THE COMING OF THE SAINTS

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THE COMING OF THE SAINTSCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

It is not unusual for us to hear preaching about the coming of the Lord. However, it is unusual for us to hear about the coming of the saints. We can't do much about the coming of the Lord, but we can do much about our being prepared to come with Him.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:4,5)

When Christ returns, we shall appear with Him in glory. Did you ever think about that?

Notice that because we are to appear with Him, we are to put to death the actions of our sinful, earthly nature. This is why the teaching of lawless grace is so destructive. Saying we are "saved by grace," and then not putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature, will not prepare us for our appearing with the Lord.

Now the question arises, "What is the purpose for our appearing with the Lord?"

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 that 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)

The only time I have ever heard this preached was when it was misapplied. The passage was presented as meaning that we are about to become some sort of super-people revealing Kingdom power in the present age.

The sons of God are not to be revealed before the Lord returns. They will accompany Him when He returns, but not be revealed beforehand so they can show off their supernatural abilities.

The physical creation is waiting eagerly in anticipation of the revealing of the sons of God. I do not see any evidence of this at the present time, do you? It must mean that the creation is waiting eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed but is not aware that it is waiting for this to happen.

On the other hand, the idea may be that the Apostle Paul was eagerly waiting for the release of his own body from the bondages of sin.

The creation has been subjected to frustration. How true this is! Life in this world is one pain after another. It is no wonder people have made eternal residence in Paradise the goal of salvation.

It is God who has placed the world in bondage to decay. God has done this so that in due time the physical creation can be released into the freedom that is the natural state of the children of God.

We probably understand by this time that if we weren't chastened continually we would occupy ourselves with foolishness and orgies of sexual lust. But when we suffer enough we turn away from sin, looking forward to our release from the chains of the world.

The natural state of the children of God, as I remarked, is freedom, not the constraints of the animal creation. This is what the sons of God will bring when they are revealed—the lifting of the curse God has placed on mankind.

May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (I Thessalonians 3:13)

Our whole life on the earth is to be one of putting to death the lusts of our animal nature so we may be blameless in the Presence of God when Christ comes with His saints to deliver the creation.

The true believers in the Lord Jesus are saints, holy ones set apart by the Lord to bring God's holy Person and ways to the people of the world. The world has no hope of righteousness, love, peace, and joy apart from the return of the Lord Jesus with His saints.

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 14:6)

When Jesus returns to the earth, His saints shall be with Him.

Notice the following passage from the Book of Isaiah:

Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? (Isaiah 60:8)

They are the saints of history who are returning to their original homes on the earth.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (I Thessalonians 4:14)

It is my opinion that when the Lord Jesus returns He will bring with Him all the saints of history. I realize that the passage says, "those who have fallen asleep in Him." I think that every true saint from the time of Abel to the present, has lived his or her life in the Lord Jesus.

All that remains for the ranks of the saints to be completed is the transformation of those who are living in their physical bodies at the time of the Lord's appearing. Then all the holy ones shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, ready to descend with Him and install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

It is because of our oneness with the saints of history that the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, when defining "the just shall live by faith," tells us about the holy ones, the heroes of faith, of days gone by.

Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord's. (Obadiah 1:21)

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

Mount Zion is the Christian Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. It is from here that deliverance shall come to the world The saints shall govern the peoples of the earth along with the Lord Jesus.

Christ has been seated at the right hand of God. Now He is standing with His Firstfruits, ready to claim His inheritance.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 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, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

The call of the Spirit to us today is to rise up, through Christ throw off the chains of sin that bind us, and give place to the Life of Christ that is being formed in us. We are to release and govern the creation with Christ.

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2—KJV)

A great people and a strong. This expression is referring to you and me if we will draw near to Christ today and learn to live by His Life.

Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord's. (Obadiah 31)

The passage above explains to you why the Lord Jesus is dealing with you day and night. You are being prepared to come with the Lord Jesus and govern the world. This is why you must learn strict obedience to God in every aspect of your life.

No one will rule with the Lord who is not totally obedient to God. You are being tested today to determine if this is true of you.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

The passage above sets forth the first resurrection. This is the resurrection that shall take place at the return of the Lord. Only the Lord's firstfruits will participate in the first resurrection.

You can be one of the Lord's firstfruits if you will give your present life to Jesus and learn to live by His Life, thinking, speaking, and acting in the Presence of the Lord. This you can do, but you will have to determine to follow Christ resolutely, patiently bearing your cross of deferred desire.

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)

The wicked kings of the earth and Antichrist will make war against the Lord Jesus. But Christ will conquer them. With Christ are His called, chosen, and faithful saints.

They were called out from the world.

They were chosen out from the called by their consecration to the Lord Jesus.

The chosen then were subjected to years of tests and temptations until they passed into the ranks of the faithful.

These are God's firstfruits from among men. You can be in this rank if you are determined that this is your first priority in life.

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

As soon as we are caught up with all saints to meet Christ in the air, we will descend with Him. He, and we with Him, will destroy the enemy, lift the curse from the earth, and govern those people of the nations who have survived the purging of the wicked from among mankind.

This is why we must put to death the lusts and passions of our sinful nature. We must be prepared to judge all rebellion and unrighteousness.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17)

And so we will be with the Lord forever.

I know that this is your desire—to be with the Lord forever. It is mine also. But we must keep in mind that evil has not as yet been purged from God's creation. Until it is, we must live as faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, ready to suffer for Him.

There can be no Paradise, no "Heaven," for any of us until wickedness has been driven from the creation. We must prepare ourselves to work alongside of the Lord Jesus until every trace of sin and rebellion has been banished from God's Presence.

This is the task set before us and the Lord Jesus. Those who are devoted to Him, living by His life, shall always be with Him from now on throughout the endless ages of eternity.

The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. (Joel 2:11)

"A great people and a strong"!