For our citizenship belongs to the heavens, out of which we are awaiting
a Saviour, also, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation,
to conform it to His body glorious, in accord with the operation which enables Him to
subject even the universe to Himself
BELOVED reader, in this text of Scripture God sets forth an expectation
of transcendent glory for all the saints who are, and believe in Christ Jesus--the coming
of the Lord.
By way of introduction, let me say that three important epochs stand out in my
spiritual life, namely: being blessed by His grace to apprehend through His Word the
coming of the Lord, then God's purpose of the eons which He makes in Christ Jesus, our
Lord, and the correct partitioning of the Word of truth. Until these great scriptural
teachings dawn upon our hearts, though we may be earnest students of God's word and feel
satisfied with what we have, nevertheless, there will be in our possession a great mine of
riches of which we are able to appropriate only a small portion. Therefore, personally
experiencing and realizing all this, it is with the sincerest desire to be helpful that I
encourage every child of God to give diligence to make these grand doctrines their very
THE DOCTRINE DENIED
It grieves the heart to see and know how the teaching of the Scriptures concerning the
coming of the Lord is discredited and repudiated by so many who propose to be dispensers
of the Word of God! Some go so far as to speak of it as "rubbish," saying they
have no time to waste upon it. But to those whose hearts have been enlightened by the
realization of the faith which relates to them in the Lord Jesus, and the transcendent
spiritual blessings with which they have been graced among the celestials in Christ Jesus,
our Lord, Life and Head, it is, indeed, blessedly precious.
FREQUENCY OF MENTION
The second coming of the Lord is referred to something like 568 times in the sacred
Scriptures. There are 250 references made to it in the Hebrew Scriptures and 318 in the
Greek Scriptures. In the so-called New Testament portion of the Scriptures, it is
mentioned on an average of once in every twenty-five verses. In fact, the coming of the
Lord is mentioned from the beginning to the end of the Scriptures in type and figure, in
form and symbol, in open prophecy and allusive utterance, in exhortation and discourse.
You will find it mentioned in connection with every fundamental doctrine:
First: with the resurrection from among the dead, incorruption, immortality, sonship,
awards, and the entering into the possession of the enjoyment of our allotment of grace
glorious among the celestials.
Second: it is bound up with every sublime promise--the promise of likeness with Christ,
satisfaction of spirit, victory over death and Satan, and the right to reign with Christ
during the on-coming eons.
Third: it is bound up with every practical exhortation--to love God, to love one
another, to patience, to devout living, to watchfulness, to being zealous in good works,
to being worthy of our calling above in Christ Jesus, to moderation, to having on the Word
of Life, against judging one another, to steadfastness, to letting the Word of Christ make
its home in us richly, faithfulness in dispensing the Word of His grace, because Christ
Jesus is coming again. In very truth, the coming of the Lord is the central chord of
devout living in Christ Jesus, touched and vibrated again and again by exhortation and
illustration as the exalted incentive for the unfailing impulse in the heart of the child
of God throughout the scope of Scripture.
CONFIRMED BY THE SCRIPTURES
The testimony of the Lord Jesus Himself: In My Father's house are many abodes,
otherwise I should have told you, seeing that I am going to make ready a place for you.
And if I should be going and making ready a place for you, I am coming again and
will be taking you to Myself, that where I am, you also may be (John 14:1-3).
The testimony of heavenly beings: And, as they were looking intently into heaven
at His going, lo! two men stand beside them in white attire, who said also, "Men!
Galileans! Why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus Who is being taken up from you
into heaven shall come in the same manner as you gaze upon Him going into
heaven" (Acts 1:10,11).
The testimony of Peter: For we make known to you the power and presence of
our Lord Jesus Christ, not following out wisely made myths, but we became spectators
of His magnificence (2 Peter 1:16).
The testimony of John: And now, little children, be remaining in it, that, should
He be manifested, we should be having boldness and not be put to shame before Him in His
presence (1 John 1:28).
The testimony of the Lord's supper: For whensoever you should be eating this
bread and drinking this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death till He should be
coming (1 Cor.11:26).
