Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first chapter of this New Testament book. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:1-3).
“John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:4-8).
“I John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatria, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea” (Revelation 1:9-11).
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the seven lamp stands One like the son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like find brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; he had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edge sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:12-20).
When you come to the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ you will find the final book—not only of the New Testament but of Scripture as a whole. As you come to this epistle you can and will be brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding this message which would delivered to the apostle John while he was on the isle of Patmos. There is something truly captivating and astonishing about this epistle when you take the time to truly read it for it is a revelation which—although angels were involved in the overall revelation—would come directly from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. This book is—in most translations—labeled as “Revelation” while there are others which will refer to it as “The Revelation.” There are other translations which will refer to this epistle as “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” thus suggesting and revealing the amazing truth surrounding the message which would come directly from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In fact when you begin reading this epistle from the first and opening verses you will find the very first words of the epistle being “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
If you continue reading the words which are found in the first and opening chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle John first and foremost speaking of this revelation as being a revelation of Jesus Christ but then going on to describe the revelation as that which God gave Him to show unto His servants. It is indeed true that this revelation was and is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” however it must be understood that this revelation would come directly from the living and eternal God. The revelation of Jesus Christ would be one which the Father Himself showed unto Him concerning the times of the end and concerning the end of all things. In order to truly understand the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ one must recognize that this is a revelation that originated within the heart and mind of the Father and was conveyed and revealed unto His eternal and only begotten Son. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is as it brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful reality of that which the Father showed unto the Son for the sole purpose of its being revealed and shown unto His servants. This prophetic book was indeed and is in fact known as “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” however a better understanding ought to be the revelation which the Son received from the Father to show unto His servants. This is something which warrants strong consideration for even in heaven and in His glorified state the Son was still receiving from the Father and releasing it unto His servants. What’s more is that as you read the first and opening verse of this epistle you will find that the revelation of Jesus Christ came from the Father for the sole purpose of His showing it unto His servants. Not only this but the revelation of Jesus Christ was intended on being shown unto His servants concerning those things which must shortly take place.
I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but think about how absolutely wonderful and incredible it truly is. There is something truly astonishing and powerful about the words which are contained within this epistle as it brings us face to face with the tremendous reality of that which was given unto the Son for the purposes of revealing it unto His servants. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for even when you think about and consider the words which are found in the four gospels you will find that Jesus came—not only as the image of the invisible God but also as the divine revelation of the living and eternal God. In fact this is what the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews sought to convey when they opened this particular epistle. The author of this epistle conveyed unto their readers how God had spoken in times past in various different means and at various times through His servants the prophets. With this being said, however, God has chosen to speak unto us in these Last Days by and through His eternal Son. Oh there is something truly captivating and truly powerful about this when you take the time to think about it for it brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful reality of the Son being the divine revelation of the Father which was in heaven. It must be understood that when the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father came to the earth from heaven He did so that He might show unto men the eternal Father which was in heaven. It was Jesus Himself who declared that anyone who had seen Him had indeed seen the Father and that no man could come to the Father except through Him.
Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in various portions of text within the New Testament. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to consider these passages as they call and draw our attention to the beautiful reality of the revelation that is found in the person of the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that both the apostle John and the apostle Peter spoke of this revelation in their epistles as those who had personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus. We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they help us to understand the divine revelation of the eternal and only begotten Son in the earth and how He demonstrated, manifested and revealed the living and eternal God. When the Son came to the earth He came with and for the express purpose of revealing the Father unto those to whom He had been sent. For three and a half years the living and eternal God was demonstrated and manifested unto men by and through the Son as the Son was the image of the invisible God. It is having said this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following passages which are found in the New Testament concerning the manifestation of the Son and how that manifestation would result in the revelation of the Father. It was in fact Jesus who would declare that if anyone had seen Him they had seen the Father and it was Jesus who declared that He and the Father were indeed one. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture in the New Testament beginning with the epistle written unto the Hebrews:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:1-4).
“For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in all that He put in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:5-9).
Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John unto the saints which were at Ephesus beginning with the first and opening verse:
“IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness to the Light, that all through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the truth Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and HJIs own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the rill of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” i(John 1:18).
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. And John bore witness, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).
