BEING WITH THE LORD
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Paul tells us that “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” This statement is from the famous “rapture” passage in the Book of First Thessalonians. We have taken Paul’s words and turned them into a flight of the believers to Heaven. Paul is not emphasizing that the believers are going to fly to Heaven but that the great army of saints, from the time of the righteous Abel, will return with the Lord Jesus to destroy the wicked and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Paul said this so the living believers would be comforted by the fact that they soon would see their departed loved ones and enter the Kingdom of God together with them.
Table of Contents
We believe Jesus died and rose again and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (I Thessalonians 4:14—NIV)
Paul tells us that “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” This statement is from the famous “rapture” passage in the Book of First Thessalonians. We have taken Paul’s words and turned them into a flight of the believers to Heaven. Paul is not emphasizing that the believers are going to fly to Heaven but that the great army of saints, from the time of the righteous Abel, will return with the Lord Jesus to destroy the wicked and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. Paul said this so the living believers would be comforted by the fact that they soon would see their departed loved ones and enter the Kingdom of God together with them.
In order to view the “catching-up” of the saints as the way Paul meant it to be understood, we must realize the purpose of the coming of the Lord is not to carry off His Church to Heaven. In the first place, the great majority of the saints are already in the spirit realm. When the Lord comes He is going to bring them with Him. Since this is true, it is clear the purpose of the coming of the Lord is not to deliver the believers from Antichrist or the great tribulation.
We believe Jesus died and rose again and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (I Thessalonians 4:14—NIV)
What sense would it make for Jesus to come from Heaven with more than ninety-nine percent of His Church during the reign of Antichrist and the great tribulation, and then “rapture” them to Heaven to escape trouble? This makes sense?
Second, the catching-up must follow the resurrection from the dead of those who return with the Lord and the immortalizing of those who are alive on the earth when Christ returns.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thessalonians 4:16—NIV)
Why would resurrected and immortalized saints need to be caught up to Heaven to escape Antichrist and the great tribulation? This makes sense?
If the purpose for the coming of the Lord is not “to carry His waiting bride to Heaven,” why then will Christ return to earth? The purpose of the coming of the Lord (there is only one coming, according to the Scriptures!) is to drive wickedness from the earth and to bring justice to the saved nations—nations that were not corrupted by the wickedness of Antichrist.
When the Bible uses the term “nation” it is not referring to the modern nations as we know them. Such did not exist in Bible times. The word nation means merely any homogeneous group of people having a common language. A tribe of Indians would be a nation. A village of one hundred Vietnamese would be a nation if there was one headman and a common language. Such uncorrupted groups of people are the inheritance of Christ and His saints.
There is only one second coming. I understand it is taught that there will be two comings separated by seven years. The first coming is to carry the believers up to Heaven. The second is the return of Christ with the believers to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Last night we had some fun at the evening service. I asked the congregation if they had heard of the two comings separated by seven years. Some replied that they had. I then asked them what they had been told the believers would do during that seven years. Some said they had been informed there would be a wedding banquet lasting seven years. Others said this would be the time we receive our rewards. Still others referred to a period of fellowship in which football and golf might be played, when they were not reclining in their mansions. I asked them to imagine this seven-year period and consider it carefully.
“Then,” I said, “picture this! After seven years of frolicking and easy living the Lord suddenly says, ‘The party is over. Get up on the white war stallions. It now is time to invade the earth. We are going to descend into the middle of Hell and fight against all of the spiritual and physical wickedness that can be brought to bear against us.’” Because most of these “raptured” believers have never had Christ formed in them, have never undergone moral transformation but have trusted in grace and imputed righteousness to save them, they still are filled with worldliness, the lusts of the flesh (which can exist outside the physical realm, such as in the case of demons of lust and anger), and self-will, self-centeredness, jealousy, selfishness, divisiveness, a need to have their own way, to seek preeminence in whatever situation they find themselves, and every other uncleanness of the spirit, soul, and body. These are fearful, self-seeking, spiritually lazy people. The Lord would have a difficult time convincing them to mount the stallions and follow Him to the earth. They have never been trained for war. They have been told there is no need for them to suffer, but that God wants nothing but their continued happiness. Most of them would disobey the Lord and return to their mansions, just as they do today.
