Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the twenty-second chapter of this New Testament book. “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye are come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must also be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I Praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,, That the LORD Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat of this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the course of events taking place within that final week leading up to the betrayal of Jesus, the suffering of Jesus, and ultimately His death and crucifixion. If there is one thing that so absolutely fascinates me as I read the words contained in this passage of Scripture it’s that one of the last things Jesus did—yea, one of the things He must needs do with and in the company and presence of His disciples—was partake in a meal with them. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth and reality that before Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel He desired to partake in a meal with His disciples—a meal which we would come to know and refer to as “The Last Supper.” There have been countless paintings painted and pictures drawn to depict this particular event and night in which our Lord was betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries as men have sought to capture what this night would have been like. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in the gospel narratives it’s that Jesus earnestly and eagerly desired to have and partake in fellowship with His disciples in an intimate and personal setting. If and as you read the words which are found in the opening verse of the twenty-second chapter you will find the stage being set—not only for Jesus’ betrayal into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel, but also the stage being set for Jesus and His disciples entering into an upper room where they would partake of one final meal together before He would be betrayed by one of His own and would be delivered into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. It is within this particular passage of Scripture—together with that which is found in the other three gospel narratives we find Jesus the Christ earnestly desiring that He might partake of a meal and supper with His disciples—one which He would not eat again until He ate it with them in the kingdom of heaven.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the fact that what we find on the night in which Jesus was betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries is an absolutely wonderful and powerful picture of what is going to be experienced in the kingdom of heaven after Jesus returns for His Church, for His bride and for His people. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in this particular passage of Scripture, for it is more than simply Jesus eating and partaking of the Passover with His disciples on this fateful night in which He would be betrayed by one of them into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. I think about and consider the narrative that is found in this upper room experience with Jesus the Christ and His disciples and I can’t help but be drawn into the absolutely astounding truth that on this particular night we find a powerful witness, a powerful testimony, and a powerful picture of that which would take place between Jesus and His disciples when He returns for His body and His bride and ushers them into the presence of His Father, into the presence of all the holy angels, and into the presence of all the saints which have gone before throughout the years. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of the awesome and incredible truth that is found within this passage of Scripture, for what we find here is something that should do more than simply reveal unto us that exchange which took place between Jesus and His disciples, but it is actually something that shows, reveals and demonstrates before and unto us that which is going to take place in the future on that day when Jesus once more eats and partakes of the fruit of the vine and partakes of the bread—and not only with the disciples which were present there on that night in the upper room, but with all the saints that had gone before in the days of the Old Covenant, as well as all the saints which would come thereafter during the days of the Early Church and throughout history ever since then. It’s incredibly interesting to think about the fact that what we find on this particular night is a wonderful picture of Jesus earnestly and eagerly desiring to eat and partake of this Passover meal with His disciples, however, there is something much deeper, and something much greater we must needs recognize and understand when reading this narrative.
The more I read and the more I consider this powerful narrative of Jesus partaking of the Passover meal with His disciples on this night the more I am brought face to face with the fact that what essentially took place on this night was in all reality a betrothal that would take place between Jesus and His disciples. On this particular night there was more that took place than simply the partaking of the Passover meal which included the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup. On this particular night there would be something much greater and much deeper that would take place—namely, a betrothal that would take place between Jesus and His disciples, and one that would be consummated and sealed fifty days later on the day of Pentecost. It would be on this night—this night when the cup and the wine would be exchanged between Jesus and His disciples—that a betrothal between Jesus and His followers would take place. It would be on this night when Jesus would offer and extend the cup of fellowship, the cup of covenant, the cup of relationship, the cup of marriage, and the cup of intimacy with His disciples. On this particular night Jesus would offer the cup to all twelve of His disciples, and it would be a cup of fellowship, a cup of friendship, a cup of relationship, a cup of intimacy, a cup of marriage, and a cup of betrothal between Himself and His disciples. What makes this reality so incredibly interesting, however, is when you think about the fact that this cup of the covenant—this cup of marriage and this cup of betrothal was offered and extended unto all twelve disciples, for there was not one of the disciples which did not drink of this cup. If and as you read the words which are found in the gospel narratives you will find that this cup was even offered unto Judas Iscariot who would be the one to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. What’s more, is that on this particular night—not only would the cup of intimacy, the cup of fellowship, and the cup of covenant be offered unto Judas, and not only would Judas partake of the cup, but there was something else that would take place on this particular night. It’s worth noting that on this particular night the cup of covenant and the cup of betrothal would be offered unto Judas, but so also would the feet of this one who would betray Jesus also be washed by Jesus the Christ. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this passage of Scripture, as well as that which is found in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. And they said unto Him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And He said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as He had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said unto them, WITH DESIRE I HAVE DESIRED TO EAT THIS PASSOVER WITH YOU BEFORE I SUFFER: FOR I SAY UNTO YOU, I WILL NOT ANY MORE EAT THEREOF, UNTIL IT BE FULFILLED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that many by whom he is betrayed! And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing” (Luke 22:1-23).