The testimony of Paul: For our citizenship belongs to the heavens, out of
which we are awaiting a Saviour, also, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who will transfigure
the body of our humiliation to conform it to His body glorious, in accord with the
operation which enables Him to subject even the universe to Himself (Phil.3:20,21).
We are sure this is testimony enough for all who accept the sacred Scriptures as God's
Word, that Christ Jesus is coming again.
There are two outstanding theories taught and believed in Christendom as to the coming
of the Lord. One school teaches that Christ will not return until the world is converted
or saved, then He will come and establish His reign. The other teaches that the world will
not be converted or saved in this eon, or age, but that His coming will conclude this
present wicked eon and usher in the coming eon of the millennium, when the knowledge of
the glory of Jehovah will cover the earth as the waters cover over the sea. The first
school is designated as "post-millennial" while the latter is termed
But little solid progress is ever accomplished in the study of the Scriptures by
theorizing, so we will appeal to the Word for what has truly been revealed concerning His presence
and the conclusion of this eon, or age.
When Christ was sitting on the mount of Olives one day, the disciples came to Him and
asked a double question:
What will be the sign of Thy presence, and
the conclusion of the eon? (Matt.24:3).
In reply, He gave the following summary of events they should look for leading to the
"sign" of His presence and the "conclusion" of the eon:
And answering, Jesus said to them, "Beware that no one should be deceiving you.
For many shall be coming on My name, saying, `I am the Christ!' and shall be deceiving
many. Yet you shall be about to be hearing battles, and tidings of battles. See that you
are not alarmed, for it must be occurring, but not as yet is the consummation. For nation
shall be roused against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines
and quakes in places. Yet all these are the beginning of travails.
Then shall they be giving you up to affliction, and they shall be killing you, and you
shall be hated by all of the nations because of My name. And then many shall be snared,
and they shall be betraying one another and hating one another. And many false prophets
shall be roused, and shall be deceiving many. And, because of the multiplication of
lawlessness, the love of many shall be cooling. Yet he who endures to the consummation, he
shall be saved. And this evangel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole inhabited
earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the consummation shall be arriving.
Whenever, then, you shall be perceiving the abomination of desolation, which is
declared through Daniel, the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him who is reading
apprehend), then let those in Judea be fleeing into the mountains. Let not him who is on
the house-top be descending to pick up aught out of his house. And let not him who is in
the field turn back behind to pick up his cloak.
Now woe to those who are pregnant and suckling in those days! Now be praying that your
flight may not be occurring in winter, nor yet on a sabbath, for then shall be great
affliction, such as has not occurred from the beginning of the world till now, neither
under any circumstances may be occurring. And except those days were discounted, no flesh
at all would be saved, yet because of those who are chosen, those days shall be
Now immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened and the
moon shall not be giving her beams, and the stars shall be falling from heaven, and the
powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of
Mankind shall be appearing in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land shall be
grieving, and they shall be viewing the Son of Mankind coming on the clouds of heaven with
power and much glory" (Matt.24:1-30).
These solemn declarations from our Lord Jesus Christ paint a very graphic picture of
the awful conditions in the world leading up to His presence and the conclusion
of the eon.
WORLD NOT CONVERTED
All who give a moment's thought to the description given in reply to the question of
the disciples relative to the conditions that will prevail in the world at the time of His
appearing will see little hope for the conversion of the world in it! And it may not be
out of order to give other Scriptures which emphasize the conditions at the conclusion of
If the world is converted before the Lord Jesus comes again, what are we to understand
by the following Scripture?
And the kings of the earth, and the magnates, and the captains, and the rich, and the
strong, and all slaves and freeman, hide themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the
mountains. And they are saying to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and
hide us from the face of Him Who is sitting on the throne and from the indignation of the
Lambkin, seeing that the great day of their indignation came, and who is able to
If the world is converted before Christ comes, what are we to understand by this
And the rest of mankind who were not killed in these calamities repent not of the acts
of their hand...that they will not be worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and
copper and stone and wood, which are not able to be observing nor to be hearing nor to be
walking...and they repent not of their murders, nor their enchantments, nor of their
prostitution, nor of their thefts" (Rev.9:20,21).
