Look Up: Your Redemption Draws Near!

I Thessalonians 4:13-17
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then WE WHO ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
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Our God is SO good! He is always telling us to “fear not” and to “rest in Jesus.”  He doesn’t want us to fear death or fear for those who have died.  But God doesn’t call it, “Death.”  Believers don’t die; they “Fall asleep in Jesus.”  We will see them again!  He so wants us be at peace and, above all, be assured of the greatest hope of all!
Great Hope.
And what is our great hope?  That at the appointed time HE WILL COME FOR US, His Bride!  He will raise the dead in Christ first and PHYSICALLY transform them.  Then, the rest of us who are alive and remain, will also be transformed in the twinkling of an eye and we will be caught up together with Him in the clouds.
But best of all, WE WILL BE WITH HIM FOREVER!
The Only Criteria.
Notice the verse says nothing about anyone’s faithfulness…or lack thereof…level of commitment…or lack of it, and nothing about being “awake.”  There isn’t even any mention of faithfully serving the Lord.  The ONLY criteria for who goes up, BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, is that they are believers who have died in the LORD or believers who ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN.  
Those Who Remain.
Now, it’s one thing to be alive when He calls for us, but quite another to “remain.”  You see, when that great day comes, it will be natural for some people to be alive because they are young.  But there will be many who have so learned to walk before God’s face that they have, in effect, cheated death.  They are advanced in years and yet have a youthfulness about them.  They are the ones Paul says who “REMAIN.”  
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The Greek Text.

1 Corinthians 15:51 says of this transformation that it will happen “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”  The word in Greek translated “twinkling of an eye” is this one:“Atomó” from which we get our word “atom.”  

Our physical bodies will be changed in an atomic second, to be just like His.  Now you see us:  NOW YOU DON’T.  These mortal bodies will put on immortality!  No more death, no more sickness, no more disease, no more boredom, no more pimples, no more NOTHING.  Nothing but intense, everlasting peace, joy and perfect health!  

Physical, Not Spiritual.

This cannot referring to “spiritual salvation.”  You can only be born again once in your life.  That being so, Paul can only be speaking of the transformation of our PHYSICAL BODIES.  

Western cultures have a very limited understanding of the word, “salvation.”  We’ve been brought up to believe it only refers to being saved from eternal damnation. 
While that is certainly included, salvation means far more than simply saved from hell, as awesome as that is! 
 
The word for “salvation, in Greek is a very rich word: “Sótéria.”  It means “welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, salvation, safety.”  You are not just saved spiritually but saved or preserved from physical harm as well.  If you have already been spiritually born again, the only part of you left needing salvation is your physical body and you soul, i.e. mind.

 

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The Word Became FLESH.

Lest there still be skeptics out there who think our transformation is merely spiritual, consider this:

Jesus was born as a HUMAN child which is documented over and over and over again in scripture.  He was fully God AND fully Man.  He still is!  John 1:14 says, “And the Word became FLESH and dwelt (literally “tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus came IN THE FLESH.  I hope no one is confused on this issue.  He died a PHYSICAL death, was raised in a new, PHYSICAL AND IMMORTAL BODY and BODILY ascended into heaven as recorded below in Acts 1:10-11

(For further discussion on this issue refer to the following link:  https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-gospels-part-3-of-16-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god/)

We Shall Be Like Him.

“And while they (the disciples) looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, WILL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YOU SAW HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.”

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When we see Jesus again, we’ll be changed from only being resurrected spirits in unresurrected bodies, as we now are, to being “LIKE HIM,” as He “IS,” in His eternal, glorified, PHYSICAL BODY! 

Further on it says, in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS.”

Coming In Like Manner.
Correct me if I’m wrong but, since Jesus ascended BODILY into heaven, “COMING IN LIKE MANNER” would NOT MEAN He will be returning “spiritually.”  Returning “in like manner,” means “BODILY.” 
Anybody out there seen Jesus walking around in the flesh?  Me either.  But God knew that some folks would come along claiming Jesus returned “secretly” or in “spirit.”  So, the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to emphasize Jesus would return “BODILY:”  IN PHYSICAL FORM.

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Has All Prophecy Already Been Fulfilled? 

