His Coming Presence
A Fresh Insight To His Appearance
Both Spiritual And Literal
Luther W. Cronrath
Edited and updated by Wade E Taylor
All Scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken
from the Holy Bible, Modern King James Version
Copyright 1962, 1990, 1993
Used by permission of copyright holder, Jay P Green Sr.
Copyright 1990 Luther W. Cronrath,
2008 Luther W. Cronrath.
This Book may be copied for personal study and edification only.
NOTE: This edition is substantially reduced in size for use on the Web.
The main message has been carefully preserved.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The New Day, The Parousia.
Chapter 2 Looking for His Appearing.
Chapter 3 Making Room For A New Day.
Chapter 4 Our Responsibility and Role in the Parousia.
Chapter 5 Introduction To The Third Day,
The Second Coming of The Lord.
Chapter 6 Encouragement.
Chapter 7 Who Executes Judgments?
This book has been written as a result of a series of messages given in Seattle, Washington, in the Spring of 1990. The flow of revelation was so anointed that there was a common witness that this word should go beyond the local fellowship. As a result of this encouragement, Luther Cronrath has made this publication available to all those who are “looking for His appearing.”
Feeling that this book is very important to those seeking to be a part of the end-time purposes of the Lord, Wade Taylor has carefully edited, added to, and updated the text, to make it more readable, and the message more understandable.
This edition has been substantially reduced in size to present this message on the web.
In this book we will discover the multi-faceted coming of the Lord, first to His Church, and then universally to the whole world. The result being the literal, visual establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, and the overcomers role in it.
The New Day, “The Parousia.”
Most Christians believe and look for the second coming of Jesus. We are moving into a new season in which the Holy Spirit is faithfully placing within us a desire to see Jesus, not only when we go to heaven, but in this life, at this present time.
The great hope within those who have a personal relationship with the Lord is His coming again. Our problem is that many have a mind-set concerning this, as there are differing opinions as to the time, purpose, and the way in which Jesus will return.
“But of that day and hour, no one knows….” Matthew 24:36
But one thing is certain. Jesus is coming, and He is coming soon.
The Scripture tells us:
“This same Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the way you have seen Him going into Heaven.” Acts 1:11
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His glory….” Matthew 25:31
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:16-17
“For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:2
“Therefore watch; for you do not know what hour your Lord comes.” Matthew 24:42
Each of these Scriptures deal with the Greek word “Parousia” which is a compound word, or two words made into one. “Para,” a preposition; and “ousia,” a verbal participle.
“Para” means to come alongside of, to come and surround, or to come and fill the atmosphere with one’s presence. It is interesting that the writer chose “Para” when there are at least 20 other prepositions in the Greek language.
“Para” was used because it reveals the “position” which we will have with Jesus at His Parousia. Therefore, there is something that happens, which positionally is more than just His “coming.” If a man is surrounded by people, he is in a position to talk and relate to them.
When three men came from Corinth to visit Paul, he used the word “Parousia.”
“I am glad at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, for these supplied your lack.” I Corinthians 16:17
This was more than the fact that they came from Corinth to visit Paul. Their coming brought them into communion and oneness with him.
The last part of this word, “ousia,” is a participle. A participle in English is a word that ends in “ing.” It describes what is coming. In the case of the men who came to Paul, it tells us that they personally came into his presence.
“Ousia” comes from a basic verb, “to be.” In every language, this verb is the most important, yet the simplest action word in the entire vocabulary. In Hebrew, the importance of the word “to be” can be seen in the experience of Moses. While herding his father-in-law’s sheep, Moses came to a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-15). When he turned aside to see what this strange phenomena was, the Lord spoke from the bush, saying, “Moses Moses... put off your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”
This was holy ground because a Person by the name of “Yahweh” was present. When Moses was told by the Lord to return to Egypt and loose his people from bondage, he said, “Whom do I say sent me?” and the Lord responded, “Yahweh.”
This is “I Am that I Am,” the simplest form of an active verb, or action word in the Hebrew language. It became so sacred that all through the Old Testament, the scribes would not write “Yahweh.” Rather, they wrote “Adonai,” which is “Lord.” Thus, our Bible says, “The LORD God.”
In the Gospel of John, Jesus identified Himself as “Yahweh.” After He had fed the 5,000, they again sought Him for another meal. In the course of their conversation, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life….” John 6:35. The word here is “Ego eimi” which is the Greek translation of Yahweh. He is saying, “Yahweh, the Bread of life.”
In another place He said, “I am the light of the world;” or, “Yahweh, the light of the world.” “I am the Door;” or, “Yahweh, the door.” “I am the good Shepherd;” or, “Yahweh, the good Shepherd.”
“Yahweh” is a powerful word. When six hundred soldiers came to the Garden of Gethsemane with Judas Iscariot to arrest Jesus, He asked who they were looking for. They said, “We are looking for Jesus,” and He said, “Yahweh.” At this word, all six hundred soldiers went over, flat on their backs.
The reason for our looking at “I Am” is because the word Parousia (ousia) contains this grammatical form. It tells us that there is a coming, but this is only a small part of it. The “ousia,” the “I Am” is coming to stand with and surround us, to fill our atmosphere with His presence. He is coming to talk to us, to lead us, to take us through those things we need to be taken through, during this “Parousia.”
Thus, Parousia is not “a snap of the fingers,” and then everything is here. When we see this, we suddenly discover that there are things about the Parousia which are profound.
In classical Greek, “Parousia” was always a word that was reserved for nobility, or someone of importance. When they came into the room and took their seat, whether it was a throne or a position of authority, whatever they did from that position was the “Parousia.” It took in everything that involved the presence of that individual.
We see the evidence of His coming and manifest presence from the beginning of creation. There are a number of passages in Genesis, chapters one through three, which reveal that He was present.
“…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2
“God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). When God moved upon the face of the waters, He was present in the presence (face) of the waters. (the creation at that moment).
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
God formed man and injected some of Himself into man, by breathing into him “spirit life.”
“And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
It is evident that at this moment, God is with man in the garden of Eden. He came and “presenced” Himself in the creation of the world, and with the man whom He had created “in Our image, after Our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
After this “presencing” of Himself in His creation, and with man, He evaluated all of this creative activity.
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good….” Genesis 1:31
This means that He could come (presence Himself) and be completely comfortable. This includes His being with man. It is obvious that this work of creation was the fulfillment of a desire that God had, has, and will yet have, that He might have fellowship with man, both physically and spiritually.
Let us look at an event that will further reveal God’s presence on the earth.
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God in the middle of the trees of the Garden.” Genesis 3:8
Note that Adam and Eve hid themselves from the “presence” of the Lord God (not from the Word). The man who had been created in the image of God has, by hiding, rejected the presence of the Lord God. Immediately, the Lord began to restore this “presencing” of Himself with man.
The dictionary contains the word, “presence,” but not “presencing.” I added the “e-n-c-i-n-g” because it describes the action. Let us look at this word, “Parousia,” and see how it is used in the second coming, or “the presencing of the Lord,” which is again about to take place.
In Matthew 24:3, the disciples came to Jesus and asked a question, “What will be the sign of Your coming?” (presence). Some Bibles place the word “presence” in the margin, but it is usually translated, “coming.” The disciples were asking, “When are You coming to be present with us again?”
There is an added understanding that the Lord desires to work in us, which illustrates the fact that Jesus is coming, just as He came the first time. It is that a series of events will equal His coming.
When Jesus came the first time, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, grew up in a carpenter shop in Nazareth, and at thirty years of age, began His ministry. Everything that took place from His conception to the cross and the grave; to His resurrection and ascension back to heaven, was His first coming; His first Parousia.
His second Parousia will not be any less mysterious. When He comes again, He will not merely come down, grab a bunch of us, and take us up into the clouds.
Jesus is coming back, soon. As a part of this, He will begin to personally appear to many people. As a result of these personal appearances, many things will begin to happen. There will be a substantial increase in the amount and quality of our worship, and of the prophetic. This will be the result of an increase and elevation in His anointing and presence within us, and in our meetings.
Also, there will be an enlarging of our ability to understand the Word, as we never before saw it. This is because He is coming to equip, or make ready, a people who will perform His end-time work on the earth.
There are two things that we are to be aware of in this study of the “Parousia.”
The first is that the Parousia is not a single event, but a series of interventions, which will lead to the ultimate purpose of God for the entire creation, and especially for His people.
It is of vital importance that we grasp the idea that these interventions will bring into clear view the purpose of the Lord in the closing out of the Church age, and the establishing of the Millennial Kingdom age. If we were “raptured,” we would lose our opportunity to have a part in the outworking of the “end-time purpose” of the Lord.
The second is that the original intention of the Lord, when He created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, was to be present with him.
Our understanding of these will be opened, step by step, as the Lord prepares us for this new day.
Looking for His Appearing
We should both look for and understand “His second coming.” There are several Greek words, such as “Apocalypses” and “Phaneroo” that have this meaning. These refer to the second coming of the Lord, and all that will follow as a result, while “Parousia” relates to His second coming, but more directly, to His appearings, or His presencing Himself.
There is a twofold manifestation of His presence in the Parousia.
(1). Jesus will appear in the midst of His Church (the Church within the Church - those gathered together as overcomers). Also, He will appear to many individuals. This will take place before this age ends.
These appearings will prepare us for our involvement with the Lord in His Parousia. This personal “presencing” of Jesus is the appearance that has been misunderstood as being the rapture.
“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection….” Revelation 20:5-6
Rather than rapture, the “first resurrection” is the word that should be used.
(2). Jesus will appear to the whole world.
“Behold, He comes 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.” Revelation 1:7
“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. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:16-17
In the fullness of time, the entire world will see Him when He comes in this way.
When Jesus rules during the Millennium, He will not be openly seen, but He will be here on the earth to rule through a prepared body of overcomers. We are told that He will be here for a thousand years. This could mean something other than a specific one thousand year period of time.
If we “qualify” to have a part with the Lord in His second coming, we will rule and reign with Him. We will be priests of God and of Christ, and have power over the second death, so we can reign with Him for this thousand year period of time.
“And has made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10
Thus, the Parousia is a multiplicity of events, but it primarily has to do with the individual appearings of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are to “stay awake” concerning this event. This does not mean that we are not to go to bed, but rather, that we are to be watchful, like a watchman on the tower, searching to see if anyone is coming.
The Church of our day needs to be reminded of this, as we are living almost two thousand years after all this was written. There were fifty generations of Christians before us, who looked for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He did not come. Because of this, we are not to become complacent.
Peter gives us a warning, just as he warned the people of that time.
“Beloved, I now write this second letter to you, in which I stir up your pure minds to remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior, spoken by us, the apostles.” II Peter 3:1
Peter is telling us that Apostles are to bring this message. When they were expecting Jesus Christ to come in that generation, Apostles brought this message. We are to experience the fullness of the five-fold ministry, with Apostles and Prophets openly functioning, along with the Pastors, Evangelists, and Teachers. It is important for us to have a prophetic word to bring to our remembrance the commandment of the Lord, which was spoken by the prophets of old.
