As I was spending time in prayer this week, I felt the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit tell me to write about the return of Jesus.
While there are differences of opinion among our family members as to when Jesus’ return will happen, the key point that we must focus on is that He is coming!!!
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. 1 Thess. 4:16-17
When Jesus returns, there will be a shout, and the sound of a trumpet, and the emptying of graves and the flight of the believers. No fear of heights! No need for wings! Jets will have to move out of the way to prepare a pathway to the reunion of the righteous! Get out of the way stars! Get out of the way sun and moon! The victory parade of the righteous is happening!
I grew up with people who believed in Jesus and I heard about His return all my life. My grandmother used to talk about something called, “The Rapture”. She would say, “Parkey, you have to be ready! Jesus is returning for those who are His!”
What is this “rapture”?
Rapture – the Latin word for “caught up, to seize, to carry off, to snatch away”.
My grandmother told me that we need to be busy while we are on the earth to minister to others, yet her focus was always upon this “Rapture”. Everything she did revolved around the certainty of this singular event.
Jesus talked about this event; angels talked about this event; the apostles talked about this event – the return of Jesus Christ is the central event of all Christianity!
Jesus talked of His return over and over. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says:
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 22:12
Believers in Jesus need not fear hell. Jesus has taken their punishment upon Himself. Yet, a sobering and wonderful thought lies in the fact that each of His children will stand before the Lord to receive our reward. The seat of reward is called, “The Bema Seat”.
The concept of the Bema Seat comes from the ancient Olympics, where a judge would sit on the Bema Seat at the finish line. The judge’s purpose was to determine what position the runners came in-first, second, and so on-and then to give out the appropriate rewards. That is the imagery behind what is known as the Bema Seat.
Also known as the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema Seat is described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
“If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
Your gold, silver, and costly stones are works done for the glory of God, with the right motive, and in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Each of us who are believers will have this appointment with Christ.
The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are separate events.
The Rapture occurs when Jesus returns for His church. 1 Cor. 15:51-52
The Second Coming of Christ occurs when Jesus returns with His church to defeat the Antichrist and begin His Millennial Reign. Rev. 19
When will this rapture occur?
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matt. 24:36
Many have tried to predict, and up to this point, all have been wrong!
People are still trying to predict the time of Jesus’ appearing. While He gave us signposts to know it is near, prediction is not to be our focus. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples upon His departure:
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8
This is a word for you and I. We are to focus on being His witnesses not trying to figure out His return. If you’re ready, you’re ready whenever He comes!
For those who are not living in view of His return, the day WILL catch them unaware.
But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:48-51
What are they going to say when the church is gone?
That a cataclysmic leap in evolution took place? That the “weakest” of society were suddenly destroyed to make room for the survival of the fittest? That the sky rolled back and those who were stuck in the past were abducted by aliens?
I don’t know but you don’t want to be here while they try to explain it.
But, for those who live with His return at the center of their existence:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
Then one of the elders answered saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”So he said to me, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17
Can you see yourself in that gathering? If not, how do you get there?
I see my grandmother there! “I’m coming, Mimi, just like you told me!”