”For yet a little while, & He that shall come will come, & will not tarry!” (Heb.10:37)
Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
THE HORRIFIC RULE & REIGN OF THE ANTICHRIST, WHICH WE COVERED IN A PREVIOUS LESSON (See The Rise and Reign of the Antichrist), IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE THE FINAL TRIUMPH OF MAN WITHOUT GOD! The Devil will look like a success, God will look like He’s been defeated, & the Church will look like it’s been destroyed! But what the Antichrist & his forces are not counting on is the supernatural, miraculous, omnipotent power of God, & God is going to get His greatest victory out of the seeming greatest of all defeats!
JUST AT THE HOUR WHEN THE FIENDISH ANTICHRIST THINKS HE HAS EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL–at last he’s worshipped by the whole World & he “sitteth in the Temple of God, as God, shewing himself that he is God” (2Thes.2:4)–suddenly–BOOM!–like a bolt from the blue, something happens!–Jesus comes & snatches all of His children out of this World!–All believers, all those who refused the Mark of the Beast in either their forehead or their hand & refused to worship him, but preferred to love & live & even die for Jesus!
JUST AFTER THAT DARKEST HOUR IN WORLD HISTORY, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE THE BRIGHTEST DAWN! The brightest dawn comes after the darkest night, & Jesus is going to come back & rescue His Own, His children, His Church, His people, everyone who loves Him & knows Him & has Jesus in their hearts, who believe He is the Son of God, the Messiah.
HE’S GOING TO COME BACK & HE’S GOING TO RESCUE US OUT OF THIS WORLD! He’s going to say, “Stop the World! I want’m to get off!” Hallelujah! And you’re going to be caught up together with Him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, & so shall we ever be with the Lord! (1Thes.4:17.) We will rise in immortal victory over the forces of the Devil & the Antichrist, right before the eyes of our enemies, out of their reach forever as we rise to be with Jesus!
SO BELOVED, ALTHOUGH THE OUTLOOK FOR US IN THIS WORLD & OUR FUTURE HERE COULD HARDLY BE DARKER, the uplook could hardly be brighter or more glorious! And as the World gets worse & worse & the fires of Hell get hotter & hotter, we’re going to have to keep fleeing from that old Dragon & his crowd (Rev.12), until one of these days there’ll be no place left to go. Then we’re gonna go straight up to be with Jesus!–He’s gonna stop the World so we can get off! Praise God!
THEREFORE JESUS’ SECOND COMING IS THE MAJOR PROPHETIC ENDTIME EVENT FOR US, as it will signify the End of this World as we now know it, as well as our place in it in these present physical bodies. Following His Coming will be our complete translation & Rapture as we’re caught up together with Him in the air & taken off into Heavenly places! His Coming is the pivotal point, the end of this present life & living & work on Earth, when “time shall be no more” for us!–And we will enter the great Eternal Now! PTL! (Rev.10:6,7.)
- “THE TIMES & THE SEASONS” OF THE SECOND COMING! (1Thes.5:1.)
ACCORDING TO ALL THE SCRIPTURES WE’VE ALREADY COVERED in our previous Chapter on the Antichrist, the Coming of the Lord marks the end of the Great Tribulation, that last 3-1/2 years of the Antichrist’s 7-year reign, during which time all Christians & believers in God will be hounded, hunted, persecuted & even slaughtered by the bestial Antichrist & his anti-God forces!
BUT THANK GOD, HE HAS A SET TIME & SCHEDULE FOR THE RETURN OF HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, TO THIS EARTH TO RESCUE HIS PEOPLE!–And He’s going to come right on the button, just like these space launches which have a pre-set countdown!–Only there aren’t going to be any problems to delay His countdown! Jesus is going to fulfil His Word! You can rest assured that He is not going to change plans & come contrary to all the things that He Himself taught & the Prophets & the Apostles wrote! He is not going to misfire, but is going to fulfil all of the specific, detailed prophecies of His Word regarding Endtime events which must come to pass before He returns!
WE’VE ALREADY ANSWERED THE OLD THEOLOGICAL CONTROVERSY OF THOSE WHO WOULD ARGUE, “BUT NO MAN KNOWETH THE DAY OR THE HOUR WHEN CHRIST WILL RETURN!” –Yes, Jesus said to His disciples at that time, 2,000 years ago, “of that day & hour knoweth no man.” (Mat.24:36.) Why should people living almost 2,000 years ago be concerned about the times of specific events of a far distant future in which they themselves would not be living? It was not necessary for them to know!
