OF COMFORT FOR THE FUTURE
THAT WAS PREACHED
DURING THE LAST SUPPER
John 14:1-6 (KJV)
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus, preaching at the last supper, knew that the disciples were going to face a horrible trial. Jesus, their Messiah, instead of announcing He was come to rule the world, as they had hoped, was about to be arrested, tried, convicted, beaten, and crucified. He had tried to forewarn them, but they were still unaware of all that was to come.
Jesus, Himself, was going to suffer all those things, but He was concerned with the milder suffering of His disciples. So, Jesus gives some comfort words here, words that would stay in their mind, to take them through the trial, with hope.
We all find it hard in trials? Yet, we will have a glorious reunion soon. The Bible tells us much about it.
"AFTER THIS, I LOOKED AND BEHOLD, A DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN AND THE FIRST VOICE WHICH I HEARD WAS AS IT WERE A TRUMPET TALKING WITH ME, WHICH SAID, 'COME UP HITHER !'"
I Thessalonians 4:15-17
"WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN UNTO THE COMING OF THE LORD SHALL NOT PRECEDE THEM THAT ARE ASLEEP (dead)--FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND WITH A SHOUT, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, AND THE TRUMP OF GOD, AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST, AND THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP (Greek = harpadzo, to catch away out of harm's way) TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR, AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD."
"WATCH YE THEREFORE AND PRAY ALWAYS THAT YE MAY BE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT SHALL COME TO PASS AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN."
I Corinthians 15:51-52
"BEHOLD, I SHOW YOU A MYSTERY, WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP (die), BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED. IN A MOMENT, IN A TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMP--FOR THE TRUMP SHALL SOUND (Rev. 4:1, I Thess. 4:15-17) AND THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED..."
II Thessalonians 2:1
"NOW WE BESEECH YOU BRETHREN, BY THE COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BY OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM..."
II Thessalonians 2:7-8
"...HE THAT LETTETH (hinders) WILL LET (hinder) UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY, AND THEN SHALL THAT WICKED ONE BE REVEALED..."
I Thessalonians 5:9
"FOR GOD HATH NOT APPOINTED US TO WRATH..."
Who will go in the rapture of the church ? The world has wondered, and much debate has evolved. Some have said all, and some have tried to say -only the righteous, and some have tried to limit it to those baptized in a certain way, or those who speak in tongues, or those who belong to a certain denomination. The Word of God is very specific to the who shall go in the rapture. We need to pay attention to the Word of God, and not to the dogmas of various bodies of believers.
The Bible does give certain qualifications for those to be raptured.
1. BE "IN CHRIST"
I Thessalonians 4:14-16
"EVEN SO THEM ALSO WHICH SLEEP IN JESUS WILL GOD BRING WITH HIM... DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE FIRST...
II Corinthians 5:17
"IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE..."
Thus, if we are saved, and thereby are "in Christ" we are going to go in the rapture.
2. BE PURE (by Christ's righteousness)
I John 3:2-3
"WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM FOR WE WILL SEE HIM AS HE IS AND EVERY MAN THAT HATH THIS HOPE IN HIM, PURIFIES HIMSELF..."
"THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT IT TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING--BUT THAT IT SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH."
We are not made pure by acts of righteousness. We are not saved by our good works. His righteousness alone will pay our way on that great excursion ride to our heavenly mansions.
Jesus comforts His disciples, and us, with great promises.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
All this is fulfilled at the rapture. We need not, no matter how hard the trial, be troubled. Jesus assures that in the Father's place of abode, there are many places there for us. "My Father," is used 38 times in John; only 15 times in Matthew; 4 times in Luke, and never in Mark. Obviously, this ‘Father’ relationship Jesus revealed for us, is one that John had learned to value and share. The Father has a house. And as His children, we hare that abode for eternity. The word ‘house’ is the Greek: oikia (G3614), meaning simply ‘ dwelling place’. The Father's dwells in heaven.
For us there, are mansions, which are the Greek, mone (G3438), meaning not necessary mansions like we think of here on earth, but rather abiding places, rooms. These places are in the New Jerusalem.
