Between the Ascension & the Return: The Coming

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically today’s passage is found in the fourteenth chapter. “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 to 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 y 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 am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 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).

 

            “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Fatehr, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ ‘sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:8-14).

 

            “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).

 

            “Judas saith unto him, Not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man. Love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not. Mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:22-24).

 

 

            “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).

 

            I GO! I GO TO PREAPRE A PLACE FOR YOU! I GO UNTO MY FATHER! I WILL COME AGAIN! I WILL COME TO YOU! WE WILL COME UNTO HIM! COME AGAIN UNTO YOU! AND I WILL PRAY THE FATHER, AND HE SHALL GIVE YOU ANOTHER COMFORTER, THAT HE MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER! I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of a section of Scripture which describes the words Jesus spoke unto His disciples in the upper room on the night in which He would be betrayed. Within the four gospels there are certain sections of Scripture that cover multiple chapters and provide us with a tremendous amount of language which Jesus spoke unto His disciples. If you journey back unto the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find that chapters five through seven are such a portion of Scripture for it is within these chapters where we find Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is tor Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount encompasses three chapters within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. It is truly something remarkable to turn your attention to the words found in these chapters for the apostle Matthew devoted an entire three chapters to recounting the words which our Lord had spoken unto His disciples and those who would come unto Him shortly after He would return from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit. Chapters five through seven are entirely and altogether understood as containing the crux of Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven for it is within the Sermon on the Mount we come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth concerning the kingdom of heaven and that which the Father demanded and required of those who would come after and follow His Son. These chapters are absolutely remarkable and astounding when you take the time to consider them as they bring us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness which was asked, demanded and require of those who would come after and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            With this being said we must needs recognize that when you come to the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of this same gospel you will find what is considered the Olive discourse which would take place before Jesus would be betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. IT is in these chapters where we encounter Jesus’ words and teaching concerning the Last Days and that which would take place in the immediate days ahead as well as the days which would come toward the end of the age. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as these chapters not only describe Jesus’ teaching concerning the Last Days but they also contain distinct parables and allegories concerning the kingdom of heaven. Within these chapters we find and discover Jesus likening the kingdom of heaven unto ten virgins—five wise virgins and five foolish virgins—who were called and summoned when the bridegroom was preparing to come and gather all those unto the feast and the marriage. It is truly something worth mentioning and understanding when reading these words as they call and draw our attention to the truth surrounding the kingdom of heaven and its relation and connection to the Last Days and the end of the age as Jesus would also describe those whom the Father would separate as sheep and goats—one on His right and one on His left hand. The fundamental different between these two different groups of people was simply and solely that which they did toward and how they responded toward the Lord Jesus Christ as He was visible and manifested in the least of these whom they encountered throughout their daily lives.

 

            As you come to the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel you will find the first of three chapters entirely and altogether dedicated and devoted to the teaching of Jesus as He would prepare and make ready His disciples for very specific things which would be manifested in the coming days. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found within these chapters for chapters fourteen through sixteen contain a tremendous amount of language which describes Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for that which they were about to walk through. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the four gospel narratives it’s that Jesus made ready and prepared His disciples for that which He was about to face in the midst of the earth as that which they themselves would face and walk through. In all reality I am entirely and altogether convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ made ready and prepared His disciples for His own suffering and His subsequent death which would ensue as a result. You cannot read the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors without encountering and coming face to face with this incredible and important truth. The four gospels are replete with specific accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ taking the time to actively prepare and make ready His disciples for the suffering He was about to talk through and His subsequent death which would ensue and take place as a result. I can’t help but turn and direct my attention to the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew beginning with the sixteenth chapter and encounter the awesome and incredible truth of the Lord Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His betrayal by one of His own and how that betrayal would lead to suffering many things at the hands of the religious elite and system of His day as well as at the hands of sinners. Not only this but we find Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His subsequent death which would ensue as a result of that suffering before He would rise from death to life on the third day.

