We continue this discussion under "5. ANOTHER WAY, PROBABLY A BETTER WAY, TO INTERPRET 1 JOHN 2:28" here in Part 6 of this paper.
I was able to obtain a copy of J. L. Houlden's book ("The Johannine Epistles" [Harper and Row, Publishers, 1973]), that was referred to by Marianne Thompson, the author I have been quoting. I'll comment a little and quote a little from what he says under 1 John 2:28-3:2 (pages 84-91). He believes that 2:28 and 3:2 speak of the "appearing" (or manifestation, coming) of the Lord Jesus, and he believes that "we shall be like him" of 3:2 "almost certainly refers to [being like] Christ." However, he also believes that 2:28 speaks of having "confidence before God [the Father]," which is "virtually the same as "not being ashamed before him" in that verse. He believes that they will have confidence before God when the Lord Jesus returns. One last point, he also says that the "confidence in the day of judgment" of 1 John 4:17 is "confidence before God." I believe he is right on this point.
As I mentioned, I believe this interpretation is an important step toward what I prefer as the correct interpretation: That 1 John 2:28 and 3:2 both speak of the coming (appearing, manifestation) of God the Father and of having confidence before Him, but it is to be understood that God the Father and the Lord Jesus come at the same time. (I believe they will come at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet [Rev. 11:15], right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.) The section that follows in this paper (section 5.1) is extremely important: "IT WILL BE HELPFUL TO LOOK AT SEVERAL VERSES THAT SPEAK OF GOD THE FATHER COMING TO JUDGE, AND/OR JUDGING, AT THE END OF THIS AGE." Passages from the book of Revelation are especially prominent in that section. We are dependent on the book of Revelation to learn and/or confirm a large number of very important details regarding the end times:
Many of those details were not revealed before the book of Revelation was given (about AD 95), including details like the three and one-half year powerful ministry of the two prophets, who will be killed by Antichrist and lay in the street of Jerusalem for three and one half days before they come back to life before the watching world and are caught up in the cloud right in the middle of the seven-year period (Rev. 11:3-12); the sounding of the seven trumpets (starting with Rev. 8:1-7); the return of the Lord Jesus and the resurrection and rapture of the saints right in the middle of the seven years (Rev. 11:11-12:5, 10-12); the devil being cast down to the earth with his angels (we learn from Rev. 12:4 that a third of the angels rebelled and followed the devil back when he rebelled against God) right in the middle of the seven years (Rev. 12:4, 7-9, 13); the facts that Antichrist will be killed and come back from the dead (Rev. 13:3, 12, 14-15) and that the devil, having just been cast down to the earth with his angels right in the middle of the seven years, will give Antichrist his power and his throne and great authority (Rev. 13:2), at which time Antichrist will begin his super-evil reign right in the middle of the seven years (it is very important to see that God hasn't lost control; it is part of God's plan to raise up Antichrist and to use him in His end-time judgment of the world [cf. Zech. 11:15-17; Dan. 11:36]); the three and one-half year "ministry" of the false prophet, who, for one thing, has the image of the beast (Antichrist) made, the image that commemorates the fact that he came back from the dead, the image that miraculously speaks (Rev. 13:11-18); the seven bowls of wrath (starting with Rev. 16:1-2); some details on the millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:1-10) and on the eternal state that follows the millennial kingdom (Revelation chapters 21-22), etc. AND IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SEE THAT THE BOOK OF REVELATION SHOWS THAT GOD THE FATHER IS COMING TO SAVE AND TO JUDGE AT THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVENTH AND LAST TRUMPET OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, AT THE SAME TIME HE WILL SEND THE LORD JESUS TO SAVE AND TO JUDGE, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEVEN YEARS (Rev. 1:4; 4:8; 6:16-17; 11:15-18, especially 11:17 with the change in the name of God the Father; these verses are all discussed in section 5.2 that follows in this paper). There is no way that God the Father will be passive in the end-time saving and judging. As I mentioned, passages from the book of Revelation are very prominent in the section that follows.
