When I was a first-grader I’d follow my older brother to school in the mornings. We’d take the scenic route sometimes. It was great fun taking the winding trail that ran along a mysterious-looking wooded area which bordered a deep drainage ditch. We’d end our adventure at the store all the little kids went to on their way to school. In those long-ago days you could get licorice sticks or suckers, two for a penny.
Those were the days when no one had a second thought about letting their kids come and go unaccompanied by adults. Overall, it was a much safer world then.
For some reason, I didn’t much like going to school or coming home by myself. For the first couple of months, my mother would walk to the school to pick me up because my brother was in the second grade and got out an hour later. But my mother wanted to build self-confidence in me. She was wise enough not to make me go “cold turkey” and make the mile-long journey home all by myself all at once. She said, “I’ll meet you part way.” So I would walk home as far as the little store, where she would be waiting for me each day. Then we’d take the direct route home, down the sidewalk that bordered the main road, not through the exciting jungle my brother and I loved. But the main thing is, I got home safely each day, even when I gained enough confidence to make the walk alone.
It’s one thing to walk home from the neighborhood school, it’s quite another thing to go home to heaven. Jesus Himself is going to meet us part way. He is going to descend from heaven to get us, but He will go only as far as the clouds, while we will rise up to rendezvous with Him in the air.
I Thessalonians 4:15: 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 (go ahead of) them that are asleep (have died).
VERSE 16: 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.
VERSE 17: 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.
Where will Jesus be taking us? To His Father’s House for the glorious wedding celebrations which will be held in honor of our marriage to Jesus. In Jesus’ day, the bride would be carried away to the house of the groom’s father, and the wedding feast would be held there, in a festive setting attended by many guests. The Church is the Bride of Christ (II Cor.11:2; Eph.5:28:30; Rev.21:2,9). John the Baptist was the “friend of the bridegroom”, the equivalent of today’s “best man” (John 3:29).
John 14:1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, ye believe also in me.
VERSE 2: 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.
VERSE 3: 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.
We who love the Lord and have been washed in His Blood may rest assured that we are not appointed to suffer the hour of God’s wrath upon sinful mankind.
I Thessalonians 5:9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to attain salvation (deliverance) by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout the centuries Christians have often suffered the terrible wrath of human enemies, but the wrath they are promised to be spared is the terrible time of Great Tribulation which shall punish unrepentant sinners for their sins (Matt.24:21; Rev.2:22).
The prophet Isaiah prophesies his own resurrection in this passage:
Isaiah 26:19: Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
VERSE 20: Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut the door about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation (wrath) be overpast.***God makes a practice of shutting the door just before judgment is poured out. God shut the door of the Ark in Genesis 7:16. Angels shut the door before smiting the perverts who wanted to molest them (Gen. 19:10-11). Jesus will one day shut the door and refuse to admit to His wedding those who neglected to keep their lamps filled with oil, a type of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 25:10).
Isaiah 26: 21: For behold, the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
There will be saints living upon earth during the Tribulation Period, but they will be people who repent after the removal of the Church from the earth. They will not be part of the Bride of Christ, but through faithfulness and refusing to take the Mark of the Beast they will enter the Kingdom of God. Some will be martyred for refusing the Mark (Rev.12:11; Rev.20:4). Those repentant souls will “wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev.7:14).
The Tribulation saints will have a hard way to go, and their path will be a bitter one to take. Far better to receive Christ now and be spared the Tribulation Period. Let us all be ready to rise to meet Christ in the air, where He will meet us part way, then take us home to our Father’s House.