A Voice in the
June 18, 2000
Jesus returning two more times?
But as for 'once' or 'twice'... I hope that you who have clear understanding of this don't get tired of continual periodic reminders. But there are many who don't understand it, yet. And also, new subscribers since we last spoke of it...
When He appears "in the heavens", "heavens" is plural. That indicates an appearance in more than one of the three heavens. If it does include the atmosphere, it also includes more. If the Believers are caught up "in the air", that is the atmosphere. But it is also beyond, because Jesus is "receiving" the Believers "to Himself". (Jn14:3) His abode is the "third Heaven" or "Paradise" (2Cor12:2,4)
Now, lest someone desire to retort that "clouds" figuratively refers to the "host of angelic beings and the saints", let us realize that God on numerous occasions used what appeared like this earth's physical clouds to surround His presence with man. The covenant that there would be no more flood like Noah's flood is the "bow in the cloud". (Gen9:13) God led Israel through the wilderness from the "pillar of cloud". (Ex13:21) At Sinai He was in the "darkness of clouds". (Ex19:9) On the mount of transfiguration, when God came down to proclaim Jesus' Deity to the three disciples, He did so in a "radiant cloud". (Mt17:5) When Jesus ascended out of sight of the "men of Galilee" it says "a cloud received Him from their sight". (Acts1:9) Thus, I have no problem believing that the "clouds of heaven" are the same kind of clouds through which He made His presence known on earth on other occasions.
People so often confuse Jesus' "return" vs His "coming". Yes, He returns twice, but He comes again once. His first return is His "appearance", and the second is His "coming". In the first, He calls the Believers to Himself. In the second, He comes to earth to set up His kingdom. Remember 2Tim4:1... His "appearance" and His "kingdom".
When the Believers are Raptured, they are "caught up..in the clouds, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR" (1Th4:17) Jesus had promised that He would come and receive us "to Myself" (Jn14:3) The Believers going -TO- WHERE Jesus is.
On the other hand, when Jesus comes in judgment, to stand "on the Mount of Olives" He comes "with the saints" (Zech14:5, 1Th3:13). If we understand properly that Believers are "saints" (Col1:2), they obviously have to have gone to meet/join Him at some event 'prior to' His coming to judge. They obviously can't be coming "-with-" Him, if they hadn't first gone "-to-" Him.
His coming in judgment is a "vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2Th1:8) IOW... nonChristians. God has not appointed the Believer to wrath. (1Th5:9)
Yes, His wrath will include His "purging" the "rebels" (Eze20:38) as He is "purifying the sons of Levi". (Mal3:3) Again, that's "Israel"; not the Church of Jesus Christ. [For in-depth study on this, please see "Covenants & Dispensations" in the 'Library' at the website]
Again, distinction needs to be clearly understood. So many think the "church" will go through this time of God's wrath. Please, clearly understand that there are two churches. There is that which deception has caused people to understand. "The church" as begun by pagan Rome, and splintered off at the Reformation, and now has so many denominations and sects that are presently unifying back to their 'mother' at Rome. This includes many so-called "fundamentalists" and "evangelicals". -That- "church", truly, -WILL- go through God's wrath, for it is NOT -Christ's- Church. They are the ones of whom Jesus said He would be proclaiming, "I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!" (Mt7:23) Remember how Paul says, "..not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6) Not all of Israel are the "circumcision of the -HEART-". (Rom2:29) By the same token, not all "the church" is The Church (of Jesus Christ).
Yes, part of The Church is -in- "the church". But God also calls, "Come out of her, My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues." (Rev18:4)
The "church" [small "c"] truly will not be raptured. They are not "in Christ". (2Cor5:17) And so, is it any wonder that they deny the Rapture. Or, if they teach a rapture, is it any wonder that they teach "pre-wrath-ism" or "post-tribulationalism". When they are left behind when Christ appears, they need some sort of doctrine in place to explain why they were not caught up to Christ. Oh yes...and many of them will be "martyred"...just as many non-believers were martyred as "protestants" or "catholics" during the Dark Ages, and are even today around the world. That's all part of the deception. After all, if it didn't appear 'real', there would be no deception would there. Satan's ministers appear as "ministers of righteousness". (2Cor11:15) They have the label "Christian" and they minister in "the church". They are even martyred. But they are not "in Christ".
So many people write to respond/retort to the VW postings by saying that they "don't see any Scripture" that supports this or that doctrine; even though you who have read VW postings for even any limited amount of time know that nothing is taught without many Scripture references. Do you look them up, and read them? [Editor: I'm not necessarily labelling the individual who wrote in with -this- present question. I don't know his heart. But this mailing is read by thousands, and many -do- fit what is being said here. And yes, I -do- receive, lately, these kinds of comments from many] In fact, recently one of the Faithful (to Christ) subscribers wrote, frustrated that a person they have been showing Scripture to, simply does not "see" God's Truth as shown to them. Well, that sort of thing shows the Believer distinguished from the unbeliever. Yes, God's Truth is found in the Scriptures, but unless a person has God's Holy Spirit residing (Rom8:9), due to His "sealing" at salvation (Eph1:13), he "cannot" know Truth, because it is "spiritually discerned". (1Cor2:14) God's Truth is revealed to us from His Word "by His Spirit". (1Cor2:10), just as Jesus promised. (Jn16:13)
So, if you are 'incapable' of understanding God's Truth, you are not a Christian. Yes, you can read the Bible til the cows come home. But it will be a 'closed book' to your heart. Please note: I did not say that your 'not knowing' all truth indicates an unbeliever... for there are many who are yet "infants". (Heb5:13) They are yet "growing" in the "knowledge of Christ". (Eph4:13-15) But even infants are 'capable' of receiving 'portions' of Truth, even if they cannot grasp it all yet. If you are yet "dead in traspasses and sins" (Eph2:1) because you have not been "born again" (Jn3:3)... no dead person can ingest food! God's Word is like our 'Food'.
"Your words were found and I ate them..." (Jer15:16) As we grow in knowledge of the Son of God, Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life" (Jn6:35) A "dead" person cannot know the things of God. But a Believer can, because he "[has] the mind of Christ". (1Cor2:16)