5.1. IT WILL BE VERY HELPFUL TO CONSIDER SEVERAL PASSAGES THAT SPEAK OF GOD THE FATHER COMING TO JUDGE, AND/OR JUDGING, AT THE END OF THIS AGE. All of these passages but one were taken from the New Testament, but as we continue (see under section 6.5) I'll briefly comment on some more passages from the Old Testament. The New Testament clearly teaches that the Lord Jesus is coming to save and to judge at the end of this age. This viewpoint is very widely accepted. ((As I have mentioned, I believe God the Father and the Lord Jesus are coming in the middle of the seven-year period that is sometimes called Daniel's 70th week, based in large part of Rev. 11:15 (where the seventh and last angel sounds his trumpet) in its context. That is when judgment day will officially begin. See my books "The Mid-Week Rapture" and "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture." The second book should typically be read first.)) On the coming of the Lord Jesus, see, for example, Matt. 24:30-51; Luke 21:25-36; 1 Cor. 15:20-28; 1 Thess. 4:13-5:10; and 2 Thess. 1:5-2:12.
You could easily get the very wrong impression from passages like those I just listed at the end of the last paragraph and like John 5:22-29, that the Lord Jesus will be the only One coming and totally actively engaged in the end-time judgment of the world. I'll quote JOHN 5:22-23 from the ESV: "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son (23) that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." Also ACTS 10:42: "And He [God the Father] ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this [the Lord Jesus] is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead." And ACTS 17:30-31: "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, (31) because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed [the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ], having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
For a start, let's consider PSALM 110:1, "The LORD [Yahweh; God the Father] says to my Lord [referring to the Lord Jesus, who, being the Son of God and the Messiah, was David's Lord (cf., e.g., Matt. 22:41-46)]: Sit at my right hand Until I make [Note "Until I [God the Father] make"] Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." God the Father will send His Son to judge the world, but He Himself will be very active in those judgments. In fact, as I have mentioned and as we will further discuss, the book of Revelation shows that God the Father will come at that same time to judge the world. He will be directly involved in "[making His Son's enemies (who are also the enemies of the Father and of the people of God)] a footstool for [the Son's] feet." See ROMANS 2:2, 3, 5, 16; 3:6; ROMANS 14:10-12 ("But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (11) For it is written, 'AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE WILL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE WILL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.' (12) So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God."); 1 CORINTHIANS 5:13; HEBREWS 10:26-31 ("For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. (28) Anyone who set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (29) How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (30) For we know Him [God the Father] who said, 'VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.' And again, 'THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.' (31) It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."; HEBREWS 12:23 ("...AND TO GOD, THE JUDGE OF ALL [my emphasis]...and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant...."); HEBREWS 13:4; JAMES 4:11-12 (I'll quote 4:12: "THERE IN ONLY ONE LAWGIVER AND JUDGE [my emphasis, God the Father], the one who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?" We will discuss JAMES 5:4, 7-9, 12 later in this paper.); 1 PETER 2:23; 4:5; REVELATION 1:4 (1:8 AND 4:8) AND 11:15-18 (I will discuss these super-important verses from the book of Revelation separately in more detail after I finish this lengthy paragraph and the next paragraph.); REVELATION 6:16-17 ("and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us FROM THE PRESENCE OF HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE [my emphasis], and from the wrath of the Lamb; (17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand.");REVELATION 14:7 ("Fear God [the Father] and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come"); REVELATION 14:9-11 ("Then another angel, a third one, followed them saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast [Antichrist] and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, (10) he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God [God the Father; note that the Lamb is mentioned in verse 11], which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (11) And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.' "), REVELATION 14:19 ("So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great winepress of the wrath of God."); REVELATION 15:1 ("Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished."), 15:3-8 (I'll quote REVELATION 15:7: "Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever."); REVELATION 16:1-21 ((I'll quote 16:1: "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, 'Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.' " Verses 5 and 7 speak of God's judgments. I'll quote 16:19b: "Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath [Babylon the great is a symbol for the devil's world, that includes all the things he uses to seduce people from God; she is a harlot and embraces, for one thing, all false religion, including apostate Christianity]." And I'll quote 16:21b: "and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.")); REVELATION 17:17 ("For God has put it in their hearts [the hearts of Antichrist and the ten horns] to execute his purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast [Antichrist], until the words of God will be fulfilled [He puts it in their hearts to hate and destroy Babylon the great harlot]."); 18:4-8 (These verses also deal with God's intense judgment of Babylon the great.), REVELATION 18:20 ("Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her [Babylon]."); REVELATION 19:1-6 (I'll quote 19:2: "BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He [The context shows that "He" refers to God the Father here.] has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER."); REVELATION 20:11-15 (These verses deal with God the Father's great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennium. "And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" [Rev. 20:15].) The Bible demonstrates the full deity of the Son of God, but it also shows the preeminent role of God the Father in the Trinity. See my paper "Preeminent Role of God the Father in the Trinity" on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching).
