Good news, bad news day today. Here’s the good news. This Friday, the daylight hours begin getting longer each day! Can you get excited about that? The bad news is…well, there isn’t any bad news in that. Any way you dice it, we are one day closer to meeting Jesus, face to face. Can we get excited about that news, my friends?
Yes, one day each of us will see Jesus. For real see Jesus. He’s not a spirit or some vague generality. Nope. We can touch him. In fact, my guess is that you will touch him. Actually, I bet Jesus touches you before you touch him. My mind’s eye sees me on the ground at the entrance of heaven. My guess there will be lots of people in the same position. Will Jesus then come up to touch us and tell us not to fear? Will he say, “Welcome home?” I don’t know. Maybe I should write a song about that (wink!). No, there already is one.
I’m reminded of a couple passages of scripture. First, let’s look at Lazarus, as in the Rich Man and Lazarus. If you recall this story in Luke, Jesus describes an encounter between a man who died and Abraham, the keeper of what we presume as Hades. In this story, we get a couple of lines of what it will be like for believers who die. Let me pare it down so that we just see this part of it. It’s not much.
Luke 16:22a, 25b The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side…now he is comforted here,
Isn’t that cool? I like the idea that it isn’t just one angel. It’s “the angels.” I wonder what that will look like! Certainly, one angel is capable of carrying me, yet God sends “the angels”! Is that two? Twenty? A hundred? Who knows! All know is that Jesus told this story for a reason. Those who are born again will see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), and this is our clue as to how we will get there.
That’s one scenario. The other is if Jesus comes here first. On that day, Jesus will call his elect, both “dead” and alive, and bring them to himself.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable put on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Now, we should not assume that we will be carried away by angels, with our bodies still here on earth for the coming of Jesus (the rapture). Nope, we would then be assuming that our Lord will be coming at later. Aren’t we supposed to be keeping watch, assuming that he will come at any moment? Indeed, we are. See Matthew 24:36 through 25:30 for a study on that. Certainly, we should expect him this very moment.
There will be another time that Jesus will come. I’m no expert on this stuff, but I follow the pre-tribulation rapture teaching which says the elect will be taken from earth which will then experience a seven-year period of hell on earth. Let me wrap this up with two more passages. One I believe is at the end of the tribulation (for those coming to faith during the tribulation) and the other at the final judgment. All are primarily from the perspective of the elect.
Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes on the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
You get the idea. Let’s fill ourselves today with thoughts of our King returning. Yes, it’s Christmas and we celebrate his birth. Remember to also rejoice that he came for the sole purpose of gathering believers to himself. You are indeed blessed, my friends, you who believe and have saving faith in Jesus. Don’t worry if you don’t know how all this stuff works. Rest in the fact that Jesus is coming for you. You aren’t waiting for some mysterious train that you might miss. You won’t need a ticket. Your name is already on the manifest, the guest list. You will be right on time because angels will come for you, if not Jesus himself.
John 14:5-7 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now one you do know him and have seen him.”
Folks, if you believe, you are a VIP and will be taken very good care of. Very good care of. If you are reading this and don’t buy into this stuff but are interested to know more, shoot me an email or message through the website or Facebook. I’ll be glad to share more with you about Jesus. This come free of charge with your free subscription to this blog. I hope you do.
Father, let today be a day filled with thoughts of heaven. Let the cares of this world disappear as I focus all of my attention on Jesus, and through him, you. Father, put people in my path so that I may share the good news. Let this day be a day that I make a difference for the kingdom. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers