Loving His appearing
4 times throughout the book of Revelation Jesus says “Surely I am coming quickly” (twice in chapter 22). At the end of the book of Revelation (Revelation 22:17), “the Spirit and the bride say come” as a last call to salvation for those who read this book. Again in different words the final book of the Bible ends with “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (v.20) The book of Revelation tells us there is a blessing to those who read it, hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written in it; for the time is near (Rev.1:3)
The hope of the primitive Church and throughout the centuries has been Christ coming for His church first and then establishing His kingdom on earth. Yet today there has been a change of thinking, many are not preparing nor watching for Him to come. Instead, they are working for the church to take over the earth. This will be accomplished by installing God’s governmental rule, through the church. By doing this first they believe it will prepare the world for His second coming. But something is missing -- it is our going to heaven.
We have been commissioned to bring people into His kingdom- it is by only one way, the preaching of the Gospel. Nowhere are we told or given authority to bring His kingdom or install His government on earth. It is Christ himself that will do this. I believe we have been observing a change in the way evangelism is being done and our understanding of the latter days and its relationship to Jesus’ coming back. This change is already affecting a majority of the church today.
As we look at the turmoil increasing in the world today we see the setting up for what Christ has foretold. Peter warns in 2 Peter 3:2-4: “that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,knowing this first: that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days, walking according to their own desires, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
Peter relates to us that these mockers say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” When we think of mockers we think of atheists, skeptics scoffing at creation and the Bibles record; but this is not the group whom Peter is speaking of. This group he mentions has a working knowledge of the Scriptures. They don’t speak about evolution, but refer to “the promise of his coming,” “the fathers,” that “ all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” They believe in the Bible, or at one time did and are using it to mock what is written.
The fact that Christians are now being taught various distortions and new views of the Bible. There is progressive creationism and other fallacies that distort the creation account, removes them from the biblical truth that all was done in 6 days as the Bible teaches. Then there is the 6,000 year theory that seems to resurface (that one day equals literally 1,000 years) even though we have already passed the time of this. Then there are those who deny the prophecies and believe that the church will establish an age of Christianity that will spread to the whole world before Christ's coming.
How does one become a scoffer of what is clearly presented in the Scripture. Peter’s whole epistle is mostly about the Church, he is prophesying of what the end of time would be like for the Church and the world. How the day of the Lord approaches on the ungodly and how we should conduct ourselves as we see the signs of Jesus’ coming. As we watch the world becoming more tumultuous each day, the signs of what we are to watch for are becoming increasingly evident. We are heading into a time unlike any other in recent history.
I believe this group Peter speaks of will become more and more visible in the last days (at the end of time) as they will deride the concept of his coming, asking where is He? The word for coming is parousia, meaning His appearing in glory. The word for glory can be used in various ways in the Scripture, it is given to esteem or honor someone, it can mean an exalted position; or in this example it can mean brightness, as in the shekinah glory seen in the Old Testament tabernacle. Christ is going to come in the glory of God.
However, this is not a glory coming by itself as some teach today, but the glory that accompanies the person of Christ. He comes back in the glory of the Father, this is the glory that he had shared before He was incarnated on earth ( mentioned in Jn.17).
When people tell you the glory of God is physically manifested without the Son of God being physically present, that’s false (Mt.25:31; Mk.13:26). The physical glory can show up in a few ways to the believer, Rom. 8:18 when we are resurrected and raptured and we are transformed (1 Cor. 15:40-53). Col. 3:4 “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
However for the world, the unbelievers, when the glory appears it will be judgment time, as Christ comes in glory to be seen by all. Luke 21:27 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Mt. 16:27 “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” This would be the event in Mt. 25:31-32: “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,” as those who survived the tribulation period. This is also described in 2 Thess. 1:7-10: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” as He comes in that Day.
Peter states at this time they will be walking according to their own desires - They will go their own ways, desiring what they want, not what God wants. The Greek interprets this as a longing (especially for what is forbidden). Mockingly saying ‘where is the promise,” the pledge, our divine assurance? For nothing has changed, it remains the same, that from the fall of man it has all stayed the same. They ignore the admonition 1 Tim. 6:14-16 “that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time.” God knows the time, as for us we are to look forward to this event.
