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The Daily Word of Righteousness
We Shall Not Precede . . ., #8
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (I Thessalonians 4:15—NIV)
The emphasis of the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians is not at all on our escaping Antichrist and the great tribulation. Paul is stressing that we who are alive at the coming of the Lord will not go before or have any advantage over those who have died and are with the Lord. We shall not be resurrected and glorified before they are, entering the Kingdom of God, before they do.
Christ will bring the deceased believers with Him and they shall descend and regain their bodies from the ground or from wherever they died. Then, after all of the Lord's purposes have been fulfilled in the resurrection, we, having been changed, and perhaps clothed with our body from Heaven while we are yet alive and standing on our feet, shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
There is no indication in this passage or any other that the Lord shall then turn around and go back to Heaven with us. It is true rather that this is the historic coming of the Lord and the time of the first resurrection from the dead. We shall meet Christ in the air because it is from the air that the spiritual atmosphere of the earth is governed.
It is likely that we shall be assigned to the spiritual thrones recently vacated by Satan. Since we, just like our Lord, will have the power of multiple presence, we will be able to remain on our throne in the air while we descend with the Lord to wage war against the wicked in the churches, against Antichrist and the armies of the wicked nations, and against unclean spirits in the earth.
The Lord Jesus today is at the right hand of the Father. Yet where two or three are gathered together, there He is in the midst. It is likely that we shall have that same power of multiple presence because, according to the Scripture, we shall be like Him when He appears and shall see Him as He is.
I think you will agree with me that this is a far more glorious vision than the idea of being caught up because we are too weak to face Antichrist or the great tribulation, spending seven years in Paradise doing we know not what, and after that being summoned to mount the war stallions and return with Christ to face Antichrist and the fallen angels.
Let us hope the hour is not too far off when the Christians of America, because of what they see happening in our nation, will realize we need to prepare ourselves by praying until we really are living in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.
If we were to be caught up in our present immature silliness, and then spend seven years playing with the angels and eating strawberry shortcake, would we then desire to mount the war stallions, come hurtling down through the clouds, and judge the wicked church people, as Jude says; deliver the Jews from Antichrist, as Zechariah portrays; and govern the nations of the earth with the rod of iron, as Revelation promises?
To be continued.