IN FACT, WONDERFULLY ENOUGH, THE LORD LEFT PEOPLE GUESSING & HANGING IN SUSPENSE FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, sometimes thousands of years, wondering what was going to happen & when it was going to happen! But they didn’t need to know yet. But now that the hour has come that the End is almost upon us, the Lord has unsealed & opened His Word to us & given us specific, detailed, actual times–years, months & even days, accurate mathematical exact statistics–so that we can know exactly where we are at on His timetable & schedule!
YOU WILL PROBABLY BE ABLE TO START THE FINAL COUNTDOWN TO CHRIST’S SECOND COMING AS SOON AS YOU FIRST HEAR OR SEE THAT THE ANTICHRIST HAS BEEN REVEALED as the great World leader who “confirms the Covenant with many for seven years” regarding Jerusalem & Jewish Temple worship. (Dan.9:27.) The moment that you see it signed, start counting the days! It’ll be exactly 1,260 days until he breaks it & abolishes it & begins the “Great Tribulation” period by setting himself & his Image up in the Holy Place to be worshipped, & commanding that everybody receive his Mark in their forehead or hand!
BUT I’M NOT GOING TO SWEAR TO IT THAT WE’LL KNOW EXACTLY WHEN THE ANTICHRIST STARTS HIS KINGDOM OR EXACTLY WHEN THIS COVENANT IS MADE, although I have a feeling we probably will, because that would be big news when they finally settle the big fracas between the Jews & the Arabs & the big dispute that’s going on over the city of Jerusalem right now. But from the “midst of the week” on, we’ll be able to definitely count the days till His Coming!–Because Jesus Himself said, “When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the World to this time, no, nor ever shall be!” (Mat.24:15,21.)
WHEN THAT IMAGE OF THE HORRIBLE BEAST, THE ANTICHRIST, IS SET UP THERE IN THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM, IN THE MIDST OF THAT SEVEN YEAR COVENANT PERIOD WITH THE JEWS, then will begin the Great Tribulation period for which His Word gives us the exact 3-1/2 year length over & over again in so many different ways that you cannot possibly misunderstand it!–3-1/2 years (Dan.7:25; Dan.9:27; Dan.12:7; Rev.12:14), 42 months (Rev.11:2; Rev.13:5), 1,260 days (Rev.11:3; Rev.12:6) & many other places. It is repeated so many times in so many different ways–days, months & years–so that you will know exactly how long it’s going to last!
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD REVEALED THIS SO SPECIFICALLY & SO EXACTLY IN HIS WORD? Why do you think He was so clear on that?–Because it’s going to be such a terrible time that we’re going to be counting the days! That’s one thing that will help keep you going, to know that it is not going to last much longer! The fact that you’re able to count the days is going to encourage you tremendously!–”Just one more day, one more day, one more day!”
IF YOU WERE LOST ON A DESERT ISLE & DIDN’T KNOW WHETHER YOU WERE EVER GOING TO GET RESCUED, IT WOULD BE PRETTY HARD TO ENDURE. But if you knew exactly what day, or at least mighty close to it, that you were going to be rescued, you’d fight to live & survive until that day! Well, those last days of the Antichrist’s reign during the Great Tribulation are going to be so rough, the Lord wanted us to know the exact times so that we wouldn’t give up.
THE LORD WANTED TO MAKE SURE YOU KNEW EXACTLY HOW LONG THIS TERRIBLE TRIBULATION PERIOD WAS GOING TO LAST, FOR YOUR OWN ENCOURAGEMENT!–So you’d know exactly how much longer you’d have to suffer. How encouraging it will be to know, even as things are getting worse & worse, “Well, hallelujah, we’ve only got a few more days to go, & the Lord’s going to be here to deliver us.” “Look up!” He says, “for your redemption draweth nigh!” (Luk.21:28.) What a wonderful encouragement!
- “THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN!” (Mat.24:30.)
JESUS WARNED US NOT TO EXPECT HIS RETURN ANY SOONER THAN HAS BEEN PREDICTED. He also warned that there will be many false Christs & false prophets who will try to deceive people into thinking either that they are Christ or that Christ is coming nearby somewhere, that He is here or there.–“If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, & false prophets, & shall shew great signs & wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Mat.24:23,24.)