“First, knowing this, that there will come in the last days scoffers walking according to their own lusts.” II Peter 3:3
There are those today who doubt the “Parousia” of the Lord. This is one of the reasons why the devil has been able to convince so many that there is to be a rapture. They believe that there is nothing to be done, but at any moment, all Christians will be caught up.
There is another problem. When we become so absorbed in our daily occupations that we become weary, we are unable to think of anything else. Thus, because we are not looking for and meditating upon the coming of the Lord, we are in danger of doing as these scoffers, and we with them, will begin to question His return, saying:
“Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” II Peter 3:4
The Lord has an answer for this, which is available to those who earnestly seek Him.
“But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden from you, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” II Peter 3:8
From the time when the angel said to Mary, “You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:31), to the time when He arose from the grave, was but a moment in eternity. To us, it was thirty three and one-half years.
This is because we are still limited to this way of thinking. Peter is telling us that we are to change our thinking.
“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
Jesus died for every man, woman, and child, from Adam until the time of His return, and in His timetable, He is still waiting, giving everyone an opportunity.
There are several other things that we should consider.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. And the earth and the works in it will be burned up. Then, all these things being about to be dissolved, what sort ought you to be in holy behavior and godliness.” II Peter 3:10-11
The Lord did not destroy the earth when it was covered by the flood. Rather, He destroyed all the evil that was upon it. Giving the rainbow as a guarantee, He said, “I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, because the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).
Much later, through Peter, He said that there would come a final destruction of all evil powers, and that this would be through fire. Those who are evil will be gone forever, but we will remain to abide in a renewed earth.
“Looking for and rushing the coming of the Day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will melt away, and the elements will melt, burning with heat. But according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” II Peter 3:12-13
This word “new” is not something that is brand-new, which never existed before. Rather, it means “to renew.” We are told that the Lord will renovate the earth with fire. And we are not to be discouraged, as we will survive it all. When all evil is burned and cleared away, we will receive a renewed heaven and a renewed earth, as God originally intended it to be.
This is again stated in Revelation 21:1: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.”
This is a renewed heaven and a renewed earth, rather than something completely new. As we grasp this, we will begin to get the concept of what it will be like to rule and reign with Christ Jesus.
If this is not the right understanding of this passage, then His Word returned to Him void on the day of creation.
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good….” Genesis 1:31
The Hebrew word for “very good” means, “It is compatible with Me, and I can live with it forever.” There is a present expression of this taking place within our spiritual life experience.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
We are to be awake and alert as this process takes place within our lives, that we not miss the greater day of His Parousia, in which that which has been accomplished within us will find its outworking upon the earth.
There is a Parousia, a coming of the Lord, to dwell “around” each one of us, that He might manifest Himself within us. He desires to make Himself known to us, to give us a new dimension by which we will become an active part of the functioning body of Jesus Christ, which “in that day” will work the judgments of God in the earth.
Making Room for a New Day
There cannot be two days at the same time. The sun never comes up twice in one day. Rather, each time it first appears is a new day. So also in God’s time. Thus, there are two days that must be closed, before there can be the new day of which Joel said:
“…For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible and who can stand it?” Joel 2:11
We will look at these two days, their passing into the night, and how this ushers in the new day, which is called the Parousia of the Lord.
The word “Parousia” is often translated as the “coming of the Lord.” But this does not tell the whole story, as He will not just come, but rather He is the eternal “I AM” who is coming, indwelling, surrounding, and standing beside, His people. This establishes a time frame.
One of the problems with the translation of Scripture into English concerns words which are translated so as to give the impression of “immediately” or, “all of a sudden,” as a flash of lightning in the sky, which appears and in a moment, is gone. The use of these words fail to describe many Scriptural situations, especially the Parousia, which speaks of a time frame in which Jesus is coming, over a period of time, to presence Himself to His people, and then afterward, to the world.
We have been so programmed through the use of these words that we have the idea that when Jesus comes, He will suddenly appear and take us up into heaven, as an all-at-once event. Therefore, we have been unable to respond to all that is intended in the coming of the Lord, which is a series of events.
It is very important that we consider the events which lead up to the idea of Parousia. We will look at the things that are passing into the shadows of the evening, so that the dawning of a new day might come. To do this, we will look at Matthew chapter twenty-three, and the first twenty seven verses of chapter twenty-four.
This presentation is not intended to spell out each detail with its full meaning and purpose. Rather, we will do this through the reasons which Jesus gave as to why these “days” had to pass away before the Parousia - the coming, or presencing of the Lord could take place.
We saw God’s presence evidenced in the first three chapters of Genesis. Let us now consider the first day of restoration. It is called the Old Testament, or the day of the Law. After Adam fell and before he was driven out of the Garden, a prophetic promise was given by the Lord in His denunciation of the devil.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15
Through this word, the Lord promised that the seed of the woman would overcome the devil. From that moment, God began to unfold His plan of restoration. First, He made it possible for man to reproduce, and then He selected a genealogy from which His son, Jesus Christ, would come into the world.
The Lord enabled Noah, with his sons and their wives, to survive the cleansing of the earth by a flood. Then as the population again increased, He chose and called out a man to become the father of a nation that was to be set aside as being His people. These, the offspring of Abraham, were led into a relationship with God through a guideline called the Law, or Torah.
First, this Law established a standard for relationships between God and men. It was summed up in the Ten Commandments, which were based upon love to God, and to their fellowman. This was a relationship principle that is intended to be eternal.
Secondly, this Law established social, economic, and dietary rules of natural living. Thirdly, this Law gave direction on how to worship and communicate with the Lord through sacrifices and feasts.
The remainder of this account of the first day of restoration is the record of a people who went through many trials, with the Lord guiding them by prophets, priests, and kings. By the time of the end of this day, they had become a very religious and legalistic people. When Jesus came on the scene, He began to deal with this legalism and religiosity.
In the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, Jesus closed the door of this Old Testament day in order to make room for the dawning of a new day - the Church Age. In the first twelve verses, He spoke to the multitude concerning the Jewish religious kingdom. He told them that “the Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2). This was the place of esteem and authority, in which the Law had been established and where it functioned.
There was nothing wrong with their sitting in the seat of Moses, but Jesus had a problem with how they observed it. The Pharisee and the Scribe interpreted and dictated this law to everyone else, but they themselves did not do what they had instructed others to do.
Because of this, Jesus said:
“Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do. But do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy and hard-to-carry burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders. But they will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:3-4
In order to be noticed and praised by men, they broadened their phylactery. A phylactery is a band which they put around their head, containing a pocket that was filled with Bible passages. To hold more of these, they had to enlarge their phylactery. Jesus said they loved the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in synagogues, and the respectful greetings in the marketplace, because they wanted to be seen. But they had no intention of performing what these passages of Scripture said.
In Matthew 23:8, Jesus revealed the real authority of the Kingdom of God.
“But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your Teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers.”
This refers to the Holy Spirit. Then He said:
“And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in heaven.” Matthew 23:9
The word “father” is a word which means the “one who is the source of things that began.” The source of the law did not come from the Sadducees, Pharisees, or the scribes. Rather, it came from the Father, who gave it. Then Jesus said:
“Nor be called teachers, for one is your teacher, even Christ.” Matthew 23:10
He is telling them that there is only one teacher, or leader, the Messiah. He is laying the ground work for the true Kingdom of God in which there is a Father, Leader, and Teacher; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
This is the basic principle of the Kingdom of God. It is to be a Kingdom in which the greatest will be the one who is underneath, holding it all up. This is the opposite of a worldly kingdom in which everything is a pyramid, with the control at the top.
From Matthew 23:13 on, Jesus responds to this ungodly kingdom of self-righteousness, using a word that appears eight times; the word “woe.” The Greek word for this is “Ouai,” which is an exclamation of denunciation and grief. As Jesus expressed these words, He was grieved. We have always heard that He was angry. Rather, He looked at them with tears of grief.
“But woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” A Scribe was an expert in the interpretation of the law of Moses. The Pharisee, on the other hand, was a separatist. This means that they were legalistic individuals who only allowed into their fellowship those who did everything exactly as they dictated. All others were excluded.
Jesus said that they were “hypocrites.” This means a “pretender,” one who is less than the real thing. The first thing He confronted them with was the fact that they shut up, or kept the kingdom closed.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13
Jesus is announcing the end of a day which no longer had any purpose in the service of Almighty God. He spoke these words of woe because this Old Testament day had become so corrupt with self-righteousness that it no longer was effective in anything that God intended to accomplish.
Because the sun was about to go down, Jesus said:
“Truly I say to you, all these things shall come on this generation.” Matthew 23:36
This would happen, not during the day in which Jesus spoke these things, but within the time frame of that generation. They saw the fulfillment of this Word in 70 AD, with the total desolation of the temple and of Jerusalem.
“And Jesus went out and departed from the temple. And His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple.” Matthew 24:1
Jesus had declared the desolation of this house. In response, His disciples said to Him, “Look at this wonderful Temple and the beautiful temple grounds.” Then Jesus answered them and said:
“Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, there shall not at all be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2
Later, while sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and asked:
“…Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” Matthew 24:3
There are two questions here. “When will this temple be destroyed?” and, “What is the sign of your coming?” This word “coming” is “Parousia.” When will the end of the age, and the day of Your presence, happen? Jesus prefaced His answer with an unusual statement.
“And Jesus answered, and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must occur, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:4-8
Notice that false Christ’s are not signs of the end, nor are wars and rumors of wars, neither are famines and earthquakes. Rather, He said that these are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Our birthday is on the day we came out of the womb, not the day our mother began to have birth pangs. Jesus is saying that there will be a lot of birth pangs, but the end has not yet come.
“Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My Name’s sake. And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets will rise and deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold.” Matthew 24:9-12
This persecution will become intensified at the end of the Church age, as all of these things have been experienced by the Lord’s people throughout the Church age. He is saying that there will be an entire gamut of natural disasters, plus a war against the Church which we will experience. He then tells us to “stick with it” until the end of this age, because I have saved you for another age.
“But he who endures to the end, the same shall be kept safe.” Matthew 24:13
This is a “saving” that will enable us to live through all these things. This enabling grace will be given as a part of the Parousia of the Lord. We have arrived at this point of time and Jesus is beginning to move toward us. As He approaches and presences Himself to us, the Kingdom of God will appear to us in a way we had not before seen.
“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come.” Matthew 24:14
This “end” that will come speaks of the closing out of the gospel of salvation, the Church age. We must hear and receive this, but there is a gospel that must yet go around the world in these last days, “The Gospel of the Kingdom.” Therefore, there is a coming emphasis on the message of the Kingdom.
Jesus had just closed the day of the Pharisees, who were in a self-righteous kingdom of their own; not the Kingdom of God. Now He is ready to answer the first question, “When will these things happen?” His answer begins with Matthew 24:15:
“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (whoever reads, let him understand).”
He is referring to a prophetic description that was given to Daniel in Daniel 11:31, of the desolation of the sanctuary. There have been many interpretations of what this means, and which make it complicated, but it is a very simple thing.
