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STUDY TWENTY

Hope In Christ

A Study in Scriptural Integrity:

When Will We Meet the Lord in the Air?

Ages, to whom Scripture is written.


We will attempt to understand when the meeting of the Lord in the air, described by I Thes. 4:13ff, takes place in relationship to the book of Revelations.

We will search the Scriptures in context of "ages" and "to whom it is addressed."

Of course, there are those who would argue, "It is all God's Word. You can not pick and choose what to obey."

Such as say this are correct. You cannot pick and choose.

But do we Gentiles still offering animal sacrifices for our sins? Are we still circumcising? No, in the faith of Abraham that he had uncircumcised we have our faith, and in the atonement of Jesus' blood we have sacrifice.

Are we then picking and choosing? No, the Scriptures pick and chose for us. We simply accept what is for us to do, and learn the purpose of the rest for our understanding. We need to therefore find out what in scripture is addressed to whom.

I Thes. 4:13ff: "But 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.

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

"Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

Who is this addressed to? Directly to the Church at Thessalonica at about 65 AD. However, it reveals by revelation a doctrine pertinent to the entirety of Christianity.

It reveals to the Church that it will not meet the Lord in the mountains around Jerusalem, and it will not meet the Lord at his throne for Judgment. It reveals that three things will occur that will be unmistakable.

First, the dead in Christ will rise incorruptible; second, those alive will be changed into something new; third, we will then all rise to meet the Lord where?

In the air. There will be no doubt as to what happened. For reference in this article to these three events collectively, we will use the term made common by the Latin Bible, "Rapture."

This is our hope, this is what we wait for. We wait for this return of Jesus our Lord, not on earth, but for us in the air. Something else is said about this waiting for the Lord. According to I Thes 1:10, we are:

"... to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

Even as God raised Jesus, God will raise our dead, and we wait for this, for Jesus has (past tense, already accomplished) saved us from the wrath to come. In the context of us meeting Jesus, we are delivered from the wrath to come. What wrath? Rev. 6:12-ff:

"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

"And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

"And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

"For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"

These men say it is the day of God's wrath. But does God say this? Do angels? No, that is proclaimed later in Revelation, after the Mystery of God is complete, finished.

How much of Revelations will we go through? Let's find out.

Gal. 1:11 &12: "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

"For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Paul says his revelation, and the very gospel he preached, was from Jesus Christ. Either he lied or he told the truth. I believe he told the truth.

Col 1: 24-28: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"

Prior to the Church of today that started on the day of Pentacost, this gospel Paul preached about Gentiles being fellow heirs was a secret, hid from ages and generations. Paul's responsibility for this gospel is a "dispensation," meaning an "age," given to Paul by Jesus Christ. Not to Peter, not to James, but to Paul. Paul's administration of the gospel, and stewarding this new mystery, was his job. Paul is gone, he no longer personally administers the Mystery, but it was given first to him, and we still have it.

Eph. 3:1 -11: "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

"If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

"How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

"Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

"Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

"That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

"Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

"According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"

This age of the gospel is also called an age of the grace of God.

Remember, this gospel is regarding a fullness not known in other ages. This gospel is not even the same gospel preached by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry! Important details of it were hidden.

In this age of grace wherein the mystery was revealed first to Paul, it is therefore already known by us. In other ages, before Paul, it was not made known. Meeting the Lord in the air was not known, for the true riches of Christ were "unsearchable:" they could not be traced for they were hid. That he would return in the clouds? Not hid. That the fellowship of the mystery, the Church of God, would meet him in the clouds? Hidden.

I Cor. 2:8: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

"Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

It was not even known to the powers of darkness.

Eph 2:18-ff: "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

"In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Collectively we are the Temple of God. Biblically we are known as the Body of Christ, as the household of God, as the Church of God. Each connotes an aspect of the Christian Church that began on Pentecost with the Twelve, and ends at the Rapture, or as its translated in English when were are caught up and meet the Lord in the air.

And Paul, recording in Romans, I & II Corinthians, Galations, Ephesians, Phillipians, Colloseans, I & II Thessilonians, Hebrews, Philemon, and I & II Timothy received the fullness of the doctrine to this Church, including when it would finish, at the Rapture.

(Acts, I & II Peter, I II and II John fill in details vital to our personal walk but the fullness of the Church and its mysteries, its doctrines, were revealed to Paul.)

I Cor. 10:32 "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God."

Prior to Pentecost there were two categories of people: Jews (Israel) and Gentiles (the nations.) Now we have Jews, Gentiles, and Church of God, which is the body of born again believers.