“WHEREFORE IF THEY SHALL SAY UNTO YOU, BEHOLD, HE IS IN THE DESERT; GO NOT FORTH: BEHOLD, HE IS IN THE SECRET CHAMBERS; BELIEVE IT NOT.” (Mat.24:26.) He says, “Don’t believe any of them, because when I come you’ll know it!” The sky will light up like permanent lightning from one end to the other, & there will be such a sign in the Heavens that you couldn’t possibly mistake the fact that Jesus is coming!–
“FOR AS THE LIGHTNING COMETH OUT OF THE EAST, & SHINETH EVEN UNTO THE WEST; SO SHALL ALSO THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE!” (Mat.24:27.) He says there’s going to be light shining from the East to the West in the sky like lightning! You’ve seen it when the whole sky lights up with lightning? Well, that’s just a flash in the pan, a flash in the sky! The whole sky’s going to light up & stay lit when Jesus comes, while we’re gathered up to meet Him in the air!–And the whole World is going to watch it!
“FOR WHERESOEVER THE CARCASE IS, THERE WILL THE EAGLES BE GATHERED TOGETHER.” (Mat.24:28.) Now, that’s a strange thing, what does this mean about a carcase & eagles, vultures?–He’s speaking in cryptic, very puzzling language, saying, “Wherever the Body is, there are those going to be that feed on Christ!”–A rather unsavoury comparison that we, like vultures, feed upon the body of Christ, but He said, “Except you eat of My flesh & drink of My blood, you’re not going to have any part in Me.” (Joh.6:53-58.) So here He’s speaking of our gathering together or Rapture unto Him.
AND THAT’S THE SUREST WAY YOU’RE GOING TO KNOW WHEN JESUS COMES, BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO BE THERE! You’re going to rise to meet Him in the air! The greatest sign that Jesus has come will be that you will start floating, you will start levitating! Suddenly your feet won’t be able to touch the ground & you’ll start floating upward!–And He will gather you together to His Body, & we will meet Him in the air!
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHETHER YOU’RE GOING TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE–here, there or somewhere else–because wherever you are, you’re going to be drawn like a magnet, like the eagles to the carcase, like vultures to the Body, who have to eat & feed upon Christ to live spiritually! Wherever the carcase is, there will all of us little eagles be gathered together!–That’s how you’ll know when Jesus comes, you’ll be there!
“IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS shall the sun be darkened, & the moon shall not give her light, & the stars shall fall from Heaven, & the powers of the Heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: & then shall all of the tribes of the Earth mourn, & they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power & great glory! And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, & they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other!” (Mat.24:29-31.)
WOW! WHAT COULD BE MORE CATACLYSMIC, CATASTROPHIC, NOISY, DRAMATIC, TERRIFIC & MORE OBVIOUS THAN THE COMING OF THE LORD AS DESCRIBED HERE BY JESUS HIMSELF!?–“Immediately after the Tribulation!” But despite the fact that the whole sky will be lit up like lightning, that the saved of all ages will be literally “gathered together“ in the air, that the sun & the moon will be darkened & meteors will be falling & Jesus Himself will appear in the atmospheric heavens, causing the unsaved to mourn & weep as they see His coming in the clouds “with power & great glory“!–In spite of the “great sound of a trumpet“ & all these obvious, unmistakable, earthshaking, heaven-quaking signs of His coming, those same dear Church-people that cooked up the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” doctrine about the Church not having to go through the Tribulation, have cooked up another false doctrine known as the “Secret Rapture” doctrine!
THESE FALSE PROPHETS, FALSE TEACHERS & PREACHERS TEACH THAT A SECRET RAPTURE WILL OCCUR BEFORE THE TRIBULATION, to whisk you silently, secretly & unobserved out of this World! According to them, Jesus is supposed to come secretly & quietly & nobody’s going to know about it!–He’s going to sneak in & the church is going to be snuck out with Him, & they’re all going to suddenly disappear & nobody’s going to know about it, millions & millions disappearing overnight!
THEY BASE THIS FALSE DOCTRINE ON A FEW SCRIPTURES WHICH SPEAK OF CHRIST COMING “AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.”–So let’s take a close look at one of their most often-quoted passages which they use to try to substantiate this doctrine, 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5:
“BUT OF THE TIMES & THE SEASONS, BRETHREN, YE HAVE NO NEED THAT I WRITE UNTO YOU. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1Thes.5:1,2.) “Aha!” Pre-Trib Secret Rapturists will say, “See there! He’s going to come as a thief in the night & nobody’s going to know when He came, nobody’s going to know when He left. He’s going to steal in & steal you & steal out & it will all be very secretive & quiet!”