Daniel said that he prophetically stood in the sanctuary and pronounced that it would be desecrated. He was prophesying the end of the physical temple that was in Jerusalem. In 70 A.D. Titus, with the armies of Rome, laid a devastating siege around Jerusalem. There were Christians in Jerusalem as well as the Jews, and they were all caught in this siege. During the time of this siege, the Roman emperor died and was being buried in Egypt. Titus took the entire siege army to this funeral and left Jerusalem wide open.
In Matt 24:16-17, Jesus prophetically gave instructions as to what the Christians were to do.
“Then let those in Judea flee into the mountains. Let him on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house.”
This was because the army would soon return and set up another siege. He was giving the Christians an opportunity to leave Jerusalem, because the abomination of desolation was about to take place.
The temple had been covered with gold because of the large contributions the people had made. When the armies of Rome were about to break through the walls, the Jews undermined the temple with large reservoirs of very flammable oils. They did not want a Gentile desecrating the Temple again, so they destroyed it themselves.
They set fire to the oil and it became so hot that the gold melted as the Temple burned. The heat crumbled the rocks so there was a pile of rocks covered with gold. Josephus tells us that Titus told his soldiers to separate each rock from the others, and remove the gold. Then the rocks were scattered.
Titus rode his horse into the Holy of Holies and then back out. The Jews expected something terrible to happen, but the Lord had already left. The end of a day had come for Israel. Thus, the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled. This was the abomination of desolations that Jesus spoke of as being the answer to their first question, “When will this take place?”
Then Jesus answered their second question.
“Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there. Do not believe it. For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they shall say to you, Behold He is in the desert, Do not go out. Behold, He is in the secret rooms, do not believe it.” Matthew 24:23-26
This begins the answer to the second question because in Greek grammar, a definite change of subjects is indicated. The word “then” does not relate to the temple being destroyed, but to the answer of their second question, “What will be the signs of Your coming, and the end of the age?”
Jesus had listed many things that would happen, which are a prelude to the end. Now, He is going further and listing other things that will happen. There will be false prophets and false Christ’s. There will be those who tell us that we should go “here” or go “there” to find the Messiah. Jesus said we are not to believe them. This is a part of the night that will come before the day.
The Jewish day starts at six o'clock in the evening, and the first twelve hours of it are in darkness. During the time of this darkness, before the dawning of the new day, there will be false prophets and teachers. This darkness is coming, and it will be at the time of the closing of the old day, the Church Age. It is a night season, and we are not to believe all the false Christ’s, prophets, and teachers.
We can be assured of this because:
“For as the lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:27
It is a tragedy that our English Bibles used the word “lightning,” as it gives credence to a sudden coming of Jesus with everyone going up. This word translated as lightning does not have that meaning at all. Lightning does not necessarily come from the east, but flashes from whatever direction a storm may be moving.
The Greek word means that daylight is coming. As the sun rises, the heavens light up, and gradually the earth becomes lit. The Lord is saying this is the way the Son of Man will come. In the dawn of this new day, He will begin to manifest Himself to us, and as He does, we will be given a role in the closing out of this age.
“For not following cunningly devised fables, but becoming eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ, we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord... to which you do well to take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Daystar arises in your hearts.” II Peter 1:16-19
The word “coming” in this passage is “Parousia.” Peter is giving a testimony of what he saw in the Mount of Transfiguration. This appearance of Jesus Christ in His transfigured form did not physically affect or change Peter, James, or John, as they saw Him in His transfigured glory.
Peter is saying, “We saw how He will look when He comes in all His glory, and we ourselves heard this utterance made in heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” This is the lightning that flashed in the east and went down in the west. It is a coming in which we will have a more sure word of prophecy, than any previous prophetic word.
This will be a new day in which The Morning-Star will arise in our hearts. This is where Jesus is first coming in His Parousia. There will be a time when He will manifest Himself to the whole world, but first His “Parousia” will be manifested in those who remain faithful, even to the end of the Church Age.
We are living in that time, and we will not miss it, whether we live or die. He may appear to us today, but this will not change us physically. Rather, we will have the light of the Lord within us, which will shine forth like the dawn of a new day.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples: but the Lord shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you.” Isaiah 60:1-2
At this present time, the Lord is giving us the opportunity to discern His presence when we come together in worship, and in the Word. As we enter this presence, we are being prepared for the time when He will literally manifest Himself in us, and be with us. This day is dawning.
There are still false prophets and Christ’s, and an increase of the things of the night. The evening has settled in, and soon we will be standing in the Parousia. The dawn is approaching, and it is beginning to cast light upon this new day.
Our Responsibility and Role in the Parousia
After Adam’s fall, a process of restoration began. The first day of this restoration is called the Old Covenant, or, the day of the Torah. “Torah” in Hebrew means the “flowing out from God” day. It was the day of the Law.
That day came to its twilight when Jesus declared “woes” upon their spiritual leaders, and to its full end when He died upon the cross. The law had served its purpose, and the dawning of a new day began with the resurrection of Jesus. In the beginning of this new day, the Holy Spirit was poured out, and men were empowered to become a witness of Jesus Christ. This is called the Church Age.
During this Church age much progress has been made, but it was also a day in which there was a mighty move of the enemy. The devil, with all his hosts, took continual shots at the body of Christ. Also, there were persecutions, famines, earthquakes, and many other events. But Satan could not quench this outpouring of the Holy Spirit and fire with these persecutions. Rather, because persecutions only fueled it, he turned to other things.
He began to work on the “man of lawlessness” - our ego, which desires to sit on the Throne of God in His Temple. Soon, as a result of this subtle attack, the day became clouded and resulted in a thousand years of darkness in which there was very little manifestation of God. This was called “the dark ages.” As the Church went through this time, it became structured, legalistic, and established in its own laws.
Parallel to this was the light which began to shine as the various reformers received a glimpse of all that God had in store for His Church. Justification, sanctification, evangelism, and the work of the Holy Spirit were gradually restored. This illumination continued until it became bright.
Now, this day is almost over. However, the work of the Holy Spirit is not finished as there is a new move at hand. This visitation is presently demonstrating the value and purpose of His presence, which will prepare and lead us into the day in which the Kingdom Age will arise.
This birthing of the Kingdom Age will come with the personal testimony of Jesus Christ again being present. There are many things that will take place in this Parousia, but it will begin with a day in which Jesus Christ will manifest, or demonstrate Himself. He is about to become visibly present again in the lives of His people.
“When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” II Thessalonians 1:10
Each one of us had an encounter with Jesus when we were saved, but the Holy Spirit did this work. There is about to come a more visible activity, which will be on an entirely different spiritual plane. In this second coming of Jesus, He will first manifest Himself to His people, on an individual basis. Then later, He will come in such triumph that the whole world will see Him. Thus, there are two stages in the second coming of Jesus Christ. The first stage is described in Matthew 24:27:
“For as the lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so also will be the coming (Parousia) of the Son of man.”
The second stage is described in Matthew 24:30 in which He suddenly appears to the whole world:
“And then the sign of the Son of man shall appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory.”
All who are alive at this time will see Him.
In the first stage of His coming, He will come to the individual. Let us look at a few Bible passages to see what it means to have Jesus appear to His people. We will use the same Bible passages that we used in the Church Age, but with a different concept. We will need spiritual ears and eyes because this requires a different awareness on our part.
The Holy Spirit who abides in our lives is “The Parakletis.” This speaks of the Comforter, or Counselor. The word “Parakletis” has within it “Para” which is also used in Parousia. This means to come, to surround, and create an atmosphere. This is the Holy Spirit. He is the Parakletis. He has come to surround us with His atmosphere and to fill us with His presence.
The next part, “kaleo” means “He will call us.” The word for Church is Ekklesia, or the “called out ones.” These are those who have responded to the Holy Spirit and have received and declared Jesus Christ to be their Savior, and also, their personal Lord.
This will take place in the age that is before us because we have a specific command from Jesus to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. The true Church (overcomers within the visible Church) will enter into the Parousia. These are those who are overcoming, and are willing to pay the price in going all the way with Him.
Jesus appears to those who are the redeemed in two ways. First, He is made known through the work of the Holy Spirit, and second, by His personal appearance to individual members of His Church. After this, He will appear to the entire world.
The word “Phaneroo” means “to appear.” This word is used primarily concerning His personal appearance. It describes when He appeared to the eleven in the upper room; to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus; to Mary Magdalene at the tomb; and to upwards of five hundred at one time. In each of these appearances, the word “Phaneroo” is used. This speaks of a personal appearance of Jesus, which is about to again happen. These appearances will not result in any bodily change, such as the taking on of immortality in those to whom He appears.
The reason for these appearances of Jesus to His people is given in II Corinthians 2:14:
“Now thanks be to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.”
He will lead us in victory. All the things which had hindered us will no longer hold us back. Jesus will manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Himself. This is the awareness of His Parousia.
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” II Corinthians 4:10-11
The Greek word for “manifest” is phaneroo. This word, “phaneroo,” means to reveal, or to make known to one, or to a combination of our physical senses. We must die to our self-life so we will be able to allow the manifestation of the life of Jesus in our mortal body. Therefore, there are disciplines that we must submit to in order for His life to be manifested through us.
“The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. For to them God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-27
This “mystery” is the quickened Word of God, which is “Christ in us.” When we enter into this Parousia, and Jesus begins to individually appear to each one of us, the world will know that we have had a meeting with Jesus. This is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Jesus is coming, first of all, to be glorified in His saints.
“When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day….” II Thessalonians 1:10
These are other believers who will rejoice with us because we had a visitation from Jesus, and He will be glorified in that person. All of this will take place in the Parousia, which is not just a one time experience. It is a day which begins with a night, a dawning, a high noon, and then the entire day. It is a period of time.
“And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He is revealed, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him in His coming.” I John 2:28
His appearing to us is intended to do something for us. It is to give us confidence so we will not be fearful, or ashamed at His Parousia. We need this confidence because we might become so frightened when He does appear, that we will not hear a thing that He is saying.
These passages, plus many more, are contained in the first stage of His Parousia, as referred to in Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:27, “so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
After the crucifixion of Jesus, the early Church was left fearful and confused. However, as Jesus appeared to them, all this faded and they were ready for all that was before them. So also today, as we approach the Kingdom age. Jesus is not coming to us, just to give us a pat on the back and say, “It is so good to be here.” Rather, He will appear to us because He has a work for us to do. We could not be made ready for this in any other way. We are to become “the instruments of tribulation” to the world, and not the victims of it.
Revelation 1:1 starts with these words, “A Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him (Jesus), to declare to His servants (us) things which must shortly come to pass.”
The word “revelation” tells us that He will remove the veil in order to show these things to us. As we experience His coming to us as an individual believer, we will begin to see our role and responsibility in the “Parousia.”
It is very important that we understand the conditions that will exist during this time of His Parousia.
“But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you. For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:1-2
While the world is saying “peace and safety,” destruction will suddenly come upon them, like birth pangs that come without warning upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.
