“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” – Romans 8: 19. We began our series on the rapture with this. And in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-58 we saw that expectation consummated in our last work. And we most necessarily take 1 Corinthians 15: 51-58 again:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptible, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But exactly when this will take place we do not know, but we already know that it will take place suddenly and in the twinkling of the eye. The more reason we should be very earnest in waiting for it and or earnest with our Christian life! The result of that is eternally glorious. Hebrews 12:22-23 introduces the saints introduction to Heaven this way: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
The rapture has its extremely great and wonderful purposes; eternally soothing purposes. Blessed forever are they that would enter into these purposes. May this 1878 blessed hymn of H. L. Turner ushers us into a wonderful topic:
1. It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory
To receive from the world “His own.”
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Amen.
2. It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives “His own.”
3. While its hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive “His own.”
4. Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying.
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives “His own.”
We do not know when, but very near. And when it happens it will accomplish sundry eternal purposes. We visit below some of those purposes, and even though each can make a volume of its own we think we should be as brief as possible, and you will even notice that some of the points are actually double or multiple points:
A) The rapture takes place for the purposes of resurrecting the dead in Christ and thus finally separating them from among the wicked dead; and the living saints being caught up with the resurrected saints in the clouds to form a union; and the united group going to meet the Lord in the air. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” – 1 Thessalonians 4: 14, 16-17;
B) It is for Christ to change the vile bodies of the saints to fashion them like unto His glorious Body: “ That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead … For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” – Philippians 3: 10,11, 20, 21;
Or, for Christ to change our earthly house and be clothed instead with our house from Heaven: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5;
Or, for Him to change the bodies of the saints from mortality to immortality: “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star different from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” –1 Corinthians 15: 35-58;
C) The rapture is also necessary for Christ to finally make the saints whole in body, soul and spirit: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
D) It is necessary for Christ to receive the fruit of the early and latter rain: “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain” – James 5: 7.
E) It is for the saints to appear with Christ in glory: “When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” – Colossians 3: 4.
F) The rapture is also for the purpose of giving a crown of glory to the saints: “And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” – 1 Peter 5:4
G) It is for the purpose of becoming like Christ and seeing Him as He is: “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” – 1 John 3:2.
H) It is for Christ to receive believers to Himself as promised and allocate them their dwellings: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” – 1 Thessalonians 4: 17; “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. 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 14:1-3;
I) Indeed, it is for Him to present the Church to Himself as a glorious Church, not having spot, wrinkle, blemish etc but holy: “That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” – Ephesians 5: 27.
J) Apart from presenting the Church to Himself, the purpose of the rapture is also for Christ to present the saints before God, the Father blameless in holiness: “To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. 1 Thessalonians 3: 13; see also 1 Thessalonians 4: 17; 3: 13; John 14: 1-3.
K) It is for Him to bring the saints to be clothed or arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” – Revelation 19: 8.
L) It is for the purpose of the saints’ marriage with the Lamb: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready” – Revelation 19: 7.
M) And it is for the purpose of their partaking in the marriage super of the Lamb that is an integral part of that marriage: “And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God” – Revelation 19: 9.
N) The rapture is also for the purpose of giving the saints their rewards: “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” – 1 Corinthians 3:8-15.
O) It must also be clear that the purpose of the rapture is to make the saints know the overflowing fullness of the Beatitude: comfort that all the minds of mortal men put together cannot understand; righteousness beyond man’s explanation and comprehension; mercy full, complete and eternal; a wrapping in and an overwhelming by the vision and fullness of God; eternal cord of eternal son-ship with the Eternal God; possessing the Kingdom practically now and eternally so: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” – Matthew 5:3-12.
P) The rapture is to afford the saints the privilege of receiving from Christ the tree of life as food: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” – Revelation 2: 7.
Q) It is for the purpose of delivering them from the second death: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” – Revelation 2: 11.
R) It is for the purpose of giving the saints the hidden manna to eat, and a white stone bearing a new name which none but the recipient know: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” – Revelation 2: 17.
S) It is for the purpose of giving them power over the nations: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations” – Revelation 2: 26.
T) The rapture is also for the purpose of not blotting out their names from the Book of Life forever; and confessing them before His Father, and before His angels: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels” – Revelation 3: 5.
U) It is also for the purpose of making the saints pillars in the temple of God, so permanently planted or erected they will go no more out; and for Christ to write upon each of them the Name of His God, the name of the City of His God, which is New Jerusalem and His (Christ’s) new Name: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the Name of My God, and the name of the City of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of Heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new Name” – Revelation 3: 12.
