A STUPENDOUS CHANGE is impending. Events round about us point tothis fact.
Israel has returned to its ancient homeland thoughstill in unbelief. But it is already
being gathered out of all nations. It must be there and attain a certain degree of
prosperity, for only after they are engulfed in deep distress as the result of the actions
of the surrounding envious enemies will the Lord descend to the Mount of Olives to save
the Jews from extinction. The existence at present of the sovereign state of Israel is an
important evidence of the eminence of our Lord's return for the ecclesia which is His
body. This is not the only indication, and religious literature on all sides is full of
signs pointing to the end of the ancient order. We will not go into these matters at
length, but rather contemplate some of the changes which will accompany this glorious
event. For these will be tremendous, not only on earth, but in the heavens also. Not only
will we be changed, but our Lord Himself will be manifested in an entirely different
character than during this present administration.
THE COMMANDER'S SHOUT
It is well worth the effort to contemplate
the different titles which Christ assumes when He comes down to the air to meet His
members, after His voice has raised them from the dead. They are very distinct from those
He has had previously. He is no longer the ideal Shepherd, tending His flock, nor the
great Physician, healer of every sickness, full of compassion and mercy. Neither is He the
marvelous Teacher, instructing the poor, ignorant and deluded people, led astray by the
unscriptural doctrines of their leaders. Now He comes visibly to us first of all in glory
with the shout of command. Only a commander may utter this type of call. It is
like a military order, demanding instant response and implicit obedience. No room is left
for a choice on the hearer's part. We must all rally to the same banner. For our great
Captain is leading us into a new stage of the combat, in which He Himself is also engaged
with the powers of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness. He has been victorious
thus far in every encounter, ever since His entrance into this world, the domain of Satan.
His faithful ones, too, have played their part in routing the enemy, even while down here,
being invigorated by His strength and equipped with the whole divine panoply, which has
enabled them to stand. But now our commander calls us upward to a completely new
battlefield, not down here, but in the heavens, where the enemy has been reigning until
now with undisputed sway. Is he not called the chief of the jurisdiction of the air?
(Eph.2:2). And does he not Infest these heavenly regions with his hosts of evil spirits,
deceiving the whole world and influencing blind and deluded human tools making them do his
wishes? But now his time is nearly up. And, just as surely as Christ passed victoriously
through the heavens (Heb.4:14), we will be called to follow Him into the enemy's haunts,
and carry the fight into his very realm, so that at long last he may be cast down to the
earth. He knows well that the body of Christ is to rule over the region he yet claims for
himself, which God allows him to retain during the evil eons, but his rule ends there as
soon as ours begins.
In the Orient such a commander as this would ride on a
white horse. Can we not here, in spirit, get a glimpse of the mighty Conqueror, who, in
His blood-dipped garments descends to this earthly battlefield, leading the armies of
heaven to the final combat, in which we will surely be included in His hour of triumph?
The same One, Whom we see here (Rev.19:11-16) will be the One Who will call us to Him with
the shout of command.
THE CHIEF MESSENGER'S VOICE
Gabriel (Heb.Gbr i Al
MASTER-SUBJECTion), who stands in the presence of God, and is a chief-messenger, was sent
to Daniel to reveal to him the great prediction concerning the seventy heptads, of which
now only one remains unfulfilled. Later he was sent to the virgin Mary to announce to her
the birth of her divine Son. But this time it is not Gabriel who descends to bring a
prophecy. It is Christ Himself, who with a voice of authority ushers in the greatest
conceivable change. He is in effect God's greatest and foremost Messenger. The word
"chief" must often be translated "Prince." It designates the highest
in rank. We read in the Hebrew Scriptures that one and the same communication, given to
men by Ieue, was also given by His messenger. Christ is His foremost messenger. The
prophet Malachi (3:1) calls Him a messenger, the Messenger of God's covenant. No mere
"angel" would be sent to call Christ's beloved members, His own complement, to
be forever with Him. We no longer deal with "angels". We have Christ Himself.
Paul rarely mentions other than Satanic messengers. We are to withstand these evil powers
not through the power of intercepting angels, but because of Christ's victory on the cross
over all His foes. And the message which He brings to us when He calls us is the
announcement that now the greatest change has come--for Him, for us, for the world, which
will no longer we dealt with in grace, and for the satanic hosts, whose territory will now
be invaded and ruled by those whom God has chosen before the disruption, to bring all into
subjection to Him.
TRUMPET OF GOD [THE PLACER]
Noting the literal meaning of the Greek
word which we ordinarily translate "God" will be helpful here. it means PLACer,
and this thought is especially revealing in connection with this trumpet. The Deity is
related to humanity on the earth as their Subjector, in His Hebrew revelation. But when we
are about to leave the ranks of humanity and enter His celestial realm, this is not
enough. It will need a Placer to blow His trumpet, to transport us into the air
and to our celestial kingdom. it would seem as if a Commander's shout will rouse us from
the dead, and the chief Messenger will raise us to stand upon the earth, and the trumpet
of the Placer will cause us to rise to meet our Lord in the air.
THE IMPENDING CHANGE
From what has been said, it should now be
clear that the return of Christ for the ecclesia which is His body is the concluding
climax of the present administration. It marks the close of the administration of the
grace of God and ushers in a new and utterly contrasting period of judgment, in which God
swiftly pours out His wrath. Because of the close proximity of the rapture to this new
era, the inspired terms which Paul uses to describe the scene, and the titles applied to
Christ Himself differ vastly from those we are familiar with in the present
administration. This shows that God's dealings will have entered a new era. How thankful
we should be that, during the terrible times which will then briefly engulf humanity, we
shall be with Christ, equipped with celestial bodies, well suited to the tasks
with which we will be entrusted, which will be our precious portion in that day. Hence,
with eager anticipation we cry out, "Come, Lord Jesus"!