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Posted on this site19th March 2007
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TOPIC: OUR RESURRECTION HOPE IS NOT "RAPTURE"

 

By David O. Ogaga

 

TEXT: 1 THES. 4:13-18 

THE FACT OF 1 THES 4:13 - 18

 

 

INTRODUCTION: 1

WHY ARE THE RAPTURE BELIEVERS CONFUSED?. 2

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF CHRISTIAN RISERS IN 1THES. 4: 13-17. 3

RESURRECTION HOPE. 1 THES. 4:13. 4

THE RISEN SAINTS WITH GLORIFIED BODIES ARE IN THE CITY OF GOD.. 6

RESURRECTION-OUR MORAL RECOVERY OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH/IMMORTALITY.. 8

THE HOPE OF GENERAL RESURRECTION AND IMMORTALITY.. 10

THE OVERLOOKED (SPIRITUAL) ELEMENT IN PAUL'S LANGUAGE. 11

AS TOUCHING 'THE COMING OF THE LORD' 12

CHRIST COMING- THE WRONG USE AND IMPLICATION OF SIX GREEK WORDS. 16

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF ‘RISERS’ SHARE EQUAL GLORY WITH CHRIST. 18

THE ARCHANGEL. THE CHIEF MESSENGER OF GOD. 21

THE 'SHOUT' IS A COMMAND - WAR CRY TO ONLY THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN. 22

WHERE IS THE VOICE OF THIS ARCHANGEL TODAY?. 25

“AT THE LAST TRUMP" 1 COR 15:52. 27

WHAT THEN IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD THAT IS FINISHED (REV 10:7)?. 28

WHAT THEN IS "... IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE"?. 29

UNDERSTANDING THE TERM "THE DEAD IN CHRIST" 31

"CAUGHT UP" TOGETHER WITH THEM…... 34

WHAT THEN IS THE TRUE 'RAPTURE'?. 35

CHRIST ASCENSION IN 'A CLOUD' AND THE 'LIKE MANNER' 35

THE SINGULAR CLOUD OF GOD'S PRESENCE. 36

CLOUDS' AS WITNESS OR MINISTRY - A PEOPLE. 37

MATH 25:1 - 13 THE CLIMAX OF OUR COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. 44

MEETING THE LORD ‘IN THE AIR ’,OUR ONENESS WITH THE LORD. 45

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

First of all, the subject of the book of Thessalonians is an address to a congregation experiencing intense persecution (1Thes.2:14). Upon Paul's preaching in this city, many believed, which caused the fanatical Jews to stir up mob violence against him and Jason who housed him. Through a tight security Jason was saved while the brethren sent Paul away secretly in the night to Beroea (Acts17:1-10). Aside of the great persecution that the church went through (1Thes.2:14), they also experienced great sorrow over the loss of a number of their brethren through death (1Thes 4:13).

 

In order for Paul to strengthen them, he sent Timothy there after his failure to go there twice (1Thes 2:17,-3:3). Upon receiving the encouraging report of Timothy about the brethren, Paul rejoiced (1 Thes.3:6-10). But on a more serious note, they needed further encouragement and strengthening, therefore he had to commend them (1Thes 1:2-10, 2:14; 3:6-10), that they may follow the course approved by God (1Thes 4:1,2), abstain from fornication (1Thes.4:3-8), etc; But above all, that they be comforted with THE RESURRECTION HOPE "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—“ 1Thes.4:13-18.

 

Therefore the issue in question is that of THE RESURRECTION HOPE and not a 'RAPTURE'. The word of the Lord in Vs 18 is "wherefore comfort one another with these words” which has to do with the Resurrection of the different categories of the saints Vs 3. Those who "SLEEP IN JESUS" (V.14), those "which are ALIVE and REMAIN" (V. 15,17), and those who are "DEAD IN CHRIST (V. 16). That is to say the saints should not be in sorrow, for all saints shall meet with the Lord through the process of the Resurrection. So the discussion here is not to escape from the persecution of a so called Antichrist in the great tribulation through the Rapture.

 

WHY ARE THE RAPTURE BELIEVERS CONFUSED?

Simply, because the issue of Rapture is foreign to the mind and the word of God. Therefore they who want to believe it have no foundation. May we first of all outline a few things here about this belief.

 

Those who hold the view of what is called the -dispensational interpretation of prophecy, teach that the 'second coming' of Christ will be in two stages': - first, the "RAPTURE” which is Christ coming FOR the saints (1Thes.4:13-17) wherein Christ does not appear visibly to those on the earth, but only COMES IN THE AIR to resurrect the true saints who have died, change the living saints (1Cor.15:23,51-53, Phil.3:20-21) and "catch them up to meet the Lord in the air". After this, is the REVELATION (His supposed second coming with the saints). The interval between these two events is generally regarded as seven years (Daniel’s 70th week). During this time, according to this view the Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with the Jews in which he will allow them to offer sacrifices in a rebuilt temple at Jerusalem. But after three and half years, he will break his covenant and place an idol (the abomination of desolation) in the 'holy place' of the temple. The Jews will refuse to bow and a great persecution will result - the time of “Jacob's trouble”. Finally, at the close of the tribulation period (the end of the age), Christ will return in power and great glory.

 

Those who believe the 'rapture' will take place before the tribulation are called - 'PRE - TRIBULATION RAPTURIST' while those who believe the 'rapture' will take place after the tribulation are called - POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURIST. This is the theory that has kept the Christian world bound.

 

COMMENTS:

First of all, may the true sons of God note that, you cannot find in the entire Bible where it is stated that Jesus will be coming “for the saints”, rather what you have is coming "IN THE SAINTS' (2 Thes.1:10) and 'WITH THE SAINTS' (Jude14). To teach a doctrine with a word very foreign to the word of God is very dangerous.

Again, "the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy place' spoken of by Daniel (Dan12:11,Matt 24:15, Lk.21:20) was prophetic of God bringing to an end the daily sacrifices of the old covenant, to finally put an end to the old order by using the Roman Armies (Lk.21:20) to destroy the temple worship and its rituals, even as they moved into the "Holy of Holies: and destroyed everything (an abomination to the Jews) in AD 70. It has nothing whatsoever to do with an Antichrist forming an alliance with any Jewish nation.

Further more, they believe that the 'Rapture' will enable Christians to escape the tribulation by using such terms as "caught up" "transformed" and "translated". But the truth is, none of these processes makes us to escape a 'tribulation', but rather they are making us to escape “Death- even in Adam. We are "caught up" (1Thes.4:17) into a spiritual state of consciousness to escape from our carnal mindedness which is death (Rom8:6), as we partake of His divine nature and so "-ESCAPED- from "-the CORRUPTION THAT IS IN THE WORLD THROUGH LUST" (2 pet 1.4), even as we"-- have fled for refuge (Heb.6:18), into Him thereby making us sons (Jn 1:12). Enoch was 'translated' that he may not 'see death' Heb11:15 not "because there was an Antichrist or tribulation”.

So you see, all of these 'terms' are the progressive workings of the redemption of Christ in us.

 

Other confused believers of this Rapture teaching are the "three different groups" of the secret Pre-tribulational Rapture doctrine which are:

(a)        The mid - tribulational Rapture,

(b)        The Split - Rapture and

(c)        The Partial Rapture.

 

And of course, these groups of believers are more damaging than the previous ones. These "Partial' and "Split' believers contend that the 'Rapture of the Saints is based upon merit and not upon your faith on the finished work of Christ. This belief is as foreign as the Inventors themselves, to the mind, purpose and the word of God. It is never taught in the scriptures.

Their whole belief is based on the parable of the Ten Virgins. In their view, the Ten Virgins were all Christians with their Lamps trimmed at the first. To them the 'five foolish' Virgins will not go through the rapture because they have no oil - the qualifying factor. While the Ten Virgins can be seen as all being Christians, the truth of the matter is these the “Ten Virgins” corresponds to the parable of the 'Wheat' and 'Tares' all having the appearance of Christianity even in their acts, making it very difficult to differentiate the fake from the genuine - a task that only Christ is capable of.

 

The point is, if there is to be any "rapture" just like "resurrection", all should be seen as part of the finished work of Christ on the cross as the resurrection has always been considered. Above all, God in His word promised us "ESCAPE" from -TEMPTATION- (1Cor.10:13) and Jesus further prayed for us to be 'preserved- "I do not ask that you will take them out of the world, but that you will KEEP and PROTECT THEM (Christians) from the EVIL (ONE).- Jn 17:15. Please see verses 9,15-16. It is now clear enough that 1Thes 4:13-17 which is our text is not dealing with a ‘Rapture’ but rather the issue of Resurrection.

 

 

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF CHRISTIAN RISERS IN 1THES. 4: 13-17

  With the background laid, we can now go on to examine the context of the text. A careful study will reveal the fact that there are three categories of Christians mentioned in this passage that will have to experience the resurrection hope being discussed. These are those 'who (I) “SLEEP IN JESUS (2) “ALIVE AND REMAIN” (3) “DEAD IN CHRIST”. These we hope to examine in the light of the Spirit of God as revealed in His word.

 

THOSE WHO SLEPT IN JESUS.

“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 SLEPT IN JESUS will God bring with Him” {1 Thes 4:13}. KJV. don’t”- be in any doubt, about those who fall asleep" IN DEATH; God will just as surely bring with Jesus all who are “asleep” in “Him”. Phillips Trans. “We want you not to remain in ignorance, brothers, about those who SLEEP IN DEATH; - THOSE WHO DIED AS CHRISTIANS; God will bring them to life with Jesus “NEB” -those' who have DIED IN JESUS, God will bring with Him” those who have fallen asleep (in death) THROUGH JESUS; God will bring with Him. Interlinear Trans. Now, it is abundantly clear that when we are talking about those who “SLEEP IN JESUS, we mean those who lay down their physical bodies but believing Christ. This is made plain when Jesus taught the disciples this spiritual truth, using the case of Lazarus death, when He said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen ASLEEP, but I shall go and wake him” The disciples said, ‘Master, if he has fallen asleep he will recover’. Jesus, however, had been speaking of his death but they thought that he meant natural sleep. Then Jesus spoke out plainly: “Lazarus is dead”, Jn. 11:11–14 NEB. So friends, this is the truth, to sleep in Jesus means to die physically. Therefore, the word of God says “we shall not all sleep” (die physically) but we shall be changed. 1Cor. 15:51 KJV. Stephen after praying for the people “fell asleep”. Acts 7:60. “Asa SLEPT with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.” 1Kgs. 15:24. Compare 2Chron.9:31, 2Kgs.13:13, 2Chron.12:16 etc.

 

“THOSE WHO ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN”

   “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” 1Thess. 4:15. SO WHAT DO WE MEAN TO BE “ALIVE?” The Greek word is “zao” (used in 1Thess. 4:15, 17, Rom. 6:11, 13. 7:9, Rev.1:18. 2:8) and it means: “to live, life (time) a (live (-ly), quick as in 1Pet. 4:5. Acts.10:42, 2Tim. 4:1, Heb.4:12. As used in the various scriptures above, to be alive means to come out of sin, to recover oneself from, the realm of unrighteousness, and not necessary because one is breathing and walking about. Hence we read "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of UNRIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO SIN; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are ALIVE FROM THE DEAD, and your members as instrument of RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO GOD” Rom. 6:13 Kjv. “Do not yield your members to SIN as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as MEN WHO HAVE BEEN BROUGHT FROM DEATH TO LIFE - " RSV." So sin must no longer reign in your mortal body, exacting obedience to the body's desires. You must no longer put its several parts at sin's disposal, as implements for doing wrong. No: Put yourselves at the disposal of God AS DEAD MEN, RAISED TO LIFE” – NEB. People of God, this is clear enough that, to be ALIVE is to live in righteousness. This is made clearer in the story of the 'prodigal son'. Lk.15:11-32. In verse 17 we are told "--when he carne to himself-" that is, he realized he must go back to the father's house,-a realm of righteousness instead of wasting his resources and living like a beggar (sin). In the word of the father (God) on seeing him returning (all wandering sons of the father-God living in unrighteousness) said " – this my son was DEAD, and is ALIVE (ANAZAO) again" v. 24, 32. The word Anazao means - to recover life, live again, revive. This is too plain, for this son - 'came to himself' Amen. He became alive from "sin and trespasses" Eph. 2: 1, this is what it means to be alive. Just as Paul "- was ALIVE without the law once, but when the commandment came, SIN REVIVED, and I (Paul) died" (to the righteousness 'of God) Rom. 7:9.

 

AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "REMAIN?" (1Thes 4:15,17). Again the word "Remain" is from the Greek word 'perileipo' which means to live around, i.e. (pass), survives - remain. It is taken from the root word 'LEIPO', which means - to fail or be absent, be destitute (wanting), lack. This simply means, 'those who are Alive and Remain' are those who have not attained to the fullness of God's righteousness as far as His life is concerned, bearing in mind that what God intends for His people is complete redemption for the whole man “Spirit, Soul and Body” 1 Thes 5:23. But here are a people who have known God, but their living, -character and conduct - is still short of that which is expected of them in God', - they 'remain'. Again the words of Jesus to the Church in Sardis will make this plain: - I know your WORKS; you have the name of being ALIVE, and you are dead. Awake and straighten what REMAINS and is on the point of death, for I have not found your WORKS PERFECT in the sight of God", Rev.3:1-2 {RSV}. "... I have found that what you are doing is LESS than what my God wants". NCV. In other words, this church was claiming to be all alive in God's righteousness without realizing that they where still walking below expectation in some areas - they remained. So to be alive and remain means one's inability to attain to the fullness of God's life while in the flesh. Though a Christian, but with some short comings, no wonder Paul said, he was'  "dying daily" in order to press towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus - perfection (maturity)."

 

THOSE WHO ARE DEAD IN CHRIST. 1THES. 4: 16

  While it is true that there are instances where the word "Dead" in the NT means a physical laying down of the body, e.g. Jn. 11:44, Rom.6:4, it is important to note that to be "DEAD IN CHRIST" is completely different in experience as compared to being "ASLEEP IN CHRIST" as explained above. While "Asleep in Jesus" means a physical laying down of the body, to be "Dead in Christ" means walking in newness of life without any form of sin in the power of the Holy Ghost. The word says, "Well then, shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Should we keep on sinning when we don't have to? For sin's power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ; through His death, the power of your sinful nature was shattered. Therefore, no one who has become part of God's family makes a practice' of sinning, for Christ, God's son, holds him securely and the devil cannot get his hands on Him. Rom. 6:1-3, 1Jn. 5:18 TLB. Simply put, to be "Dead in Christ" means living a holy and righteous life where you can no longer practice sin. These are those who are dead in union with Christ (Interlinear translation)- compare Eph 2:6. Doing only that which is pleasing to the Father. In other words you are "- dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Christ our Lord" Rom.6:11 KJV. "For (as far as this world is concerned) you HAVE DIED, and your (new, real) life is HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD."Col.3:3 Amp. These are the people with minds completely centered on God. Col. 3:1. Though in the world, but out of the world. So the three categories of people to partake of the resurrection hope in the words of the Spirit are (1) those who sleep in Jesus (died physically as believers) (2) those who are alive and remain (walking in God but still short of total perfection in character and conduct) (3) those "Dead in Christ" (Those who are totally being controlled by the power of the Holy Ghost, living a holy life in this present evil world). Gal.1:4

 

 

RESURRECTION HOPE. 1 THES. 4:13

  "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". 1Thes 4:13 - 14. Having discovered the three categories of Christians, viz. - those 'Asleep in Jesus', "Alive and Remain", 'Dead in Christ' - who are to partake of the 'Resurrection' at the coming (parousia) of Christ as discussed in this passage, we will now examine the use of the word "RESURRECTION" as it applies to them.

 

RESURRECTION: Is from the Greek word 'ANASTASIS', which means - a standing up again (fig), a resurrection from the death (individual, general), a MORAL RECOVERY OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH, raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again. Now as it affects those who are "ASLEEP IN JESUS' it is simply a "Resurrection from the death”. The question then is HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED? (That is, those who lay down their physical bodies). Please let us get the answer from the word of God. "But someone may ask, "How will the dead be brought back to life again? WHAT KIND OF BODIES WILL THEY HAVE? What a foolish question. You will find the answer in your own garden. In your own experience you know that a seed does not germinate without itself "dying". When you sow a seed, you do not sow the "body" that will eventually be produced, but bare grain, of wheat, for example, or one of the other seeds. God GIVES THE SEED A "BODY" according to His laws - a different "body" to each kind of seed. Then again, even in this world, all flesh is not identical. There is a difference in the flesh of human beings, animals, fish and birds. There are BODIES WHICH EXIST IN THIS WORLD; and BODIES WHICH EXIST IN THE HEAVENS--- the splendour of an earthly body is quite different from the splendour of a heavenly body. The Sun, the Moon and Stars all have their own particular splendour, while among the stars themselves there are different kinds of splendour. In the same way, our earthly bodies which die and decay are different from the bodies we shall have when we come back to life, for they will never die, but they will be full of glory --They are just human bodies at death, but when they come back to life they will be supernatural bodies. For just AS THERE ARE NATURAL, HUMAN BODIES, THERE ARE ALSO SUPERNATURAL, SPIRITUAL BODIES. 1Cor.15:35-44 (Philip, TLB). Praise God! This is plain enough that those who per adventure drop the flesh in death as believers receive a new body at the resurrection. And I want to stress that Paul was not necessarily saying that these people will have to stay in the graves until a particular day before they will get into this experience of receiving new bodies, rather, it is a matter of when you drop this flesh (body), you receive a new one best fitted for the type of life you lived in this world. Paul himself confirmed this when he said, "I want to be gone and BE WITH CHRIST, which would be very much better, but for me to stay alive in this 'body' is a more urgent need for your sakes" {Phil. 1:23 Jb}. "-- I long to leave this world and live with Christ --". (Philips Translation) Please see also {2Cor.5:6,8}.

 

Jesus Himself clarified this issue when He said "And as touching the dead, that they RISE, have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but THE GOD OF THE LIVING; ye therefore do greatly err" {Matt.12:26-28}. What does that mean? Simply that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are all alive in the spirit with new bodies. And that to think or teach contrary to this spiritual truth amounts to being in error of “not knowing the scriptures and the power of God" {v.24}. And we can believe Jesus can't we? Even the illustration of " "Lazarus and the Rich man" {Lk16:19-31}, is also a clear indication of what we are saying. Lazarus died and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, the Rich man also died and IN HELL, he lifted up his eyes. {VS.22-23}. There was no waiting till the 'resurrection day', was there? No! And that is exactly what we mean. The dead takes up a body and live on. This is why it is called a 'transition'. It is a matter of exchanging this flesh for another body.

 

RESURRECTION IN A BODY OF GLORY

  "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so THEM also which 'sleep in Jesus' will God bring with Him! {1Thes.4:14 KJV}. "So also is the resurrection of the dead - it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a NATURAL BODY, and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY: {1Cor.15:42–44}. It is clear from the above that there is no waiting in the grave (cemetery) when a man dies. The word of God clearly states that at death "- the dust return to the earth as it was - and the spirit shall RETURN UNTO GOD WHO GAVE IT" Eccl. 12:7. And that is because God has been our dwelling place. {Ps.90:1}. In Lk.23:46, we are told Jesus "cried with a loud voice, (and) - said, Father unto thy hands I commend my SPIRIT." This is a sure proof that the part that moves out, at death is 'the spirit'. He did not say receive my body or soul and of course we do know that man is made up of "spirit, soul and body'. 1Thes.5:23.

 

The point is, the spirit of man cannot die because it is part of God in essence, which must return to Him, like a son on a journey (to earth realm, having received a terrestrial body) must return home - to God the spirit, as sons to become one with Him. Jesus confirmed this when He said, "- I came out from thee - And now I come to thee -" {Jn.17:8,13}. So when He said, "I and my Father are one", (Jn. 10:30), that was simply God revealed in a human form; and because He was one with God, in substance, the 'return to Him in the fullness of His glory was easy (Jn.17:5). A further proof that the spirit part of man does not die is found in the words of Jesus "And fear not them, which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him, which is able to destroy both SOUL and BODY in hell." Matt.10:28. Here you see that the spirit is not mentioned because it cannot die. Now as we are 'born again' (Jn. 3:6) our spirit is joined (united with) to the Holy Spirit of God (he that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT – {1Cor.6:17} - Again "The Lord Jesus Christ be with THY SPIRIT -" {2 Tim. 4:22) and with this we become sons of God {Jn.1:12}. Therefore God Himself becomes our father, even as Jesus said to Mary "- I go to my father and your father -" {Jn. 20:12}. Now, this ascension to the Father cannot be possible unless one is washed clean spirit, soul and Body with the blood of Jesus, the life of God, as we receive the word of truth from the Spirit. {Jn. 17:17, Eph. 5:26-27}.

 

This is why we are told to "- cleanse ourselves from ALL FILTHINESS OF THE FLESH and SPIRIT -,' {2Cor.7:1}, if we must be called back to the Father as sons. {2Cor. 6:14-18}. "For ye are bought with a prize, therefore glorify God IN YOUR BODY, and IN YOUR SPIRIT, which are God's", {1Cor.6:20}. Telling us that your 'Body' can be contaminated with the world "- and keep oneself uncontaminated by the world" because "- the whole world lieth in wickedness" {James 1:27,1 Jn.5:19}, and so making you to manifest the works of the flesh (Gal. 5: 19-21). Again, your spirit can be contaminated through the practice of spiritism, occult practices, ogbanje spirits, witchcraft etc. This explains the difference between a believer and an unbeliever in this world and the life after death. The word of God says "for we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down - when we die and leave these BODIES - we will have wonderful NEW BODIES in heaven, HOMES that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God Himself, and not by hands. How weary we grow of our present bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have HEAVENLY BODIES which we shall put on like new clothes - These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh, but we wouldn't like to think of dying and HAVING NO BODIES AT ALL. We want to slip into our new bodies (even while alive) so that these dying bodies will, as it were, be swallowed up by everlasting life. This is what God has prepared for us and as a guarantee, He has given us His Holy Spirit" (2Cor5:1-5 TLB}. Brethren, can you see this? This is the body of glory that we are hoping to receive if peradventure we lay down this physical body. And this was the "RESURRECTION HOPE" that Paul was presenting to the people of God in Thessalonica, of those who lay down their physical bodies. {1Thes. 4: 13 –14}.

 

But may we note verses 3-4 of 2Cor.5; it says "For we shall not be MERELY SPIRITS WITHOUT BODIES - but we wouldn't like to think of dying and having NO BODIES at all" This then is the portion of the 'unbelievers' who are in contamination with the world. What? No bodies? And that means hell! This is the same condition that those who did not receive the word in the days of Noah found themselves - IN PRISON. See 1Pet.3:18-20; 4:1-6. And of course you can agree with me that since spirits need a body to manifest they certainly use individuals who open up themselves to wrong living and loose moral conduct as fornication, wrong thoughts etc., Christ explained this when He said of the "- the unclean spirit' leaving a man and coming back with "- seven other spirits more wicked than himself' into that man from whom it was initially cast out (Matt. 12:43-45) Why? Because the man lacked the seal of God in his spirit, Eph.4:30. In fact to the Pharisees, and Scribes, He said they are "- within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" {Matt. 23:27}. Meaning they were carriers of disembodied spirits of the dead. You can as well read Kenneth Hagin’s experience of leaving his body in spirit, seeing that same body lying dead in his grandmother's arm and entering back into it, when he experienced death. ("I believe in visions" by Kenneth Hagin). As a matter of fact the Jews have believed this for years and its no superstition. Now you can see why some people are more wicked, aggressive, full of hatred, very selfish, some with the tendency to kill more than others. And of course, the solution to this problem is deliverance and the word of God richly dwelling in the individual thereafter {2Tim. 2:24 - 26, Col. 1:9-10,3:16}. Otherwise the end point is the “lake of fire" Rev.20:10, 14, in order to have the "death and hell" realm in which they are living in, burnt out of them.

 

THE RISEN SAINTS WITH GLORIFIED BODIES ARE IN THE CITY OF GOD

As the Lord keep witnessing to our spirit the truth we are sharing, in these book, we often receive question as follows: - "If there are no dead bodies in graves waiting for resurrection, where are people like Elijah, Enoch, and in fact the saints of old and those that have been dying (sleep in the Lord) since then?” Again, let us go to the word of God for an answer; in the book of Math.27:50-53, we are told that the saints that lay down their physical bodies, before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, rose with Him in a glorified body to become one with Him in His Body, the church: - "And the graves (where they were buried-cemetery) were opened and many BODIES OF THE SAINTS which SLEPT AROSE and came out of the graves after His resurrection and went into, the Holy city and appeared to many". Now, it is already clear to us that the body with which they arose from their graves is not the same with which they were buried, because we know that when you sow a natural body you reap a spiritual body. {1 Cor15:44}. SO WITH WHAT BODIES WERE THESE SAINTS RAISED? If the word says they rose after Jesus resurrection, then of course Jesus nature of resurrection must be their pattern. The body with which Jesus rose is a glorified body, a body without limitation, for we are told that as the disciples were together with the 'doors shut' for fear of the Jews " came Jesus and stood in the midst " (Jn. 20:19). How did He come in, yet the doors were shut? Because He is now putting on a body that can take any shape He desires, that is, He appeared in another form {-Mk16:12}. He gave further evidence to the nature of His body when He appeared to the disciples at Jerusalem as they were discussing about Him, having appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus" And just as they were telling about it, Jesus Himself was SUDDENLY STANDING THERE among them, and greeted them. But the whole group was terribly frightened, thinking they were seeing a GHOST! "Why are you frightened?" He asked, "Why do you doubt that it is really I? Look at my hands! Look at my Feet! You can see that is I, myself! TOUCH ME and make sure that I am not a GHOST! FOR GHOST DON'T HAVE BODIES, AS YOU SEE THAT I DO" {LK 24:33-37. TLb}.".. For a spirit hath not FLESH and BONES, as ye see me have" {KJV}. So you see, it is a body with "flesh' and 'bones' but not with 'flesh' and 'blood'. It is a body that does not depend on natural food for the manufacturing of blood for its existence, neither doest it depends on vehicles etc for its movement. This body of resurrection is completely spiritual. It can appear and disappear at will. Therefore to state that the resurrected bodies of the saints appeared to many in Jerusalem (holy city) is nothing strange, should that be the meaning. But the truth of the matter is, the Jerusalem that they went to and appeared to many, and which they are now having their existence in, in glorified bodies is not the Jerusalem in Palestine where people go to for religious pilgrimages. Otherwise they too would have been seeing these saints of old. But rather where they are NOW is the Heavenly Jerusalem, the church of Jesus Christ and His body, where all of us, born of His Spirit are now having our existence in as well. It is a realm of existence in God, wherein there are both Celestial (spirit bodies of the saints of old) and Terrestrial (natural bodies) as we are now, sharing the life of God and ministering to one another. Some of which you see as 'angels' in dreams etc.