I will come again
Jesus will come again, in the rapture, and in the second coming. This refers to the rapture, where He rescues us from the wrath of God. He will receive all the dead and living in Christ, and take them to the heavenly mansions.
receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also
The disciples are about as blind to what Jesus is speaking, as many today are failing to understand the plan of the Lord to help us. So the question is voiced, how can we know the way? Jesus has the answer.
I am the Way
Jesus is the only way to God. The only way of escape from God’s wrath to come in the tribulation. The only way to the holiest throne room of God. No other religion has a way for mankind to reach God. Mohammed can take no one to God, and their ‘allah’ is not a god at all, but an evil spirit. Hindus, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, etc all try to preach another way to God, but Jesus is the only Way.
I am Truth
Jesus speaks only truth, blesses only truth, and all contrary words are not truth. He is the truth that sets free.
John 8:31-36 (KJV)
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
I am Life
Christ is the Only Source of eternal life.
John 6:27 (KJV)
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me
Acts 4:12 (KJV)
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
JESUS DID NOT WANT THE DISCIPLES IGNORANT,
NOR DOES HE WANT US IGNORANT OF THESE THINGS
We are here to educate this ignorant world. The devil has blinded many to truth, and if we get them to see and hear the truth, they will find the One Way to ‘hope’.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
13. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.
15. For this we say unto you, by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them who are asleep.
16. 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.
17. 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 shall we ever be with the Lord.
16. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
"Ignorant" is from the Greek, ‘agnoein’ meaning ‘to know not’, ‘to understand not’. What they were ignorant of, was those who had died in Christ, and awaited resurrection, were ‘asleep’, dead, and what would happen to them, in that they had died before the rapture. Many at Thessalonica were dying from the persecution and tribulation of that day. They were suffering greatly for being Christian. It was deadly to be discovered to be a Christian. Some were afraid, that if they died at the hands of the persecutors, they would miss the rapture, They felt that the date of the resurrection, would be at a later date, than the rapture date. So they thought that the raptured saints would be in heaven sooner, than those who died before the rapture.
Paul gives a good description of the rapture here, telling us in such description, that the ‘dead in Christ’ rise first. The alive Christians at the rapture time, are then caught up to heaven. The ones at Thessalonica had gotten the incorrect idea, that the raptured saints went straight to heaven but the ones who die before such rapture, have to ‘sleep’ in the ground, awaiting a later resurrection.
We know that when a child of God dies, the soul goes to heaven immediately. The body may be buried, cremated, or whatever, and awaits a resurrection, but the soul is already with the Lord. Paul has to teach them the truth here. I Thessalonians 4:14 shows us that the souls ‘will God bring with Him." And of the bodies of such souls, it says.. ‘dead in Christ shall rise’.
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man, and Lazarus were buried, but already their souls were in either paradise or hell. There is no ‘soul sleep’. And now in our time, ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." So, therefore, the idea of the first death, is that the soul leaves the body.
The rapture, is when the voice of the Lord speaks, "Come up hither", and every saint alive will spiritually hear those words. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, the body of the saints alive will be taken up into the clouds, and there meet the Lord. The Lord will have descended to the clouds, and with Him will be the souls of all the saints who have died before. Before the saints can be caught up to the clouds, the bodies of the saints, buried, cremated, dust or whatever, will have those atoms caught up to the Lord, and be reunited to the souls, and become a glorified body. The raptured saints, shall not die, to get their glorified, eternal body, but will be 'changed' from mortal to immortal in that short trip to the clouds.
On the way to the throne room, we stop off at the 'bema seat' of Christ. There we will receive rewards before the Lord, and be given our crowns. From that judgment seat, we will proceed into heaven, to the throne room of God. The scene is pictured prophetically in Revelation 4 and 5, where we can see ahead of time, a description of the worship we will give to the Trinity as we arrive in heaven.