Theend times “paradigm shift”
There has been a change of focus and ministry over the years in our preparing for His coming. The Bible teaches that the church is to be taken to a place that He told us about almost 2,000 years ago (Jn.14 that we will be with Him where He is in heaven; He is coming to take us to the heavenly Jerusalem). Instead the strategy has changed to other desires replacing the church’s hope of heaven. Now many are saying - we must make it change, we are now in charge to bring the kingdom to earth. When Peter writes of their saying the fathers fell asleep, it has to do with those of faith who have died, we can safely assume this is connected to the awaiting resurrection. The day when the saints (bodies) who died in Christ will arise from the grave.
If we are at the end of the age and threshold of the rapture of the church and the resurrection of the saints and the tribulation taking place (though there various views of which takes place first), then those who have accepted this new paradigm of kingdom now dominionism are actually fulfilling Biblical prophecy! At certain times in the past individual groups sat around waiting for the rapture to occur to solve all their problems. Today many have ridiculed the hope of being taken to heaven replacing it with a new hope of the Church being called to take over the world and establish the kingdom of God on earth. Both are wrong views. Jesus never told us to wait for the rapture but to be busy working doing what he told us, so we are found doing His Fathers will when He comes again. On the other hand the focus has changed from our winning souls to be citizens in heaven, to an immediate earthly concern. This involves social agendas of cleaning up society, christianizing the world and even delivering cities and nations of demons by spiritual warfare; called spiritual mapping, done by binding territorial spirits, by now I’m sure you have heard of these terms.
As in the Transformation video by George Otis jr., he presents cities and even whole nations will come to the Lord by spiritual warfare; he proposes along with others that when we install the government of Christ and the nations will be converted. No nation in 2,000 years has ever become an exclusive Christian nation. Even if a country claimed to have the majority of people Christian it would only be a temporary thing, it would not be permanent. Besides, it has not actually worked in the places he has reported on. The news reports state that Columbia has lost the war on drugs and it is worse than ever; so much for the spiritual powers of darkness toppled in Cali by their binding territorial spirits. This is not the answer.
To think the church is going to takeover the world for Christ is not the teachings of the Scripture, but a shrewd distraction at the most crucial time in our history. Jesus commanded the Church to go to the people of the world in the time of His absence; this commission would be completed by His return, not before He returned.
This all comes down to a growing denial of the importance of the immanency of Christ, and a coming tribulation for those who reject him. Whether one believes the church goes through the tribulation or not, the fact is, the world will not become Christian in the tribulation, but will kill the Christians.
Prophetess Cindy Jacobs quoting Isaiah 9:6, “We're talking about establishing the government of God in the earth. Now you might say, “Well, Cindy, are you saying there's no Millennium? Are you saying you're pre-, you're a-, or whatever it is. You know, my daddy always said, you might have heard this, that he was a pan-millenniallist. He just believed it would work out in the end. But all I know is that this moment the Holy Spirit is saying to the intercession, uh, intercessors and the intercessory prayer movement, the prophets of God to prophesy the government of God into the earth. His kingdom come, His will be done, where? On earth as it is in Heaven. That's our job. And we'll let the theologians work out the rest. Amen?” (National School of the Prophets --Mobilizing the Prophetic Office.” May 11th, 2000)
What she is proposing is that we set up our (His) own government through the church to either bring the kingdom or become the kingdom by speaking. This is hardly what Jesus meant when he said to pray for “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" Matt 6:10). But her statement represents a growing movement inside the church. They think they can speak to the heavenlies and change the atmosphere to fulfill prophesy.
