Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirty-five through forty-eight of the twelfth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find Jesus transitioning to a place where He now begins to speak concerning the Last Days and the tremendous and incredible need to be ready and to be prepared for the day in which He would return. What’s so incredibly interesting and unique about the words which Jesus spoke in this particular passage is that throughout His ministry upon the earth Jesus not only prepared His disciples for His suffering, His death and resurrection, but He also prepared them for His departure from them, and His subsequent ascension to the right hand of His Father who was in heaven. In all reality the language Jesus used when speaking of His ascension to the right hand of the Father was that of returning—that of returning to a place which He previous occupied and previously held with the Father in heaven. The words and language which Jesus used to describe His ascension was language of return, which directly correlates and coincides with Jesus making the bold and emphatic declaration that He knew from whence He had come and He knew where He was going and returning. Jesus knew and understood that He came from the Father who was in heaven, and eBay once His work was finished and completed upon the earth He would return to the right hand of the Father and to the place of glory He once occupied. In fact, if you read the language found within the epistle written unto the Hebrews—language which was taken from the Old Testament book of Psalms—you will find the author speaking of the Father speaking unto Jesus the Christ, His Son to sit on His right hand, and that He has exalted Him. The language found within the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews was language which spoke of the glory and honor which He previously had with His Father who was in heaven—glory which He would once more be exalted to as He day upon the right hand of His Father who was in heaven. What an incredibly powerful reality and concept it is to think about and consider the fact that not only did Jesus know where He had come, but He also knew where He was going and where He would return once His work upon the earth had been completed.
As you continue reading the four New Testament gospels you will find that in addition to Jesus preparing His disciples for His suffering, His death, His burial, His resurrection, and His ascension, He also prepared them for His return. In all reality there were two returns which Jesus spoke about while He was still present upon the earth—the first would be a return unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven, and the second would be a return for those whom He called His own. There would be initial return of Jesus unto the right hand of His Father in heaven, and He in fact declares that if He did not return unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven, the Comforter would not come. What’s more is that through Jesus returning to the right hand of His Father in heaven He would make ready and prepare a place for those whom He called His own. Upon His return to the right hand of the Father Jesus would make ready and prepare a place in order that where He was, there we might also be. We dare not, we cannot, we must not neglect or forget this particular reality, for to do so would be to miss the incredible and tremendous truth surrounding a return to the Father which would ultimately and inevitably lead to a second return. THERE COMES A SECOND RETURN! It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand that with Jesus’ return to the right hand of His Father who was in heaven there would come a second return—one that would see Him return for His body and bride in order that He might bring His people where He and His Father are. It was true that Jesus did in fact ascend to the right hand of the Father who was in heaven, but it is also true that Jesus is going to make a second return to the earth in order that He might rescue His people and bring them unto that place where He and His Father are. Jesus’ return to the right hand of the Father was in all reality a precursor and prelude to a secondary return—one that would see Him return for His body and bride within and upon the earth.
If we seek to be a student of the Word and a student of scripture we must ultimately and inevitably turn our attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote—not only in his first epistle written unto the saints which were located at Corinth, but also in each of the epistles he wrote unto the saints which were located at Thessalonica. As you examine each of these epistles you will notice tremendous and incredible language found therein describing the imminent return of Jesus the Christ for His body and His bride. The apostle Paul received a great revelation and understanding concerning the imminent return of the Messiah and how there was present within and upon the earth a Messianic expectation surrounding His return. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider that within the Old Testament and under the Old covenant there was a certain messianic expectation surrounding the coming of the Messiah, and an anticipation for that day when He would come to the earth. Those who lived during the days of the Old Testament and those who lived under the Old covenant were those who lived with a wonderful and powerful sense of expectation concerning the imminent coming of the messiah. What’s more, is that when John the Baptist emerged on to the scene he did so to herald and announce the coming of the messiah to and upon the earth. The entire ministry of John the Baptist was one that centered upon preparing and making ready a people for the imminent coming of that One whom they had all waited for, hoped for, anticipated, and expected. The ministry of John the Baptist was one which was centered upon making ready a people in order that they would be able to embrace the One who was to come willingly and voluntarily. Essentially, the ministry of John the Baptist was a forerunner ministry—one that would make ready a people for the messiah whom they had all been desiring, anticipating and expecting. What makes this quite interesting and astounding is that just as surely and just as much as there was an expectation under the Old covenant for the coming of the messiah, there was and there still is a Messianic expectation under the new covenant—an expectation that doesn’t look for the Messiah to come, but for the Messiah to return. The messianic expectation which is present under the New covenant is one that looks forward to, looks for, eagerly and earnestly awaits, and longs for the return of the Messiah. It is this expectation that emphatically declares and proclaims unto the Lord and unto the Father, saying, “Even so Lord, come quickly.”