 

            Before we get into the words found in the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the significance surrounding the time Jesus took and spent to prepare and make ready His disciples for that which He Himself was preparing to walk through. You cannot understand this particular time within the life of Jesus without and apart from also understanding that He took the time to make sure His disciples were not taken back nor would be surprised at the suffering He would walk through. Jesus knew that His time and His hour had come and as a direct result He would take the time to prepare and make ready His disciples for that which He Himself would walk through. The Lord Jesus Christ would deliberately and intentionally take the time to teach His disciples concerning the suffering and death he would experience and walk through before He would ultimately rise from the third day. It is with this in mind I would like to invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew beginning in the sixteenth chapter:

 

            “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others Jeremiahs, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are thou Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, IF any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his words. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:13-28).

 

            “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (Matthew 17:22-23).

 

            “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19).

 

            “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Matthew 26:1-2).

 

            Each of these passages written and recorded in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the time Jesus took to prepare and make ready His twelve disciples for His betrayal, for His suffering, and for His death before He would be raised from death to life on the third day. It is important for us to recognize and understand this for it draws and calls our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the time our Lord took to prepare and make ready His disciples for the suffering He was about to walk through—suffering which would ultimately lead to death before being raised from death to life. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in these different passes in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find Jesus deliberately and intentionally taking the time to prepare His disciples for that which He would walk through and that which He was about to walk through. From the time of Simon Peter’s revelation concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God to two days before the feast of the Passover Jesus would prepare and make ready His disciples for His betrayal by one of them which would ultimately lead to His suffering at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel before He would be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles and sinners to mock and to be scorned before He would ultimately be killed and crucified. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the time, effort and energy the Lord Jesus took and spent preparing and making ready His disciples for that which He would walk through in this life—that which had been ordained and appointed by the eternal and living Father.

 

            With all of this being said we must needs remember and acknowledge the fact that our Lord did not merely prepare and make ready His disciples for that which He would walk through without and apart from preparing them for what they would walk through. SUFFERING WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING! DEATH WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING! BURIAL WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING! RESURRECTION WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING! ASCENSION WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING! If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words found within the four New Testament gospels—specifically the words found in chapters thirteen through sixteen—is that in addition to our Lord preparing and making ready His disciples for that which He would walk through and experience in the flesh He would also prepare them for what they would walk through in the flesh. You cannot read the gospel narratives without and apart from encountering and coming face to face with the tremendous truth that our Lord would indeed prepare and make ready His disciples for what they would walk through in the flesh as those who had walked with Him and those who would continue to follow Him despite the fact that He would no longer walk with them. WALKING WITH JESUS WITHOUT ACTUALLY WALKING WITH JESUS! In all reality it is quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that it was entirely and altogether possible to walk with Jesus despite the fact that He was not physically present in the flesh. It is as you come to and approach these chapters you will find our Lord preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure from this earth and His return unto the Father. In fact this reality would be manifested in the opening verses of the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this chapter beginning with the first verse:

 

            “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 not 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” (John 13:1-5).

 

            The words we find here bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus knew and understood that His hour was come which He should depart out of this world unto the Father. Not only this but we also learn and discover that Jesus loved His own which were in the world, and loved them unto the end. Moreover we also learn and discover how Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God. In all reality the words found here within these verses being to set the stage and prepare us for something that would be entirely and altogether separate from the suffering and death of Jesus and yet would be intrinsically linked and connected to it. If you take the time to read the four gospel narratives you will find the Lord Jesus preparing and making ready his disciples for the suffering He would walk through which would ultimately lead to His death and crucifixion at the hands of sinners and Gentiles. Jesus would indeed take the time to prepare and make ready His disciples for the suffering He would walk through and how that suffering would ultimately lead Him to the place where He would die, be killed and be crucified upon the cruel Roman tree known as the cross. Jesus would in fact make ready and prepare His disciples for the suffering which He would endure at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, and the religious elite before He would suffer additionally at the hands of the Gentiles and sinners who would mock, ridicule and scourge Him. Not only this but our Lord also knew and understood that He would ultimately be killed and crucified at the hands of sinners and His physical body would be buried in the heart of the earth until the appointed time. It would be on the third day our Lord would rise from death to life as the stone would be rolled away from the entrance of the tomb and He would emerge very much alive and victorious having the keys of death, hell and the gave in His possession.