Instead of the Church looking toward the coming of Christ we are now responsible to bring in the kingdom to earth. This is quite a task to be asked for sinners who are still unable to do the will of the Lord perfectly. Vinson Synan, one of the leaders of A.D. 2000 speaks for many who hold this view as saying, “ WE CAN PROCEED TO BUILD the beautiful kingdom that the Lord has purposed from the foundations of the World” (Fulness, Jan. Feb. 1990. Vinson Synan. p. 24.) Can we build the kingdom of Christ on earth without Christ’s return? There are many today who think we can, It sounds like it they are doing the great commission, when in fact it is not. This teaching has become a subtle replacement for the great commission.
George Grant who is a Reconstructionist writes: “The army of God is to conquer the earth, to subdue it, to rule over it, to exercise dominion. Christians -are called to war. And it is a war we are expected to win” (George Grant, Bringing in the Sheaves (American Vision Press, 1985), p. 98.)
The theology of Reconstruction was given power by becoming incorporated into the Latter Rain teachings, Prophet Bill Hamon says “ you’re gonna be a part of this end time army of the Lord cause right after the saints movement we’re movin’ into the Army of The Lord Movement then we’re gonna move into the Kingdom Establishment Movement, and then we’re gonna see the transition generation rise up to see the kingdom of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ” (National School Of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office Bill Hamon - Friday, 5/12/00).
How does he know? Where does this whole concept originally come from? This perception is originally inherited from Roman Catholic Church, they thought there should be a visible ruling kingdom, a combination of both political and spiritual power to rule the masses on earth. We know that the Catholic church’s position is amillennial, which means they do not believe there is specific time period for the a 1,000 year millennium, nor do they believe a taking of the saints to heaven. In the interim they appoint a Pope as the visible head of their church on earth. He is as Christ ruling the church.
Almost all pre-millennialists agree on the restoration of Israel, the second coming and earthly reign of Jesus Christ. The division occurs over the relation of Israel to the Church. Dispensationalists view Israel and the Church separate, as two different groups in the Bible. The Covenantal view sees Israel and the Church as the same people who go through the Tribulation together, that the Church is really a continuation of Israel. Dispensationalists (various kinds) believe the church will not participate with Israel and the unbelieving world in the great tribulation, but will be transported to heaven either before it begins, or sometime during the seven years (most hold to before the middle). Covenantal view holds that the Church will go through the tribulation either in the future or as some believe it already occurred (Amellinialist and preterists) and that we are now in the millennial period of an unspecified time.
One of the teachings that is a reaction to a coming tribulation period and a rapture that is becoming more popular today is Preterism. This teaches that most of the prophecies are either not literal, nor futuristic, but were mostly fulfilled in 70 A.D. as Titus and the Roman army took Jerusalem and ransacked the temple. Jesus is said to have already come again in His judgment when He scattered Israel and took up His reign upon the earth. In this they see almost all of the apocalyptic Scriptures as being already fulfilled. Most agree the book of Revelation was written 85-95 AD after these things took place. If the book of Revelation was limited as a part of past history; then it becomes very difficult to explain away the statement Jesus gave to John in the beginning (Rev.1:19) “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” The fact is that prophecy has all elements. History as well as futuristic. It is not a Realized Eschatology. Charles Spurgeon commenting on Revelation being “fulfilled” in A.D.70 said, “requires more ingenuity and strength than that of men and angels combined.” He also said, “Amidst the many comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament that which is spoken of as a SECOND, must, we think, be personal, and thus similar to the first; and such too must be the meaning of 'his appearing.”
Some of the current events we now see occurring around us: the rebirth of Israel; Jews being gathered back to their homeland which has not happened in this way for almost 2,000 years; this fulfills scripture. The conflict going on for the land, the reunification of Europe; the internal conflicts and global wars that are occurring; the ability to annihilate all flesh could not have happenned in the pastwithout the development of nuclear and biological weapons; the terrorism that is prevalent and increasing everywhere all are related to what is to take place in Mt.24 and other prophetic teachings in the Scripture before Christ's return. Angels did not gather the elect from the 4 corners. The antichrist, the mark of the beast and the Beast which all of the world is to worship cannot be explained as taking place in the past. Some in the early church thought of Nero as the antichrist but history proved he was not. Christ did not visibly descended from heaven to destroy Nero as Scripture states He will to the Antichrist.“For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27), the brightness of Christ’s coming destroys the antichrist.