I am convinced that in order to truly understand the words and language which is written and recorded in the New Testament gospel of Luke, we must understand the reality and concept of a second return which will in fact take place when Jesus the Christ returns in the clouds for His body and bride. The language we find within the words which Jesus spoke is language that details and describes His imminent return, and that although He would first return unto His Father in heaven, there would be a second returning of Jesus Christ—one that would see and find Jesus coming in the clouds with His holy angels to capture and rapture His body and bride unto Himself and where His Father is. In all reality, there will be a two-food catching away on that day, for First there would be the catching away of the body and bride of Christ, but there would also be a catching away of the Holy Spirit of God which was present upon the earth. I am convinced that in order to help us understand the words which Jesus spoke concerning His return we must think about and consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle unto the Corinthian saints, as well as the words and language which is found in the first and second epistles which were written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica. Consider if you will the words which are found within each of these epistles beginning with the words that are found in the first epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth:
“Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since3 by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith, all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I Protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink: for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou slowest, thou slowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or some of 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 differeth 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 dishonor; 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. 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 the 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 sing? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:12-56).
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
“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, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, Ki told you these things? And now ye know that withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And fore this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thesslaonians 2:1-12).
As you read these words, and read them in direct connection to the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto His disciples, you will find a strong connection—particularly and especially as it pertains to making ourselves ready and being prepared for the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the most necessary realities we must come face to face with when we consider the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is the tremendous need for us to make ourselves ready for His coming and for His return. It is true that Jesus the Christ is going to return, and that He will return for His body and bride, but with that being said, it is absolutely imperative that we recognize the incredible need for us to be ready, and to make ourselves prepared for His coming. We dare not speak about the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ without at the same time speaking about and understanding the need to make ourselves ready and to be prepared for His coming. We dare not make mention of the return of Jesus the Christ without careful and thorough examination of our hearts and minds in order that we might truly see and understand whether or not we are indeed in the faith. The words and language we find in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke is such that bring us face to face with the tremendous and incredible need to make ourselves ready, and to in fact be ready when the Son of man comes and returns with all His holy angels. In fact, this particular portion of Scripture begins and opens up with Jesus emphatically and boldly declaring unto His disciples that they needed to “Let their loins be girded about, and their lights burning” as well as as that they would themselves be like unto men that wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they might open unto Him immediately. Please don’t miss and lose sight of that which is found within this passage of Scripture, and within these words which Jesus spoke, for it is with these words we come face to face with what is perhaps the single greatest discussion we must have when speaking of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ—namely, that we must make ourselves ready, and that we must prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ when He does in fact return, and when He does in fact come back just as He said and promised He would. As Jesus begins speaking to His disciples on this particular occasion we find the first words spoken forth from His mouth being words of instruction, as He instructs them to let their loins be girded about, and their lights burning. These words must not be ignored, nor must they be treated lightly, for they bring us face to face with what is perhaps one of the single greatest truths we must understand when thinking about and considering the reality of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, I am convinced that in order to truly understand the words which Jesus spoke on this particular occasion concerning letting our loins be girded about, and our lights burning, we must turn and direct our attention to an Old Testament passage of Scripture—specifically found in the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus. If you examine the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find the instruction(s) of Moses unto the children of Israel concerning their need to prepare and make themselves ready for that which would take place next among them within the land of Egypt. The Lord had already struck the land of Egypt with nine plagues, and He was now preparing to strike the land once more with a tenth and final plague—a plague of death in which the Lord would send His angel throughout the land of Egypt, and would strike down the firstborn son throughout the land of Egypt. The instruction the Lord gave unto Moses and unto the children of Israel was very specific, for their obedience to the word and command of the Lord would either secure the safety and life of their firstborn sons, or it would ultimately result in their deaths. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus
“And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning shall ye burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial: and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast day by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of our houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:1-15).