 

And so we read "But you have come to mount Zion, to the CITY OF THE LIVING GOD, THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM. You have come to thousands of angels gathered with joy. You have come to meeting of God's firstborn children whose name are written in heaven You have come to God, the Judge of all people, and to the spirits of good people who have been made perfect (the resurrected saints of old) You have come to Jesus, the one who brought the new agreement from God to His people, and You have come to the sprinkled blood that has a better message than the blood of Abel" {Heb12:22-24 NCV}. Now, can you imagine those you are sharing fellowship with as a child of God? (1) God himself, (2) thousands of angels (3) meeting of God's firstborn children (4) the spirit of the redeemed. (5) Jesus Himself, Amen!

 

Therefore the word says in Heb 13:1-3 "keep on loving' each other as brothers and sisters (that is those you can see physically as one in the family of God). Remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it (these are those that take up a body and appear to our physical eyes from this same spiritual realm of God's city called the heavenly Jerusalem as angels on missions. see Heb1:14. Some of which appear to Abraham (Gen 18:1-8) and Lot (Gen 19: 1-3). Remember those who are in prison as if you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering as if you were suffering with them" who are these? What prisons are they? Friends, these are the saints of old, the heroes of faith of Heb 11, who could not come to perfection in God in the flesh. Firstly, they could not attain to God's perfection because then the blood of Jesus that inaugurated the city of God had not been poured out, and the blood of bulls of sacrifice in their days cannot make one perfect as touching the conscience {Heb9:9}. People like Solomon who could not be satisfied with one wife, but will rather choose to have a thousand women in order to satisfy his "Lust of the flesh" and even his father David who must even kill to have another man's wife, satisfying "the lust of the eyes" certainly needs our love and assistance as we minister love to them in the spirit through the body of Christ. For they ought to be in spiritual bondage to the flesh realm - prison. Just like those who died, not believing, in the days of Noah 1 Pet 3:18-20,4:1-6. This is why we read, "All these people are known for their faith, but none of them RECEIVED what God had promised. God planned to give us something better so that they should be made perfect, but only together with us. Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands (in order to get perfected through our exemplary Christian life). Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up':'- {Heb. 11:39-40,12:1 NCV, TLB}.

 

Now you can see why the angel who communicated the context of the book of 'Revelation' to John refused that John should worship him" because he (the angel) was a 'FELLOW' and once a prophet "You must not do that" I am (only) a fellow servant along with yourself and of your brethren the prophets”,{Rev.22: 8,9 AMP}. What does that mean? it simply means we are all sharing the same fellowship even as ministering servants in the body of Christ, who was once a prophet, now ministering in the spirit. And this is only possible because the life of Christ was in them before they dropped the flesh. People of God, this is the portion of those who ‘slept, in Jesus', the hope of which Paul was presenting to the brethren in I Thess 4:13-14.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE TERMS “DISEMBODIED SPIRIT” OR “ TO BE FOUND NAKED”

  Already we have seen that there is a resurrection for every soul that drop the flesh in death and that no single soul is in the cemetery. Again that there can only be ascension into the presence of the Lord God or resurrection into confinement in a hellish realm. Who is a disembodied spirit? and what does it mean to be disembodied?. And so we read ”For I know if this earthly tent in which I live is taken down, I have a building in heaven which comes from God, a house not built by human hands but eternal. For in this one I am sighing, because I long to put on, LIKE A ROBE, MY HEAVENLY BODY, my future home, and if I do put it on, I shall not find myself to be disembodied. For I who am still in my tent am beneath my burdens, because I do not want it to be put off, but to put on the other over it, so that my dying bodies maybe absorbed in life (immortality). Now it is God himself who has put the finishing touches on me the Spirit as the first installment of future bliss” {2Cor.5:1-5. Williams}”… for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked… {KJV}…For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down… when we die and leave these bodies…We will have wonderful new bodies… that is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have HEAVENLY BODIES, which we shall put on like new clothes… we wouldn’t like to think of dying and having no bodies at all… for we shall not be merely spirits without bodies …”{TLB}.

 

FACTS FROM THE ABOVE QUOTED VERSE OF SCRIPTURE.

While dropping our physical body in death is not God’s mind and will for us, there is the very possibility of our putting on a new body – clothing, without literally dying (just like Enoch did not die but was translated. Gen.5:22-24, Heb11:5). The new body we receive (put on) whether while alive or in the spirit realm is OUR HOUSE FROM HEAVEN, which is the plan of God for us and that is what we lost in Adam, through the introduction of sin. Meaning when we receive this new body of heaven, whether alive now or in the spirit realm, then we are not “ FOUND NAKED” or ‘’DISEMBODIED” or MERE SPIRIT WITHOUT BODIES”. Conclusively then, to be ‘’ NAKED” or  ’DISEMBODIED” is to be found without the body of Glory. Not necessarily that such a spirit is just floating without a body to exist, in rather. “… God giveth it (every seed) a body as it hath pleased him, and TO EVERY SEED HIS OWN BODY” … {1 Cor 15:38}.

 

Understand that man’s soul (his personality) is designed to be covered with a body. Therefore the body is the house of man; hence man is spirit, soul and body. {1Thes.5:23}. So you see, Moses and Elijah are not ‘naked’ or ‘disembodied spirits’, that is why they could appear unto the apostles of Jesus talking with Him (Matt.17: 3) It is in the body of glory, the house from heaven, that they appeared with. Jesus appearance to the disciple was with a body of glory (Lk 24:36-39) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive and with the body of glory – house from Heaven. {Mk 12:26-36}. Even the saints of old, (Heb.12:23) are with bodies of glory.

 

Now observe this, when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of “the knowledge of good and evil”, we are told they became ‘NAKED{Gen 3:6-7}. The children of Israel were “NAKED”. “… For Aaron had made them NAKED unto their shame among their enemies (Exo 32:25) for worshipping a golden calf. What are we seeing here? They lost the presence of God which is His covering (Isa 4:5-6) and so they became vulnerable to destructive forces. Right in this state, they were existing in the body of Adam, which is the body of corruption. Unlike the body of Christ which is the body of glory. Hence “ … this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” {1Cor15:53}. Now these types of bodies exists in the spirit realm also, not necessarily a body of flesh and blood but that can be subject to destruction in the lake of fire” or that which can not be affected by it (Rev 20:6). What determine the nature of body one receives is how he has lived on earth and what he has done with his body. This is why the “rich man’’ found himself in a body suitable for the fire to be dealt with. Why? Because “…the fruit tree yielding after his kind, WHOSE SEED IS IN ITSELF…” {Gen1:11}. Therefore Adam’s life will produce a corruptible body because, “to every seed his own body” {1 Cor15:38}. Just as those who have received the seed of Christ in them, being nourished will receive a glorified body. These are they who have received the “first resurrection”, meaning their sinful flesh has been dealt with by fire “FOREVERYONE shall be salted with salt”, and every sacrifice (those presenting themselves as holy sacrifice - Rom 12:1) shall be salted with salt”(not fire again) Mk9: 49. The body they now possess cannot be affected by the fire just like Shadrach Meshach and Abednego that were cast into the furnace of fire. In the words of the king of Babylon. “… I see four men loose, walking in the midst  of the fire, and THEY HAVE NO HURT, and the form of the forth is like the Son of God’’ {Dan3:14-25} Why? Apart from the fact they were already one with the fire through their faith in the lord, the owner and controller of the fire was there with them as a covering because “… our God is a consuming fire” Heb12:29, Isha 33:14. There was nothing to be consumed in them, so they could not be hurt ‘‘…For every man’s work shall be made manifest… if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” {1Cor3:12-15}. And a man’s work can only be manifest through a body even as we appear before Him. {2Cor 5:10}.

 

In fact, unbelievers are disembodied spirits because, though they are the sons of God who is the “… father of (ALL) spirits” {Heb 12:9}.They have not put on the Lord Jesus Christ by being baptized into Him (Rom 13:14, Gal 2:27). Therefore they are not in the one body of Christ (1Cor12:12-13). Which is the body of glory – heaven, His nature. And so they are naked, disembodied. Therefore their hell starts right here on earth because of the seed in them, in order that the iniquities in them will be burnt off.

 

RESURRECTION-OUR MORAL RECOVERY OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH/IMMORTALITY

To begin with, may we recall the definition of the word RESURRECTION, (ANASTASIS) which means- a standing up again (fig), a resurrection from the death (individual, general) a MORAL RECOVERY OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH, raised to life again etc. So far, we have been able to see how the resurrection from the death relates to those who lay down their physical bodies - those who are 'Asleep in Jesus' even as they rose with glorified bodies. Now what about those who are" Alive and Remain "and" THE DEAD IN CHRIST"? What is the nature of Resurrection that they are to experience? What graves are they rising from?

 

THE BODY OF MAN IN SIN - A TOMB

"And you He made ALIVE, when you were DEAD THROUGH TRESPASSES and SIN" {Eph 2:1 RSV}; This time was when you were DEAD in your sins and WICKEDNESS, when you followed the evil ways of this present age”. {Eph2:1.2. NEB}. From the above verses of scripture, it is plain that those living in sin, as far as God's life is concerned in His estimation are dead. And if they are dead, then of course, they must have been buried in graves as well. Therefore Jesus in explaining what the graves are, using the Pharisees of His days said, "Yes, awesome judgement is waiting you. For you are like HIDDEN GRAVES in a field, men go by you with no knowledge of the corruption they are passing" {LK.11:44-TLB}"... for you are like GRAVES which are not marked or seen and men walk over them without being aware of it and are ceremonially defiled" Amp. Please compare Ps.5:9, Math 23:27, Ezek.37:12.

 

So you can be religiously gorgeous and yet living in sin, without knowing that you are a walking tomb, grave. And those who share fellowship with such people, without spiritual discernment actually get defiled spiritually. Why? Because "evil communications corrupt good manners”. {1Cor.15:33 KJV}. Mind you, these graves are in the field, which is "the world" {Matt. 13:38}, so you see, the way of the world is the way of defilement. Jm.1:27. Therefore, "Don’t you realize that making friends with God's enemies - THE EVIL PLEASURES OF THIS WORD- makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy the evil pleasure of the unsaved world, you cannot also be a friend of God" {Jm.4:4 TLB}. So you can see that the whole world was a " cemetery before the coming of Christ, for all live unto themselves in pleasures and not unto God's righteousness, for man’s thinking and activities were all contrary to God's way. See Rom 1:28–32; Isa.55: 8.

 

What then is the mystery of our Resurrection? The word says “for if we have grown into fellowship with Him by sharing a death like His, surely we shall share a resurrection life like His, for we know that our former self (old man body of sin) was crucified with Him, to make our body that is liable to sin inactive (dead)... for when a man is dead, he is freed (loose, delivered) from the claims of sin (power of sin among men). Accordingly sin must not continue to reign over your mortal bodies so as to make you continue to obey evil desires, and you must stop offering to sin the parts of your bodies as instruments for wrong doings. But you must ONCE FOR ALL OFFER YOURSELVES TO GOD AS PERSON RAISED FROM THE DEAD to live on perpetually-.” {Rom 6:5-13.Williams Trans}. Meanwhile "---God is so rich in mercy; He loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, He gave us back our lives again when He raised Christ from the dead - only by His undeserved favour have we ever been saved - and LIFTED US FROM THE GRAVE INTO GLORY along with Christ, where we sit with Him in the heavenly realms all because of what Christ Jesus did." in order to "--rescue us from this evil world in which we live" {Eph.2:5-6,Gal.1: 4 TLB}. What are we saying? All those who have become aware of the Christ indwelling and are living accordingly; (Rom. I: 4 Gal 2:20), have attained to the Resurrection: -a moral recovery of Spiritual truth. They have been quickened, made alive from the state of being dead in sins and trespasses, out of the control of the prince of the power of the air.

 

Now hear this! All those who have been able to recollect their senses (faculties) from the deadness of evil, through their union with Christ have partaken of the "first Resurrection" {Rev. 20:5}, in the word of Jesus, the prodigal son "Came to himself” {LK 15:17 KJV}" -- He came to his senses" {Philips}. The result of his realizations was a return to the Father's house - the church, the only family of God. This is the state of a true born again child of God, the Resurrection of those who are ALIVE and REMAIN" That is, though they have rediscovered themselves spiritually with their eyes of understanding being enlightened, they are yet to be completely morally and spiritually perfected.

In the words of Paul " What shall we say (to all this)? Are we to REMAIN IN SIN? [Rom. 6:1]. The answer is no; we must reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin ... but ALIVE unto God" {Rom.6:11}.

 We have been able to see that when a man begins to rediscover himself spiritually through the power of the Holy Spirit from the realm of spiritual deadness and self life, He is attaining to a resurrection, alive from (among those who are dead in sins and trespasses) the graves of mankind "--Without God in the world" {Eph 2:12}. To be without God in the world is to live a life without the control of the Christ Spirit, which again is carnal-mindedness.

 

THE VOICE OF JESUS - THE BEGINNING AND POWER OF RESURRECTION

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and Now is when the dead (in sin and trespasses) shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live ''{Jn 5:25}. May it be noted that, "the voice of the Son of God" is the same thing as His words. And His words contain life-giving power of resurrection from the spirit of slumber, if truly received just as He declares "--- the words that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE" {Jn. 6:36b}. Again, when He said “now is,” it is simply that the resurrection to this spiritual life from among the realm of humanity in death started with Him, right from when He heard the voice of the Father at the time of Baptism “-- This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” “-- Thou art my Son, today have I begotten, thee” {Matt.3:17b; Heb.5:5}. Why the need for this resurrection- quickening? Because of His identification with humanity, “for as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same”—{Heb. 2:14a}. Now the word of God that came to Him awakened Him to a higher spiritual life from among the rest of Humanity because the “-- word that God speaks is ALIVE and FULL OF POWER- making it active, operative, energizing and effective” {Heb 4:12 Amp}. Thereafter, He began to live after the power of this life of resurrection in the will of the Father. This becomes clearer when we realize that, He is also the first to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, just as He declared “But the hour cometh, and NOW is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth--” {Jn. 4:23}. Therefore “the hour” and the "Now is" began in Him and continues in the life of the disciples, and as many as will hear His voice henceforth. "...Because I live, ye shall live also" and "we shall live in His sight…” {Jn.14:19}, Hos. 6:2. So, when we read of"… the hour is coming in which ALL that are in the GRAVES shall hear His voice" {Jn5:28}, it is simply the voice of Christ piercing through ALL HUMANITY at the fullness of time, 'whether in the body or out of the body. Please observe that the word “GRAVE” is not found in verse 25, which corresponds to the "first resurrection," that is, those who are in Christ, while verse 28 speaks of "…the rest of the dead (in their human tombs LK.11:44) lived not again." {Rev.20:6}

 

WHY THE RESURRECTION OF ‘THE JUST AND THE UNJUST’. ACTS. 24:15.

It is so intended because "--- we must ALL appear and be revealed as we are before the judgement seat of Christ (His presence), so that EACH ONE MAY RECEIVE (his pay) according to what he has done in the body whether good or evil (considering what his purpose and motive have been, and WHAT HE HAS ACHIEVED. BEEN BUSY WITH and GIVEN HIMSELF and HIS ATTENTION TO ACCOMPLISHING" {2Cor 5:10. AMP}. And do not forget that even now we daily come into His presence, even in the fellowship: as we receive the word coming from the right throne, when the Holy spirit flows out of His anointed ones in power. The woman that was caught in adultery was brought before the judgement seat of Christ {Jn.8:1-11}. The verdict of the judge that day was “---Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more”, She was discharged and acquitted. Ananias and Sapphira appeared before the judgement seat of Christ in Peter, where His throne has been established (Acts5:1-11). They were condemned to death because "---Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost--- God”

 

RESURRECTION TO LIFE AND CONDEMNATION

We read that on hearing His voice ALL "…shall come forth, they that have done good, into the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil; unto the resurrection of damnation"{Jn 5:29}. To do good is to believe in the words and works of Jesus Christ, which is resurrection unto life. For only God is good (Mk 10:18) He is “the resurrection and the life” Jn.11:28, whereas the resurrection unto condemnation is to hear the voice and disbelieve and not live the life in the power of the spirit, for "...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of YOU THAT BELIEVE NOT..." {Jn.6:63–64a}. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world (among humanity), and men loved darkness rather than light, BECAUSE THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL... But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God" {Jn 3:18-21}. There is THEREFORE "NOW no more condemnation to them which are in I CHRIST JESUS WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT" {Rom 8:1 KJV}. "So there is NOW NO CONDEMNATION AWAITING THOSE 'WHO BELONG TO CHRIST JESUS" TLB. "No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are "in" Christ Jesus. For the new spiritual principle of, life "in" Christ Jesus lifts me out of the old vicious circles of sin and death" (Philips) because they are partaking of the "first resurrection"; On such the second death (Lake of fire Rev. 20:14) hath no power"{Rev.20:6}.

 

THE HOPE OF GENERAL RESURRECTION AND IMMORTALITY

May we once again draw our attention to the fact that the issue of resurrection that we are examining in this studies, though in brief, is the hope that Paul was presenting to the Thessalonians and not “a rapture”. We can talk of physical' resurrection of glorified bodies, resurrection of moral and spiritual recovery and finally resurrection that leads to immortality even while physically alive without necessary going through the cemetery.

 

Once again we read “I tell you the truth, the time is coming and is already here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear "will have life". Mind you, the time to hear the voice and have life started in Jesus days while He was physically alive; meaning that some people received life from their spiritual deadness of sinful life, ignorance, pride, self, religious hypocrisy, and the defilement of the world. "Don’t be surprised at this: A time is coming when ALL who are dead and in their graves will hear His voice" Jn 5:15, 28 NCV “...then A-L-L MANKIND SHALL SEE THE SAVIOUR SENT FROM GOD" Lk.3:6 TLB. It simply means that there will be no man in the entire universe whether dead or alive that will not hear the voice of the Son of God- the Good news, because it is only whom the Son sets free that is free indeed. And of course "…every man in his own order" {1Cor.15:23a}. God has not made any other plan for us to be set free from the defilement of self and spirit. Listen! "Since Christ suffered while He was in His body, strengthen yourselves with the same way of thinking. The person who has suffered in the body is finished with sin strengthen yourselves so that you will " LIVE HERE ON EARTH DOING WHAT GOD WANTS, not evil things people want. In the past you wasted too much time doing WHAT NONBELIEVERS ENJOY. You were guilty of sexual sins, evil desires, drunkenness, wild and drunken parties, and hateful idol worship. Nonbelievers think it is strange that you do not do the many wild and wasteful things they do, so they insult you (Are you sure you are being insulted because of your faith? Are you not compromising your faith to avoid insults?) But just remember that they must face THE JUDGE OF ALL, living and dead; they will be punished for the way they have lived. That is why the Good News was preached even to those who were dead-killed by the flood - so that although their bodies were punished with death, they could still live in their spirits as God lives" {1Pet. 4:1-6 NCV. TLB}. This is plain enough, that there is no creature and no realm of existence where the voice of Christ will not pierce through to be heard. Now do not forget that the voice of Jesus is the power of resurrection.

 

The basic reason for the general resurrection is that everyone of us will have to stand without pretense before Christ our judge, and we shall be rewarded for what we did when we lived in our bodies whether it was good or bad" (2Cor.5:10 Philips). My friend, the life you are living now counts, whether you believe it or not. Those in the days of Noah who refused the word of Christ through him received punishment of death and eventually met with their Lord and judge. You can prepare for the hereafter now by the life you live towards God and towards man. Therefore in the words of Paul "Having a hope in God... that there will be a resurrection of both the just (Good) and unjust (Bad)...I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God (in service with love) and toward man (in fellowship - relationship)" (Acts 24:15-16 RSV).

 

 

RESURRECTION FROM "AMONG THE DEAD" CLIMAX IN IMMORTALITY

Now what Paul said in the above quoted verse of scripture is quite different from his desire and prayer found in Phil 3:11. The Greek word used in Acts 24: 15 is TON-NEKRON "...that there shall be a resurrection of THE DEAD (Ton-nekron) both of the just and unjust" where as in Phil. 3:11 EK-NEKRON is used “that if possible I may attain to the (spiritual and moral) resurrection (THAT LIFTS ME) OUT FROM AMONG THE DEAD (even while in the body Amp). So you see, here Paul was dealing with his spiritual upliftment from among those he was living with, which ought to be our goal as well. And I am sure he was talking of those who were “Dead in Christ”: and not just those "dead in sins" He was envisioning a higher attainment from among the Christian Community in Christ.

 

I am persuaded within my spirit that he was desiring to put on immortality, the glorified body even while alive on earth "...even while in the body" That itself is the fullness of the Christian perfection- maturity, for he was walking in the realm; of spiritual and moral resurrection which in turn should lift him out from; among those he was walking with, why? Because he was "one born out of due time" (1Cor.15:8). That is, he was birthed-converted into the faith before the time of perfection when God’s people will be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph.3:19), which is “the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ” (Phil 3: 14). What are we saying? This life of perfection in glory even in this life is available through the quickening power of Christ in-dwelling that makes us new creatures, as we are resurrected from this grave of our Adamic-tomb bodies, into a spiritual and moral radiance of Christ glory as we hear his voice (John 5:25) calling forth our spirits. This is the mystery of our resurrection hope. Just as the spirit puts it to us "To whom God would make known what is the Riches of the Glory of the Mystery-- which is Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (Col 1:27 KJV). “--- Christ within and among you the hope of (realizing) the Glory.” (AMP). So you discover that the hope that Paul was saying that the Church should not be without, is the hope of being glorified, which he rightly stated in 1Thes.4:13,14, “for if we believed that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus win God bring with Him” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ if so be that we suffer (in the flesh, dead to sin) with Him, that we may be glorified together”. (Rom 8:16,17). This is the fact of our joint glorification with Christ because of the hope of the seed of Christ in us which is the very power of God that raised up Christ from, the dead (Rom.1:3-4) because He had the life of God within Himself, (John 5: 26). The very hope that is laid up for us in Christ (Col.1:5). Please see Col.1:23, 2Thes.2:14, 1Tim.1:1, Rom 5:2, 18, 2Thes.1: 7-10.

 

Friends, the quickening (resurrection) power of God, which is the Christ seed already in us, and through His processing and cleansing will bring us to a realm in God wherein our true nature is revealed (Rome 8:19) as glorified sons to be with the Lord, where He is to rule and reign with Him in the body of heaven that is the “glorified bodies”. This then is the hope of Christians, whether in the body or out of this flesh, this hope can still be realized, as we remain steadfast; nourishing the seed of life within us through the right word and knowledge of God in fellowship with the Spirit of truth.

 

 

THE OVERLOOKED (SPIRITUAL) ELEMENT IN PAUL'S LANGUAGE

We may now progress into some other details of the passage in question, though a lot can still be discussed on the subject of resurrection. In as much as most of Christendom sincerely alludes to this passage of scripture to teach the "ESCAPIST-rapture doctrine", the truth, is they are sincerely wrong because of the natural sense with which they are interpreting the language of Paul. There is an element of biblical language that is vital to the understanding of the language in which Paul spoke as found in verse 15 of 1Thes 4:" …BY THE WORD OF THE LORD."

 

Now there are only two possible ways by which we can understand a word like this either that Paul was quoting or making reference to a similar passage else where in the scriptures, or he is speaking under the anointing as a commandment from God right there, which in the right term is a word of prophecy. A careful study shows that Paul was not necessarily making reference to a previous record or statement in relation to the discussion in question, the “rising”, being “caught up in the clouds” etc. Therefore, Paul was prophesying and prophecies that contain elements (symbols) should not be interpreted literally. A close look at a few scriptures will prove the fact that "BY THE WORD OF THE LORD" or "THE WORD OF THE LORD" is the language of prophecy. In 2Kgs 1:1-17, is a record of King Ahaziah who angered God by going to Ekron to inquire of the god Beelzebub as to whether he will recover from his sick bed; therefore God sent His servant Elijah to him with a word. "Now therefore thus saith the Lord, thou shalt not come down from the bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die, and Elijah departed, so he died according to THE WORD OF THE LORD which Elijah has spoken" So “the word of the Lord” here is the prophecy of Elijah to King Ahaziah of his death that came to pass.

 

Again the refusal of Jonah to go to Nineveh did not stop him from going there according to the word of the Lord. The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amita saying; “Arise go to Nineveh” So, Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, “according to THE WORD OF THE LORD”   (Jon.1:1-2;3:3). The word of the Lord, which was the prophecy of God asking Jonah to go to Nineveh eventually, came to pass. In fact the issue becomes clearer for us to understand when we realize that Paul differentiated his words of prophecy from ministering out of a witness in his spirit, on his discuss:- on Marriage (1Cor.7) when he said "BUT TO THE  REST SPEAK I, NOT THE LORD--" verse 12, Here he separated what came directly to him from God "Thus saith the Lord" from what was issuing out of his spirit, for at the end he added " and I think also that I have the Spirit of God" verse 40. Why will the Spirit give approval to what came out of the spirit of Paul to be recorded? It is because Paul was at this stage one with the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), for " --he that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT (1Cor.6:17). The truth of the matter is, Paul spent most of his time in communion with God that his language carries with it a lot of spiritual element that has constituted a lot of problem to the carnal Christians. See. 2 Pet. 3: 15-16. Hear him testify of his witness "--For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you --" (1Cor.11: 23).

 

My friend, pause for a minute, who gives you the messages that you give to people? Is it out of self, your human spirit, satan or from God? Think of it for a moment, what a sweet fellowship it will be if we all can be delivering only what we receive of the Lord. Listen to Paul again. "For I delivered unto you first of' all that 'which I also received; now, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (1Cor.15:3). Who did he receive this knowledge from? Certainly not from the twelve apostles or any other, but Christ the Lord Himself, even as he declares "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mothers womb--- To reveal His Son in me—I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me”; (Gal.1:15-17). Are you hearing this? That to receive of the Lord is a commandment of God which is "thus saith the Lord" a prophetic utterance. Listen to prophet Balaam "Behold I have received commandment to bless and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it" (Num.23:20).' That was a word of the Lord to a prophet of God.

 

WHO ARE THE MYSTERIES OF GOD GIVEN TO IN OUR DAYS?  EPH. 3:3-5

Paul rightly indicated that God is revealing His secrets to His 'holy Apostles and Prophets' in our days of which Paul was one, therefore he spake as he received commandment of the Lord, What are we saying? Paul was prophesying of the things to come in the body of Christ. And this prophecy that we are considering in 1 Thes.4:15-18 was coded in spiritual language that needed to be so understood and not merely interpreted literally, of".. Which things also we speak not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1Cor. 2: 13-14). So why is it difficult for them to understand? It is because 'we say this unto you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD--" (1 Thes.4:15.) it is prophetic, it is spiritual. it is a commandment received from the Lord. Amen.