V) And it is for the purpose of granting them to sit with Him (Christ) in His Throne: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His Throne” – Revelation 3: 21.
W) It is for the purpose of bringing the saints to fulfill the original purpose of creating man, which is to live for the pleasure of God, and expressed chiefly in worship of God in the beauty of holiness, even now of angelic holiness (being the main reason Satan fell, because so indescribably glorious and overwhelming, he coveted it: and fell); and blessed are those who will join that heavenly choir: “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: … And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” – Revelation 19: 1, 3-6.
X) It is for the purpose of bringing the saints to holy service of their God in untainted spirit and holiness.
Y) It is to prepare the saints for the millennial reign on earth with Christ.
Z) And it is to thereafter come with them to earth to govern the earth with Him for a thousand years, a time when Christ will rid the earth of all rebellion, just as Satan would be bound same time and same number of years in the bottomless pit or abyss: “And I saw an angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever” – Revelation 20:1-10; “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us” – 2 Timothy 2:11-12; “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” – 1 Corinthians 6: 2-3. The last reference may need some clarification.
Finis Jennings Dake on 1 Corinthians 6: 2-3
The word ‘judge’ here is from the Greek: krino, and Finis Jennings Dake says it is “to judge; make a legal decision. It does not refer to passing sentence on angels, or sending them to punishment. It does mean that saints will be exalted higher than angels and will rule them, making decisions for the administration of the universe. Saints, not angels, become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to inherit all things (Romans 8:17-18; Galatians5:21; Hebrews6:12; Rev. 21:7). Even now saints are being examples to angels (Ephesians 3:8-11; 1 Corinthians 4:9;
1 Corinthians 11:10). Angels are eager to learn about the plan of God for the redeemed (1 Peter 1:10-13).”
To me this is a very stunning revelation; and it tells me that we must behave ourselves as something else on this side of eternity to be this promoted. It tells me that we must live a life fully and thoroughly dedicated to our God before we can be this exalted. It tells me that no unfaithfulness shall be this promoted and exalted! It tells me too of the indescribable glory that is the saints, in the millennium. And it tells me the indescribable work Jesus did for you and me by that vicarious sacrifice and the unfathomable love that occasioned it. The millennium is all bliss!
And after this eternity proper begins! And it is continuation of bliss, bliss and bliss with God and the Lamb. But everything begins with the rapture: A glorious dawn. May we make it! May we make ourselves ready to make it; for Heaven is being prepared for a prepared people!
The rapture ushers the saints into indescribable blissful eternity with God Almighty and The Lamb. They that have this hope purify themselves on this side of eternity; live with eternity in view; and run as they who have a prize, the prize of the high calling, to receive when the Lord appears to separate the wheat and the chaffs, receive his jewels, and take them through the air, through the Beautiful and Pearly Gate into the ETERNAL ABODE OF THE GODHEAD.
O glorious dawn! May we be there: For ‘How Beautiful Heaven Must Be’, a saint once asked in his classic hymn! Therefore: may every Archippus (all called by grace and given a ministry) fulfill his call for indescribable bliss and glory awaits us in ‘the forever’.
“Tell Archippus to fulfill his Call”:
1. You may now ask of the old path.
Strive to enter in at the strait gate.
As pilgrim, seek the home above.
Seek you that City that has foundation;
That eternal home of sons of glory!
Tell Archippus to fulfill his call,
To spend and be spent for the Lord,
To walk and work with fear and trembling:
For soon must he give God stewardship account!
So tell Archippus, tell Archippus.
2. Crucify the flesh and keep pure.
Try to live peaceably with all men.
Cast not away your confidence.
Remove not the old or ancient landmark.
Love the brethren of Christ with unfeigned love.
3. Earnestly contend for the faith.
Resolve to fight this good fight of faith.
From the days of John the Baptist
The kingdom of our God suffers violence,
And only the violent takes it by force.
4. Study unto God’s approval.
Preach the Word pure and undiluted.
Some preach for gain and belly’s sake.
With feigned words they make merchandise of men.
Never should you choose their pernicious way.
5. Love not the world that these eyes see.
Mind you not high things, O my brother!
Come down to men of low estate.
Make your moderation known to all men,
While laying priceless treasures in Heaven!
Heaven is indescribably beautiful and glorious. No mortal can tell it. And no mortal can tell it half-satisfactorily if even that mortal visits there a trillion times. No man made instrument can relay it for they can’t capture it in the first place. No sin or sinner will enter in. Let’s ensure we have a place in one of those mansions there; for there the Lord is preparing a place for His people. It is a blessed paradise of everlasting felicity!