Later in this paper we will discuss JAMES 5:7 and 8. Both verses mention the coming (Greek "parousia") of the Lord to judge at the end of this age. There is widespread agreement that the Lord there is the Lord Jesus. That could be, but as we will discuss below, I believe the evidence rather strongly favors seeing the coming of God the Father to judge there. I am not suggesting, of course, that the Lord Jesus will not come and be very active in the end-time judging of the world, and in the saving that will be taking place.
5.2. REVELATION 1:4 (and 1:8 and 4:8) AND 11:15-18.
As I have demonstrated, the book of Revelation puts a strong emphasis on God the Father's judging at the end of this age. But it is even more important for our study of 1 John 2:28 that the book of Revelation puts a strong emphasis on HIS COMING to save and to judge at the end of this age. As I will show, it clearly speaks of His coming at the time the Day of Judgment begins. I believe the book of Revelation is God's last word on end-time prophecy in the Bible, and what it teaches is extra important to me. It carries a lot of weight. For one thing, I believe in the mid-week rapture mostly because of the teaching of the book of Revelation. (See my books, "The Mid-Week Rapture" and "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture." Most should read the second book first. It is easier to read, but the other book contains a lot more information.)
5.2.1. IN REVELATION 1:4 (and 1:8 and 4:8) GOD THE FATHER IS CALLED "Him who is and who was and WHO IS TO COME [my emphasis]." (As Rev. 1:4-5 continue, the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus are mentioned, thereby including the three Persons of the Trinity.)
5.2.2. IT IS VERY SIGNIFICANT WHAT REVELATION 11:15-18 GOES ON TO SAY. I'll read those verses: "Then the seventh angel sounded [[He sounded his trumpet, which is the seventh and last trumpet that announces the coming of the Lord Jesus, the resurrection and rapture, the beginning of the Day of Judgment, and, according to these verses, THE COMING OF GOD THE FATHER, even though most Christians don't think of, or speak of, the coming of God the Father. (As I have mentioned, I agree that many passages confirm that the Lord Jesus is coming at the same time.) However, THE BOOK OF REVELATION EMPHASIZES THE COMING OF GOD THE FATHER AND HIS JUDGING (AND SAVING) AFTER HE COMES. I have already mentioned that the PRESENCE OF GOD THE FATHER and the wrath of God the Father and the Son are manifested when the Day of Judgment begins (Rev. 6:16-17). This will be confirmed by the verses we are quoting and discussing here (Rev. 11:15-18). The seventh and last trumpet is the same trumpet as the great trumpet of Matt. 24:31; the LAST trumpet of 1 Cor. 15:52; and the trumpet of God of 1 Thess. 4:16.]]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord [GOD THE FATHER] and of His Christ; and He [GOD THE FATHER] will reign [reigning includes judging] forever and ever.' [[Jesus Christ will reign with God the Father. The raptured saints will reign with them too (obviously reign in a lesser, subordinate sense, but actually reign, and with a rod of iron while the world is being judged (Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5). They will reign with them from the time of the glorification and rapture (in the middle of Daniel's 70th week). However, the book of Revelation makes it clear that, although God the Father begins to reign (reigning includes judging) in the middle of the seven years, He (on purpose, according to His plan) will not finish the judging and fully take over the earth until the end of the seven years ((and even then He will not have completed His judging until He has judged the rebellion at the end of the millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:3, 7-10) and then the great-white-throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) )):