When Jesus spoke to his disciples, before his resurrection, was he referring to the Rapture? No, he was referring to things prophesied throughout the old testament. When he said, "one would be left, another taken," was that the Rapture? No. It was in reference to events that will take place in the future.

Paul's epistles were to believers, his ministry to all. Who were the Old Testament ministries to, who were they taught by Jesus?

Duet 5:1-3: "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

"The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

"The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day."

The Law of the Covenant was to Israel, and even then only after it was given and made. Did God change? No, conditions of faith and of the people changed.

Eze. 2:3: "And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day."

Matt 10: 5-7: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

"But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

"And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

This gospel was of the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul never uses the phrase, "Kingdom of Heaven." Our age is not the Kingdom, because a Kingdom requires the presence of a King. Our age is the age of grace, and we, the Body of Christ, ambassadors.

Jesus spake a gospel pertaining his personal presence. We preach a gospel regarding Christ risen and seated at God's right hand, and we the believers having all spiritual blessings.

And Jesus preached only to Israel, and during his Kingdom gave only crumbs to Gentiles who came to him. And he sent his disciples only to Israel. It was the preaching of the Kingdom.

Luke 1:80: "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel."

John the Baptist was shown (presented for benefit of) only to Israel. He heralded the Kingdom.

Matt 15:22 -24: "And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

"But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel:"

Jesus did end up helping her, but only after she was able to demonstrate that it would not infringe on his sole ministry to Israel. He was sent, with his personal presence, only to Israel.

Acts 1:6-8: "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

"And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

He preached the Kingdom of Israel, which centered on Jerusalem and Israel. But Israel rejected her King and had him slain.

But Jesus was raised from the dead, the King is back, right? Jesus' disciples were concerned with the Kingdom of Israel gospel, they were asking for positions in the government.

But the Kingdom of Israel, it seems, was on hold, "put in the Father's own power." It was put on hold because Jesus was about to leave again.

Because first, an age where "ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" would take place.

This was Jesus' first revelation of a gospel he would share fully with Paul. The very next moment, yes, the very next instant after this was brought up,

"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

"And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11

The very last thing Jesus did was drop the mind blower that, "The Kingdom is in the Father’s power, no definite time for it to crank up again." When will it return?

When Jesus appears as he ascended, not to meet his saints in the air, but to return to Israel it will answer his disciple's question, "Wilt thou again restore the Kingdom?"

Yes he will restore the Kingdom.

But the Kingdom is taking an intermission, and an " age of grace" is taking its place, that will end when the believers of that age "meet the Lord in the air."

Is this administration still under the Kingdom of Heaven?

Of Course it is, but just as Puerto Rico is governed by a different standard than Florida, but under the same Constitution, we have different rules from Israel but the same heart of God.

Gal. 4:1-7: "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

"But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

"To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

During this age of grace, over and over again we are called sons, and heirs; we are saved from wrath; we are blessed with all spiritual blessings.

None of this was revealed to Israel or to the sons of man, not even during the personal presence of the King of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Rapture was not revealed, where a Church of spirit-filled Christians will be caught up into the air at the end of its age.

The return of Jesus the angels promised to the eleven will take place like his ascent, meaning he will return to earth and land. But on his way back, we will meet him in the air.

The Kingdom of David and thus, of Jesus was to Israel; when it returns, Jesus will rule both Israel and earth. The Gospel we preach, the gospel is not of the Kingdom of Israel but of an "age of grace,” and is to all nations.

God has the end of this age "in his pocket," in His Own power.

We are sons in relationship to God, though we still serve God, Jesus, and one another. The Church epistles almost all start with a phrase containing "grace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." They are addressed to us, his children.

In the epistles addressed to us, we learn what we can do today to please God. We learn who we are and what will become of us. We learn we will meet the Lord in the air.

We learn we have been delivered from wrath. We learn we are not of the Kingdom of Israel age.

Are we subjects of the King? Yes. And ambassadors. But his personal rule over Israel is on hold, in God's "pocket." When we speak in his name it is as the messengers of a King, but one not yet back to recover his Kingdom.

What became of the Kingdom then? It is on hold.

Jesus will continue it upon his return to earth, it will begin again. The record of the Rapture says we will meet him in the air, that is how the age of grace comes to a close. Then what of the Kingdom?

Rev: 1:1-3: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

"Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."

We the Church are saved from wrath. When will this take place exactly?

We know that the time God hath put in His own power, so it might conceivably be this decade, it might be a century or more down the road.