 

            It is having this understanding we must needs acknowledge and be aware of the fact that this wasn’t the only thing Jesus prepared and made ready His disciples. As you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find this apostle of Christ describing the time Jesus took to prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure from this world. It was one thing for our Lord to prepare and make ready His disciples for the suffering He would walk through and for His subsequent death at the hands of the Gentiles and sinners, however, it was something else entirely and altogether different for Jesus to prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure from this earth. It was in the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel we find the apostle John writing how before the feast of the Passover Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father. Not only this but the apostle John also describes how Jesus knew that He was come from God, and went to God. Oh there is absolutely no denying the fact that our Lord was very much aware of the fact that His hour had come—not only for His betrayal by one of His own, not only for His suffering, and not only for His death, but also for His departure from this world and return unto the right hand of His Father which was in heaven.

 

            There is something truly unique and powerful when reading the words found in these chapters for within them we encounter and come face to face with the fact that the suffering and death which Jesus would endure and experience would only be the beginning. The suffering and death which Jesus would experience in the flesh would only be the beginning as He would indeed rise from death to life on the third day. Our Lord would indeed suffer at the hands of the religious during those days as well as at the hands of sinners—both before He would ultimately be killed and crucified and before He would be buried in the heart of the earth until the third day. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that Jesus’ death—and not only His death but also His resurrection—was only the beginning. If and as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter the tremendous truth that death was indeed only the beginning for death would be the doorway and the catalyst for the resurrection of Jesus from death to life on the third day after His body would be buried in the heart of the earth. What’s more is that even resurrection itself would only be the beginning as Jesus’ resurrection from the grave on the third day would ultimately lead to Jesus’ ascension unto the right hand of the Father. The disciples were made ready and prepared for the fact that Jesus would be crucified and buried in the heart of the earth before He would rise form death to life on the third day, however, what we find here is that resurrection was only the beginning of what would take place for Jesus would rise from the grave and from death to life that He might ascend unto the right hand of the Father. Oh that would recognize and understand this incredibly important and powerful truth for it brings us face to face with the fact that even our own resurrection which we can experience when the trumpet sounds and when the Lord descends from heaven with a shout and with the voice of the archangel is for the sole purpose of ascension unto Jesus to meet Him in the clouds that where He is there we might also be.

 

            Oh I have to admit there is something incredibly powerful about the words which are found within these chapters for they call and draws our attention to the fact that our Lord Jesus would indeed rise from death to life on the third day, however, He would not rise from death to life on the third day to remain and abide upon the earth. Oh it was true that Jesus would show and demonstrate Himself as being alive for forty days thereafter. The beloved physician Luke in his treatise on the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ as written in the book of Acts would describe how our Lord would show and demonstrate Himself as being alive with many infallible truths and proofs before He would ultimately ascend into the clouds before being received out of their sight. It would be at the mount called Olivet the Lord Jesus Christ would ascend from this earth as He would depart from this world and return unto His Father which was in heaven. The beloved physician Luke describes in both the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as well as in the New Testament book of Acts how our Lord would ascend unto the right hand of the Father after He had departed from this world and would return unto His Father. After forty days of showing and demonstrating unto His disciples and followers that He was very much alive Jesus would ascend from this earth and would be received out of the sight of the disciples and followers who were present with Him on the mount of Olivet. Consider if you will the following words which are found in both the New Testament gospel written by Luke as well as the words which are found in the first chapter of the book he wrote concerning the works and life of the early Church:

 

            “And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:50-53).

 

            “The former treatise have I mad, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he though the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion 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 no 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, It is 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. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey” (Acts 1:1-12).

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs recognize and understand concerning Jesus’ resurrection from the grave is that His resurrection would be the catalyst that would ultimately lead to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father. Jesus would indeed be raised from death to life on the third day and He would demonstrate and show Himself alive through many infallible proofs, however, He would not be raised from death to life on the third day to abide and remain in the flesh with His disciples and followers. There might have been the belief that even after the Lord Jesus was raised from death to life on the third day that He would continue to remain and abide with them in the flesh, however, what we find within these chapters in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is that Jesus was raised from death to life that He might ascend unto heaven and return unto the right hand of the Father who was seated upon the throne. Death would indeed be the catalyst and the door that would propel Jesus unto resurrection, however, we must needs understand that resurrection was and would be the catalyst and door through which He would ascend and return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. We must needs recognize and understand that Jesus’ resurrection from death to life on the third day would indeed and would in fact be the door through which He would ultimately ascend unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven.