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him: therefore said He, Ye are not all clean. So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have gone to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against ne. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom He spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom He spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? JESUS ANSWERED, HE IT IS TO WHOM I SHALL GIVE A SOP, WHEN I HAVE DIPPED IT. AND WHEN HE HAD DIPPED THE SOP, HE GAVE IT TO JUDAS ISCARIOT, THE SON OF SIMON. AND AFTER THE SOP SATAN ENTERED INTO HIM. THEN SAID JESUS UNTO HIM, THAT THOU DOEST, DO QUICKLY. Now no man at the table knew for what intent He spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, But those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. HE THEN HAVING RECEIVED THE SOP WENT IMMEDIATELY OUT: AND IT WAS NIGHT” (John 13:1-30).
The more I think about the night in which Jesus was betrayed by one of His own the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that on this inght when He partook of the supper with His disciples—not only did He offer them the cup of the covenant, not only did He offer them the cup of betrothal, and not only did He offer them the cup of intimacy, but He also washed their feet that they might have part with Him. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to this, for on this particular night Jesus partook of the Passover supper together with each of His twelve disciples—including Judas the son of Simon who was surnamed Iscariot. ON this particular night Jesus would partake of the Passover meal together with His disciples, and this would include Judas Iscariot who would betray Him. In fact, we know that Judas was present in the upper room with Jesus and His disciples, for Scripture reveals how Jesus gave the sop to Judas. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus give the sop to Judas, but we find that it wasn’t until after Judas had partaken of the sop that Satan entered into him and he set forth to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. What makes this truly astonishing and unique is when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus emphatically declared that He would not drink of the cup of the vine again with them until He drank it anew with them in His Father’s kingdom. Please don’t miss the tremendous importance and power of this statement, for not only was Jesus offering the disciples on this particular night the cup of the covenant and the cup of betrothal, but He was also offering them a future cup—a cup they would ultimately and inevitably partake in, but not until they drank it anew with Him in the house and kingdom of His Father. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this, for the cup Jesus offered unto His disciples on this particular occasion was more than simply a cup on this night—the night in which He was betrayed—for it was the offering of a new and different cup which would be once more offered unto them in the kingdom of His Father. Their partaking of this cup would be a powerful demonstration and manifestation of their accepting this cup of the covenant—their accepting this cup of betrothal. What’s more, is that while this cup was the cup of betrothal and covenant was the initial offering of intimacy and fellowship with the disciples there would be something else that would be offered unto them fifty days later in a similar upper room—namely, the person and presence of the Holy Spirit.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that while all twelve disciples were there in the upper room when the cup of the covenant was offered by Jesus the Christ—not all the disciples were there in the second upper room when it wasn’t necessarily something that was given and offered, but rather someone who was given and presented unto them. It would be in the first upper room Jesus would offer the cup and would break the bread in the company and presence of the disciples, however, it would be in the second upper room a cup would not be that which was offered and that which was given, but rather it would be a person who would be given. On this particular night during the feast of unleavened bread Jesus would offer the cup of the fruit of the vine unto His disciples, and would offer them the cup of betrothal, the cup of intimacy, the cup of fellowship, the cup of relationship, yet in the second upper room experience and encounter—one which would take place fifty days later—it would not be a cup of the fruit of the vine that would be offered unto the disciples, but it would be the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that while it was indeed true that only eleven of the disciples who were present in that first upper room were also present in this upper room, there would be one hundred and nine additional individuals that would be present on this particular day. On the day of Pentecost which would take place fifty days later there would be the original eleven disciples who were together with Jesus in the upper room, but there would also be a number of other individuals that would be present there in that upper room. What makes this absolutely and incredibly powerful is when you think about and consider the fact that while it was true that all twelve disciples were present together in the upper room during the feast of unleavened bread—only eleven of those disciples would be present in the upper room when the person and presence of the Holy Spirit was poured out. What adds even more weight and depth to this particular reality is when you think about and consider the fact that while all twelve of the disciples would be present on this particular night in the upper room during the feast of unleavened bread—not only would eleven of this disciples be present in the upper room on the day of Pentecost when the person and presence of the Spirt would be released and poured out, but so also would eleven of the original twelve disciples be present together in the kingdom of heaven and within the Father’s house when the cup would once more be drank with and shared by Jesus the Christ.