Some scoffers out there maintain that ALL prophecy was fulfilled as of 70 A.D.  That is so far from accurate it isn’t even funny.

NO.  ALL PROPHECY HAS NOT BEEN FULFILLED.  Not even close!  Below are just a few important prophesied events that DEFINITELY weren’t fulfilled before that date.  In fact, these listed below are still future.

#1) The “Harpadzó.”

Paul speaks of this hope throughout his epistles.  Literally, in Greek, it is the “snatching away,” or the “harpadzó,” of the church,  the event we call “THE RAPTURE.” 

While the word, “Rapture” itself is not actually found in scripture, the concept most certainly is.  The same can be said of the word “Trinity.”  It also does not appear in the Bible, though our God is most assuredly a Triune God!  The concept is no less scripturally sound.

This mind-blowing event that 1 Thessalonians describes looks NOTHING like the one in Revelation 1:7 detailing Jesus’ second coming.  In the “Harpadzó,” NO ONE WILL SEE US LEAVE.  Jesus will just come mid-sky, He will shout for us and we will go up.

Like Enoch, who is a typology of the rapture generation, EVERY BELIEVER will suddenly just disappear, to the amazement, confusion, and dismay of those left behind.  In the Hebrew text of Genesis 5:24, just like they went looking for Enoch, so they will search for us, but we “Won’t be found.”  They may even chalk it up to alien abduction.

There are many other portions of scripture that corroborate the rapture.  Enoch’s story is just the first among many other portrayals of this great disappearance.  If you’d like to know more, please follow the link below:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/on-the-third-day-2/.

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#2) The Second Coming.

At the Second coming, unlike the rapture, there is no question:  EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM!  No one on the planet will miss or mistake this event.  It isn’t anything like the other return in the passage from 1 Thessalonians.  There is no mention of Jesus, anything or anyone  being seen.  Just very suddenly, a great disappearance.

The second coming, on the other hand, will be a terrifying and magnificent event.  Not everyone will be cheering, of course.  Most will be completely dismayed except, of course, for Israel.  She would have been completely destroyed had Jesus not returned in the nick of time to rescue her.  You see?  That doesn’t sound anything like the rapture event.

These are obviously two separate and distinct events.  

#3). Missing Dead People?

Then there’s the “little” matter of the missing dead people. Those who have died in Christ will be raised to life and disappear with those who will be raptured while still alive.  They’ll leave behind a lot of empty graves.

Anyone out there finding empty graves?  No?  Anyone been called away to meet Jesus in the clouds?  These are a couple of moot questions, of course.  If you were raised from the dead or raptured while still living, you wouldn’t be able to answer and, if you could, you and I both are in the “left-behind bunch!”

So #1: Either we all missed something…..OR…..#2:  THIS EVENT HASN’T HAPPENED YET EITHER! 

I’m going with option 2.

#4) Forever With The Lord.

It is also documented that we shall “Forever be with the Lord.”  Now remember, Jesus now has a physical body.  He eternally remains both God and Man.  If we’re going to be “forever with the Lord, that means we will be PHYSICALLY with Him.  I’m pretty sure that has happened yet, either.  Last time I looked, He’s still PHYSICALLY in heaven and we’re still PHYSICALLY here on earth.

Wow!  That’s four prophetic events yet to occur.

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#5) Immortal Bodies

And what about our incorruptible bodies?  Anyone out there been made immortal yet?  No?  Oops, there’s five events!

Come on people.  It’s ridiculous to assume that all prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D.  The nation of Israel is ample proof, in midst of a host of others, disproving that statement.  

There are many prophesied events in regard to Natural Israel that began happening in the 20th century, like the holocaust and the birth of the state of Israel.  For a WHOLE LOT MORE on that topic, things that will blow your mind, follow the link below.  You will be amazed at how the Book of Psalms lines up with events that happened in the 20th century, particularly in regard to Israel.

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/the-19th-book/

These are only five events prophesied in scripture, not counting the article on the 19th book, Psalms, that took place after 70A.D.  And there are many, many more.  That should put to rest the belief or teaching that all prophecy was fulfilled in 70A.D…..I hope.

Know what that means, Church?  The best is yet to come!

Two-Fold Return.

