We have looked at the doom and gloom of our quickly changing society and our quickly changing world. And in our hearts many of us are asking, "Where will all of this chaos lead?" "Are all of these events precursors to the end of life and faith as we've known it for Christians?" "Are we even maybe seeing events that will soon bring the Return of Christ?" If we are truly in love with Our Savior, whatever comes in the days ahead will be used for His glory and our mission is clear through it all so we can live in the peace and comfort that He is with us and His Will is being fulfilled even through this. But beyond that, since even the days of the Old Testament and especially through the Epistles written after the First Coming of Jesus, God's authors of Scripture have given us an unbelievable hope which they repeatedly told us to place our trust and faith upon one so vital, that the saints even of their time looked for this moment in breathtaking awe: His return for His own. Yet we here living in the times and events which seem to fulfill every possible precursor to the moment in which He will truly appear, rarely if ever truly anticipate or get excited; truly prepare for what may literally be at our door: His physical return—to take us away from all of this turmoil and insanity in which we live currently. How many times have you ever considered that any day now, at any moment, you might physically see the very face of Jesus Christ Himself; physically hear His voice at a completely unexpected time of your life?
Many believe that Jesus Christ's Return will be in the middle of or even at the end of a terrible time of judgment on this earth known as the Great Tribulation, when the Anti-Christ will take control of this world completely for a time and when Jesus Christ's wrath will be poured out on those who have rejected Him with full fury. I personally strongly believe it will be pre-trib. We have all seen just recently how everything we know as "normal" can change in a flash and suddenly we are thrust into a new era. This soon coming change will bring natural disasters, governmental terrors, and wars between nations that will be so overwhelming. Literally 50% of this planet's population will be overwhelmed with death from natural disasters, from war among different nations, from starvation caused by these natural calamities and interrupted economies in battle, from oppression, persecution, and execution by tyrannical government: Matthew 24:21-22. But we—as the incredibly loved Bride of Jesus Christ—have a real and amazing hope in the face of all of this terrible news: His soon return to remove us from the horrors to come which were never planned for those who have taken Him to be their God. That should be our hope, our expectation. In the past I have devoted entire services on several occasions to show detailed reasons why I feel very, very confident Christ will come for His own before even the first day of this terrible time begins. So, I will not focus so intently on these proofs as I will the event Itself, but I do want us to recognize that one of the most powerful reasons to expect Christ before any of these events Scripturally is that every instance of this event spoken of in His Word talks of Jesus' coming for His own as an unexpected event in a time of normalcy and even unhealthy complacency in our walk with Him where the world pretty much has no precursor, no way of determining His arrival. This totally unexpected and unanticipated attitude of the world at His coming even from those expecting Him can’t possibly reflect the attitude and mindset of Christians living in even the beginning stages of this terrible time. It is hard to believe that true Christians will not see the Seven Year Peace Treaty signed by the rising Anti-Christ at the beginning of the Tribulation (starts the clock for 7 yrs. – Daniel 9) and not know the very exact time of His soon return in anticipation and count the days expectantly rather than just watching expectantly always. Christians will either be living apathetically and unexpectedly or looking for Christ in hope, unaware of an exact time: Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6. Listen closely to the complacency and normalcy describing lukewarm believers in this passage: Luke 12:37-40, 45-46. Does this sound like believers having a very predictable day He will return living in the midst of the Tribulation? Revelation 3:10-11. Verses such as these, along with this powerful declaration to the Christians in the Church at Thessalonica in a Letter from Paul addressing this very issue of Christ's return, give me powerful assurance that Christ's return is the next major event on God's Calendar: 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. This verse clearly speaks of the Holy Spirit restraining the coming anti-Christ until He is taken out of the way. This verse can’t be talking about the Spirit being removed from the earth because God is always present and because the Spirit will work in many to be saved during the Tribulation. This verse means the Spirit will not be Present in His believers because they will be removed. Then and only then, the anti-Christ will grow in power. Until he finally takes his place in the Temple at Jerusalem and proclaims himself as God.
Because we lack time, let’s move to the most exciting part of the message. Let's give a snapshot of the world just before The Tribulation (Rapture must precede)—Israel is to have returned from a long and horrible dispersion world-wide (1948). After many years into her own land against all odds (Isaiah 11:12, Ezekiel 37:1-13, Ezekiel 38:8), Israel is to be in a time where it is hated and plotted for destruction by all of the nations around it (Zech. 12:2-3). There must be so much tension in the Middle East that the world is longing for peace between these countries to the extent that the anti-Christ will come on the scene as a loved and powerful leader because he makes a Seven-Year Peace Treaty between Israel and the nations (Just before Tribulation / Dan. 9:27). There is to be a powerful alliance of nations which attack Israel just after this Treaty, which consists of a number of Middle East Countries whose main players are Russia and Iran (Ezekiel 38:1-23). There is to be an enormous army ready to march from the East side of the Euphrates, numbering 200 million troops (Revelation 9:13-16; 16:12). There is to be military strength in those days capable of burning away much of the entire earth, polluting a third of it's rivers and springs; polluting a third of it's seas; and destroying a third of all the ships in them, killing a third of the sea life (Revelation 8:7-11); darkening a third of it's skies night and day (Revelation 8:12), and melting men's skin from their bodies, eyes from sockets, and tongues from mouths before their corpses can fall to the earth (Zechariah 14:12). Think on this (nowhere else in Scriptures)—this already in existence and ready. There is to be a way to run the entire world economy with nothing but a number given to each person on earth, placed on their bodies, giving or denying instant access to buying and selling (Revelation 13:16-18; 20:4). There is to be technology available to instantaneously see events occurring from all over the world at one time (2 prophets in streets / Revelation 11:3-12). There is to be a world surge of rebellion, anarchy, pride, selfishness, lust, sexual perversion, and hatred for God and His people (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:1-7). Scriptures say this is the picture of our world just before the Tribulation (Rapture will happen before all of this). [Can you possibly tell me we are not at the door? And all of these things were written 2000 to 2700 years ago].