Neither can one find a historical example for a third of the trees being burned up, 100 Lb. hailstones falling from the sky, or the sea turned into blood (Rev. 8:7-8, 16:21) unless they spiritualize these literal physical events. Nor where it says in Zech. 12:10 “they well look upon me whom they pierced” or Zech. 14:4 where the Messiahs feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and it will split in half when He comes to earth again. The context is that Mt.24 continue right through 25 with the events of the tribulation ending with the judgement of the sheep and the goats and Christ setting up the millennial kingdom.The Bible tells us Satan is bound for1000 years at the beginning of the Millennium-he is loosed at the end of his 1000 year confinement to deceive the nations living in the millennial period. To say that Satan is bound from activity today is to make oneself willfully blind to the Scriptures as well as the reality happening in the world.
What they do is spiritualize literal Scriptures to explain away the true meanings. Allegorical interpretations are not the way Jesus and the early church interpreted prophetic Scripture. Jesus regarded them as real events occurring in future history. If there is allegory or symbolism or typology, it is always of a literal event. An example would be the prophecy of the virgin birth; it was literally fulfilled, not symbolically fulfilled.
Titus’ invasion in 70 A.D. was a tribulation for the Jews in Jerusalem but not for
the whole world. Clearly the tribulation that the book of Revelation warns of had not
come in 70 A.D.
“For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of creation which God created
until this time, nor ever shall
(Mark 13:19). What took place in Hitler’s death camps was far more of a holocaust in
the lives of Jews than what happened in 70 A.D. which resulted in persecution and
scattering of the Jewish people. The Diocletian Persecution in 303 A.D. was one of the
more devastating persecutions to the Church in all of history. We have yet to see this
happen in this kind of magnitude. We’re not there yet; but it’s coming.
Reconstructionism believes that the law given to the nation Israel is intended for all people at all times. This elevates the Judeo-Christian law above any countries constitutional laws. Though it is morally superior to anything man can come up with, it was never intended to be incorporated as law to any other nation but Israel. Yet they believe it is to be implemented even to non-believers. The Christian Reconstruction movement has proposed a theocracy like Israel through the church, seeing no difference with Israel as nation under God and other nations under God today. They see the Church today as Israel was in the Old Testament. The Bible explains that there are major differences to the Church and to Israel. It was Israel only that had a Theocratic rule over their society as a nation; the Church was never given this authority. Israel consisted of Jews by bloodline or by conversion. The Church is made up of both Jews and gentiles, the church has a heavenly city as its home.
Today’s Latter Rain/Pentecostal restoration doctrines are founded in the theological roots of Reconstructionism. The Latter Rain for the most part denies the biblical teachings that there a moral corruption in society will continue on its decline, a religious apostasy for the Church, a rapture of the Church off the earth to be brought to heaven, a coming tribulation, and a literal antichrist reign before Christ's second coming to earth. The Bible says ALL these will all occur prior to Christ’s kingdom coming to earth.
The Latter Rain Dominion teaching (Kingdom Now) rejects a pre-millennial view of history and eschatology and promotes the postmillennial view (though some say Christ can return at any time for the church they annul this by their other teachings). Pre-millennialism teaches that Christ will return bodily to earth in His Second Coming before the Millennium begins. Pre-millennialist believe that the establishment of the kingdom upon earth will commence after Christ Himself returns to earth as King and Judge to reign in person for 1000 years on the throne of David. His rule will involve a adhering to lawful behavior as Christ rules with a rod of iron. Classic Pre-Millennialism sees many Old Testament prophecies, the Olivet Discourse of Mt. 24, Mk. 13 and Luke 21, the latter portions of the book of Daniel (Chpt.11) and the book of Revelation especially from chapter 4 on, to be yet future and unfulfilled.