WELL, THEN WHY IN THE NEXT VERSE DOES IT SAY, “FOR WHEN THEY SHALL SAY, PEACE & SAFETY; THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; & they shall not escape!” (1Thes.5:3.) How can sudden destruction come upon you & you not know it? How can sudden travail come upon a woman who is having a baby, how can she go into labour, & not know it? You women who have had children, did you know when you were having them? Well, you didn’t know exactly when it was going to happen, but you knew it was coming & you knew when it was pretty close. And believe you me, when it happened you knew it! Right?
SO WHAT HE MEANS HERE IS THAT THE LORD WILL COME BY SURPRISE! It will be sudden, that’s for sure! And it will be a surprise to the ungodly, like the sudden coming of a thief. A better word might have been a robber, there’s a slight difference. Thieves sometimes do sneak in & out, but robbers usually let you know they’re there & they take what they want at gunpoint! So what he is saying in the second verse here is simply that the Lord’s coming will be a surprise to the World!–It will be a shock!
IT WILL BE LIKE A SUDDEN DESTRUCTION, SUDDENLY, WITHOUT WARNING! Because their false prophets have been telling them, “Everything’s peace now, everything’s safety, everything’s okay now, you don’t have to worry about anything! We have our World Government, we have our Antichrist, we have our Messiah, we have our superman to run the World now, & everything’s going to be okay!–Peace & safety!”–And then–BOOM!–Sudden destruction hits them!–Jesus returns, rescues His Bride from their evil clutches, & God begins socking it to them with His final Wrath & Judgements on the Antichrist’s World Empire!
“BUT YE, BRETHREN, ARE NOT IN DARKNESS, THAT THAT DAY (OF CHRIST’S SECOND COMING) SHOULD OVERTAKE YOU AS A THIEF!” (1Thes.5:4.) Ahh!–You Christians who know His Word & have “discerned the signs of the times“ (Mat.16:3) are not going to be surprised! You don’t have to have that day surprise you! You’re going to be so aware of what’s going on that you’re going to know that His coming is very near. You may not know the precise day or hour, but you may know within a day here or a day there, not very far off.–You’ll certainly know when approximately 3-1/2 years from the placing of the Abomination of Desolation has passed! And you’ll be looking for & anxiously awaiting Jesus’ return!
“YE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT & THE CHILDREN OF THE DAY: we are not of the night, nor of darkness! Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch & be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; & they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith & love; & for an helmet, the hope of Salvation.” (1Thes.5:5-8.)
JESUS’ MAGNIFICENT SECOND COMING WON’T CATCH YOU BY SURPRISE, LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, AS IT WILL THE REST OF THE WORLD! They won’t be expecting it!–They’ll be surprised, especially when Jesus comes! They will really be shocked then when they see all the graves open & the bodies of the dead rise in the Resurrection! And all of us whom they’ve been persecuting & trying to kill & torture & imprison, trying to make take their Mark of the Beast & worship his Image, suddenly we’ll rise right out of their hands & they won’t even be able to touch us! It’s going to really shock‘m!
IT SAYS THAT “THEY SHALL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER & GREAT GLORY!” (Mat.24:30.) What glory is it & what power is it if the World doesn’t get to see Him in His triumph?–If the Church doesn’t get to enjoy it with Him, if we as Christians & the children of God don’t get to be caught up right in front of them in tremendous triumph & victory over them?–Out of their damned clutches, out of their fiendish hands & their torturing persecution, right into the skies to be with Jesus! What glory, what triumph would it be if they didn’t even see it happen? How ridiculous can you get! All that Secret Rapture, Pre-Trib Rapture is a bunch of malarkey! It’s ridiculous! It’s un-Scriptural!
OUR RAPTURE, OUR RESURRECTION, IS PART OF OUR TRIUMPH, OUR GOD-GIVEN VICTORY, OUR GREAT EXODUS FROM THIS WORLD! Like with Moses & the children of Israel, a part of their triumph over Pharaoh & his evil forces was that they didn’t just vanish into thin air!–What satisfaction would there have been in that? Well, they would have escaped. But they got to pass out right from under the noses of their enemies, through the Red Sea on dry ground, & then stand on the opposite side & watch all of their enemies drown!–And every eye saw them, they all watched’m as they escaped, so that God could be glorified & the World would know that God is God & able to save His people! Hallelujah!
