The Hope Part VII

The Resurrections and the Return.

For believers looking forward to the first coming of Jesus Christ, this hope included a number of tremendous realities for them:

These are but a few.  For several thousands of years the believers were somehow able to keep the hope of the redeemer, Jesus Christ, alive in their hearts from generation to generation.  They survived evil kings, captivity, being forcefully relocated, and every imaginable situation.  Yet the believers kept that hope alive in their hearts!  These believers (prior to the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2) will be part of the resurrection, which will occur after the gathering together.

For those of us today who believe, confessing Romans 10:9, 10, we look forward to the return of Christ.  However, the believers during the Age of Grace (the period from Acts chapter 2 until the return of Jesus Christ for his saints) will be gathered together rather than be part of the resurrections.

A few highlights of his first coming:

The second coming has two major sections, the first is when Christ comes for the saints (the born-again believers), and the second is when he returns with the saints.

The second coming of Jesus Christ has several parts to it, just as his first coming did:

Afterwards there will be a new heaven and earth where there is no more sin, sickness, or death.

The book of Revelation (and others) detail events regarding the end times, the destruction of sin, death, and the devil.  There will be many unpleasant events as men of great evil will rule.  The believers of the Age of Grace will not be present on earth during this wrath, since we will have been either raised from the dead (if we are dead at the time of the return) and given incorruptible bodies, or if we are alive at the return we will be changed and given immortal bodies.  We shall then be gathered together to meet our Lord in the air.

Romans 5:9

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

II Thessalonians 2:1-3

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first [a departure first, that is, the born again believers of the Age of Grace will have been gathered together, departed, prior to the dire events in the book of Revelation], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

I Corinthians 15:49-54

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.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [believers who have died], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

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 [precede] 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.

This is not talking about the resurrections.  This is the gathering together.  We, the born again believers, will be handed our rewards at the bema, the place where prizes and rewards are handed out, of Christ (II Corinthinans 5:10).

What has the new birth cost us?  Believers in the Old Testament continued to hope, century after century, yet never lived to see the first coming of Jesus Christ, and never had the privilege to become born again and have Christ in them the "hope of glory".

Yet here we are today, and because God gave His all and His son Jesus Christ gave his all, the new birth is a gift by grace that we can just walk up and claim.  To think why we should be alive to partake of such goodness and love that even the mighty Old Testament believers could not receive (because it was not available until Acts 2:4) can be very humbling.

But God wants us to walk up to the truths and realities He has given us, to put them on in our minds, and then believe and step forth with the power and boldness to live a blessed life, telling others.

Because we have the hope of Christ's return we need to understand and think of it often, as it gives us endurance and boldness to live godly and abundantly.

Part VI | Part VIII