This is something we must needs recognize and understand, for when we think about the feast of unleavened bread and the night in which Jesus would be betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries there would be all twelve disciples present together in that upper room. It would be there in that upper room Jesus would not only declare that one of them at the table would lift up their hand and heel to betray Him, but where the cup would be offered unto each of the twelve disciples. I can’t help but think about and consider what that scene would have been like as Jesus took of the fruit of the vine and poured it into a cup and then handed it to His disciples instructing them to divide it between and among themselves. It would be there at the table Jesus would declare that one among them would betray Him, and when asked who it was who would betray Him He declared that it was the one to whom He would give the sop after He had dipped it. The sop would then be dipped and handed over to Judas, and it was at that moment when Satan entered into him and would solidify within his heart and his mind that which he would do—namely, betray the Son of man into the hands of His enemies and His adversaries. How truly astonishing and remarkable it is to think about the fact that Judas was indeed and was in fact present there at the upper room—and not only was Judas present there in the upper room, but there is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He also washed the feet of Judas. There is not a doubt in my mind that it was there in the upper room where Jesus would make two final pleas and would extend two final offerings of peace, friendship, fellowship and intimacy unto Judas—the cup and the basin—in order that the heart and mind of Judas might be turned. How incredibly tragic it is to think about the fact that not only did Judas reject the cup of the covenant, but Judas would also reject the basin of water, the towel wrapped around the waist of Jesus, and the washing of the feet. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for although all twelve disciples were present in the upper room on the night in which Jesus was betrayed, and although all twelve disciples would receive both the cup and the basin—only eleven of the disciples would actually receive both the cup and the basin and would be present together in a different upper room where they would receive so much more than simply the cup of the fruit of the vine, but the person and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Taking this a step further I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the fact that what we find and read concerning Jesus partaking of this meal together with His disciples—and not only partaking of the meal together with His disciples, but also drinking of the cup of the fruit of the vine with them—was not only the offering of the cup on this particular night, but it was also the offering of a different cup. If you read the words which are written and recorded in this passage of Scripture you will find that not only did Jesus instruct the disciples to take the cup of the fruit of the vine and divide it amongst themselves, but Jesus also declared that this was the cup of the covenant which would be partaken of again anew in His Father’s kingdom. Please do not miss the significance of what is being said here, for the cup which was distributed unto the disciples, and the cup from which the disciples drank on this night would be a sign, a pledge, a promise, and a portent if you will of a new and different cup He would drink again with them in His Father’s house and in His Father’s kingdom. It is necessary for us to pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for while it would be easy to focus on what is before us on this particular night there is something else much greater and something much more significant that took place. It was true that on this particular night Jesus would take the cup of the fruit of the vine and would offer it unto His disciples as a sign, as a pledge, and as a betrothal unto them, but it is also true that this cup was a cup that offered something much greater and much larger than just drinking of it on this particular night. The cup which Jesus offered unto His disciples on this particular night would indeed be a cup of fellowship, a cup of intimacy, a cup of covenant, and a cup of relationship, but it was also this cup which would speak of a different cup which they would drink with Him once more in the kingdom of His Father. It would be this cup offered unto them on this night that would be a sign, a seal and a pledge that there would be another cup that would be offered unto them in His Father’s kingdom—one which He would drink of anew with them. When and as we read the words which are found within this passage we tend to think of it solely in terms of what is found within the text before us, as well as the events which unfolded on this particular night. The truth of the matter, however, is that what took place on this particular night was so much greater and so much bigger than simply their drinking of this cup together with Jesus the Christ. The cup which Jesus offered unto the disciples on this particular night was indeed an initial offering given unto the disciples, but that offering was one that would carry with it eternal ramifications and eternal realities which would be experienced at a future time when Jesus would return to the earth to bring unto Himself and into the kingdom of His Father His body and His bride.
