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THE THREE COMINGS OF JESUS
There are multitudinous signs in the world today that indicate the nearness of the return of Jesus Christ to planet earth. A study of those signs is very important, but is beyond the scope of this particular booklet. Herein, I shall deal only with the HOW of Jesus' return. Is it all at once, in stages, etc.? Does He come secretly, visibly, or what? And what about the "rapture"? Is it scriptural? Are Christians to be taken or left? And if taken, where to? And for how long? I hope that this study will clear up many of these and other questions; I have chosen to divide the material into three sections:
The Coming of Jesus TO His saints.
The Coming of Jesus FOR His saints.
The Coming of Jesus WITH His saints,
I hope you will carefully study this booklet, trying to keep an open mind and heart to the Lord. My only desire is to let the truth that is contained in these pages bring joy and comfort to your heart, and challenge you to further study of this important subject. I make no claim to have the final word on this or any other scriptural truth, but only want to be faithful to present the insights I have received to the praise of the Lord, I am open to further light which will amplify or modify what has been written. I would suggest that you read through the whole booklet first, to get a complete perspective; then review and study.
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THREE COMINGS OF JESUS
Come, Lord Jesus!
Probably no man on earth, other than the Lord Jesus Himself, has ever had such an awe-inspiring, dramatic and revealing experience, than the one granted to the apostle John on the isle of
Patmosas he had unveiled to him in symbolic and prophetic vision what he chose to call "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:1). After recording faithfully what he had seen and heard with a hearty "Amen,” he no doubt began to contemplate what he had written. The joy and anticipation of his heart was beyond description. How he longed to see this wondrous vision fulfilled to himself and to all of the church. Perhaps he quickly picked up his pen again and appended that which was not only the cry of his own heart, but also the longing in the heart of every true Christian from that day to this: "EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS" (Rev. 22:20).
However, we need to see that there are different phases to the coming of the Lord. Whenever I long for the Lord to move by His Spirit and make Himself real by His spiritual presence, I say in my heart "Come, Lord Jesus!" And this is scriptural, for Jesus Himself said, when promising another Comforter in the person of the Holy Spirit, "I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU" (John 14:18). But the Lord's coming TO the church through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is NOT His only coming, as some are erroneously teaching. Jesus also promised to come FOR His church when He said: "I will come again, and RECEIVE you to myself; that where I AM, there you may be also (John 14:3). Please note, He was not speaking in this verse of His coming in the ministry of the Holy Spirit; for had He been. He would have said, "that where YOU ARE, there I will be also. For that is the purpose of His sending the Holy Spirit, that we might experience His spiritual presence where WE ARE (here and now). But He said He would come to RECEIVE us that we might be where HE IS. Since He is no longer an earthly being walking this earth, that means being translated into His own heavenly kingdom realm, with a body like to His (Phil. 3:21).
But there is a final coming of the Lord Jesus expressed in the words of Jude in the 14th verse of his book: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes WITH ten thousands of his saints'.” Some say this refers to angels only, but though there will be myriads of angels returning with Him (Mt. 25:31), I believe it is quite clear that the glorified saints also return with Him in His final descent, as in Rev. 19:14 the "armies" of heaven follow Him to earth. And also in Luke 19:12 we read where Jesus told of a certain nobleman (representing Jesus Himself)who went into a far country to RECEIVE for himself a kingdom, and to RETURN. Notice that He receives the kingdom (His people) to Himself first; then returns with it. Since His people return WITH Him, it is quite obvious that previous to that they have BEEN somewhere. But that is just one of the "mysteries" which I will seek to unveil in this study. Are you ready? Then come and let us LOOK!
Taken and left?
Before dealing with the various phases of the Lord's coming in detail, I want to jump right into what seems to be a difficult scripture passage, and which has been frequently misinterpreted. I refer to Mt. 24:37-41, where it speaks of some being taken and others left. After dealing with this passage, a certain writer that I read recently, said: "Lord, we want to be left!" I hope that by the time you have finished reading this booklet, that you will say with me, "Lord, we want to be taken!” Another end-time writer that I read not too long ago, also ridicules the idea that anyone would want to be taken; for, he says, according to this passage only the wicked are to be taken. But does it? NOT if we examine carefully and understand the TWO kinds of "taking" the Lord was talking about.
So often the truth is missed because our English translations do not give the distinction between different Greek words that are used. Let me quote the passage under consideration and then I will show you what I mean. "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. WATCH THEREFORE: for you know not what hour your Lord comes” (Mt. 24:38-42). The Greek word translated "took" in the first instance, where it speaks of the fact that he "took them all away" (in judgment), is an entirely different Greek word than that used in the verses following where He says that "one shall be taken, and the other left. " Let me illustrate this by using the numbers and definitions in Strongs concordance as follows:
Strongs: #142, Greek, AIRO: "to lift; by implication, to take up or away; away with, put away, remove, take.” This is the Greek word that is used in Mt. 24:39 where it says that God "took them (the wicked) all away." It is the same word used in Lk. 19:26 where of the "wicked servant" it is said that "even that which he has shall be taken away from him."
Strongs: #3880, Greek, PARALAMBANO: "to receive near, i.e. associate with oneself (in any familiar or intimate act or relation); by anal. to assume an office; receive, take (unto, with)." WOW! Does not this word literally SHOUT at us? And this is the word used in Mt. 24:40-41 where it says that "one shall be taken, and the other left." Here it is not the wicked being taken away in judgment, but rather Christians who are READY (this will be discussed later) being taken to be near Jesus in intimate relationship, to be associated with Him in a particular work or ministry, where they will "assume an office "or function in His consummating plan for this age. Note the following other scriptures where this Greek word is used.
Mt. 1:20:”…fear not to take to you Mary your wife."
Mt. 2:24: "…and (Joseph) took to himself his wife."
Lk. 9:28: "He (Jesus) took Peter, John, James, and went. . ."
Mt. 26:37: "…and He (Jesus) took with him Peter."
All indicate a taking or receiving to a person for an intimate relation and purpose. Hallelujah! Lord, we want to be taken!
Immediately following His statement that some would be taken and others left, Jesus gives the admonition, "Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord comes." Mt. 24:42. Now WHY the admonition to "watch" if the Lord is only talking about the wicked being taken away? But if, as we have pointed out, the Lord is warning Christians lest they be left behind when He comes to take some to Himself, THEN the admonition to watch makes sense. All we have to do is to continue to read the verses following the admonition (24:43-51), and the misty fogs of man's confusion will disappear. "But know this, that if the goodman (head) of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have permitted his house to be broken up. Therefore BE YOU ALSO READY: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes" (Mt. 24:43-44). Thus Jesus is coming to break into the household of the church to TAKE those who are READY, and leave others behind. The same thought is presented under a different analogy in 24:45-51 as the faithful and wise servant who is ready when the Lord comes, is contrasted with the unfaithful and careless servant who is to be "cut asunder" (separated from those who are ready by being left behind), so that his portion (during the tribulation) will be appointed with the hypocrites. These thoughts will be developed more fully little later. I have been seeking to show now that the whole context of the passage has to be studied to grasp the significance of some being taken and others being left because of READINESS, as well as STRATEGY in dealing with the household of the church.
[Next: The Coming of Jesus TO His Saints .]
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