 

You see, Nicodemus could not understand the language of the New Birth that He who came from heaven (realm of Spirit) was speaking. In his natural mindedness, he asked, " --how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time unto his mother's womb, and be born? --How can these things be? --Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things. Verily, verily I say unto YOU WE SPEAK THAT WE DO KNOW, and testify that we have seen, and ye received not our witness if i have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I have told you of heavenly things? Jn 3:10-1.2. You see, when Jesus used the pronoun "We "He was not just talking about His then apostles, but all the joint heirs of His who are and shall be in the spirit with Him, receiving of the father to declare as it were"--by the word of the Lord" my friend, this is in the realm of "vision and revelation" not just of the night, but as "the mind of Christ' (1Cor2:15-16) is ministered to them (us) the "--perfect understanding of ALL THINGS from the first-"(Lk.1:3)"-- of all that Jesus began to both do and teach .." (Acts 1:1) of which things he is now showing.. "Unto his SERVANTS things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified (symbolized) it (THEM) by his angel unto his servant--" (Rev. 1:1). So you see, Jesus started the work, revealing the things of the spirit as the father communicates them to Him by the spirit and must be carried on to conclusion by His servants (the saints) as they are drawn up to see the open heavens and receive of same for onward transmission to those on the earthly plane like our Rabbi friend Nicodemus, even of our days in religious garments. Now hear this my friend, we are in the Spirit (Rom.8:9) because the Spirit dwells in us just as Paul was, so his language was spiritual, therefore understand that the events he was describing and the elements involved such as trumpet, clouds, Air, shout. Caught up, etc, are not literal events and shouldn’t be interpreted as such.

 

AS TOUCHING 'THE COMING OF THE LORD'   

"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" (I Thes 4:15). The fact is, there is no room here in these studies to treat all of the phases and manner of Christ appearing as it is such a wide subject. We shall confine ourselves to the word used in the text in question, which is "COMING" - PAROUSIA (Greek).

 

MODERN RAPTURE TEACHING ON THE SO CALLED SECOND COMING OF JESUS.

This weird teaching submits that Jesus will physically come in the clouds, for all eyes to see him, then all true believers will certainly be physically changed, go up in the rapture to meet the Lord in the air. There they will be with the Lord 7 years in heaven, then the persecution of the Antichrist will take place, during which period the 144,000 Jews are going to evangelize the earth. Thereafter Christ will return with the saints, set up His Kingdom, take over the rule of the earth for one thousand years after turning the beast into the lake of fire. Thereafter that He will resurrect the rest of the dead and they will appear before Him “with the books open, those whose names are not found in the books are cast into the lake of fire

 

It may surprise you to hear that the whole of this deception was not taught by the early Christian fathers, not even by the apostles. it was originated by three men John Nelson Derby, founder of the Plymouth Brethen started teaching it in about 1828 who got some of his ideas from a Catholic monk named Manuel De Lacunza who published his ideas in 1750. Dr Scofield, got this “new revelation” from Derby when he visited the united states in 1862 and included this teaching in the footnotes of his bible. The Scofields reference bible.  Then in 1830 in Engalnd. A 15 year old Margaret Mcdonald claimed to have a revelation in which the church was taken away into the air before the great tribulastrion. Therefore to Derby and the rest this was a confirmation. The Assembly of God’s Church, the first Pentecostal church finally picked it from Scofield bible reference note while preparing their Sunday school manuals through the printing press of D.L Moody who was also influenced by Dr  Scofield .And that is how this  dangerous teaching came to stay in the body of Christ.

 

CONFUSION AND WRONG THINKING ABOUT WHO JESUS IS.

   The greatest problem with the Church world is that, they still see Jesus as a human being that is why they are expecting a physical human Jesus. But who is Jesus actually? What form does He exist in now? Until you have these understandings you will not know how He is coming or how it will be. Now listen to this "… stop evaluating Christians by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, merely as a human being like myself, how different I feel now" (2 Cor 5:16.tlb) "... (Indeed, even though we knew Christ as a man we do not know Him like that any longer”. (Phillips). 

    

Can't you see from the above verse of scripture that it is erroneous to think of Jesus as a human being with forms, legs, hands, nose etc as He was when He came to Palestine? That itself is like thinking as the world thinks. Very unfortunate, for the sons of the Father to be thinking as the world thinks and not as God thinks. Well, the word rightly says the things of God are foolishness unto men. The sons of God have so much of the world in them that they cannot but to think like the world.

  I think the major problem the world is having is that they do not know that Christ came as a human being to put an end to sin by the sacrifice of Himself instead of the regular sacrifices of bulls that cannot make one clean as touching the conscience, and that ministry ended even when He died. "… But NOW ONCE in the end of the world (ages) hath He appeared (as a human being) to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.." to "... purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." (Heb.9:26, 9).

 

What are we talking about? Jesus is no longer a man and will no longer be, for He is NOW SPIRIT, in the glory of the Father. (Jn17:5). Peter so explained this to the confused Jews of his days when the promise of the Father was poured out on the day of Pentecost. When he said, "so, all the people of Israel should know this truly; God has made Jesus - the man you nailed to the cross - both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:36. Paul himself testified to this truth when he “mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly SHEWING BY THE SCRIPTURES THAT JESUS WAS CHRIST; again "that this JESUS WHOM I PREACHED TO YOU, IS CHRIST" (Acts 18:28, 17:3). Are you seeing it? Alright: Now if Jesus has been made both Lord and Christ, who then is the Lord? Again, "Now the Lord is that Spirit: " (2Cor 3:17). Note the word very well; it is not "the Spirit" but "that Spirit".

 

Why? Because it is referring to the manifestation of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. So you see, the glorified Christ in spirit form came on the day of Pentecost. If you cannot get along with this truth about the very person of Christ now, then listen to the promise of Jesus while still in a human form to the disciples "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another, for verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come" (Math10:23) "'When you are persecuted in the city flee to the next I will RETURN before you have reached them all" (Tlb). The question then is, are the apostles of Jesus still alive and running around the cities of Israel today? The answer is no: So when did the "Son of man” return? Of course on the day of Pentecost. Then they stopped fleeing, for boldness came into them.

 

Did you see the difference that the glorified Christ is more real and powerful in a people than when you eat and drink with Him? Please compare another promise to the apostles that ".. Some standing here… shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom" (Math16:28). And this promise was fulfilled "after six days" in the words of Peter when He was transfigured before them (Peter, James and John) on the holy mount. (Math 17:1-9, 2 Pet 1:13-18). The truth is, the Church world do not know who Jesus is now and so they do not know anything about His coming for He Came even as Yahweh-Father to Israel, He came as the 'Son of man' and He comes as the Holy Ghost and will continue to come until all will be filled of the Father's Spirit (Eph4:10,1:23). Again people have forgotten that there have been a lot of prophesies concerning the coming of Christ in the Bible before AD70, and that many have been fulfilled. WHAT THEN IS THE REALITY OF CHRIST THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT? It is that, “This is the secret that Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory” (Col 1:27tlb).                                                                              

 

The Greek word "Glory" is 'doxa' which speaks of that which is weighty, dignity, honour, praise, be speaking of the reality, the true substance of a thing, its true nature. The true value of Christ's death is He dwelling in you, no longer a single corn of wheat (Jn 12:24). This is what gives us the real power to live the life of God here on earth. This is what effects the changes in our minds, (Eph 4:23)} and transforms us into His likeness (Rom 12:2, 8:29) even as He dines with us (Rev 3:20).

 

Therefore "check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ's presence and more and more within you, or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren't at all? "2Cor 13:5 (Tlb), surely, what you need is more and more of His presence and not a man from the sky.

 

 

PAROUSIA – THE PRESENCE IS NOT A 'COMING EVENT'.

"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" (1 Thes 4:15.) "... to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep (in death);." (Interlinear Trans).

 

As we have earlier on mentioned, one of the most confusing subjects of Christian doctrine by the uninformed is the 'coming of Christ' and this is made more difficult for people to understand by the erroneous translation of several Greek words as "coming" by the King James Bible, one of which appears in the text in question, which is 'COMING - PAROUSIA' meaning 'PRESENCE' but translated "coming" by the KJV and some others. That of course changes the entire meaning and sense in which the text should be understood.

 

THE 'PAROUSIA' OF CHRIST MEANS HIS 'PRESENCE'.

PAROUSIA. This Greek word is taken from PARA ("with") and OU-SIA ("being" - derived from "ei-mi" "to be). Therefore PAROUSIA should literally mean "a being with" that is a "presence", "at hand". The verb form, actually speaks of the very personal presence of the one who comes. It should be noted very well that Parousia in no way indicates the ACT or MANNER of COMING of a person or the personal arrival but rather it denotes the very presence of the one who has already arrived and resident in a place or location. It is used 24 times in the NT among such passages as Jm 5:7, Math 24:3, 37, I Cor 15:23, 2 Pet 3:4, ITh 2:28, Math 24:27,29, I The 2:19,3:13; 4:15,5:23,2 Thes 2:1,8. It is used more often with the coming of Christ in relation to His Kingdom.

 

The mistranslation of the word 'coming' is what has led to the expression "second coming" or "second advent". Now going by the word Parousia (presence) as it ought to be of necessity means the arrival of Christ at the very place He is present. But the problem of the Church is the translation of Parousia as "coming" and so placing the emphasis on the arrival, such as an event that is about to take place, therefore the presence that ought to follow the arrival of such a person is hidden. So we keep on thinking and talking of His "coming" as an event and not that which has arrived and the activities following the arrival because of His presence. Do you see it? This is the problem with the Church world.

 

While there might be arguments for the translation of Parousia to mean "arrival" and "presence". It should be noted that most Greek Scholars generally agree that the "presence" of a person is the main idea conveyed by the word. For instance you can compare "The Expositors Greek Testament" (Vol I; Pg 288), Dr Vines Expository Dictionary of the New Testament words (Vol 1 Pg 208). Liddell and Scotts - A Greek - English Lexicon (Pg 1343).

 

PAUL'S PRESENCE CANNOT BE CONFUSED WITH HIS ABSENCE.
2 COR 10:10-11. "For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily PRESENCE is weak... let such one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are ABSENT, such will we be also in deed when we are PRESENT."
Here Paul was saying that people should not think that his letters contain more strong words than when he is physically present. In other words, whether absent or physically present he remains the same in communication. Again, note that Paul was not talking of his "coming", an event but his actual presence in the location - the Church in Corinth.
Opposite of "PAROUSIA” is "APOUSIA" meaning "UN-PRESENCE" or "ABSENCE" as can be found in Phil2:12 "wherefore, my beloved as ye have always obeyed, not as in my PRESENCE only, but now much more in my ABSENCE, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". Here the word "presence" is contrasted with 'absence'. The fact is, these two words can never mean the same. And of course, there is nowhere in the scriptures that 'Parousia' mean "coming" or "coming again."

 

THE PAROUSIA - PRESENCE OF CHRIST CAN NEVER MEAN A COMING EVENT.' In Math 24:3, the disciples of Jesus privately determined to know"... what shall be the sign of thy ‘COMING’... (KJV)” What will be the sign of your 'presence'...” (Interlinear Trans). My Uninformed brothers in the Lord have, used this to mean the end of the globe. But Mark in recording the same event said…What shall be the sign when ALL THESE THINGS shall be fulfilled?" (Mk 13:3-4).  What things do you think they were referring to? It is the stones of the buildings of the Jerusalem temple that they had shown to Jesus, which He said will be thrown down. See verse 1-2. In short He was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple worship in AD 70. That is why Christ said “... This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Math 24:34). And of course, history confirmed the destruction.

 

So you see, His presence necessitated and effected the destruction of the temple worship in order that a new spiritual worship in the true spiritual temple (hearts of men) may be established. His presence produced a change of order, just as the "old stones (men) of Babylon are to be cast down because of the presence of Christ in His 'lively stones' which " are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (IPet2:5, Eph2:22). Again Jesus likened His coming - presence - to the days of Noah (Math 24:37.39). "For just as the days of Noah were, so the PRESENCE (Parousia) of the 'son of man' will be" (Interlinear Trans). And we know that, as at the time Noah started to preach to the people and the final coming of the flood to destroy the wicked, was not just a momentary event like a flash of lightning, but rather it covered a period of years, from his preaching, the preparation of the Ark before the final deluge. This also gives evidence to the fact that the 'presence' of Christ as indicated in (Math 24:3.37), that is "the days of the Son of man" surely must cover a period of some years that will end up in the destruction of those not paying attention to the true Gospel of Christ. What are we saying? “The Parousia - to be near or to be present" is not an event of what is to happen but a state of existence or condition that involves duration, a period of time. The Parousia is the life in the presence of God; not a man called Jesus coming from the skies. It is the reality of the glory of Christ's presence and the presence of His glory among His people; hence we have to stand in His presence, (Lk 21:36). Just like He comes into our midst as we gather in His name. (Math 18:20, 28:20) It is simply Christ in His Church. Please compare 1Cor 12:12,27, Eph 4:13.

 

 

'PAROUSIA' THE INVISIBLE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN HIS CHURCH.

Since man, the unregenerated being, is good at walking by his senses of touch and sight; it becomes very difficult for him to comprehend the fact that the 'Parousia' of Christ is His invisible presence here right now on earth and in His people. This same spirit of unbelief was in Thomas the disciple of Jesus, who wanted to see Him physically before he could believe that He has risen. And because of this, Jesus appeared to him, but said "... BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED" (Jn 20:24–29). That means there is a blessing attached to walking in faith "for we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7). And of course to look for a physical Jesus before you believe into His Parousia - presence - is to walk by sight.

 

Furthermore, walking by sight is a realm of seeking for" signs" for Jesus' appearance to the disciples was only a sign to prove His resurrection in order to re-establish their faith in Him "And many other SIGNS truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples " (Jn 20:30) otherwise there was no need for this physical appearance.

 

SCRIPTURAL PROOF OF THE INVISIBLE PRESENCE OF CHRIST.

Man's thinking, erroneously of course, is that Christ's presence must necessarily be a visible event, but even Paul in 1Cor5:3 using the verb (Pere emi) spoke of his being "present in spirit" though absent in bodily form. God's presence at Mt Sinai was an invisible one, that was made manifest by the thundering and lightning"…I come unto thee in a thick cloud, ... that there were thunders and lightning..." (Exo19:9–18). God spoke of His invisible presence on the ark in the most Holy place "And let them make me a sanctuary: that I may dwell among them... And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat..." Exo 25:8 - 22. Was God speaking to the priest from off the Ark? Was there a physical human being? There was no visible human being, but God's real presence was there. In Gen 11, we are told God "... Came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded" and said "Go to, let us go down and there confound their language ... so the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth..." (Gen 11:5–8). The question is, who saw a physical being called God came down? But as long as the building and men's plans were 'scattered', that was the evidence of His presence to execute, Judgement against the works of "the sons of men".

 

Are you surprised that most human religious empires are collapsing today? It is evidence of Christ presence on the earth. These and many other scriptures prove the Invisibility of God and yet present. Even so is GOD - IN - CHRIST (2Cor5:19), the very express image and Glory of God (Heb 1:3) invisibly present now on earth and resident in His people - CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY (Col 1:27), and filling ALL THINGS WITH HIS PRESENCE. (Eph 4:13). Just as "No man can see God, and has seen God at any time", making it necessary for "...the only begotten son" to reveal Him (Exo 33:20, In 1: 18). For he who has seen Him has seen the father since the Spirit Father dwells in Him. (Jn 14:7-11). Therefore Christ cannot be seen today except through His body the Church, the many membered body. (1Cor12: 12). Just as God dwelt in the thick darkness where no man - (natural man) can approach, though present among His people (Exo 20:21), so also is Christ presently dwelling in the light in accessible. 1 Tim 6:14-16; the same light - cloud with which He as God descended on Mt Sinai, (Exo.19:9,18,20:21) The very 'cloud' that took Him out of the sight of the "gazing" men of Galilee. (Acts 1: 9-11, 9:3; 22:6; 26: 12).

 

CHRIST IN HIS PEOPLE MAKES THEM ONE WITH HIM.

The presence of the Holy Spirit on earth today, effecting the work of deliverance and restoration through the anointed ones, is Christ in action, therefore you have no need of a physical Jesus, because He is 'that Spirit' (2Cor3:17). Listen to Him again talk to the disciples of old “A little while, and ye shall NOT SEE ME (physical Jesus) and again; a little while, and ye shall SEE ME” (Holy Spirit) because I go to the Father (who is Spirit Jn 4:24) ... Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you.. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; BUT YE KNOW HIM; FOR HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU... And when He is come He will reprove the World of sin, and of righteousness and of judgement (through His people), of righteousness, BECAUSE I GO TO MY FATHER (source of existence) and YE SEE ME NO MORE; (as a human being) ... Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, BUT YE SEE ME; (as the Holy Spirit) because I live, ye shall live also, At that day (what day? the day of Pentecost and whenever He appears to you) ye shall know that I AM IN MY FATHER, AND YE IN ME AND I IN YOU" (Jn 16:16; 16:7,14:17,16:8 - 10, 14: 19-20).        

 

People of God, is this not clear enough that, Jesus was talking of His coming as the Holy Spirit unto the apostles on the day of Pentecost, and that the "Spirit of truth" has been here since then working through His people? This is the Spirit that the world cannot receive or see because they do not even know how He comes. How does He come into the midst of the two or three that gather together in His name? (Math 18:20), is it not by the Spirit? If He is not here, then our gathering is in vain. Who comes to purify us as a refiner’s fire that we may offer unto God a sacrifice of righteousness? (Mal 3:1-3). Is it not Christ, sitting in His temple, which you are? And this processing’s and purging is what results in our becoming "blameless spirit, soul and body" at the "presence" of our Lord Jesus. (1Thes 5:23 Interlinear Trans). Not "unto the coming of our Lord" for a coming event cannot preserve us in a blameless manner, only the PRESENCE (Parousia) of our Lord does that.

 

Now God has made you His friends again, He did this through Christ's death in the body, so that He might bring you into God's PRESENCE as a people who are holy, with no wrong and with nothing of which God can judge you guilty" (Col 1:21-22 NCV). Please compare Eph 5:25 - 27, Phil. 1:6, Isa 33: 14 - 17,4:4 - 6. Why? Because we are preserved in Christ Jesus (Jude 1). People of God, life and protection is in His presence, not in His coming, for "... I am come that they (you) might have life, and that they (you) might have it more abundantly." (Jn 10:10) And of course, this goes beyond the matter of 'food and drinks', but the very life of God that. We lost in Adam, which His presence is now restoring in the sons, for eventual revelation to creation. Why? Because "I am the vine, and you the branches, it is THE MAN WHO SHARES MY LIFE and WHOSE LIFE I SHARE WHO PROVES FRUITFUL. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all... But if you live your LIFE IN ME, and MY WORDS LIVE IN YOUR HEARTS, you can ask for whatever you like, and it will come true for you. This is how my Father will be glorified in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples; (Jn 10:1-8 NEB, Philips). Only in His presence can we be made whole and He in us makes us one with Him.

 

CHRIST COMING- THE WRONG USE AND IMPLICATION OF SIX GREEK WORDS

"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" (1Thes4:15). Having, given consideration to one of the confusing words 'Parousia' in relation to the "coming" of Christ', we will now briefly examine about five other Greek words which as a result of their being rendered "coming" all through in the king James Bible have also caused a lot of misunderstanding in scriptural interpretation and so overturning the faith of many.

 

APOKALUPSIS-Revelation (unveiling), It simply means to "uncover", 'a disclosure'. In other words, it is the uncovering, "the revelation of an object that is hidden from sight though present and in existence; the unveiling will bring it to light for every one present on the spot to see: It is like commissioning a statue of an elderly statesman or Governor by cutting the tape for public view, though present but not made public as at when the artist have finished working on it.

The removing of the wrappings such as the tarpaulin or waterproof is the apokalupsis, unveiling, revelation or the disclosure of the finished work to the public eye.

 

So when we read of "The revelation of Jesus Christ". Rev.1:1, it is the unveiling of Himself and the activities that will follow. The book of revelation has nothing to do with literal horses, tigers, lions, 144,000, the antichrist-beast of "Mr. Nero" or one from the Middle East, or even a literal someone called Jesus. Why? Because the 'unveiling' of Himself is done in symbols "-and He sent and signified (symbolized) it by His angel unto His servant John". (Rev 1: 1). So when we read of the revelation of the “Son of man” even so shall it be in the day when the Son of man is REVEALED" (LK 17:30) and passages like 1Cor.I:7-10, I Pet 1:7,4:13,' Rev 1:1, Rom 8:19, It is the disclosure of the Lord now present-parousia but hidden in spirit form, not what is coming from the sky. In the words of watchman Nee "…the Revelation is the unveiling, the apokalusis, of Jesus Christ, it draws aside the curtain and reveals His person...it is not a fact designed to satisfy our intellectual speculations at all, but to meet our spiritual need by revealing Christ Himself in fullness that we may know him.

 

EPIPHENIA "to shine upon" "bright light" "to appear "to manifest". The noun form is "manifestation" "bright lightness" eg "Then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the BRIGHTNESS (Epiphanea) of His COMING (Parousia)" 2 Thes 2:8. This is the manifestation of His presence. which simply means, the EPIPHENA of Christ is the showing forth, manifestation of the Christ that is already present. A very good example of this is His transfiguration on the Mount and Peter, called, this "… the power and “coming of our lord Jesus”… and were witnesses of his majesty. (Matt 16.28, 17,1-5, 2Pet 1,13-18, compare 1 Tim 6:14,2, 2 Tim 4:1,1:10, 4:8, Tit 2:13).

 

PHANEROO. This word is used when someone is manifesting someone else, it is to render apparent or manifest. Two scriptures will explain this perfectly. Jesus said, "I have manifested. (Phaneroo) thy name unto the men which thou hast given me"(Jn 17:6). In other words, Jesus revealed the nature, character, and attributes of the invisible Spirit God unto the men that God has given Him, that is the life of God. Hence we read that in Him (Christ) was life (God's life) and the life was the light of men” (Jn1:4). Paul again added to this testimony when he said "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest (phaneroo) in our body" (2 Cor 4:10). Did you see it? Compare CoI3: 6. 1 Tim 3:16. 1 Jn 1:2,4:9.

 

ERCBOMAI: This word is used to indicate the actual act of coming, not as with parousia-the presence of the one who has' arrived but rather the event of such a coming. eg "Behold He cometh (He is in the act of coming) with clouds" (Rev 1:7), This word is found in such passages as Col 3:6, 1Thes 5: 2,Eph 5:6, Jn 16: 2; 14:30. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, ",.. Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there COMETH (about to come) one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose," Acts13:25. Here John was speaking of the event that will follow his departure from the scene. As for the Lord, He is about to be made known to the world through His people, for He has also left the stage as a human being, but to be seen in His people - the Church.

 

HEKO: The word Heko emphasizes the point of arrival at a specific place, eg "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come (to you)" (Rev, 2:25}. Again "And we know that the Son of God is come..." (I Jn 5:20), See also Rev. 3:3, 3:9. And of course we know that He suddenly comes to His temple (Mal 3:1).

 

VARIOUS SHADE’S OF CHRIST COMING IN THE SCRIPTURES

The truth is, so many do not understand the various ‘coming’ of the Christ in the scriptures. eg .His coming in the feasts of which the three major feast of Israel are a type viz. ‘ Passover (our experience of salvation –the cleansing blood) ‘Pentecost’ (Baptism in the spirit upon His body –the in-gathering). His coming as the “morning star” (Rev. 19:1 –5, 22:12-16, 2 pet 1:19). As the sun “Sun of righteousness” (Mal.4: 2), as the “Rain”(Hos 6:3, Jm 5:7-8,Zech 10:1) for refreshing, coming in “judgement, (2Thes1:7-10, Rom11:33, Ps.96:13.2 Tim4:1, Jm5:7-9, Rom 2:16). Coming as ‘Refiner’s fire’ (Mal 3:1-3), coming on ‘a white horse’ (Rev.19:11-16) to do battle against evil with the armies of heaven. Coming as ‘king’ (Jn 1:49, Ps72:1-8,Jn.18: 37,Heb 2:9,Rev 6:2,Isa 9:7). What about his coming as a ‘Bridegroom’ (Rev.19:7-8,Matt 25:6,Eph 5:31-32),coming with ‘clouds’(Matt:24:30,26:64,Dan.7:13-14,Rev. 1:7,Heb11:39-40,12:1-2)? Do you think they are all saying the same thing? Not at all, before you begin to talk of His coming as a ‘Thief’ (Rev.3: 3,Matt 25:13), then you have His coming in the ‘shout ’, the ‘trump of God’, voice of ‘Archangel’ etc 1Thes 4:16-18.

 

So you see, the Church has truly missed the mind of Christ, when it comes to the issue of His appearing. Now consider this “BEHOLD I COME QUICKLY” Rev 3:11,22:12, 20.Do you imagine that Jesus meant this? And if so how soon do you think He wound stay before acting on His words? The word quickly’ itself is from the Greek word ‘TACHU’. Which means ‘without delay’, ‘shortly’, ‘swiftly’, ‘speedily’, or ‘suddenly’. So you can be sure that Jesus visited all the churches in Asia, to which he initially addressed His words. Every one of those churches saw Christ in judgement, but there was no literal human being called Jesus. Again observe that the word ‘suddenly’ is central to almost all of the appearing of Christ eg He suddenly come to his Temple (Mal 3:1). He suddenly comes like a thief in the night, (Mk13:35-36).please compare Act 2:2-4 Lk 2:13-13,Act 22:6-7,.and of course, even as we are talking now, He is in the mood of breaking forth suddenly upon the church in power and great glory, upon those who are watching and praying, just as the true feast of Tabernacle draws near for the Son of God to be made manifest.

 

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF ‘RISERS’ SHARE EQUAL GLORY WITH CHRIST

"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" I Thes 4: 15.