In order to fully and properly illustrate this particular reality I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a need to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in specific passages within the New Testament. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we must not only look at what took place on this particular night, but we must also look forward and look ahead to that which would take place in the kingdom of the Father in heaven. The cup which Jesus offered unto His disciples on this particular night and the meal which He partook of together with them would again be partaken of with them in the kingdom of His Father, and we must needs recognize and understand this truly and powerful reality, for it brings us face to face with just how incredibly significant the events of the upper room truly are. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we must needs recognize and understand that not only did Jesus offer this cup with the promise that He would in fact drink it anew with them in the kingdom of His Father, but Jesus would also make the emphatic and powerful declaration that He would indeed come back for His disciples, for His church, and for His people. In order to understand just how incredibly powerful and significant this is we must needs consider certain texts which are found within the New Testament, for there are some texts which help highlight and underscore this awesome and powerful truth. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture in the gospel narrative written by Luke we must needs consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, for the apostle John writes and records how Jesus the Christ promised that He would indeed go unto His Father, and it be there in the house of His Father He would prepare and make ready a place for them that where He was they might also be with Him. What’s more, is I am convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in the opening verses of the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews, as well as the eleventh chapter of the same epistle, as it is within these chapters we read of a great cloud of witnesses that is found in the kingdom of God our Father and which surrounds us within this life. What’s more, is I am also convinced we must needs read and consider the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, for it is the words we find in this particular book we find that which Jesus would give unto His disciples and followers—that which would accompany the cup which was given unto them. What’s more, is I am also convinced we must needs pay close attention to the first few verses in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints concerning the resurrection, as well as the words which are found in the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ concerning the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following passages found within the New Testament:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go prepare a place for you. 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. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I a the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by my. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:1-7).
“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:15-21).
“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence” (John 14:25-31).
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).
“But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to Him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:4-8).
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorifiy me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:12-16).
“…And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:22-28).
“…of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passions by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, I tis not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For He was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection” (Acts 1:15-22).
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:1-5).
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:1-9).
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew unto 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 sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting is death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forsasmmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escape the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had traial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better than for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true a nd righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of many thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the LORD God omnipotent reigneth Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:1-9).
I fully realize that I presented you with a lot of Scripture, and that it might be a lot to take in, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that when we read the narrative surrounding the Last Supper which Jesus enjoyed with His disciples, we must needs recognize and understand that when He offered the cup of the new covenant with them first in the upper room it was a pledge and promise of something greater. The cup which was given and offered unto them was indeed and was in fact an invitation that was presented to them at that particular moment in time, however, the cup represented something much greater and much more powerful—namely, that there would be a second cup which they would drink of. Just as there would be a second upper room where they would be given and offered the Promise of the Father which was the person and presence of the Holy Ghost, so also would there be a second cup that would be offered unto them in the kingdom of God the Father. THERE WOULD BE A SECOND CUP! THERE WOULD BE A SECOND UPPER ROOM! THERE WOULD BE A SECOND OFFERING! It would be the initial cup which was offered unto the disciples that would be a betrothal and formal invitation to take and have part in Jesus Himself, and it would be the giving of the Holy Spirit that would be an additional seal, an additional promise, and an additional pledge and promise that the disciples themselves would have an even greater part in Christ through the person of the Holy Spirit. I find it absolutely astounding to think and consider that there in that upper room there would be an initial cup of the covenant which would be offered unto the disciples, and there would be an initial offering which would give the disciples a part in Him—not only in the offering of the cup, but also in the washing of their feet—and it would be in the second upper room just fifty days later there would be a second offering given unto the disciples to take and have part in the person of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul—when writing unto the Ephesian saints—emphatically declared that the person of the Holy Spirit was an earnest pledge of their redemption, their adoption and their salvation. Not only this, but when writing unto the Roman saints the apostle Paul would also speak of the Holy Spirit as the seal of adoption as sons and daughters of the Father.
