"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." If we have a part in that meeting it will mean that we shall be here in this world with the Lord during the Millennium - a thousand years -with the devil chained and cast out - not a saloon, gambling hell or brothel in the world, and everything just as we want it.
Hear this: "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loose a little season." But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev.20: 3-6).
To have part in that meeting will be to meet those who have gone on before - fathers and mothers and other loved ones. Think of how glorious and blessed that will be, and there will doubtless be infinite surprises that the Lord will have in store for us, "For it hath not entered into the heart of man the things that the Lord hath prepared for them that love him." Think of the delight of meeting and continuing with the other members of the Lord's Body, who will then be as dear to us as the apple of our own eye. Think of being intimate with Peter, James and John, Andrew, Philip and the others, and of hearing from them again and again all the incidents they witnessed in the life of Jesus. Think of being more intimate with Paul and Silas and Mark and Luke and Timothy, and the Saints who were in Caesar's household, than we are with our very best friends now.
Here are other verses showing there is to be a reward - "And when the chief shepherd shall appear ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Pet. 5:4). "And behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with Me to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12). If we have a part in that meeting we shall escape the great Tribulation which is to come upon all the earth as soon as the members of the Body of Christ are taken out of the world. The Body of Christ is now the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. It is the army with which God now holds in check the principalities and powers of evil. It is therefore evident that when this army is taken out of the world, the devil will have unhindered sway, and will immediately begin to make this world as much like Hell as he wants it to be.
In speaking of this awful time, Jesus said: "Then shall be great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there shall no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:21-22).
And here is what Daniel says of it:
"And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time, and at that time thy people shall be delivered (members of the Lord's body), every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan. 12: 1).
Human imagination is incapable of picturing the awfulness of this great tribulation that is surely coming on the world, and may begin this very day - yes, even this very hour! Think of it! It is to be the worst time the world has ever known, or ever will know. A worse time than the flood; a worse time than the bondage of Egypt, and a worse time than the destruction of Jerusalem, when women and children were torn in pieces, and the very name of mercy was unknown. It would be a worse time than the reign of Nero was; worse than it was during the Spanish Inquisition; worse than when Cortes destroyed the Aztecs; worse than during the French revolution and the communists, and worse than during the Dark Ages. A worse time than when men were skinned alive; worse than when they were pulled asunder by horses; worse than when men, women and children were thrown to hungry lions, and worse than when they were dipped in pitch and burned as torches.
Do you want to live in that kind of a time? Well, the only thing that can surely save you from it is to have a part in that meeting in the air, for no others who are living at that time can escape from it, and that awful time may be upon us within the next ten minutes, for it will begin at the very moment the Rapture takes place. There is now not a single prophecy remaining to be fulfilled before the Lord may come, and the members of His Body be caught up to be with him in the air.
It stands to reason that the tribulation must be the most awful time known, because for the only time in all history the devil will then be loose and have unhindered sway. Everything he can do that will add to human woe will certainly be done. Governments will go to pieces, and there will be no security of life and property. A man may be a millionaire one day and a beggar the next. Every chaos of crime and outrage of every kind will be turned loose. God will let the world and the universe see for a time what it will mean to live under the devil's rule, and will let those who pass through the Tribulation see that the good they so long enjoyed was because of the presence of the good.
Some of you people who throw your votes and influence in favour of whisky and all kinds of hellishness that go with it may live to find out in the bitterness of the Tribulation just what is meant by sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind. It is supposed that the Tribulation will cover a period of seven years. It might be seven hundred years, but it cannot be less than seven years. God in His mercy will make it as short as possible. That the real Church of God, believers, members of the Body of Christ, are to be taken out of the world before the world is saved is as clearly taught in the Bible as that through the atonement made by Christ man may have salvation from sin.
What will it mean to the world? Every believer will be instantly taken out of the world; homes will be rent in twain, husbands will be robbed of Godly wives, children will be taken out of the world and those left behind will wring their hands in grief. No doubt newspapers will print extra editions mostly with fake stories. Hollywood will make themselves ready for the filming of all what is possible to be created in a movie. The world will neither see the Lord, neither will they see their loved ones go. Those who have died in the faith will be raised. The statement of Jesus shows that not all the people are to be caught up in the air in clouds, but one here and there: "There shall be two men in one bed; one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34-36).
This makes it look as if the number caught up in the air would not be large. When will the meeting in the air occur? In regard to this Jesus said: "But of that day and hour known to no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven - neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:32-33). But also said, after speaking of conditions that would prevail about that time: "So, likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (Matt. 24:33). Will the world come to an end when Jesus comes and takes away the members of His Body? No, not for the time being, and maybe not for another 1,000 years; or perhaps longer. The Millennium must come after Jesus comes, and must have its beginning at the close of the great Tribulation.
The real truth is, that great event will not bring destruction to anything that is good, but will, on the contrary, introduce an era of the greatest progress and prosperity the world has ever known.
The coming of Christ will bring the Millennium - the golden age of man in this world - when the arts and sciences, and everything else that man ought to delight in, will flourish as never before, and never until Jesus comes will the knowledge of the glory of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. To say that the second coming of Christ is a pernicious thing to preach is the same as saying it would be a calamity for God to rule. It will be the culmination of the redemption of this world, and to say that it would put an end to all progress is as foolish as to say that putting the roof on a house would ruin it and throw the carpenters out of work.
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