IN REVELATION IT SAYS, “BEHOLD, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; & EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM; & they also which pierced Him,” meaning the Jews. (Rev.1:7.) That’s going to be our great glorious day of victory when we rise right out of the hands of our torturers & our slaughterers & our persecutors & our anti-Christ enemies! It will be like our final witness! What greater witness could there be than the Rapture?–The Resurrection & the Rapture, that’s the clincher! That’s the final witness, when they actually see Jesus & see us rise from the dead & from the Earth to meet Him in the air! That’s it! They can’t deny it then!
“AND ALL KINDREDS OF THE EARTH SHALL WAIL BECAUSE OF HIM!” (Rev.1:7.) Do you think they’re going to be frightened when they see us rise up to meet Jesus in this tremendous Rapture, this glorious, thunderous, lightning-like, Earth-shaking, Heaven-quaking event that raises the dead from the graves & the live from the ground? They’re going to be scared half out of their wits, almost to death!–Because then they’ll know that they have been wrong! They’ll know that we have been right & that Jesus has come to rescue us & to save us out of all their persecution & torment & all the terrible, horrible tribulation that they have caused us!
SO DON’T LET ANYONE FOOL YOU WITH THIS SO-CALLED “SECRET RAPTURE” DOCTRINE!–When Jesus comes, this World is going to know about it! Suddenly the sun’s going to be darkened & the stars shall fall from Heaven!–On the day-side of the Earth the sun will be darkened, & on the night-side of the Earth the moon shall not give her light & the stars’ll be falling! So no matter whether it’s day or night, no matter which side of the Earth you’re on, there are going to be signs in the sky, signs in the Heavens! God’s going to blot all the other lights out so He can shine!–So Jesus can shine!
“AND THE POWERS OF THE HEAVENS SHALL BE SHAKEN!” (Mat.24:29.)–There’ll be a great earthquake! You’ll hear rumblings & thunderings & mighty sounds! Let me tell you, you’ll know something’s happening! You’ll see the whole sky light up with permanent lightning from one end to the other, & then Jesus is going to appear in the clouds of Heaven in power & great glory! The whole World’s going to know something very unusual & very apocalyptic is happening!–And it’s going to be the Apocalypse for sure!–The revelation of Jesus Christ Himself coming in the clouds!
AND THERE ARE GOING TO BE SEVERAL BIG NOISES! The Scriptures which we’ll cover in a minute over in 1st Thessalonians Chapter 4 say that the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, & with the voice of the archangel!–The Lord’s not only going to be shouting, but the archangel’s going to be shouting!–And I have an idea a lot of other folks are going to be shouting too! Hallelujah! And the trump of God shall sound!–Another big noise! With the Lord shouting & the archangel shouting & the trumpet blowing, there’s going to be a lot of noise, which sure doesn’t sound very secret to me!
“THEN SHALL APPEAR THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN!” Are they going to see it?–How can it be a sign if they don’t see it? “And then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn.” What are they mourning about if they don’t even know what happened? What are they crying about if it was so secret & nobody knew what happened? “And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power & great glory!” (Mat.24:30.)
LIGHTS! TRUMPETS! VOICES! THUNDER! EARTHQUAKES! NOISES! DEAD RISING FROM THE GRAVES! LIVE SAINTS RISING FROM THE GROUND, floating right up through the ceilings & the buildings & the cars & right up into the clouds to be with Jesus! That’s no secret!–That “secret rapture” idea is a lot of baloney! I’ve been reading to you from the Bible, just what Jesus says & just what Paul says, & that’s the Truth! So you can go thumb your nose at those preachers & false prophets who try to tell you anything else!–Amen?
- “THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE!” (Joh.5:29.)
WHEN JESUS COMES, A GREAT WONDERFUL MIRACLE TAKES PLACE–THE RESURRECTION! All of those who belong to Him, all the saved, will then have a glorious & beautiful & wonderful Resurrection!–Either from the dead or translated, instantly changed & raised from the very face of the Earth, from the living! Then we will all go to be with the Lord to have the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb, while the Wrath of God is being poured out upon the wicked who remain on the Earth!
MANY MANY TIMES THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURES HIS RETURN & OUR CONSEQUENT RESURRECTION IS SPOKEN OF IN BOTH THE OLD & NEW TESTAMENTS! Many times we’re told in various ways of this great, apocalyptic event! And although the word “Rapture” itself is not to be found in the Scriptures, it is a handy little word because it sums up what we’re talking about, which might otherwise take a little time to explain. So when we use the term “Rapture”, it includes the coming of the Lord in the clouds, the sounding of the Trumpet, the dead being raised, the living saved being translated, & all of us being gathered together to be with the Lord, etc.–This is all part of the Rapture.
