Monday, February 10, 2014

Next Big Things

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

Revelation 19:7-8 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

What are the next big things that you and I can expect both now and in the future? Below is a summary list of major future events that will impact every human being living on this planet. In future posts this blogger plans on touching upon each one in greater detail.   Today I will simply list six of them with some commentary on each one. If for any other reason, the hope is that such a list will cause the reader to think more closely about where they stand in relationship to the Lord in matters pertaining to life and eternity.  

1. Realities of Hell, Heaven & You
The Bible clearly states that it is appointed unto man "once to die" (Hebrews 9:27). Contrary to what some may teach, there are two destinations that are reached as a result of two different types of birth.  All people born into this world are deemed by scripture to be "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:1-2). However only those who are "born-again" by the Spirit of God to saving faith can be assured of the second destination following physical death - namely heaven.

The time frame that exists between physical death and resurrection is what is called "the intermediate state".  Many great Christian thinkers have pointed out that all people, whether saved or unsaved, will experience three "states": a current physical state, an intermediate state and a final eternal state. The end point of the intermediate state is of course resurrection.

The Prophet Daniel, Jesus Who is God in human flesh and the Apostle John point out that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and then a second resurrection of the wicked that will occur at the end of Christ's Millennial reign on this earth.

2. Rapture & Reward
The Bible reveals that for Christians at least, there will be two methods of exit from this world: either by physical death or rapture. What is meant by the term "rapture?" In passages such as John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 we see clear teaching on what will be Christ's "catching away" of all born-again Christians from the earth when He appears in the clouds prior to or right at the beginning of the future tribulation period.

In short the rapture will entail four main points. First Jesus will appear in the clouds at the beginning or right before the beginning of the tribulation. Second those who have died in Jesus will be resurrected into physically transformed glorified bodies. Thirdly those Christians who are living currently will experience the same immediate transformation in their physical body as well. Then lastly, all said believers are "caught away" or "raptured".1 

3. Resurrection & Christ's Return
It must be understood that in connection with Christ's resurrection as the "first-fruits" (1 Corinthians 15:23), those raised at the rapture of the church (1 Thess. 4:16), the tribulation martyrs (Revelation 20:4) and Jewish martyrs of the tribulation at Christ's second coming (Revelation 20:6) all constitute under what the Bible calls "The First Resurrection" (Revelation 20:6), or "The resurrection of the righteous" (Daniel 12:2; Luke 14:14; John 5:29). 

4. Reign & Kingdom age
It is in the train of the resurrection of the righteous that the Bible presents the next "big event", namely Christ's reign and His Kingdom here on earth.  I won't take time to trace out every passage of scripture that refers to Christ reigning on this earth following His second coming, but it seems undoubtedly clear that such a reign will entail and earthly reign in Jerusalem (Zechariah 12-14) lasting 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-10).

5. Final Judgment
It is in this particular event we find reference to the "second resurrection" or "resurrection of the unrighteous at the end of Christ's Millennial reign in Revelation 20:11-14.

6. The Age to Come
This finale of the Bible is found in Revelation 21-22 wherein we see eternity, the New Heavens and new Earth and the Lake of Fire. Those who by God's calling and purposes of grace who believed on Jesus Christ in this current age will enjoy eternity with the Lord. Those who by their own choice rejected the Gospel and die in their sins await judgment now in Hell and will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.

The point of today's post was to introduce the reader to the idea of what the Bible outlines to be the next major events for life and prophetic expectation. May these six next big things provide opportunities for the reader to reflect and seek the Lord in assurance that they are ready for what lies ahead.

1. The word "rapture" is a carry-over from the Older Latin translations "rapturo" which in turn had translated from the original Greek "harpago", which means "to catch away, to snatch up").

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