Many of the Pentecostal (Latter Rain) dominionists adhere to a Spirit empowered Church that rules on the earth before the tribulation and even through the Millennium, without the person of Christ. That he is manifested in glory in the church and the church rules through installing apostles and prophets, what some call the five-fold ministry. They teach the Church, the body of Christ becomes Christ by His glory filling the temple and we are to become everything that He is (called the Manifest Sons of God doctrine). Many of them believe this is now taking place. That God is pouring out his Spirit upon all flesh and the time is now. But we need to understand the Jewish context of this outpouring. Just as the first Pentecost was directed to the Jews who gathered in Jerusalem from all over the continent, so will the second outpouring be related to the Jews who are regathered in the land, repent and turn back to their God. The 2nd time it is for the salvation of Israel as explained by Paul in Rom.11.
Are we to now assume that the apostles misunderstood the sequence of events that would transpire before the kingdom comes to earth with Christ? That the today’s kingdom Restorationists, 1900 years later, finally understood this for the first time in the history? The Bible tells us the opposite, Christ did not intend for His followers to “take dominion” over this present evil world? Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world. So if it is not now, the question is when does this world become His kingdom? We find it comes under God’s complete control after the tribulation, after judgment time. Matt. 25:31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Rev. 20:6 “They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” So it takes the Son of God to be physically present to set things in order for the saints to finally possess the kingdom.
C. H. Spurgeon -- “The day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. Some think that this descent of the Lord will be postmillennial --that is, after the thousand years of his reign... I cannot think so.” “I conceive that the advent will be PREMILLENNIAL — that he will come first, and then will come the millennium as the result of His personal reign upon the earth.” (from Justification & Glory MTP Vol 11, 1865 p. 249, Romans 8:30)
None of the churches that are mentioned in the Book of Revelation had great power, nor do they take dominion over the world. So the church that is currently being formed to take dominion over the earth despite their using Jesus’ name is not found in any example of the 7 churches Jesus wrote to. There is only one church example we can find this in, Revelation tells us a religious system will sweep the earth and rule in the end, the harlot church, a counterfeit who will rule with a false messiah the Scripture calls the antichrist.
So we see new concepts and reinterpretations of scripture being implemented for the church to have its victory. Some of the new Pentecostal restoration teachings go further than the church Christianizing the world. Some teach the gospel can’t go out unless we first cleanse the cities and areas of demonic influences and cleanse the heavenlies of demons. This is done with newly discovered techniques in spiritual warfare, such as spiritual mapping techniques, identifying territorial spirits, binding and loosing the enemy.
One of the long time promoters of the kingdom now teaching, Earl Paulk states “We begin to take dominion in spiritual areas by casting out devils and discerning spirits... finally, we begin to rule and reign with Christ. We rule and reign in social settings, in the heavenlies, and here on earth” (Wounded body of Christ, Earl Paulk p.118). Has God has finished His work in this area and vanished, leaving it all up to us?
With this spiritual authority exercised in prayer they speak healing into the atmosphere and capture the demonic powers that are hindering salvation, healing, prosperity to the church and world. Cleansing the heavenlies will not be or ever be the solution to mankind. The Bible teaches that in the Millennium there will be no more demons they will all be bound. People will be living the age that we once did in the garden, (Isa.65:20-23). Those born in the millennium will still have sin, both sin and death will be reduced. This will show that our solution is not just demons to conquer that causes all the problems for mankind, but ourselves. Again it comes back to the Gospel to be preached, the only message that deals with mans state of sin. This is God’s solution and always will be for the fallen state of mankind.
No government on earth is anymore corrupt than was the Roman government was in Christ’s day. Yet we see no instruction from Jesus to reform them, only to preach the message that would save their souls. Could we, now over 1900 years accomplish what the apostles and the early Church with all its power could not? Those who believe ruling in educational, political positions in government will change countries. This has been tried in history once before by the Catholic Church. So it should not be surprising to see many of these same people promoting this are also united with the Catholic Church, or have nothing to say about it. The agenda would be the same, it may even lead to mutual co-operation for society, something we need to be ever so careful of.