God will not destroy Antichrist and his followers at Armageddon until the end of the seven years. He will be using Antichrist throughout the second half of the seven years in His end-time judgment of the world. For one thing, He will use him to test mankind (this is after the resurrection and rapture, throughout the second three and one-half years): Who will they worship (cf., e.g., Rev. 3:10; 14:6-7, 9-12)? And He will use him to destroy Babylon the great harlot, which is a symbol for the world and all the things the devil uses to seduce people from God (e.g., Rev. 17:15-18). God's judgment and destruction of Babylon the great is a major feature of His end-time judgment of the world. Almost three full chapters of the book of Revelation are devoted to that judgment.]] (16) And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God [I believe the twenty-four elders are high-level angelic beings (cf., e.g., Rev. 4:4 [see my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site; every verse of the book of Revelation is discussed in papers on my internet site or in my end-time books, "Mid-Week Rapture" and "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture"]).], fell on their faces and worshipped God, (17) saying, 'We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were [[(This double bracket goes on for two paragraphs.) It is extremely significant that God the Father's name has changed here (see Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8; 16:5). The words "AND WHO IS TO COME [my emphasis]," have been dropped because He comes at that time, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet. As I mentioned, I believe that trumpet will sound right in the middle of the seven-year period that is sometimes called "Daniel's 70th week." Revelation 11:2 and 3 specifically mention (in prophecy) the three and one-half years of the first half of the seven-year period, when the Jews are still worshipping in the temple, before Antichrist stops those sacrifices at the time of his abomination of desolation. Revelation 12:6, 14 and 13:5 specifically mention (in prophecy) the three and one-half years of the second half of the seven-year period. The seventh trumpet will sound (Rev. 11:15), and quite a few other things will take place right in the middle of the seven-year period (these things are all mentioned in Revelation chapters 11-13), including the coming of God the Father and His Son; the resurrection and rapture of the saints, including the two prophets; the devil and the evil angels are cast down to the earth; and Antichrist begins his three and one-half year super-evil reign when the devil, having just been cast down to the earth, gives him "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2).
Revelation 11:15 and 17 (including the fact that God the Father's name changes at Rev. 11:17; and with a confirmation from Rev. 6:16-17) clearly prophesy of God the Father and the Lord Jesus coming at that time. God the Father will not be visibly present to the world at that time, but He will be very directly involved with the saving and judging that will be taking place. The Lord Jesus will be visibly present to the world at the time of His coming (Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26; Rev. 1:7), but He will not be visibly present to the world throughout much, if any, of the second three and one-half years. God the Father will undoubtedly be visible to us, the raptured, glorified saints, from the time of our glorification. I am confident that He will be visible to us in the eternal state (cf. Rev. 22:4).]], because You [God the Father] have taken Your great power and HAVE BEGUN TO REIGN [my emphasis; reigning includes judging. He has been reigning over the universe that He created all along (He is sovereign), but He has not been reigning in any full sense on the earth. He has allowed sin to continue and increase, but He limits how far it can go, and the devil is called the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4; cf. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). But now, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, God the Father has come and begun to reign. The next verse (11:18) speaks of His reigning/judging and His wrath (and of the ultimate salvation, glorification, for His people, believers) having come.
5.2.3. I'LL INCLUDE SEVERAL BRIEF QUOTATIONS FROM COMMENTATORS ON REVELATION 11:17: "Significantly, the title of God [the Father] found earlier in the book, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come ([Rev. 1:4], 8; 4:8), now is, 'who is and who was.' He has now come! God has taken over the power of the world from Satan (Luke 4:6)" (Alan Johnson, "Expositor's Bible Commentary," Vol. 12 [Zondervan, 1981], page 509). We must understand that God was still God on the earth in spite of the fact that Satan has had some authority on the earth since the fall of Adam and Eve. Satan can in a limited way be called the "god of this world" [2 Cor. 4:4], but he always was, and always will be, very much subordinate to God. (Satan couldn't stop Noah from building the ark or the flood in Noah's day; he couldn't attack Job until God lowered the hedge, and then it was limited what he could do; he couldn't just kill Abraham, etc., etc.)