 

            It is in the twenty-fourth and final chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke as well as the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts written by the same author we find Jesus ascending unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. What’s more is that John Mark would also conclude his own gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ describing how the Lord Jesus would ascend unto the right hand of the Father and would sit down at the right hand of God. Oh we must needs recognize and understand just how incredibly important and powerful this truly is as it draws and calls our attention to the fact that when Jesus was raised from death to life He would not remain nor would He abide in the flesh for an indefinite period of time. Jesus would rise from death to life and would indeed show Himself alive through many infallible proofs, however, once those forty days had been completed Jesus would return from whence He came. Jesus would indeed rise from death to life on the third day and would spend forty days among His disciples and followers demonstrating and showing Himself alive among them before He would ultimately ascend unto heaven and return unto the right hand of the Father who was seated upon the throne. Oh we must needs understand that resurrection was indeed necessary for the Father would not allow the body of His Son to see decay in the grave and would not leave His soul in the depths of the earth and in the bowels of hell itself. The Holy Spirit would raise Jesus Christ from death to life on the third day and it would be from that day and on over the next forty days Jesus would indeed show Himself alive unto His disciples and those who would walk with and follow Him.

 

            When we come to the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find the Lord instructing and commanding His disciples to not let their heart be troubled. Moreover, Jesus would instruct them that as they believed in God they ought also to believe in Him. It would be after this our Lord would begin describing unto His disciples that in His Father’s house were many mansions and if it were not so He would have told them. The next words which proceeded out of the mouth of our Lord were simply “I go.” Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous weight and significance of these words which would indeed be spoken unto the disciples there in the upper room as Jesus would have prepared and made ready His disciples for His betrayal, He would have prepared them for His suffering, He would have prepared them for His death, and He would declare unto them how He would be raised from death to life on the third day. Now we find Jesus essentially flipping the script on the disciples for He would speak of His departure from this life and from this world. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for something which I am sure they did not expect and had not expected. What you find in this passage is our Lord preparing His disciples for something else they had not anticipated nor expected. Within this verses and within these chapters we find our Lord preparing and making ready His disciples for His subsequent departure from this world and His return unto the right hand of the Father in heaven. It is in the second verse of this passage we find Jesus declaring unto the disciples how He went to prepare a place for them and that if He went to prepare a place for them He would come again and receive them unto Himself.

 

            We have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the words we find here call and draw our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that while it was indeed true our Lord prepared His disciples for His betrayal, for His suffering, for His death and even for His resurrection He would also prepare them for His departure. You cannot read the words found within these chapters and not be brought face to face with the tremendous truth that our Lord not only knew that the hour had come for Him to suffer and be crucified but He also knew that the hour of His departure had arrived. On the night in which He would be betrayed He would prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven. The disciples were exceedingly sorrowful when Jesus declared unto them that He would suffer many things before being killed and crucified and now Jesus was dropping another bombshell on them—namely, that He was going to leave them and depart from this world. It would be in the thirteenth chapter of this gospel the apostle John would describe how the hour of Jesus’ departure had arrived and how He was preparing to depart from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven. The apostle John would set the stage for this departure in the thirteenth chapter and it would be in the fourteenth chapter we begin finding our Lord Jesus beginning to speak of His departure from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven. It was one thing for the apostle John to write of the departure of the Lord Jesus from this world and His return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven, however, it would be entirely and altogether different for our Lord to Himself speak of His departure from this world and subsequent return unto His Father who was in heaven.

