“For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven, in the commandment, and in the voice of an archangel [in the commanding, and in the voice of the archangel], and in the trump of God; and the dead men that be in Christ, shall rise again first. Afterward we that live, that be left, shall be snatched (up) together with them in clouds, meeting Christ in the air; and so evermore we shall be with the Lord.”
Maybe Paul started the ‘zombie’ – the walking dead – craze. I don’t like writing about ‘end times’ because the Word clearly teaches no one knows the day, the hour except the Father. Why some insist on predicting the end of the world is beyond me! Why anyone argues over the details is also bizarre to me.
That “evermore we shall be with the Lord” is what attracts my attention! The rest is fluff, so to speak. The rapture? The Holy Spirit says ‘be prepared,” “keep watch” because we know not when He “shall come down from Heaven.”
On the cross, Jesus tells the repentant thief, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Jesus’ promise is not for some far off day, but for today!
Jesus tells us the truth. One day — “as He lives” — every individual who ever existed will bow to Him and give God praise. Now I can see every person kneeling in humility before God, but imagining every one praising God is not as easy. I’ve heard such vile, foul statements made against Him in my time here on earth that imagining those same persons speaking words of praise is difficult.
Think of Hitler or Stalin or Manson speaking words of praise to God, and you may have some appreciation for what I am saying. Praises from such men are incongruous with their personalities.
So, what happens? What changes? Do their hearts change at the judgment? Do they become like Job who said to the Lord, “I know that Thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from Thee. Who is he who hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered that which I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech Thee, and I will speak; I will demand of Thee, and declare Thou unto me. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6, KJV)
Will persons such as Kim Jong-il and Saddam Hussein suddenly recognize God and “abhor” themselves? Will they see God and “repent in dust and ashes?” As they bend their knees and fall on their faces, will their mouths open in songs of praise?
The Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is going to appear. Jesus tells them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable.”
“The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable” — really?
So many people today talk about Jesus’ return, of His appearing in the clouds, of the disappearance of presumably millions of Christians in an instant flash. Sounds observable to me! Sounds like people are going to say, “‘Look here!’ or ‘there!'”
But Jesus says, “You see, the kingdom of God is among you.”
The Pharisees do not see, but think they do. Therefore, they remain blind. The disciples listen. Jesus tells them they are going to “long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but won’t see it.” (Luke 17:22) He warns them not “to follow or run after” false messiahs just because people get excited and say, “Look here!” (Luke 17:23) Rather, the kingdom of God is within them, and within us.
Jesus says, “The man in the field must not turn back.” (Luke 17:31)
A future exists for us; a future at which time “living water issues from Jerusalem, half flowing to the eastern sea and half to the western, in summer and winter alike.” (Zechariah 14: 8)
“On that day is neither heat nor cold nor frost. It is all one day, whose coming is known only to the Lord, without distinction of day or night, and at evening time there is light.” (Zechariah 14: 6 – 7)
A future day which is “all one day,” in which there is only light; no darkness at all. A future day when “living water” comes out of the city of God — that is, from Jerusalem. “The whole land is leveled; (…) but Jerusalem stands high in her place, and is full of people (…) Men live there in peace.” (Zechariah 14: 7, 8, 10)
Simultaneously, all nations which war against Jerusalem are struck down by a plague — their peoples’ “flesh rots while they stand on their feet, their eyes rot in their sockets, and their tongues rot in their mouths.” (Zechariah 14: 12)
“On that day a great panic, sent by the Lord, falls on them. At the very moment when a man might encourage his comrade his hand is raised to strike him down.” (Zechariah 14: 13)
“On that day a fountain is opened for the line of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to remove all sin and impurity.” (Zechariah 13: 1)
On that day in Jerusalem, all are safe. On that day those outside and against Jerusalem are doomed.
Usually I do not write about “end times,” as I tend to think what is happening right now is so much more important than what is going to happen at the end of the world. Yet, this is not to imply by any means that what is going to happen in the end is not important!
Jesus speaks of “those days” often.
He says, “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” (Mark 13: 24 – 25)
First, says Jesus, comes tribulation – terrible and final. “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.” (Mark 13: 19) False prophets and men who claim to be God appear, and deceive many. Nations rise up against each other as do brothers and sisters, parents and children.
In more ways than one, the world is dark when Jesus comes again. He prays that this time will not be in winter. He acknowledges that God, in His mercy, will cut short the tribulation “for the sake of the elect, whom He chose.” (Mark 13: 20)
When Jesus comes, angels will go out into heaven and into the world to “gather His elect.” (Mark 13: 27)
“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13: 33)