“After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judaea, there he remained with them and baptized. Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him! John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent before Him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the fires do the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him” (John 3:22-36).
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on the earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11).
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones of dominions or principalities of powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:9-18).
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet not He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Colossians 1:19-23).
It is clear from each of these passages of Scripture that when the Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth He came as the living revelation of the Father. In the days of the fathers and during the days of the Old Covenant God spoke unto His people through His servants the prophets. In the days of the patriarchs and the fathers there were times when the living God would speak directly unto them through dreams, through visions and even as a man would speak unto their friend. From the time of Moses onward, however, much of the revelation of God and from the living God would indeed come through His servants the prophets. Through much of the Old Covenant you will find the living and eternal God speaking unto His servants by and through His servants the prophets as they would be the primary source of revelation during those days. It would be the prophets who would speak unto kings, rulers, governors, princes, priests and the like. It would be the prophets who would themselves be the source of revelation from the living God as it would be the prophets who would be the mouthpieces and oracles of the living God. The living God would speak unto His servants the prophets that which they were to speak unto the people during their generation and the prophets would need to speak unto the people exactly what the LORD had commanded them. From the time of Moses until the time of Malachi the LORD would indeed speak unto His people through His servants the prophets as there would essentially be a vessel and channel between the people and their God. In all reality this would have its root in the wilderness when the living God came down to prove and to speak with His people and they would shrink back in fear before and in the sight of the living God. If we are to truly understand how and why the living God spoke unto His people through prophets rather than speak to them the way He did atop Sinai you must needs consider that which happened in the wilderness which is recorded for us in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus:
“IN the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai. For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain. And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people; for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy notion. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded them. Then all the people answered together and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. Then the LORD said to Moses, Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whosoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live. When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain. So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives. Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. It’s smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then The LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the LORD said to Moses, Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them. But Moses said to the LORD, The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for you warned us, saying, Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it. Then the LORD said to him, away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest He break out against them. So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them” (Exodus 19:1-25).
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, You speak with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people, Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin. So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21).
As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the living and eternal God coming down upon the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness. It would be there in the wilderness and there atop the mountain where the children of Israel would seek the consuming fire of God, would see the smoke as of the smoke of a furnace, would see the thick cloud, would see the lightning flashes and hear the thunder. The LORD God descended upon the mountain in the midst of all his people that he might manifest Himself unto them. The living and eternal God would come down among them as a consuming fire atop the mountain and they would hear the sound of a trumpet and would see the mountain shaking under the divine weight of the glory and holiness of the God of the universe. Pause for a moment and consider what this sight would have been like for the children of Israel—and not only the sight of what it would have been like for the children of Israel but also the sound. There at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness there would a tremendous manifestation of the presence, the glory and the holiness of the living God. The LORD God would indeed come down and speak directly unto His people after sending His plagues and judgments upon the land of Egypt and its people, after dividing the waters of the Red Sea, after destroying Pharaoh’s horses and chariots in the midst of the Red Sea and after having performed certain signs among them in the wilderness up to this point. Now it was no longer God operating before and among them while His voice was not heard. Now the living and eternal God would do something He had not done up to that point—come down among and in the midst of His people. There at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness the living and eternal God would manifest His presence and His glory and holiness in the sight of all the people.
If there is one thing we must needs understand concerning the words and language found in this passage of Scripture it’s that although the glory, the holiness and the presence of the living God was witnessed atop the mountain in the midst of the wilderness the children of Israel would see the sights and hear the sound and would shrink back in fear. The children of Israel would indeed witness the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking and trembled and stood afar off. What’s more is that not only did they tremble and stand afar off but they also declared unto Moss that he speak to them and they would hear but not let God speak to them lest they die. This is important for us to recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for they bring us face to face with the fact that from this moment on the people wanted to hear directly from Moses rather than hearing from God Himself. The people of Israel witnessed the tremendous glory and holiness of the living God there in the midst of the wilderness and rather than drawing near to the God who had delivered them out of their slavery and bondage in the land of Egypt they would retreat and shrink back in fear. Moreover they would ask that Moses speak to them rather than God speak to them directly. Essentially that which the children of Israel desired and wanted during those days and at that time was for man to hear from God and may to take what they had heard from God and speak it unto them. Oh this is not something we must needs treat lightly for from this time on the living and eternal God would speak unto the people through another—through a servant whom He would speak to and who would take His words and convey them to the people.
Another example of this particular reality is found when the LORD appeared unto Moses at the burning bush in the wilderness at the mountain of God. Moses would lead the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro to the backside of the mountain and it would be there where he would see a bush burning with fire but not being consumed. Having turned aside to see this great sight the LORD would then speak directly unto Moses and would set before him hjs calling to be the deliverer of the people of Israel out of their slavery, their bondage and their affliction. The living and eternal God would speak directly unto Moses concerning the suffering, the bondage and the affliction of His people there in the land of Egypt and how He would send Moses to deliver and bring them out of the land of Egypt. What we must needs recognize concerning this is there would be an exchange and a back and forth between Moses and the living God before God would actually declare unto Moses that He would give unto him his brother Aaron. What we must needs recognize concerning Aaron, however, is that although he would be the mouthpiece that would speak unto Pharaoh and even the children of Israel he would not hear from the living God. Moses would be the one to whom God would speak and it would be Aaron who would speak unto the people as a mediator between Moses and them. It would be Aaron who would be the mouthpiece and spokesperson for Moses as Moses would hear from the living God and would then reveal that unto Aaron. Each time we read of Moses confronting Pharaoh he would not be alone but would instead be accompanied by his brother who would be one who would not hear directly from God but would hear what the living God had spoken unto Moses. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Exodus beginning with the third chapter:
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of MIdian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn. So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses! And he said, Here I am. Then He said, Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. Moreover He said, I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said: I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the land of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now thereofre, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me, and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt. But Moses said to God, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? So He said, I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain. Then Moses said to God, Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. And He said, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. Moreover God said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this my memorial to all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey. Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, The LORD God to the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:1-22).
“Then Moses answered and said, But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, The LORD has not appeared to you. So the LORD said to him, What is that in your hand? He said, A rod. And He said, Cast it on the ground. So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the LORD said to Moses, Reach out your hand and take it by the tail (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you. Furthermore the LORD said to him, Now put your hand in your bosom. And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. And he said, Put your hand in your bosom again. So he put his hand in his bosom again, and draw it out of his boss, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sight, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land. Then Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue. So the LORD said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the dwarf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say. But he said, O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else you may send. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth a, Dan I will teach you what you shall do. So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the sights” (Exodus 4:1-17).
There is a strong similarity that exists between the children of Israel and Aaron—despite the fact that the children of Israel would not speak for or on behalf of Moses. If you study the third and fourth chapters of this Old Testament book of Exodus as well as the words which are found in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters you will find the incredible similarity of neither the children of Israel nor Aaron hearing the words of God. As was the case of the children of Israel so also would be Aaron for the living God would speak unto Moses and Moses would in turn speak directly unto Aaron. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible reality of the children of Israel being those who would not hear directly from God but would instead hear directly through Moses. It would be Moses himself who would receive the revelation from the LORD and he would in turn relay that information unto the children of Israel. We must not miss nor lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful reality of the children of Israel themselves being those who would receive the revelation of the living God through a mediator and through another vessel. There at the mountain the living and eternal God came down in the midst of His people and would reveal His holiness, His glory and His presence and yet they would shrink back in terror and fear. The children of Israel desired Moses to approach the thick clouds and darkness, to approach the consuming fire, and to draw close to God and hear from Him and then relay His words to them but they did not want God speaking directly unto them. Oh what a great tragedy it is to think about what took place there in the midst of the wilderness for from that time on the children of Israel would receive the revelation of the living God directly through another vessel. Oh there would be times when the living God would show His holiness, glory and presence as when He would fill the Tabernacle, as when He would fill the Temple, as when He would send fire from heaven upon the altar in the Tabernacle and upon the altar in the Temple in the sight of all the people, and even when He sent fire down from heaven during the days of Elijah in the presence of all the people. With this being said, however, the LORD would not speak directly unto His people the way He would have done so at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness.