"As in 1:8 and 4:8, he [God the Father] is the Lord God, the Almighty. He is able to accomplish all that in his decrees he has determined to perform. In the same two passages, as well as in 1:4, he is the one who is, who was, and who is to come. In the present verse (and in 16:5) the third member is omitted [[He has a footnote: "The AV [KJV], following inferior texts [he mentions several manuscripts], adds ["and the one who is coming"] after ["who was"] ...."]], because his coming is no longer seen as future. Already he has come and entered upon his reign." (Robert H. Mounce, "Book of Revelation" [Eerdmans, 1977], page 231.)
"It is noticeable in this adoring thanksgiving that God is no longer addressed as ["the one who is to come"]. The common text [which is found in the KJV] has this addition, but wholly without authority. All critics [those who analyze the ancient Bible manuscripts] agree in rejecting it as an interpolation of some copyist who erroneously supposed that it should come in there the same as in chapter 1:4, 8. There He is called ["The one who is coming"] because not yet manifested as He should be manifested for the great consummation; but here [Rev. 11:15-18] it is already the time of the last trumpet, in which that manifestation is no longer future, but is already come. ... [The commentator goes on to show that God the Father has already come at that time to begin to reign, which includes judging (referring to His often prophesied end-time judgment of the world).]." (J. A. Seiss, "The Apocalypse" [Zondervan, 1980, originally published in 1900], page 272.)
"...["the one who is to come"] of the former passages [Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8] is omitted, because in the time now reached in anticipation he has already come. ... 'thou hast taken thy great power: the power which God had permitted Satan to hold over the world he has now taken to himself [As I mentioned, God is still God on the earth before He comes at the end of this age to save and to judge. Satan's authority is very definitely limited to what God permits him to do.] ... 'hast entered on thy rule': repeating the thought of the preceding words [in 11:15]. ...." (Isbon T. Beckwith, "Apocalypse of John" [Baker Book House, 1979, copyright 1919], page 609.)
"The main basis for thanksgiving [in Rev. 11:17] is that God [God the Father] has assumed kingly rule. ... ...'for the Lord our God the Almighty has begun to reign.' " (David E. Aune, "Revelation 6-16" [Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998], page 640.)
5.2.4. SOME COMMENTATORS ON REVELATION 11:15-18 WHO SPEAK OF GOD THE FATHER BEGINNING TO REIGN THROUGH THE COMING OF THE LORD JESUS. In the past I have said things like the coming of the Father, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, will take place mostly through the coming of the Lord Jesus. (However, I have also been teaching that God the Father will not be passive while the Lord Jesus is judging - He will be very active.) Many verses in the New Testament fit that idea well, but now that I have reconsidered this issue, I have to say that THE BOOK OF REVELATION (which is God's last word on end-time prophecy, and a book which impresses me so much) EMPHASIZES THE POINT THAT GOD THE FATHER IS COMING TO REIGN (which includes saving and judging) AT THE SAME TIME HE SENDS THE LORD JESUS.
The fact that God the Father will be invisible to the world at that time doesn't change the fact that He will come in a very definite way. (As I mentioned, the Lord Jesus will be invisible to the world too throughout (at least most if not all of) the second half of Daniel's 70th week, except for His visible appearance in glory at the time He comes.) Of course God the Father's presence will not be limited to the earth and the things taking place on the earth after He comes, but He will not have to deal with Satan and the evil angels in heavenly places after they are cast down to the earth right in the middle of the seven years (Rev. 12:4, 7-9; 12:12-13:4). That casting down is a major feature in God's end-time judgment of the world.
It may not be easy to picture God the Father Himself coming to save and judge along with His Son (especially if we think, like many do, in terms of His presence being equally spread throughout the universe, without any localized presence or spiritual body), but we must deal with this Biblical reality. Also, as my last paper, "Preeminent Role of God the Father in the Trinity," demonstrates, we must deal with the fact that God the Father has the preeminent role in the Trinity. As I discussed in that paper, I believe the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit love and strongly promote that role for God the Father.
We will continue this discussion in Part 6 of this paper.
© Copyright by Karl Kemp