Merely looking at the above verse of scripture without spiritual discernment, is like saying we which are alive and remain unto the supposed second coming of the Lord shall not prevent those who are 'asleep in Jesus' That is, we shall not stop them from something or meeting the lord. So the point is, what are we not to stop or prevent them from? Here again we encounter another word in the choice of translation, which is misguiding, as it leads from the true meaning. It may surprise you to note that the Greek word translated here: PREVENT (Phthano) means to be beforehand, ie anticipate or precede by extent, to have arrived at, (already) attain, come, prevent. You can see that none of those words means to stop or prevent a group of people from attaining to or meeting the lord at His parousia-presence. Rather what it is saying is that we who are alive (in the spirit) shall not have any advantage or attain to the realm of the fullness of Christ glory before them, that is we who are alive and remain and those" who are asleep in Jesus, and very much alive in the spirit shall share the glory that belongs to Christ equally. Let us, compare other translations on how this word is translated " …Will not in any way PRECEDE those who have previously fallen asleep" (Philips). "...Shall not FORESTALL those who have died" (NEB) "...will have no ADVANTAGE at all over those who have fallen asleep" (Williams). "… Will not GET AHEAD of those who went to rest" (BECK'S Trans). "…we, who are alive and remain until the coming (parousia) of the lord, shall in no way PRECEDE (into His presence) or HAVE ANY ADVANTAGE AT ALL OVER those who have previously fallen asleep (in Him in death)" AMP.

 

From the amplified translation, it becomes clearer that all three categories of the Christian Risers, ver13, 'those "asleep in Jesus" "Alive and Remain" and "Dead in union with Christ"  will experience the presence of the Lord, the inheritance and glory that will follow equally. This then is the consolation that Paul was giving to the church. In other words, those who are alive in the spirit, and still breathing the natural air have no advantage over those who have dropped the flesh in terms of our joint inheritance in the Lord because it is one body and one spirit. As a matter of fact, the whole thing is dealing with our joint perfection and not necessarily our flying to meet the Lord in the sky, as the church has commonly believed. This is why we read as touching the "Heroes of faith" “that because God Had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that THEY (these heroes and heroines of faith) should NOT COME TO PERFECTION apart from us, (that is, before we could join them)” (Heb11:40. AMP) " God had made a better plan, that ONLY IN COMPANY WITH US SHOULD THEY REACH. THEIR PERFECTION" N.E.B. And so we "have come unto mount Zion the (very) city of the living God, ---and to THE SPIRITS OF THE RIGHTEOUS (the redeemed in heaven) who have been made perfect" (Heb. 12: 1,22-23 AMP). Somebody says, but I do not think or believe that I am perfect yet or perhaps no one can be perfect, may be you need to be informed that your perfection as God sees it is your union with Christ" And you are IN HIM, made full and has come to fullness of life-IN CHRIST, you too are filled with the God head: father, son and holy Spirit, and reach full spiritual stature. And He is the head of all rule and Authority-of every angelic principality and power" Col 2: 10 AMP. So you see, to live outside of the authority of Christ and depending on vain philosophies and wrong religious thoughts is the realm of imperfection. That means Lack from the Elohim-God, incompleteness. Even as the word declares "…they are not connected to Christ, the Head to which all of us who are His body are joined, for we are joined together (with those who have fallen asleep in Jesus and all believers) by His strong sinews and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God" (Col 2:16-19. Tlb). so you see, we are growing in perfection and not into perfection. This joint fellowship with Christ, the Head which the Lord has brought US into is what we do not have any advantage over those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

 

 

CHRIST DIED TO BRING US BACK TO GOD.

"Christ also suffered. He died once for the sins of ALL US, guilty sinners, although He Himself was innocent of any sin at anytime, that HE MTGHT BRING US SAFELY HOME TO GOD." (1Pet 3:18b). Therefore "... God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself..." (2 Cor 5:19). Can you imagine that my friend, that the Almighty God was inside of Christ reconciling mankind that estranged from Him in Adam back to Himself? Oh what a mystery! Now you understand why the word says that " our gathering together is unto Him" (2Thes 2:1) compare Gen. 49: 1O, that we should not be strangers and foreigners but fellow citizen of His heavenly life and now sitting together with Him (Christ) in the heavenly places (Eph.2:13,19,2:16). This is made possible through "... the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge (ing) your conscience from dead works to serve the living God, And so, dear brothers, NOW WE MAY WALK RIGHT INTO THE VERY HOLY OF HOLIES WHERE GOD IS, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way which Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain - his human body - to let us into the holy PRESENCE OF GOD." (Heb.9:14,10:19-20 KJV, Tlb). Therefore "... thus saith the high and holy one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit (through the effectual cleansing and purging power of the blood of Jesus), to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isa 57: 15). Beloved, if you are convinced of your walk with the Lord, then be rest assured that you are in the presence of the Lord right now, and with that all your fears must disappear, because you are in safe hands.

 

 

OUR JOINT GLORIFICATION AS JOINT HEIR WITH CHRIST.

So when we read "… see! The Lord comes with myriad of His people" (Jude14. Williams).  "...At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ WITH ALL HIS SAINTS" (I Thes.3:13). Note the word ALL his saints" that includes all categories of Christians viz, those who sleep in the Lord, Alive and remain and Dead in Christ. What we are seeing here, as His coming with all His saints is the "ERCHOMAI" of Christ. His act of breaking forth in a people - His Church - in great power and glory to take vengeance on them that know not God and that believed not in the gospel of Christ. The Greek word "WITH" is "META" which means with, together with, IN THE MIST OF, between, in common with, the help of, by means of, explains perfectly what we are saying, that Christ is coming in the midst of this people. Don't forget that God has "... made us alive together with the Christ ... and seated us together in the heavenly places in UNION WITH CHRIST JESUS" (Eph 2:4-6 Interlin. Trans). And mind you, that is where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (Col 3:1 Amp). Now the word "sitteth" meaning to sit down in a place, reside, remain etc as used in the KJV and some other translation as if the one sitting, is doing nothing, does not bring out fully the mind of the Holy Spirit here, for here we see Christ enthroned, ruling and reigning in power "-right hand of God" even as a judge “until all enemies are brought under foot” – (Ps 110:1, Math 26:64, Acts 2:34,1Cor15:25, Heb12:2), Therefore the sense is that of the judgement SEAT OF CHRIST (Rom14:10). And so the word "SEATED" as found in the NAS, Williams, RSV, NEB, and Interlin. Trans. Amp. Etc best describes the position of Christ today through the Holy Spirit. See Jn 16:7-11. Moses in blessing Israel used the word for Gad as a lawgiver when he said "…He dweleth as a lion ... IN A PORTION OF THE LAW GIVER, WAS HE SEATED, “he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgements with Israel" (Dt 33:20 – 21). Therefore Christ being SEATED "... reigns in power" (Col.3:1. Philips).

 

So while it is true that Christ will be glorified in His saints. (2 Thes 1: 10). It is very important to note that if "The Spirit beareth, witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God... then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, If so be that we suffer with Him, THAT WE MAY BE ALSO GLORIFIED TOGETHER" (Rom 8:16–17). "For, it became Him, for whom are all things, IN BRINGING MANY SONS INTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation perfected through suffering" (Heb.2:10). This joint glorification is directly connected to our union with Christ, seated together with Him even as His Body, for the Head cannot seat (sit) without the body.

  So it speaks of a time when the entire company of the sons of God, in union with the Head (the controlling portion of the body) shall be glorified together, our being brought into the fullness of the Christ life. That is to say "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear (or be manifested-Phaneroo) then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col.3:4). For He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings" (Rev.17: 14). Mind you, through His sacrificial death, and our union with Him He "... hast made us unto our God, Kings and Priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev 5:9-10). See also Rev 20:6, ICor 6:2 - 3. Now look at this, if "... God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world unto Himself..." (2Cor 5: 19) and "if any be IN CHRIST, he is a new creature..." (2Cor 5: 17), that means we have come into the very place where God dwells, and not only that, He, Christ, is also IN THE FATHER and we in Him. (Jn14:20). Compare Jn 14:3,10. So you see, He cannot come except we (all saints) come with Him and He with us. It is a divine union because we are occupying the same positioning in the Heavenly places, (Eph.2:6). Therefore, it is a revelation (apolalupsis) of our state of being, our very life IN CHRIST, even as He is glorified IN US. (Jn 17:10). Again even as joint heirs, we do not have any advantage over those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

 

THE LORD 'DESCENDING' IS A MANIFESTATION.

"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," (1 Thes 4:16). We will now progress in our study into verse 16 of 1 Thes 4; and the word that immediately confronts us is "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven--". The question is, what does it mean to descend from heaven? Is it a literal human being called Jesus floating down from the empty space, as we have often seen in pictures in rapture magazines and calendars in homes? How is this descending to take place? Has He ever descended, and in what form?

 

First of all, the word DESCEND in the Greek is KATABATNO which means: - DESCEND, (lit or fig) Come (GET, GO, STEP DOWN, FALL (DOWN). In the book of Prov 30:4 we read, "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or DESCENDED--?" Jesus Himself answered the question when He said "--No man hath ascended up to heaven, but HE THAT CAME DOWN (descended) from HEAVEN, even the Son of man which is in heaven" (Jn 3:13 KJV). What can we understand by this? It is simply that, He alone has manifested the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In other words, no man has being filled with the fullness of the Godhead in human form before His arrival and that He alone had that privilege while alive even on earth. This becomes clearer when we read that "for in Him, the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form, giving complete expression of the divine nature" (Col 2:9), Therefore "No one would deny that this religion of ours is a tremendous mystery, resting as it does on THE ONE WHO SHOWED HIMSELF AS A HUMAN BEING, and met, as such, every demand of the Spirit in the sight of the angels, He has been proclaimed among the nations, believed in throughout the world, received back to the glory of heaven" (1 Tim3:16. Philips). "Undoubtedly the mystery of our religion is a great wonder, He (God) WAS MADE VISIBLE IN HUMAN FORM--taken up to Glory" (Williams). "It must be admitted the hidden truth of our religion is great -He (God) APPEARED IN FLESH- -- taken up in glory" (BECK). This is what John meant when he said, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God---AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US---” Jn 1:1-14.

 

So what are we saying? This lowering of Himself as God into a human form, that is, taking the shape and manifesting as man is what is called the descending (stepping down, out of spirit form) out of heaven (realm of spirit) in order that He might taste death for all men (Heb 2: 9, 1Pet3: 18; 2Cor 5:19), that they might be reconciled back to Him. He came to fulfil-bring to completion, His own laws that He has made. For if the Law says "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth,--"(Exo 21:24) and No jot of the law shall go unfulfilled:-  Math 5: 17-18. Then of course, we know that the blood of bulls-animal scarifies, cannot redeem us, for they are not our blood equivalent, so we must be careful"--to feed the Church of God, which He has purchased with His own BLOOD" (Acts 20:28) "for Ye are bought with a price (the blood)--”(ICor6:20). Are you following this? Alright! Now when we read that "--He ascended, what it is but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above ALL HEAVENS (plural) that He might fill ALL THINGS" (Eph 4:9-10), it is clear that"--He who took on Him the seed of Abraham by partaking" of flesh and blood." descended further to the point of death, "that through death he might destroy him that had. The power of death, that is the devil." (Heb 2:11-16).

 

Having accomplished that through His human ministry, He ascended above all other realms of spiritual attainment-heavens, into the Fatherhood realm. For "I come forth from the Father, and am come unto the world (descended) again. I leave the world (as a human being and ye see me no more. (Jn16:10) as i go to the Father who is spirit (Jn 4:24 Jn16: 28). So in Jn 3:13 when He said, "no man has ascended up to heaven," it is that no human being had ever lived, even Elijah and all those so called great masters of old, and those even now without Christ, did not and cannot attain to the fullness of the Godhead without the sacrifice of Christ "for in Christ, there is all of God in human body" Tlb. But the word of God says, Elijah ascended up to heaven! Sure, he did, but not into the fullness of the fathers glory because "--the way into the holiest of all (fullness of God's glory) was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle (realm of sacrifices and laws) was yet standing, (i.e. Still in place) (Heb 9:8).

 

What are we saying? "Descending out of heaven" does not mean a literal human being, but a manifestation of His person, But now in and through a people- see this "God was IN CHRIST" (2cor 5: 19), that was a manifestation, There was no literal person called God other than the vessel He chose to pass through as Jesus the Christ, God descended on Mt Sinai in fire- (Exo 19: 18), that does not limit the nature of God or his manifestation to be of fire or that, for He does that, wherever there is the old nature-sin to be consumed-eaten up. In Exo.33: 9, He filled the tabernacle with the "cloudy pillar of glory" as He descended. In Jn1:51 Jesus told Nathaniel that He shall see angels 'ascending and descending' upon the son of man' He was not talking of literal angels walking on him as a human being, but rather, that He is the WAY to the father-our heavenly home.”--I am the door, by me if any man (angel?) enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in (ascend) and out (descend) and find pasture (life) (Jn10: 9). This is the mystery of the sons of God going into God, receiving and blessing the people in the' outer court' spiritually with the resources of heaven. This is the same ladder that Jacob saw in Gen28: 12. Now you can understand why the-' great city'-the lamb's wife-the heavenly Jerusalem is.. "descending but of heaven from God”, (Rev.21:9-10). It is the Church of Christ, which is His body and with Him as the head being revealed,  (Eph1:22-23), that through the church, He as spirit in the church might fill ALL THINGS with His person.

   So His descending out of heaven is the revelation of His 'body' to the world in a great power and glory, when He comes to be glorified in His saints. (2Thes1:10) For He is in them, (Col 1:27), and the Church is in God, (Acts17:28,1Jn 5:20, 1 Thes:1-1, Jn 14:20, Ps 90:1). Again, Christ coming out of heaven, the spirit realm is through a people - the Church, with whom He is now sitting in glory. (Eph 2: 6, Co13:1).

 

THE ARCHANGEL. THE CHIEF MESSENGER OF GOD.

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of THE ARCHANGEL and with the trump of God (1Thes 4:16). "At the word of command, at the sound of the ARCHANGEL'S voice and God's trumpet - call, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven" NEB. In order to fully understand this verse of scripture, and the related elements, such as the voice, call, trump etc, it will be wise to know who this archangel is, that is directly responsible for the elements.

 

So who is this ARCHANGEL? First of all, the word ANGEL is the Greek word AGGELO..., which means, "MESSENGER". It simply means one sent with a message who becomes the representative of the sender. Simply put, any person sent in a message becomes the messenger of the sender or an angel of the person who sends the message. Therefore such a messenger becomes the personal representative of the person who sends the message. e.g In Lk 7:18 - 28 speaks of the messenger of John the Baptist. In verse 18 they are called DISCPLES, whereas in verse 24 the same disciples were called "messengers (angels)" of John the Baptist. In verse 27 John the Baptist is referred to as the "messenger - angel" of God Himself. So you see, the angel of the seven churches in Asia, of the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation were the "messengers" of God to those Churches. In other words, they were the ministers who were sent by God to minister to the saints there.

 

People of God, let us understand this, that no where in the scriptures do you find angels or man being described as having "wings". The concept of angels having wings has been a tradition handed down to us. It is an extra-biblical teaching. The only creatures that the Bible described as having wings are Cherubim and Seraphims, and not just two wings as angels are commonly drawn or painted for us to believe by the preachers and the commercial artist alike, but rather six wings: please see Isa.6:2, Exo.25:18. Telling us that angels are not necessarily beings with Wings but messengers.

 

WHO THEN IS THE ARCHANGEL OF 1 THES 4:16?

In the book of Jude 9, this messenger is identified with His personal name as "... Michael the archangel" And Michael is the only angel called "archangel" in the Bible. In the book of Dan. 10: 13, 20-21, He is called the PRINCE OF (Daniel's) PEOPLE. He is the "… Michael, the mighty angelic prince who stands guard over your (Daniel's) nation." Dan 12:1 Tlb. He is the 'angel of the Lord' to whom Joshua, the high priest was standing before. Zech 3:1- 2. Evidently, Michael is the guardian angel of the people of God. (Exo.23:20-23; 32:34; 33:2).

 

The word ARCHANGEL means "Chief angel" or "Principal angel" or  "messenger". This word appears in the Bible only in the singular. Meaning that only one man has been chosen and given this tittle by God. Who else could this angel be? In the book of Col.1:17-18, we are told that apart from everything coming through Christ, and He being the head of the Church, He is also "the first born among the dead, so that, HE ALONE SHOULD STAND FIRST IN EVERYTING’’ (Williams). And God rightly called Him".. The messenger of the covenant..." In (Mal 3: 1). Now let us understand, if Jesus is the 'first in everything' then it is not true to believe that a so called "Lucifer", and angel Gabriel were also 'Archangel: For it is not possible to have three 'first' position of equal authority in a system of organization even in the angelic order. Therefore they were never archangels as we have been made to believe.

 

Conclusively then, "The Archangel Michael is Jesus Christ. In the verse of scripture that we are dealing with, if the voice is that of the archangel, then of course it is the voice of the resurrected Jesus. It is a commanding call, an order - when the order is given and the archangel calls.." (BECK). , - Because now Jesus has absolute authority as king of kings end Lord of lords in heaven and in earth – (Math 28:18, Rev.17:14). And of course, no other angels designate have such authority to issue out such a command, except the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because like we have stated, in His words "... breaking the silence said to them (disciples), ALL AUTHORITY - for power of rule - in heaven and on earth has been given to me" for "the Father loves the Son, and has given - entrusted, committed - everything into His hand." (Math 28:18, Jn 3:35 Amp). Confirming the prophecy of Dan. "... I saw the arrival of a man or so he seemed to be - brought there on clouds from heaven, he approached the ancient of Days and was presented to him. HE WAS GIVEN THE RULING POWER AND GLORY OVER ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD, SO THAT ALL PEOPLE OF EVERY LANGUAGE MUST OBEY HIM. His power is eternal- it will never end; His government shall never fall." (Dan 7:14 tlb. See Rev. 5:1 – 10).

 

Finally, the name 'Michael' itself means, "Who is like God? And there is no one else like God but Christ.

 

THE SHOUT, VOICE AND TRUMPET HERALDS- THE ‘COMING DOWN OF THE LORD’

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God..." (1 Thes. 4:16). In order to have a clear picture of what this verse of scripture is saying, it will be wise to compare other translations of the Holy Bible. For instance, "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the soul-stirring cry of the archangel and the great trumpet - call of God..." Tlb. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and the blast of the trumpet of God..." (Amp). "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God..." (NIV). "Because the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet..." (Interlinear Trans). "There will be the shout of command, the archangel's voice, the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven " (Good news). "One word of command, one shout from the archangel, one blast from the trumpet of God and the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven..." (Phillips). "Because at the word of command, at the sound of the archangel's voice and God's trumpet - call, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven..." NEB. When the order is given, and the archangel calls, and God's trumpet sound's the Lord Himself will come down from heaven..." (BECK) "At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven." (Jb).

 

From the various translations above, it is worthy of note that, first of all, the Lord will not descend unless the trumpet of God is sounded with the voice of the archangel calling out a command, so it is not as if the coming down of the Lord is accompanied with the shout, the voice and the trumpet of God He is revealed only, when the shout, voice and trumpet of God goes forth. This is best illustrated such as, when the president is about visiting other nations or certain part of the country. There will be the scheduling of dates, public announcements, putting the people on the alert about the visit. And on the specific date and time, the blowing of the siren, the escorts and then the final appearance of the president. Though the visit of the president involves various phases and intervals of time elements, it is yet but a coming of the president, no matter the length of time it takes to accomplish it, and the elements involved. The president can never appear first, before the various phases, because the elements signal his coming.

 

Similarly like in the Bible days, when Kings go to war. Those at the watchtower will first send the information of an impending trouble or otherwise across to the city, followed by the blowing of the war trumpet, calling out the army to be ready for battle, the mounting of horses accompanied by the command of the commander to move on to battle with the king against the enemy. The king will never appear without first, the above-mentioned preparations. Secondly we can notice from the above readings that the one that is coming down from heaven is "THE LORD" and not just as "Jesus Christ" "Saviour - Anointing", for ". Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Math 1:21). But "... let all the house of Israel (Body of Christ) know assuredly, that God hath made that same JESUS, whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ, ...Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God. "(Acts 2:36,2 Cor1:21). So, you see, the glorified Jesus is now “Lord and Christ”. Therefore when He comes as "LORD" it is in His position as "the King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19: 16). Here He comes not just to save and anoint us, but as "Lord" to subdue A-L-L THINGS unto Himself (Phil 3:21)..He comes to fully establish His Lordship over all realms of creation "so that A-L-L B-E-I-N-G-S in heavens, on earth and in the under world, (The three cosmic divisions that cover the entire creation Rev.5:3, 13) should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim (confess) Jesus Christ as LORD to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:10 - 11 Jb). Or specifically, that Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. (Jn 17:5). Is this getting clearer? Ok!

 

So what are we saying? That all of these elements, the shout, voice and trumpet are part of the processes and very significant in the final unveiling of the Christ in great power and glory, in and through a people. The people to whom He has Himself subdued, and has become vessels meet for the master’s use. Through whom He will now carry on, from where He left off as a man, " of all that (He) Jesus BEGAN to do and teach..." (Acts 1:1). For while it is true that the book of Acts is called the" Acts of the apostles" it is actually the acts of the Holy Ghost - Christ in Spirit form working in His chosen vessels as witnesses which is the realm of Pentecost. But here we are talking of His coming down in fullness - Tabernacles not just to call a people to Himself but to rule over creation. The elements therefore are the signals to this move of God.

 

THE 'SHOUT' IS A COMMAND - WAR CRY TO ONLY THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN.

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God..." 1 Thes.4:16. "One word of command, one shout from the archangel, one blast from the trumpet of God and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven..." (Phillips). The first element we encounter in this verse of scripture as touching the coming of the Lord is the word "SHOUT." What then is this shout? What relationship does it have with the coming down of the Lord? To whom is this shout directed? Now the word SHOUT in this passage (1 Thes. 4:16) Is KELEUMA which means a cry of incitement, to incite by words, ie order - bid (at give) command (ment), (to urge on) etc. That is to say, it is a war cry - a command for war. Now a command can only be given to only those who have been so recruited and trained to understand the language of the commander. It is not meant for everybody, therefore the "shout", - command of the archangel is not meant for the whole world, even as the church has commonly made us believe.

 

Why? Because only "my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (Jn 10:27)" Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them (those outside the fold) it is not given" (Matt 13: 11). People of God, let us begin to understand, who then is this commander issuing out the orders? Listen to this. "As Joshua was sizing up the city of Jericho, a man appeared nearby with a drawn sword. Joshua strode over to him and demanded, "Are you a friend or foe?” " I am the commander -in-chief of the Lord's army". He replied. Joshua fell to the ground before Him and worshipped Him and said, "Give me your commands". (Joshua 5:13-14 Tlb). And of course, if He is the chief commander of the Lord's army, that means He is no other person than Michael the archangel the Lord Jesus Christ Himself For the Lord's army can never have two commanding officers at the same time. Now see this, Daniel in his prophecy about the end of human government which is actually prophetic about the end of the reign of sin in Adam, said "At that time Michael, the mighty angelic prince who stands guard over your nation, will STAND UP (and fight for you in heaven against satanic forces), and there will be a time of anguish for the Jews, greater than any previous suffering in Jewish history: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan 12: 1 Tlb. KJV). Why is He standing up? It is to take up the reign of power and establish His dominion as He makes war with the evil forces and religious order that has held men and nations captive to their power and practice.

 

It is important for us to realize here, that the prophecy had its initial fulfillment in AD 70, when Jerusalem and the rituals of temple worship was destroyed by the Romans armies, so that He Christ may have His way and rightful place in the heart of His people, the true temple. People do not still realize that, this Judgment on the Jews as a nation, fulfils the word of Jesus in Matt 24:21 when He said" for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" please see Lm 2:1-2, Joel 2:1-2 Lk 21:20. Why? Because" ... the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God (Israel was then the house of God. Heb 3:1-6)... And if the righteous (those written in the book of life, followers of Christ even then when the Roman came in) scarcely be saved where shall the ungodly and sinner appear" (1 Peter 4:17) "For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name and should ye be utterly unpunished? ... For I will, call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts (commander-in-Chief of the Lord's army) (Jer. 25:29). So you see, His standing up, leads to the subduing of the nations and a time of distress that His will may be establish. You can now understand why Stephen saw Him "...  standing up on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56), because it was time to do battle against Saul and to subdue him who was the supervisor of the persecuting power against the church, His body. (Acts 22:20). And so when He encountered Saul on the road to Damascus, the confession was "... who art thou, Lord? (Acts 9:5). The devil of a man in Saul was conquered, and so he could acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. In his address to the Jews at Jerusalem and quoting the words of Ananias to him, said “..The God of our Fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that just one, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth” (Acts 22:14). But in verse 9. He said those who were travelling with him "... saw indeed the light and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him that speak to me". Why? Because they were not chosen of the Lord, He did not stand up then because of them, only those who have been conquered, who now knows the will of the Lord can hear his voice. Here again it is evident that only the sheep of the Lord can hear His voice and could take orders and not the whole world. The conquered ones are the only one that can be enlisted into the Lord's army. "For thou shalt be His witness unto all men..." Acts 22:15. Even as Paul, are you conquered yet? Have you known His will?, Have your will and religious pride been broken yet? This is why people cannot hear clearly what the Spirit is saying to the church?

 

Now where is the Lord standing today? In Mt. Zion, the church (Rev 14:1) conquering the "Beast System" in man, religion and political government that resulted in His being "-slain from the foundation of the world"(Rev 13:8). Please read from 1-13. While the conquering is going on, the list of those enlisting into the army of the Lord is swelling on a daily basis which eventually becomes the "-- hundred forty and four thousand (the perfect Divine Government of God) having His Father's name (nature written in their foreheads (-mind-wisdom). These are the "-- first fruits unto God and to the Lamb" (verse 4.) the very armies in heaven clothed in fine Linen, white and clean (Rev 19:14) speaking of the righteousness of the saints, with whom He shall be glorified as He comes to destroy all ungodliness through them (2 Thes1:10: Jude 14). His weapons of war (Jer. 51:20). That the shout is a war cry is evident as God prophesied about the fall of Babylon. "Shout against her round about; she hath given her hand; her foundations are fallen; her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of the LORD; take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her..." for ".. Surely I will fill thee (Babylon) with men as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee" (Jer. 50:15; 51:14. KJV) Even the wall of Jericho fell at the command of the shout given "And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua (our type of Jesus) said that the people, shout; for the Lord hath given us the city... so the people 'shouted' when the priests blew with the trumpets; and It came to pass when the people heard the sound of the trumpet and the people shouted with a great shout that the wall fell down flat.." (Josh. 6:16-20. KJV).

 

HIS 'SHOUT' AND THE TRIUMPHAL'PROCESSION.

