Here’s a question for you. How well does the Church today understand the Lord’s return? Amazingly, we have to define that term because, like so much in our culture, the phrase has been redefined in multiple ways. We’re talking about when Jesus comes to receive His Bride at the rapture. More specifically, the foundational apostles taught that the second coming of Christ was not a separate event from the rapture. They saw it as a singular event.
In the next few blogs we will be looking at why this fundamental truth has become clouded, and in some cases, totally lost from certain views. It’s time to make the crooked places straight.
When Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that He was leaving, He told them that He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s House of many mansions in Heaven. They instantly got the reference because this was part of the bridal traditions of their day.
When a man asked for a woman’s hand in marriage from her father, and the agreement was made, the man and woman were considered married. The man would then go back to his household and prepare their new home. He promised to return again and take his bride there when all was ready.
The first crooked place that needs to be made clear is the purpose of His coming. The context of John 14 is Jesus preparing the disciples for His death at the crucifixion and His subsequent resurrection. He wanted to make sure they understood that this was not the end of the story. It only signaled that the first part of God’s prophetic plan of redemption was about to be finished. The New Covenant was about to be established in grace and truth.
The interim time—the next two great Days or 2,000 years—would be spent building His Body, establishing His Church, and wooing His Bride. He charged His disciples with preaching the Gospel and making disciples in order to bring as many people into that blessed union as possible.
So the purpose of His second coming is to gather His Bride to Him and take us all back to our prepared place and our future calling. When He comes, He will bring the dead in Christ with Him. They are the believers who have died and have gone to Heaven to await the fullness of time—the end of this age.
He will descend to the Mt. of Olives, the place of His crucifixion and resurrection. The power of His presence will split the mountain and create another Red Sea moment, making a way of escape for the Jews who have finally recognized Jesus as their Savior. They shall go to their prepared place on the earth and be fed for 3½ years.
At the same time, the Lion of Judah will roar, “Arise” and the bodies of the dead in Christ will arise from the dust of the earth and be transformed into immortal bodies. He will roar “Shine” and the bodies of those who are alive when He comes will be changed in a twinkling of an eye. Together, all of us will reenact our Lord’s ascension and return to Heaven, to our prepared place.
This is what the Scriptures reveal. Seems simple enough. So how did it get so clouded and complicated? We’ll look at more crooked places ahead. Stay tuned.