What we would see from the times of Moses unto the time of Christ would indeed be a pattern and history of the children of Israel hearing from God but hearing from Him through His servants the prophets. The children of Israel would not hear directly from the living and eternal God themselves and there would always be another vessel who would speak directly to them on behalf of the living God. From the time of Moses all the way through to the time of Malachi who would be the final prophet before four-hundred years of silence the children of Israel and people of God would receive the revelation of God through His servants the prophets. The children of Israel would hear the words of the prophets and would have to possess discernment, wisdom and understanding to know whether or not what they were hearing was truly from the living God and whether the person who was speaking unto them was a true prophet of the living God. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning hearing from God through another individual it’s the incredible need for discernment to truly recognize and understand whether or not that person has indeed heard from the living God. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the days of the prophets is that during those days there would be true prophets and there would be false prophets. There would be true prophets who would indeed hear from the living and eternal God while there would be other prophets who would prophesy of their own imagination and inspiration. There would be false prophets who would feed of other false prophets and who would simply build upon the lies and deceptions others would propagate during those days. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah beginning with the ninth verse:
“My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because the LORD, and because of His holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in my house I have found their wickedness, says the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment, says the LORD. And I have seen the folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied by Baal and caused my people Israel to err. Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah. Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD. They continually say to those who despise me, The LORD has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, No evil shall come upon you. For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury—a violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God near at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him? Says the LORD; Do I not fill heaven and earth? Says the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed! How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who try to make my people forget my name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot my name for Baal. The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the what? Says the LORD. Is not my word like a fire? Says the LORD, And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who use their tongues and say, He says.” Behold I am against those who prophesy false dreams, says the LORD, and tell them and cause my people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:9-32).
We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for during the days of Jeremiah—and not only during the days of Jeremiah but also during the days of the ancient Hebrew prophets there was the presence of false prophets. The false prophets during those days were such who neither heard from God nor were sent by God. In addition to Jeremiah delivering the prophetic word of the LORD to the people he also had to contend with the false prophets of his generation. Not only this but he would also contend with the corrupt priests and the corrupt kings who would sit upon the throne after Josiah. This is something we dare not and must not miss nor lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the presence of the false as much as there was indeed the presence of the true. With this being said we must needs understand that there is a great need for us as the people of God to possess a discernment and wisdom when it comes to that which claims to be the “word of the LORD.” From the time of Moses all the way through the time of Malachi there would be false prophets who would indeed make the declaration that they were speaking directly from and on behalf of the living God. The truth of the matter, however, is that such individuals neither heard from God nor were sent from God. These individuals would lead countless men and women astray through their deceptive words and deceptive practices—men and women who would be swept away and consumed because of their own ignorance, rebellion, insolence and wickedness.
In spite of all this there is a need for us as the people of God to pay close attention to the words which are found in the New Testament. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews emphatically wrote that God has spoken unto us in these Last Days by and through His eternal and only begotten Son. The epistle written unto the Hebrews begins with the emphatic declaration that God—at various times and in various ways—spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets but has in these Last Days spoken to us by His Son. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews emphatically declared that this Son whom the Father has spoken through has been appointed heir of all things through whom He made the worlds. Moreover the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews would go on to write concerning Christ that He was [and still is] the brightness of the glory of God and the express image of His person. This is something worth considering for the apostle Paul would write unto the Colossian saints that it pleased the living God that in Christ all the fullness of the Godhead should dwell in bodily form. What’s more is that it would be the apostle John who would write concerning Christ that He was the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us. This is something which warrants strong consideration on our end for when we think about the eternal Christ we must needs recognize that He is indeed the revelation of the Father in the flesh. When Jesus Christ came to the earth in the form of human flesh and blood He was the image of the invisible God manifested unto those who were present within that generation. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews clearly and plainly declared that when Jesus Christ came in the form of flesh and blood He came as the divine revelation of the living and eternal God which was completely and utterly different from what they had experienced in the past.
