Coming of the Lord in the clouds

Coming of the Lord in the clouds

(An outline – not manuscript)

1 Thes 5:1-11

Prophecies of the Lord’s coming (1 Thes 5:1-3)

  1. Confusion of Lord’s coming in the clouds vs. coming in glory (to the earth) 7 years later (Mt 24)
  2. Misunderstanding of “man of sin” (2Th 2:3)and the length of “the Day of the Lord” (2Pe 3:3-9)
  3. Thessalonians (like us) already KNEW the prophecy (vv.1,2) (cf. 1Th 4:13-18; Rev 16:15)
    1. He will come as a thief (without prior notice or sound)
    2. Date setting is an error (heresy?) (Acts 1:7) (cf., Harold Camping)
  4. Lack of concern or knowledge is deadly (v.3) Scoffers (Mt 24:422Pe 3:10)
    1. Many will profess peace and safety
    2. That attitude will bring sudden and inescapable destruction

Expected behavior (vv.4-8)

  1. The world’s behavior is the result of being in the darkness of night spiritually (v.7)
    1. Spiritual darkness blinds them to their destiny (good & bad)
    2. Spiritual nighttime causes people to sleep & be overcome with intoxicating power, wealth or other deceptions (Is 47:10,11; Lu 21:34)
  2. We are children of the light and of the day (vv.4,5; Ro 13;11-14)
    1. His coming will not SURPRISE us (Mt 24:32-33)
    2. We know the GENERAL schedule of events (signs- 2nd coming) (Rev 1:1)
    3. We do not know the exact moment (Mt 24:36) (timeline print)
  3. Ways to prepare (vv.6,8)
    1. We must be SOBER
      1. Not affected by intoxicants, clear headed
      2. We allow nothing of the world to affect our mind or actions
    2. We must be AWAKE
      1. Not lulled into complacency about His coming
      2. We must be alert to our surroundings and the current events
    3. We should put on our BREASTPLATE
      1. Faith: confidence that God loves us, wants our best, not forsake
      2. Love: attitude of affection for God & others (believers / unbelievers)
      3. Breastplate: guards the heart, center of soul, most critical organ
    4. Put on our HELMET
      1. It protects our head, brain, mind, & thinking
      2. The HOPE of Salvation keeps us thinking correctly (Ph 4:7)

Source of Encouragement (vv.9-11)

  1. Understand the purpose of Great Tribulations
    1. Time of WRATH on the unbelievers  (Col 3:5; 2Pe 2:9; Re 6:16,17)
    2. Time of JACOB’S TROUBLE – herd the Jews to Messiah Jesus  (Je 30:7, 16)
    3. Christian church has no purpose in any of this!
  2. We are NOT scheduled for that APPOINTMENT! (v.9)
  3. Jesus will NOT be on the earth at that time
    1. He is in heaven directing events (Re 5:1-14)
    2. NEITHER will we!! (1Th 4:13-18)
    3. He died so, dead or raptured, “we may live together with Him.” (v.10)
  4. Our job today (vv.10,11)
    1. Use the Word and our knowledge to ENCOURAGE and BUILD up others (1Th 5:11Ep 4:29Heb 10:24,251Th 4:18)
    2. “One another” includes the unbelievers as well as believers
    3. We should reach out to others and warn them.

(c) Copyright 2018, Ray Waldo,  Loranger, LA 70446. All rights reserved. See our article on copyright issues here to determine your rights to the use of this material.

J4 – Judgment of GOOD WORKS

crowns

Works versus Grace

First, everyone must be judged regarding their sins and God’s grace.  Good works will NOT save us. God will look at our lives and if our sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, then we will be given eternal life with Christ. However, those who have refused the free pardon of their sins will be doomed to eternal torment (see Judgment at Death).  Our redemption (salvation) comes only by God’s grace — “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ep 2:8,9). However, the determination of one’s rewards is based entirely on their works (1Co 3:11-15).