But God reveals to us mysteries, remember?

“But of the times and 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.

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thes. 5:1-4

This day of Christ’s return will appear to the nations as a thief. A thief is stealthy, sneaky, but it will not creep up on us. Why?

Because we’ve been told what to look for. Again, WE'VE BEEN CLEARLY TOLD WHAT TO LOOK FOR!

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thes. 5:9-11

See, we are not appointed to wrath; that is the context of the day not overtaking us as a thief.

For it not to overtake us that way. While we lack the means to predict it, when it starts happening, we have the information to tell precisely what is coming up. Plus, when the day of wrath comes, we'll have been taken out of the way.

Revelation of Saint John is not addressed to us, but Romans is not addressed to Israel. But is Israel mentioned in Romans?

Yes.

We find the links from the Church epistles to Revelations just as clearly as the Church epistles are linked to the Gospels and the Old Testament.

Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:51-52

This agrees perfectly with what we read elsewhere, that we would be raised or changed.

When does it say this will happen? Elsewhere, it says “the trump of God will sound.”

Here, though, it reveals that this trump of God is also the LAST trump.

Furthermore, this Scripture tells us that how we are changed is a mystery.

But is this mystery referred to as THE mystery?

No, but Scripture we have read already refers to THE mystery, doesn’t it?

"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" Col 1: 25-27

This mystery, THE mystery aforetime kept hid, will be complete when the last trump of God is sounded and we are lifted to meet our Lord in the air.

Only one place in Scripture brings the finishing of the Mystery and the last trump together, and when one very clear verse ties together very clear truths elsewhere revealed, it is emphasis we should pay attention to:

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Rev. 10:7

This one little verse sums it up.

The seventh angel, sounding the seventh, or last, trump, shall signal the completion of “the mystery of God.”

Brothers, sisters, in all of Scripture only one mystery is called THE mystery, and that is the mystery of the Church that will be finished, or “completed,” at this time.

Before that, we of the Church will be seeing the events foretold in Revelations come to pass, so that events do not overtake us as a “thief in the night.”

But once we are taken up, then the power of the beast and the false prophet come to pass.

Before this last trump, Jesus was in Heaven overseeing the opening of the seals and sending angels on their way.

Once we are taken up, the Lord soon appears on earth, in Jerusalem’s hills, on a white horse with a host at his sides.

Once we are taken up, we find the number and mark of the Beast. We see the forces of Satan beset the forces of the Lion of Judah.

But not until then.

The seals and the trumpets and the thunders are but the beginning, while the Church is being “finished” and those taking our place as God’s messengers are being prepared.

Then, once we are gathered to our Lord, the rule of darkness begins in earnest, but we are rescued from that.

Some say we go through nothing in Revelation. After all, are we not “saved from wrath?”

Yes. Many were “saved from the Titanic.”

Does that mean they were never on board when the ship began to sink?

Of course not.

You say, but God loves us, and wouldn’t let us go through that. I myself told myself that literally for decades before facing the truth.

Does God love the Christians in Asia and Africa?

Yes. Some are the most faithful, incredible witnesses, who love the Lord with every fiber of their being.

Yet many undergo persecutions, tortures and deaths for the faith that match the horrors of the seven seals and seven trumpets in every way.

I ask again, does God love them?

Of course.

But when the last trump sounds, when this point in Revelation takes place we will return to the point in time that "God has put under his own power," where "this same Jesus will return in like manner as ye have seen him go."

In fact, although some of the events occurring before the Rapture are horrific, imagine a world wholly given to evil. The days of the Beast, the False Prophet, and the mark of the Beast will be the ultimate trial for those, as the saying goes, “left behind.” And then the seven vials of wrath, after which Jesus establishes his rule and imprisons Satan.*

This kingdom of Satan will at first look benign and will offer hope to a shattered world.

“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thes. 5:2-3

But this hope will last but a short time. The end will be brutal, overtaking the world like a thief in the night.

The world, rejoicing that they lived through those days, will then see the Son of Man coming in glory in the clouds like he came. The trumpet of God, the last trump, shall sound and the end is then come.

Then the things that John saw regarding the Kingdom ministry of Christ will again be in action, the Church of grace will have been removed to be with him, and then, "take heed, for the time is at hand!"

But in this we have hope, that saved from wrath, we shall ever be with the Lord.

That, dear brothers and sisters, is our joy and rejoicing that will keep up pure through the trials ahead.