THE APOSTLE PAUL GIVES US A VERY REVELATORY INSIGHT INTO THIS MARVELLOUS EVENT IN 1ST THESSALONIANS, CHAPTER 4: “I would not have you to be ignorant, Brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1Thes.4:13.) He says, “I don’t want you guys to be so dumb that you don’t know what’s going to happen when Jesus comes! I don’t want you to be so dumb about death that you don’t realise there’s going to be a resurrection!”
“FOR IF WE BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED & ROSE AGAIN, EVEN SO THEM ALSO WHICH SLEEP IN JESUS WILL GOD BRING WITH HIM.” (1Thes.4:14.) What is he talking about when he says those who are asleep in Jesus?–It’s an oft-used expression & it means “the dead in Christ”, as explained in verse 16 of this same Chapter–those who have died in the Lord, born-again Christians who have already gone on to be with Jesus. All of our dear loved ones who have departed from this life are already with the Lord! Their bodies, you might say, are asleep & have gone back to dust if they’ve been there long enough. But they themselves, their spirits, are not sleeping in the grave.–They’re with Jesus!–“For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!” (2Cor.5:8.) They’ve “departed to be with Christ, which is far better!” (Phi.1:23.)
SO WHO’S THE LORD GOING TO BRING WITH HIM WHEN HE COMES?–All those who’ve already gone to be with the Lord, they’re going to still be with Him when He comes! What are they coming back for?–To rescue us only? Who’s going to be resurrected? “The dead in Christ.” Well, how can the dead in Christ be resurrected & yet be coming back with Jesus at the same time? How can all these dead bodies be resurrected when their spirits are already with Jesus & coming back in His Second Coming? What are they coming back for?–To pick up their bodies!
JESUS COMES BACK WITH THE SPIRITS OF ALL THESE DEPARTED SAINTS SO THAT THEY CAN PICK UP THEIR NEW RESURRECTED BODIES! It has something to do with that old buried body. God wants to prove that He can raise the dead, so He’s going to raise them from the dead, literally, but in a new body.–A new resurrected body like the one He had when He rose, that’s going to be beautiful! Their new, glorified, supernatural, resurrection bodies are going to rise & are going to get together with their spirits at the moment of Christ’s coming!
SO THE DEAD IN CHRIST ARE GOING TO COME BACK WITH THE LORD, & He says that “we which are alive & remain unto the coming of the Lord”–those of us who are still living when Jesus comes–“shall not prevent them which are asleep.” (1Thes.4:15.) The literal meaning here is that we will not pre-vent, or go before, them which are asleep. The Lord’s not going to let us beat them to the punch or jump the gun in this race to be with Jesus! The Lord says He’s going to let them be resurrected & rise first! Those who have died in the Lord & have gone on to be with Him, they’re going to go first!
“FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT, with the voice of the archangel, & with the trump of God! And the dead in Christ shall rise first!”–We’re not going to rise before them or go before them, they’re going to rise first! We who are still alive are probably going to watch the resurrection of the dead! “Then we which are alive & remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air!” (1Thes.4:16,17.)–In other words, we’ve got to wait for our departed brethren to be pulled out of their graves before we get to go up, we don’t get a head start on them! Then once we’re all together, we’ll all rise together to meet Him in the air!–Wow! What an occasion!
WITH ONE SUDDEN, SUPERNATURAL, MIRACULOUS, MIGHTY STROKE OF GOD, HE WAVES HIS WAND OF POWER & PRESTO!–We who are alive will be changed!–Translated & raised incorruptible, to meet the Lord in the air! People talk about the thrill of skydiving!–Well, you’re not just going to fall or sail down, you’re going to sail up! Your body will be changed right on the spot, from a body that’s merely alive to a body that’s going to live forever!
“BEHOLD, I SHOW YOU A MYSTERY; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP”–we’re not all going to die in the Lord, some of us are still going to be alive when the Lord comes–“but we shall all be changed!” (1Cor.15:51.) He says it’s a mystery since it’s pretty hard to understand & explain, because how can you explain that an old corrupt rotten body that’s been in the grave for hundreds or even thousands of years is going to come to life & be perfectly whole & even better than it was before?
“WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE”–as quick as you can bat your eye, as quick as you can wink or blink your eye! When?–“At the last trump“–there’s that trumpet again! “For the trumpet shall sound, & the dead shall be raised incorruptible, & we shall be changed!” (1Cor.15:52.)