Timing of the judgment

The Judgment of Godly Works occurs after the translation (rapture) of the church. Prior to the tribulation on earth, Jesus will receive His children in the air (1Thes 4:16-18). Both the dead in Christ (who are resurrected) and those still living (who are “changed”) will receive their glorified bodies. They also receive the assurance of being with the Lord forever (1Co 15:51-54) (See note 1).

Basis of the judgment

After we receive our glorified body (at resurrection or rapture), each of us must also be judged according to our works. Make no mistake — nothing in this judgment (or any other other event) will ever revoke the fact that these individuals have begun an eternity with God! Regardless of the quality of their works, THEY will be saved (1Co 3:14,15).

For BELIEVERS only

You may be wondering if the eternally lost will be at this judgment? The answer is NO. The judgment of GOOD works is uniquely for those who have already been granted eternal life. The previous judgments, at death and rapture, have made that selection. This event takes place in heaven while  those who died in unbelief are in hell (Luke 16:22-24) and the living – who were not raptured – are now facing the great tribulation on earth (see note 2).

Determines rewards

Jesus declared (to the church), “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Rev 22:12) The value of an individual’s deeds will depend on both their motives and their actions. Jesus said that when one does things for the praise of others, that is all the reward they can expect (Matt 6:1-6). That does not mean that their actions were sinful or wicked — the actions may have been very good — but their motives were wrong (see note 3).

There are many actions that will not condemn a believer to hell, but may not be beneficial to that person’s Christian testimony. In Romans 14, Paul taught the church to be mindful of others and the differences that may exist between believers.

Attitude toward others

Some people, with weak faith, may be uncertain about whether they can (as Christians) eat meat, or drink wine, etc. Paul said, “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean” (v.14).

Our beliefs about such small things are not worth jeopardizing the weaker Christian’s standing and causing them to stumble. Rather, we should keep such beliefs between ourselves and God (v. 22) and do everything we can to maintain peace with other believers (v.19).

Even if one’s motives are based in pride, or envy, or rivalry, that (alone) will not disqualify the person from eternal life. Paul taught the Philippians (Phil 1:15-18) not to judge their brothers even though some were “preach[ing] Christ out of  selfish ambition“, (Verse 17). “…what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached” (Verse 18).

Quality of deeds

The quality of one’s work is also judged. Paul told the Corinthians (1Co 3:11-15) that some deeds are worthy of a heavenly reward while others may not. Verse 13, “their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

The “Day” (which will bring our works to light) refers to the “Day of the Lord” or the day of wrath prophesied in the O.T.  It is the period of time when God deals with mankind in wrath – as opposed to the “day of grace” in which we now live (see Note 4).

Deeds follow us

The church will be raptured prior to the Day of the Lord. However, our works will remain after we are gone.Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them‘” (Rev 14:13). This group (who would soon die) are from the tribulation period, but the principle of our deeds remaining after our death is in effect already.

Fire reveals true gold

This seems to explain Paul’s statement above (1Co 3:11-15) that the “fire” will reveal the quality of our works. Consider that innumerable people will turn to Christ during the FIRE of tribulation (Rev 7:9). But how do they know about God’s grace? Romans 10:14 asks, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” I suspect that they will remember the words and actions/deeds of acquaintances who were taken during the rapture.

The memory of a saint’s quiet mention of Jesus’ love will thunder in the ears of people during the tribulation! Such deeds remain after the saints are in heaven. The value of everyone’s deeds will be exposed by the fire of tribulation. The deeds that are revealed as having been built with true gold on the foundation of Jesus Christ (1Co 3:11-15) are those which lead sinners to Christ during the tribulation and that builder will receive a reward (v.14).

Did someone mention crowns?

Every person in heaven will be given unimaginable gifts: a glorified body, a white robe of righteousness, and eternal life. Depending upon the quality of their deeds and their motives, some individuals will receive additional rewards (see Note 5).