Perhaps what I find so absolutely remarkable and astonishing about the reality of the upper room—particularly and especially when you consider it in light of the other passages I referenced—is that what took place was an initial offering of communion and covenant with the disciples, but with a powerful promise and invitation to step into a future manifestation. It would be very easy to read the narrative which was found in gospel writings and view the events of this evening solely through the lens of that night, however, we must needs recognize and understand that the events which took place on that night were events that would have eternal and everlasting implications. Jesus would indeed offer that initial cup to the disciples as an invitation of betrothal to them as the first members of His bride, however, as we see on the day of Pentecost that bride would expand beyond just the twelve disciples and would now be comprised of one-hundred and twenty souls. It would be upon those one-hundred and twenty souls the person, the presence and the promise of the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it would be on that particular day three-thousand additional souls would be added to the number of the early Church, and the early Church would be formed and manifested within the earth. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the book of Acts you will find that number would grow to five thousand, and would continue grow—not only throughout the book of Acts and the days of the early Church, but also throughout history unto this present day. It would be on that night—the night Jesus was betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries—He would lift up and offer each of His disciples the cup of the new covenant, which was the cup of His blood. Jesus would invite the disciples to take and drink of this cup, and that He would not drink of it again until He drank it anew with them within His Father’s kingdom. What I can’t help but think about when considering this reality is that when this cup is once more drank by Jesus the eternal Son of God—not only would it be drunk by Him and His disciples in the kingdom of the Father in heaven, but it would be drunk by others such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This cup would be drunk by men such as Elijah, Moses, David, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and other Old Testament saints alike. Not only this, but this cup is going to be drunk by New Testament saints and followers of Jesus the Christ such as the apostle Paul, Stephen, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Luke, and others who were present during the days of the early Church.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the fact that the great cloud of witnesses which is mentioned in the opening verses of the twelfth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews is not only made up and comprised of the Old Testament saints, and not only the New Testament saints we read about, but also all the saints in Christ who have died in Him since the days of the early Church. We know from Scripture that although there were twelve disciples who were present in that upper room on the night Jesus was betrayed, only eleven disciples would be found together in the second upper room which would be present within the city of Jerusalem just fifty days later. Despite the fact that Judas would not be present in that second upper room there would be one-hundred and nine additional souls who would take and receive of Jesus the Christ—not the cup of the New Covenant, but rather the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It would be on the Day of Pentecost fifty days later twelve would become one-hundred and twenty, as upon one-hundred and twenty souls the person and power of the Holy Spirit would be poured out. What’s more, is that from the day of Pentecost until this present day within our generation the Lord has been adding daily such as those which should and ought to be saved. The Lord has been adding to the number that makes up the body and bride of Christ daily throughout the centuries and generations. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the initial cup of the covenant which was offered by Jesus as the cup of betrothal would have been offered unto twelve disciples, but when that same cup is offered and presented again it won’t be presented unto twelve disciples, nor twenty-four elders, but would be presented to untold and numerous billions of men and women who are all found in the person of Jesus the Christ. There is coming a day when that cup of the new covenant would be offered—even to those who did not live during the days of the New Covenant. There is coming a day when the cup of the New Covenant can and will be offered unto all those who died in the Lord prior to the days and time of Jesus the Christ. There is coming a day when that cup of the New Covenant will be offered to all those who were found in Christ during the days of the early Church, and all those who have been in Christ ever since then. There is a day when all the saints of God in Christ throughout history will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb where they can and will partake of the cup of the New Covenant with the same One who presented the cup unto twelve disciples in the upper room.
The more I think about this the more I find myself wondering if when Jesus offered the cup of the New Covenant which was in His blood He looked ahead to all those who would be found in Him throughout the centuries. I can’t help but think about and wonder concerning “the joy that was set before Him,” and wonder if when Jesus offered the cup to His twelve disciples, and when He spoke of not drinking that cup again with them until He drank it new with them in His Father’s kingdom if He was looking at all the countless and untold millions and billions of men and women who would be found in Him throughout the years. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cup which was presented and offered on this particular night was given unto the disciples as an initial offering, and as an initial sign of covenant and promise, however, we also know that ever since that night the cup and the wine has been offered and presented among the saints of God and followers of Jesus the Christ. This is what is so incredibly powerful about the words which the apostle Paul wrote, for although Christ is not physically handing us the cup as He did the disciples on the night in which He was betrayed—each time we partake of the cup, and each time we partake of the bread we are symbolically finding ourselves with and identifying with the disciples who were present with Christ in the upper room. From that night on throughout history men and women have gathered together and drank of the cup and have partaken of the bread as they remember Jesus the Christ, and as they remember the sacrifice He would make for them upon the cross of Calvary. It was the apostle Paul who wrote unto the Corinthians saying that as often as we drink of the cup and partake of the bread we do show the death of Jesus the Christ until He comes.