"There will be the shout of command with an archangel's voice, the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord Himself, will come down from heaven" I Thes. 4: 16. Good News. It will be worthy of note, that the symbols' employed by Paul, which we are considering such as the trumpet, voice and clouds are conventional elements of apocalyptic literature that accompanied, and heralds the manifestation of God. This is why we find that God in meeting with the children of Israel, we are told" And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were THUNDERS and LIGHTINGS, and a THICK CLOUD upon the mount and the VOICE OF TRUMPET exceeding loud; that all the people that was in the camp trembled." (Exo.19:16). While the thunderstorm is the chosen means of God's manifestation, the lightning is His heralds trumpet, the thunder His voice (Ps.29). The cloud and fire (Exo.13:22) speaks of the sign of His presence. Please compare the encounter of Elijah with God in I Kgs 19: 11 - 12. From this, it is self-evident that the elements in 1Thes. 4: 16 must certainly be made manifest before the full revelation of the Lord Himself. For like in the days of Noah, the Lord never visited mankind with the flood until the 120 years (Gen 6:3) given to Noah, who only then heard His voice, to warn the people was accomplished. The Lord who is the messenger of the covenant - Mal. 3:1-3, never came to the scene until John the Baptist "The voice of one crying (warning) in the wilderness." (Mt 3:3, compare Mt 24:14,36-39), -went forth proclaiming the impending doom, unless the people repent of their sins.

 

Therefore, Like we can see, THE SHOUT, which is part of the elements that must precede His full manifestation, is a command to His elect at this hour, from the commander-in chief Himself, even as He "stands up" to take over the reigns of power from God's enemies. (Dan. 12:1, Act 7:56 KJV). This is well explained by Daniel, when describing the succession of kings in the days of king Darius the Medes "... now I will show thee, the truth; behold, there shall 'stand up' yet three kings in Persia… And a mighty king shall 'stand up' that shall RULE with great DOMINION, and do according to His will." (Dan11:1-3 KJV). So you see, standing up has to do with rulership, a realm of Dominion. Therefore when we sing along with the songwriters, such hymns as "Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross..." or "On-ward, Christian sol-diers, march-ing as to war, with the cross of Jesus. Go--ing on be--fore:" It is no mere words of another Sunday or religious game but completely prophetic of a call to hearken to the 'shout' of our commander-in-chief who is already standing up, that we may go forth to war against sin and to conquer, bringing to subjection everything and imaginations that, exalted itself against the knowledge of God, as our obedient is fulfilled. (2Cor 10:5-6. KJV).

 

Therefore, because of who Christ is, and what He has done, through the cross, we in union with Him ":.. Give thanks to God, who continually leads us about, captives in Christ's TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION, (Like a victorious general making his solemn entry into Rome. God passes triumphantly through the world with His apostles in His train, See Col 2:15) and everywhere he uses us to reveal and spread abroad the fragrance of the knowledge of Himself: We are 'indeed the incense offered by Christ to God,.." (2 Cor 2:14 - 15 NEB). This certainly explains the Eschatological hymn of Ps. 47. Proclaiming 'Jehovah as king' verse 5 says: "God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet." Here the king of Israel goes up to the Temple (you are the temple of God) in triumphal procession to the sound of ritual acclamation - praises”. His Dominion extends to all nations who will one day join the chosen people of God - the elect, First fruit Company. (Jm 1:18). In the words of C. H. Spurgeon “.. The words are fully applicable to the ASCENSION of the Redeemer. We doubt not that angels and glorified spirits welcome Him with acclamations. He came not without song shall we imagine that He returned in silence? "The Lord with the sound of the trumpet" Jesus is Jehovah.

 

The joyful train of the trumpet betokens the splendour of His triumph. It was meet to welcome one returning from the wars with martial music. Fresh Bozrah with His garments all red with the wine press, He ascended, leading captivity captive (Eph 4:8) and well might the clarion ring out the tidings of Emmanuel's victorious return" for "... 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 1:11). He went up in the sound of the trumpet, He returns in the sound of the trumpet. Therefore Paul in the Spirit was declaring that the Lord who went up with the joy and 'shout of victory over the enemy with the captives set free, following His train, shall so return with the shout of victory and the army of heaven in His train to finally put to end the works of evil on the earth, as He subdues all things to Himself. (Phil1:21). For "These (beast system) shall make war with the lamb, and the lamb (standing in Mt Zion Rev. 14:1) shall overcome them: For He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Rev 17: 14). These are "the armies which were in heaven" (dead in Christ and alive in the spirit) that "follow Him upon white horses clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (Rev 19: 14). Speaking of our righteousness in Him and our victory over sin. Therefore" Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O lord, in the light of thy countenance". (Ps 89: 15). Amen.

 

THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, THE LIFE OF GOD IN THE SON

“At the trump of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the lord Himself will come down from heaven,...”(1Thes 4:16 Jb). Here again, we encounter another element in the revelation (apocalysis) of Jesus Christ. The Lord, which is His coming to us in the voice. Firstly, the word voice as used here in the Greek is “phone” which means through the idea of disclosure, a tone (articulate, beastial or artificial) by impl an address for any purpose, saying language, noise, sound, voice. So you see, the Lord descending in the voice of the archangel is a disclosure of Himself, an address to an elect in a tone, or language that they only can understand, (Math 13:11). The reason why the voice is a revelation of Himself is because, He is one with His message even as Hagai was the LORD's messenger IN the LORD's message unto the people…" (Hag1:13).

 

Since every messenger is one with the "message he proclaims in character and attitude, it therefore follows that the voice of the messenger is a disclosure of his life to a people for a definite purpose. Here then we see Christ, the commander in chief of the Lord's army unveiling Himself to a people that they might "...walk even as He walked" (1Jn 2:6). This is because, He who is "..the beginning... was the word and the word was (in union) with God, and the word was God" (Rev 3: 14, Jn 1: 1 KJV. Therefore when He utter His voice, it is God Himself in Christ (2Cor 5:19) coming to man, who is dead that He might be resurrected, hence "...The hour is coming, and Now is when the dead (in sin and trespasses Eph 2:1) shall hear the voice of the son of God: and they that hear shall live" (Jn 5:25). This is so because even "... as the father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the son to have life in Himself (Jn 5:26) And this heavenly eternal life of His, is becoming the life of men (Jn1:14) instead of their inherited beastial life in Adam.

 

So when Jesus said "… the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life" (Jn 6:63) it is because He as the Chief messenger in the message, do not only have the life of God in Himself, but He also have the absolute authority in heaven and earth. (Jn 5:27, Math 28: 18). It is this authority in His voice that brought Lazarus from the grave. (Jn 11: 43–44).

 

WHERE IS THE VOICE OF THIS ARCHANGEL TODAY?

"It was bit by bit and in many different ways that. God in olden times spoke to our forefathers through the prophets. But in this final age (end of the law) He has spoken to us IN THE SON..." Heb I: I - 2 Williams, Philips.). Here, we can see that the voice is in the son, and if it is in the Son, then the voice and the son are one. Now the voice is not just in the son but in us because the father has "...sent forth the spirit or His son into your (our) hearts..." (Gal 4:6).

 

So you see, the voice is not just coming from the skies like people have been made to believe, but rather it is the inner quickening of the spirit, bringing us into a higher life and level of communion and fellowship with the father. This is the truth Paul gave forth in 2Cor, 13:3, 5. When he said to the Church "Since ye seek a proof of Christ Speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty IN YOU... Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith ... how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates”?. Paul knew where the voice is, and where He was speaking from. The voice has come to a people, and is speaking through them. Again, since the voice is in the son and the voice is a revelation of the life of the son. It is then clear that "He that hath the son hath life, and he that hath not the son of God hath not life (of God). (1Jn 5: 12). It is also necessary for us to understand that the son of a person is the life of that person because, it is his blood-offspring. Therefore the son of God is the life of God manifested in the flesh "... For the life was manifested ... that eternal life (of God) which was (in union) with the father, and was manifested (revealed) unto us." (1 Jn1: 1-3. KJV). It was therefore necessary for God who has chosen to reveal Himself through the son to turn the attention of the apostles - Peter, James and John, away from the voice of the prophets (Elijah) and the law (Moses) unto the new thing, that He is doing, the revelation of His life through the son, when He said "..This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased HEAR YE HIM" (Math 17:5). Please read from I - 9. . Why? Because the apostles in their ignorance of the new move of God, wanted to retain and structure the old order. " Let us make here three tabernacle; one for thee (the son), one for Moses (the law), and one for Elijah (the prophets) verse 4, a mixture of ministry. The truth is none of these era pleased God for "... without faith it is impossible to please God..." (Heb 11:6).

 

While the new covenant is of peace with God in our relationship, the old covenant was a realm of dread and trembling. Listen! "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest. And the sround of a trumpet, and the voice of words: And so, terrible, was the sight that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake” (Heb12:18-23.KJV). See Exo. Chapter 19 through 20. SO WHAT IS THE VOICE SAYING? That we must forsake our old ways, walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). Seek not our own, but the good of others. Go away from Babylon and self-pleasing into the life of reality of the Gospel of Christ in self-sacrifices. The voice is saying it is time to rise to possess our possession in Him, that we might rule and reign in the kingdom of Our Father, as all opposition to the life of God is brought to subjection. But, only a few have heard and are hearing this voice. For "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. and am known of mine… for they know not the voice of strangers”. (Jn 10:27,14,5).

 

What are we saying? The elect will not be “...deceived by every wind of doctrine: 'prevailing circumstances that seems uncomfortable etc because the voice is a life within and they are hooked up to it. "They are in the world but not of the world” (Jn17:14). The voice is the propelling power of God within us.

  Summarily, the voice is simply every utterance coming from God transmitted through His earthly messengers (servants) who are in union with Him, knowing and doing His will and leading His people unto Him for reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19-20). Not necessarily an audible voice, - sound from the sky (see Jn 2:3-4). Whether revealed to the individual, verbally by God 'Himself or by means of angels, men or in the inspired word of God (see Ps.103:20, Math 4:4, 2Tim 3: 16, 2 Chron. 20:20), it is still the Lord coming in His voice.

 

"A GREAT SOUND OF A TRUMPET."

“At the trump of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven...” (Jb). Once again we found that the coming of the Lord Himself is directly connected with the “trump of God”. So what can we understand by this? What does the trumpet speaks of? Should we imagine that a literal trumpets will be blown by angels for the Lord to come?

 

WHAT ARE TRUMPETS, AND WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR?

It is interesting to note that, there were various applications of the trumpet in Israel. In the book of Nub. 10: 1 - 10, 13, before Israel could start breaking up camp in the wilderness, God told Moses to, make two silver trumpets with the following applications. (1) Blowing two trumpets means all the men representatives of the whole assembly of Israel are to gather at the tent of meeting (2) Blowing one trumpet means only "...the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel.." are to gather themselves unto Moses, (3) and  blowing fluctuating blasts, signals the breaking up of the camp. Nub. 10:3-7. Apart from the above and various other uses to which the trumpet was put into in Israel, the sounding of the trumpet in Zion  (Joel 2: 1) signifies warning of an imminent danger. Amos 3:6, Hos. 5:8, Ezk. 33:3,6. The sound of the trumpets or horn, signals the punishment of Israel. Isa. 18:3. Hos 8:1, Jer.4:5, 6:1. The blowing of the trumpets was an indication of the day of the wrath of God. Joel 2:1, 2 Pet 1:16, Rev. 8:6 - 9.

 

Like we have mentioned earlier on, in Nub. 10:2-10. Joel 2: 15, it was used to summon Israel to religious gatherings, hence it is to be the signal for the gathering of all the elect at the end of the age. Isa. 27:13, I Thes 4:16-17, I Cor 15:52, Math 24:31. From the above scriptures, it is clear that trumpets were used as a means of mass communication in ancient Israel in their camp, in the wilderness, and later when they were settled in the Promised Land. Realizing that they were above two million people and it would not have been possible to reach them all with mouth. But above all, Trumpet is completely symbolic of a message, they are clear, living words that can get and turn the attention of the people to whom it is directed. It is a proclamation of a message, but given to a people. And like we have already seen, it can be a warning, or just a solemn call. Therefore in Isa. 58:1 we are told "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins" compare Ezk 33:1 - 5. Here we can see, that the words of the prophets to the people of Israel, to repent of their sins, as the watchmen thereof, in order to avoid the consequences of sin, is termed "the trumpet" or "voice like a trumpet". In Rev 1:10-11 we are told that the voice that John heard in the Isle of Patmos was as of a trumpet, yet it was the voice of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

   When Jesus said ".. When thou doest thine alms, do not SOUND A TRUMPET - as the hypocrites do that they may have glory of men" (Math 6:1–2), we know he was not talking of literal trumpets, but rather that we should not go about telling others of the good we have done to someone else. The act of telling others is likened to a trumpet.

  Furthermore, while trumpets speak of messages, it depends on the purpose and the mood of the one sending the message. For instance, while a message (trumpet) can be "repent ye for the kingdom of God is at hand", others could be "woe unto you scribes and Pharisees.." and yet again "I shall come to you swiftly in judgement" etc. but the truth is, they are all trumpets none the less. So when Jesus said" And He (Son of man) 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." (Math 24:31), it was what He was going to accomplish in fulfillment of Dt. 30:4 "if any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heavens, from thence will the Lord by God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee." So this gathering together from the four winds of the earth firstly, speaks of the reunion of scattered Israel. (See Ezk.37:9, Neh 1:8-9 and Isa 27: 13). In comparing vs 22 and 24 of Math 24, therefore, the "elect" are those Jews that God was going to rescue from the destruction of the nation, in order to bring them along with the Gentiles into His kingdom, see verse 30, 10:23

.

   Here again we found that the great sound of the trumpet was a message to the Jews of an impending doom and a call to come unto the land of safety. But again, the message was carried by a people - messengers "..His angels". The message is "great" because apart from what it represents, it is the voice of the Lord carried by many people - angels, for the one that John saw talking with Him has "...His voice as the sound of many waters" (Rev 1:15) and "many waters" speaks of multitudes of people and tongues and nations”. (Rev. 17:1, 15). Compare Rev 19:5 - 6. Signifying to us that, just as it were in the days of the Jews, there is a trumpet call today, being sounded by the true messengers of God for His own to come into His ever increasing kingdom from all over the world, to avoid being judge with the world at the end of the age. (1 Cor 11: 32.) The trumpet sound is a message of the Lord through a people to a people, all over the world.

 

“AT THE LAST TRUMP" 1 COR 15:52

 "There will be the shout of command, the archangel's voice the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven..." (1 Thes 4:16 GoodNews). "Trumpet" means a message, voice of words, not necessarily literal objects made of silver or bronze. In fact certain gongs beaten in certain manner, producing specific sound at certain times and seasons in our villages for either gathering people to meeting, or giving an awareness of the death of a person in the community, that can be understood only by most African Community dwellers, just as it were with the Israelites in the wilderness, can best be described as a trumpet call. It is a message to a people. Your TV adverts and Newspaper commercials today are all trumpets of various forms, a language addressed to a people.

  Paul explained this when addressing the issue of "speaking in tongues" without "interpretation" and likened it to a "trumpet sound" without clarity of purpose" And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So, in your case, unless you make intelligible sounds with your "tongue" how can anyone know what you are talking about? You might just as well be addressing an empty room". (1 Cor 14:7-9 KJV, Philips). So when Paul said of the Thessalonica church that they have no need to "speak anything" because "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia.." (1 Thes 1:8), it is the total personification of the life of Christ in their faith, both in words and conducts that has become the trumpet "sounding out" the word of the Lord, Just as they have become one with the message. So you see, becoming one with the message is what faith is all about.

 

SO WHAT THEN IS THE "LAST TRUMP" OF 1 COR. 15:52

"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep (die), 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 KJV). Since we already know it, that trumpet means a message, the "last trumpet" will simply mean "the last message" Again, we are told that this "last message" will raise the dead incorruptible. The question then is, can there be a "last message" without first having a first or second? And if this is the 'Last' then of course, there can never be any other message-trumpet after it has sounded, and the effect of this message should be final. Therefore it will be wise to know what this message is, who is sounding it etc.

 

It will be of significant interest for us to note that, in the book of Revelation, reading from chapter eight through twelve, we have a series of "SEVEN TRUMPETS" sounding, presented to us. Now if there are seven trumpets, then of course, the SEVENTH ONE must equally be the "LAST TRUMP". Here again we should observe that, since trumpets are messages that will be going out, accomplishing the purpose for which they are sent through such messengers-angels, on the earth. The description of the messenger, angel sounding the last trumpet is also given to us in (Rev. 10:1), and he is called a "Mighty angel" "clothed with a cloud; and a RAINBOW was upon His head..." Who else could this be? The RAINBOW as we know it, is WHITE LIGHT made up of the seven colours of the spectrum - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. These colours can be observed when white light passed through a three-dimensional object called a PRISM. And scriptural speaking, the Rainbow is often associated with God and His throne. Furthermore, light itself speaks of life denoting righteousness, joy and peace, meaning that; this angel's authority (Rainbow upon His head) is the life of God. Then of course, this must be Jesus Christ the Lord, for "He is the sole expression of the glory of God. The Light-being, the out-raying of the divine - and He is the perfect imprint and very image of (God's) nature ... In Him was life and the life was the LIGHT OF MEN" (Heb1:3, Jn1:4). Denoting that, if the seventh trumpet is sounded, all of the nature of God we lost in Adam is revealed to us. That means we are brought into a higher level of God's consciousness as we hear the voice speaking within, and so put on the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). Reading Rev. 8:1-2, we are told, as soon as the "seventh" and last "seal" were opened; seven angels appear and were given seven trumpets. In order words, they were commissioned to go forth with a specific message. Now in getting to Rev 10: 7 we are told that "... IN THE DAYS OF THE VOICE OF THE SEVENTH ANGEL (clothed with a cloud and rainbow upon His head Rev 1 0: 1) when He shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He had declared to His servants the prophets".

 

Let us notice a few things hear, the words, "In the D-A- Y -S of the voice of the seventh angel's" and when “He begin to sound” shows that, it is the beginning of many days of sounding the trumpet. In other words, the sounding of the trumpet - last message, is going to cover a period of time. This is clearly supported by Exo 19:19 "And when the voice of the trumpet sounded L-O-N-G and waxed L-O-U-D-E-R, and L-O-U-D-E-R Moses spoke and God answered him by a voice" This is why it is " a GREAT sound of a trumpet" (Math 24:31). Because it started with a little beginning - one Son of God - Christ, and continues to increase with the days into a great volume in and through the life of "many sons" of God.

 

WHAT THEN IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD THAT IS FINISHED (REV 10:7)?

We are told the sounding of the seventh trumpet will finish the mystery of God. The word 'finished" itself means completed or consummated. In Eph 3:2-6 we read. "... assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me (Paul) by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the spirit, that is how the gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the same promise IN CHRIST JESUS through the Gospel" (RSV). " by one spirit are we all baptized into one BODY, whether we be Jews or gentiles..." (1 Cor 12:13). Again "... this is a great MYSTERY; but I speak concerning Christ and the church..." (Eph 5:31-32) "Whereof I am made a minister ... 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 the Glory" (Col 1: 27). What are we saying? The message of perfection, which is the voice of the Son going forth today on the earth, will bring to maturity His body which is the Church (Eph 1:22-23) made up of Jews and Gentiles, which was birthed on the day of Pentecost. Certainly it is the head of a baby that comes out first in childbirth, therefore Christ which is the head of the body, the church is the "first born from among many brethren", Rom 8:29. Therefore if the head is matured, the body cannot be an exception, hence the washing of the body by the water. (Eph 5:23-27). So, the last trump is calling and bringing the fellow heirs of Christ into the realm of perfection, maturity, and the, process is being carried out inwardly to be manifested outwardly as we are raised into His incorruptible life of the spirit.

 

"THE LAST TRUMP" AND THE "MOMENT" OF CHANGE.

So far, it is clear to us that the "last trump" of I Cor 15:51,52 corresponds to the" seventh trumpet" of the series of the seven trumpets given to the seven messengers of Rev 8:1 - 8. "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God, and to them were given SEVEN TRUMPETS ". Now in Rev 11:15-18, there is something very interesting that is associated with this last seventh trump, we are told, "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... And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth”.

 

Now, the basic three things you find in 1Thes 4:16,17, and 1 Cor15:51-52 are also included here viz (1) The TRUMPET sounds (the seventh - the last TRUMPET); (2) The time of the dead to be raised – RESURRECTION, and (3) The REWARD of the saints, which of course includes the change from mortality to immortality, as we put on His nature. Again, one basic fact here is that, both the judgement and the reward of the saints, will take place simultaneously at the end of the age, as the last - seventh trumpet sounds. (Please See 2 Thes 1: 7–10). There is no indication of the saints leaving the earth - 'rapture' before the last trumpet, as believed by the pre-tribulationist.

 

"... IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE." I COR 15:51- 52

" In a MOMENT, in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trump…” The common believe is that the 'Rapture' will take place in split seconds alluding to the above words, but the truth is, what can we understand by the above scriptures? Let us understand: The Greek word used here and only once in the entire NT for MOMENT is ATOMOS which in its true sense speaks of that which is INDIVISILE or UNSEPARABLE, just as the Greeks believe that the ATOM is the smallest indivisible particle of matter in existence. Now notice that the word for actual moments in the Greek is PARAUTIKA used in 2 Cor 4:17..." our light afflictions which is but for a MOMENT.." and not ATOMOS. Here it is talking of instant or momentary afflictions. Therefore in 1 Cor 15:53, the Holy Spirit never indicates the "moment" to mean that of time element, such as seconds but rather it is in the sense of our translation, our mortal body receiving a change in such an instance of time, so brief that cannot be divided or measured.

 

So to be changed in a moment - Atomos will certainly mean a change in all of our make up - the atomic structures of our bodies, our very substances into the glorious substance of His resurrection body " at the last trump" for ".. (As surely as) there is a physical body; there is also a spiritual body,.. And just as we have borne the image of the (man) of dust (Adam), so shall we and so let us also bear the image of the (man) of heaven (Jesus Christ)" (1Cor 15:44, 49 AMP). This spiritual body is the resurrected - glorified body with which He appeared to the disciples – (Lk 24:36–39). It is the body that Moses and Elijah appeared with, at the mount of transfiguration. (Math 17:1–3). We can see that this resurrection into a glorified body is directly connected to the influence of the blowing of the "last trump" – message, at the fullness of time, because the message itself contains life. It has nothing to do with a 'Rapture' - lifting a people up into the sky.

 

WHAT THEN IS "... IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE"?

The word "TWINKLING" is from the Greek word 'RHIPE' meaning 'a jerk of the eyes'. The word is taken from the root RHIPTO which indicates a sudden motion, to turn with a rapid movement, a stroke, to toss, or fling. So the fact is, the word is dealing with actions and motions and not necessarily the swiftness of the movement of the eyelids in relation to time. It is a matter of movement, a jerk resulting in a change of direction, a sudden refocusing from the direction you were initially facing or walking towards. Take for instance, you are all alone in a room, in a still dark night, looking into the empty space, lost in your own world of thoughts, when all of a sudden, the door to your room flung open with a noise. What will be your reaction? You will turn to the direction of the door. This rapid, quick and swift change of direction - refocusing and eye contact is what the word RHIPE stands for. It is actually speaking of vision, illumination, enlightenment from the out burst of divine revelations of spiritual truth, communicated by the Holy Ghost as we hear the voice of the Son of God in His trumpet sound - last - trump - message. Causing us to change our directions, concepts of life, attitudes, manner, beliefs, customs, and ways of thinking into His, from our "former ways". It is simply our translation into the glorious image of Christ as we behold Him, 2Cor 3:17-18.

 NOW, WHERE IS THE CHANGE COMING FROM? The word says "For our CONVERSATION IS (now) IN HEAVEN; from whence (there in heaven) also we look for (expects) the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, He will CHANGE THESE WRETCHED BODIES OF OURS, so that they resemble His OWN glorious body by that POWER of His which makes Him the master of everything that is" (Phil 3:20-21 KJV Philips). The word says, "our citizenship is IN heaven", because that is what the word "conversation" means. It did not say we shall be citizens of heaven, but rather, that is what we are now by reason of our new birth into the family of God - the Kingdom of Heaven. Please see Eph 2:11-19, Col 1:13, Heb 12:22-23. So we now exist in a heavenly realm, which is our habitation and residence with full rights as sons of God. For in Him (God, who is IN heaven) we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28. See Ps 90: 1. If God is in heaven and you are in God, then you are in heaven. "Therefore, brothers in the family of God, who share a heavenly calling, think of the Apostle (originator, first course, messenger of the heavenly life) and High Priest of the religion (life) we (now) profess" Heb 3: 1.                            

 

Meaning that, to look for Him to change our body into His likeness according to Phil 3:20 is only possible because we are in the same heavenly environment where His power is in active operation, with which He is subduing all things unto Himself. Why we should think of Him, that is act like Him, is because He lived in heaven and manifested the heavenly life even while an earth as a human being (Jn 3:13)... the son of man which is IN HEAVEN." That means we can live just like He did. Let us not forget that the word Heaven - OURANOS means that which is elevated, height, and exaltation. It does not speak of a location. The truth is, the life of God, which is Spirit (Jn 4:24) fills all realms of creation and it can be perceived, entered into and possessed by the spirit. 'Christ in you', the beginning of the change.

 

 

"THE TRUMP OF GOD", AN ALARM OF WAR.

(1 Thes.4:16). "One word of command, one shout from the archangel, one blast from the trumpet of God and the Lord Himself will come down from heaven..." (Phillips).

 

Now, we know that when we talk of trumpets in the Bible, we are talking of messages, and that the "last trump" (1 Cor 15:5-52) is actually the last message of the seventh angel of (Rev 10:1, 7), which is the message of perfection. But what exactly is this 'trump of God' of 1 Thes 4:16? Here the trumpet is directly associated with "God" Himself unlike what we have in (1Cor 15:52) "Last trump" that is associated with the seventh angel. Can we say these two trumpets are the same since God and Christ are one? Are they to serve the same function in the on-going process of the work of redemption? Does the 'last trump' totally agree with the concept of the ‘shout’, which is a war cry? It will be necessary to remind  us that, as earlier on explained, there were various usage of the trumpet in Israel with different tones and functions. Here in 1 Thes. 4:16 we are told it is the trumpet of God, just like we can also read that ".. the LORD God shall blow the trumpet,.." in Zech 9:14. Therefore a close examination of this passage in Zechariah will unveil the true meaning of the "trumpet of God." Zechariah chapter Nine is prophetic of the judgement on Israel's enemies, the restoration of Israel to the Promised Land, which will embrace not only the Israelite territory then (see Judges 20:1) but also the Aramaean, Phoenician and Philistine cities. The whole prophecy speaks of a victorious campaign, and interpreted as the campaign of God Himself, which speaks of the coming age of the Messiah, and that this campaign is to be carried out at THE COMING OF ZION'S KING.