If the world is saved before Christ comes again, what are we to understand by the
...at the unveiling of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful messengers, in
flaming fire dealing vengeance to those who are not acquainted with God and those who are
not obeying the evangel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall incur the justice of eonian
extermination from the face of the Lord (2 Thess.1:7-9).
If the world is delivered before the Lord comes, what are we to understand by this
...prostitution, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and avarice, which is idolatry,
because of which God's indignation is coming on the sons of Stubbornness" (Col.3:5-
If the world is saved before Christ comes again, what are we to understand by the
Now the field is the world...the ideal seed...the sons of the kingdom....the
darnel...sons of the wicked one.... Now the harvest is the conclusion of the eon"
Leave both to grow up together until the harvest" (Matt.13:30).
If the world is converted before the Lord comes, what are we to understand by this
For even as the days of Noah, thus shall be the presence of the Son of Mankind"
Surely the days of Noah picture to us anything else than a converted or saved world.
And, dear reader, let me press the fact that the reign of bloody Mary, the horrors of the
Spanish inquisition, the martyrdoms of Rome's coliseum, the Armenian massacres, when a
hundred thousand saints of God were slain, all these pale before the awful affliction that
is coming upon the world of mankind at the conclusion of this wicked eon, just before
Christ is unveiled from heaven in power and much glory.
TWO EVENTS MARK THE END TIME
Two paramount events mark the coming of the Lord and the conclusion of this eon--the
glorification of the church which is the body of Christ, and the deliverance of Israel.
And here is where almost all go astray by mixing the teachings of the Scriptures and
jumbling these two events into one.
It is quite true that the Circumcision writers--Peter, James, John, and others--knew
the Lord Jesus was coming again; but that coming they understood and expected after
Jacob's trouble, the great affliction of the future indignation, a complete study of which
is given in Chapter XV. But in so far as it is revealed in their writings, they knew
nothing about the Lord's "prior coming" to snatch away the saints constituting
the body of Christ, for the meeting in the air. The truth concerning this event is a part
of the peculiar revelation committed to the apostle Paul for believers among the nations,
and does not concern Israel, as a nation, in any way.
THE TWO EVENTS CONTRASTED
The two events--the glorification of the church and the deliverance of Israel--marking
the conclusion of this eon, are clearly differentiated in the Scriptures, if we will give
ear to what is written. The display of grace in the event of "transferring the
body of our humiliation to conform it to His body glorious," is shown in 1
...seeing that God did not appoint us to indignation, but to the procuring of
salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the One dying for us that, whether we are
watching or drowsing, we should be living at the same time together with Him.
In contrast with this, for the deliverance of Israel, note that Hebrews 9:28 admonishes
...thus, Christ, also being offered once for the bearing of the sins of many, will be
seen the second (time), by those awaiting Him, apart from sin, for salvation, through
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this Scripture from Hebrews concerns only
the faithful in Israel at the time of Christ's coming for their deliverance. Not
recognizing the correct division of the Scriptures, the deplorable teaching has been
broadcast among the saints, that only those who are "waiting" or
"looking" for the Lord will be caught away for the meeting in the air! What part
does grace play in such teaching? If this teaching be for us, we are not saved by
grace, but by some work of merit which we do ourselves! It repudiates God's sovereign
grace and does violence to His holy Word.
If we correctly partition these Scriptures, and apply them to those for whom they were
written, and to the time for which they were intended, it will fill our hearts with
adoration and praise unto our blessed heavenly Father for the grace glorious with which He
is gracing us in the Beloved.
In this Secret Administration of grace, God has not appointed to indignation the saints
constituting the body of Christ. We procure salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the
One dying for us that, whether we are watching or drowsing, we should be
living at the same time together with Him! What a heart-gripping message of love and grace
this bears to all the saints who are, and believe in, Christ Jesus!
