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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Six Unscriptural Traditions, continued
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1—NIV)
The Lord Is Coming To Take His Church to Heaven
This tradition is so firmly entrenched in our preaching and hymnology that it may require another generation or two for our emphasis to turn toward the return of the Lord and the resurrection from the dead.
"The Lord is coming to catch His waiting Bride away." What a venerable aspect of our religion. But it is not found in the Scriptures.
The Old Testament in numerous passages views the purpose of the return of Christ, of Messiah, to be the deliverance of Israel and the establishing of justice among the nations of the earth.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6,7—NIV)
The Lord Jesus Christ (and we with Him) is coming to sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and from that throne bring justice to the saved nations of the earth.
How did we lose this vision? How did we turn the Bible vision into a flight of the saints to Heaven? Was it Gnosticism? Was it Dispensationalism? What model of scriptural interpretation removed our hope? Was it the notion that the Gentiles will be in Heaven while the Jews are on the earth? Was it this anti-Pauline position that has wrought such havoc in our understanding of the Scriptures?
But doesn't the New Testament reveal clearly that the Lord is coming to take His Church to Heaven?
I have heard teaching that the Lord will come as a thief and catch away His Church. However, Paul stated in First Thessalonians that the Day of the Lord will not catch the saints by surprise. Yet we persist in this totally unscriptural concept.
The Lord indeed is coming as a thief, not to steal anything but to take the wicked by surprise.
But didn't Paul teach clearly that the Lord is going to remove His Church to Heaven?
Never! Never! Never one time!
Paul taught that Jesus will return in the power of His Kingdom and destroy the Antichrist, never anything else. Check the Scriptures!
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:6-10—NIV)
According to the above passage the saints will not be delivered from tribulation by being removed to Heaven but by the return of the Lord to destroy Antichrist.
How could anything be plainer?
To be continued.