 

*More on the Rapture

THE MYSTERY AND THE RETURN OF CHRIST

 

In this study we will look briefly at the basics of two concepts: The return of Christ for his Church, and the Mystery of God, which is Jews and Gentiles fellowheirs, and of the same Body.

 

 

THE RETURN Part 1

There are a set of remarkable promises in the first few verses of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5:

 

But of the times and 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.” 1 Thes. 5:1-2

Christ’s return is going to come upon the world stealthily, unexpected, a thief in the night. Did not Christ say, no man knows the day nor the hour?

 

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thes. 5:3

 

See? The world will be saying, “Peace! Safety!” Then boom, here comes the judge.

 

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thes. 5:4

 

Whoa. It says we won’t be overtaken like a thief by the day of the Lord.

 

Ye are all the children of light, and 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 and be sober.

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and 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 and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…” 1 Thes. 5:5-9

 

We are light, we are not appointed to wrath, but salvation. NOT APPOINTED TO WRATH!

In Acts, Jesus said no man knows the hour. Here, does it say we know the hour? No. But it does say it won’t sneak up on us like a thief.

 

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Acts 1:6-9

 

At the time Jesus was here on earth, the restoration of the Kingdom wasn’t for his Jewish apostles to know.

What was given tem to know was that they would receive holy spirit and with it, power. To obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1”10-11

 

These Jews of Israel didn’t know the time or season, but they knew he would appear in like manner as he left.

 

As he went into the clouds, he will descend from the clouds.

 

Look what Jesus told his disciples before his crucifixion:

 

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matt. 24:29-31

 

After tribulation, what is great tribulation, all the tribes of earth will see the Son of man appear, and with the sound of a great trumpet, gather his elect.

 

And we know we are the elect of God.

 

Referring to us, Romans 8:33:

 

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.”

 

Now let’s look at our part in this drama, this gathering of the elect:


But 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.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” 1 Thes. 4:13-14

 

This amazing promise tells us that the dead in Christ Jesus, those who have obtained salvation by our Lord Jesus, will God bring with Jesus.

 

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (proceed, come before) them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thes. 4:15-18

 

With the trump of God, the dead in Christ shall be raised for, then whoever is alive and remains. Where do we meet him? In the clouds. 

Not in Heaven, for the Lord descends before tis happens. But in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.

 

Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Cor. 15:51-53

 

Again, What? The dead raised, the living changed.

Again, when? At the trump…here referred to as the last trump. Paul says tis is a ‘mystery.’

 

To us, a ‘mystery’ is a secret, something hidden.

But Vine’s Expository Dictionary reveals the truth about this word ‘mystery.’

The Greek word actually is "mysterion," and simply means the inner doctrine of a religion.

 

Vine’s tells us :

In the ordinary sense a mystery implies knowledge withheld ; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed.

Truth revealed.

 

The Mystery of God is not what He’s kept secret, its what He’s revealed to us. That’s why Paul SHOWS us a mystery…that we understand it, we know its details.

There is a greater mystery than this: the Mystery of God.

 

 

THE MYSTERY OF GOD

 

As we have seen, a Mystery is that which is revealed to the initiates. Its not an enigma, a secret, hidden, though those outside the fold it may seem that way due to ignorance of right doctrine.

 

Before the Church, before holy spirit came upon the believers after Jesus’ assent into Heaven, Jesus told his disciples:

 

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:” Mark 4:11

 

If it’s hidden, how can they know? But ‘mystery’ is a revelation to the initiates. It is knowledge revealed.

 

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Rom. 16:25-26

 

See, this mystery WAS hidden, for it WAS a secret.

 

NOW it is a revelation, NOW it is a mystery…a core doctrine for the initiates.

 

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:7-10

 

NOW we speak the mystery that WAS hidden wisdom in God. It was hidden because its so glorious, had the princes of this world know, they wouldn’t have crucified Jesus Christ! Because without Jesus’ sacrifice, it would not have happened.

 

But they did not know…it was hidden.

 

But now? Revealed to us by God’s Spirit.

 

“Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” Eph. 1:8-10

 

See? Made known unto us a secret? No. A mystery, an innermost doctrine. This is revealed to us, we should know the details, be familiar with it. Here we see all will be gathered together.  We should know. We certainly can, God has shown us.

 

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words…” Eph. 3:1-3

 

Here Paul says an administration, a stewardship, of the grace of God was given him to administer for our behalf. It involves the mystery, the revelation of core doctrine, we saw hinted at in Romans.

 

“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;” Eph. 3:4-5

 

In other ages it was not made known, in other ages it was a secret, remember? So big the princes would not have cooperated in Christ being crucified? But now it is a revealed mystery, it is known.