Christ would lose the Battle of Armageddon if He depended on this kind of army.
From this point forward in this brief article, I desire to discuss two concepts:
- The coming of the Lord is the coming of war—the conflict of the ages;
the final struggle between good and evil, God and Satan.
The coming of the Lord will not be a time of high revelry, but darkness and horror
as Christ and His saints attack all the forces of Hell.
Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:20—NIV)
- Jesus Christ will not return alone, but will be accompanied by saints who have been trained
for war. If we desire to be in that company, we will have to live a victorious life today.
The greater part of the army of the Lord is in the spirit realm today. There will be a few who
will be alive on the earth. These will be immortalized and caught up along with the resurrected
army when the trumpet of war sounds, provided they have been living in iron righteousness,
fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4—NIV)If we want to be with Him when He appears, then He must have become our life. It appears today, in America at least, that it is not true that Christ indeed has become the life of most Christian churchgoers, because for Christ to be our life, we first must assign our adamic nature to crucifixion with Christ. Since daily crucifixion and resurrection with Christ is not being preached, it is not being practiced.
We have stated that the Church of Christ is heading toward war, not toward a time of play in Heaven. There is a Heaven and I have no doubt it will prove to be more wonderful than anything we can imagine. But we must realize that before the heavens can rejoice, Satan must be cast down from his position of preeminence. And Satan cannot be cast down until the saints on earth overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and by loving not their life to the death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. (Revelation 12:12—NIV)
Revelation chapter 19 is the clearest description in the Bible of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. I will start by setting forth those who will be with Him when He appears. These are a firstfruits of the Christian Church. The remainder of the Church does not appear until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Then the entire Church, the firstfruits and the remainder, will descend from Heaven as the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:7,8—NIV)
The saints who are qualified and competent to ride into battle with Jesus Christ in the Day of the Lord are not dressed in imputed, ascribed righteousness, the righteousness of the Person and behavior of Jesus Christ. They are arrayed in bright, clean linen, a garment that was sewn in Heaven as Christ was formed in them, shaping their behavior from within their personality.
There are three kinds of righteousness:
- Religious self-righteousness, such as that demonstrated by the scribes and Pharisees.
God refers to this kind of righteousness as “filthy rags.”
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6—NIV)
- Righteousness of Jesus Christ ascribed to us when we follow the Spirit of God.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4—NIV)
- Righteousness which is developed in us as we obey the commandments of Christ
and His Apostles, and Christ is formed in us.
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7—NIV)
The first two kinds of righteousness, religious self-righteousness and imputed righteousness, have been preached thoroughly by the Christian ministry, although the difference between ordinary human righteousness and integrity (which is entirely acceptable to God), and religious self-righteousness (which is “filthy rags”), has not always been made clear. The third kind, Christ-inspired righteous behavior, has not been treated with the same thoroughness, in many instances.
Those who are permitted to accompany Christ in the Battle of Armageddon will not be robed in filthy rags, or in imputed righteousness, but in their own righteous behavior—a righteous behavior made possible as by faith they have participated each day in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord.
Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9—NIV)
It is my point of view that those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lord are the nations of people God has chosen to save. They will come to the light of God which they see rising on the saints. Thus the coming of the Lord will bring a fantastic blessing to the meek of the earth but total destruction to the wicked.
Since truth will be vigorously challenged in the last days as Satan seeks to deceive mankind, it is important that we realize the Book of Revelation consists of “the true words of God.” It is the only book of the Bible that claims to be in its entirety a vision straight from God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10—NIV)
The messenger mentioned here could be an angel or a deceased human being. There are people-angels and spirit-angels. I prefer to think of this person as a people-angel, a saint who is sent on missions by the Lord. I could be wrong.
When we bear witness of Jesus, that He is the Savior of the world and the Son of God, we are in accord with the Spirit of prophecy from God. Therefore we are not to worship God’s servants even though it is through them the true testimony is given.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11—NIV)
The reason the coming of the Lord is characterized by a white horse is that war is at hand. The horse symbolizes strength and speed for the battle.
