning work of making men into the likeness of God.  That would have to be up to God's Promised One.  God accomplished His great purpose in the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.  

Some might disagree and say that the Parousia will be sudden.  They may use the following verse....

Matthew 24:27 "For as the lightning cometh out of the East and shineth even unto the West; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."  

To some, this verse looks as if "the coming" is as quick as "the lightning." However, this verse is not about "lightning."  This English word, "lightning" furnishes us a picture of an unexpected and brief flash of light.  However, this Greek word, "astrapee" simply means "a bright shining," not a quick surge.  "Lightning" is not the only thing that causes a bright shining.  Luke (11:36) uses "astrapee" as the bright shining of a candle.  So, therefore, any bright shining light fulfills the idea of the Greek word, "astrapee."  

Moreover, the English word "lightning" does not belong in this context.  For lightning seldom comes out of the East, shinning towards the West.  And too, it only penetrates the darkness for a few seconds and then it is gone.  The teaching of the Parousia is not like that.   

So, my proposal is to translate here: astrapee as SUNLIGHT, because only sunlight shines out of the East unto the West bringing forth a new day, dispelling the darkness for a time (Romans 13:11).  The Parousia was the dawning (daybreak) of a new day (2 Peter 1:19) in which old things became clear (1 Cor. 13:12) and opened the final dispensation of the spiritual life in Christ.  

This presence of Christ and spiritual life in Him has flashed like a "bright shinning light" across the world, dispelling the darkness of the laws and regulations of the flesh.  Nothing can compare to the DAYBREAK of the wonderful light of the Gospel of the Grace of God.  It needs no extra light or aid to help it out.  It is what ended the darkness of night and brought in the NEW DAY.  

This new day of His spiritual reign from the time of the Parousia to now is the result of God's destruction of any and everything (sin and death) that was against the Body of Christ.  That frightful destruction went on for another forty years, until everything that pertained to the law and the prophets was totally gone in A.D. 70.  We can say that it was all nailed to the cross of Christ and the result will go on forever.   

 

"For as the sunlight cometh out of the East and shineth even unto the West; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:27  

When the Son of Man came, a new day dawned and we are living in the Sonlight of a brand new day.



Matthew 24:27 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Notice that this verse says that "as the bright shining" comes racing from the East to the West... so shall My Arrival be, not the marching process of an army approaching Jerusalem (from East to West) but, the arrival "of the Son of man."  And again, the facts are that the Roman army made it's attack from the North of Jerusalem.  The arrival (or parousia) of the army was in the North.  As I had pointed out in the Bible Study, "The Coming," the parousia is not a process of approaching.  It is the end of the approach.  It is the arrival.  The city was almost impregnable on three sides because of the steepness of the valleys beneath its outside walls.  So, the North was the best approach for Titus because there was no deep valley. 

The Northern side was protected by three lines of defense, comprising strong walls and towers because it had no deep valley.  Josephus records that Titus advanced in the spring of 70, driving the Passover pilgrims toward Jerusalem in order to increase the mouths to feed inside the city.  He was nearly defeated at the gates.  He established his camps around the city and soon broke the outer North wall and the second wall and days later took the city.  However, this "bright shining" that comes out of the East has nothing to do with the direction the army traveled in approaching the city. 

The established fact, world wide, is that the dependable sun always sends it's bright light from the East and it shines unto the West causing a new day.  We do not have to consider on which side of the storm we are positioned in order to get an East to West situation.  The Greek word, "Astrapee" only means a bright light (coming from any direction).  If it is described as coming from the East and shining unto the West, it could be translated "sunlight" just as well as "lightning."   Any English word that describes what produces a light that dispels the darkness will do, if the context allows it.  However, the words, "East to West" gives other information to put into the calculator for the translation of astrapee.  The next verse seems to refer to the destruction and the army: "For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." (v. 28).  The "bright shining" is compared with His Parousia... not the army.

 

 
Matthew 28:3 "His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:"
 
This word is referring to an effulgence, not a lightning like surge of brightness.  Remember, the character of lightning is quick and short in it's duration.  This was a resplendent radiance that held its brightness emanating from His face.  His clothes were also brilliantly white (compared to snow).  It could be translated "His countenance was like the sunlight..."  This event was in the daytime and it is difficult to look into the sun in the daytime.  A crack of lightning is not very bright in the daytime.  And again, lightning, during the night does not seem to effect the eyes that much either.  Lightning is a very weak word to use for this daytime brilliance of His countenance.

Luke 10:18 "And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
 
We know that lightning does not fall from heaven.  When positive (above) and negative (below) get too close.... a surge occurs.  Who can figure out the direction it travels.  It is too quickly gone.  Only when the surge is very powerful does it explode and spread across the sky and we can define its sporadic direction.  It has no pattern or order each time it occurs.  However, on the other hand, debris from outer space falls into our atmosphere and becomes a bright light falling.  "Fall from heaven" seems to be some kind of order.  This word, astrapee could be translated brilliant light.  "I beheld Satan as a brilliant light fall from heaven."  We have depended on the KJV translation for so long that no one will dare question the archaic words.
 

 
Luke 11:36 "If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
 
Just think of how much it would confuse our understanding of this verse, to translate the word astrapee as lightning.  "When the lightning of a candle gives you light."  The word for candle would be our equivalent of light bulb.  Lightning from a light bulb would be a bad thing.  Never in the history of the universe was there a record of lightning coming from a candle.  This astrapee coming from a candle is like the light inside of a person who has truth.  This is a guiding light.  On the dark seas, a navigator pays little attention to lightning.  He looks at the stationary stars or bright lights in the heavens.  This light inside of a person is like the bright stars in the heavens.  As the stars establish what direction the boat is going, the light in a person gives them direction to follow God's will.
 

 
Luke 17:24 "For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day."
 
In this passage (17:20-24), the Lord is explaining that the kingdom of God does not arrive with "observation" (Gr. para-ateresis).  This "observation" is in a bad sense.  He goes on to say, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (v. 21)  The kingdom is already there "among them" in the person of the King.  His Parousia is the Kingdom.  So Jesus tells them that when others say "See here;" or "See there" do not follow those people.  His arrival (parousia) will be a bright shining light.  In verse 24, the word "lighteneth" would be better translated "flasheth."  This Greek word, astrapto occurs only here and in 24:4.  This could well be referring to a bright light like lightning.  It is something that gets your attention like lightning.
 

 
Revelation 4:5 "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."

Revelation 8:5 "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."

Revelation 11:19 "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."

Revelation 16:18 "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."

 
All of these verses use "lightning" for the Greek word, "astrapee." Astrapee is a bright light and is easily translated lightning here.  These "bright shining lights" are connected with thunderings.  It is reasonable to translate the Greek word to lightnings.