 

What is this mystery, this big deal?

 

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” Eph. 3:6

 

In the promise to Abraham, which came down to Jacob (aka Israel), the promises were limited to the children of Abraham, and the children of Jacob.

 

But NOW, Gentiles are fellowheirs…they share in every promise, they are equal members of the same Body, and share fully in our inheritance in Christ!

Can do all tings in Christ Jew and Gentile, for they are the same in Christ.

 

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ…” Eph. 3:7-9

 

Here Paul restates he has an administration, has been made a minister to make ALL men see…to make it available for all! It’s a mystery, so we know any who might be saved can know it if they desire and believe.  And to make all see the fellowship of this mystery, the Mystery of God.

 

Look at the promise of salvation:

 

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom. 10:9-13

 

If you speak the reality of Jesus being Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Jesus from the dead, you too have these promises, including that you are to obtain, actually receive, this salvation. See? It’s the same for Gentile as it is for Jew, for the same Lord is rich to all who call upon him.

 

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…

“…That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col. 1:25-27, 2:2-3

 

Here, this mystery which WAS hid from ages and generations but NOW is made manifest, is called THE mystery of God.

 

It is the ONLY mystery, the only inner doctrine, so titled. And Christ in the Body, in the plurality of believers is the riches of the glory, the manifested power, of this mystery.

 

The Mystery of God is Jews and Gentiles fellowheirs, same body, partakers of the promise, and the riches of the glory is Christ in us.

 

And if as this leads us to believe we should be able to clearly understand the details, it should come as no surprise to realize the Word tells us exactly where in the Revelation timeline this mystery will be finished and the Body of Christ, Jews and Gentiles partakers, will be complete and raptured.

 

 

THE RETURN Part 2

 

And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets…

“…And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 10:6-7, 11:15

 

In Revelation, there is a large part of timeline revealed. Revelation 4:1 tells us that 4 began telling of things that were yet to come. In chapter six, six seals on scrolls would be opened, during which there is great tribulation like Jesus warned would come before his return. Just before the sixth seal, 144,000 of Israel are sealed with the seal of God. In chapter eight, the seventh seal is opened and seven angels blow trumpets in sequence. The tribulation worsens. Up until the seventh, the last trump. From Rev. 10:6 to 11:15 tells us about what is occurring during this seventh, this last trump.

 

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Rev.

 

Since a ‘’mystery’ is something we have knowledge of, does it surprise you that its conclusion should be so clearly marked in Scripture? Here it is. The mystery of God, as we saw it referred to in Colossians, finds its finish…at the last trump. Just like we were told in 1 Corinthians 15:52:

 

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

 

See how now it ALL fits?

 

But there are twenty verses pertaining to the last, the seventh trump. Let’s look at chapter 11:

 

But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Rev. 11:2-3

 

Here we see two witnesses, this section pertaining to the days of the last trump.

 

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” Rev. 11:4-6

 

Keep in mind there is great wickedness and evil among the people in these days. And the two witnesses are fighting and winning with holy power…the people of the earth aren’t happy with them.

 

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” Rev. 11:7-10

 

Now, near the end of the ministry of the two witnesses, you finally see the Beast rise from ‘the bottomless pit,’ which name in the Greek and Hebrew suggest the politics and machinery of war. In fact, the Beast makes war on the two witnesses and kills them.

 

Remember where 1 Thessalonians told us people won’t be looking for Christ? The world has withstood the tribulations of seven seals and six trumpets, and the Beast has arisen to unite it and overcome its last two enemies! But we have been informed.

 

And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Rev. 11: 11-12

 

Three days after the witnesses are killed, be ready. The spirit of life from God will enter the dead, and after the living are changed, which might not take long, we shall be gathered into the clouds, just like 1 Thessalonians says!

 

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (proceed, come before) them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thes. 4:15-18

 

Back to Revelation 11:

 

And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  Rev. 11:13-15

 

And 11:15 makes the conclusion of this section, bookending this great section of Revelation that has stood as a testament to what we have to look forward to.

Afterwards, after this Rapture of the elite, this gathering from the four corners, the Beast will establish his Kingdom, initiate his mark, and war against the Lamb of God.

 

Afterwards, after this Rapture of the elite, this gathering from the four corners which the two witnesses so wonderfully give example to, THEN we will see the outpouring of the vials of wrath, the wrath we are spared.

 

We, the Church, called to salvation, are saved from the wrath to come and so shall we ever be with the Lord!

 

Amen?

 

Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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