The Rider is called Faithful and True. Faithfulness is a synonym of integrity. To be faithful, to have integrity, is to do what you say you are going to do, particularly in the area of righteousness. Americans used to value integrity. But as our nation descends into sin, integrity and truth are becoming rare. The land is filled with treachery and lies. This is true even in the highest halls of government. Politicians who do exactly what they say, who tell the truth, are becoming so rare as to be in danger of extinction.
“With justice He judges and makes war.” The nations of today are suffering from lack of justice. In many countries there are multitudes of poor people who are hungry and cold most of the time. Yet their leaders stockpile millions of dollars in bank accounts in Switzerland. I believe Switzerland is under Divine judgment today because that nation has aided this unjust practice.
Even in the Communist countries, which profess to believe in an equal sharing of wealth, we see the leaders dwelling sumptuously while many of their citizens are without proper food or housing. I understand numerous people will not work even when given the chance. Although this is true, it still is a fact that the world is filled with injustice. The Russians, for example, are working on a space station and keeping their military machine up to date while the people are suffering terribly. And the Russians by no means are alone in this travesty of government.
Only the Lord Jesus Christ, no one else, has the character, authority, and power to judge and make war with justice. Those who are with Him have been taught that they are not to lord it over the people they rule but to be their servants.
His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. (Revelation 19:12—NIV)
The Lord Jesus is the gentle Shepherd. He also is the Lord of Hosts. When He is waging war against His enemies His eyes are fiery ovens.
The other night at the end of the Bible study, I had a quick vision of the Lord. He was preparing to descend. He was calling to us to get ready. On His head were many crowns. This surprised me. I knew Satan wears seven crowns, but I did not realize the Bible states that Jesus wears many crowns. The next morning I ran across this verse and knew then that it was a true vision. The Lord wears many crowns because He is King of everyone and everything. There is nothing in God’s universe that Christ does not govern.
Christ has a new name and each saint has a new name. This is because God is making all things new. Our new name will be our name that really is our name, not a name given arbitrarily by our mother and father. Our new name will portray what we are in God’s Kingdom.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:13—NIV)
Since we are reading a portrayal of Christ prior to the Battle of Armageddon, this probably does not mean His robe was dipped in the blood of His enemies, although this may be the case. Rather, I think the verse is proclaiming that the Word of God gains its perfect authority from the blood of Calvary.
What we are looking at here is the Day of Wrath. This is the first time God has expressed the fullness of His anger—anger that has been building since the original rebellion of the angels. The Divine wrath is so great that the blood of God’s Son must lead the army, for it is only through the blood that God’s wrath against sin and rebellion is appeased.
This army conquers Satan by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of its testimony that God alone is true, and by loving not its life to the death. Every one of the riders that follows the Lord Jesus is a dead-living person. He has been crucified with Christ and has risen with Christ. Therefore he can cannot be harmed by the sword of the Word of God. It cannot wound him because he already is dead.
Satan cannot be fully overthrown in our personality until we count ourselves dead with Christ and risen with Christ. As long as we cling to one thread of our adamic nature, we are vulnerable. We can be wounded by the Word of God.
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14—NIV)
There are two armies:
- The army of angels, led by Michael. They do the actual fighting.
- The army of saints. They are the judges. They decree who will be admitted to the Kingdom of God and who will not be admitted to the Kingdom of God. Through the Lord Jesus Christ they have the authority to forgive sin or to retain sin.
If victory over Satan is to be won, there always must be two armies.
When we are seeking deliverance from sin or self-will, we must announce clearly and decisively that what we are doing is sinful. We must resist and renounce this behavior. When we do this we are judging that the particular behavior belongs in the Lake of Fire, the place prepared for Satan and his angels. Once we make this judgment the angels of God through the power of the Holy Spirit will bind the behavior and remove it from us, or else subdue it to the point we can overcome it. However, no deliverance will take place as long as we are double-minded. The reason people do not get delivered from sin is that they are not convinced what they are doing is that bad. The deliverance will not occur until a firm judgment is made.