 

            The more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will encounter the incredible truth that our Lord was preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure from this world and that He would no longer be with them in the flesh. Oh it would be in the first and opening chapter of this gospel we find the apostle John writing how the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and yet what we find here is that Word which became flesh and dwelling among us departing from among us. FROM DWELLING TO DEPARTING! In the first and opening chapter of this gospel we find the apostle John describing how the Word which was in the beginning, and was in the beginning with God, and in the beginning was God became flesh and dwelt among and now we find the apostle John describing something entirely and altogether different for this Word which would become flesh and dwell among us would depart from among us. This is something we have great need to recognize and pay close attention to for the Word—although He would dwell with and among us in the flesh—was not intended to remain and abide with us in the flesh forever. That which we read in the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative is a powerful declaration concerning this Word which became flesh and dwelt among us for this Word which dwelt among us would actually depart from us. Oh stop and consider how incredibly unique and challenging this would have been for the disciples for Jesus had abided with them in the flesh for three and a half years and now He was preparing them for His departure. It was indeed true the Word would be made flesh and dwell among us and would literally be Immanuel which means “God with us,” however, Jesus abiding and dwelling in the flesh was never intended to be a permanent reality.

 

            I have to admit there is something incredibly powerful about the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture—particularly and especially when you consider that despite the fact our Lord would dwell among us in the flesh there would come a time when He would depart from this earth and would return unto the Father which was in heaven. Our Lord would indeed dwell and abide with us for three and a half years being publicly manifested in the midst of the earth and yet there would come the time when He would depart from this world and leave the physical tent of flesh that He might once more take up the glory and nature which He had with the Father from the beginning. The words and language we find within the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John brings us face to face with the truth that in addition to our Lord preparing and making ready His disciples for His suffering and death He would also prepare and make them ready for His departure from this world. It is in this particular portion of Scripture where we begin noticing the Lord teaching His disciples of His departure from this world and making them ready for it. Our Lord did not want the disciples to be caught off guard when the time came for Him to depart from this world and His return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven and so He prepared and made ready His disciples for that time. Jesus wanted to ensure that He told His disciples aforehand before it actually came to pass that they might be alarmed nor shaken when it actually took place. Oh in all reality it is quite astounding to read and consider how our Lord would indeed prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure for in both the New Testament book of Acts as well as the New Testament gospel of Luke we find that after Jesus departed from this world and returned unto his Father who was in heaven the disciples returned from the mount called Olivet unto Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the Temple worshipping and praising the living God.

 

            As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus beginning to teach His disciples concerning His departure—and not only teaching them concerning His departure but also how there were certain realities which were intrinsically linked and connected to His departure. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the fact that although Jesus was indeed departing from this world it would not be the end but only the beginning. Despite the fact that our Lord Jesus would depart from this world and would return unto the right hand of His Father which was in heaven it would be that departure which would be entirely and altogether linked and connected to incredibly powerful manifestations that would take place among them. Although Jesus would indeed depart from this world and would return unto His Father which was in heaven that departure would be entirely and altogether necessary for that which was to come thereafter. If you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will notice that our Lord did indeed and did in fact prepare His disciples for His departure, however, even His departure was not the end but only the beginning. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning the departure of Jesus is that although He would depart from this world and would cast off the physical tent of flesh and take up His mantle of glory His ascension and departure would only be the beginning. Just as surely as His resurrection would only be the beginning as it would lead to His ascension so also would His ascension unto heaven and His departure from this world be only the beginning.

 

            If you read the words which are found in the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John you will find that Jesus’ departure from this world would be intrinsically linked and connected to His preparing a place. It would be in the second verse of the fourteenth chapter our Lord would declare how in His Father’s house were many mansions or dwelling places and if it were not so He would not have told them. This is something which must needs be understood for we have been taught and trained to believe that this speaks of physical mansions and physical dwelling places in the heavens with the Father, with the Son and with the holy angels which surround and are before the throne. There have been countless ministers of the gospel who have taught and preached that the mansions spoken of in this passage of Scripture refer to physical dwelling places and physical mansions which are prepared for us in glory and yet the truth of the matter is that I don’t believe that it entirely speaks to such a truth and reality. We know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven and we know that in order to be with and where Jesus and the Father are we must needs put off this physical flesh and must put on that which is incorruptible and that which is immortal. It was this reality which the apostle Paul would write about in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints at Corinth. In the first epistle written unto this congregation the apostle Paul would write unto them concerning resurrection and how the saints of God in Christ would indeed be raised up just as the Lord Jesus the Christ was raised from death to life. With this being said, however, it is absolutely necessary and imperative we understand that in order for us to dwell and abide with the Father, the Son and the Spirit in the Father’s house it is necessary that we put off this form of human flesh and take up that which is incorruptible and that which is immortal. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints:

 

            “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou wosest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare again, it may chance of wheat, or of some 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 also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestian 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 dishnour; 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. There is a natural body, and there is 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 first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and aftwreard 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 twinkliny 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 string of 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 steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye. Know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).