One of the reasons for Jesus appearing to us on an individual basis is to prepare us, so we will not be overtaken by that day, which is coming as a thief. The Lord intends us to be aware of what is happening. Therefore He tells us, “you are all the sons of light and the sons of the day” I Thessalonians 5:5. This is speaking of His Parousia, “the day of the Lord.”
“But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” I Thessalonians 5:8
To be sober means that we are alert and have our senses fully functioning. This does not mean that we are to continually stay awake. Rather, it means that we are to be alert and sensitive to all that the Lord presents to us. It is very important that we understand how Jesus will develop, or prepare us for the day of tribulation and judgment, so we will survive.
The breastplate is over the chest area and speaks concerning the protection of our spirit. If we have an absolute, complete trust in God, the song of the Lord cannot be withheld within us, because we will have no inhibitions about declaring all that the Lord is making known to us.
Also, we have a helmet - the hope of salvation, which is to be placed on our head. This speaks of our mind, emotions, and self awareness, which is our soul. This provides a protection, as Paul said that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
This word “hope” does not mean something that we hope for, but rather, an absolute, confident anticipation. The word “salvation” speaks of a complete protection. We do not need to be concerned as we will have been given a confidence that there will be something that will surround our mind and soul, so we will be able to receive that which the Lord intends to deliver to us, even though we are aware of all the things that are physically taking place in the world.
“For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ….” I Thessalonians 5:9
Many desire to be raptured because they are afraid of what is coming. Therefore, the Word gives us this promise. The word “not appointed” means “He did not set us up.” He is not preparing us for punishment, but rather for salvation. Jesus becomes the channel through which we will be encircled in this salvation, which is a complete wholeness of protection.
Now, we will consider our role and responsibility in the Parousia.
During this “day of the Lord,” there will be a time of great tribulation, which are the judgments of God. During this time, we have a role and a responsibility to fulfill. There would be no reason for Jesus to come to us on an individual basis, unless He had something for us to do, and to be responsible for, in the Parousia.
Therefore, we are to be instruments of the tribulation, and not victims of it. We will be the source of tribulation to the world.
“Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and He revealing (phaneroo) through us the odor of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are to God a sweet savor of Christ, in those being saved, and in those being lost. To the one we are the savor of death to death, and the other we are the savor of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” II Corinthians 2:14-16
Paul is saying that when Jesus manifests Himself within and through us, we will become a fragrant aroma to all those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. But the unbeliever, and also, the unbelieving believer, will be uncomfortable in our presence due to this aroma of life which we receive from Jesus. They will not want us near them because we will appear to them as being an aroma of death to death. This is because we will be the instruments for judgment and tribulation to all those who do not believe.
The book of Revelation confirms the two-fold unveiling of Jesus Christ in the Parousia. First He appears in His people, and then much later, He will appear as a Judge, whom the entire world will see.
The first part of this revelation takes place in the first three chapters, in which Jesus is appearing as the One who is in the midst of His Church to purify and develop overcomers. He is preparing His Church for what is to take place from chapter four onward, and it is very important that we understand these revelations.
Let us first consider the preparation of these called out ones.
“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to carry out vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with iron-bands, to carry out on them the judgment written; this is an honor for all His saints. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 149:4-9
Each of us who has embraced Jesus Christ as our Savior and has allowed the sanctification of the Holy Spirit to take place, and has unconditionally made Jesus Lord of their lives, is a saint. As a saint, the first thing we are to do is to be “joyful in glory.” Glory always relates to the presence of the Lord. Thus we are to be joyful in His presence.
Also, we are to let “the high praises of God be in our mouth.” We exalt the Lord by declaring Him to be whom He has said He is; our Righteousness, our Sanctification, our provider, our healer, and the One who is present in our lives.
Not only are we to praise the Lord with our mouth, but we are to have a two edged sword in our hand. “Two edged” comes from a Greek word that means “flashing.” An illustration of this is when Joshua was ready to do battle at Jericho, a man was present with a flaming sword in His hand. This was the Lord of Hosts, Jesus, with a two edged sword. We are to be involved with Him in the judgments of God, with the flaming sword of Jesus Christ.
The purpose for this is to execute vengeance on the nations and judgment on all peoples. This will be done by the saint who is singing the high praises of God with this two edged sword in his hands, and will result in their kings being bound with chains. These kings speak of Satan, along with all of his hosts, being bound. This is the fulfillment of Revelation 20. Just before the thousand year reign, the Kingdom age, these principalities and powers are bound by an angel, or messenger. We, the overcomers, are this messenger.
We are approaching this day of the Parousia in which we will be empowered to give expression to the high praises of God, and as a result, will be given this flaming sword. We will declare the name of God, and we will bind these kings and their nobles in fetters of iron. This means that Satan will be locked up in a place where he cannot get out.
We are to “execute on them the judgment written.” Thus, the first stage of Jesus coming in His Parousia is to equip His saints to do exactly this. We are being prepared for a new dimension of responsibility, but in order to have this, we must come to an increasing awareness of our Kingdom responsibilities, which goes beyond that which we have in the Church.
Psalm 149:9 tells us that “this is an honor for all His saints.” This “honor” means favor. This applies to His saints, whom the Lord takes pleasure in. He favors them with the privilege of executing all these things. Thus, these saints cannot be those who are fearful, but rather, those who are excited about doing the work of God. This will require Jesus coming to reveal Himself anew to us in a mighty way.
We will have a part in the execution of these judgments and tribulation while we are still in our mortal bodies. In our present state, we may say, how can this be? However, we are not to be concerned with our apparent lack, but we are to look for Jesus, expecting Him to come and manifest Himself in us. As the dawn is beginning to break upon us, He will shed forth His light upon His people.
If there is any doubt within us about our being involved in the execution of the Tribulation, consider the following:
“Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High. And the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Daniel 7:22
Daniel saw beasts which had frightened him. These were the kingdoms of the earth, and the fourth one was the greatest of them all. This beast, which is Satan, was the ruler of all the earth. In the temptation of Jesus, Satan took Jesus up on the high mountain, and in a moment showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth. He said, “All these things I will give You, if You will fall down and worship me.” Jesus did not tell him that he could not give these, as they had been given to him. Instead, Jesus said, “Go, Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Matthew 4:10
These kingdoms have continually come against the Church. But in Daniel 7:22, judgment is given to the saints of the Most High and the time came when these saints took possession of the kingdom. This is not the Kingdom of God, but the kingdom of this fourth beast.
“But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his rulership, to cut off and destroy. And the kingdom and rulership, and the greatness of the kingdom under all the heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. And all kingdoms shall serve and obey Him.” Daniel 7:26-27
This beast kingdom will be destroyed forever. The dominion of the fourth beast, the greatest of all kingdoms, will be given to the saints of the most high. These saints will be the judges, the ones who will take it by the power of the Spirit and the authority of the Ancient of Days, the Lord of Hosts. When this happens, then the Kingdom of God, an everlasting Kingdom, will have dominion.
We are to take these kingdoms so they will come into the obedience and service of the true and living God. We may say, “How can we mortals receive such power and authority?” In the Parousia, the purpose of the second coming of Jesus is to accomplish this. He will visit us that we might be revived and enabled to become overcomers, when the great tribulation and judgments of God will begin.
All of this great tribulation and judgment will come from the Throne of God, not from the devil. The devil caused tribulation during the Church Age, but he will not be able to do so in the Parousia. During this time, the judgments and the tribulation will come only from the Throne of God.
We, as the Church, must be revived and restored in body, soul, and spirit, through the revelation of Jesus Christ to us, so we can be all that He intends us to be, when He comes again in all His glory.
Introduction To The Third Day.
The Second Coming of Jesus
The Lord’s dealings with His people span three seasons, or days. The first was the day of the Old Testament. It dealt with types and shadows in which principles were established, concerning the things which would happen in the second day.
During this first day, the basic principles of life were also established. An example is the blessings and curses that are listed in Deuteronomy. In the Torah, or the Law, which literally means a “flowing forth from God,” two basic principles were established by which all else in life was to be measured, or lived.
The first was:
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
And the second:
“…You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18
Jesus also confirmed this as being the basic law of life.
The second season, or day of the Lord’s restoration of His people, is “The New Testament,” or the “Church Age.” The Church Age began with Matthew, rather than the book of Acts. Jesus is the head of the Church, and all that was done in His first coming, which is the first part of the second day, was to fulfill all the principles of the Old Testament, or the first day.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). This is a reference to the previous day.
This is exactly what Jesus did, and along with this, as a part of the second day, He established His Body, the Church. The Church was established to accomplish two basic things.
First, to preach the good news to the world. The Church has been exercised from the days of the Apostles until now, seeking to accomplish this.
Second, to prepare the Lord’s people for His coming again. Galatians and Thessalonians were written in the early part of Paul’s ministry. In these, Paul appeared to be consumed with the second coming of Jesus, which he looked for in the first generation of Christianity, before his life would end.
These two things, therefore, make up the second day; the spreading of the Gospel to the entire world, and the preparation of the individual within the Body of Christ for the second coming of Jesus. This preparation is being accomplished through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who is the primary Person moving in the second day.
“But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” John 14:26
“And when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” John 15:26
The focal point of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to bring to remembrance and teach the Church all that Jesus said, and to bear witness to His Word. All this is directed toward establishing a mature Church, which is the Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the head.
“And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment.” John 16:8
The mission of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin that they might repent and be saved; not to condemn the world. This is being accomplished during this second day by the Church, as they present the “good news.”
The Holy Spirit also convicts of righteousness. The one who is convicted of sin and repents becomes an empty vessel, which needs to be filled with the righteousness of God. Then finally, He convicts the world of judgment, which is a preparation for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And he will announce to you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine, and will announce it to you.” John 16:13-14
The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus by making known to us that He laid aside His Deity, came from Heaven, was found in the likeness of man, subjected Himself to all that we are subjected to, yet without sin, was crucified to atone for our sins and on the third day, arose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God, ever living to make intercession for us, that we might walk in newness of life.
The Holy Spirit is the One who has been at work throughout the entire Church Age, in which the world is being confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, the Body of Christ is being matured and prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ.
The third day, the Parousia, is the day of His appearance, the day of His presence. First, He is coming to His people. Man has always had the idea that when the Parousia comes - the great day of the Lord, there will be a trumpet blast and Jesus will come down for the whole world to see. However, the Parousia does not start there. Rather, it begins with His coming in a special way to His people.
We have met Jesus in the second day through the Holy Spirit. We met Him as our Savior, and we committed ourselves to Him as being our Lord. We looked to Him through the work of the Holy Spirit, who reveals what Jesus taught and did during His first coming.
But there is another coming of Jesus Christ, which is essential for us to understand. For if we do not, we will have a difficult time when the third day begins to dawn, which at this present time, is in the process of taking place. The light is getting brighter on the horizon.
We are being stirred from our nests, as it were, to get ready for something that will be new in our worship, prayer, and in our personal relationships to God. This greatly increased sense of His presence will take on different forms than those which we have been accustomed to, in the past.
