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RLJ-861

UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE BOOK OF REVELATION - PART 25

John S. Torell

 February 23 , 2003

CHAPTER NINETEEN

The bad news is now over for the Christians. Finally, God is going to step in once and for all and take care of the Devil and all the evil he has created. From now on, it will only be bad news for the Devil and his followers. This is brought out in the following verses: Verses 1-7

There are now no more delays, the marriage feast of the Lamb is about to happen, and then the armies of heaven will invade the earth and take total control, under the leadership of the Son of God himself. But, before we can look at the marriage feast of the Lamb, there are two events we must study:

1. THE CATCHING AWAY

The common term of this event is mostly known as "THE RAPTURE," but this word does not exist in the New Testament. It is the apostle Paul who is laying out the events for us. None of the other apostles deal with the subject, neither do we find it in the Gospels or in the book of Revelation.

Our first reference is found in 1 Corinthians 15:49-58

It is important to know, that this epistle was written 54 A.D., some 36 years before the book of Revelation was given to the apostle John. When John received this revelation, Paul had been executed and was no longer on the earth.

Our second reference is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

This epistle was written in 52-54 A.D. by the apostle Paul, before he wrote to the Corinthians.

Understand this, the apostle Paul never read the book of Revelation, while he was living in this world. But he tells us that the believers in Christ shall be caught up to be with the Lord forever. In Revelation 19:14 the armies of heaven follow Jesus back to the earth, and in verses 1-7 we find that the believers in Christ are already in heaven, waiting for the marriage feast of the Lamb.

The conclusion we can draw then is, that at some time in the future, the believers in Christ will be removed from the earth, and be processed in heaven.

The apostle Paul is pointing out, that this day should not come as a surprise for the Christians - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

At this point in history, Paul and the other apostles did not know in detail how the end was going to be. This was going to be revealed to the last living apostle John, but not until 90 A.D., which was approximately some 60 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

In his second epistle to the Thessalonians Paul is making it clear, that the day of the Lord, when he is going to catch up his church into heaven, is not going to take place until after the Man of Sin (Antichrist) has come into power on this earth - 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

There is no time table set in the Bible, when the great catching away is going to take place. All we are told is that it shall take place before Jesus comes back to this earth to reign. It is futile to speculate when it shall occur. God is in total control of the timetable and He has chosen not to let any man know! Matthew 24:29-36

2. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

It is evident that this event is going to take place after the "great catching away", but before the return in power of Jesus to the earth. In Revelation 19:7 we are told that the bride of Christ has made herself ready for the marriage feast of the Lamb. The final reckoning for the believer in Christ is going to take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Only the apostle Paul gives us details of this judgment - 2 Corinthians 5:1-11

Only believers in Christ shall be present at this judgment, and here it will not be a question if we are saved or not, it is a question of rewards and our eternal positions in heaven: 1 Corinthians 3:1-23

To properly understand salvation, we must understand how a wedding was done at the time of Christ.

1. Marriages were arranged in advance when the groom and the bride were still children.

2. When the time came for the groom to pick up his bride and take her to him, the wedding feast was held in the house of the groom’s father.

3. A wedding day was announced, but the bride and the guests had to be ready for a 24 hour period, when the groom would come for his bride. Guests had to catch the procession going to or from picking up the bride. Matthew 25:1-13

4. Wedding garments could not be purchased ahead of time, in fact they could not be purchased at all, but were given at the door as a gift from the father of the groom. Matthew 22:1-14

At the marriage feast of the Lamb, our wedding garments will be the righteousness of Jesus.

Revelation 1:5-6; 19:8-9

        Salvation is by grace - Ephesians 2:4-10
  
         Salvation is an instant event - John 1:12-13
  
             Salvation is not a gradual process, if so, we are back to works by man. Romans 10:1-13

Man is not holding God - IT IS GOD HOLDING MAN! John 10:27-30

Do you have an ear to hear with?

To be continued...


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