 

            The words which we find here in this chapter in the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints is entirely and altogether necessary when we read the words found in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is in the fifteenth chapter of this epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we encounter and come face to face with the incredibly powerful truth that there is this transformation that will take place at the last trump when the Lord descends with a shout and with the voice of an archangel. When writing unto the saints in Thessalonica the apostle Paul also writes how at that time the dead in Christ shall be raised and we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. This is something which is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth surrounding the transformation and resurrection that will take place in that moment. The apostle Paul made it perfectly clear that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven and Jesus when speaking unto the disciples spoke of many mansions which were present within His Father’s house. We must needs pay close attention to this as it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth that it was expedient and necessary for our Lord to depart from this world and return unto the Father for if He did not go—not only would the promise of the Father which was the person of the Holy Spirit not come but neither would that place which our Lord committed and promised to prepare be completed. There is not a doubt in my mind that when our Lord speaks of many mansions or dwelling places present within His Father’s house He is not speaking of literal mansions as we would think of them in light of what Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and the rich and elite live in here on the earth. If the very streets of heaven are paved with gold it demonstrates the value of gold in heaven as being something which is actually beneath us and under our feet.

 

            We read the words found in this passage of Scripture and we are brought face to face with Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure and directly linked and connected to that departure was His preparing a place for them. It is absolutely incredible to think about the fact that although our Lord declared unto his disciples that He would depart from this world and although He did in fact depart from this world He would depart that he might prepare a place for us. It is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to these words for directly linked to Jesus’ departure from this world was a work which would be done in heaven—a work performed and completed in heaven that would prepare a place in His Father’s house. What’s more is that this work would have two distinct truths directly linked and connected to it—namely, that He would prepare a place for us that where He is we might be also as well as the fact that He would return and come back. We know and understand that Jesus would rise from death to life on the third day that he might ascend unto the right hand of the Father and we know that He would ascend unto the Father with the anticipation, with the expectation and with the understanding that in the same manner in which He departed from this earth he would return and come again. This was in all reality the message of the two men which stood beside all those gathered together at the mount of Olivet for they would declare that in the same manner in which they saw Jesus depart from this earth He would return and come again. We must needs recognize and understand this particular truth for it brings us face to face with the divine mystery of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ that is directly linked to and bound within His ascension. Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father and the same manner in which He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father would be the same way in which He would return.

 

            THE FIRST TIME I GO YOU CANNOT COME WITH ME BUT WHEN I RETURN AND COME AGAIN I WILL BRING YOU WITH ME! There is a great need within our hearts and our minds to acknowledge and understand that although Jesus would indeed depart from this world and return unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven He would in like manner return. One of the main and underlying reasons for His returning in the same manner in which He departed was that where He might be we also might be there together with Him. It is absolutely necessary that we understand this as it calls and draws our attention to the fact that the Lord Jesus would depart from this world, however, He would depart from this world that He might prepare a place and that He might send the promise and person of the Holy Spirit. THE PREPARING! THE SENDING! THE COMING! It is as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that although Jesus would indeed depart from this world He would depart from this world that He might accomplish and fulfill something very specific which had been ordained by the Father. Jesus would take on the form of human flesh that He might dwell with and among us where we are the first time He came, however, when He returns He is not coming to take on the nature of human flesh to dwell with us where we are but rather that we might take on His nature that where He is we might dwell therein. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when Jesus came to the earth the first time He came taking upon Himself the seed of Abraham and the likeness of human flesh that He might dwell with us where we are, however, when He returns He will come in the glory of His Father that He might give unto us that which He prepared for us—namely, that which is incorruptible and immortal. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that it is possible from the time Jesus departed from this earth and returned unto the Father which is in heaven He has been preparing a place for us that where He is we might be as well.