I have identified some specific crowns that the Bible says will be given to the saints. These are doubtless some of the rewards that will be granted:

  • The crown given to those who are temperate in all things is INCORRUPTIBLE and will last forever (1Co 9:25).
  • A crown of REJOICING is promised to those who win souls in this life (1Thes 2:19, Phil 4:1).
  • For those who love the Lord and endure temptations, a crown of LIFE awaits (Ja 1:12, Rev 2:10, 3:11).
  • A crown of RIGHTEOUSNESS is given to all who long for Christ’s appearing (2Tim 4:8).
  • And Peter said that a crown of GLORY will be given to the elders who serve well (1Pet 5:4).

Eternal life with Christ is the greatest reward of all! Every individual at this judgment will sit with Christ at the Marriage Supper. The promises of God are TRUE!

Notes

  1. The Judgment of Godly Works is sometimes called “the Judgment Seat of Christ” (2Co 5:10). It is related to the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7-9). Both events occur in heaven but the judgment occurs first. 
  2. At the time that Jesus told the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the place called “Abraham’s bosom” was still occupied. It was emptied after Jesus’ resurrection (Matt 27:51-53). The O.T. saints were resurrected and taken to heaven where they remain until Jesus brings them back with Him at His appearance in the clouds (1Thes 4:13-18).
  3. After major hurricanes or other tragedies, many people donate their time and money to help the victims. A very worthwhile action. But one cannot “buy” their way into heaven by such acts. Neither can believers, who do so for publicity and the praise of men, expect to receive future rewards in heaven. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Matt 6:2).
  4. The “Day of the Lord” defines a period of time of more than 7 years (see When does the “Day of the Lord” happen?). This “day” begins either at the time of, or shortly after, the appearing of Jesus in the air and the translation of the church to Him. It continues through the 7 years of tribulation on the earth and possibly much longer.
  5. Envy and rivalism are totally absent in heaven. If one saint is given a crown for his or her prior deeds, we will all rejoice. As members of the same body, this is how we should operate now (1Co 12:12-27).

J3 – Judgment at RAPTURE

Clouds and rainbow

Judgment at Rapture

The judgment of Death is the point where a person is either allowed entry into heaven, or condemned to hell. The basis of that judgment is the blood of Jesus Christ. If (by grace) all your sins are under the blood of Jesus when you die, you are taken to heaven. But at the rapture of the church, the living must be judged – individually – to determine if they are eligible to be caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air (1Th 4:17). What is the basis of that judgment?

(For additional facts about the rapture, visit our article here.)

What is required to go in the rapture?

The entire concept of a rapture is based upon the catching away of Christian saints. The question is, who qualifies and what is the basis of that selection? Some theologians teach that every living Christian will go in the rapture. Others say that one must be “filled” with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Different teachers may also add other requirements. But, each theory assumes a judgment to determine who is validated to go.

It is not logical that someone could be raptured if they were not born again, so the first requirement would certainly the same as at the Judgment of death. But there may be some additional requirements. Consider these Scriptures and see if they pertain to the rapture qualifications. (Click on the links to learn more about a particular issue or Bible reference.)

  • Prayerful:Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.Luke 21:36
  • Without spiritual blemish:to present [the church] to himself (Christ) as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.Eph 5:27
  • Belong to Christ: “But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” 1Co 15:23
  • Spirit of Christ in you: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
  • Holiness: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

These may be requirements of simply being a Christian – but I doubt it. They seem to suggest something MORE that is available to the child of God. Some of these requirements may overlap while others are quite unique. The first three are commonly accepted. The last two are more controversial and I have written articles on each to deal with them further. (Spirit of Christ  and Holiness)

The idea of God requiring holiness to go in the rapture is a significant issue. The Scripture at Hebrews 12:14 speaks of seeing the Lord but everyone will see him at some point in time (Romans 14:11 and Rev 1:11). So, this must refer to a different “see the Lord.” I believe that it refers to when He comes in the clouds to receive His church (1Th 4:17). Only those who are resurrected and the living saints who are raptured will see Him at that time. To all the world, this coming in the air (and all it entails) is invisible. Likely the only thing those left behind will see is the ABSENCE of someone who is taken.