 

We read "This is the message concerning God's curse on the lands of Hadrach and Damascus, for the Lord is closely watching ALL MANKIND (or "of the cities of Syria belong to the Lord, as much as do the tribes of Israel." ) ... Rejoice greatly, O my people! Shout with joy! for look, your king is coming! He is the righteous one, THE VICTOR: ... The Lord shall lead His people as they fight! His arrows shall fly like lightning; the Lord God shall sound the trumpet call and go out against His enemies like a whirlwind off the desert, from the south. He will defend His people and they will subdue their enemies, ... they will taste victory and SHOUT WITH TRIUMPH They shall shine in His hand as glittering jewels in a crown (ye are my weapons of war Jer 51:20) How wonderful and beautiful all shall be; " (Zech 9: 1-17 Tlb). It is in the light of this prophetic word and the restoration process through God's judgement on His enemies that the "trump of God" in 1Thes 4:16 is speaking to us. For "yea He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; and He shot out lightning, and discomfited them." To executed vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron to execute upon them the judgement written; THIS HONOUR HAVE ALL HIS SAINTS Praise ye the Lord." (Ps 18:14, 149;7-9 KJV). So, Enoch who knew about this move of God, at the end of the age prophesied saying "... see, the Lord is coming with million of His holy ones (saints).

 

He will bring the people of the world before Him in judgement; to receive just punishment, and to prove the terrible things they have done in rebellion against God, revealing all they have said against Him." These men are constant grippers, never satisfied doing whatever evil they fell like; they are loud mouthed "show-offs", and when they show respect for others, it is only to get something from them in return." (Jude 14-16. Tlb). So what are we saying? The trumpet call of God is symbolic of God's move against His enemies in warfare - "and shall go with the whirlwind of the south" - the south west wind, blow over hot desert areas into Palestine and so could produce a heat wave - "when ye see the south wind blow, ye say there will be heat, and it cometh to pass" (Lk 12:55). See Isa. 21:1. So for the Lord to liken His move to "the south wind" speaks of His scattering and destructive power of evil, through a people at "the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war" (Jer 4: 19) "when He shall come to be glorified IN HIS SAINTS, as He is "revealed from Heaven" - in flaming fire (heat wave. Heb.1: 7) taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (2 Thes 1:10,7- 8). What we are seeing here in 1 Thes 4:16 is the "war call" of Nub 10:9 which was blown by the priest accompanying the army. (Nub 31: 6) compare 2 Chron.13:12-15. This trumpet call of God, is not just an ordinary call or message like any other, but a call to arm, to bring to subjection, - self and human ego, as we match arm to arm with principalities and power, with our wills being broken that we might fully be empowered by Him to go forth and to conquer, even the beast in political governments, religion and the heart of men. It has nothing to do with a literal trumpet some days to come that will enable you fly away. It is a realm of anointing with eagle's eye (vision) for the prey. The victory over sin is sure and the last enemy to be destroyed is death, producing a total restoration of man back into the image of His creator in Christ. Eph. 1: 10, CoI. 3: 10.  


 

UNDERSTANDING THE TERM "THE DEAD IN CHRIST"

"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" (1 Thes 4:16). Here we come across the third category of the Christian risers - THE DEAD IN CHRIST, and we are told they shall rise first", at the word of command, at the sound of the archangel's voice and God's trumpet call..."as the Lord Himself descends from heaven. May we remind ourselves again, that those who "sleep IN the Lord" are those who lay down their physical bodies, they drop the flesh as believers. So WHAT CAN WE UNDERSTAND BY THE PHRASE "DEAD IN CHRIST? “For (as far as this world is concerned) YOU HAVE DIED, and your LIFE IS NOW hidden IN GOD through your fellowship with Christ. Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with Him, that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and fatally wounded, so that your sin - loving body is no longer under sin's control, no longer needs to be a slave to sin for when you are deadened to sin. you are freed from all its allure and its power over you and since your old - sin-loving nature "died" with Christ, we know that you will share His NEW LIFE. "And Jesus adds'...Because I LIVE (alive) ye shall live also (CoI 3:3,Rom 6:6-8,Jn 14:19. Williams, Tlb KJV).  

 

So you see, to be "Dead in Christ' simply means you are alive unto righteousness, that is, you are no longer under the control of sin power, but rather under the control of the power of the Holy Spirit. Now let us notice the implications of these simple prepositions in these words 'IN SIN," "IN CHRIST" "TO SIN" which are very powerful to the understanding of this subject. In Eph.2:1-2, we are told that those who are "DEAD IN SIN" are being totally controlled by sin power - 'the prince of the power of the air." And if that is correct, what will the 'DEAD IN CHRIST" (1 Thes 4:15) mean? Simply that these people are being controlled by the holy and righteous power of Christ. Therefore these people are "...dead to sin", and cannot live any longer therein.." So ".. that we, being dead to sin should live unto righteousness.." (Rom 6:2, 1 Pet 2:24 KJV). People of God, the language of God is not our human language, neither can it be understood by human intellect. (See 1 Cor 2:16).

 

So, the truth of the matter is, those who are DEAD IN CHRIST are those living the life of God, fully controlled by His in-dwelling power, wholly separated from sin, spirit, Soul and Body. With their thoughts and actions totally taken over by the consciousness of the Christ Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave a graphic picture of these people in Rev 14:1 - 5, the 144,000 on Mt. Zion, with the Lamb (Jesus), which is actually the fullness of the first fruits company of God's creatures, even as we have been raised in union with Him. (Eph 2:6), "Singing a new song" which is the song of the Lamb, see Rev 15:3. The very song of redemption. For they have been redeemed from the earth (earthly nature -image of Adam – (1 Cor 15:49). "These are they which were not defiled with women", (religious organizations and systems of men) for" they are virgins (consecrated, purified in their spirits, soul and body and single eyed in their living unto the Lord. Compare 2 Cor. 11: 2).. They follow the Lamb (Jesus) withersoever He goeth (surrendered will). These were redeemed from among men. Being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.

 

How did they become the "first fruits" unto God and the Lamb"? See it! "And it was of His own (free) will that He gave us birth (as sons) by (His) WORD OF TRUTH, so that we should be kind of FIRST FRUITS of His creatures - (a sample) of what He created to be consecrated to Himself." 9Jm.1: 18 AMP). For "thou sendest forth thy Spirits they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth... and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord" (Ps 104:30, 102:18. KJV). . Therefore"...ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness unto his marvelous light." (1 Pet 2:9 KJV). Did you see it? We the first fruit of His creatures, the 144,000 are being created through "the word of truth ", which is the life of God that is becoming the life of men Jn (1: 4). The fact that we who are believing and trusting are a first fruits indicates that, others shall yet come into the fold to complete the harvest, hence"... every man in his own order of the resurrection into glory. Christ the first fruit; afterward they that are Christ’s.." (1 Cor 15:22-23. KJV). Therefore, to state that the dead in Christ shall rise first, simply means that those whose life have been taken over by the leadership of God's Spirit shall come into the place of higher glory before the rest of mankind who are still "dead in sin and trespasses." Eph 2:2.

 

 

SO WHAT DO WE MEAN, “THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST”?

The first thing to be examined here is the word “RISE: which is ANISTEMI in the Greek, meaning to stand up (lit or fig) arise, lift up, raise up (again), stand upright. Please observe this word ‘ANISTEMI it’s completely different from the Greek word ANASTASIS which speaks of resurrection from the dead e.t.c, which we have considered earlier on. So what can we understand by the word “RISE” –Anistemi? The Hebrew equivalent of this word is “quwm” as found in Dan 7:24” the ten horns out of this kingdom are the ten kings that shall arise and another RISE after them…” This verse, simply tells us that another king shall succeed, come in place of, stand up in the position of the previous ten kings and that is what it means to rise.  This is made plain as we compare Dan. 11:2-4, talking of kingly succession from different translation” behold there shall STAND UP (rise) yet three kings in Persia… and a mighty king shall STANDUP (rise) that shall rule with great dominion…” (KJV). “There shall ARISE three more kings in Persia” (Vs 2 Amp). “Three more kings will appear in Persia” (Vs 2 NIV). …There more kings will reign to be SUCEEDED by a fourth …then a mighty king will RISE in Greece…” (VS 2-4 TLB).

 

From the above passage of scripture, it becomes clear enough that to RISE, means to take over the reign of power from a previous ruler-Authority, and not just the question of coming out of the grave yard. When John in vision “…saw a beast ‘rise up’ out of the sea” (Rev 14:1). He was not talking of a beast getting resurrected, but a political government rising to take over power. So when we talk of “rising” it’s a matter of coming into a realm of dominion and authority that must be exercised by him who has to risen. This agrees with the account in Heb 7, of the change of priesthood of imperfect Levitical priesthood of human nature, to that of Melchisedec, even as it’s written “if perfection were by the levitical priesthood (for under it the people receive the law) what further need was there that another priest should RISE, after the other of Melchisedec, and not to be called after the other of Aaron “for the priesthood being changed-there is made of a necessity a change of the law” (Heb 7:11-12. KJV).

 

You see! Therefore “the DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST” simply means that those who have received the seed of the life of Christ indwelling (Col 1:27) and “dead to sin” living a holy and righteous life, will be empowered and raised into a higher life of the very image of Christ “first” before the rest of humanity are brought in (see Eph 1:10, 2Cor 5:17, Jm 1:18, 1 Cor 15:52-53). These “first fruit” company are being moved into the priesthood ministry of Melchisedec order of “an endless life” (Heb 7:16) as they continue to hear the voice of the son within, calling their being into a higher ground to rule and reign in the kingdom of their father. (Matt 13:43). It’s a realm of service, being controlled by the law of the spirit in Christ (Rom 8:2). “And whoever desire to be ‘first’ among you must be your slave” (Matt 20:27) Amp. Just as the son of man came serving and then becomes the ‘firstfriuts’ from among the dead. See Matt 20:25-28, 1 Cor 15:22-23.

 

The progressive “change of order” in a people will eventually reveal “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:18-19) to which this corrupt world is waiting for. Yes, there is need for a change of order, because the order of man in Adam has no place in the new creation, religion with sin laden coverings has no place in this work of ruling and reigning. And we see this “firstfruits” company “chaste virgin” of the Lord to be without guile (lies) in their mouths (ministry of truth, as they are been washed clean daily with the word) “for they are without fault before the “THRONE OF GOD” (Rev 14:1-5, 2 Cor 11:2 KJV). This is the same THRONE OF GRACE (Heb 4:16) to which we are asked to come onto with boldness, wherein God willingly more abundantly to show onto the HEIRS OF PROMISE, the immutability of his counsel confirms it by an oath.  That …we might have strong consolation who have FLED FOR REFUGE (from the world system and Babylon awaiting destruction) to lay hold upon the HOPE set before us. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, …which enters into that within the VEIL. Wither the forerunner is for us enter, even Jesus (“firstborn among many brethren” Rom 8:29) made a high Priest forever after the other of Melchisedec” Heb 6:18-20 KJV. For “Behold a king (Jesus) shall reign in the righteousness and princes (Saints) shall rule in judgement” Isa 32:1. Friends that the “dead in Christ shall rise first is a change to a higher and better life and order that might bring many sons into glory, with Christ as the pattern son to rule and reign with Him (Heb 6:17,2:10)

 

THOSE "ALIVE AND REMAIN" SHALL ALSO HAVE ACCESS INTO HIS PRESENCE IN DUE TIME

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, " (1Thes 4: 17). It is already clear to us that, for the "dead in Christ to rise first" is an invitation into the most holy place in the service of the lord, after the order (rank) of Melchisedec. It is 'a 'realm of dominion and authority in union with the Lord Jesus, who is our forerunner, into the very presence of God "within the veil" to partake of His fullness (Heb. 6:18-20, Eph 3:19). So that we may minister the life of God to the rest of creation, since it is the order of "an endless life". (Heb 7: 16). The following verse 17 question, now begins with "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught UP WITH THEM (The Dead in Christ that rose first)...", .what can we understand by this? Simply that, we who are alive and remain shall have the same experience as those who have gone into the most holy place before the rest. This is clear enough with the use of the word "THEN" which speaks of that which follows the "first".

 

Are you seeing it? That means whatever experiences and realm of authority that the "Dead in Christ "have moved into, those who are alive and remain will also come into it at their own order. This is why we read" As members of a sinful race (in Adam) All MEN die; as members of the Christ of God (in Christ) ALL MEN shall be raised to life, EACH IN HIS PROPER ORDER (but every man in his own group - BECK) with Christ the very FIRST and after Him all who belong to Him (Dead in Christ and those alive and remain) when He comes (parousia-presence). Then, and not till then, (till what? till when those alive and remain also have come to that same realm) comes the end (what end? the rest of mankind - "And then ALL MANKIND shall see the saviour sent from God" (Lk 3:6 T1b) when Christ, having abolished all other rule, authority and power (that is operating in man) hands over the kingdom to God the Father. Christ's reign will and must continue until every enemy (of God) has been conquered. Nevertheless, when everything created has been made OBEDIENT to God, then shall the Son acknowledge Himself subject to God the father, who gave the Son power over ALL THINGS. Thus, in the end, shall God be wholly and absolutely God" (God may be ALL IN ALL) 1Cor 15:22 - 28, Philips.

 

So you see, through the subduing power of Christ, all realms of creation are being brought back to God, in accomplishment of His purpose: "And this was His Purpose: that when the time is ripe He will gather US ALL together from wherever we are (realms of sin) – in heaven 'or on earth - to be with HIM IN CHRIST, forever" (Eph 1:10 Tlb). "He purposes in His sovereign will, that ALL HUMAN HISTORY SHALL BE CONSUMMATED IN CHRIST, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him" (Phillips).

 

'WE' WHO ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN.

In using "WE", was Paul expecting to be a partaker of the 'rapture' in his day, according to the rapture believers? Was he grouping himself among those who are alive and remain on earth? Now, who was Jesus grouping Himself with when he told Nicodemus, " 'WE' speak what "WE" do know…” (Jn 3:11 KJV). Again, Paul said "Howbeit "WE" speak wisdom among them that are perfect " (1 Cor 2:6 KJV). The truth is, Paul was not just talking of his being alive with a people at the time of the supposed rapture. The pronoun "WE" is used by a royal person in proclamation instead of 1, etc. So, both Jesus and Paul were speaking as members of the "…royal priesthood..." (1 Pet 2:9 .KJV). They were a voice for the family of God, and of His intents and purposes. They were speaking of the things that pertains to the body of Christ to which they belonged, "for by one Spirit are "we" all baptized into one body…. for the body is not one member but many " (1Cor 12: 13 - 14 KJV). Furthermore "...He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Cor 6 :17) hence the invitation to " Come" is giving by "the Spirit and the bride (church).."(Rev. 22:17). For the spirit of the father is in the church and so "we" speak as one. Therefore Paul was only identifying with those, who were alive and remain in the body of Christ - the universal church. See Rom 12:4-5. KJV

 

WHAT THEN CAN WE UNDERSTAND BY THE PHRASE "ALIVE AND REMAIN"?

     It is to be alive in Christ from the realm of 'dead in sin and trespasses" (Eph 2:1- 2) but yet not yielding your senses and members (organs) as instrument of righteousness (see Rom 6:12 - 13). This spirit of being alive and remain was found in the church in Sardis "...I know what you are doing, you have the reputation of being alive, but in reality you are dead".. Rev 3:1. Williams. So you see, it is a realm of the mixture of life (of Christ) and dead (in sin). It is a question of the temple of God but mixed with Belial..2 Cor 6:14-16a. It is a realm of buying and selling instead of making the house of God the house of prayer (Mk11:15-17 KJV). That is how to be alive and remain. These two levels of spiritual existence in the house of God of being "Dead in Christ" and being "alive and remain" and as to who rises (moves) 'first' into the Holy place behind the veil can best be seen in (Ezek 44:10-16 Tlb). When we consider the principle of admission into the temple (Sanctuary). "And the men of the tribe of Levi (priests) who abandoned me when Israel strayed away from God to idols must be punished for their unfaithfulness". Verse 10. This is the level of being alive but remaining. They are priests alright, but giving to idols just like every other person, so it is a corrupt priesthood. "They may be temple guards and gatemen, they may slay the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people... They shall not come near me to minister as priests; they may not touch any of my holy things, for they must bear their shame for all the sins they have committed. THEY ARE THE TEMPLE CARETAKERS, TO DO MAINTENANCE WORK AND ASSIST THE PEOPLE IN A GENERAL WAY.' ( Ezek 44:13 – 14).Tlb. Here we find those who are alive (as priests) but remain (living in sins) still being allowed to minister to the people and in addition to being caretakers of the body of Christ, but they are not qualified to move into the most holy place where God dwells. 'People of God, you can agree with me that this is the realm to which we find most ministers of the Gospel to day Most of which are consigned to the outer court. Now see another category of priests... - "However, the sons of Zadok, of the tribe of Levi, CONTINUED AS MY PRIESTS IN THE TEMPLE (The Dead in Christ) WHEN ISRAEL ABANDONED ME FOR IDOLS. These men shall be my ministers; they shall stand before me to offer the fat and blood of the sacrifices. They shall ENTER my sanctuary (most holy place) and come to my table TO MINISTER TO ME; they shall fulfil my requirements' Verse 15-16.

 

So you see, while the first group of priests are ministering outside of the sanctuary, there is a group, who will be qualified to move into the most holy place to minister to God Himself, as they offer their lives (blood) and the best of the riches in their flesh (fat) unto God in HIS alter. These are the “Dead In Christ” who have gone in first" before the rest outside the sanctuary will come in. The word is "Then we who 'are alive and remain shall be caught up (move up - into the presence of God) with them" Are you seeing it? " When Moses brought" the people out of the camp to MEET WITH GOD" (Exo 19: 17) the order of ascension into His presence was the same. ".,.Go on down and bring Aaron back with you (1st group) and don't let the priests (2nd) group and the people (third group) break across the boundaries to try to come up here, or I will destroy them" (Verse 24). Boundary and sanctification goes together, which involves separation from all that have not the quality of holiness. So it is the unsanctified life that makes it impossible for us to enter into the very presence of God within the veil, hence the Lord so - Loved - " the - church - that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Eph 5: 26 KJV) even as Moses was asked to sanctify the people to be able to meet with God. (Exo 19: 10 – 11). For those “alive and remain” to be caught up with “the dead in Christ” is to be qualified after the due process of cleansing, and time to move into the holy place in true service for God as co- laborers. (1 Cor 3: 9a).

 

"CAUGHT UP" TOGETHER WITH THEM…

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be “caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thes 4:17. KJV). If we can just remind ourselves of the position the "dead in Christ" occupies as they move 'first' into the rank of the Melchisedec priesthood in the most Holy place within the veil (Heb 6:18-20), which speaks of a realm of dominion, victory and glory. Then it will not be difficult for us to comprehend the meaning of the word 'CAUGHT UP' TOGETHER WITH THEM, - that is the "dead in Christ". Did you see it? In other words, those Christians who could not make it into the "firstfruit" company in glory will eventually come into this experience 'together with them'. Now, it will be proper for us to examine the following terms 'caught up in the clouds' 'meet the Lord', 'in the air'. Let us not forget also that it is on the ground of this scripture that the 'rapture' believers have based their teaching.

 

And on this belief, Preston Eby, has aptly commented "The church system are literally filled today with carnal, earthly-minded Christians who sit back in ease and self complacency and await a future rapture that will translate them out of the midst of earth's Great Tribulation at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. To this generation of lukewarm Laodiceans the spirit speaks in certain tones of warning: "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, 'and not light" (Amos 5:18). In the vast majority of evangelical circles, we are taught that at any moment Jesus, will come and secretly, silently snatch away His elect to a heaven in the far-flung skies - to escape the Great Tribulation, which shall soon visit the earth. It is not true. The saints shall be "caught up" all right; but it is not speaking of distance in terms of miles or light years, but to glorious reality in the spirit”. End quote.

 

“CAUGHT UP” A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

So you see, the text in question 1 Thes 4:17, the common passage of scripture for this belief does not in itself indicate that people are to be lifted up from the ground, but rather that we are being "caught up" "seized", "snatched". "Laid hold upon" by a power beyond ourselves. It is truly a spiritual experience that cannot be made possible through religious formula or method. This is clearly explained in 2 Cor 12:2-4. "Fourteen years ago I was taken up (caught up) to heaven for a visit. Don't ask me whether my body was there or just my spirit, for I don't know; only God can answer that. But anyway, there I was in paradise, and heard things so astounding that they are beyond a man's power to describe or put in words---" Tlb. Now, can you imagine this? That despite all the wonderful revelations Paul (man in Christ) had, he was still physically present on the earth?, why do the rapture believers think that to be 'caught up' means somebody must go up in the sky?, why can't they see that the same word caught up in 1 Thes 4: 17 is the same word used in 2 Cor 12:2-4? Why is it that the man that had this experience was still on earth, if the caught up experience means a going away? My friend, there is the need for us to compare scripture with scripture (2 Peter 1:20) to get the mind of God.

 

The word "CAUGHT UP" is simply "HARPAZO" which means to "seize" (in various applications: catch (away, up) pluck, pull (by force). From the roots HAIREOMAI - "to take for oneself (compare Jn 14:3) i.e. to prefer, choose (among two things or persons) and "AIRO" - to lift, by impl. to take up or away, TO RAISE etc. This word can also be found in Math 13: 19 “, catch away" " (Seize), Jn 10:28-29, "...plucks" (seize “Jude 23" ... pulling (seizing), Rev 12:5 "caught up" (seize). People of God! Can’t we see that all of theses actions speak of spiritual realities and nothing to do with a literal lifting up of objects or people?

 

Consider the experience of prophet Ezekiel - a priest that lived with the Jewish exiles besides the chebar canal in Babylon. Ezek 1:1,8: 1-3. "One day late in June, when I was thirty years old, the heavens were suddenly opened to me and I saw visions from God then, late in August of the sixth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, as I was talking with the elders of Judah in my home, the power of the Lord God fell upon me, I saw what appeared to be a man from his waist down, he was made of fire: from his waist up, he was amber-coloured brightness. HE PUT OUT WHAT SEEMED TO BE A HAND AND TOOK ME BY THE HAIR. AND THE SPIRIT LIFTED ME UP INTO THE SKY (air?) and seemed to TRANSPORT (translated?) me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate, ---". (Tlb). What a graphic picture of being "caught up", as experienced by the priest Ezekiel? Are you getting it now? Praise God!

 

WHAT THEN IS THE TRUE 'RAPTURE'?

It is completely a realm of spiritual experience of rest, victory, glory, wisdom, understanding, power, faith, vision and revelations IN CHRIST. That 'takes' one beyond the beggarly elements (teachings, ideas, human philosophies, traditions of men) of the systems of this world and its power. (Eph 2: 1-2) it is a move into God's presence to become one with Him in the sanctuary behind the veil (of the flesh), please see Eph 2:6, Col 3: 1-3, Heb 6: 19-20. It is a realm of personal communion with the father in the dept of his spirit that we may became the outflowing and the radiance of His glory in creation. Just as Christ - the sole expression of the glory of God - the light-being, the out-raying of the divine -" who, "is the perfect imprint and very image of (God's) nature,.." (Heb 1: 13 AMP) reveals Him. And " for those whom He foreknew - of whom He was aware (see Jn 6:64) and loved before hand - He also destined from the beginning (foreordaining them) to be molded into the IMAGE OF HIS SON (and share inwardly His Likeness; that He might become the first-born among many brethren" (Rom 8:29 AMP). But how will this be you may ask? "The Lord is the Spirit who gives them (us) life--- we Christians have no veil over our faces we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And AS THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD WORKS WITHIN US, WE BECOME MORE AND MORE LIKE HIM" (2 Cor 3:17-18 Tlb) P-R-A-I-S-E G-O-D! The point is, as the "Dead in Christ" are conformed into the likeness and image of an endless life, of the Melchisedec "first", those who are alive and remain will eventually be 'caught up' with them in that spiritual dimension of existence, as the restoration process continues into "the ages to come"—(Eph 2:7)

 

CHRIST ASCENSION IN 'A CLOUD' AND THE 'LIKE MANNER'

In Acts 1:10-11 we are told that, as Christ ascended up on  MT Olives, while His disciples looked on, Two men appeared who said to them that,”. Way stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into in the book of Acts 1:9-11. We read: "And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld He was taken up,. And A CLOUD (Singular) received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said ye man 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". Now the pre- tribulation rapture believers claims, that, the 'second coming' of Christ will be His stopping just above the earth in the clouds, then He will catch away the living and the dead back to heaven for the marriage supper, after which He will come in the glory of His father. Now hear this my dear rapture believer, for there are questions and questions and questions that needs to be answered. Firstly, if the so called 'rapture' is a separate 'event' from the coming of Christ in power and glory, how could each stage be called a second coming? Again, if His coming for His people is separate from His final coming to rule, going by mans limited understanding of spiritual truth, then Christ coming is in three stages - His coming in Palestine would be stage 1, coming for His people - rapture, stage 2 and coming in power and glory, stage 3. Does this kind of thinking agree with the scripture? Again, going by Acts 1:9-11, we are told He went up IN A CLOUD (singular) but in 1 Thes 4:17, what we have here is CLOUDS (Plural). If the so called coming is in like manner, why is He coming in 'clouds' and not 'cloud' as in Acts 1:9-11?

 

Now hear this! "--- this same Jesus --- shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven". (Acts 1: 11). This has nothing to do with a human being called Jesus floating back from the sky above. The Greek word used for MANNER is TROPOS, which means the pattern, manner or way, and not MORPHE that speaks of “a Bodily form”. In other words, the two men were talking about the 'way' Christ departed, which is the way or manner He will come and not necessarily His physical shape as He entered into the cloud. So what was the manner of Christ ascension? It is that His ascension was not a movement witnessed by many people, but the few chosen apostles, His faithful followers in order that they might bear witness of the ascension. (Acts 1:1-3). This is why the address is to "ye men of Galilee" (Acts 1:11), because that was how the disciples (Followers) of Jesus were called then. Therefore on the day of Pentecost, the question was "--- are not all these which speak Galileans? (Acts 2:7), for it was in Antioch that His disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11: 26).

 

So, the manner of His ascension was that ONLY His disciples witnessed, heard, and saw Him go, therefore "-- UNTO THEM (only) THAT LOOK FOR HIM, SHALL HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME WITHOUT SIN UNTO SALVATION" (Heb 9:28). You can observe that, even when He arose from the grave after His crucifixion, He appeared ONLY to His chosen ones, and not to everybody. See Acts 10:41, 13:31, 1 Cor 15:1-6. This then is what is meant by the manner of His ascension, and of course that will be the manner of descending as well even as you see Him go.