COMMUNION—THE MEAL OF THE BRIDE! COMMUNION—THE MEAL OF THE BETROTHED! COMMUNION—THE PLEDGE OF SOMETHING GREATER! Oh I sit here this day thinking about the tremendous beauty surrounding communion, and how although we are not physically receiving the cup at the hand of Jesus we are symbolically receiving the cup from His hand, and are identifying with the disciples who were together with Jesus in the upper room. Although Jesus is not specifically speaking unto us as He hands us the cup as He did on that night with the disciples we must needs recognize and understand that each time we partake of the cup, and each time we partake of the bread we are not only showing the death of Jesus until He comes, but we are also looking forward to that time when we will drink of the cup together with Jesus and all the holy saints in the kingdom of the Father. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we take and drink of the cup, and when we take and eat of the bread—not only are we looking back in remembrance of what Jesus did on the cross, but we are also looking ahead to when we will drink of the cup and partake of the bread with Jesus Himself in the kingdom of His Father. The apostle Paul wrote concerning communion and concerning the table of the LORD that as often as we drink of the cup and as often as we partake of the bread we are showing His death until the return of Christ, however, I am also convinced that each time we partake of the cup we are looking forward and looking ahead to that time when we can and will drink it anew with Jesus together with all the holy saints in the kingdom of His Father in heaven. Even Jesus Himself—when presenting and offering the cup unto His disciples—would reference the cup and how it was directly linked to a new and future cup which would be drank in the kingdom of His Father. Jesus declared unto the disciples that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine with His disciples again until He drank it anew with them in His Father’s house and in His Father’s kingdom. Oh imagine the intense longing that must be within the heart of Jesus the Christ as He not only prepares a place for us, but also as He anxiously awaits that moment when He can drink of the fruit of the vine with His body and His bride. Think about what intense longing must be in the heart of Jesus the Christ as He patiently waits for the moment when the Father speaks unto Him and instructs Him to go and gather together His bride unto Himself. Stop and think about how intense and how passionate the longing must be within the heart of Jesus the Christ, as He is in the kingdom of His Father in heaven waiting for that moment when He can be united together with His bride.
The apostle Paul wrote and declared that as often as we drink of the cup and partake of the bread we do show the death of Jesus until He comes—and while partaking of the Lord’s supper and while partaking at the Lord’s table does indeed and does in fact look back to the death of Jesus the Christ, there is also the element of looking ahead, the element of longing, the element of expectation, and the expectation of anticipation that is found within the hearts and souls of the people of God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that as certainly as we partake of the cup and partake of the bread and look back upon that which Jesus the Christ accomplished on the cross at Calvary, so also must we look forward and look ahead to that time when we can and will drink of the fruit of the vine and partake of the bread together with Jesus in heaven. Pause for a moment and think about what that scene would look like as the saints of God in Christ within this present generation, as well as the saints of God in Christ in previous generations—those who have died in Christ before us—will all be gathered together unto Christ in the heavens and be brought into the kingdom of the Father. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if those who have died in Christ are together with Christ in heaven right now, or if they are perhaps in a better place until that time comes when Jesus shall return and gather together those who have died in Him, and those who are alive in Him together in the air where He will then bring them into His Father’s house in heaven. The more I think about and consider this the more I can’t help but think about the Father that it might very well be possible that all the saints who have died in Christ before us in this generation—although they are indeed in a better place—might not be together with Christ His Father’s house. I am beginning to think that when Christ returns to gather unto Himself His bride—not only will He return to gather those who have died in Him (those perhaps in Abraham’s bosom), but He will return to gather those who are alive and remain. You will recall the apostle Paul emphatically declared that the dead in Christ will rise first, and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with Him to meet Him in the air. It is when we are gathered together unto Him in the air and are united together with those saints which have died in Christ that we will then be brought into the glorious kingdom of the Father.
Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider that those who have died in Christ might not be in the kingdom of the Father right now, and might not be in the Father’s house? Would it shock and surprise you to think about the fact that when you and I experience the reality of the Father’s house we will experience it together with and at the same time as those saints which have died in Christ? We must needs remember the parable Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus, for in that parable Jesus references Abraham’s bosom. Not only this, but Jesus also references a place where the wicked themselves go upon death. Scripture makes it very clear that hell is the final death, and I am absolutely and completely convinced that Sheol and Abraham’s bosom are those resting places until those who have died and gone on before are essentially found until that moment when they will either be ushered into the kingdom of heaven, or will be cast into hell. We know from the writings of the apostle Paul that those who have died in Christ will be raised up first to meet Jesus in the air, and we know that those who are alive and remain will meet them in the air. We also know that those who have died and aren’t in Christ will not be raised until the time of the Great White Throne Judgment where they will not only be judged, but also cast into hell. While we would like to think that our loved ones are together with Jesus in the house of His Father, and in the kingdom of His Father, I would dare suggest that when the house of the Father, and when the kingdom of the Father will be opened unto us it will also be opened to all those who have died in Christ and all those who have gone before. We know from the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ that there are myriads upon myriads of angels which worship before the throne, and we know there are twenty-four elders, and we know there are the four living creatures, however, I would dare suggest that when the kingdom of heaven is opened for the very first time it will be opened to both those who died in Christ initially, and those who were alive in Christ at the time of His return. I am absolutely and completely convinced that when the Lord returns in the same manner as which He departed and ascended He will gather us all together at the same time as those who have died in Christ and have gone before. I am becoming increasingly convinced that when the dead in Christ rise first, and when we which are alive and remain meet Jesus in the air we will meet Him together as we prepare to be ushered into the house and kingdom of His Father who is in heaven. What’s more, is I would dare say that while it is true that Jesus is indeed preparing a place for us in His Father’s house, so also is He preparing and making ready the supper and the marriage supper of the Lamb. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-second and twenty-fifth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:2-14).
