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Caught Up

The belief in Christís return is both credible and the basic hope of every Christian. Every Christian wants the promised delivery from a world where sin corrupts the soul and truth is suppressed by the overwhelming desire of sin.  Sin has been popularized by the majority of people that indulge in it but see sin as an unpleasant way of succeeding in life.

Within the Christian community the teaching on Christís return has been popularized and taught as the Rapture doctrine. The truth about the rapture is God has never used a word that has been rendered in its translation as a word of choice. God revealed his return at the end of the world or age and it has become questionable that we have gone beyond what is written in scriptures (1 Corinthians 4:6).

The clues within this passage have the same signs that are identical with the second coming.  What we may not realize is there are two groups that will be caught up to meet Christ in the air. The first group is made up to those who are still physically alive.  The second group consists of those who have fallen asleep and absent from the body. Yet in Godís eyes they can be described with qualities consistent with being a Christian.

For the most part Christians have come to terms with God and because God expresses himself in truth we are compelled to agree with him. Yet it is within agreement with truth that we become one with God. In addition this agreement leads to approval and trust in God and his son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Within these two groups of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 both groups will be chosen because they have the same qualities that all of Godís were selected by. The qualities Jesus is looking for are in agreement with the directives of the father which have been revealed in the scriptures. The Father must draw him to Christ (John 6:44). His saint must look to the Son and believe in him (John 6:40). The saints God has given to Christ by the father (John 6:39). In addition to those who proclaim the Lord's death by symbolically eating his flesh and drinking his blood when taking communion (John 6:54). The common phrase that stands out in the previously mentioned verses is the words of Christ who ďit is the fatherís will that I raise them at the Last day.Ē

The timing of the last day casually mentioned when Jesus went to Bethany to raise Lazarus from his tomb. Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again.  Her response to Jesus was "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Rather than rebuke Martha, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this (John 11:23-25)?

Are there others who will Christ raise at his coming?

The majority of Christians would question if every man who pierced Jesus on the cross were saints or had these for mentioned qualities. Regardless the executioners of Christ will see with their eyes Our Lord coming with the clouds of glory. This leaves a question; if the saints are the only people raised at his coming than how will those who pierced his side be present and also seeing Christ coming in the clouds? Then again if the saints are the only people raised at his coming, God would be showing favoritism (Romans 2:11).

God is not the author of confusion and without exception his words are consistent with an orderly plan to return and gather his elect. The teaching that Christ will return to gather just his church is not consistent with what has been written. There is no evidence that Christ taught he would return before the second coming. Rather in his teaching about his return he was clear when he said;

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is Paulís response to a concern of the Corinthians about those who passed on before the coming of the Lord. Paul gives a scriptural reason ďAccording to the Lord's own wordĒ but in 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul writes "Do not go beyond what is written." Remember it is easy to go beyond the scriptures when we fill in the blanks.

Paul states, we do not need to write to you about times and dates. According to the Lord's own word Christ does not know the day or hour.

However Jesus revealed the resurrection would happen within a general description of the end of the age/world. Saying the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

Another time he revealed the specifics;

We may have an idea of the day and hour and search the scriptures to know when that time will come. While we look forward to the day Christ will appear in the sky the day and hour of Christís coming remains in the fatherís hand.

 

 


Part 2

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The trumpet

Christ gave us a vivid picture of his coming on the day he spoke to Moses in Exodus nineteen. Moses was instructed to consecrate the people and have them wash their clothes in preparation of the day God would descend on Mount Sinai. Three days later thunder and lightning was seen and heard in the skies over Mt Sinai. The sky lit up and God was within a thick and dark cloud that appeared over Mount Sinai. It all occurred in the company of very loud trumpet blast that crowned the pomp of that day. Everyone within sight and hearing of Godís trumpet trembled.

The trumpet of God could be heard for miles because it was so loud no one could her themselves think, but it commanded the peopleís absolute attention. The ground where they were standing shook causing them to tremble with fear, God was firmly in control. For the first time God had the peopleís personal attention. Godís voice was terrifying to the majority of people present. His voice was so awesome that Israel were frighten they no longer wanted to hear his voice so they pleaded with Moses do not have God speak to them or they would die (Exodus 20:19).