We have taken a quick glance at why we feel Jesus will return before all of these things occur. We have taken a look at the world stage just prior to these events occurring. Now, let's stop and do something Scriptures tell us to do over and over, yet we seldom slow down enough to be obedient. And let's contemplate just what this moment of Christ's return will actually be like because we can’t deny the fact that its occurrence is right at our front door. Let's look at some passages concerning this moment, and contemplate what it would be like if He returned at this very moment: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. First, understand this awesome fact: God will bring with Him, those asleep—meaning passed away when He returns. Not raise, not awaken, but bring with Him. Meaning where must they be now if He brings them with Him? They are already there. Even the Old Testament speaks of this Rapture. Scriptures shows we are changed before the Judgment comes to earth and we hide in our marriage chambers: Isaiah 26:19-21. 1 Corinthians 15:50-55; Luke 17:34-36. On an ordinary day, or night, someday soon, believers will hear the literal shout of Jesus Christ as He bursts into the Heavens and calls us to Him. It may awaken you in your sleep; you may be at work, at home. What will you be doing when you hear His voice? What will His voice sound like? What will He shout? His Voice will be accompanied by the shout of an archangel, and immediately following will hear the sound of the Trumpet (Shofar) ringing across the land (Only believers—a Soldier's Last Call). At the last blow of this trumpet, in the twinkling of an eye (11/100th of a second), we will go from seeing, hearing, and feeling whatever is around you at that moment, as you do now to experiencing everything with new, transformed senses; we might we instantly be overwhelmed with at that moment. How many of you older folks can remember where you were and what you were doing when 9/11 occurred? I would dare to imagine that we will remember for eternity, and we will talk about, laugh about, be a bit embarrassed by where we were, and what we were doing on that day—it will make for some great campfire stories when we all meet on the other side. And then, immediately following this awesome transformation, we will feel ourselves propelled towards the heavens to meet our Savior face to face for the first time. There, we will meet up with some who left earth with us; and there, at that moment, I think it is Scriptural to assume we will reunite with some of the loved ones passed on who've come to be reunited with their incorruptible bodies as well; and, with some that we have never met this side of Heaven before, as we are all changed, and rallied together, for the most amazing trip of our lives thus far. This is where most of us stop thinking about this glorious moment. But, there is much more to consider and experience yet. We are high above the earth. We are surrounded by friends, family, reunited loved ones, and new loved ones unmet. We are experiencing everything in this world, for the first time, with new and unimaginable senses. And we are literally beholding the physical Glory and Presence of Jesus Christ for the first time in our lives as we are gathered by the millions around Him above the earth. What will His Voice sound like as He speaks to us all for the first time audibly? What will His demeanor be, as He welcomes and celebrates His Beloved? He will be as excited as us because this is what He died for to bring us home and this is His moment. We are about to take our journey, with the Savior into Heaven Itself. Will we travel through space, or enter Heaven another way? There is no direct verse addressing this question—there is one verse, Revelation 19:11, which tells how we return together: Revelation 19:11. This could be referencing the gates of Heaven opening as we leave together, or it could be referencing the heavens above the earth opening. Either way, we can surmise one thing quite clearly, something many people get wrong about Heaven. Heaven is a real, physical place; it is not just a spiritual dimension somewhere. How can we say that with a strong amount of certainty? 1) Because Jesus has a real, physical Body now, and He lives there currently. 2) Because all the Raptured Saints have real, physical bodies at this point of the journey, and we are temporarily headed there. 3) Because New Jerusalem is a real, physical city that Jesus said He went away to build for us, which will be moved to this physical earth in the last days, for us to physically live in here. What will our welcome into Heaven be like when we arrive? John 17:22-24. What will it be like when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords walks into the Gates of His Father's House with the Bride He has rescued and brought Home for the Marriage Ceremony; which He gave up everything for, and died horribly to save, surrounded by countless angels and the Father Himself—who have known and adored Jesus Christ; who watched His humble actions, His unbelievable sacrifice, and His Plan unfold since the Creation of the Universe? Now, they see the triumphant entry: our Savior King with His prized Bride. This must be one of the most precious and glorious moments in Jesus' heart, and we will be there to share it with Him as His prized beloved.
(Zephaniah 3:15, 17).
What could we possibly be feeling at that moment? Knowing there is not one thing that can ever threaten or hurt us again? Having all of our lost loved ones back with us—young and healthy? Knowing we have an eternity to explore, learn, grow? Soon to return to a new and perfect earth, as it was meant to be. What will it look like? Smell like? What will food taste like? What incredible things will we do there? And what will it be like to experience the wonderful Love of the One Who did so much to get us there? How excited do you think He will be when Scriptures say He will be rejoicing with dancing and singing over us? Quieting our fears with His love? He will sit us down and serve us a Supper to celebrate His relationship with us from that day; He will serve us after all He’s done to get us home in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Now think for a moment of the stark contrast in the fate of those left on earth at that moment—the love lost, the purpose lost; the eternal adventure missed—not because Christ rejected them, but because they rejected Him and all He did to forgive and bring them home. If the Trump Sounds today, where will you be? Will we see you at 30,000 feet?
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