Nowhere does the Bible instruct us to reform this world. Examples from the Bible of those who had this opportunity never did so. Joseph as second only to Pharaoh, Esther with King Ahasuerus, and Daniel did not change the society they lived in. God used these men to preserve His people in these societies, but not to restructure an anti-God culture into a godly one. Imagine God keeping Israel in Egypt to restructure their worship. No he took them out and brought them to the promised land which in typology is a picture of the church and saints in heaven. Christ never attempted to reform the evil world of His day; neither did he give any instruction to the Apostles to do so. They “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) by preaching the gospel, not by teaching or implementing morality on an evil society. Having said this I do not want to be misunderstood, this does not exclude us to be salt and light, but it does exclude us from changing laws to have the unsaved can live like the saved. There are exceptions such as when lives are in danger, as with abortion or euthanasia. If we can moralize society to look like Christianity then who needs to become a Christian. It is a matter of choice, not implementing a rule over the majority of the people. It never worked before and it will only work when Christ comes to rule in perfect justice.
Any “reformation” of society has come when individuals were transformed through faith in Christ and their lives then became an influence for good in the sphere of society they work in. It cannot be transformed by implementing laws on others to live so they would have a form of godliness without the power. This can only come from a nature change that Christ offers, no lawful society can replace a spiritual birth which can only happen by the gospel..
Christ's coming will change history as we know it. By His appearing in a glance we will see him and then we will become like him as our body is redeemed from its corrupted state, changed to immortality. No longer will the flesh be attracted to or succumb to the things of this world.
Jesus prayed Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory. John and the other apostles had seen his glory on the mount when He was transfigured and it was brighter than the sun. I Jn.3:2 “When He is revealed to us in His glory, we will become like Him and see Him for who He is.” Beholding our Saviour face to face will transform us into his likeness. Our bodies will be transformed similar to His resurrected body (not exactly like His but with many similarities). We were made to be a spirit in a body. The rapture and the resurrection are the same event, we don't leave our bodies behind but have them transformed. The corruptible will put on incorruptible and we will become immortal. In Daniel we are told the saints will shine as the stars in heaven.
1 Cor. 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Cor.15:51 Paul explains a complete transformation of those who followed Christ. While on earth we are being transformed slowly being which is called the sanctification process but the day we behold him it will be complete that we who are “joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Rom 8:17) For now this process has pain and trials, but when brought to its completion it will be permanent change with glory and all that we have gone through, every trial and hardship we faced in faith will be worth it.
The creation has groaned since Adam lost his righteous state, it is this event that will be the public manifestation of the Sons of God spoken of in Rom 8:19. Col 3:3-4 “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” We will be immediately promoted into immortal holiness, without sin, a complete spiritual change. No Christian will ever become perfect here on earth, but we all will be made perfect at the same time when we see HIM. Is it any wonder that John next writes in v.3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. This is a certain hope, a blessed assurance of moving from sanctification to glorification. We are sanctified by faith, we are also sanctified by this hope. It is this hope in him that “constantly purifies us.” The generation of believers that sees the Lord come back that will never experience death but will become immortal as Rom. 8:29-30 states Our body will be conformed to the image of the resurrected Jesus. Our sanctification process will be complete. We can be assured that “whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:30) We will be changed into immortal beings. A body prepared for a new environment as well as a greater relationship to the Lord, one where we will be able to look at Him in His glory face to face. Something that is impossible for us to be able to do now. This is similar to concept John writes about in his gospel of Jesus that He was with God (Gr. pros face to face in relationship).
Our bodies need a change to enter the heavenly realm and to be able to live forever, so change is an absolute necessity (either by resurrection or translation). The third passage in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 deals with the change in the nature of the bodies. It is the resurrection event that will transform us to be suitable for heaven, there is no suffering to cleanse our sins in purgatory. We who were sown in corruption will put on incorruption- our mortality will be swallowed up by immortality. It is this event that will put to death the sin nature in us in one glorious moment. What kind of body will we have, it has often been misunderstood to be a spirit body. The Greek term is “pnumaticas soma.” Soma means physical, it means a spirit-dominated physical body, a physical body no longer subject to our mortality and fallen nature. The fallen nature will be completely removed and our new bodies will be operated through the eternal Spirit transferring to us life eternal. Before our bodies were powered by the life in the blood (of earth) and was perishable and corrupted with the sin nature. When it is changed in the resurrection, it is powered only by the Spirit and we live with eternal life.
Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote to the Thessalonians that were experiencing great persecution. Paul was giving them with the expectation that Jesus could return at any time even in their generation. 2 Thess. 1:6-10 “since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” The disciples were to be in the world but not of it. They knew their stay on earth was temporary and they had no intention of building any kingdom on earth. Christ was the perfect example of being heavenly minded and also earthly good.
So why are we here?
Distractions are what can make accidents happens. If we are at a workplace with machinery and we don’t pay attention we can easily be hurt. When driving on the road if our eyes are something else we can veer off. Sometimes we're in a rush and our mind is on something other than what we should be focused on, and what we did not expect happens. We live in a time that demands to be sober minded--for the days are not getting better but evil is present all around us. It is for this reason we are told in Eph 5:16-18 to walk circumspectly, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” with our eyes wide open, we are to be paying attention- it is a heart issue. V.17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Wisdom is when we know God’s word for a given situation and we apply it. Paul’s solution was to have no pollution in our spiritual life, v.18 “do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” His coming should make us pure and have sober living now 1 Jn.3:16.
The world makes you drunk on its attractions this is why the cross is so important in Christianity. It puts to death our selfish desires. It also keeps us awake to the things of the Lord. At Jesus most important time Peter, James and John slept when he should have been awake and watching. Likewise, if we are not looking for His coming and slumber we can certainly go off course.
Proverbs says to keep your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. Jesus told us our heart is deceitful and wicked. We find the teaching of the NEW Testament that at the end of time it will be great corruption in the world because everyone will be living by their own sinful desires, doing what is right in their own eyes. “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”The love of many will grow cold, brother will betray brother. Our heart will dictate the way we live, we are told to keep ourselves from the worlds influence. The heart in scripture means the life of a person spiritually- it is the seat of the emotions the well spring of life, and only God can cleanse the heart.
We are saved for a reason; we are appointed to do good works in God.Remember God doesn’t look for credentials first- he doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. God can do what He wants with whom He wants if that persons heart is given over to the Lord and is willing to listen, know and obey His word correctly.
Paul wrote in Phil 1:6 “ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” All of God’s work done in our lives will be matured on the day Jesus comes for us either by our death or the resurrection / rapture (which happens to be the same event if it occurs before the millennium).
The person who was formerly born of earth that becomes a born again believer is now no longer an earthly citizen but a pilgrim. Phil. 3:19-21 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Notice we are now heavenly citizens though still on earth. Watch out for those who deny being a pilgrim and carve out their own piece of heaven on earth.
We can do not bring God’s ruling kingdom on earth, he does. Heb. 12:22-23 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect”
Heb. 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Jn.14: Jesus said we will be where He is; He went ahead to prepare a place for us. This is the New Jerusalem in heaven that will come down to earth after the Millennium, when the earth will be refashioned to be suitable for the heavenly city. Revelation 21:9-22:5, John sees the home of the Bride. V: 9-10 states: “And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, … and he spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…” Only those who have been transformed to the new nature will be the citizens of this city, we are changed to be with him in heaven as well as on earth.
Heb. 11:39-40 “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Here is speaking of the resurrection where we all will be made complete and made into his perfect image together. The writer continues Heb. 12:18-19 “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.” Those who are not walking with the Lord will not ascend to his holy mountain they will turn away in the other direction just as the Israelites did. They run from his glory and they will not be summoned by the trumpet nor the word spoken when Christ descends for the church. Only a few went up the mountain into the glory of God, they were those who obeyed the Word of the Lord through his servant Moses. In the same way only those who will obey the word of the Lord through His servant Jesus and his apostles will be looking forward to the sound of the trumpet on the day He calls us to be with Him.