Jesus’ return is two-fold: In the rapture He is coming FOR HIS SAINTS.”  But in His second coming, He is WITH HIS SAINTS,” documented below:

Jude 14-15: 
“14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

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The passage in Revelation 1:7 says, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”  

In the 1 Thessalonians passage, there is also no of any mourning.

Is this clear?  I reiterate: THESE, QUITE OBVIOUSLY, ARE TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCT EVENTS.  

Why All The Confusion?

So why all the confusion?  II Peter 3:3-4 speaks to part of the problem:

“…..scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and 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.”

These scoffers have managed delude more than a few Christians into thinking that Jesus has already come…secretly or in spirit…and that all prophecy has already been fulfilled.  Sadly, this belief robs those who hold it of that which Paul did not want us to be ignorant.

Steal, Kill And Destroy. 

Now let me think?…….Who is it that wants to steal, kill and destroy?  Oh, yeah…..the devil.  He hates God and, therefore, us who are made in His image.  He hates God so much he’ll do anything and everything he can to hurt man, whom God loves, and prevent as many as possible from coming to the knowledge of the truth.

He especially hates Israel and the Church!   Since he cannot prevent you from going to heaven, he wants to see you down, depressed, defeated and of no good to the furthering of the kingdom and, hopefully, to get to heaven faster.   He doesn’t want you looking up or knowing who you are in Christ.  NO!  He knows that when you REALLY come to know who you are in Christ, HE’S TOAST.

(For a whole lot more on that, follow this link:  https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/blank-check/)

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No Believer Left Behind. 

I say again…..anyone, ANYONE, who is truly a believer—those with the blood of the Perfect Lamb on the doorposts of their heart—whether they are faithful or not, serving God or not or believe in the rapture or not are, thankfully, not going to be “left behind.”  Unlike those outside Noah’s ark who suffered judgment, we are safe INSIDE the ark:  Jesus!  All of us will be going UP together.  Some may just be a “little” surprised!  It’s ok, though.  I promise nobody will say, “I told you so.”

Why Has God Delayed His Coming?

Jesus’ return has been delayed for a very long time, which is why many entertain the notion He’s either not coming back at all or that He came back secretly; you know, “in spirit.”

It’s just like in the days of Noah.  He was a righteous man who tried for 120 years to warn people, tirelessly preaching the gospel to ears that refused to hear.  They laughed at him right up until the day the LORD came shut the door…..and judgment fell.  Then, it was too late.

Today, Our Gracious, loving Father has delayed His return for so long for a very touching reason:

II Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.” 

God is a good God Who’s heart is kind beyond all measure! His mercies endure forever!  Even at this late hour He is still extending His hand to all men, as sinful and rebellious and unrepentant as they are, because HE IS WILLING THAT NONE SHOULD PERISH.  He could wipe them all out in an instant if He wanted to, yet still He withholds judgment until the very last possible moment.

However, He’s a great Respector of your free choice.  He won’t force either salvation or protection on anyone, even if it means you choose not to live with Him forever in heaven.  You’ll be, uh, well…somewhere else.  Forever.

First Coming About Israel.

In His first coming, Jesus came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  But when she rejected her Messiah, God turned around and offered salvation to the whole world.  This had been His intention all along you understand, even before cutting a covenant with Abraham.  He always had the entire world in mind because, as it is written, “God SO loved the WORLD.” 

Why raise the nation of Israel?  Because He wanted to have a nation that would serve as an example of His grace and favor on their lives.  His intention was to provoke the nations of the world to leave their idols and seek the true God.  That has now been reversed.  God is using the Church to provoke Israel to jealousy so that she will turn and accept her Messiah.

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“He came to His own, (the Jewish People) and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11-13.

But despite her rejecting Jesus, God has not forgotten Israel!  He Who watches over her neither slumbers nor sleeps!   And heaven help the nation that tries to harm the apple of His eye.

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The Fig Tree.

His natural family are represented throughout the Bible as “the fig tree.”  This typology is never a portrayal of the church.

Speaking of the Jewish people in Matthew 24, Jesus says to his disciples:  “32 Now learn this parable from the Fig tree: WHEN ITS BRANCH HAS ALREADY BECOME TENDER AND PUTS FORTH LEAVES, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see ALL THESE THINGS, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

THE FIG TREE PUT FORTH NEW LEAVES WHEN ISRAEL BECAME A NATION ONCE AGAIN IN 1948.