When you come to the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ you will find the apostle John writing concerning this revelation and how this revelation was the revelation which God gave Him to show His servants. After three and a half years Jesus Christ was betrayed by one of His own into the hands of the religious leaders before delivered into the hands of sinners. In the hands of sinners Jesus would be scourged, tortured, spit upon and ultimately nailed to a cruel Roman tree. For six hours on one day the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed hang there dying upon the cross before He would commit His spirit into the hands of the Father. On the third day the Lord Jesus Christ would be raised from death to life and over a period of forty days after that he would demonstrate and manifest Himself as being alive from the dead by many infallible proofs and signs. Eventually, however, the Lord Jesus Christ would ascend unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. It would be John Mark at the conclusion of his gospel narrative, Luke at the conclusion of his gospel narrative and Luke in the New Testament book of Acts who would describe the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. That which we find in the opening chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ is Jesus appearing unto the apostle John from heaven in His risen, exalted and glorified state which He had with the Father in heaven.
As you read the words which are found in the opening chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ you will find this revelation having been given unto the Lord Jesus Christ by the Father which He was to show His servants concerning those events which would shortly take place. This message and revelation received by the Father which was to be shown unto His servants was signified by His angel unto His servant John who bore witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. It would be in the opening verses of this passage of Scripture we find the apostle John emphatically declaring those who read and hear the words of this prophecy as being blessed—as well as those who keep those things which were written in it for the time is near. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that while the message of John the Baptist and even Jesus Christ was the kingdom of heaven was near there was a different and unique message that was proclaimed in this revelation. The message that was found in this revelation was that the time was near. THE TIME IS NEAR! One of the greatest truths we must needs recognize concerning the words which are found in this prophetic book it’s that the time was indeed near. Not only was the time of the end of all things near but so also was the time of the return and coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is the time of the judgment of God and the wrath of the Lamb was also near. The prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ reminds us and places squarely before us the tremendous truth that the time was near—and not only that the time was near but also that the time was short. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospels concerning Jesus’ understanding concerning the Last Days and the end of all things:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judaea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to s those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! Or There! Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, Look, He is in the desert! Do not go out; or Loo, He is in the inner rooms! Do not believe it” (Matthew 24:4-26).
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For whoever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:27-31).
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:32-35).
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all way, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:36-44).
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, My master is delaying his coming, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:45-51).
Consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark as he recounts the words of Jesus:
“And Jesus, answering them, began to say: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, I am He, and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginning of sorrows. But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. So when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let the reader understand) then let those who are in Judaea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter. For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. Then if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! Or, Look, He is there! Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand” (Mark 13:5-23).
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven” (Mark 13:24-27).
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth l eaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will be no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:28-31).
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowning of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And when I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-36).
Here are the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke concerning these same words which were spoken by the Lord Jesus concerning the Last Days:
“And He said: Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in my name, saying, I am He, and, The time has drawn near. Therefore do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately. Then He said to them, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist . You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:8-19).
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24).
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:25-28).
“Then He spoke to them a parable, Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding , you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Luke 21:29-33).
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).
Each of these passages paints one very clear picture—namely that while it was indeed true that during the days of John the Baptist and during the days of Jesus the Christ the kingdom of heaven was near we must now understand and recognize that the time is near. The final words of the third verse of this opening chapter points to the absolutely wonderful truth that the time is near and that the days and hour are short. The apostle John received revelation from the one who was, the one who is, and the one who is to come as well as from the seven Spirits who are before His throne and from Jesus Christ. It was this Jesus who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father. Oh we as the saints of God must needs recognize and understand that the time is near and that we must need be those who are watching and praying. There is a great need for us as the saints of God to be found patiently enduring as those who are ready for the coming of the Lord. It was the apostle John who emphatically declared that Jesus would come with the clouds and that every eye would see Him—even those who pierced Him. The apostle John declared that all the tribes of the earth would mourn because of Him and because they crucified and did not believe in Him. I am absolutely convinced that we as the saints of God must needs diligently strive to make sure that we are indeed ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and that we are ready to meet Him in the air. It was the apostle Paul who would write how in the twinkling of an eye and at the sound of the last trump the dead in Christ would rise first and then we who are alive and remain will be gathered together with them to meet Him in the air. Oh that we as the saints of the living God would recognize and understand that we have in fact been called to be those who must be ready for that day and that hour when the Lord suddenly appears and when He comes with all His holy angels. We must needs wash our garments white in the blood of the Lamb that we are pure and holy in His sight. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,a nd the dead will 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 has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).