The third day, the Parousia, begins with His appearance to His people. Let me share an illustration. In Ephesians 5:25, Paul admonishes husbands to love their wives just as Jesus also loved the Church and gave Himself for her.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27
This word “gave” is a compound word, “paradidomi.” “Para” is also used at the beginning of the Greek word “Parousia.” It means a “coming alongside and completely surrounding” in the sense of “being the atmosphere of.” “Didomi” means to give, to bring forth, or deliver.
Just as Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself for it, He will come to His Church and “presence” Himself with His Church, to bring us to a level of commitment that will create an atmosphere in which He can minister to His Church. Unless we have the understanding that Jesus is coming to surround us with this commitment, we will miss what He is really saying in verse twenty six, "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.”
We could say that He has been doing this for two thousand years. We could quote I John 1:7 and say, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Sin is an activity or action that is contrary to God in our lives. It is something we have committed, and now confess. Our Father is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, by the blood of the Lamb.
This activity has been going on since the day that Jesus went to the cross. The blood of Jesus Christ has washed us, and cleansed us of every sin. But this passage in Ephesians is not speaking of washing the Church by the blood, but rather, by the water of the Word. There is then, another washing that we must experience.
This washing of water by the Word is not the same as the washing of the blood. It is not just a washing away of the past, but a preparation for the future. It is one thing to have the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse us from all unrighteousness, but now He will wash the Church by the water of the Word, which washing is for the preparation of His Church for the future.
The word used for “Word” is “rhema.” This is different than the word “logos.” The “logos” is the written word, the facts. Jesus in His first coming was not a “rhema,” but He was the “logos.” He was the fact that God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those who were under the law. We beheld His glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. We saw Him walking on the earth, eating, teaching, healing, doing all manner of things. This was the “logos.”
The “rhema” is not the establishing of a fact. Rather, it is His coming in the sense that now this fact will be a flowing, living, personal thing. This word “rhema” comes from a root word that means to “flow like a stream.”
My wife and I have a property through which a stream flows. During the summer, it is dry. But in the Spring, it is bubbling and running over the rocks as if it were alive. It can be said that it is living water, due to its moving flow.
“Rhema” is a moving stream of water, a living flow which the Lord will use to sanctify His Church. This does not mean to make it holy, which is a part of it, but He is coming as a bubbling stream, to set us apart to Himself in a special place, where we will have His total attention, and He ours.
This is the “giving,” the paradidomi, in which He will come and surround us with His life and presence, and then begin to sanctify us by the washing of the water of the Word; applying to us living water, “rhema.”
He will do this so that He might present to Himself a Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless. Therefore, only Jesus can do this cleansing. Throughout the Church Age, this work was assigned to the Holy Spirit. But in the Parousia, Jesus is coming to do the washing, and He will do it with the water of the Word. He is doing this to prepare us for something that is coming.
The Greek word for “present” also starts with “para.” It is “parahistomi.” This means to stand and abide, to continue standing by. “Histomi” means “to stand.” But by adding “para,” it means that His presence will completely surround us. We will breathe Jesus, we will eat Jesus, we will live Jesus, because He has us completely surrounded with Himself.
He will present Himself to us in this way, but there is another part. Not only will He be “presencing” Himself with us, but He will put us into a position where we will “presence” ourselves with Him. He is going to present to Himself a Church that is without spot or wrinkle. This is more than what the Church is today, which still has many spots and wrinkles.
Jesus is not speaking of the present day Church when He uses this term, “present to Himself.” He is presenting to Himself a Bride that will be without wrinkle or spot, or any such thing.
The third day, the day of His presence, starts by being an extension of the work begun on the second day. Jesus adhered to the principles that were laid down by God through Moses in the first day. He took issue with the legalists of His day because they had added human traditions. They missed the principles that God had laid down in the first day, and Jesus had to constantly bring correction.
When we enter the “third day,” the Kingdom Age and all that goes with it, we must be careful not to set aside that which relates to the second day. Some are still rejecting the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the full work of the Holy Spirit. This will change, as we are about to see a completion of the work that the Holy Spirit began in the Church.
His personal “presencing” of Himself to His people, and His second coming, in which the entire world will see Him, will also include the great tribulation and the unfolding of the judgments of God, which is the beginning of the third day.
In this present time, a number of things will begin to happen to God’s people, and to the unbelieving world with its deceptive powers. Those who are “overcomers” will be the instrument that the Lord will use to bring these judgments upon the world. We will not be the victims of the judgments, but rather we will bring them. We must be prepared for this time.
God will begin the dawn of this new day by first saying to His Son, “Will You go and prepare those who will be involved with You in Your coming again, in all Your glory?” Therefore, Jesus will appear to His people, those who are overcomers within the Church, to cleanse it of its spots and wrinkles, so it can be this fully equipped and prepared instrument for bringing these judgments upon the world.
“A Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to declare to His servants things which must shortly come to pass. And he signified it by sending His angel to His servant John.” Revelation 1:1
If you have made Jesus your Lord, you are a bondservant to Him. The word “revelation” means “taking the lid off of Jesus Christ.” This will reveal all that the lid had covered. The word “gave” is more than “I hand you something which you take.” This is a different Greek word that means He “committed” Jesus Christ. In this revelation, Jesus is committed to present Himself to His bondservants. This is saying much to us. It means that we will have Jesus Christ both revealed and committed to us.
“God gave (committed) to Him (Jesus) to show to His bondservants the things which must shortly take place, and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bondservant, John.” He is using John to make known the revelation that God had committed Jesus to give to His bondservants.
This sets the stage for the instrument that we will be, for His judgment. If we can understand this, we will not run scared when we begin to see the judgments of God upon the world. Rather, we will say, “I am an instrument of this.” It is encouraging to know that when the Lord appears to us in His Parousia, we will become an even more effective instrument concerning these judgments.
After the introduction, there is an interlude, “Blessed is the one who reads and hears the words of this prophecy…” (Revelation 1:3). The word used here is not “read” in the sense that I sit down and read. Rather, it is that I “read aloud.” This is because we will not be the instruments of this judgment with our mouths shut. The Lord is telling us to read this aloud so we will get in tune with His purpose.
“Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3
As we read aloud, we and others, will hear what these judgments of God will be that are coming upon the earth. We are not to sit in a corner and meditate on these things in silence.
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming; and from the seven Spirits which are before His Throne.” Revelation 1:4
“Grace... and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is coming.” This is “Yahweh.” This word in Hebrew means “the self-existent One,” the Source of all things, the One who always was, who always is, and who always will be. That is the Father Himself, the God of Heaven, Yahweh, Jehovah.
If we translate the completeness of this word, He introduced Himself to Moses at the burning bush by saying, “I am, that I am, I was, that I was, I will be, that I will be.” Our Bibles just translate it, “I AM that I AM.” This is the Father. We receive our grace and peace from Him, and then from the Holy Spirit, the seven Spirits which are before His Throne.
Notice that there are two sevens here. There are the seven Churches of Asia, and the seven Spirits that are before the Throne of God. These seven Churches represent the entire Church. The number seven is the number of completeness and totality. The seven Spirits of God that are before the Throne is the entirety of the Holy Spirit, in all that He is, and all that He does.
The understanding of this activity of the Holy Spirit is given in Isaiah 11:1-2:
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
Now, Jesus is introduced as the One who is offering this grace and peace, as the One who is, first of all, a faithful witness. That was His first coming. “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly;” “When you see Me, you see the Father;” “I do only those things that I see the Father do.” He was a faithful witness when He came the first time.
“Even from Jesus Christ the faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Revelation 1:5
Then it goes on to say, the first-born from the dead. Jesus was the one who first rose from the dead. He was the firstborn of the dead, the first one to rise. All this happened during His first coming. Then He is introduced as the One who is coming again, with these words, “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” This is when He becomes King of kings and Lord of lords in His second coming.
Here is the Father and Jesus, blessing us, giving us grace and peace. Here is the Holy Spirit, giving us grace and peace, and now Jesus Christ, who first came as a faithful witness and was the first-born from the dead, will now become the King of kings.
The purpose of all this grace and peace is that, He “made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6). We have heard much about the fact that we are a royal priesthood. Now it will become an actuality in our lives. This means that we will be a worshipper and a ruler, as we are told in Psalm 149:6-9:
“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, To carry out vengeance upon the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with iron-bands, to carry out on them the judgment written; this is an honor for all His saints. Praise the Lord.”
Jesus is coming to make us a kingdom of priests, which is far more than we previously understood. In order for us to become this kingdom of priests, He will need to do something within us. When Israel came out of the wilderness, God intended all of Israel to be a nation of priests, but they refused. We may say, “I am not one of the five-fold ministry,” but if we are to have a part in His Kingdom, then we will be a priest to the most high God.
In Rev 1:10, John said, “I came to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” This trumpet sound is for the individual who is listening. Thus, John said:
“And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied about the breast with a golden band.” Revelation 1:12-13
John did not see Jesus coming in the clouds of glory, but he saw Him in the midst of the Church. The word “midst” means right in the middle of it. Wherever we may look at the Church, Jesus is to be there. This is not always true today, but there will be a day in which wherever we look in the Body of Christ, we will see Jesus, because He will be intimately aware of everything that is in the Church.
When we begin to see Jesus in action in the Church, we will understand how well He is preparing His people for the time of judgment and tribulation that is coming upon the earth. Then, when He returns in all of His glory, everything will have been judged, and He will come with His Kingdom to rule and reign upon the earth. This is the third day.
John saw the Son of Man clothed in a robe that reached to His feet, and was tied across with a golden band (girdle). The word used for “robe” simply means a long garment that covers everything from the neck to the top of the shoes. Everything is covered except the head and the feet. There is a special significance to this.
In the account of Jesus’ resurrection, John 20:6-7 tells us this significance of the robe. Peter and John ran to the tomb because the women said the angels told them that Jesus had risen and the tomb was empty. John arrived first, but waited for Peter. Peter went past him into the tomb and “saw the linens lying there, and the grave-cloth that was on His head was not lying with the linens, but was wrapped up in one place by itself.” (John 20:6-7)
Jesus is the head of the Body. He has risen from the dead. There was no longer any need for the head to be in grave clothes, and so the napkin that was over His head was very neatly folded up and laid aside by itself, but the rest of the grave clothes that had covered the body were just laying there, like an empty cocoon.
The Body of Christ will shed its grave clothes, but has not yet done so, as it has not yet risen. We can walk “in newness of life” but it is Jesus who has risen. The garment that covered His face is folded up and put neatly away, but the rest of it is still there, as though a body is still there. Thus, His body is still under this robe, which covers Jesus from His neck down to the soles of His feet.
This robe is symbolic of the fact that His body is not yet changed into an immortal body, but as a physical body is still covered with the mortality of this world. Since the Body of Christ is still under this robe, that which it is becoming is still hidden from the world. But all creation is groaning for it to be revealed.
A girdle is nothing more than a belt. In that day, belts were worn around the chest in a way that crisscrossed and held in the chest area and then were tied around the middle. Part of the armor of God was a girdle. The meaning of these words is “to bind oneself with obligation to someone else.”