But with Israel, it is necessary for "judgment to begin from the house of
God" (1 Peter 4:17,18), which is the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer.30:7), the great
affliction such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world till now, neither
under any circumstances may be occurring (Matt.24:21). To those who "endure to the
consummation," who are "looking" for Him, He will "bring grace"
(1 Peter 1:13), "deliverance" (Rom.11:26), and "salvation, through
faith" (Heb.9:28). This is further clarified and intensified by the work of the high
priest in Israel, of which Christ is the great Antitype. Once a year, on the great day of
atonement, the chief priest entered the holy of holies, and came out with blessings for
the waiting throng. Christ, Israel's great Chief Priest has entered the heavenly sanctuary
and will come forth bringing "grace," "deliverance," and
"salvation, through faith" to those in Israel who are awaiting Him at His
unveiling or revelation from heaven at the conclusion of this eon.
Now, having pointed out that the Scriptures differentiate these events--the
glorification of the church and the deliverance of Israel--we propose to give study to
each, in their order, as the Scriptures speak.
Anticipating our scriptural proof, let us state first, that the "ecclesia which is
the body of Christ" (found only in Paul's writings) has been graced with a prior
expectancy in the Christ (Eph.1:12). In other words, Christ is coming to catch away
and glorify the church, which is His body, prior to His coming to bring grace and
deliverance to Israel.
To get a clear realization of this truth, we must hold in mind Paul's severance
for the distinct ministry to the ecclesia which is the body of Christ with a heavenly
destiny. It in nowise concerns, nor is it connected with the ministry of the twelve
apostles relative to the kingdom.
Then again, let us remember that, of Paul's epistles, those to the Thessalonian saints
were, in fact, the first of the Greek or "New Testament" Scriptures to be
written. And, until Paul gave forth the revelation of these epistles, the only hope
entertained by the saints was that of "deliverance" for Daniel's people, Israel,
"every one found written in the book," after the time of trouble
(Dan.12:1), and "the resurrection unto eonian life" (Dan.12:2), a hope enshrined
in the heart of Martha (John 11:24) and all the faithful in Israel, and designated later
by John the revelator as the first or former resurrection (Rev. 20:5), in contrast with
the resurrection of judgment (Dan.12:2; John 5:29; Rev.20:11-15).
The resurrection unto eonian life takes place at the beginning of the thousand
years' reign, or millennial kingdom (Dan.12:2; Rev.20:4-6), after the coming indignation
or Daniel's seventieth seven (week) (Dan.9:24,27; 12:1,2,7,11-13), at the unveiling, or
revelation, of Christ from heaven, taking dominion from the beast-king and committing its
sovereignty to Israel (Dan.7:11,26,27). The "former resurrection" is connected
with the faithful in Israel, from Abraham down to the consummation of the present
wicked eon, who "died in faith not being requited with the promises, but perceiving
them at a distance...that they should be happening upon a better resurrection"
In contrast with all this, God has provided, in His eonian administrations, "a
prior expectancy in the Christ" for the chosen, called and justified members of His
body. Just before the time arrives in the purpose of God to visit His wrath on the sons of
Stubbornness in the "coming indignation," we, through His transcendent grace,
will be removed from the earth and taken to our allotment of glory among the celestials.
This truth is confirmed by the following Scriptures:
"...for they are reporting, concerning us, what sort of entrance we have had to
you, and how you turned back to God from idols, to be slaving for the living and true God
and to be waiting for His Son out of the heavens, Whom He rouses from among the dead,
Jesus, Who is rescuing us out of the coming indignation" (1 Thess.1:9, 10).
"...seeing that God did not appoint us to indignation, but to the procuring
of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the One dying for us that, whether we may be
watching or drowsing, we should be living at the same time together with Him" (1
"...in Him in Whom our lot is cast also, being designated beforehand according to
the purpose of the One Who is operating the universe in accord with the counsel of His
will, that we should be for the laud of His glory, who are in a state of prior
expectancy in the Christ" (Eph.1:11,12).