“FOR THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, & THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY.” (1Cor.15:53.)–We’ll still be the same, it’s still going to be you, but there’s going to be a big difference! Somehow through a miracle, God is going to do for our bodies even as He did for Jesus.–Of course Jesus wasn’t dead for near as long as many people have been. “He shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” (Phil.3:21.)
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE, OR WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO BE LIKE, AFTER THE RESURRECTION?–YOU’RE GOING TO BE LIKE JESUS WAS AFTER HIS RESURRECTION!–That’s what you’re going to be like! Were they able to see Him?–Yes! Were they usually able to recognise Him?–Yes! And did He walk with them & talk with them?–Yes! He even ate with them & drank with them, think of that! He even cooked for them once! (Luk.24:43; Joh.21:9-14.) So in your new resurrection body you’ll be able to eat, sleep, drink, make love, & do whatever you can do now!–But you’ll also be able to do some things you’ve never been able to do in your natural body!
JESUS WAS NOT ONLY ABLE TO DO ALL THESE NORMAL NATURAL THINGS, but when they were in a locked room with all the doors barred, all of a sudden He came walking right through the locked door! (Joh.20:26.) And you’ll be able to walk through walls, doors, fly up through ceilings & appear & disappear just like Jesus did! You’ll be able to travel not just with the slow speed of sound or light, but with the speed of thought from one place to another! PTL!
WHEN JESUS SUDDENLY APPEARED FROM NOWHERE TO HIS DISCIPLES IN THAT LOCKED-UP ROOM, it says, “They were terrified & affrighted, & supposed that they had seen a spirit.” (Luk.24:37.)–They were almost scared to death, as they thought they were seeing a ghost! But Jesus said to them, “Touch Me, feel Me, see that it is even I Myself, not a spirit; for a spirit hath not flesh & bones as ye see Me have.” (Luk.24:39.)–Think that over! He didn’t say flesh & blood, “for flesh & blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God”, because “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (1Cor.15:50; Lev.17:11.)
HIS RESURRECTION BODY WAS MADE OF FLESH & BONES! But of course it was quite a bit different from the bodies we now have!–We haven’t been able to pick up a talent on how to appear & disappear or do the miracles He did! But He still called it flesh & bones. And when He told doubting Thomas, “Put your fingers into the nailprints in My hand & thrust your hand into the wound in My side, & be not faithless but believing”, it showed that it must have been like the same body He died with if the wounds were still there! (Joh.20:27.)
SO ONE OF THESE DAYS SOON, WHEN JESUS COMES & THAT GREAT TRUMPET SOUNDS, YOU’RE GOING TO TRADE IN YOUR PRESENT, OLD, WORN-OUT, FLESHLY, EARTHY MODEL for an entirely new Heavenly model like the body He had after His resurrection!–“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, & it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1Joh.3:2.) –When Jesus comes, we shall see Him as He is, face-to-face, & be literally like Him!
BUT JUST BECAUSE YOU’VE RECEIVED YOUR NEW RESURRECTION BODY, remember, it’s still going to be you! You’re even going to look a lot the same, only better, much better! But it’s going to be you, the same body, otherwise it wouldn’t be a resurrection! And if someone’s natural, fleshly body has completely rotted away & returned to the dust, or if they were cremated & their ashes sprinkled over a vast area, whatever, if God has to take every single proton, electron & neutron & make up the atoms again & bring them back together from the dirt or from the ashes or from the smoke or from whatever & wherever it is, He will bring it back together!
“FOR IF THE SPIRIT OF HIM THAT RAISED UP JESUS FROM THE DEAD DWELL IN YOU, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you! For God, Who hath raised up the Lord, will also raise up us by His Own power! And when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, & this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Rom.8:11; 1Cor.6:14; 1Cor.15:54,55,57.)
- “BLESSED IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION!” (Rev.20:6.)
BACK IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 24 WE READ THAT WHEN JESUS COMES, HIS ANGELS WILL “GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from one end of Heaven to the other!” (Mat.24:31.) Now this word “elect” here simply means the saved, His “ecclesia“, which means His set-apart ones, His Church, His Christians, His children! And when He starts collecting His children, He’s certainly going to collect them all & not leave any behind! He’s going to gather all the saved together!
NOBODY’S GOING TO BE LEFT BEHIND THAT LOVES JESUS! Nobody’s going to be left behind that has received Jesus as his Saviour! No one is going to be left behind who is saved! Not a single, genuine, Bible-believing, Christ-trusting, Jesus-loving Christian is going to be left behind, not one! For “we shall all be changed!” (1Cor.15:51.) And we will all be raised! He’ll send His angels out to gather us from everywhere, from all around the whole Earth, & He won’t leave one behind. He won’t forget one, not one! Isn’t that wonderful?