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered, and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:1-13).
These parables present us with the powerful picture of the great marriage supper of the Lamb which is mentioned in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ, and demonstrates the awesome truth surrounding this great feast that can and will take place on that great and glorious day when all the saints of God in Christ are ushered into that great hall where the wedding feast will take place as both the bride and the Bridegroom will partake of that meal and that supper which Jesus partook of with His disciples there in the upper room. It is truly something remarkable, captivating and beautiful to consider how the meal and supper Jesus partook of with His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed will not be enjoyed again with Him in His presence until that time when it is done anew in the Father’s kingdom. What’s more, is that we must needs realize and recognize that each and every time we partake of the communion meal, and every time we break bread with each other—not only are we looking back to what Jesus did for us, but we are looking ahead in anticipation for that time when we will partake of this meal with Jesus as we are seated together with all the saints of God who are in Christ. The next time this meal will be partaken of together with Jesus will be in the house and kingdom of His Father who is in heaven, as the bride and the body will be joined together with the Bridegroom. This thought brings me face to face with the reality that it is very much possible that those saints which have died and gone on before us might be in a different place than where we would like to think. We have been taught to think and believe that the saints which have gone on before us were ushered into the presence of Jesus in heaven in the Father’s house, and yet the question I find myself asking is if it isn’t possible that the saints who have gone before us are in what Jesus referred to as “Abraham’s bosom” and whether or not when Jesus returns in the same manner in which He departed we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the dead in Christ. The apostle Paul makes it very clear that the dead in Christ will rise first, and that we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet Jesus in the air. What a truly powerful and astonishing reality it is to think about this and whether or not it’s possible that we will all see the Father’s house and the kingdom of heaven at the same time when Jesus ushers the bride into the great chamber where the Marriage Supper of the Lamb can and will take place.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely tremendous thought of the dead in Christ rising first at the sound of the last trump, and how we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet Jesus in the air. If we were not all to meet Jesus in the air, and if we weren’t all going to be ushered into the glorious and eternal presence of the Father and all the holy angels with Him then why would the apostle Paul write about the dead in Christ rising first, and we who are alive and remaining being caught up together with Him in the air? Why would the apostle Paul—when writing unto the saints of Thessalonica—write concerning this awesome reality and how in the twinkling of an eye we will meet our Lord and Savior in the air? Consider if you will the following words which are found written and recorded in the fourth chapter of the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were in Thessalonica beginning to read with and from the thirteenth verse: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, 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 them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself will 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). These words strike a powerful cord within my heart and cause me to think and strongly consider that there is coming a day when all the saints of God—those who are dead in Christ, and those who are alive and remain—will be caught up together with Jesus in the clouds. What’s more, is that the words which are found in this passage seem to indicate a powerful “meeting” in the air, for these words suggest and speak of us being caught up together with the dead in Christ in the clouds that we might “meet the Lord in the air.” Oh, is it possible that when Jesus descends with a shout that both the dead who are in Christ, as well as we which are alive and remain will be caught up together to meet the Lord whom our soul loves and yearns for? Is it possible that in that moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and will be caught up together with the dead in Christ who will rise first?