These Scriptures reveal that we are not appointed to indignation, but are to be rescued
from it, designated for the laud of His glory, and in a state of prior expectancy
in the Christ, Who will assemble us unto Himself in glory before the seals are broken, the
trumpets of woe are blown, and the bowls of wrath are poured out upon the inhabited earth
in the future day of His indignation, as recorded in Revelation.
What a consolation, what a joy, what a happy expectation for all who are, and believe
in, Christ Jesus! How it should fill our hearts to overflowing with thanksgiving and
praise for the realization of such unmerited, transcendent riches of grace which He
lavishes on us in all wisdom and prudence!
THE DAY OF THE LORD AND HIS PRESENCE
Just here we need to consider some important facts of Scripture, apparently overlooked
by many who believe and teach that the Lord is already present. First, the Scriptures
verify that the "presence of the Lord" and the "day of the Lord" are simultaneous
events--arriving or beginning at the same moment.
"Now concerning the times and eras, brethren, you have no need to be written to,
for you yourselves are accurately aware that the day of the Lord is as a thief in
the night--thus is it coming....
"Now you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should
overtake you as a thief, for you are all sons of the light and sons of the
day" (1 Thess.5:1-5).
"Now we are asking you, brethren, in behalf of the presence of the Lord Jesus
Christ and our assembling with Him, that you be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor
yet be alarmed, either through a spirit or through a word, or even through an epistle as
through us, as that the day of the Lord is present" (2 Thess. 2:1,2).
The truth presented in these Scriptures show that to Paul, the "presence of the
Lord" and the "day of the Lord" are simultaneous events. In other
words, the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will mark the beginning of the day
of the Lord. They are so related that it is not possible to have one without the
Now, holding this teaching in mind, let us consider another fact of truth in relation
to it. When the "presence of the Lord" and the "day of the Lord"
arrive, all the dead are still reposing in their graves.
"For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living
who are surviving unto the presence of the Lord, shall by no means outstrip [leave
behind] those who are reposing" (1 Thess.4:15).
"For since, in fact, death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is through a
Man also. For even as in Adam, all are dying, thus in Christ also, all shall be made
alive. Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are
Christ's at His presence;..." (1 Cor.15:21-23).
These Scriptures establish the fact, that, not any of those who are put to
repose will be resurrected until the "presence of the Lord" and the
arrival of the "day of the Lord."
The next fact we wish to point out is, that the "dead in Christ" and the
"living who are surviving unto the presence of the Lord" at the beginning
of the "day of the Lord" (who constitute the ecclesia which is the body of
Christ), are snatched away simultaneously for their "assembling with Him"
in the air. On this Paul says:
"For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living
who are surviving unto the presence of the Lord, shall by no means outstrip those
who are put to repose, seeing that the Lord Himself will be descending from heaven with
the shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ shall be rising first. Thereupon we, the living
who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds
for meeting the Lord in the air" (1 Thess.4:15-17).
The deceptive manner in which some exponents of the Scriptures have handled these words
of the Lord is almost unbelievable! In order that every one, reading this book be in
possession of all the facts in the case, we will give the passage in the literal Greek
with a uniform sublinear. It reads:
|KAI OI NEKROI EN CHRISTw
AND THE DEAD
hMeIS OI ZwNTES
BEFORE-MOST ON-THEREAFTER WE
|OI PERILEIPOMENOI AMA
SHALL-BE-BEING-SNATCHED IN CLOUDS
|APANThSIN TOU KURIOU EIS
There is no room here for quibble, unless it be with God Who has given
the revelation. He clearly and unequivocally says that at the "presence of the
Lord," beginning the "day of the Lord," the "dead in Christ
shall be rising first. Thereupon we, the living who are surviving, SIMULTANEOUSLY
TOGETHER shall be snatched away in clouds for meeting the Lord in the air." Here we
have an inspired tautological emphasis, so that no one should go astray on this
matter. Therefore, since we, the living saints, are still here, it is proof positive that
the dead in Christ are still reposing in their graves. And, furthermore, it establishes
the fact beyond question, that the "presence of the Lord" and the "day of
the Lord" have not arrived, but are still future!