Thus, the golden girdle that Jesus has around Him is binding Him to that part of His Body, the Church, which has not yet been raised from the dead, but is soon to be transformed. He put on this golden girdle to hold the Church to Himself. We are bound under this girdle, ready to be committed to the useful obligations that Jesus intends for His Church.
There are two stages in the manifestation and outworking of our Lord’s Parouisa during these last days. He will first come in a special way to those who, as overcomers, have “made themselves ready.” After this, He will appear with these to the entire world.
In His appearing to the individual, there are two things that He desires to accomplish.
“When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day.” II Thessalonians 1:10
The first is that He is coming to be glorified in us. By our personally receiving the Lord in His glory, we are being honored. Then, when His glory is manifested in us, He will bring us into open view as His instruments, for the time of the judgments and tribulation that He has designed for this earth.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise on you, and his glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning.” Isaiah 60:1-3
The second thing that He desires to accomplish has to do with making ready a Bride, who will live forever with Him in His Kingdom. Each of these aspects requires a time of preparation within those who are willing to partake of the process of becoming qualified.
Thus, Jesus is coming first to be revealed in His saints, and then later, to be seen by the entire world, together with those who have been qualified to rule with Him. Each of these aspects of His coming will be announced by a trumpet sound.
A trumpet is an instrument for music. Concerning His coming in open view before all the world, the Word tells us:
“And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Matthew 24:30-31
This is not an angel loudly proclaiming, “It is time for us to get together.” Rather, this is a musical instrument that is bringing forth the “sound” of the ingathering of all His saints in the great and powerful day of the Lord. When He comes again in all His glory with His holy angels, they will accompany Him with singing. For this reason, there is much in the book of Revelation that relates to singing.
The sound of a trumpet also announces His coming into His Church. Revelation 1:10 tells us that:
“I came to be in the Spirit in the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”
Jesus was singing in His church. We usually think that the Lord came to judge the Church, but He first came in visitation with a song to prepare His Church to be cleansed.
“For both He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Hebrews 2:11-12
This trumpet is a singing in the Church. When John turned to see where this “voice as a trumpet” came from, he heard the voice say:
“I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Also, what you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11
When John turned, He saw Jesus in the midst of His Church, announcing His presence. He did not just speak these words, rather, He was singing this to the Church.
Jesus introduced Himself to John with a trumpet sound. Therefore, these seven letters to the Churches are in a sense, “the song of the Lord.” These letters give direction to the Church and cleansing to the people, that they might become overcomers. A trumpet is always an instrument of boldness, and of leadership, which announces many things. This is exactly what the song of the Lord does.
Jesus will sing to us, as He gets His Church ready. This song of the Lord is not our song, rather, it is His song. When we enter into His presence and join with Him in singing and worshiping, the Lord will raise up the song that comes from our lips as a testimony of what we have become in Him. This is the “new song” that the overcomers are singing in Revelation 5:9-10:
“And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book and to open it, for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. And You made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign over the earth.”
It would appear that the last two letters, which were written to the Church at Philadelphia, and to the Church at Laodicea, should be reversed. However, there is a reason as to why they are in this order.
The letter to the Church at Philadelphia is written to a congregation that means “brotherly love.” In this Church, Jesus is seen differently than in the previous Churches. In these, He had flaming eyes of fire and feet of burnished bronze. Instead, these last two Churches are given a description of Jesus, telling who He is, His relationship to His Father, and what this means to the Church.
The Church at Philadelphia was in need of encouragement, so there is no fault finding on the part of Jesus concerning this Church. Let us consider how He describes Himself to them. First, He said that He is the “Holy One.” This word “Holy” tells us that Jesus is so pure that there is no haze, fog, or anything that might inhibit or hinder His appearance.
One of the natures of God is that He is Holy:
“For I am the Lord your God, and you shall sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy, for I am holy... for I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45
Peter beautifully adds to this:
“Therefore girding up the loins of your mind, being sober, perfectly hope for the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:13-16
There is a grace that will be given only at the appearance of Jesus Christ to His people. When Peter wrote this letter, he had been with Jesus for three and one-half years and had witnessed His crucifixion. Also, he had gone to the empty tomb and later saw the resurrected Jesus. Therefore he writes, “perfectly hope for the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
This grace will enable us to become so clean and undefiled, that we will become as transparent as Jesus is - when He comes and stands in the midst of His Church.
Jesus declared Himself to be true. This word “true” is translated from a word meaning “one freed from any bondages or restrictions.” When Jesus was here on the earth, He limited Himself to that which had to do with the redemption which He came to accomplish. Now He declares, “I am no longer limited, and I am free to be in every part of the Church.”
Jesus is saying this to instill within us an absolute confidence. Paul wrote to the Philippians, saying:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
This passage of Scripture should be a major part of our testimony, for it will overcome the Devil. In redemption, we have been given an absolute confidence in the authority of God, and of Jesus. This confidence will be needed in order for us to become the instruments that He desires us to be for His judgment on the earth.
Jesus is further identified as the One who has the keys of David. Isaiah 22:22 tells us:
“And the key of the house of David I will lay on His shoulder; so He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open.”
This key is laid upon the shoulder of Jesus. Therefore, He is now saying, “I have the keys of David.” David, the greatest king in the Old Testament, is a type of the absolute authority and rule of Jesus. Because David had conquered all the nations around him, his son Solomon did not have to fight a single battle.
“Keys” are symbolic of the complete control of the door which guards the opening into an area, which in this case, is called the Kingdom of God. As a result, Jesus has absolute control over every entrance into the Kingdom. If He opens this door for someone, it remains open. If He closes the door, it cannot be opened.
Notice Revelation 3:8, which says:
“I know your works. Behold, I have given before you an open door, and no one can shut it. For you have a little strength and have kept My word and have not denied My name.”
This encouragement is needed because there are two things which constantly attempt to close this door.
The first is the Devil who tries to close this door by laying guilt upon us. If he can cause us to feel guilty about our past, or about something we did, which we consider to be an offense to God, or to our fellow man, the Devil will tell us, “you cannot get into the Kingdom because God shut the door, as you are a sinner.” But Jesus is saying to us, “I have opened this door for you.”
There is another means by which the enemy attempts to close the door. This is “legalistic religion.” In Matthew 23:13, Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the Kingdom of heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in.”
This has to do with religious tradition being imposed upon us. There are so many do’s and don’ts which we are unable to measure up to, that the door seemingly becomes shut to us. Many of us have had such an experience, not from the devil shutting the door, but from the religiosity of the Church.
Also, each time that there is a fresh move of the Holy Spirit, the old order will attempt to shut the door.
Jesus said to those within this Church who desire to become overcomers, “I have placed before you an open door.” We are to believe this, and not permit the devil nor religion to tell us that we cannot enter. We are to know, in every aspect of our being and experience, that Jesus has opened this door to us, and that He has identified Himself as the only one who has the keys of David.
Also, within this word about the open door is an implied instruction. The Lord is not satisfied with a Church that does not have confidence, even though it is has been faithful. Therefore, He is saying, “A door that I open will remain open.”
If He is to have an army that will be the instruments for the judgment of God upon the earth, this army must have confidence. Therefore, He is washing away all fear and apprehension, as these will inhibit us in doing all He has for us to accomplish.
“Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10
Jesus tells us that He will keep us from “the time of tribulation” which is coming upon all those who dwell upon the earth. The safest place in which we can be found during that time will be in the safekeeping of the Lord.
In this present time, the Church is beginning to flow in worship as never before. We are receiving a taste of what it means to experience His presence, as the Holy Spirit prepares us for the coming time of His manifested presence in our midst. This will increase, as we rapidly move toward the end of this age, and into the birthing of the Kingdom Age.
The reward which the overcomer receives is to be made a “pillar” in the temple of God. This refers to the door posts at the entrance to the temple, which act as a sentry. The Lord is saying, “Because I have absolute authority, I am sharing this authority with these overcomers who will stand as pillars in the doorway that leads into the Kingdom of God.” Therefore, no one will be able to enter or leave, except under the control of these sentries.
Then He will write His name on us:
“Him who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God and he will go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name.” Revelation 3:12
There are four angels who control the four winds, which will blow the plagues over the earth, but the Lord is holding them back because He has promised the overcomers that the tribulation will not be able to touch them. Therefore, He will first mark those who have His name, before He will release these judgments.
Our having this Name means that we will have all the necessary protection in order to go through this time of tribulation, and also, it will mark us as being a part of the Bride of Christ.
We know this because Revelation, Chapter 22, describes the New Jerusalem as a Bride adorned for her Husband. He will not only write a new name on us, He also will write His own new Name on us, which is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” This will give to the overcomers, who will reign with the Lord, the authority that is needed to exercise the coming judgments of God on the earth.
Laodicea is the last of these seven Churches. Therefore the Lord identifies Himself as the “Amen,” which means “the last and confirming Word.” The message which was given to each Church also applies to all of these Churches, as the word “Church” is always plural.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us.” II Corinthians 1:20
Jesus is the beginning of all creation, the original source of all that was created. Therefore, He can be trusted.
“For all things were created by Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16-17
Therefore, when man accepted the deception of the enemy, Jesus began the process of restoration, which progressively unfolds in the Old Testament, and then through His incarnation as our Savior, became a reality in the New Testament.
This last Church, the Laodicean Church is lukewarm. It does not seem that this Church should be lukewarm, as they have heard all the promises that have been made to the Church.
Jesus understands human nature, that when we receive so much, we tend to become complacent and lazy. The reason for Jesus introducing Himself as the “Amen, the faithful true Witness” is because this Church is casually saying, “Come quickly Lord Jesus, I am sitting here waiting for You.”
Rather, they should be preparing for all that is about to take place. This is to be done by listening to all that the Spirit of God has to say and responding in obedience. Not just during a Church meeting, but at all times and in all places. We are to have ears to hear and then maintain an attitude of listening. The Apostle Paul was able to say:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day: and not to me only, but also to all those who love His appearing.” II Timothy 4:7-8
This does not mean that we should not concentrate on the responsibilities which we have in our everyday lives, but that whatever we may do, we are to maintain our spiritual ear to hear.
The Holy Spirit should be able to speak to us wherever we may be, and during whatever we may be doing. Instead, many of us have become complacent and are saying, “I have salvation with all the gifts and revelation that is necessary; and not only that, I have heard all this before.” The Lord has a word concerning this:
“Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:17-19
The Lord is saying, “You do not realize your true condition. You are lukewarm and wretched as you failed the test (this is what wretched means).” Therefore, the Lord will spew these out of His mouth because they are satisfied and are saying, “If there is more, we want it, but do not expect anything from us.”
The remedy that Jesus offers is, “Buy from Me gold that is refined by fire, that you may truly be ready.” This word “buy” means to expend all the energy we have. We are also to buy “linen garments.” According to Revelation 19:10, these “fine linen” garments are the “righteous acts of the saints,” that is, “that which is required to become an overcomer.”
We are also to buy “eye salve.” This speaks of our being able to see without any inhibition.
Although these Laodicean’s were lukewarm, the Lord showed them their need and told them to “become zealous and repent.” Then He began knocking at the door of their heart to provoke a response.