The final issue concerning the rapture judgment seems to be, “Will the innocent children be taken?” I plan to offer my ideas in a separate post. But let me be clear, I do NOT believe that God will ultimately condemn those who (because of young age, mental limitations, or other such reasons) are not accountable for their actions.

Let me try to summarize the Judgment at Rapture… There may be some born again believers left behind. There are additional requirements (beyond being born again) that may Christ may impose upon those who will make up his bride.

Also see our articles “Prophetic Timeline of Future Events” and “Rapture is real – Saints are Changed

Is it Spirit of God or Spirit of Christ?

Holy Spirit

The Spirit of Christ

In the book of Romans, Paul wrote about the “Spirit of Christ” and the “Spirit of God” (Ro 8:9,10). In the King James Version, he also speaks of the “Spirit of Life” (Ro 8:2 KJV). Jesus spoke of One who would comfort, advocate for us and be in us, the “Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13). And, in the Book of Acts (Acts 2:4) we read of the “Holy Spirit.” So, how many “Spirits” (from God) are there?

Paul’s answered this for the Ephesians:

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:4-6

It is very clear from the context of the entire chapter of Romans 8, that Paul is using different terms to describe the same “Spirit of God.” The slight changes refer to the different work that the Holy Spirit performs. This is significant because every born again believer has the Spirit of God living in them (1Co 3:16 CSB). They may at times not be “filled” with the Holy Spirit and consequently be more filled with their own desires. This may be what Paul meant in Romans 8:5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” 

Some pentecostals argue that, in Acts 2:4 the “Holy Spirit” came upon the believers and they “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” They may expand this to say that (in reference to Romans 8:11), unless one has experienced the gift of being “filled with the Holy Spirit” and “[spoken] in tongues,” they will not go in the rapture. Others go so far as to teach that you are not fully “saved” unless and until you speak with tongues.

Although we acknowledge that believers can (and should) be “filled” (baptized) with the Holy Spirit, and that they may “speak in tongues,” we do NOT believe that speaking in tongues is required in order to be born again.

In summary, there is only one Spirit of God and that other titles (e.g., “Spirit of Christ,” “Spirit of truth,” etc) are all referring to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. There are also references in the Bible to the “spirit of man” (1Co 2:11 KJV), “spirit of the world” (1Co 2:12), etc, but they clearly are of a different character.

Facts about the Rapture, Caught Up

facts

Just the facts Ma’am

Before we attempt to explain the Judgment at Rapture, we first need to establish some facts about the rapture. The word “rapture” is not found in any common version of the Bible. However, almost everyone in the modern world recognizes that it describes a time when Christians are  caught up in the air to meet Jesus.

Regardless of the name, the rapture of the church is a part of a larger event, “the first resurrection” (c.f., Rev 20:4,5 & 1Co 15:23 ). The first resurrection is a kind of “harvest” of God’s children. Like harvests of old, it consists of three parts:

  • Christ’s resurrection was the “first fruits”(1Co 15:23)
  • The “harvest” is at the appearing of Christ in the air (Matt 13:8,23)
  • The “gleaning” (cf. Lev 19:9) will occur after the period of great tribulations on earth.

It will happen soon: Many good Christian teachers maintain that “the rapture of the church is the next event on the prophetic calendar.” Generally speaking, that may be true. But, according to the Bible, it is not entirely accurate.  The appearance of Christ in the clouds is what triggers the resurrection of the dead saints AND the event when the living church is caught up to meet Jesus in the air – regardless of the timing.