The fact that the horses are white signify that the strength and speed of this attack is conducted in righteousness.
We mentioned the fine linen previously, that it was woven in Heaven as the saints on earth were transformed into the moral image of Christ, by His Spirit, and began to do righteous deeds.
Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (Revelation 19:15—NIV)
We can get a feel, from the above verse, of the violence of the return of Jesus Christ. The surviving people will not be governed by a philosophy but by force. Jesus Christ is treading out the grapes of the wrath of God. The wicked will drink the wine. This is the power of a government being installed despite massive resistance.
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16—NIV)
This is not the coming of a gentle teacher but an Oriental Monarch. We of the Western democracies have become so accustomed to the antics of politicians as they seek to gain the approval of the masses that we may be ignorant of what life was like under emperors and kings. For example, Nebuchadnezzar could kill whom he chose to kill. There was no recourse. He governed with violence. There was no way to resist his will. So it is with the Lord Jesus and His saints. It is a good thing their hearts and pure and their actions are righteous, for they will have tremendous authority and tremendous power to enforce their decisions.
On His robe of righteousness and on His thigh of strength is written King of Kings. Indeed Jesus Christ is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He has the perfect confidence of God, His Father.
If the rulers of the world had any idea of the power of Jesus Christ, they would be groveling at His feet, hoping for some evidence of His favor.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” (Revelation 19:17,18—NIV)
How had you pictured the coming of the Lord prior to reading this chapter? Kind of gruesome, isn’t it? Well, this is a true picture. These are the true words of God. The current portrayal being given in the churches are not the true words of God. They are an Americanized version translated by Christian people who are spiritually lazy and sluggish, surfeited with material pleasures and interests.
The true “catching-up” of the Lord’s warriors will soon have them looking at the bodies of multitudes of people being eaten by vultures and other birds of prey, instead of beautiful mansions. As Amos said, it is a day of darkness without a ray of brightness.
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. (Revelation 19:19—NIV)
The Lord and His saints will be resisted. Can you imagine the carnal believers of today, having spent seven years banqueting, playing golf, visiting with their friends, and laying around in their mansion, suddenly being called upon to mount a white war stallion and then to come hurtling down to earth to attack Antichrist and the kings of the earth and their armies? Can’t you just see this happening?
Notice that Antichrist is making war against only one army. I believe the one army is the army of saints. Antichrist has no power against the army of angels. He will attempt to deceive the judges.
No doubt he will plead for mercy. How many times in the Old Testament did God command the Israelites to totally destroy the enemy. But they would not. Once they had the upper hand they wanted to be friendly with the enemy. This was their undoing. This is why those who follow Christ will be a very select group, an elite striking force. They will not be moved by the threats or entreaties of Antichrist and his kings. They will destroy the enemy, not like the wicked Saul who kept Agag alive and spared the livestock.
Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. (I Samuel 15:3—NIV)
But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. (I Samuel 15:9—NIV)
Can we realize what a great temptation it will be, once we have the upper hand, to treat Antichrist and the kings kindly and spare that which Christ commands us to destroy? But every one of the saints that follow Christ will have learned in this life to be totally obedient, even when obedience means the destruction of that which appears valuable and worth saving. God is to be obeyed—sternly, immediately, and in detail. Those who feel differently will never ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord.
The judges will pronounce the judgment of God, given to them through Jesus Christ. Then the army of angels will execute the judgment with the power of the Holy Spirit.
But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Revelation 19:20—NIV)
Can you see that the False Prophet worked in terms of delusion? Power was not the issue. The weapon was deception. Christ always retains all power, but He will not act until His saints, His judges, are convinced in their mind of His righteous ways and of the unalterable truth of the Scriptures.
I believe the mark of the beast in the hand and the head means the recipient is part of the world system, the world’s way of thinking and doing. The Lord Jesus told us we are in the world, but not of the world because He has chosen us out of the world. We are not of the world just as He is not of the world.