WHEN IT WILL OCCUR
The question causing much concern among students of the Scriptures throughout the earth
today is, When will the presence of the Lord occur? Some have attempted to set dates,
making alluring prophecies when the Lord would return, yet all have proved false. By not
recognizing the correct partitioning of the Scriptures, and the "prior
expectancy" of the church which is the body of Christ in Paul's writings, and seeking
to harmonize everything with His deliverance of watchful Israel after the coming
indignation, their reasonings are founded on false premises, and, of course, can lead to
nothing but erroneous, disappointing conclusions.
As to setting the year, the month, the week, the day or hour of His coming, it is
absolutely foolishness, as well as an unblushing denial of God's Word! The signs of the
eras, given us by the apostle Paul, assure one and all that it certainly cannot be so very
far in the future. Devout students of the Scriptures throughout the earth today are
impressed with the feeling of the nearness of His presence, and are living in constant
expectation of His call to the tryst in the air. However, this does not allow us to
predict or prophecy as to the day or hour of His coming. We are not to be prophesying, but
to be sobermindedly waiting for His Son out of the heavens, Who will be assembling
us unto Himself.
There is one statement that sheds more light on the subject of when it will
occur than any other Scripture, yet it is usually ignored entirely. It is Romans 11:25-27,
and tells exactly when He will come.
"For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you
may pass for prudent among yourselves, that Israel, in part, has become calloused until
the full complement of the nations may be entering."
The phrase "until the full complement of the nations may be entering" is very
significant. The words "full complement," rendered "fullness" in the
King James Version, comes from the Greek word pleeroma. Its literal meaning in
English is FILLing, or "that which fills up"--the complement or
plentitude. Until the full complement of the nations may be entering, means the
full number of the nations, or gentiles, designated by God to "fill up," or
"complete" the ecclesia which is the body of Christ. It is evident, at once,
that the body must contain a certain number of saints, else it never could be filled up,
or completed. Therefore, Israel, in part, has become calloused until the full
complement of the nations may be entering. And, just as an electric light blazes forth its
beams, when the necessary conditions are fulfilled, so will the Lord come and assemble His
saints unto Himself the moment the last one has been called, justified, and sealed by the
Spirit of promise, necessary to fill up, or complete, the church which is
HOW IT WILL OCCUR
The rapture, or glorification, of the church, closing this Secret Administration of
grace, will be the greatest surprise the world has ever known. Paul emphasizes the fact in
"Now concerning the times and eras, brethren, you have no need to be written to,
for you yourselves are accurately aware that the day of the Lord is as a thief in the
night--thus it is coming" (1 Thess.5:1-3).
All are familiar with the coming of a thief--it is always unexpected and takes
us with a sudden surprise when we miss our most valued jewels and treasures! And so
it is that the day of the Lord comes--unexpectedly--except to the saints, who are sons of
the light and sons of the day. The trumpet of God will rouse those who have been put to
repose, change the living who are surviving unto His presence, in a moment, in the twinkle
of an eye-lid, and they will be snatched away simultaneously together in clouds for
meeting Him in the air. Hear Paul describe it:
"Now we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are
reposing, lest you may be sorrowed according as others also who have no expectation. For
if we are believing that Jesus died and rose, thus also, those who are put to repose, will
God, through Jesus, lead forth with Him. For this we are saying to you by the word of the
Lord, that we, the living who are surviving unto the presence of the Lord, shall by
no means outstrip those who are put to repose, seeing that the Lord Himself will be
descending from heaven with the shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger,
and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall be rising first. Thereupon we,
the living who are Surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them
in clouds, for meeting the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be together with the
Lord. So that, be consoling one another with these words" (1 Thess.4:13-18).
Additional light is given to the Corinthian saints, concerning the same grand question,
"Lo! I am telling you a secret! We all, indeed, shall not be put to repose, yet we
all shall be changed, in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last trump. For He
will be trumpeting, and the dead will be roused incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality. Now,
whenever this corruptible should be putting on incorruption and this mortal be putting on
immortality, then shall come to pass the word which has been written;
'Death was swallowed up by Victory!