 

But you may want to say that the scripture declares, Jesus will be coming 'WITH CLOUDS' and 'every eye shall see Him even those that pieced Him' (Rev 1:7). Yes, certainty that is the word of God, but it will be necessary for you to note that, the word is 'clouds' and not 'a cloud', and that again disagrees with His manner of ascension. 'Every eye' did not see Him when He ascended, therefore it cannot be the same manner. It therefore means that we need to understand what the clouds are, with which He is coming, and the 'every eye' that must see Him in the clouds etc, in order to have a clear picture of what the spirit is saying. But the fact remains, my dear reader, He left IN A CLOUD, (Singular) He is coming IN CLOUDS (Plural) where He has multiplied Himself for every eye to see Him. Praise God.

 

THE SINGULAR CLOUD OF GOD'S PRESENCE.

"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS…" 1Thes 4:17. It is already clear to us looking at the context of Acts 1:9 - 11 that the ascension of Jesus was IN A CLOUD (Singular) but that His coming is IN CLOUDS (Plural) – (1 Thes 4: 17, Rev 1:7). What then is this 'cloud' and 'clouds' with which He is going and coming? How does this, 'cloud' translate into 'clouds' as it relates to our study? Let it be noted that, while “clouds” could refer to our atmospheric climate of 'Lumbus' and 'Cumulus' in the Bible, it is symbolic of God's invisible: presence, God's move in judgement, a witness and ministry, as we shall see later.

 

 'CLOUD AS SYMBOL OF GOD'S VEHICLE OF EXPRESSION

Looking at the account of God meeting with the children of Israel in the book of Exo. 19, the significance and reality of the application of cloud as the vehicle of God's expression becomes apparent. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee IN A THICK CLOUD, that the people may hear when I speak with thee... And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and A THICK CLOUD upon the mount... "And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it..." (Exo. 9, 16,18) "And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai and THE CLOUD covered it six days; ... And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the Mount..." Exo 24:16, 18. "Again the Lord descended IN THE CLOUD, and stood with him there" Exo 34:5. Please compare Exo 40:38, Lev 16:2, 1Kgs 8:11, Ezk 1:4. So what then can you make of this cloud from the readings? It is simply not only God's vehicle of expression but the evidence of His presence in a particular place. And this is how the Lord went with the children of Israel in the wilderness. The record says" And the Lord went before then by day IN a pillar of a cloud (please note the definite article 'a cloud'), to lead them the way..." Exo 13:21.

 

Can't you see that it is this same singular cloud that over shadowed the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration? " While he yet spake, behold A BRIGHT CLOUD, overshadowed them; and behold a voice out of THE CLOUD, which said, this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him?" (Mt 17:5). Now, where did the voice came from? From THE CLOUD, who spake? God Himself, so God was in the cloud, His vehicle of expression. But Luke's account is most exciting on this, "... there came A CLOUD and overshadowed them, and they feared as THEY ENTERED INTO THE CLOUD" (Lk 9:34) Glory! What does that mean, "they entered into the cloud". It is simply that they became one with God's mind it order to partake of the vision of the transfiguration of the Spirit of Sonship, that they may bear witness of it later after His glorification. The word to them, from the Son of glory is "... Tell THE VISION to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead" (Mt 17:9). Moses has to enter into this glory cloud so that he can be able, as a priests to communicate the life and mind of God to the people. (Exo 24:16). Please compare 1 Cor 10:1-2.

 

People of God, this cloud, which is a realm in God can be entered into now! Listen, my dear beloved to the prayer of Jesus before crucifixion. "And now, O father, glorify thou me with THIN OWNSELF with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (Jn 17:5) "And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and A CLOUD (same cloud of God's presence) received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). See it? He entered back, where He came from. For "... I go unto the Father; for my Father (who has sent me Jn 8:18) is greater than I." (Jn 14:28). Know what that means? He was simply saying I am returning to the realm of Fatherhood, which is greater than that of Sonship (sent). Now listen beloved "... this same Jesus, which is, taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go..." (Acts 1:11). "And I saw another mighty angel COME DOWN from heaven CLOTHED WITH A CLOUD; and a rainbow was upon His head..." (Rev 10:1). How did He go to heaven? “In a cloud”! How did John see Him, come down from heaven? In a cloud. H-a-l-l-e-l-u-y-a-h! He left in a cloud, he comes in a cloud, in like manner!

 

Can’t you see, that even the beginning of His coming as a Human being was in a cloud? "... The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, (Mary) and THE POWER of the highest (the cloud) shall overshadow thee; therefore  also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called THE SON OF GOD" (Lk 1:35). You see that? How did He come into the world? Through the cloud, His vehicle of expression, upon a virgin. In other words, Mary entered into the realm of God's life, becoming one with Him because of her purity, and so qualified to become the medium - vehicle for the revelation of God's life called the 'Son of God'. You see Mary was nothing less than 'a cloud of glory' when she was with the seed of life. Even as ".. God was IN Christ reconciling the word unto Himself' 2 Cor 5: 19. Therefore, all that we need to move into this cloud of glory is the purity of heart, a sanctified life. For the pure in heart (Mt 5:8) shall see God overshadowing them. Amen. See Isa 4:5, I Cor 10: 1-2.

 

CLOUD AS INSTRUMENT OF JUDGEMENT.

Isaiah was an educated and urban prophet who walked three good years around naked and barefooted ' as an object lesson to protest a planned alliance with Egypt and Cush (Ethiopia), He had earlier on opposed an alliance with Assyria. One of the temptations of Judah's king was to make alliance (agreement) with other nations, such as Ethiopia or Egypt for defense, therefore in the words of Isaiah, reading from chapters 18, through 20, both nations would meet with disaster. "The burden of Egypt, Behold the Lord RIDETH UPON A SWIFT CLOUD, and shall come into Egypt; and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His (God's) presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it... And the I Lord said, like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefooted three years, for a sign and wonder,  upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia (Cush). So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians, prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old barefooted, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt." (Isa 19: 1, 20; 3 - 4 KJV).

  So what is the cloud here, with which God rode into Egypt? The king of Assyria; See Isa 60:8. Friends, the cloud is God's presence and medium of expression. It has nothing to do with the atmosphere’ above us, stop 'gazing' into the sky, for He can only come in like manner through the overshadowing cloud of glory.

 

CLOUDS' AS WITNESS OR MINISTRY - A PEOPLE

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the CLOUDS..."(1Thes. 4:17 KJV) There is an interesting account in the book of first Kings that clearly reveals to us the mystery of the singular cloud that took up Jesus. Solomon in dedicating the temple he build for God, we are told determined; "they might bring up the ARK of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David which is Zion…” the priests brought in the ARK OF THE COVENANT ... unto his place ... to the most holy place ... There was nothing in the Ark save the two tables of stone And it came to pass, when the Priests were come out of the holy place, that the CLOUD filled the house of the Lord. So that the priests could not stand to minister because of THE CLOUD; for THE GLORY OF THE LORD had filled the house of the Lord "(I Kgs 8:1 - 11 KJV) please see Exo. 24:16,16:10. From the above account, you can see that THE CLOUD is the same thing as THE GLORY OF THE LORD, which speaks of His presence. May I therefore be bold to declare to you, that it is this glory - cloud that took up Jesus out of the sight of the disciples. (Acts 1:9). So what then is the CLOUDS with which He is coming? Realize that what took Him is "a cloud" but He is coming with "CLOUDS" see Rev.1:7, 1Thes 4: 17, Math 24:30.

 

"CLOUDS WITHOUT RAIN" A PEOPLE WITH FALSE MINISTRY.

In Prov. 25: 14 we read "Whoso boasteth himself of a gift (in a gift of falsehood) is like clouds and wind without RAIN" What is this telling us? Simply that all those who proud and parade themselves as anointed men of God, but in actuality are operating a false anointing, even in areas wherein they are not actually called into, are clouds WITHOUT RAIN. Every Bible student do understand that 'Rain' speaks of the Holy Spirit and His fruits, that is why Jesus said to them "... that believeth on me...” "Out of his belly shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER, “But this spake He of the SPIRIT which they that believe on Him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified (His death, resurrection and the release of the Holy Ghost) (Jn 7:38 - 39).

 

We know that 'Rain' 'water' and 'River' are one in nature" the same element H2O, ‘River’ is a body of water, and the evaporation of water form the 'clouds' that falls back to the earth as ‘Rain’. "If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth…" (Ecl 11: 3). Therefore, for a people to be described as CLOUDS WITHOUT RAIN is clear enough that they are a people with false ministries. Now, note it very well that these people are called "CLOUDS". The only thing is that they have no Rain. Peter calls them "WELLS WITHOUT WATER, CLOUDS that are carried with tempest" (2 Pet. 2:9-18). To be carried with tempest means they are easily carried about by "every wind of doctrine" compare Eph. 4:14. How do we then recognize these clouds without water? Listen! "... These men blaspheme in Matters (teachings) they do not understand. They are like brute beast, creatures of instinct, (i.e. they act on instinct (impulse) instead of the Holy Ghost, leading them) born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts (in the way they behave) they too will perish ... Their idea of pleasure is to carous in broad day light - Pentecostal holy kiss in Church? For they live in evil pleasures, day after day. They are a disgrace and a stain among you, deceiving you by living in foul sin on the side, while they join your love feasts as though they were honest men. No woman can escape their sinful stare, and of adultery they never have enough. They make a game of luring unstable women. They train themselves to be greedy; ... They have gone off the road and become lost like Balaam, the son of Beor, (Nub 22:5,7,21,23,28). Who fell in love with money he could not make by doing wrong ... These men are useless as dried up springs of water, promising much and delivering nothing; they are as unstable as CLOUDS driven by the storms, winds. They are doomed to the eternal pits of darkness. THEY PROUDLY BOAST about their sins and conquests, and, using lust as their bait, they lure back into sin those who have just escape from such wicked living (Baby Christians) (NIV, Tlb). In the words of Jude. These 'CLOUDS WITHOUT WATER' are without fruit (fruits of the Holy Spirit) 'twice dead' (they were dead in sins and trespasses Eph. 2:1 - 2) and now in the Lord, they cannot stop sinning because they lack the power of the Holy Ghost) 'plucked up by the roots' (they have no doctrinal foundation and so no life). "Raging waves of the sea - (very unstable as a people), wandering stars - they are stars - Christians, alright but manifesting their shame through the unveiling of their carnal nature in an unstable personality.

 

Hear me people of God, if these sets of people are termed clouds without water, then of course those who are truly yielded to the life of Christ, the dead in Christ can best be described as 'CLOUDS with water! More on this later.

 

FURTHER PROOF OF CLOUDS AS A PEOPLE.

Among other numerous passages, proving the fact that clouds speaks of a people is Isa. 60:8. Now understand first of all that, Isa.60 actually speaks of the glory of Zion, the glorious resurrection of Jerusalem that has been trodden down by other nations. And it is prophetic of the Church. We read "Arise (from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you; arise to a new life); Shine - be radiant with the glory of the Lord; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you; Lift up your eyes and look about you. All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar". (VS 1-4 Amp. NIV). Because of this restoration of God's glory to Zion and her subsequent exultation from the realm of depression, the return of her sons and daughters and even Gentile nations is described as a cloud - "who are these that fly along like CLOUDS, like doves to their nests, have reserved the ships of many lands, the very best, to bring the sons of Israel home again from faraway, bringing their wealth with them. For the Holy one of Israel, known around the world has GLORIFIED YOU IN THE EYES OF ALL" (VS 8 - 9 NIV, tlb), please see v. 16,22, Zech 8:23. Did you see it? That the movement of the children of God back to the realm of the father's glory is described as 'CLOUDS - doves flying back to their nests? The God of creation has been our dwelling place. Ps. 90: 1. What could be clearer than this, that clouds' speaks of a people? Just like the king of Assyria was described as 'a swift cloud' to which God was riding into Egypt? Isa. 19:1, 20:3- 4. What am I saying? It is that in these clouds - a people with the anointing, that the Lord shall come even as the creation is waiting for the unveiling of the sons of God. Rom. 8:19.

 

THE CLOUDS. THE PEOPLE OF GOD'S GLORY.

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the CLOUDS, 1 Thes 4: 17, "Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain, "brute beast--, such as Cain, Balaam and Core these are spots in your feasts of charity ... CLOUDS THEY ARE WITHOUT WATER,..." Prov 25:14, Jude10-13. From the above scriptures, it becomes clear that clouds speak of a people. This is why we read in Heb 12:1, that "...we ... are compassed about with so great A CLOUDS OF WITNESSES,..." referring to the heroes of faith, God's witnesses of old in chapter 11, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samson, Rahab etc watching us in the spirit as we run this Christian race. Here the Bible refers to these groups of people as "a great cloud". Perhaps a simpler translation will make this clearer. "Though ALL THESE PEOPLE by their FAITH won God's approval, yet none of THEM received what He has promised, for God had provided something still better for us, that THEY, apart from us might not attain perfection, therefore, as we have so vast A CROWD OF SPECTATORS in the grandstands, let us throw off every impediment... and run with endurance the race (Christian race) for which we are entered”. (Heb 11;39-40, 12:1. Williams). The Living Bible puts it this way "since we have such a HUGE CROWD OF MEN OF FAITH WATCHING us from the grandstands, --"(Heb 12:1). Here these people are watching us, as if we are running a race in a stadium to see how we will run and win. And of course, our example of what they are seeing can either affect them positively or negatively, getting them up lifted or depressed by our performance. That is why sin should not be your problem, because somebody's perfection is directly connected to your life.

 

SO WHAT DO WE MEAN -- those, which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them IN THE CLOUDS? (1Thes 4:17). First of all, note that the "Dead in Christ" did not rise into the air-atmosphere, but they simply rose into the place of glory behind the veil (Heb 6:17-20) wherein Christ has entered into, as a forerunner in this race which speaks of the realm of authority and victory at the right hand of God. See Col 3:1-3, 1 Peter 3:21-22. The word now says, we shall be caught up, (translated) together with them (in the same position of authority, rest and power from the realm of human struggles) IN THE CLOUDS. What clouds? The "CLOUDS OF WITNESSES" formed from among those who are 'asleep in Jesus" (v. 13-14), The Dead in Christ" (v. 16) and "the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb 12:23 – 24), the heroes of faith (Heb 11).

   This is the 'clouds' we are caught up into. In fact the unity and perfect body of Christ, the church composed of all categories of Christian, both the saints of old." Constitutes this CLOUDS - it is a people. This is talking of the body of Christ, in the state of maturity through whom Christ will reveal Himself as a witness in judgement to the rest of creation-mankind at the end of the age. This is why we are told in (I Cor.10:1–2) that the Children of Israel "... were ALL baptized INTO MOSES IN THE CLOUD..." (That is, they were thus brought under obligation to the law, to Moses and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God - AMP)." Please see Gal 3:27. Therefore the body of Christ is called in Heb12:22–24 as (1) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, (2) The Church of the firstborn. With God as judge in their midst (see Ps 82:1), with "the spirits of the just men made perfect", the saints of old in fellowship with us, who are now in celestial bodies, seeing us running this race, but we cannot see them because we are in a terrestrial body. -Veiled by our human nature.

 

This “clouds” constitutes the body with which Jesus is coming "...Behold, He comes with His myriad's of holy ones- ten thousands of His SAINTS”- (Jude 14:15 AMP). In the words of the Psalmist. 'Bless the LORD, O my Soul... .WHO MAKETH THE CLOUD'S His CHARIOT, who walked upon the wings of the wind, WHO MAKETH HIS ANGELS (messengers) spirits (spirit being as they are translated into the realm of this cloud body) HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE; (to consume all works of iniquity - judgement upon the Mt. of Esau - flesh, Obadiah 21). Therefore THE CHARIOTS (God's vehicle of expression) of God are TWENTY THOUSAND, even THOUSANDS OF ANGELS: (Messengers) The Lord is among them, as He was in Sinai, (so also) in the holy place - the sanctuary (in Jerusalem). (Ps. 104:3,68:17. KJV). AMP. For the Lord to be with them as in Sinai and Jerusalem speaks of God's power and glory as seen in His theophanic expression in thunder, lighting and voices, (Exo 19:16) for "out of "Zion (the Church) the perfection of beauty, God shines forth" (Ps.50: 2 AMP). "God's glory - light shines from the beautiful temple on Mount Zion" (Tlb). The temple on Mt Zion speaks of the Lord in His body the Church" And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are the temple of it" (Rev. 21:22, KJV). This is the realm where self, individual temples must cease to manifest their carnality in Zion. Rather they will be filled completely with the Lord Himself (Eph 3:19).

 

So  "if the CLOUDS (God's people) be full of RAIN (life of God) they empty themselves upon the earth (mankind)..." (Eccl 11:3 KJV). What does that mean? Simply that, we become a blessing to the rest of mankind who are still lost in Adam. But friends, these blessings cannot flow from us until our heart is completely broken up and filled with that life of God, for you can only give what you have. Therefore "By His knowledge (as we became one with Him in His image Col 3:10) the depths (our hearts) are broken up; and THE CLOUDS DROP (pour) down the dew (rain - upon mankind). Even as Moses words - teaching became life (dew) to the people of Israel (Deut 32: 1 – 2). "My doctrine (teachings, life of God in him) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as dew as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers (of life) upon the grass."

BUT HOW WILL THIS BLESSING COME UPON THE WORLD?

"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked, the Lord hath His way in the whirl wind and in the storm and THE CLOUDS are the dust of His feet" (His place of movement). (Nah. 1:3, KJV). Therefore "Ascribe ye strength unto God; His Excellency is over Israel (the Church) and His STRENGTH IS IN THE CLOUDS" (Ps. 68 :34 KJV). So, since His strength is in the clouds - His people who are full of His life "see, the Lord is coming with million of His holy ones. He will bring the people of the world before Him in judgement to receive just punishment and to prove the terrible things they have done in rebellion against God, revealing all they have said against Him" (Jude 14-15). But why is this God's judgement through the saint a blessing? Because "... when thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness..." "... O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the people righteously and govern the nations upon earth" (Isa 26:9, Ps 67:4 KJV). God's blessing follows righteousness, hence the joy after judgement. Beloved, the Lord cometh in the clouds and every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7) for, the clouds are the people of God's glory to bless mankind.

HIS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS - A DIVINE INTERVENTION IN HUMAN HISTORY.

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds..." I Thes. 4:17. "Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds, and wind without rain" Prov 25:14 KJV. "... CLOUDS THEY ARE WITHOUT WATER..." Jude 11 - 13 KJV. It is now abundantly clear to us that clouds speak of a people who are either with or without the true anointing (life) of God. We will now want to consider two very important Scripture commonly quoted in relation to the supposed second coming of Christ – Matt 4:30 and Rev. 1:7.

WHAT DO WE MEAN "... The Son of man coming in THE CLOUDS of heaven" Math 24:30?

First of all, let us understand that the bible books are divided into sections, e.g in the O. T we have the LAW - Gen, Exo, ... Deut. The HISTORICAL books - (12), from Joshua, Judges -- to Esther, the POETICAL books meant for devotional readings, (5) Job, Psalms, Prov, Eccl, Song of Sol. and lastly the PROPHETIC books (17), from Isaiah to Malachi. Even so in the N. T we have the HISTORICAL books made up of the four Gospels and the book of Acts (2). THE EPISTLE (21) made of 13 DOCTRINAL epistles by Paul, and the GENERAL epistles, as Hebrews, James. 1, 2 Peters, 1, 2, 3 John and Jude. Then THE PROPHETIC book, which is the book of Revelation. So to have a clear understanding of the writings of Matthew, you must not ignore the historical evidence that goes with it, because it took into account the historical activities of Jesus and the Jews.

TO WHOM WAS THE BOOK ORIGINALLY ADDRESSED AND WHEN?

Firstly, it is a common belief that the four Gospels and the book of Acts were written between AD 60 - 64, and Matthew being the oldest that was written some 8 years after the ascension of Christ would fall in AD 60. It was originally written in Hebrew, according to the words of the scholar Jerome. Matthew" composed a Gospel of Christ in Judea in the Hebrew language and character, for THE BENEFIT OF THE CIRCUMCISION (Jewish Christians) who had believed..." (Catalogue of Ecclesiastical writers), but were suffering persecution. See Math 17:23, 23:34, 24:9. That would places the work at about 40 - 45AD before it was translated into Greek. Since none of the Gospels and even Acts recorded the fall of Jerusalem and the temple, but described them as future, it simply means these accounts were recorded before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 which was 40 years after the death of Jesus. (33 AD). Compare the words of Jesus in Math 23:37 - 39, 24: 11.

 

So Matthew wrote among Jews, for the Jews, about the kingdom of heaven, prophesied in the O. T, making a special point of demonstrating that the Scriptures are fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus, hence the words "... this GENERATION (of the Jews of the days of Jesus and Matthew the writer) shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Math 24:34). Therefore, when he wrote of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven..." (Math 24:30), he was simply making reference to the prophecies of Daniel   “I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN..." (Dan 7:13), which foretold of the establishment of the Messianic kingdom by a 'son of man" coming in the clouds. The truth is “THE CLOUDS" is that which usually accompanied the movement (theophanies - manifestations) of God in both the O. T and N. T e.g Exo 13:22+, 19: 16+,34:5, Lev. 16:2, IKg 8: 10 - 11, Ps 18: 11, Ezk 1:4, Math 17:5, Acts 9:3, I Thes 4: 17, Rev 1: 7.

 

What then can we understand by His coming in the clouds? Simply that, when we are talking of His coming in the clouds we are talking of a period of divine intervention when a change of order is to take place in human history. So, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, marks the end of the old covenant, Christ has thus manifestly returned (if you may take it) to inaugurate His kingly rule. For.. in the days of these kings (Babylon, Medo-Persia down to Roman Empire) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed..." (Dan. 2: 44). And as at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Roman Empire was in power.

 

When John Himself wrote of "Behold, He cometh with clouds..." (Rev 1:7) he borrowed most of the symbols - (elements) from the O.T books as Ezekiel, Daniel and even Matthew to suggest the King - Messiah's glorious return, solemn enthronement and future reign over God's people, in fulfillment of the promise made to David, of his son sitting on the throne (Rev 22: 16). John wrote his vision between 95 - 96 AD, in about the 15th year of the reign of Domitian (81 - 96 AD) who banished him for the testimony of Jesus to the Isle of Patmos, some 15 miles in circumference near Ephesus. He wrote to encourage the suffering Christians in Asia (7 Churches) who were being persecuted for refusing to worship the Roman Emperor's statue that was erected in the leading cities. He wrote to let them know, that Christianity will surely triumph over evil and its opponents"... things that must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1: 1). So you see, "... the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven" is a spiritual element denoting the enthronement of the Messianic kingly authority in a people, a divine intervention in cause of human history in a life of God’s suffering people, and their eventual triumph.

 

May I be bold to declare to you, that John picked his message from the book of Zechariah 12. This is the book that described the deliverance and restoration of Jerusalem, (the Church) the new king (Jesus) and the New Kingdom (the saints). Foretelling the future of the world - and the role of God's people in it. Look at it. "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication and THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for Him..." (Zech 12:10. KJV). Is this not the same thing John said "... Behold, He cometh with clouds and every eye shall see Him, and they also, which pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so Amen” (Rev. 1: 7).

 

Now the point is, Zechariah is prophetic of the event of the coming Messianic age, which is the mind of Rev. 1:7. It speaks of the national mourning that will follow the lifting of the siege of Jerusalem (the oppression of the Church) (v 9-14). "For my plan is to destroy all the nations that came against Jerusalem. Then I will pour out the spirit of grace and prayer on all the people of, Jerusalem and they will LOOK ON HIM THEY PIERCED and mourn for Him as for only son..."  (He being the first-born Son of God. Jn 1:18, Col. 1:15). What was it? They allowed their saviour to be crucified in the hands of Pilate without knowing it. (1Cor 2:7–8). For "... one of the soldiers with a spear PIERCED His side, and forthwith came there out blood (spirit-life) and water (the word)" (Jn 19:34,7:38). Which eventually became the fountain of salvation, to even those that pirced Him (13:1), as they looked on His pierced body, with the saving eye of faith', even as He is lifted up (His death on the cross) (Jn 3:14). For "... when ye have lifted up the son of man, then shall ye know that I am He..."  (Jn 8:28 KJV). Why? Because they shall look on Him whom they pierced" (Jn 19:37, Zech 12:10.) Please compare Isa 52:13-15, 53: 12.

 

So what are we seeing in Rev 1:7 "... coming WITH (in union) THE CLOUDS, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him..."? It is simply telling us, of another hour of divine intervention in human history, as He comes through His body the Church (with clouds) Eph 1:22 - 23, Jude 14. Jesus made this plain in His encounter with Saul on the road to Damascus when He said "Saul, Saul, why persecutest THOU ME? ... I AM JESUS WHOM THOU PERSECUTEST..." (Acts 9:4 - 5 KJV). But we know that Saul was only "...breathing out threatening and slaughter against THE DISCIPLES OF THE LORD..." (9:1) and not Jesus as a human being. So you see, those who are piercing Him today are those who are saying hard speeches against Him - the oppressors of the Church (Jude 14 - 15), and those not living the life "... seeing they crucify to themselves the son of God afresh (who ought to be dwelling in them Col.l:27, 2 Cor 13:5) and put Him to an open shame" (Heb 6:6 KJV). That the "... Son of man came WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN..." (Dan 7:13) is clear that "... the SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH shall take the kingdom (Rev 11:15) and possess the kingdom forever... and judgement was given to THE SAINTS of the most high (1 Cor 6:1-3); and THE TIME came that the SAINTS Possess THE KINGDOM." Dan 7: 18,22 KJV.

And this is what I Thes 4: 17 is talking about. The Perfect union of the body of Christ to rule the earth, as they manifest Rom 8: 19. .

IN MEETING, WE WELCOME THE LORD

“ Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR..." 1 Thes 4: 17. Before we progress into the study on our 'meeting the lord' and 'air' it is necessary to note that as touching the word 'clouds', there is no definite article in the original Greet text before the word "clouds so as to make it 'The CLOUDS', therefore the sentence literally ought to read "caught up IN CLOUDS". Where the identifying article is missing, it becomes a descriptive term, speaking of quality or being. Again, the Greek word for cloud is used to indicate a large body of individuals in the Greek classics, and this is how it is symbolically used in Heb 12: 1-2. The "cloud of "witness" meaning 'stadium of spectators". Whereas in Rev 1:7 "behold, He cometh with clouds” the Greek word "cometh" is ERCHOMAI which indicates the act of arrival. In other words, Christ is about to be glorified in His saints. See 2 Thes 1:7-10, 1 Thes 5:2, Eph 5:6. John 16:2. 14:30.