The development in America and other places of continually improving means of communicating makes it even more important that Christians present their body a living sacrifice to God. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind in Christ, and the secular media is directed toward transforming our mind into the image of the world. The resources of the world are so varied and interesting in America that very stern discipleship is required to keep from being conformed to the thinking and doing of Antichrist and his world system. We can do it, but it takes unceasing diligence, and watchfulness in prayer. The battle is for the mind.
Christ and His saints will capture Antichrist and the False Prophet. The fact that the two evildoers were thrown alive into the Lake of Fire means they were cast in in their bodies. They always had been spiritually dead.
The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (Revelation 19:21—NIV)
Now that you have had a glimpse of the second coming of Christ, how do you feel about it? Can you see how totally false the current vision is? When we gain a true understanding of the nature of the coming of Christ, we begin to prepare ourselves. If we expect to stand in the Day of Christ, we must move past an elementary Christian experience and begin to grow in Christ.
The coming of the Lord will be exactly as it is portrayed here. This is the true Word of God. All the other doctrines and notions are the private interpretations of Bible teachers. They are found neither in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
Revelation chapter 19 is what you can expect when Jesus comes.
Now we will turn to what it will mean to be with Christ during the conflict between good and evil, that is, during the coming Battle of Armageddon. There are lessons to be learned, obstacles to be conquered, if we are to be qualified and competent to ride with Jesus when He returns.
What we must come to understand is this: it is not true that all churchgoers will be resurrected when the Lord returns and caught up to meet Him in the air. This is what is taught today but it is not true. Toward the end of his ministry, the Apostle Paul was seeking to attain the resurrection from the dead. You can see from the description of the battle, given in Revelation 19, that many if not most American believers are not prepared for this kind of conflict.
It is my opinion that one of the purposes of the great tribulation is to separate the diligent believers from the casual believers and then to prepare the diligent believers for the return of Christ. The casual believers will suffer terribly in the days to come because they have not faithfully responded to the demands of Christ.
Being With Christ During the Conflict
Who will be with Christ during the conflict?
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14—NIV)
Those who will be with the Lord forever have been called by Divine election; have been chosen because of their devotion to the Lord; and have been proven faithful over many long years of denial, remaining patiently in the various prisons and circumstances in which they have been placed.
We mentioned before that if we are to appear with Christ, He must have become our life. We must have chosen to be crucified with Christ and to live by Him, in Him, with Him, in all matters great and small.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4—NIV)
I have commanded my holy ones; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath—those who rejoice in my triumph. (Isaiah 13:3—NIV)
We must be holy if we are to be part of the victorious army. Remember Achan! We cannot live an unholy life and be part of the army of the Lord. We would cause it to go down to defeat.
We are learning to fight today. It is today that God is teaching our hands to war. We demonstrate today whether we are going to be one of Jesus’ mighty men, riding with Him to victory over every enemy. It is ridiculous to suppose that even if we cannot overcome the enemy today, we will be invited to ride with Christ at His coming. This is totally unrealistic, totally unscriptural.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones To judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14,15—NIV)
Again we see the accent on holiness. By the way, those who are judged, if you will read the context, are the wicked people in the churches!
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21—NIV)
The creation is not waiting for the children of God but the sons of God. Those who release the creation in the coming battle are mature saints. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The sons of God have been led by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of their body. Therefore they have been made competent by experience to deal victoriously with the enemy.
The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” (Isaiah 33:14—NIV)
First Thessalonians says those who are raised from the dead and caught up to meet the Lord in the air will be “with the Lord forever.” But Isaiah asks, “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?” Do you know who the consuming fire is? It is the Lord Jesus. Do you want to be with Him forever? Some qualifications are necessary.
He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil—This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. (Isaiah 33:15,16—NIV)
There are many verses in the Old and New Testaments that tell us we must be righteous if we want to walk with God. But today everyone says, “That does not apply to me. I am saved by grace.” I do not believe a more deadly error has ever been introduced into Christian thinking. This is to use Divine grace as an excuse for sin.
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah (Psalms 24:3-6—NIV)
The “hill of the Lord” is Mount Zion. Let us see what the New Testament says about those who stand with the Lord Jesus Christ on Mount Zion.