I full realize and recognize that the idea and concept of those who have died in Christ potentially being in some place different than in the kingdom of heaven might be somewhat difficult to consider, however, there is something to be said about the language of Jesus when speaking about His going to prepare a place for us, and how there are in His Father’s house many mansions. There is something to be said about the language found in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints in Thessalonica and him writing about us being caught up together with the dead in Christ who will rise first, and our meeting the Lord in the air. Stop for a moment and think about that concept of meeting the Lord in the air—and it is quite possible that when we meet the Lord in the air we might very well meet Him for the first time with those who died in Christ. We know that there were at least three people who saw the risen and the exalted Christ after He had ascended into heaven unto the right hand of the Father—the apostle Paul, the apostle John, and Stephen—and yet in that moment the dead in Christ shall rise first and when we which are alive and remain on the earth will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. Do you truthfully think that part of the bride would be in heaven with Christ and the rest of the bride will be here on the earth, or do you think that it’s possible that in that glorious moment when the last trump shall sound both the dead in Christ and those who are alive and remain can and will meet the Lord together in the air, and for the first time in both time and eternity the Bridegroom and the bride will be united together in the sky. Not only this, but even if you follow the Galilean wedding tradition you will find that the bridegroom did not and would not see the bridegroom until that hour when the father would pronounce the time had come for Him to see His bride. Oh, I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and incredible reality that it will be in that moment in the twinkling of an eye and at the last trump when those who are alive and remain in the earth will be caught up together with those who are dead in Christ, and together we will not only meet the Lord in the air, but finally and once and for all the bride and the Bridegroom will be united together after an extended period without seeing each other.
The cup which was presented before and unto the disciples would be the cup of the covenant and the cup of betrothal, and that cup would not be drunk again until it was drunk anew in the kingdom of the Father. That first and initial cup would be the cup of betrothal as Jesus would pass it to the disciples in the upper room, however, there is coming a time at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that the cup will once more be offered unto the bride—this time it will be the final and ultimate bride of Christ which is the Church. Taking all of this into consideration I am becoming more and more convinced that until that moment when the last trump shall sound the dead in Christ might very well be and remain in Abraham’s bosom while we who are alive in Christ remain upon the earth. These two distinct locations for the bride of Christ will eventually unite when both the dead in Christ and those alive in Christ will be gathered together to meet Christ in the air. Oh stop and think about what a great and glorious sight that can and will be when the bride will be gathered together to meet the Lord in the air—much like all those who were gathered together to see and behold Jesus taken up into haven and hidden from their sight by a cloud. Not only this, but the angel specifically stated that in the same manner in which Jesus ascended and departed from their midst as they were gathered together, so also would He return in the same manner—returning to a people who would be gathered together. The book of Acts reveals how after Jesus had spoken His final words, and while those who were gathered together beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud concealed and received Him out of their sight. Not only this, but an angel would indeed and would in fact declare that the same way Jesus ascended into heaven would be the same manner in which He would return. Moreover, it would be after the angel proclaimed this message all those gathered together there would return unto Jerusalem, which was a sabbath’s day journey. This group of people which were gathered together at the mount called Olivet would come in and go up into an upper room where all of the apostles would be gathered together. Not only this, but Luke records that there would be one-hundred and twenty that would be gathered together there in the upper room. OH that we would pay close attention to this, for I am convinced that just as there were those who were gathered together when Jesus was taken up into heaven and hidden by a cloud, so also would there be those who will be gathered together as Jesus returns in the air at the sound of the last trump.
Bringing this writing to a close I am becoming increasingly convinced that we must needs recognize and understand the awesome and powerful significance of the Last Supper, for not only did it speak about that which was during those days, but it will also speak about that which will be when the bride of Christ will indeed be together with Jesus the Bridegroom in the kingdom of the Father. There is not a doubt in my mind that it is going to be in that moment at the sound of the last trump when not only will the dead who are in Christ rise first to meet the Lord, but so also will we who are alive and remain be caught up together with them to meet Him in the air. I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible truth that Jesus has yet to see His bride, for how would half of His bride be present in heaven together with Him while the other part of the bride would be here upon the earth. I would dare say and suggest that at the sound of the last trump both the dead in Christ and we which are alive and remain can and will meet the Lord together in the air together for the very first time. What’s more, is I would even dare say that when Moses and Elijah talked with the transfigured Christ atop the mountain it would be the first time they would actually encounter Him, and it would essentially be the Messiah whom the Law and the prophets prophesied about would introduced to them. I fully realize and recognize that this goes against everything we have been taught, and everything we have believed within and during our time here upon the earth, but we must realize and recognize that even in the Galilean wedding tradition the bridegroom would not see the bride until the hour when the father would instruct the son to go get this bride. Not only this, but it wouldn’t be until the bridegroom and the bride met each other the bride would be lifted and caught up and would be ushered to and into the father’s house of the bridegroom. Oh what a truly awesome and powerful thought this truly is when you think about it, and how seriously we must take the Lord’s supper and communion as not only do we look back to that which Jesus did, but we also look forward and ahead to that moment when the bride will meet the Lord in the air, and when we can and will drink the cup and the fruit of the vine anew with the Lord in the kingdom of His Father.