As you read the words which are found and contained within this passage of Scripture you will not encounter the reality of the blood which was to first be shed, and then put upon the door posts of the houses wherein the children and people of Israel lived, but you will also find the instruction on how the children should eat the Lamb. In all reality, eating the Passover lamb was about more than eating it with unleavened bread, roasted over fire and with bitter herbs, but it was about the manner in which they ate the lamb. If you read the words and instruction which the Lord gave unto Moses concerning the children of Israel, you will find that He instructed them to eat the lamb with their loins girded about, with their sandals on, and with their staffs in their hand. Now, on the surface one might wonder why the Lord would give such an instruction to the children of Israel concerning their eating and partaking of the Passover lamb on this particular night. The answer to this question is actually found in that which the Lord promised unto the children of Israel, for on the very night in which they ate the Passover lamb, the Lord sent His angel throughout the land of Egypt, and smote and struck down all the firstborn—both of man and beast. On this particular night, all the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt—including Pharaoh’s own son—would be struck down dead within the land—and as a direct result of the deaths of all the firstborn sons within the land of Egypt, Pharaoh rose from his place in the middle of the night and commanded and demanded the children of Israel to be removed from the land of Egypt. The reason the Lord provided the children of Israel to eat the Passover lamb with their loins girded, their sandals upon their feet, and their staffs in their hand, was in order that they might be ready to make haste when the time came for the children of Israel to depart from the land of Egypt. The entire purpose for their loins being girded, their sandals being upon their feet, and their staffs in their hand was in order that they might be ready and prepared for that moment—a moment which they did not know when it would take place—when the word would be given for them to depart from the land of Egypt. The need for their loins to be girded about and their sandals being upon their feet and staff in their hand was in order that they might eat being ready and prepared to depart from the land of Egypt. It was absolutely necessary for the children of Israel to recognize this instruction given by the Lord unto Moses and Aaron, for not only were they keeping that which the Lord had instructed, but they were also eating and living as though they were ready to depart from the land of Egypt. The Lord had promised that He would deliver them out of the land of Egypt, and out of their bondage, oppression and slavery, and on this night He would make good on the words which He promised, for on the same night He would strike down dead all the firstborn sons within the land of Egypt, He would also cause the children of Israel to be delivered out of their slavery, bondage and oppression.