UNDERSTANDING THE PHRASE “TO MEET" Firstly, the word MEET in the Hebrew and Greek respectively is "qirah" and 'apantesis' and it means an encountering, accidental, friendly or hostile, to meet away, encounter. In the NT, it is found in passages like Mark 14:3, Math 25: 1,6. Acts 28: 15. In the scriptural usage, people went out to MEET someone and have the person escorted to the place where he was going (facing), just like the case of Paul going to Rome"...And so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to MEET us as far as Appii forum...And when we came to Rome.." (Acts 28:14-16). In this case, the brethren did not meet Paul and have Paul reverse his journey so that they can follow him back to where he was coming from. Rather it is an interaction of welcome, to a reception in the very place where he intended to go to.

 

Again, in the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins - Math 25, the principle is the same. "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be liked unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to MEET the Bridegroom. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh,go ye out to MEET Him. " (Math 25:1,6). In this parable, all two categories of the virgins were to take their lamps, and go out to MEET the Bridegroom. To do what? That they may escort and joint him to the reception, in order to partake of the marriage feast. There is no indication that the virgins will have to meet the bridegroom on the way and have him turn around and start going back to where he was coming from, so that some other day, they will have to come back together.

 

Therefore, it will be a sheer NONSENSE to teach of Christ coming half way in the air, the saints meeting Him and their going to heaven before coming back, in the millennium some seven years later. This idea is foreign to the fact of scriptures. Is it not because the people heard of Paul coming to Rome that they went to meet him on the way? Would they have met him and gone back to where Paul came from, spend seven years before returning "- to Rome? Should that be what we should observe from the account in Acts 28? NEVER!

 

Now listen to this, when God appeared to Abraham on His way to destroy Sodom, the word says "...one hot summer afternoon as he was sitting in the opening of his tent, he suddenly noticed three men COMING toward him, He sprang up and ran TO MEET THEM and WELCOME them…” (Gen. 18:1-2, Tlb). Again we are told" And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran TO MEET HIM and embrace him, and kissed him, and BROUGHT HIM TO HIS HOUSE..." (Gen.29:13. KJV). Praise the lord! People of God, what could be clearer than this, that the idea of meeting someone in the scriptures is to welcome that individual to the very place he has intended to go to? Now, could our lord's case of coming be different, such that we have to escort Him back.. "Bring Him on the way.." (Gen. 18:16) because that is what it means to escort someone? No! Therefore we cannot expect a coming 'for' the saints and later coming ‘ with' the saints in two stages. There is no basis for it in the scriptures you are free to search your Bible.

 

SO WHAT DO WE MEAN "MEET(ING) THE LORD"?..

For us to understand clearly what it means to meet the lord, we should know who is meeting who and why? And looking at the parable of the ten Virgins in Math 25: 1-13. It becomes Obvious that it is the  church (wife) that is meeting the lord (Husband) (see Eph 5:22-32) in order that there might be a  union-producing life. Again, this is clearly demonstrated in the life of Jacob and Leah. "That evening as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah WENT OUT TO MEET HIM. 'You must sleep with me to night" she said, "for I am hiring you with some mandrakes my son has found" so he did. And God answered her prayers and she became pregnant again, and give birth to her fifth son". (Gen. 30:16-17 Tlb). It is this type of union we find illustrated in Math 25:1-13.

 

Now let us first understand that, the background of this parable is taken from the custom of the Hebrew people, wherein the bridegroom will have to come in the night in company of his friends, to take the wife for the marriage, to have it consummated. The bride's maid will have to line up the dark narrow streets, with their lamps burning awaiting his arrival in order to welcome him to the spot that must have been prepared for the reception - 'marriage super', by the friends. You can now understand why, when John was told that " ALL MEN" were going to Jesus for baptism, he simply said 'A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven... He that hat the BRIDE (the church - believers) is the BRIDEGROOM (JESUS); but the FRIEND (John) of the Bridegroom (Jesus) which standeth (watching for him to come) and hearing him, rejoiced greatly because of the BRIDEGROOMS VOICE (the arrival of Christ to and in His people), this my joy therefore is fulfilled" (John 3: 26-29. KJV). Why? Because John was only "the voice of the one (friend) crying in the wilderness", preparing the heart of men (Bride) for Christ (bridegroom) to come in. (Math 3:3, Jn 1: 23, Mal. 3:1).

 

So you see, the "ten virgins" speaks of the church, because it is talking of the Kingdom of God. (v.l) This is clearly seen in the words of Paul to the Corinthian church. "..For I have espoused you to one husband that I (a friend to Jesus) may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor 11:2 KJV).

 

So what are we saying? To meet the Lord is to become one with Him, it is a realm of union and fellowship with the Christ spirit when certain conditions are met, for ".. he that is JOINED (union) to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT" (1Cor 6:17 KJV). The Greek word for join is ‘kollao’ ("glue') to glue i.e. to stick, cleave, Join (self), keep company. So when Leah joined herself to Jacob, a fifth son was born, even so ''as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.." (Jn 1:12 KJV). That means, as we meet Him and join our spirit with His spirit, we receive the seed of life-eternal, making us new creatures of His new creation. It is only in meeting Him shall we have life. Amen 

 

MEETING WITH THE LORD. A COVENANT WITH THE WORD.

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to MEET THE LORD in the air..." (I Thes. 4: 17). We have already established the fact that both in Hebrew and Greek the word 'meet' means an encounter, which can be friendly or hostile, to meet 'away, to encounter. Furthermore, that on a friendly basis, it is simply an act of welcome as can be seen in the case of Abraham welcoming the three men that came to Sodom, Gen 18: 1 - 2, and that of Leah welcoming Jacob from the field (Gen.30:17b). But what then can we truly make of 1 Thes 4: 17. "To meet in the air"? ..

 

In the words of Gary Amirault "... the mindset in which the Bible is set, is clearly the Semitic culture. The types and shadows, figures of speech, manners and customs of these people must be understood if we are going to understand the meaning of the words in our Bible ... even the New Testament, must be read through the eyes of the Aramaic and Hebrew culture ... To begin to understand Bible, I believe one must, learn what every ordinary and natural objects meant to the semites, ... as the Semites often attached deep spiritual or abstract meanings to every object." Going further, he said, “unlike the English language, the Semites lacked abstract words e.g. to describe God as "Omniscience" is quite abstract to them. To convey such an idea, they would speak of God in terms of "flying with wings".

Take for instance Job 29:6 which says "when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil" is an Eastern saying which means "when I was very wealthy and had large flocks". It has nothing to do with literal oil coming out of a rock, or washing ones feet with butter. Again "I was a eye to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. (Job 29:15). These phrases are metaphorically used, meaning, "I gave good counsel to those who were spiritually blind, and helped those who were ready to slip to walk straight". In the same vein, you have things like "God's feathers" = "God's tender mercies" (Ps. 91: 4) "A dog who turns to his own vomits" = "a man who repeats his mistakes" (2 Pet. 2:22). "Set the earth on fire" = "Upsetting the order of the day; revolutionizing the world. (Lk 12:49). "The bright and morning star" = "The dawing of the truth" (Rev.2:26). And of course "To meet the Lord in the air,” means "Hasten to greet Him" (I Thes 4:17). Praise the Lord'. And this agrees with the scriptures.

 

MEETING THE LORD, A COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL.

Going by the above understanding, does it mean we will literally go up to greet a literal figure? The answer is an emphatic No; If we believe, that the God we serve is the ".. Alpha and Omega, ... the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty," (Rev. 1:8), see Heb. 13:8. Then all we need to do is to look back on how He has met with some people in time past, for instance in Nub.22; when Balak sent the elders "-with the rewards of divination in their hand." (v. 7) to Balaam to come and curse Israel for him, we are told in (v. 9) "And God CAME UNTO BALAAM..." Now in what form did God came to Balaam?, (v. 13) has the answer, "And Balaam Rose UP IN THE MORNING, and said unto the princes of Balaak, get ye unto your land; for the Lord (who came to me) refuseth to give me leave to go with you." So how did He come to Him?, in a dream - vision of the night, of course. You see it? Again in Nub 23: I - 5. We are told - "And Balaam said unto Balaak, stand by thy burnt offering, " and I will go (and pray); peradventure the LORD WILL COME TO MEET ME; and whatsoever he SHEWETH me I will tell thee, and he went to an high place " And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shall speak." People of God, is this not clear that God came to meet with Balaam at the point of his prayers? "I will go", God came by putting words in Balaam’s mouth in a vision. Are you seeing it? Please see verses 15 -16 also.  

                                 

Reflecting on the account of Moses with the burning bush, and his eventual meeting with Pharaoh is also a pointer in this case. "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush..." (Exo. 3:2). The "angel of the LORD" is God manifesting Himself to man. See Gen 16:7+.  The purpose of the appearance was to commission Moses to go to Egypt to deliver the people of Israel.  Please read Exo. Chapter 3 through 11. Now in chapter 5 we are told Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh, "... The God of the Hebrews hath MET with us..." (5:3 KJV). How did God meet with them? In the burning bush as the "angel of the Lord" in order to establish a relationship with Moses, to be empowered to go to Egypt to effect the work of deliverance on behalf of the children of Israel. Sure, God MET with Moses even as He met with Saul on the road to Damascus. Act 9. In Exo. 19. The account says God told Moses to get the people ready, for He will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mt Sinai (v. 11) "And Moses brought forth the people OUT OF THE CAMP TO MEET WITH GOD..." (V17).

 

Now, the reason for His coming down was to establish His covenant with the people of Israel through the law and ordinances, and that is what took place reading through chapter 20 to 24. The question is, did they see a literal figure for "... they saw the God of Israel. " (Exo. 24: 10). Now listen to Moses as he addressed the children of Israel!! “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them ... And what nation is there so great, that hath STATUS and JUDGEMENTS so righteous as all this law, which 1 set before you... only take heed to thyself and KEEP THY SOUL DILIGENTLY, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest THEY DEPART FROM THY HEART all the days of thy life, ... specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb (Sinai) (Exo. 19: 17) when the LORD said unto me Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear mv WORDS that they mav learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and they may teach their  children .. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire (Exo. 19: 16 - I8; 20:22) Ye heard the voice of the words, but SAW NO SIMILITUDE (figure or shape); only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant; which He commanded you to perform; even TEN COMMANDMENTS Take great care what you do, therefore since you saw NO SHAPE on that day at Horeb (you didn't see the FORM OF GOD.. Tlb). So do not defile yourselves by trying to make a STATUE (Idol) in any form, whether of man, woman, animal, bird" (Dt. 4:7-19 KJV, Tlb).

 

This is clear enough that, when God met the children of Israel He simply manifested Himself and entered into a covenant with them through the WORD which they heard, and not necessarily seeing a human being called God standing before them. So the true meaning of 'idolatry is to picture God in your mind as a human being, hence the warning "children, keep away from IDOLS"(1Jn 5:21 Beck) why? because "we know God's son (which is the word Jn 1: 1) came and gave us the understanding to know Him, who is real, and we are in (union with) Him who is real, in His son Jesus Christ. He (who is the word) is THE TRUE GOD (and He is spirit Jn 4:24) and everlasting life. (I Jn 5:20 Beck). And our meeting with Him, is the word coming to us in order to establish a covenant relationship with us for "... I will put my LAWS into their MIND, and write them in their HEARTS, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people..” (Heb 8:10–11). Please compare Rom. 10:6 - 8, Eph. 4:8 - 10,2 Cor. 13:5. Have you met Him? Where are the changes in your life since then as you obey the word?

 

OUR UNION WITH THE LORD RESULTS IN THE BIRTH OF THE MAN-CHILD.

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to MEET THE LORD in the air..." 1 Thes. 4:17. "And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob, his sister's son, that he ran to MEET Him and embrace him, and KISSED him and BROUGHT him to his house..." (Gen. 29:13 KJV). "...The bridegroom is coming! COME OUT and WECOME him!" (Math 25:6 Tlb). Once again, it is the fact of scripture, that 'to MEET' is an act of welcome, union or a covenant relationship producing result. Just as God covenanted with the children of Israel in Mt Sinai by giving them the laws (Exo. 19, through 24, Dt 4:7 - 19) in order to take a people to Himself through whom the rest of mankind should know Him. And because that was not the true and perfect covenant of God for creation it failed (Heb 8:7 - 8) that He, God may enact a NEW COVENANT through the blood  (life) of Jesus Christ. For "...this is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel (sons of God - see Rom. 9:6 - 8), says the Lord; I will write my laws in their MINDS (understanding) so that they will know what I want them to do, without my even telling them, and these laws will be in their HEARTS (spirits) so that they will want to obey them..."

 

What will be the result of this new covenant that is not written externally on stones? "... And I WILL BE THEIR GOD AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE..." (Heb 8:7 - 12 Tlb). Did you see it? What unites us with the Lord is the word -laws of the spirit of life IN Christ Jesus written in our hearts and minds (Rom. 8:2). His Lordship is established in us and over us when our spirits and thoughts have been totally saturated with His own life. Then we cannot think as men again, but as sons of God because then, we have His mind. (Phil 2: 5, 1 Cor 2:12–16). So you see, our 'meeting the Lord' is to covenant with Him. As in Sinai, so in Zion. And this process is presently going on in us gradually right from the time of Pentecost.

MATH 25:1 - 13 THE CLIMAX OF OUR COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.    

Now the true picture of the covenant relationship of God with man, is that of a husband and wife, this is what is portrayed in the parable of the "Ten Virgins", and for this to fully take place, there has to be a readiness of the bride. Therefore looking at (Math 25), we can discover the elements of our readiness in order to welcome (receive) Him. (Math 25:1–13)

 

THE ELEMENTS

V. 1. The subject is the Kingdom of God, that means the picture is that of the household of faith - Christians, just like the parable of the 'wheat and tares' (Math.13:24 -30,37–41). It is a realm of mixture in fellowship. Virgins = singleness of heart set upon the Lord, they are the Church and individual members. The Lamps = the word of God is a lamp. Ps. 119: 105 Prov 6:23. Above all, it speaks of individual believers, vessels in the house of God. (2 Tim 2:20). "John (the Baptist) was the 'lamp' that kept on burning and shinning..." (Jn 5:35 Amp). "David's power shall grow, for I have decreed for him a mighty son" (Ps 132:17 Tlb). That "mighty' son" is a lamp. And of course true believers are lamps of God in the world. (Phil 2:15, Math 5:14). Evidently then, the lamp is the life of God in an earthen vessel - man (2 Cor 4:6–7). It speaks of our souls being impregnated by God's life. THE OIL is the anointing that opens up our understanding. It is the illuminating power of the Spirit, which takes us away from the "letter that killeth..." (2 Cor. 3:6, 2 Tim 3:5) to know the mind of God even in the written word. The Bridegroom is Jesus Christ the Lord, that we must "meet", welcome into our soul from our spirit where He dwells now (2 Tim 4:22, Rev 3:20. I Verses 3 – 4). The foolish took the lamp without oil i.e. they had the word, but no power of personal, relationship of what the word is pointing to. Therefore the word to them is a dead letter - religion without life (2 Cor 3:6), for it is the oil that gives 'illumination' (Heb 10:32) to the word.

 

The anointing reveals Christ and the things of Christ (Jn 15:26,16:13) and this is what the foolish virgins lacked. They have no personal revelation of the kingdom of God, and the life therein, which is the sole privilege of the wise virgins with oil.

 

V. 5. While the bridegroom tarried (to take time, i.e. linger, delay, tarry) they all (wise and foolish) slumbered and slept. Why? It is like things became vague, either because of life pressure or otherwise. Prayers have not been answered despite fasting and all else done, but the heavens remain silent (Rev 8: 1). They begin to loose faith without realizing that the Lord is testing the believers by hiding Himself (Ps. 10: 1, 143:7). Therefore their soul is no longer sharp towards the Lord. Some as a result of riches are into the abundance of idleness. (Ezk 16:49) and so becoming at ease in Zion. (Amos 6: 1). The whole thing boils down to "... where is the promise presence of His? (2 Pet 3: 3 - 4 Int. Linear). Speaking of spiritual dullness, in-alertness as a result of weariness.

 

V. 6 and at 'midnight' (i.e. between the evening night of spiritual blindness, sorrows, afflictions etc. and the dawning of a new day Rom. 13: 11 - 12) there was a cry made, behold, the bridegroom (Christ) cometh, go ye out to meet Him "... come and welcome Him" (Tlb). Mind you, it did not say 'go ye up' but 'out'.  The point is clear, the cry is the message of the kingdom, that alert one to the fact that our 'salvation', deliverance from the oppressive powers of self and the bondage to the systems of man and religion is nigh, as we behold our husband - the Lord Jesus Christ about to come. "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Heb 10:37. See Jn 16:16-22). The word cometh is Erchomai, which speaks of that which is about to come, has come. It be-speaks of a period of time. That in no way, means, we are to expect a literal figure. For we are talking of His union with our soul. When Jesus talked of "... the prince of the world 'cometh' (erchomai - Jn 14:30), He was not talking of a literal being, but the spirit of deception - serpent (Rev 12: 9 Eph 2: 1 - 2) that was about to minister to Him not to go to the cross.

 

V. 7. 'Then all those virgins arose and TRIMMED their LAMPS, The trimming of the Lamps speaks of our preparedness as we are awakened from our slumbering spirit and sorrows. As we receive of Him ".. The spirit of grace and of supplications..." (Zach. 12: 10 KJV) to approach Him in the most Holy place, our spirit where He dwells. For unto Moses, He said, "... And thou shall put it (the two staves of shittim wood overlaid with Gold) before the Vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the MERCY SET (Heb 6: 19 - 20) that is, over the testimony, where I will meet with thee, ... when (Aaron) DRESSETH the LAMPS, he shall burn INCENSE (prayer) upon it (Exo.30:6–7). "... Incense is the prayer of all the saint upon the golden alter which was before the throne" (Rev 8:3, 5, 8. KJV) "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Ps 142:2).

    In this deep spiritual fellowship with the Lord, we meet with Him who is our soul's husband; our; 'Lord' even as Sarah called Abraham (1 Pet 3:6 V. 8). The request of the foolish one is "Give us your oil, for our Lamps are gone (going) out". It is clear, "... the lamp of the wicked shall be put out" (Prov 13:9). See Job 38:15. These are they that do iniquity in the kingdom of God (Math 13:41 - 42, 7:22). Who do not have the righteousness of God. (Math 22: 1 - 13,25:26).

 

V. 9 the reply to their request was "... Go to the shops and buy.." (Tlb). In other words, go to those who will promise you "automatic breakthrough" in the name of olive oil without a foundation for yourself as a Son of God. Go and join yourselves to the religious world for the 'prosperity' message instead of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness for all other things to be added. (Math 6: 33 V.10). As they go about playing religious game, the time of full glorification of Christ in His Saints has come and they were not ready. : "The door was shot". The elect, the first fruit company has entered into their full rest as they are united together with the Lord in their soul. (Math 11:28 - 30. V.11–12). When they knocked eventually, i.e trying to seek spiritual reality, in order to rule and reign with Christ (Rev. 5: 10). The answer was "... I know you not” see Math 7:27. Meaning what? When Adam KNEW (meet) Eve his wife, she conceived and bare Cain (Gen 4:1). When Jacob met Leah after the welcome, she gave birth to a fifth son.   Therefore for Christ not to know you, means He has no personal relationship with you. When Christ meets with the prepared virgin, who have made herself ready through the washing of the word - (Rev 19: 7 -8, Jn 17:17), She will bring forth the man-child that shall rule the world with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5) through the power of the word of God. See Rev 2:26 - 27. People of God, the formation of the life of Christ in us is what our meeting Him is all about. In the words of Paul "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be FORMED IN YOU" (Gal 4: 19 KJV). This matured Christ in us, is what is going to be revealed as the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). And of course, that is the true 'Son of God', the God - man on earth. 

MEETING THE LORD ‘IN THE AIR ’,OUR ONENESS WITH THE LORD.

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR..." (I Thes. 4:17). Already we have seen that "to meet  in the air" is an Eastern expression denoting "Hasten to greet Him" which totally agrees with (Math25: 6) ".. Go ye out  (not up) to meet Him..." (KJV). "... Come and WELCOME Him..." (Tlb).

 What then is the atmosphere "air" wherein we ought to meet the Lord? Is it talking of the empty space out there? The Greek (aer) for 'air' means to breathe unconsciously, i.e. respire, by anal, to blow, "air". This word is found in scriptures like (I Thes 4:17, Eph.2:2, Rev 9:2), therefore a consideration of some of these verses of scripture will give us the true meaning of the application of the word 'air' as used here.

 

THE 'AIR' OF EPH2: 2, THE REALM OF SATANIC HABITATION. 'And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked (lived) according to the course (ways, manner) of this world (the fallen race) according to the prince of the power of the AIR, the SPIRIT that NOW WORK IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE. (Eph 2: 1-2. KJV). "... You went along with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin, obeying Satan the mighty prince of the power of the 'air', who is at work right now in the HEARTS of those who are against the Lord" (Tlb). From this scripture, it is clear that the 'air' is not just talking of the atmosphere above the earth, but rather the habitation of demons, to which Satan is in control. "The ruler who governs the air.." (Jb). (Jn 12:31,2 Cor 4:4).   But you see, the 'air' the Bible says is in "man". "The spirit that worketh IN the children of disobedience" simple. It is a realm of life outside of the influence of God. This negative spirit realm called 'air' in Eph 2:1 is what is called "... spiritual wickedness in HIGH PLACES'' air. Eph 6: 12 (see Gal 4:3). It is simply the power of enslavement in the life of the unregenerated man with his darkened mind (Eph. 4:18). This is what Christ came to deliver us from "... who hath delivered us from the power of darkness..." (Col. 1:13). (Please see I Pet 2:9, Eph 1:21, Col 2: 13 -15, 20): Such that, if we armed ourselves according to (Eph.6:13–18), then we will be able to resist the allure of these powers. "The snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (2 Tim 2:22 KJV). That is, those under captivity to do the will of Satan by fulfilling the lust and desires of the flesh and the unrenewed mind. (Eph 2:3)

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THE ‘AIR'OF 1THES 4:17, THE ATMOSPHERE OF HEAVEN, GOD'S HABITATION.      

Backed up with the understanding of Eph 2:2 - 'air' as seen above, it becomes clear that "... a closer, examination of the Greek word from which the English word "air" is translated, does not mean air in the sense of the atmosphere, but it means to breathe unconsciously." And, it is only by the analogy of that comparison between a person's breathing to the blowing of the wind that we get the idea of "sky". In order to get a better understanding of this, one should note that, one other Greek word translated "air" in English, is "OURANOS". And it probably had its origin in the word "OROS" meaning "a MOUNTAIN (as lifting itself above the plain)". The "OURANOS" itself means SKY, but the idea of "SKY" probably originated from "OROS " (a mountain through the idea of elevation. By extension, "OURANOS" means "heaven (as the abode of God) by implication it means "happiness, power and eternity" specially, it means "the Gospel". (BCS No 91, Pg 3).

What can we see from that? Simply that, in meeting the Lord, we do not just have to go up into the sky, but rather we are lifted up, just as "OROS" (a mountain) lifts itself above the surrounding plains, though it does not leave the ground, but yet still rises above the plain. So also we meet Him as we lift ourselves above the plains of the earthly desires to which we have been held bound through the influence of satanic powers. As we meet Him, our hearts will be lifted up within us, therefore we will meet Him "in the air" - Ouranos -heaven, as the abode of God. For, He dwells in us (2 Cor 6:16-17, Rev 21:3).  Even as Jesus said, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Lk 17: 21) and the word says "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit..." (2 Tim 4:22) for "... If any man open the door, (of his heart) I will come into him and I will sup with him and he with me" (Rev.3:20).. So, we meet Him in the 'air' or in the kingdom of God (heaven) within us. We "meet Him in the air " - Ouranos - happiness, power and eternity, as we unite with Him in a higher place of happiness (Heb 12:22 - 24, Eph1: 6) power and eternity. So you see, the 'air' is a realm of God's life wherein the sons of God live and have their existence (Acts 17:28) in a spiritual state. It is a life lived within this world, but with a different consciousness of spirit

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 'AIR'AS MEANING OUR NEW BIRTH

 Again, the Greek word pneuma' and Hebrew 'Ruach' means AIR IN MOTION, and 'AIR' in motion is wind (Ecl 1: 6) Now these two word (pneuman and Ruach) means SPIRIT. The English word spirit is from the Latin word SPIRARE meaning "to breath" The noun from being SPIRITUS, "a breath" breathing". Such words as, expiration "respiration" and "inspiration" are derivatives of the same word spirare. The Greek Pneuma comes from PNEO meaning "to breathe or blow" and 'Ruach' is also believed to come from the same meaning. The noun form of Pneuma and Ruach basically then means "breath" but have extended meaning beyond that basic sense of breath. They can also mean "WIND", the vital force in living creatures, ONE'S SPIRIT, dominant feeling or disposition, SPIRIT PERSONS, including God and His angelic creatures, God's Holy Spirit.

 

Therefore Jesus in teaching about our new birth used the word 'WIND" and 'SPIRIT' interchangeably when He said "THE WIND bloweth where it listed and thou hearest the SOUND therefore, but canst not tell where it cometh and whether it goeth; so is EVERY ONE THAT IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT, (Ruach, - wind - air in motion) (Jn 3:8 KJV). Can you see it? Talking of the “ sound of the wind", then of course, that is the experience of Pentecost... There came from heaven (high realm of God's life) as of a rushing mighty WIND and it FILLED ALL… " (Acts 2:2). My friend, our meeting with the Lord is an 'upper room' experience, away from the 'trappings' and 'yapping' of religious fervours that is going on around us, away from the works of the earth-man Adam. On the day of Pentecost, when the religious world were busy celebrating their carnal feast in their temples in Jerusalem, the 120 in the upper room were meeting with their Lord as they were being filled with His life. For then Christ has been lifted above. " ALL principality and power, and dominion… and (God) hath put all things under his feet, and gave Him to be the head over ALL things to the Church, which is His BODY, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph 1:15-23 KJV).

 

Know what? As the Church rises up to meet with Him in the spirit to be filled of Him - (that) she may have the richest measure of divine presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded "with God Himself (Eph 3: 19 AMP), then we become the source from which all things will be filled in turn. As we meet with Him at this level in our spirit, then the prayer of Jesus may have been truly answered. "That they all may be one, as thou father art IN ME, and I IN THEE... even as we are one; I IN THEM, and thou IN ME... that they also be with me where I am... and I IN THEM (Jn17:20-26 KJV. "... And so shall we ever be With the Lord" - (in the spirit and life of God to which we have received, no more sin, no more death) wherefore comfort one another (those suffering persecution) with these word." I Thes 4:17-18. Praise God!

OGAGA O. DAVID.


OGAGA O. DAVID
SET MAN
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