Our crowns will be thrown before the feet of Jesus, as He stands beside God the Father. This is truth that should comfort we who have it. Jesus promised to prepare a ‘place’ for us. Yes, a literal place. If He were not coming back, to take us to that place. He would not have so promised. It is not just a place for those who die, but a place for those who are ‘received’ when Jesus comes back. So, we do not just go up in clouds, to return to fight Armageddon the same day. We go earlier, to dwell with the Lord in that place, that He has prepared for us.
"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."
Angels promised this to the disciples. And this Jesus has not yet returned, but He soon will. From the clouds, like as He went up, will He return.
"unto them that look for Him, shall He appear the second time."
"Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him."
At the rapture, He comes secretly, and every eye does not see Him. but at the second coming, His coming in clouds with the saints following Him, coming to battle the Antichrist, his armies, at Armageddon, will be very visible. Every eye will then see Him.
"Therefore, be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."
We may not know the day, nor the hour, but we do know that He is coming.
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day, nor the hour, wherein the Son of Man cometh."
WORDS DESCRIBING THE LORD’S COMING
I Corinthians 16:22
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maranatha."
The word ‘anathema’ means ‘declared to be banned, or excommunicated" and the word "maranatha" means "The Lord cometh".
Maranatha was a common greeting among Christians of the early church. It was common to say "maranatha’ as a hello or good bye type greeting.
"Maran" means "Our Lord’ and "atha" means "shall come".
Jesus told His disciples to ‘comfort’ each other with the words of His return. And this word, maranatha, is one way in which they did. No matter what the conversation was, to begin and end it with a reminder that ‘The Lord is coming" (maranatha) would bring a smile to the face of any true child of God.
This word means, arrival, presence, coming. The idea is a ‘becoming present". It is somewhat like the English word, ‘Visit’. The Greek idea was connected with the visit of an emperor or some distinguished person.
It is used often of Christ.
I Corinthians 15:23
"But every man in his own order, Christ the firstfruits, afterward, they that are Christ’s at His coming."
I Thessalonians 2:19
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at His coming."
"For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
I John 2:28
"And now little children, abide in Him, that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
This word ‘parousia’ is used in the Bible to refer to when Jesus comes at the rapture to His saints, and also at the second coming time, when He remains present in this world.
This word means ‘unveiling, revelation, appearing, coming"
I Peter 1:13
"Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 1:7
"So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ."
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show to His servants things that must shortly come to pass."
This word means ‘appear, to be physically seen with the eye..."
"Unto them that look for Him, shall He appear the second time."
This word stresses an arrival.
If I go away, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself."
"This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen Him go into heaven."
II Thessalonians 1:10
"When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints."
"Behold He cometh with clouds."
This word means ‘appear,’ "an manifestation," "a shining forth, as an enemy to the army in the field" and is used six times in the New Testament, always by Paul. We get the word ‘epiphany’ from this Greek word.
I Timothy 6:14
"That thou keep this commandment without spot, un-rebuke-able until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."
A shining appearance, shining forth, as headlights break the darkness, and indicate the arrival of a car.
It is used of Jesus’ first coming.
II Timothy 1:10
"but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death and hat brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
It is used of the rapture of the church.
"Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ."
It is used of Jesus’ second coming.
II Thessalonians 2:8
"And then shall that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia)."
This word means ‘to be caught away by force out of harm’s way."
It is used to refer to the rapture only.
I Thessalonians 4:17
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
This word means ‘to escape clean away from a dreaded person, place, or thing." It too is used to refer to the rapture only. It is used to refer to some who will not be raptured to escape.
I Thessalonians 5:3
"When they shall say peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
The Bible tells us to "comfort one another with these words." (I Thess. 4:18)
We should comfort the bereaved with words of the coming of Jesus. We should comfort the poor with words of Jesus’ coming. We should comfort the sick and dying with words about the return of the Lord. and we should comfort the troubled and persecuted with the words of hope. The return of Jesus should give hope to all saints. If you are not encouraged with these words of the hope of His coming, then there is something wrong spiritually with your beliefs, or your spiritual condition. Examine yourself, get things right with God, until words of the rapture and second coming give you comfort, as they should.