The trumpet will sound announcing the arrival in the splendor of our God and creator sometime in the near future. His entourage of angels will be sent throughout the world to gather his people to his throne. Many of the sights and sounds of Exodus nineteen will take place on the day Christ comes to harvest the earth. That day will be a day when God will gloriously grasp the attention of the people on earth. No one will be exempt for all will be affected by the events of that day. On that day everyone will be rewarded for what they have done.   

The coming of Christ is marked with a trumpet call. Will the trumpet sound as loud as it did on the day God gave his law? Will it be so deafening that everyone will clearly hear it resonate and cause the earth to shake, the dead to rise.

One purpose God revealed to Moses was to hammer out two trumpets of silver to signal the camp to gather and set out. At his coming the trumpet will sound and the people of the earth will be gathered to him. In addition the people of God will move on to their home of rest in heaven but those separated because they refused to serve God will have no rest in their torment.

We love the idea of being gathered to Christ in the air because it means that the tribulation we faced in life will no longer be remembered. The troublesome life we had on earth will be over Ė kaput Ė and put out of our minds and forgotten. According to Godís word we are expecting that all things will become new and the old order of things will pass away.

Sounding the trumpet had another purpose;

Joshua was instructed to march around Jericho several times each time sounding the trumpets and on the seventh day the city fell to the ground. Again Gideon was told to break his jars and sound his trumpets to see Israelís enemies defeated by the power of God.    

The bible tells us when the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed (Daniel 12:7)."  God will sound his trumpet when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels (2 Thessalonians 1:7). The Lord Jesus will overthrow the lawless one with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

On that day when the trumpet sounds, God will remember his covenant to rescue his people from their enemies.

 Will that day be a day of rejoicing; a day of celebrating, a day of feasting? Could it be the way we celebrate the wedding supper of the bride?

After the red sea closed over the Egyptians there was a sound of victory in the camp of Israel. God had rescued them from those who had ruled over them ruthlessly.    

You will go out and leap like calves released from the stall (Malachi 4:2). The trumpet was blown and the Lord redeemed us from the sinful world.

 

 

    Part 3

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Command Of Life

 

 

On the day Jesus returns to gather his people his voice will be heard by those who are asleep. John writes that everyone who is resting in their graves on that day will wake up and rise from their graves.  His command will not be for those who are in Christ alone but will include every man who rebelled from his authority. 

From the Cross cried out in a loud voice and look what happened?

The ground shook, the rocks split asunder, the tombs of many holy people were opened and they rose back to life. Though crucified, Jesus was still the resurrection and the life. Think about it Christ is able to raise those who were buried at sea as well as those whose ashes have been carried throughout the earth by the wind.

Once again Christ raised his voice to glorify God at the entrance of Lazarus tomb.

However, Christ did not raise his voice at Nain when he raised the only son of his mother a widow. Nor when he took the hand of a twelve year old Girl and said;    

The dead will not be the only ones who will hear the trumpet call of God or his loud command; for everyone will hear him and everyone will meet Christ Ė some for the first time.

The command of Christ will be; go gather my people and bring them to me?

    The scripture reveals where they will be gathered or where they will meet our Lord in the air.

The truth of Godís word is always witnessed so it is good to note that the content of scriptures agree.  

The question is what will we wake too? The bible saysí

The bible tells us that we will rise at the last trumpet and be changed into eternal beings our clothes changed by washing in the blood of Christ. The world we live in is temporal and perishable; once the earth is harvested it served its purpose and perish with the old order of things. But Godís realm is eternal so our temporary bodies will take on immortality and we will continue to live in the ages to come. 

The twelve year old daughter of Jairus; the son of the widow of Nain and Lazarus answered Christís command and lived out the remainder of their life. Yet through the power of Christís command you also will answer and come to life. For the same reason the spirit of those who died will rise to eternal life or eternal condemnation, according to what we did in our human flesh.