Though actually a very old nation, she was a reborn as a new, young nation. Renewed like the eagle. The above prophecy was fulfilled!

In the 6-Day War back in 1976, Israel gained back even more ground.  The last time before that in which she conquered anything in six days was when Jericho fell after marching around it for six days!   

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For the first time since before Jesus walked this earth, JERUSALEM WAS NO LONGER UNDER THE FEET OF GENTILES.

Now, it is not completely theirs….yet.  The Temple Mount—the hottest property on planet earth—is still under the control of non-Jews.  THIS IS ABOUT TO CHANGE, quite suddenly and violently I’m afraid. Ah, yet another prophesied event that will happen…and Oh look!…..it’s LONG AFTER 70A.D.  


The Fourth Kingdom.

Here is another event that is still future.  (I lost count how many events that is.)  The church will not see all this happen because Jesus will have “snatched us up” out of the world.  We will not be here when the worst troubles hit planet earth.  We’ll be in heaven with Jesus looking down.

As Daniel prophesied in chapter 2 of his book, there will be a fourth and final kingdom to emerge on the world scene.  The toes of the giant statue made up of iron—representing dictatorial or tyrannical governments, and clay—representing democracies will form that final kingdom.  They are already in existence.

We also won’t see them all form into the United States of Europe of the revived Roman Empire.  The AntiChrist will arise from them.  He will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and be it’s next occupant.

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“Hebraism.”

Daniel wrote in Chapter 9 his famous “seventy weeks of years” prophecy, and a very cryptic one it was…..until now.  “Weeks of years” is a literary form know as a “Hebraism.”  One week is “seven years.”  How do we know that?

Remember way back in Genesis when Jacob was tricked by his father-in-law, Laban?  He worked for him for seven years thinking he would get to marry Rachel, whom he loved.  The only problem was, he ended up getting Leah, her older sister, instead.  He was understandably a little upset!

Laban informed him, however, that in their culture, it was customary for the eldest daughter to marry first.  If he wanted to marry get Rachel, he was going to have to work for another seven years.  Laban said this to him in Genesis 29: “27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” 28 And Jacob did so. He finished the “week” with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant.”

Prophetic Of The Triumphal Entry. True to Daniel’s prophecy, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that donkey, it was exactly “week” 69 of the “70 weeks of years.”  But because Jesus was rejected, God’s prophetic time clock stopped right there: At 69 “weeks”…..and holding.  That leaves one more week to play out which will happen when God’s time clock begins ticking again toward the end of time.  The last “week” will be the seven years of the great tribulation.

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Despite her rejecting Jesus, God still showed Israel GREAT MERCY by extending to her a 40-year grace period after He ascended to His Father which ended in 70AD.

But they continued to reject  Jesus.  So at the end of that  period,  God moved out of the temple.  Without His protection, General Titus was able to destroy it, though that wasn’t his intention.

You see, He had commanded his troops NOT to destroy it.  It was such a beautiful building.  Quite uncharacteristically, some of his troops disobeyed his order because they wanted to get their hands on all the gold.  As the temple burned, the gold melted and ran between the stones bringing down the entire structure.  Just as Jesus prophesied, not one stone was left upon another.  To this day, you can see them in the valley below where the temple stood.

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The Right Season.

After it fell, the Jewish people were scattered into all the nations of the world and remained dispersed for 2,000 years.  Then suddenly, precipitated by the horrific events of WWll, everything changed!  The United Nations, in an unprecedented move, much to the shock and surprise of the whole world, voted to give the Jewish people a homeland.  She became a nation once again in 1948.  Please refer to the link above about “The 19th Book” for more on that story.


Many generations before us have thought the rapture could happen at any time but it was never the right season.  When Israel came back as a nation, it indicated that “summer was near.”  The right season was near at hand.  As the 21st century dawned, we crossed over midnight, prophetically speaking, into the early dawn hours of “the third day.”

You and I, Church, are the generation that will hear our Jesus shout from mid-sky, “COME UP HERE!”  The dead in Christ will rise, those of us who are alive and remain will be changed and we will be with Him FOREVER!
So fear not: Look up, Church, for your Salvation: Your “Y’Shua,” draws near!

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