Now Jesus speaks to those who respond:
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His Throne.” Revelation 3:21
Finally, we are admonished by Jesus to keep our ears open, that we might hear all that He is about to say:
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” Revelation 3:22
Who Executes the Judgments?
There is far more to the Parousia of our Lord than a general coming, which has been long understood as being the time when Jesus will return in His manifested glory, with all the world knowing that He has returned.
Rather, the initial stage of the “Parousia” is the manifested presence of the Lord Jesus Christ coming into the lives of His people and then glorifying Himself in them. These manifest appearings of Jesus will prepare those who are overcomers for all that is about to take place, before His visible return in glory.
We will now consider this limited aspect of His coming; beyond that which He is doing within His Church today, in order to prepare the overcomers for their part in the judgments that will lead to the closing out of this Age. It is important for us to understand where we will be during this time of judgment, as well as His purpose for us.
All this will take place in this “last day,” “the great day of the Lord.” During this time, the Lord will accomplish two things. He will purify the Church, and He will prepare His Bride. The Lord cannot use an instrument for the judgments of God that is less than that which He has as a basis for these judgments. If we were to judge the world now, we would probably violate the directive of Jesus which says, “Judge no man, lest you be judged.” This is because our judgment would be a soulish judgment; thus, He must purify us before He will be able to use us for this purpose.
“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6
The Millennial Kingdom will be established in righteousness, peace, and joy. Therefore, these qualities must first be established within the lives of those who will reign with the Lord during this time. Only then will they be ready to rule and reign as kings and priests upon the earth.
“And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals, for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred and tongue and people, and nation. And You made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign over the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
As a king, we are to function in a cooperative relationship with the Lord and reign with Him upon the earth. As a priest, we move in a vertical relationship of worship and communion with Him.
There are those within the Body of Christ who are beginning to both grasp and enter into what it means to be a priest of God, whose function is to worship God. In the Old Testament, the priest fulfilled many functions, but his primary purpose was to worship God, and to lead the people in worship. When Jesus comes to rule and reign in His second coming, He will look for worshippers, as this is a predominant quality in those who are overcomers, and will identify them. Therefore, He presently is training these worshippers.
Along with this, He will also receive a “Bride.” This is a parallel theme throughout the book of Revelation. There will be a wedding feast in which a Bride, who is spotless and as beautiful as God would look at beauty, will be presented to Jesus.
Now we will consider our role in these judgments of God.
“And I heard every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all who are in them, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him sitting on the Throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13
As soon as these worshippers had finished this proclamation of blessing, honor, and glory, with a loud “Amen,” the first wave of the judgments of God began to be exercised on the earth.
We learned that judgment first comes to the household of God.
“For the time has come for the judgment to begin from the house of God. And if it first begins from us, what will be the end of those disobeying the gospel of God?” I Peter 4:17
Therefore, throughout the Church Age, the Lord has been dealing with, and removing all that is contrary to His word.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6
Now, at the time of the closing of the Church Age, He will further judge us so we will be fully ready to be released into the work that is ours to do. The following passage of Scripture has always been related to the judgments of God.
“Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High. And the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom.” Daniel 7:22
In prophetic vision, Daniel saw the Ancient of days (Jesus) come to judge, and judgment “was given to” (passed in favor of) the saints of the Most High. This judgment relates to those who have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, and have established a personal relationship with Jesus. These are referred to as being “saints.” These have gone through the negative aspect of this judgment, which is His dealings in their lives (overcomers).
Therefore, this aspect of judgment is the time in which He will acquit His people. Those who are overcomers and have been prepared by the Lord will find “favorableness” in this judgment, and Daniel 7:27 will have found its fulfillment. Now they will be able to stand in the judgments of God, and He will draw them to Himself, to take possession of the Kingdom.
“And the kingdom and rulership, and the greatness of the kingdom under all the heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. And all kingdoms shall serve and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27
This clearly tells us that the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ will be an everlasting Kingdom, and all creation will serve and obey Him. This is because these overcomers, as an instrument of the judgment of God, will establish His Kingdom, which is presently being formed here on the earth. Therefore, “the rulership and the greatness of the kingdoms under all the heavens will be given to the people of the saints.”
Daniel 7:14 tells us:
“And dominion and glory was given Him, and a Kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages, should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Let us look at the overcomer, as described in Revelation 2:26-27:
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works to the end, to him I will give power over the nations. And he will rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter they will be broken to pieces, even as I received from My Father.” Revelation 2:26-27
This rule will be exercised only by those who are overcomers.
In each place where Jesus said, “I received authority,” or, where authority was promised to Him by the Father; He further said, “I will give this same authority to the overcomer.”
This authority will be manifested with a “rod of iron.” Notice that whenever a vessel was not acceptable to the potter, he smashed it with a rod of iron. This rod of iron will be placed in our hands, and we will use it to execute the judgments of God.
It is of vital importance that we submit, or give Jesus the necessary permission to do a thorough house cleaning, by exercising His judgments within us, now. We should carefully look at each of the seven Churches in the book of Revelation and consider what the overcomer received, along with the condition for receiving. As we do this, we will find ourselves responding to the process of purification that will make us the instrument which the Lord intends us to be.
We are approaching the time when these judgments will be exercised on the earth. The following passage of Scripture deals with our part in this.
“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Makers; let the sons of Zion be joyful in their Kings. Let them praise His name in the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation.” Psalm 149:1-4
We are to worship and praise our Lord, who takes pleasure in our worship. This is a part of the preparation which will lead us into all that follows:
“Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to carry out vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with iron bands, to carry out on them the judgment written; this is an honor for all His saints. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 149:5-9
Ezekiel expresses it this way:
“And I will execute great vengeance on them with rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I lay My vengeance on them.” Ezekiel 25:17
The Lord will do this through His people. It is clearly stated in Psalm 149 that we are the instruments that will be used for this purpose. Therefore, we are being moved upon by the Spirit of God to enter into a present ministry of intercession, which has to do with our preparation to be used to bind in chains these kings, who are the rulers of this earth.
As a result of this intercession, we will become an instrument that is so purified and renewed by our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, that we will have a present authority over the “king” of our area.
We are about to be ushered into a battle in which we are to use this “rod of iron” to put chains on these principalities, and on all those in human form, whom they use. They are about to lose their usurped authority.
These chains, or iron bands, were used in the time of Jesus to lock the hands and feet of prisoners. Then these iron bands were secured to the walls of the prison, so there could be no escape.
Jesus is beginning to manifest Himself to us, as He is getting us ready to gain the victory, which we previously had been unable to accomplish in a satisfactory manner. We have had limited success in spiritual warfare, but the greatest victories are yet before us.
In Psalm 145:9 we are told that we will execute “the judgments written.” In Revelation 1:19, John was told to write the things which he had seen, “the things which are, and the things which shall be after this.” Therefore, the Word will reveal and confirm that which is about to take place.
John speaks of angels coming and doing certain things in executing this judgment. Later, as one of these was talking with John, he was about to bow before him in worship.
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, stop; I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10
This “angel” then told John that he was a man; but John would not have worshipped an ordinary man. He had leaned on the breast of Jesus, and had seen the glorified Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, and recognized that his visitor was more than a man.
This messenger may have been one of the overcomers who had been caught up to the Throne. In that day, “we who are alive and remain” will also be caught up to have a part in the judgments of God, along with those who have gone before.
Revelation chapter six records the judgments that are released, as the seven seals are opened. These are the judgments written, as also are those that follow; the seven trumpets as they are sounded, and the seven vials as they are poured out upon the earth.
Revelation chapters 17 and 18 records the fall of Babylon, which is the world system. This also is the “judgments written.” According to Psalm 149:9, “His people” will execute these judgments, which is an honor for all His saints.
The day of grace will close with the Church Age. Notice that when Jesus read from the scroll in the Temple (Luke 4:16-19), He stopped reading in the middle of Isa 60:2. This was the point of departure from the Church Age of grace, to the judgments that will take place in the closing out of man’s time.
“The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God….” Isaiah 61:1-2
Those Christians who have received of the grace of God, and have been blessed in life as a Christian, but have not qualified themselves to participate in this time of judgment, will not have a part in it.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6
Those who intend to go on with God, in the sense of being the instruments for His judgments in the earth, must submit to a time of preparation which goes far beyond Church attendance, and being blessed.
“For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 22:14
Or, “Many are called, but few are willing to pay the price in order to be chosen.”
This Psalm said, “This is an honor for all His saints.” The word “honor” means “high privilege of favor.” This speaks of the reward that will result from exercising vengeance on the enemies of God, punishment on the peoples, binding the kings with chains, and the nobles with fetters of iron, by executing on them the judgments written.
In the military, medals are given for accomplishments in battle. There is a medal of honor that will come from the Throne of God for those who are willing to allow themselves to be purified to the extent that they can execute these “judgments written.” Not all Christians will do this, and thus, they will not be chosen for this purpose.
Those who only have a “faith” that they will be raptured to heaven during this time will have their reward. They will be taken care of, but they will have no part in all that is about to take place.
There are those who are responding to this calling, who are being prepared for the closing out of this Age. These will be “chosen” by our Lord to participate with Him in all that takes place in this last great and glorious day, “the day of the Lord,” the day of the Kingdom, the time of His Parousia.
The Closing Out of the Age
The coming of the Lord is two-fold in nature. He will first reveal Himself to His people. After this He will be manifested to the entire world as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Between these two appearances are the end-time judgments of God, which will lead into the third day, the Millennial day. This is a part of the restoration of mankind to the original intention of the Lord, when He formed Adam and gave him dominion over all that was created upon the earth.
The first day began with the transgression of Adam, and lasted until Jesus came on the scene. The second day includes all that Jesus said and did, together with the ministry of the Church.
During the second day, the Church Age, Jesus is in the midst of His Church.
“And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands; And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band.” Revelation 1:12-13
Jesus came to His people first, as no one else saw Him. In II Thessalonians 1:10 we read that He will be glorified in His saints during this time.
“When He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe…” II Thessalonians 1:10
The primary purpose for Jesus coming to His Church first is to prepare them for their part in the judgments of God upon the earth.
The messages to the seven Churches in the book of Revelation span the entire Church Age, and address the needs within each of these Churches, to correct and purify those who are called to become overcomers. Therefore at the end of each message, Jesus said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”
The second reason for His coming to His Church first is to cleanse and purify her by the washing of the water of the Word, so that He can present to Himself a Bride without spot or wrinkle.
Following this is the revelation of the Son of Man to the entire world for the final judgments which will lead into the establishing of the Kingdom of God. It is important for us to understand that the second coming of Jesus cannot be separated from the establishment of the Kingdom.
This fulfills the word concerning dominion, which the Lord spoke to Adam when He created him. Adam was to have dominion over the earth, and all that exists on it. This dominion was forfeited to Satan and the principalities who presently rule from their usurped place in the heavens.
Thus, the purpose of the end-time appearances of Jesus to His Church is the preparation of those within the Church, who as overcomers, will reign with Him as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
“And preaching the gospel to that city, and having made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, calling on them to continue in the faith, and that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22
It is through “tribulation” that we are prepared for the Kingdom of God. The word tribulation means “to put pressure on.”