I will deal with the issue of timing further in a later article. For the present, just understand that there are at least three major theories about the timing of the rapture: That it will occur before the tribulation (Pre-trib), during the tribulation (Mid-trib), or after the tribulation (Post-trib).

Also see our articles “Judgment at RAPTURE” and “Prophetic Timeline of Future Events

7-Rapture is real – Saints are Changed

Rapture is real

Biblical Rules of Death, Part 7

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #7: The Rapture is real – The Saints are Changed (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Paul (in the New Testament era) said that he visited Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4). However, the place he visited was “under the altar” – in God’s heaven. The Bible describes an event during the Great Tribulation when people are kept there (Revelations 6:9). Although that is a future event, the place is performing the same function today and holds millions (billions?) of Christians who died “in Christ.”

During the Great Tribulation, the souls “under the altar” cry out to the Lord for judgment and blood. These are saints who died during the tribulations. They cry out for blood, not because they are blood thirsty (not a Christ-like attribute), but because such bloodshed leads to the end of Great Tribulation and a resurrection at time is when they will receive their glorified bodies (Rev 6:10) and be complete for all eternity. Read more

6-Paradise is temporary

Paradise is temporary

Biblical Rules of Death, Part 6

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #6: Paradise is temporary (Matthew 27:53)

The place called “Paradise” is generally understood as a temporary place. It holds the souls of those, who for various reasons, have not yet been resurrected. They are in transition to their glorified bodies.

The original Paradise was the garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13). Adam and Eve enjoyed the provisions and the fellowship of God until they sinned. After that, they were cast out (Genesis 3:23) and the location has been hidden since. Read more

5-Everyone will go to either Heaven or Hell

Either Heaven or Hell

Biblical Rules of Death, Part 5

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #5: Everyone will go to either Heaven or Hell

Heaven is generally understood as the place of eternal life for the righteous. That is not precisely accurate since there are several locations identified with eternal life. Also, the present Heaven is replaced (at a later time) with a “new heaven” (Revelation 21:1).

Heaven is the place of God’s throne. So, when we speak of heaven, we are usually talking about the place of eternal life, in the presence of God. The word suggests everything holy and wonderful!

Hell is generally understood as the place of eternal punishment.  Read more

4-Satan claims the souls who sin

Satan claims the souls who sin

Biblical Rules of Death Part 4

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #4: Satan claims the souls who sin (Hebrews 2:14,15)

Satan has a legal claim on the souls of those who have not yet accepted Christ as their Savior. This is a direct result of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12). Adam relinquished (gave over to Satan) dominion in the earth when he sinned against God and was cast out of the garden (Romans 6:16).

In His righteousness, God has refused to allow those who die in sin to enter into His presence (compare Rule #2). Satan (a.k.a. “the devil”) holds the power of death over those whose sins have not been remitted (forgiven) (Hebrews 2:14,15).

A clear illustration of this is found in the book of Jude. God (in His sovereignty) called for the body of Moses (to appear at Jesus’ transfiguration, Matthew 17:3). The devil disputed it since Jesus had yet to shed His blood in remission for the Old Testament souls held captive (Matthew 27:52). Read more

3-No Forgiveness Without Blood

No Forgiveness Without Blood

Biblical Rules of Death Part 3

The Biblical Rules of Death: Who, What, Where, & Why we have to die

Rule #3: There is no forgiveness without blood (Heb 9:22)

In the Old Testament era, priests offered the blood of animals to try to reconcile sinful humans with the righteous God. The offering of innocent blood as a sacrifice for the sins of men was established by God Himself (Genesis 3:21).

Hebrews 10:4 “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

However, the blood of animals could only postpone the penalty of sin (Hebrews 10:4-1). It was like paying the annual interest on a loan but being incapable of repaying the principal amount. The sacrifice of bulls and goats kept their relationship with God active – but only temporarily. In the end, their sin debt was still outstanding and until it was paid, they could not go to heaven. Read more

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