The Lord will come with a command that will reach over the past age to wake everyone who has passed away. From Adam to the present day everyone who ever lived will hear his majestic voice and rise and gathered by his Angels. The sheer loudness of his thundering voice is a sign of power; it is also the divine degree of strength to command life with authority. Those who men have buried and thought were dead were merely asleep, his command will bring them back to life. 

The Lord will come with a command that will attract the attention of mankind and will motivate the angels of God into action. The angels of God will carry out Godís command to harvest the earth. It wonít make any difference whether we want to go, it is the Lordís command and you will be taken to meet him in the air whether you are ready or not.

What awaits us is Judgement.

Daniel asked the question;

The answer came back described this way.

When the power of the holy people has been finally broken but we have to wonder will Christ will find faith on his return.

 

 

 


Part 4

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Beyond The Meeting

Some may have a misconception of Christís return and overlook who else is in his procession. Christ will be accompanied by God the Father and those who have fallen asleep in him. However most Christians are looking forward the favorable side of his coming but the scriptures also say;

Some have set their desires on the things of this world and lack the knowledge that the things of this world will pass away and be no more. What happens beyond meeting God in the air will happen swiftly but for some the desires of the heart may have driven them from God. Letís consider those who do not want Jesus as their king will serve God in torment as an example of his recompense.

Are you one of those who honors God with their lips but whose heart is far from their Creator and God. On the other hand do we enjoy spending our time to be in the presence of the Lord? Those of who are worthy of citizenship in Heaven and becoming a member of his eternal household will spend all their time in his presence and in his glory from then on.

The coming of Christ will wake the dead but may also wake some Christians up to the fact they have taken God for granted. Even among the ranks and file of Christians many may be woken to the fact of their idleness (Jeremiah 48:10a). There is something that all of us really havenít given any thought to. Will Christ be as glad to meet you in the air as you are to meet him? Will God be saddened by your choice?

Christís purpose has not changed. He is building a kingdom from mankind to serve God for all of eternity. However God will not tolerate actions that violate his moral fiber of holiness. We may not know what God has planned for the next age but he will not change his way that he treats people that are loyal to him. On the other hand that day he comes may be a horrible shock to those who have been deceived.

To some the thought of rapture may be solely be based on meeting Christ in the clouds and be with the Lord forever. To them that day will be awesome something they have been looking forward to. Yet meeting Christ in the air will begin a sorting process between good and evil between those who serve God and those who do not. Do not be deceived, we may be see the coming of Christ from the human perspective but never see the objectives or reason for Christís coming.

Judgment begins at the house of the Lord

We as Christians have a terrible problem with our eyes Ė we donít use our eyes to look for our faults. Instead we look at the lives of those around us and judge them by the way we live. We of course are always right but fail to remove the log in our eyes. We fail to compare our lives to see if we agree with the way God wants us to live. All this means that we use our eyes to find fault in others without looking at or examining our own faults. The bible says;

What happens at the judgment seat of Christ will be a direct outcome of what we have done to prepare for that day. Moses was instructed to consecrate the people and have them wash their clothes in preparation of the day God would descend on Mount Sinai. At the same time have we consecrated ourselves to God and have we washed our robes in the blood of Christ (Revelation 7:14) in preparation of meeting Christ?

Have we taken time to bathe our lives in the precious blood of Christ? Have we done everything God expects of us to make that day a foregone conclusion?

Making that day a foregone conclusion is a matter of strengthening your understanding of Godís good and perfect will. Do we make an effort to understand God from his perspective? Godís will is not always black and white but a joining of the spirit to be of one accord to know how God thinks helps. What God hates you should detest and what God condones gives you a reason to test and approve his ways.

Jesus had a few words to say to pretenders.

Yet to the believer who sought Jesus and delighted in him and followed him;

The destiny of life is in your hands because it is a choice that you make. The average person takes delight in the things God hates. You can set your mind on the things of this world or you set your mind on things above. Whatever you have set your mind on, it is God has promised to give you the desires of your heart.

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