 

            We know that Jesus ascended unto heaven and is set down at the right hand of the Father who is in heaven, however, we must also recognize and understand that the Lord Jesus ascended unto heaven that He might prepare a place for us. Jesus emphatically declared that in His Father’s house were many mansions and this statement would immediately be followed up by a declaration that He goes to prepare a place for us. Not only would He go to prepare a place for us but if He went to prepare a place for us He would come again and receive us unto Himself. Oh I cannot escape the fact that when Jesus came to the earth the first time it was He Himself who took on our nature as He would take on the form of human flesh. Jesus would come the first time taking upon Himself the form of human flesh and the seed of Abraham that He might dwell among us here on the earth. When, however, He comes the second time He will not be taking upon Himself the form of human flesh but will be coming in His glory—the glory which He had with the Father from the beginning. Jesus is going to return in the glory of His Father with the angels in order that we who are alive in Him and remain upon the earth might be caught up together with those who have died in Him and receive that which is immortal and that which is incorruptible. Please do not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that when Jesus came to the earth the first time and took upon Himself the nature and seed of human flesh there was no transformation of our flesh. Jesus would indeed become the Word which was made flesh that He might dwell in the midst of and walk among flesh where we are. The first time Jesus would take on Himself the form of human flesh that He might be with us where we are and yet the second time He comes He would come in His glory that He might present unto us that which is incorruptible and immortal that where He we might be there also.

 

             COMING IN THE FLESH! COMING IN THE SPIRIT! COMING IN GLORY! What I find most astonishing when reading the gospel narratives—particularly and especially when reading the words in this section of Scripture—is that there are essentially three different sides to the coming of the Lord Jesus. We know and are very much aware of the fact that Jesus did indeed and did in fact come in the flesh as He took upon Himself the nature of human flesh and the seed of Abraham. We know that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us that He might dwell with us where we are, however, with that being said we must recognize that even after He took upon Himself the form of human flesh to dwell among us and would depart from this earth He would come to us a second time. The words found in this passage of Scripture highlight the awesome and incredible truth that Jesus came to us the first time in the form of human flesh that He might dwell among us in the flesh, however, He would come a second time in the form of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us. The first time Jesus would come to dwell with us and among us He would take on the form of human flesh as He would put on the seed of Abraham. For thirty years Jesus would live and dwell among us as the Word made flesh in obscurity while for the final three and a half years of His life He would dwell among us as the Word made flesh in manifestation. When Jesus departed from this world, however, and returned unto His Father in heaven He would not only come unto us again but He would also come unto us in a new and living way that He might dwell with us wherever we are. The first time Jesus came to dwell among us He was confined to the boundaries and limitations of physical flesh, however, the second time He would come to us and unto us He there would be no such constraints. When Jesus came to us the second time in the form of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit He would be able to dwell with each and every one of us at the same time regardless of where we are. The first time Jesus came to dwell with us He could only be in one place at a time, however, when He came to dwell with  and within us the second time He would be able to do so wherever we are.

 

            With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the fact that the first time Jesus came to us in the form of human flesh He did so that He might dwell with us. The second time He would come to us He would come in the form of the person of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us. FROM DWELLING WITH US TO DWELLING WITHIN US! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredibly important truth for although the hearts and souls of the disciples might very well have been filled with sorrow at the thought of His departure it would be as a direct result of His departure that He would be able to come to us again in the form of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It would be through the person of the Holy Spirit that Jesus would no longer be God with us in the form of human flesh but God within us in the form of the Holy Spirit. This was the reality which the apostle Paul sought to emphasize to the saints of Corinth when writing both epistles found within the New Testament. When writing unto these dear saints the apostle Paul sought to bring them to the place of understanding and realizing that they were in fact the temple of the Holy Spirit and that through the Holy Spirit the living God would fulfill that which He spoke through His servant Ezekiel. It would be through the person of the Holy Spirit that not only would the eternal God be able to dwell within us but so also would the only begotten Son be able to dwell within us. Jesus came to the earth the first time in the form of human flesh and would dwell with us, and after His departure He would come again—this time in the form of the Holy Spirit.

