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The First Mention Principle

The First Mention Principle is that principle by which God indicates in the "first mention" of a subject the truth with which that subject stands connected in the Mind of God.

Benjamin Wills Newton said, "I have found in the Scriptures a principle of interpretation which I believe, if conscientiously adopted, will serve as an unfailing guide to the Mind of God as contained there. The first mentioned thing (the very first words of any subject of which the Holy Spirit is going to speak) is the keystone of the whole matter."

Another says, "This is the law we have long since noticed and have never yet found to fail. The first occurrence of a word, or an expression, or an utterance is the key to subsequent meanings, or at least a guide to the essential point connected with it."

The first time a thing is mentioned in the Word of God you will find the truth that will carry it all the way through the Scriptures. You must remember that there is only one Speaker, and one guiding and controlling, governing mind. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1)-No matter when the message was given, nor how, God was the Speaker.

Since there is only one Speaker, He knows from the beginning what He is going to say and can shape his utterance so as to forecast, at the very outset, what is to follow. You often find this in other books. An author may in the first few paragraphs indicate the whole drift of his work.

SOME EXAMPLES OR ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE FIRST MENTION PRINCIPLE ARE: Gen 3:1-"Now the serpent was more subtil" - Here is the first mentioning of Satan. Satan is subtle.II CORINTHIANS 11:3-"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty" -The first man was tempted by Satan and the Second Man was tested (or proved) by his subtilty. The first testing of the Lord Jesus was that of hunger- 40 days without food. Satan appeared when Jesus was hungry. Satan never tempts the Child of God with food when he is filled. Satan came and said, "If thou be the Son of God," a subtile insinuation, for the Devil was advancing the thought, "If God was your Father, He wouldn't let you go hungry...I wouldn't let a child of mine go hungry." Now, the need was pressing. Hunger is of God, for God gave man this consciousness, to let man know when he needs food. God's plan is for man to eat. "Turn these stones to bread, and prove you are the Son of God; eat, and satisfy your hunger." There is no wrong in satisfying a legitimate need. There is a wrong when a need is satisfied in a wrong way.

The Lord Jesus answered, "It is written." The Son of Man is not come to command, but to obey. He never wrought one miracle for Himself. Then the Devil took Him to the Temple. Yes, the Devil even goes to the House of God sometimes! Note the subtlety! The Devil began to quote Scripture, but the Lord used the Sword of the Spirit on him again, "It is written." Then the Devil offered the whole world to Jesus, the very thing which He had come to redeem, this sin-cursed world. Satan thus offered the Lord an escape from the cross if He would bow His knees to him and worship him.GENESIS 3:1-"Yea hath God said..." The Devil always questions the Word of God. Whenever you go to the pulpit and find a man mocking the Word of God, you will find the slime of the serpent. The text of Modernism: "Yea, hath God said."

UTTERANCES OF THE LORD JESUS-First, at the age of 12 he said, "I must be about my Father's business." Last, "It is finished."

His first ministerial utterance, "It is written," characterizes His ministry and that which was by the Word of the Lord.GENESIS 1:2-Here we find the first mention of the Holy Spirit, and that was His brooding upon the face of the waters. Thus, the work of the Holy Spirit is described as "brooding," and all through the Word of God He is brooding upon things, the earth, sinners, etc.GENESIS 15:6-"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." This is a very interesting Scripture. Three words in that verse occur for the first time: "Believe...Counted...Righteousness," and you have a prevailing principle in the Book. Righteousness is always imputed to man on the basis of faith. GENESIS 15:6 gives to you the mind of God for all the rest of the Bible.GENESIS 1:3-"And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." Light is here mentioned for the first time. Light of the nature of God. God is light. Light is pure and clean, and God is Pure and Clean. There is no such thing as dirty light.

SON OF MAN-Son of Man is mentioned for the first time in Psalm 8. And Hebrews 2 is a commentary on this Psalm. The Son of Man is a title of the Lord Jesus, and it is connected with His dominion of the earth. Whenever you find the title "Son of Man" in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ, it always has relation to His rule on the earth during the Millennium.

