Salvation’s Midnight Story

DSCF0328“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;

and unto them that look for him

shall he appear the second time

without sin unto salvation.”

Hebrews 9:28

As with any good story, Salvation has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, which we looked at in our previous post. But today we want to look at the end of the story of which we are told Jesus is the–

“author and finisher of our faith…”

A faith which looks for the coming of the Lord for his church. I believe that event is the beginning of the ending, and finds its climax when He brings his saints with him to set up his kingdom.

A Story:

“Everybody ready?”

The dozen teens nodded, but they darted their eyes from one to the other then back to me before scrambling into the van. We drove about 5 miles into the darkening hues of the sky. The nervous chatter hushed as the teens exited the van to discover a graveyard would be our meeting place – in the dark.

“Grab the blankets to sit on and the flashlights,” I called. With blankets, flashlights, and bibles in hand we trekked to the back side of the cemetery, away from the road and encircled by woods.

“Why here?” asked one teen.

”There is no better place to learn about what we call the rapture of the church than a graveyard,” I answered as I opened my bible to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. I began dramatically reading the events. I began in a hushed voice growing in volume–When I got to the middle of verse 17 it happened.

“For the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…” Suddenly, bodies jerked in unison as a siren blared its warning filling the night with its eerie sound. Our eyes grew as round as the shadowed moon. The teens glanced at me and I read –

“and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”

That was one lesson I don’t believe I or the teens will ever forget. And no, I didn’t plan the siren. But such will be the coming of the Lord for the salvation of his church.

Jesus’ first advent brought him to suffer –

“for sins, the just for the unjust,

that he might bring us to God,

being put to death in the flesh,

but quickened by the Spirit:”

1 Peter 3:18

When Christ comes for his church, he will come not to suffer sin but to consummate our salvation, for which we have waited –

“we ourselves groan within ourselves,

waiting for the adoption, to wit,

the redemption of our body.”

Romans 8:23.

We don’t know when this event will happen, but we know it will. And it will be sudden. The disciples expected Jesus’ return at any moment. I believe we should live in that expectancy, in a state of readiness.

“Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

Hebrews 12:2

Jesus told his own story concerning 10 virgins who went to meet the bridegroom. Five foolish ones didn’t have oil in their lamps, the wise did. When the bridegroom came at the midnight hour, the foolish weren’t ready. But the wise –

“went in with him to the marriage:

and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying,

Lord, Lord, open to us.

But he answered and said,

Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

Matthew 25:10-12

The moral of the story –

“Watch therefore,

for ye know neither the day nor the hour

wherein the Son of man cometh.”

(Matthew25:13)

The Promise:

“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.”

John 14:2,3

Are you ready should Jesus come for his church at the midnight hour? Don’t go to sleep without being ready.

How Will You See Him?

“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” Rev. 1:14,15.

IMG_0443Twice in our years of mission trips we have passed through Durango, CO. Both times fires threatened our paths. The red glow mixed with the glory of the setting sun created a beautiful sight from a distance. But the fire raged, consuming everything in its path. A scorched land filled with blackened trees stretching scorched disfigured limbs pleading for respite is all that remained.DSCF4248

Today, we look on Christ from a distance, our eyes fixed on glimpses of His glory and goodness, with little thought of the flame that burns in His eyes.  But one day we are told,

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God  and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is… 1John 3:2; As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness…Ps. 17:15; For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face…1Cor. 13:12;

For the sons of God, those born spiritually into His family, we will see, “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off…Isa. 33:17; And they shall see his face and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Rev. 22:4.

But what of those who are not born into God’s family, what will they see? Will they even witness His second coming? Hear the word of God and know the truth.

“Behold, he cometh 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.”Rev. 1:7.

And that’s not all…

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called, The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19:11-16.

Much of the earth, at this time, is left desolate through the seals, trumpets, and bowls of God’s wrath being poured out upon it and its inhabitants. But a day will come when all things will be made new for those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness…2Pet. 3:11-13;And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first, earth were passed away; and there was no more sea… And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Rev. 22:1, 5.

You will see Jesus Christ one day. You have God’s word on it. The question is, How will you see Him, Judge or Savior King? Those found written in the Lamb’s book of life will see Him as Savior and King, but…

“…whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:15.

And this fire is not like the fires of Durango which eventually burn out. It is eternal and doesn’t consume those found in it.

Hoping to see you all in heaven. “Today is the day of salvation.”

 

 

 

Have You Seen Jesus?

“And I saw heaven opened…”

DSCF0028

This time of year, in my neck of the woods, God’s creation explodes with a kaleidoscope of colors. As beautiful as is the picture our heavenly Father paints for us showing His beauty and faithfulness, it cannot compare to the day the heavens are opened.

“And I saw heaven opened…” The apostle John stands in good company with Isaiah, Ezekiel and Stephen. What did they see?

Isaiah: “…I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” Isa.6:1.

Ezekiel: “…the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” Ezek.1:1.

Stephen: “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

John’s sightings exceed the others: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns…he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God…and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS…

And I saw the beast taken, with him the false prophet…These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone…

And I saw…the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, bound…a thousand years, And cast…into the bottomless pit…

And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…

And I saw a great white throne…And I saw the dead, small and great stand before God; and the book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire…

And I saw a new heaven and new earth…And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Taken from Rev. 19-21).

One day the heavens will open again and we will see, “…the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory…” “…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go…” “…Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” “…we shall see him as he is.” (Luke 21:27; Acts 1:11; Matt. 26:64; 1John 3:2)

We don’t know when we will see Christ face to face, but we do know, “…yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Until then ours is to, “Be…patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” “Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.(Heb. 10:37; James 5:8; Matt. 24:44).

Have you seen Jesus? I have through the written word. You can too. If not now, know this: “Behold, he cometh 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.” Rev. 1:7.

Heavenly Father, your word is true. May all who read know the return of Jesus Christ draws near, see Him in the pages of your written word and be made ready for that day.