I can’t help but read the account of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt, and the events surrounding the Passover meal, the death angel moving throughout the land of Egypt, and their subsequent departure from the land as a wonderful and powerful portent and prophetic sign pointing to a different time and event that would take place later on in history—a moment when once more the people of God would be instructed to apply the blood, to have their loins girded about, to have their sandals upon their feet, and to have their staffs in their hands. When I read the words which Jesus spoke unto the disciples to have their loins girded about, and their lamps burning, I can’t help but be confronted and come face to face with the awesome reality that we find this instruction very similar to the instruction which the Lord had given unto Moses and Aaron while they were still present within the land of Egypt. While it was true the Lord would deliver the children of Israel out of their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt, it is also true that the Lord will deliver His people out from the earth, and would bring them unto Himself. Just as the Lord would rescue and redeem the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, so also would the Lord rescue and redeem His people from the earth, and would bring them unto Himself in glory. The children of Israel were to eat the Passover lamb with their loins girded, and they were to essentially live and eat as though they could depart from the land of Egypt at any moment. It is actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that just as the children of Israel were to eat and live that night as though they could depart from the land of Egypt, and from their slavery, bondage and oppression at any moment, so also are we to live and eat as though at any moment in time we could depart from this earth, and be caught up together to be with the Lord in heaven. There is a great and powerful truth that is found and contained within the account of the Passover in the land of Egypt—one that appears to be intrinsically linked and connected to a different Passover and a different rapture and redemption if you will. The Lord did in fact cause the children of Israel to be delivered out of the slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt, and just as the Lord delivered the children of Israel from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt, so also is the Lord going to deliver His people from the oppression, bondage and slavery that is present within this life and within this world. If there is one thing we must recognize and must understand, it’s that just as the children of Israel were to live their lives and eat the Passover Lamb that night as though at any moment they could depart from the land of Egypt, so also we must live our lives as if at any moment we could depart from this earth and could be caught up together to meet the Lord in the clouds in order that we might be found with Him in heaven.
The language that is found in the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto his disciples on this particular occasion is such that demands and requires of us that we make ourselves ready, and prepare ourselves for the imminent and soon coming return when He would catch up His saints, His body, and His bride unto Himself in the clouds. If you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will clearly come face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality that there is a great need for us to not only watch, but to also pray, and to also make ourselves ready for that moment—a moment which we do not know when it will take place and occur—when the trumpet will sound, and with the voice of an archangel, Jesus will descend in the clouds and catch up His body and bride unto Himself. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves when we read the words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples is whether or not we are living our lives as though we are ready to at any moment be caught up together to meet Jesus in the clouds. Are you and I living our lives, and devoting ourselves to being ready and prepared for that moment in the twinkling of an eye when the trumpet shall sound and we shall be caught up together with Jesus Christ and His holy saints in the clouds? Are we devoting our lives to living as though we could at any moment be caught up together with saints of old and present saints in order that we might meet the Lord in the clouds? Are we living our lives ready to meet the Lord in the clouds? Are we living our lives ready to finally come face to face with Jesus the Christ in the clouds in order that we might be raptured together with the saints who have gone before us, and the saints who are present upon the earth? The Lord instructed the children of Israel to eat with their loins girded in order that they would be ready when that moment came that they would depart from the land of Egypt, and the Lord is instructing and speaking unto us that we ourselves might eat and live with our loins girded in order that we might be ready and prepared for that moment when He will return and catch up together the holy saints of God together in the cloud and bring them into His kingdom. The question is whether or not we are living as through we are ready to meet the Lord in the clouds and to be brought into His kingdom. Are we living our lives as though we are ready to at any moment in time meet the Lord in the clouds and be gathered together with His holy saints, and be ushered unto the kingdom of heaven. There is a great and powerful need within our hearts and lives to live as though the next moment of our lives could be that moment when we are either caught up together to meet the Lord and His holy saints in the clouds, or are left behind. Of course the ultimate goal is to be caught up together with the saints of God in the clouds to meet the Lord and to be brought into His kingdom, but the truth of the matter is that there will be those who will be left behind when that moment comes, and those who will not initially meet the Lord in the clouds. Oh that we would diligently strive to live our lives as though the very next moment we find ourselves ourselves on the earth could be that moment when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds. Oh that we would live our lives upon the earth as though the moment we are presently living in could be our last moment, and the trumpet will sound. Oh that we would live our lives as though at any moment the trumpet will sound, and we will hear the trumpet sound, as well as the shout, and we will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the clouds. Oh that we would live our lives ready knowing that this very moment could very well be our last on the earth, and the trumpet could sound, and we find ourselves face to face with the Lord in the clouds. The question we must ask ourselves is not only whether or not we are living our lives as though this moment could be our last, but whether or not we are ready for that moment when the trumpet will sound, and the Lord will descend with a shout to catch up His holy saints to bring them into His kingdom.