There are some interesting things about this title. It is never found in the Church Epistles. It is found in the Gospels and in the Revelation. Yes, Hebrews 2 is a commentary on the "Son of Man." It quotes it, and then goes on to say, "... But now we see not yet all things put under him." However, they will be put under Him in some future day. The "Son of Man" refers to the Lord Jesus only, and whenever you find it, you will find that it refers to His rule over the earth.

DAY OF THE LORD: Isa 2:11, 12-The Day of the LORD is not 12 or 24 hours, but it is a period of time. It begins with the ENTHRONEMENT OF THE ANTICHRIST, the beginning of the 3½ years of the GREAT TRIBULATION, and then through the MILLENNIUM...thus, a period of at least 1003 ½ years.

Here is how we know that the Day of the LORD doesn't begin until the ANTICHRIST is revealed and will continue until the Millennium is over: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the LORD is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (II Thessalonians 2:1-4).

You will notice that we have given the correct translation of the "day of the LORD." The King James version translates it, "day of Christ," but it should be as we have translated it, "Day of the LORD."

From the Scripture just read, we notice that the Thessalonians were disturbed in mind, for someone had come to them, declaring that the "Day of the LORD" was at hand. Had they declared that the "day of Christ" (Rapture) was at hand, it would have caused no alarm whatsoever, for that is the one hope of the Church. But here, someone had preached that the "Day of the LORD" was at hand. In other words, these Thessalonians knew that if the DAY OF THE LORD was at hand, the Rapture had already taken place; the Church had gone up, and here they were... left! That is what disturbed them. Therefore, we conclude that the Day of the LORD occurs sometime after the Rapture.

Now we take note of the word, "for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first." The Greek form "apostasia" is that from which we get our English word "apostasy." We have already thought of the "apostasy" as the "falling away from the truth." Some Bible students have declared that the Great Apostasy must occur before the Day of the LORD comes and that present day Modernism is that Great Apostasy. But, if we examine the Scriptures closely, we note that the apostasy, or the falling away from the truth, was holding sway at the time of the Apostles Paul and John: Read: II Timothy 2:16-18II Timothy 3: 1-5I John 2:19

It was the King James Version which first translated the word "apostasia" as falling away (as found in II Thessalonians 2:3). Earlier English versions translated it as "departure." And that is exactly what it means. The DAY OF THE LORD will not occur until the DEPARTURE occurs first. The departure of what? Why, the departure of the Church, of course! Thus, before the DAY OF THE LORD begins, the DEPARTURE OF THE CHURCH takes place; then the MAN OF SIN, the LAWLESS ONE, the ANTICHRIST, will be revealed.

THE ANTICHRIST will not be revealed until the Church's Departure (rapture) and the first period of 3½ years (or the Tribulation) or reconstruction is over. But at the beginning of the last 3½ year period, the Antichrist breaks the covenant with the Jews ("... in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease"), places his throne in the Temple and commands the world to worship him as God ("He as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God"). He is then revealed as the LIE; he claims to be God; he is, therefore, the LIE. Christ said that He, Jesus, was the TRUTH; the Antichrist shall say that he is God, but he is a liar. He is not God; thus, he is the LIE! This time is known as the Abomination of Desolation, and we may ask, "What greater abomination could there be than for one to claim to be God, but is mere man?" God pours forth His fury upon the world; it will be the DAY OF HIS WRATH-the DAY OF THE LORD!

Now, the DAY OF THE LORD'S limitations are from the beginning of the GREAT TRIBULATION (the last 3½ year period of the 70th Week of Daniel) on through the Millennium. The Apostle Peter, making this plain, is found in II Peter 3:10.

This occurs in the DAY OF THE LORD. But, what part of it? It is when the world shall be visited by fire and all things pass away. And when is that? Right after the Millennium! "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison ... and the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire ... And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat in it, from whose face THE EARTH AND THE HEAVENS FLED AWAY: and there was found no place for them"- (Revelation 20:7, 10, 11).

CONCLUSION: Thus, the DAY OF THE LORD begins with the 3½ years of the GREAT TRIBULATION and continues on through the end of the Millennium.

JERUSALEM: Jerusalem is first mentioned in Judges 1:7, 8 as a city of war. It was besieged 27 times; the temple was destroyed twice.

BABYLON: Babylon is first mentioned as built by Nimrod against God (Idolatry). Every time you find Babylon any place in the Scriptures, you find that it is against God.

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