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[THE THREE COMINGS OF JESUS, CONT.]
Coming WITH His Saints
Jude, the brother of Jesus, who wrote the small book of Jude in the New Testament, quotes a prophecy from Enoch in vs. 14; "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying. Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment on all." Thus the coming of the Lord WITH His saints is at the time that the Lord personally and openly manifests Himself in the final act (or acts) of judgment which terminate this age, and put an end to man's misrule. This is in harmony with II Thess. 1:7-8 where Paul states that "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Notice, this is the time that He shall be revealed. The Greek word for "reveal "is apokalupto, and it means to uncover and unveil something. Up until Jesus comes with His saints, at the very climax of the pouring out of the 7 vials of wrath, He will not be "revealed.” Previously, He comes as a "thief "at the beginning of the tribulation to call the firstfruits Bride. This begins His three and one half year "parousia" or presence. Present in the atmosphere but unseen by those on earth. Near the close of the tribulation He calls the rest of the saints TO the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9), but still He must remain “veiled" except to those who have entered into His realm, until the 7 vials of wrath are poured out on the earth. During the pouring out of these vials, the marriage supper proceeds in the heavenlies. These vials of wrath will likely cover a very short period of time—perhaps not more than a couple of weeks. THEN shall the entire company of glorified saints be ready to accompany the Lord in His visible descent to the earth, forming great "cloud banks" of glory around Him, and trailing off into the distance behind Him like a great "train" in splendent procession.
This final descent from the heavenlies is pictured in the book of Revelation, chap. 19:11-l6. Notice that this follows the verses dealing with the "Marriage supper" in 19:7-9. John says, "And I saw heaven opened" (19:11); that is, what had been previously unseen by the remaining survivors on the earth would now be OPENLY viewed. They would "see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Mt. 24:30). Then John proceeds: "and behold, a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True. . . and the armies (glorified saints) which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." We then have a statement that confirms the other scriptures which indicate that as Jesus returns He is consummating the vials of wrath and climaxing the final judgments: "And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations. . . and he treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. And he has on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.“ (19:15-17). Remember that we had read previously in Luke 17:29-30, that the Lord, when speaking of the raining of fire and brimstone on
, said: "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is REVEALED." Thus all these scriptures agree that the Lord comes finally, and is revealed in consummating, cataclysmic judgments, when He returns WITH His saints. Sodom
Zechariah 14:4 indicates that when the Lord returns in His final descent out of the atmosphere that "his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives." The following verses indicate that when this takes place there will be a great earthquake as the entire earth reels under the impact of the immense power of the glorified Christ. The Mount of Olives will be split in two and a great valley created, with underground waters springing up to flow both east and west—to the Mediterranean and
. Then 14:9 says, "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth." Hallelujah! And the glorified saints will rule with Him over the earth (Rev. 15, 2:26, 3:21, 5:10, 20:4-6), For the last 2,000 years (approximately) the Lord has been sitting at the right hand of the Father on His throne (Heb. 1:3, 8;1), but in Rev, 3:21 Jesus says, "to him that overcomes will I grant to set with me in MY throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father in HIS throne." That throne of which Jesus spoke, which is to be shared by the overcoming saints, is in the New Jerusalem, for "the throne of God and the Lamb (Jesus) shall be IN it" (Rev. 22:3). Dead Seas
New Jerusalem descends.
Closely associated with the events which take place in connection with the Lord's return is the descent of the celestial city, the New Jerusalem, which Jesus has been preparing for those who are to be a part of His heavenly kingdom (John 14:2-3). John saw in vision the city descending out of heaven (Rev. 21:1-10). This city will be the home and headquarters for Christ and His glorified saints. It will be stationed in the upper atmosphere where it will likely be seen by those on earth as a soft glowing light. Although the glorified saints return with Christ when He touches down on this earth, they will not be remaining on this earth all of the time. During the millennium they will be "ascending and descending (see John 1:51), or you might say, commuting between the New Jerusalem (in the upper atmosphere) and the earth, for they will be fulfilling their responsibilities of "ruling" the inhabitants of earth. For more information on the New Jerusalem, order the booklet, "The Voice of the Seventh Angel."
In the parable of the pounds as recorded in Lk. 19:1-27, a certain "nobleman" (who pictures Christ Himself) was to go into a FAR country (which represents Heaven). So he gathered his servants together and delivered to each a certain amount of money, and said; "Occupy till I come.” Without going into the details of the parable, I will simply state that WE Christians are the servants who have been given the responsibility and stewardship to be faithful with what the Lord has committed to us (the "money" in the parable represents all the gifts and blessings that are ours through Christ); and we are charged to "occupy "until Jesus comes. The Greek word translated "occupy "means "to busy oneself,” "to trade,” to be occupied in business.” Our "business" is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Mt. 24:14 says that "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and THEN shall the end come.” As long as the Lord has not returned, there is WORK to be done; we must be faithful stewards of all that the Lord has committed to us. Only the Lord knows when all nations have had a sufficient witness. I point this out because some have argued that we shouldn't put much emphasis on the second coming of Christ because it causes people to think only about His coming and NEGLECT the responsibilities that are ours now. Such should NOT be the case if a proper balance and perspective is presented. It should cause us to be MORE diligent than ever when we realize the shortness of the time. Besides this, John writes that every one who has this hope (of His coming) "purifies himself, even as he is pure (I John 3:3). Thus we will be diligent about our own preparation as well as being faithful in the work that the Lord has for us to do.