And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:3-5—NIV)
Does it sound to you like these who are firstfruits to God and the Lamb are viewed as “under grace,” or are they perceived as being blameless in character? When you come to Mount Zion, you are among the spirits of righteous people made perfect, not carnal, sinful, self-willed spiritual babies.
Those who stand with the Lord on Mount Zion will deliver Israel from sin.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26,27—NIV)
Those who stand with the Lord on Mount Zion will govern the saved people of the world.
Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the LORD’s. (Obadiah 1:21—NIV)
We must stand with Jesus on Mount Zion if we are to deliver the Jews and govern the world. And the Bible is clear that people who continue in sin will not be with the Lord when He installs His Kingdom on the earth.
No, grace is not a covering of sin. Grace is God in Christ forgiving people and then enabling them to escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires.
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (II Peter 1:4—NIV)
In order to be with Jesus, you must be totally convinced that He alone has the words of Life; He alone is the Holy One of God. Many Christians today are not convinced of what they believe, and so when Jesus becomes unpopular they leave. They go with the majority. The majority will never ride with the Lord in the Day of the Lord; it is a Gideon’s army. God will see to that.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:67-70)
Those who will be with Jesus dress themselves for the occasion.
But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:11-14—NIV)
Those who descend with the Lord to deliver Jerusalem must be holy.
You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:5—NIV)
We have seen, then, that the coming of the Lord will not be a time of revelry. Rather the Lord’s appearing will be marked by conflict, the Battle of Armageddon, the struggle of righteousness against wickedness. The spiritual darkness will be more intense than ever but the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.
One important theme of the present article is that only those who have prepared themselves will be privileged to be with the Lord Jesus in this greatest of wars. They will have been proven beforehand as they have, through the Spirit of God and prayer, overcome worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, and their self-will and self-centeredness.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4—NIV)
- They have kept their garments clean by confessing their sins, and them renouncing and resisting them with utmost vigor.
- They live by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood.
- Their testimony is that the Scriptures are the true and faithful words of God Almighty and their lives are aligned with the commandments therein.
- They have denied themselves, taken up their cross, and followed the Lord to the place of suffering and crucifixion. They are dead-living people.
- They have been born through the travail of the ministries of the Body of Christ. They are faithful workers in the churches they attend, but they are not married to the religion of Christianity. They are married to Jesus in spirit. They do His will, worship Him, and seek His face constantly.
Consequently, they stand with the Lord on Mount Zion. They are righteous and being made perfect.
To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23—NIV)
They are blameless before the Throne of God, Christ having made them that way.
You can choose to be with the Lord, if this is what you desire with all your heart. You must begin today. You must always be with the Lord today if you hope to be with Him when He returns to install His Kingdom on the earth.
If you are not living with Him now, you will not be with Him then. You will not be raised when He appears, or transformed and caught up to meet Him in the air.
There is no power in the heavens or on the earth that can prevent you from being a part of the firstfruits to God and the Lamb. Only you yourself, your disobedience and unbelief, can hinder you from gaining the fullness of the inheritance of the sons of God.
The coming of the Lord will be marked by the appearing of a large and powerful army. Nothing will be able to stop them from driving wickedness from the earth. You can be part of this godly force. But you must start now. Tomorrow will be too late. Today, and only today, is the day of salvation. Ask the Lord Jesus right now to put His iron will in you so you will be able to press on to the heavenly calling.
Think of what it will mean to our crazy, drunken, frustrated world to be cleansed from the pressure of evil spirits; to be governed by saints who do not seek their own glory or preeminence but who always look to the Lord Jesus for every act they perform and every judgment they make. Much if not most of the evil in the world today is caused by presidents, prime ministers, kings, princes, and other politicians who will sacrifice the welfare of nations of people in order to further their own self-interests. All this will come to an end when the Lord appears.
Jesus is standing at the threshold, ready to invade the earth with His troops. He is willing to add one more name to the roster of His soldiers. Will it be yours? He is waiting to see what your decision will be.
(“Being with the Lord”, 3405-1, proofed 20200815)