When our favorite Uncle Joe calls to tell us he will be traveling through our town next week and wants to come and stay with us a night or two, we gladly say “Come, stay.” We pick up and clean the house. We might even bake some of his favorite foods. We prepare a guest room making sure it will be comfortable, and anxiously wait for his visit.
We are happy when family or friends come to visit us. Can we imagine this happy feeling when God would come in the evenings to the garden to visit with Adam and Eve before the fall?
But, after the fall in Genesis c. 3 that happy expectation changed to one of dread. Sin had separated mankind from our creator (Isa. 59:2), and guilt had chased that fellowship away (Heb. 10:27).
The days of visitation with our heavenly Father became times of chastisement and judgment. He came at various times to set things right, to correct wrong doing, and to punish the wicked.
Isa. 10:1-3, ” Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” (KJV)
Jeremiah was told of God’s anger with Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and other nations (gentiles) because of their evil. In Jer. 46:10,
“For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord God of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.”
And, after telling of Nebuchadnezzar’s attack that would come against Egypt He continues in verse 21,
“…they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.”
The day of vengeance was the same as the day of the Lord. The day of their calamity was the same as the time of their visitation.
When speaking of the downfall of Babylon and the Chaldeans in Jeremiah 50:27,
“…woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.“
Of backsliding, whoring Israel in Hosea 9:7,
“The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.”
Micah 7:4, “…the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.” (KJV)
We can begin to see that a “day of visitation” was when the Lord (YHWH) would visit the people in anger to mete out judgment against the wicked. His coming to them was seen by the people in various ways: foreign armies, droughts, famines, locusts, disease / pestilence, etc. All of these were His rods and messengers, His agents and weapons (Isa. 10:5; 13:5; 66:16; Jer. 50:25).
The coming of the Lord did not mean that the people literally saw God physically and in person. No one has seen the Father face to face (John 1:18; 5:37). The people saw the result of His coming, the method of His coming in the days of His visitation.
Moses recalled what God had done to Egypt in Deu. 29:28,
“ And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.”
These days and times were also expressed as –
“the day of his wrath” (Job 20:28; 21:30; Psa. 110:5);
and as “the day of indignation” ( Ezek. 22:24);
and as “the day of their calamity” (Deu. 32:35; Jer. 18:17; 46:21; Obad. 1:13);
and as “the day of vengeance” (Prov. 6:34; Isa. 34:8; 61:2; Jer. 46:10);
and as “the day of his fierce anger” (Isa. 13:13; Lam. 1:12)
All of these were comings of the Lord with His weapons of destruction against wicked and evil people who would not repent. These were days / times in which God judged the nations.
Malachi 3:2, “And who is bearing the day of his coming? And who is standing in his appearing? For he [is] as fire of a refiner, And as soap of a fuller.” (YLT)
Malachi 3:5, “ And I have drawn near to you for judgment, And I have been a witness, Making haste against sorcerers, And against adulterers, And against swearers to a falsehood, And against oppressors of the hire of an hireling, Of a widow, and of a fatherless one, And those turning aside a sojourner, And who fear Me not, said Jehovah of Hosts.” (YLT)
A day of His coming was a time of judgment of the people.
Then how many times has He come in judgment? Can we even count them?
Noah’s flood (Gen. c. 7) was definitely a time of judgment. Then, we can count the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. c. 19); the plagues of Egypt (Ex. c. 6-12); the destruction of the wicked Canaanites from the promised land (Josh. c. 1ff); the captivity of the northern ten tribes of Israel by Assyria (Isa. c. 7 -10); or the captivity of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings c. 24).
How many times can we count the comings / judgments of the Lord that Isaiah prophesied against the nations of Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, Edom, Arabia, Ethiopia, and the Assyrians?
These are only those which the Holy Spirit included in His record, in His word. We don’t know about all of His dealings with all people, as only those things which are recorded are given to us to know.
Then, how is it that people speak of His “second” coming as if there has only ever been one visitation of the Lord?
The “second” appearance is mentioned only in Heb. 9:28, and it was only meant for those who had seen the earthly manifestation of Christ in the appearance of a man in the first century A.D. It would be a second appearance for those who had seen His first appearance to them in that generation.
That second appearance to them was a coming of the Lord, a coming of judgment, a day of wrath, and a day of His vengeance.
Luke 21:22, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
1 Pet. 2:12, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Rev. 6:17, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
As it was promised to them, to those of that generation of the first century A.D., then we can know that He came in judgment during that same generation of the first century A.D. That judgment day was poured out upon the wicked who had crucified Him, and persecuted the saints and prophets He sent to them.
Christ told the scribes and the Pharisees, the hypocrites in Matt. 23:31-36,
“31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.“
Christ promised them He was coming back and that it would be in judgment. He told them that it was Jerusalem that was the object of His wrath.
Matt. 23:37-39, “37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Rev. 8:19, “And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.”
God had prophesied of Israel’s destruction in many passages of the OT. Christ had prophesied of it all throughout the NT. All of the books of the NT were written before that destruction which occurred in A.D. 70. (See Dating The New Testament here.)
His second coming to that generation was to destroy the wicked who had crucified Him, and rejected their promised Messiah. That coming of the Lord was seen by the people of earth in the Jewish / Roman wars of A.D. 66 – 70 in which Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed / made desolate.
That coming of the Lord was the culmination of the ages, the consummation of the ages (Da. 9:27) for the establishment of His kingdom which was “at hand” when He was preaching on this earth.
That second appearance was the second time He came in that generation, but it was not His second coming in judgment. He had already come in judgment many times before, and I am sure that He has come in judgment many times since.
None of those previous comings of the Lord, including that of Noah’s flood, were about the end of the physical earth / cosmos. Even after the flood, the earth was still here. The earth, and the world still exists. A coming of the Lord does not speak of the physical “end of the world”.
Neither was the coming of the Lord prophesied throughout the NT books about the physical destruction of the world. The rainbow pictured around the throne of God in Rev. c 4 was the sign to them that He was not going to destroy all of the earth. (See Part IV of The Signs of Revelation.)
Gen. 8:21-22, “21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
Eph. 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Will God (YHWH) one day decide to destroy the entire physical cosmos? Gen. 8:21 seems to indicate otherwise. But, that is His decision and His only.
We have the example from Genesis that He waited until He knew no one else would turn back to Him, and even then He gave them 120 years to repent. So, if some time in the future He should decide to end this physical creation, I believe it would be only because His harvests (Matt. 9:37) were through, and He knew that no one else would repent / turn to Him.
And, in the meantime, those who are praying for His coming judgment should be careful.
Amos 5: 18-20, “ Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.
See the previous article “The End of The World: The Jonah and The Whale Syndrome” for a discussion regarding those who seek the Lord’s coming.
See also “It’s Not The End of The World – Part III & IV ” for the judgment language which was used in prophesy.
“The Signs of Revelation -Part I: The Time of His Coming” and all ten parts of “It’s Not The End of The World” provide many scriptural evidences of his second coming in the first century A.D.