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Olivet Overview – Part 6 – By Ed Wood

Jesus Returns – With Lots of Company

Psalm {149:5 -9} Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. [Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.

Daniel {7:18} But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

Mark {13:26} And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Luke {21:27} And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

1 Thessalonians {4:14} For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Jude {1:14-15} And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all . . .

Revelation {19:11-14} And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

If a believer wonders at all about what the future holds for him or her, I hope the passages above will clear up that mystery. Anytime the Bible tells us something, it is significant. Anytime it repeats itself as extensively as it does in this case, we can rest assured that it is of great importance. The bottom line, as I’m sure you’ve already seen, is that when Jesus returns in great power and glory, he will not be alone. Every believer who has ever lived since humans walked the Earth will be accompanying him in the skies above. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews spoke of a “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) and I suspect that he might have been given a glimpse of this very thing.

The Resurrection Body

            Let’s take a few moments now to explore first just what those who are believers  will be like when this wondrous day comes. Odds are that if you are reading this, it includes you. If not, then it would be worth your while to examine all the historical evidence of how Jesus lived his life, the things he did, and what he said for yourself. Bear in mind that the gospels of Matthew and John were written by actual eyewitnesses. Mark’s gospel was probably based on Simon Peter’s recollections, Luke’s gospel is a methodical presentation based on the accounts of the apostles and no doubt other eyewitnesses as well. The manner in which they are written does not suggest mythology or legend, but the presentation of factual, historical places and events. The balance of the New Testament follows the same rule being written by eyewitnesses or people that knew them.

So, what does Paul, one of the writers of the epistles say?

1 Corinthians {15:51-52} 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.

Here we see that believers will be “changed,” both those who have died in the past and those caught up in what is commonly called the Rapture, which in itself has been and remains a topic upon which there exists exhaustive evidence and commentary. What we’ll focus on here is the nature of that change. Again, let us go to the best source of information we have:

Psalm {17:15} As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Palm {71:20} [Thou,] which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

Job {19:26-27} And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body,] yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.

Daniel {12:2-3} And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

1 John {3:2} 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.

            This is by no means an exhaustive list, but provides some tantalizing clues as to what the new life has in store for us.           

John suggests we will be like Jesus, though I am sure that does not include omniscience or omnipotence, qualities which only God will ever have. If we look at Jesus after the Resurrection, we find that Jesus had the ability to change his appearance in some manner at will (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-25; John 20:11-18). Whether this was an actual physical alteration or a lack of belief on the part of those involved which prevented them from recognizing him is subject to debate. What we do know is that at the conclusion of these encounters, he did have the ability to make himself recognized.

This fascinating “recognition” quality was seen previously in the various Transfiguration accounts (Matthew 17:1-5; Mark 9, 2-8; Luke :9:28-36) where Peter, James and John recognized Elijah and Moses even though they had never met them – and because of the prohibition against graven images given in the Commandments, never saw a picture or statue of them. It is therefore well within the realm of possibility that everyone who is part of the cloud of witnesses who returns with Jesus will recognize all the others as well, not just those they’ve known in this life.

Jesus also had the ability to appear at any place at any time (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36; John 2:19). Perhaps we will have this intriguing power as well. I’ve often wondered if it will be limited only to locations on Earth, or will it be in the truest sense of the word, universal. As someone who was always interested in astronomy, the possibility of being able to visit in person the far corners of the cosmos is particularly appealing. I have often wondered why in a universe is so vast, our scientists have yet to detect one solid bit of evidence that intelligent life exists out there despite the trillions of stars composing billions of galaxies. Paul said:

1 Corinthians {2:9} But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Is traveling through the Creation part of God’s plan for his people?

Of course, this is all pure speculation on my part and I probably am missing the mark by a wide margin. What I do know for certain is that the plans God has for us are better than we can dare to hope for or imagine.

            Finally, I think we’ll all get a lot more intelligent, something I personally wouldn’t mind one bit:

1 Corinthians {13:11-12} When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Not only will we learn new things, but we’ll have the ability to do so which very likely transcends present-day abilities.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Matthew {6:10}

            We’ve taken a brief look at how our new lives might be in the age to come. Now, let’s take a look at Millennial Earth:

Isaiah  {65:20-25} There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit [them;] and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree [are] the days of my people, and

mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust [shall be] the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Isaiah {35:4-10} Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, [shall be] grass with reeds and rushes.  And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein. ] No lion shall be there, nor [any] ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there: ]And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Not only are our the futures of resurrected believers  bright beyond all measuring, the lives of the mortal survivors of Armageddon will be rich beyond anything this planet has known since the Fall of Man. Earth will become a near-Eden paradise. It is even possible that most of them will live the entire 1000 years of the Millennial Age, watching their children grow and have their own families right up until the complete “re-creation” of all things (Revelation, chapters 21 & 22).

As we have seen in earlier articles, it seems that the apostles will be in charge of governing Israel, the Gentiles probably in charge of everything else, under Jesus’s direction, of course. For the first time since human walked the Earth, there will exist a government that actually works and is fair to every resident on Earth. It will not be a party to special interests or corrupted by those seeking power for their own personal enrichment.

At this point one might ask: “Why will this only last 1000 years?” That’s a good question and my personal opinion is that is beautiful and prosperous as Earth becomes, it still has the taint of sin from Adam and Eve’s ancient transgression of God’s command. We read in Revelation that Satan is merely confined for those 1000 years only to be released upon the Earth once more.

Revelation {20:1-3} 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.

In the ten centuries between the return of Jesus and the end of the Millennium, no doubt there will come many generations of people who did not live through the horror of the Tribulation. As we have seen, growing up in on a paradise-planet is no guarantee for good behavior. There will still be those with criminal tendencies. The only difference between now and then is that they will be dealt with immediately and not have their trials delayed for years upon years before justice is served. And what goes for the individual will apply to entire nations (Revelation 19:15-16).

When Satan is released, those who still reject God and rise up with the devil will be dealt with finally and forever (Revelation 20:7-15), including the evil dead from across human history. They will all be condemned forever to the Lake of Fire after which God will make a new heaven and new Earth where sin never contaminated after which he and his city, the New Jerusalem will descend to be with humanity forever.

One might be tempted to call this the closing of history, but in reality it is only the beginning of a creation more glorious than we can ever imagine. The best part of all is that every person has choice to be part of it. If you believe in Jesus and what he did for us on the Cross, you already are a part of it. If you haven’t accepted him yet, indications are that time is running short, so this is too important to delay. He could return tomorrow. (He could return today!!)

Isaiah {55:6} Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

2 Corinthians {6:2} (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)

With these words from Paul I conclude this articles and this Olivet Series. I hope it has been informative and encourages you to do your own research into not only this subject, but into all of the Bible because I am definitely not the final word!

God bless!


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