Where, O Death, is your victory?
Where, O Death, is your sting?'" (1 Cor.15:51-55).
These Scriptures reveal some wonderful truths which are worthy of the consideration and
welcome of all saints. What profound thoughts for meditation--the dead in Christ being
roused incorruptible, and the living saints changed to immortality! Who is
able to describe such a happy expectation? Only the Spirit of God, for it is
"That which the eye perceived not, and the ear hears not, and to which the heart
of man ascended not--whatever God makes ready for those who are loving Him. Yet God
reveals it to us through His spirit, for the spirit is searching all, even the depths of
God" (1 Cor.2:9,10).
Here we learn that our essential need is an ear attuned unto God's Word by His Spirit,
which reveals all so clearly that none need grope in the dark on these blessed
heart-consoling glories which He makes ready for those who are loving Him.
As to our change, Paul writes:
"For we are aware that, if our terrestrial tabernacle house should be demolished,
we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eonian in the heavens. For in this
also we are groaning, longing to be dressed in our habitation which is from heaven, if so
be that, being dressed also, we shall not be found naked. For we, also, who are in the
tabernacle, are groaning, being burdened, on which we are not wanting to be stripped,
but to be dressed, that the mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Cor.5:1-4).
"For our citizenship belongs to the heavens, out of which we are awaiting a
Saviour, also, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who will transfigure the body of our
humiliation, to conform it to His body glorious" (Phil.3:20,21).
Summing up this evidence, we find that, in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, the
mortal will be swallowed up by life-- changed to immortality--transfigured to
conform to His body glorious! What a glorious prospect! For He will be trumpeting
and the dead will be roused incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this
corruptible (those reposing) must put on incorruption and this mortal (the living) put on
immortality. Now, whenever this corruptible (those reposing) should be putting on
incorruption and this mortal (the living) be putting on immortality, then shall
come to pass the word which has been written, "Death was swallowed up by Victory!
Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?"
OUR ASSEMBLING WITH HIM
When the Lord descends from heaven with the "shout of command," all the
members of the church which is the body of Christ--the dead roused incorruptible and the
living changed to immortality in an instant of time--will be assembled with the Lord
in the air (2 Thess.2:1).
From every walk of life some will be gone: Clerks will be gone, bookkeepers will be
gone, janitors will be gone, doctors will be gone, nurses will be gone, patients will be
gone, teachers will be gone, preachers will be gone, fathers will be gone, mothers will be
gone, children will be gone, friends will be gone, neighbors will be gone. In fact, from
every sphere and vocation, those who are members of Christ's body, justified through faith
in His blood and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, whether reposing or living, will
be raptured away and assembled with the Lord at the meeting in the air.
Business of all kinds will be disrupted, while tumult and agitation will reign. Trains,
bus lines, ocean steamers, airlines, the great industrial plants over the world will be
left to peril when the Lord gives the shout of command for His own! The engineer of a fast
express train, being a member of Christ's body, will hear the trumpet sound, and he, with
all other believers in Christ, who are on the train, will instantly go to the meeting in
the air! Can we realize the reality of all this and the terror that will reign throughout
the earth when it occurs?
It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Christ will return in the fullness of glory,
To receive from the world His own.
It may be at mid-day, it may be at twilight,
It may be perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Christ will receive His own.
He comes all alone with no angels attending,
The glorified saints will to Him be ascending.
His shout and His voice and His trumpet will call us,
When Christ will receive His own.
O joy! O delight! should we go without dying!
No sickness, no sadness, no dread, and no crying.
Snatched away in clouds, with our Lord into glory,
When Christ will receive His own.
When the Lord comes for the glorification of the church which is His body, the
"world" will not end, as many expect and teach. It will simply be the end
of the present Secret Administration of God's grace. There will be much world after that
event takes place.
Three classes will be left on the earth--the sons of Stubbornness, the nation of
Israel, and the heathen or uncivilized nations of the earth. Then will follow the
"coming indignation," the study of which our next chapter will be devoted.