 

            There has been a lot of teaching regarding Jesus’ coming back for His body and bride that He might capture them up together with Him in the clouds and there have been many who have referred to that as “the second coming of Christ.” A lot of preaching and teaching has been devoted to this concept of Christ’s return as “the second coming,” however, I would dare say that this is entirely incorrect and false. If you read the words found in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find that Jesus would come back a second time before He ever returned in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. We would like to think that when Jesus returns at the sound of the last trump when He descends from heaven with a shout and with the voice of an archangel that it is the second coming of Christ, however, I would dare propose to you that such a thought and teaching is false. It is true that Jesus Christ is going to come again and it is true that Jesus is going to come for us that where He is we might also be there with Him, however, we must needs recognize and understand that there was another time Jesus came in between the ascension and the return. BETWEEN THE ASCENSION AND THE COMING AGAIN: THE RETURN! THE RETURN: BETWEEN THE ASCENSION AND THE COMING AGAIN! The two men who stood beside all those present at the mount called Olivet would declare that in the same manner in which they saw Jesus depart before the eyes so also would He come again. These two men laid the foundation for the Lord Jesus Christ coming again, however, we must needs recognize that in between the ascension and the coming again there would be the return.

 

It would be this return that would find the Lord Jesus returning unto His disciples and returning unto His followers in the person of the Holy Spirit and it would be in this return that the Lord Jesus would transition from dwelling with us to dwelling within us. It was indeed true that the Word would become flesh and dwell among us and it was indeed true that in the flesh Jesus was indeed Immanuel which translated means “God with us.” With this being said, however, we must needs understand that God simply dwelling with us wasn’t enough for there needed to be something more—there needed to be something greater. This is what is so incredibly important about the departure of the Lord Jesus Christ from the earth for it would be through His departure that not only could He come again and return unto us but also that He might dwell within us. Jesus would return and come again a second time, however, it would not be like the first time He came and it would not be like the last time He would come. Jesus would come the first time in the form of human flesh that He might dwell with us and He would come the last time in the glory of His Father that we might dwell with Him, however, He would come a second time in the form of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us. FROM DWELLING WITH US TO DWELLING WITHIN US TO DWELLING WITH HIM! I am absolutely and completely convinced that when we speak of “The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ” we must not consider the fact that when He returns and comes in the glory of His Father that this is the second coming of Christ. We must needs recognize and understand that the second coming of Christ—the true second coming of Christ—took place when He came in the form of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us.

 

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to bring your attention to the fact that when Jesus spoke of His departure He not only spoke about His coming in the form of the Holy Spirit but He also spoke about His coming in the glory of His Father. Within this chapter—not only do we find Jesus speaking of coming again unto them in the form of the person of the Holy Spirit but we also find Him declaring and speaking of His coming again in the glory of His Father that where He might be we might be also. Within this chapter we not only see the coming again that He might dwell within us but we also see the coming again that we might dwell with Him. Jesus came the first time in the form of human flesh to dwell with us and He would return a second time in the form of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us. With this being said we must needs understand that Jesus is going to come a third time with the noticeable and fundamental difference being that He is coming in the glory of His Father that we might dwell with Him and be where He is. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter this absolutely incredible reality that Jesus will come again and receive us unto Himself, that Jesus will not leave us comfortless but will come to us, that if any man loves Jesus and keeps His words His Father will love him and both He and the father will come unto Him and make their abode with him, and that although He would go away He would come again to them. It is absolutely undeniable when reading the words found in this chapter that Jesus came the first time in the form of human flesh that He might dwell with us while He would come a second time in the form and person of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us. Jesus would dwell within us and abide with us in and through the person of the Holy Spirit until the appointed time comes where He can return and come back in the glory of His Father and with His angels that those who are dead in Christ might rise first and then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together to meet Him in the clouds. Oh that we would recognize and understand this truly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the first coming of Jesus in the form of human flesh to dwell with us, the second coming of Jesus to dwell within us, and the third coming of Jesus that we might dwell with Him.

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