Revelation 19:7 says, “His Bride has made herself ready.” Being ready does not mean salvation, but being continually cleansed, by walking the light, we practice godliness. Peter exhorted Christians to “live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God...make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:11,14). Paul urged the Thessalonian believers to “live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12).Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Those who went before us by death await our arrival, but we need to run the race well by concentrating on Jesus who saved us and will glorify us. As he endured suffering to get to his goal so should we.
In Luke 21:36, Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Jesus clearly implies here that only the worthy will be allowed to escape the terrors that come upon the world in the end times. This means that escaping the tribulation takes work and is different from salvation. How can we be worthy?
If we take the time to read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 we see that only a few churches (and Christians) were commended by the Lord. For example, Revelation 3:4 tells us, “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” Only a few Christians in the Church of Sardis were considered worthy. Why? Because they had “not defiled their garments,” that is, they did not live in perpetual sin. If they did sin, they repented of their sin, asked for forgiveness, and asked for strength to live a life of holiness before God.
Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”
We as disciples are to be in the world but not of it. Jesus is coming for a bride that is unspotted and without wrinkles, holy. Ephesians 5:26-27 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.(spot spilos a stain or blemish, i.e. (figuratively) defect, disgrace: toioutos (to denote character or individuality):amomos unblemished (literally or figuratively): without blame (blemish, fault, spot), faultless, unblameable.) In other words we are being cleansed by the blood as we live in a repentant state, walking in the light of his word.
James interprets being with spot as having worldliness James 1:27 “and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” God cannot give the church true spiritual riches when we focus on the world and believe money and wealth are the proof of spirituality. There is no way for God's power to change us except we crucify our life.
2 Pet. 3:10-14 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?(Isa.34:14, 24:6)
The day of the Lord is the common name for the tribulation. Paul tells us it will take
the unbeliever by surprise (1 Thess. 5:1-3). The fire are the judgments that will be sent
on earth in the tribulation -- 1,2,3,6 trumpet judgments and the 4th bowl judgment.
How do we have no spot or blemish? By continually confessing our sins, repenting to the lord and we are continually cleansed by His blood that is sufficient to cleanse the guilty conscience and bring one back into communion (1 Jn.1:9)
This should sober us not to take for granted that we are always ok and live a non-chalant Christian life and think it is acceptable. Jesus gave the parable of the faithful and wise servant. His lord had made him the ruler over the household, and when the lord comes He will find him so doing, that is, watching in readiness. Jesus warned about the evil servant who would say in his heart, “My lord delays his coming.” The Lord came in an hour when the servant wasn't expecting him. The servant was given his portion with the unbelievers becasue he lived as one.
The Bible says that no man knows the day or the hour, we then need to be watching for Jesus Christ to come for us at any time - not for entering the Tribulation or the unveiling of the Antichrist, though we should be aware of this as it is part of the revelation. Jesus said, “be ready' for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.” This certainly fits for our time as many are not considering this can happen. The rapture teaching is passé.“ To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb. 9:28). He came the first time to deal with our sin the next time to deliver those who received the forgiveness of their sin. We are to be looking toward with a deep expectation, watching, anticipating that it could be any moment. We could be part of the greatest supernatural event that happened to mankind in its history. That’s awesome.
Are we loving his appearing? Paul did when facing death “the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4:6-8) We can’t receive a crown without carrying our cross, there is no other way but the narrow way Jesus gives us to walk on.
If we are not willing to give up things now how can we be joyful when He comes and we are separated, taken away from everything into his presence. The way we live our lives now is preparing us for latter. We are need for conviction and commitment to stand in the days we have now entered in. Jude gives us good consel as he states“keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1:21)
John's solution is to Love His appearing I Jn.2:28 “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” I Jn. 3:2-3 “but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
The purifying effect is for our lives and our mission, that we would have an urgency. Something that would make no sense if we were to think of it as so far away in the future. Rom. 13:11-12 “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Every generation should have this hope that they may be the ones to see the coming of Christ.
Lets watch- be ready- keep the faith, He is coming.