This is more than the many pressures (tribulations) that we face in our lives, with pressures at every turn. There is a “great tribulation” in which an intense pressure from the enemy will come against us. If we are not presently feeling a measure of this pressure, then we may be less than fully committed to the Lord.
Therefore, there is a positive confession that each of us should make:
“Lord, no matter what you may allow, in order to perfect my life for
Your purposes, I totally submit myself to You, and to these things.”
It is very important that we understand that these pressures are not the result of the Lord being angry with us; nor are they punishment. Rather, He is seeking to produce a quality within us that will enable us to stand and endure in that day.
“And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29
This does not mean that the sun will no longer give light, or that the moon will cease to shine at night. Rather, this refers to a change in the authorities of the spiritual world.
Revelation 12:3-4 tells us that these stars which fell from the sky are fallen angels; the principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness, in this present age. They will lose their authority and power in the time of the second coming, which authority and power will be given to the overcomers.
This is a prelude to the judgments of God, which are about to take place.
“And then the sign of the Son of man shall appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30
After the Lord removes this usurped authority from these fallen angels, His sign will appear in the sky. This “sign” will be His appearing to the entire world in a demonstration of power and glory.
In Matthew chapter twenty four, the Lord is referred to several times as “The Son of Man.” This is Jesus, but it is more than that. The son is always the fruit of whatever his father was. The Greek word for man, “anthropos,” comes from a basic word, “aner.” Aner means nothing more than the natural, physical creation of a human being. Therefore, there is a very important reason as to why Jesus introduces Himself in His second coming as the Son of Man, and not as the Son of God.
It is to let the world know that He who is Deity had, in condescension, taken upon Himself the form of man in order to bring redemption. Then in resurrection, He has chosen to abide in this form upon the earth. Man was created to be a resident of this earth, and Jesus has eternally identified Himself with man, as “The Son of Man.”
When the Son of Man appears in the sky, all the tribes of the earth will mourn as a result of seeing Him. That which they had chosen to not believe will have become a reality, and now they must face the consequences of their rejection of Him.
Before this appearance, the demonic forces will have had their authority suddenly taken from them. Thus, when Jesus is seen by all the world, the ungodly will have been stripped of the authority which they had while under the control of Satan. They had denied and maligned Jesus; now they will mourn, for they will see Him for who He really is.
“And he shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Matthew 24:31
The New American Standard version translates the word we call “heavens” as “the sky.” This better illustrates the intent of the original, which is the space that is seen as a blue canopy over the earth. He will move through this space into the north, the south, the east, and the west, to gather the saints.
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When its branch is still tender, and puts out leaves, you know that summer is near. So you, likewise, when you see all these things, shall know that it is near, at the doors.” Matthew 24:32-33
There is a morning star that is already shining in the skies, and the buds are beginning to form on the fig tree. The fruit of the fig tree literally pops out from the bark. Therefore the bark, which is rough and hard, must become soft so it can yield to the sprout of a fruit. Therefore, when we see the fig tree (Israel) begin to soften, we will recognize that this is the time in which we are to be ready.
“So you, likewise, when you see all these things, shall know that it is near, at the doors. Truly I say to you, this generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled. The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:33-35
The word “pass away” means “to disappear.” The ungodly will seek to disappear because they do not want to face all that is about to happen. “This generation” can be translated as “this people.” These are the redeemed who will not seek to disappear or pass away, but will be ready to be with Jesus, as He returns.
The Lord is saying, “I am coming, and my Word will not disappear or pass away. Therefore, you should prepare for My return.” This does not say that the saints will disappear in some sudden rapture.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of heaven, but only My Father.” Matthew 24:36
There is a wisdom as to why God did not reveal a time or date when Jesus will return. Had He done so, we could put off getting ready until almost that time. The disciples had asked when this would take place. The answer Jesus gave was to explain the circumstances that would exist at that time.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37
Thus, His return will be in a time that is similar to the days in which Noah lived.
“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark.” Matthew 24:38
They were occupied with the everyday things of life, and laughed at Noah for building a boat on dry land. When Noah entered the ark, it was God who shut the door of protection. The people did not understand until it was too late, when the flood came and took them away. It will be this way again, at the coming of the Lord.
“Then two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Matthew 24:40
The meaning of the word “be taken” is “to be taken hold of, embraced, and become associated with someone.” It is comparable to my taking my wife into my arms. Thus it is taking to one’s self whatever is to be taken. The word for “left” is a word which means “to be forsaken.” It is very important that our understanding of these words is correct.
“...God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved through water.” I Peter 3:20
The Lord embraced these eight souls by putting an “ark” around them. Then He Himself closed the door and they were safe. When the Son of Man comes, He will not take us and fly away. The ark did not go up to heaven, rather it stayed on the earth, rising on top of the waters of judgment.
“Through which the world that then was, being flooded by water, perished. But the present heavens and the earth, being kept in store by the same word, are being kept for fire until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” II Peter 3:6-7
There will be another holocaust. But this time it will not be a flood, but rather, a fire. This fire will result in the complete destruction of all that the greed of man, through the deception of the devil, has accomplished upon the earth. It will be wiped clean by fire.
During this time, the Son of God will embrace His people. Just as those eight people were spared in the universal destruction of all mankind by water, the Lord will save the redeemed in the midst of the fire, but He will forsake the rest.
It is those who have rejected Him that will be gone, or destroyed in this fire. This is not a flying away process, but rather, Jesus is coming to embrace those who are the redeemed, and who have overcome by responding to His words when He was in the midst of the Church.
The Lord has provided a way for us to know that we will be in the “ark” of His protection, which He will put around us.
“Do not hurt the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:3
This is announced by the Lord just before the seventh seal is to be opened. Six seals will have already been opened and there will have been a wave of judgments in which the nations are shaken. We will be able to survive these, as we stay faithful.
Then before the next wave of judgment comes, God will place upon us a seal which will cause us to be embraced, or drawn to Him, into His ark of protection above this time of tribulation.
Immediately after the application of this protection, the seventh seal will be opened and the next wave of judgments will begin, which are called the trumpets. After this, there will be an interlude, which will be followed by another wave of judgments, in which the vials of God’s wrath will be poured out.
We will see all this take place, but we will be above it as overcomers. We will survive, just as the three Hebrew children survived the fiery furnace, with Jesus appearing in their midst. There will not be even the smell of smoke on us. When these judgments are finished, the Lord will take the Babylonish world system and throw it into the lake of fire.
In the light of this, we will consider I Thessalonians 4:16-18:
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
This has been the stock and trade of the “rapturists.” It begins saying, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven.” The word “descend” means that He will come down out of heaven. The word for “heaven” is “orano” which means the “abode of God.”
Jesus is coming down from heaven with a shout. This shout is a “cry of command” concerning the things that are about to take place. Jesus is coming as a commander in chief, the King.
Following this is the voice of the Archangel. There are two that have been identified in the Scriptures; Gabriel and Michael. Gabriel announced to Mary the coming of Jesus as a baby. Now He is announcing the coming of Jesus as the King.
The second archangel is Michael. He fought the devil and his hosts in behalf of Daniel. Michael is the general of the armies of God. He is under the direction of the Commander in Chief, to war against His enemies.
Revelation Chapter 12 tells us that Michael and his hosts fought against the devil and his hosts, and threw them out of heaven. Following this is the “trumpet of God.” This is the song of the Lord, which is the means by which we are to introduce Jesus to the entire world as “The King of kings and Lord of lords.”
The dead in Christ will rise first. This refers to the bodies of those who died and have gone to heaven being raised to be joined to their spirits. Then those of us who are yet alive will be caught up, as we see the graves open.
The word “caught up” does not mean our being taken up into heaven. Rather it means “to be literally taken to oneself.” This is the same as “being taken,” or “embraced.” Jesus is taking to Himself all the dead who come forth from the grave along with those of us who are still alive, and together we are gathered into the arms of the Lord.
We will meet the Lord in the air. The word for “air” is not heaven, but rather the atmosphere that we breathe while we are standing here on this earth. This is not telling us that we are going up from the earth, but that we will remain here on the earth. Let us consider what the angel said to the disciples after Jesus ascended and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
“…This same Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the way you have seen Him going into Heaven.” Acts 1:11
Thus, He is coming back to the place where His feet were when He was taken up. He was standing on the ground with His disciples.
There are several phrases in Matthew chapters 24-25 that are imperative for us to consider. These are commands on the part of the Lord that will result in all these things taking place.
“Therefore watch; for you do not know what hour your Lord comes.” Matthew 24:42
“Therefore you also be ready, for in that hour you think not, the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 24:44
“Watch... be ready.” No matter how, or when we may feel the Lord will return, the important thing is for us to be ready.
Matthew chapter twenty five compares the Kingdom of Heaven to ten virgins who went out to meet their Bridegroom. Of these, five were wise and five were foolish. Those who were wise did not know the time of his coming, but were ready. The foolish put off becoming ready, until it was too late.
Then when the Lord came at an unexpected time, the foolish asked the wise for some of their oil, but were told to go and buy for themselves. In so doing, they missed the time of entrance into His Kingdom. Thus, the important thing is for us to become ready in this present time, in anticipation of His return.
“Our God is the God of salvation; and to the Lord are the issues of death.” Psalm 68:20
This can be translated, “to the Lord belongs escape from death.” He is telling us that we will not be overcome in this time of tribulation, which will burn, or purify the earth.
We will be saved from this time of tribulation, and we will become an instrument of God’s judgment on the earth. This will demonstrate to the world that these judgments come from the Throne of God, by the fact that we are able to survive them.
Within the Church are those who name the Name of Jesus as their Savior. But within these are those who are overcomers; those who have fully committed their lives to the Lord and have been tested and proven faithful. These will not only survive, but they will be the instruments of the coming judgment. The rest, the main body of the Church, will be kept and protected by the Lord.
We are not called to understand how the Lord will do this, but rather, we are to be ready in that day, when He returns in manifested glory, to be joined to Him as a member of His manifested body.
Jesus is about to return to establish His Kingdom on the earth, and those who are overcomers will rule and reign with Him. We will not be raptured out of this world, but will remain here on the earth, not as victims of God’s universal judgments, but as overcomers and instruments of His judgments, which will lead to our ruling with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.
Regardless of any view of these things, there is one thing on which we all agree; Jesus is coming soon.
Luther Cronrath is the son of a Lutheran pastor. He was trained in Lutheran schools, graduating from Wartburg College and Seminary in Iowa. As a pastor, he served Lutheran parishes in Washington and California for nineteen years. He became born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit and left the parish ministry to become a Bible teacher in a Bible School in the Seattle area.
He wrote a textbook entitled “The Principles of Greek.” He has held six large crusades and pastor’s seminars in India and has ministered the Word in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and is moving in Kingdom revelation.
This book is taken from a teaching series at Emmanuel Christian Fellowship on the return of Christ to establish His Kingdom. It will edify and encourage those who desire to better understand the coming new day.