We have already mentioned the importance of prayer (in connection with "watching," or being spiritually awake and alert), but I want to call your attention to an O.T. scripture which is important for serious Christians at this time. In Zech. 10:1 we read this admonition, "Ask [ ] of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” So many tend to feel that what the Lord is going to do will come to pass anyway. But God has chosen to work through chosen ones here on earth. God found an instrument in the person of Elijah, and James tells us that "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:17-18). Is not God seeking out human instruments now who will "pray earnestly" as did Elijah? Will He work apart from such instruments? The scripture quoted from Zechariah commands us to "Ask [for] rain in the time of the Iatter rain." This has two stages. One is now. "Rain" speaks of the outpouring of God's Spirit. Even so are we to pray now for a greater move of God's Spirit among God's people, for among those who are hungering and seeking. The Spirit will be increasingly moving and working in preparation for the climax that is coming. The second stage will be after the firstfruits are translated. The remaining church will be shocked into day and night prayer, ASKING for "Rain.” After 50 days of intense seeking. God will hear from heaven and pour out the full effusion of the "latter rain." It will be a "second Pentecost" plus. For a double portion and more will come on the church for the glorious consummation during the tribulation period.*
*A further thought needs to be added here with regards to Jesus coming TO His church in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has purposed to REVEAL Himself IN (and through) His people in a greater way before He comes for them. Paul expresses this twice in the book of Galatians. First, he says in Gal. 1:15-16: "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his son IN me." Then in Gal. 4:19 Paul declares: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed IN you." If Christ is being formed (developed, matured) IN us, then it follows that this will result in a greater REVELATION of Christ IN and through us. This is God's desire and purpose for His church before the curtain fully comes down on this age: to REVEAL His Son IN His people. This must come through a greater work and moving of the Holy Spirit within us, that "the love of God might be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us" (Rom. 5:5), and that the "fruit" or character of Christ might be developed more fully within, even the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
The importance of being spiritually alert and ready is emphasized by Jesus in Luke 21:34-36: "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come on you unawares. For as a SNARE shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch [ ] therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." The Greek word translated "snare" in this passage, means a trap (as fastened by a noose or notch); used figuratively it can be a trick or stratagem. Repeatedly in this study, I have been seeking to show you God's strategy; and that is to suddenly and unexpectedly (by most) to break into the "household" of the church and "take" as a thief, the "jewels" (firstfruits saints) in order to bring the remaining church to its knees in brokenness and repentance. We have shown that these firstfruits saints are to fulfill the role of the Bride. In the 24th chap. of Gen., we read the story of Eliezer (a type of the Holy Spirit) being sent by Abraham (a type of God the Father) to get a bride for Isaac (a type of Jesus Christ). The bride was Rebekah. The Hebrew word for REBEKAH means "a rope or noose." Thus we can see that the very name of the Bride (Rebekah) indicates that the "snare" which God is preparing to suddenly "spring" on the world is the TAKING (by translation) of that group of saints who will make up the Bride company. This is a part of God's stratagem.
But notice, in Gen. 24:64-67 we read that Rebekah remained "veiled" until after she had met Isaac and he had taken her into his mother's tent. This shows that up until the time that the Bride is taken, much of the truth of God and his end-time strategy remains "veiled;" and that is why there is so much confusion and lack of understanding even among God's people. But when the Bride company is translated, the remaining "veils" will be taken away. This is shown to us in the book of Revelation in 10:5-7. Quoting from the Amplified version: "Then the (mighty) angel whom I had seen stationed on sea and land raised his right hand to the heaven (the sky), and swore in the name of Him who lives forever and ever. . . (He swore) that no more time should intervene and there should be no more waiting or delay. But that when the days come that the trumpet call of the seventh angel is about to be sounded, then God's mystery—His secret design. His hidden purpose—as He had announced to His servants the prophets, should be fulfilled (accomplished, completed)." It is at the time that the 7th angel (trumpet) begins to sound that the Bride company is translated. Then the "mystery" (secret design or stratagem) will be "finished" in the sense that all remaining "veils" will then be taken away; and also, God will be able to complete His end-time purpose, for the church will quickly begin to understand and enter into the dynamic and glory which God has planned for His people during the tribulation period, and participate with fulness of power in the glorious consummation of this age.
We had previously quoted Lk. 21:34-36 about the "snare.” But I want to emphasize the statement in vs. 36 concerning those "accounted worthy to escape all these things. . . and to stand before the Son of man." What does it mean to be "worthy?" The Greek word translated "worthy" means to be entirely deserving or fit, comparable or suitable. And how do we become worthy? Jesus makes it very clear in Mt. 10:34-38: "He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. "A very clear distinction needs to be made here. It is possible to receive a gift from the Lord (such as salvation), and yet not be worthy of HIM, as far as being ready to dwell in His immediate presence and qualifying to be a part of His ruling kingdom. There must be sufficient change in our lives that there is a comparableness or suitableness of our natures with His, and there must be a proving to be trustworthy and faithful so that we are fit to dwell with Him. (For more information on this, order the article "Preparation for the Lord's Coming” ). Only the "Firstfruits" will be worthy of this high calling at the beginning of the tribulation. The tribulation will provide the opportunity for a vast host of others to qualify and be ready by its close.
We see from Gen. 24:63 that Isaac went out into the field at eventide; and there He received His beloved Rebekah. "Eventide" speaks to us of the approaching close of this age, and is not our "Isaac" (Jesus) coming to the "field" (this world) to receive His beloved? Even so, COME, Lord Jesus!
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