IN REVELATION, JOHN ENVISIONED CHRIST’S GATHERING OF HIS CHILDREN AS A GREAT HARVEST: “And I looked, & behold a white cloud, & upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown.”–He’s not coming as a babe in the manger this time, but as the King of kings, to rule & reign forever!–“And in His hand a sharp sickle. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the Earth; & the Earth was reaped!” (Rev.14:14-16.) Jesus catches His Church out & then, immediately following in Revelation, you’ll find nothing but the Wrath of God being poured out upon the wicked who remain.
THIS RESURRECTION IS SPOKEN OF AS THE FIRST RESURRECTION, of all those who belong to Him. He says, “Blessed & holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: On such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God & of Christ, & shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Rev.20:6.) So this “first” resurrection will be a resurrection of only the saved, of those who love Jesus.
NOW IF THERE’S A FIRST RESURRECTION, THERE MUST ALSO BE A SECOND RESURRECTION, & if you read Revelation Chapter 20 about the Great White Throne Judgement of God, you’ll find out that, of course, there is. But the next resurrection, the resurrection of the unsaved, the second resurrection, is not going to occur until after the 1,000-year Golden Age rule & reign of Christ on Earth known as the Millennium. And I’m sorry to say that many of those who don’t make the first resurrection are going to be suffering & learning some pretty hard lessons during that time.–So what you don’t want to do is miss the first resurrection!
“WATCH THEREFORE: FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMETH!” (Mat.24:42,44.) You wouldn’t want to be left behind, would you?–When Jesus comes to rescue His children, His Own, out of this World & all of its horrors & terrors & reign of terror of the Antichrist & Tribulation? You don’t want to be left here to go through the following horrible plagues & Wrath of God upon the wicked & Armageddon & Hell thereafter!
HOW SAD!–THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO BE FOUND UNREADY!–Because He’s going to come suddenly, without warning, except for those who know His Word & know the times & seasons & are counting not only the years, but the very months & the actual days from the events which they know begin the countdown to zero hour when Jesus comes! We’re going to be counting the very days, as we’ve learned in our studies of both Daniel & Revelation.
WILL YOU BE READY WHEN JESUS COMES?–Are you one of His Own?–Have you received Him personally into your own heart? If so, then you can look forward to that Great Day of His Coming with hope & faith & eager anticipation! Receive Jesus now by praying this simple prayer:
“Lord Jesus, please forgive me for all my sins. I believe You died for me. I believe You are the Son of God, and I now ask You to come into my life. I open the door and I invite You, Jesus, to please come into my heart. Help me to love You and to love others by telling them about You and Your Love. Help me to read Your Word and understand it by Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
–ESPECIALLY IF YOU’VE BEEN LIVING FOR JESUS!–Not just believing in Him & going to a church building once a week, but really serving the Lord & loving & winning souls, sacrificing, being a stranger & a pilgrim in this old World, having no certain resting place. When you see Jesus coming, having served Him as faithfully as you can, you’re going to be so happy, so rejoicing, praising God, thanking Jesus!–At last He’s come to deliver you from all of your pain & troubles & trials & tribulation! You’re going to be so happy to see Him! Hallelujah!
ARE YOU GOING TO BE HAPPY TO SEE JESUS WHEN HE COMES? Are you going to be ready?–Or are you going to be caught by surprise doing something you shouldn’t? You’d certainly be ashamed to face Him then, wouldn’t you? You’d even be ashamed to face us if you’re picked up by surprise suddenly out of this Earth doing something that wasn’t of the Lord, even though you’re saved & a Christian. I certainly don’t want to have that fate, do you? (Dan.12:2,3.)
I WANT TO BE READY TO MEET HIM WHEN HE COMES!–Ready to praise the Lord & welcome Him with joy & be happy that He is catching me out of this filthy old World up into His clean skies & heavenly places! Wouldn’t you rather be rejoicing & praising the Lord & thanking God that Jesus has come?–Then give Him your heart & your life, & love & serve Him “with all thy heart, & with all thy soul & with all thy strength” TODAY! (Mat.22:37.)–Tomorrow may be too late!–Amen? Are you ready?–Let’s serve Him & work together for His glory & His Kingdom now!
Copyright © March 1981 by the Family International