We have been invited, every one of us believers, to the most thrilling and mystical seven-year sojourn this side of eternity. We are to be the house guests of Almighty God!
But, lets face it, most of us would plan more carefully for a two week vacation than we have for the seven years we will spend in Jesus' Father's house.
In this earthly life if we were invited for only a weekend to the home of friends we would make proper preparation to fit into their scheme of things and be good guests. We would adapt to the ways and habits of our hosts, trying to be as little trouble as possible, lending good cheer to the occasion. "When in Rome do as the Romans do," we have always casually said. But are we prepared to do as the heavenly folks when we get to heaven?
If Rome is the biblical symbol of pagan living and worldly materialism, we have certainly mastered it. Few of us would be unprepared to be appropriate guests of today's Romans or possibly even the ancient Romans. We would find the first century government of Rome much like our own American government, with senators of vested interests, each arguing for the profit of their constituencies while pretending to uphold the common good. We would find parties to go to, money to spend, entertainment and diversion to sate a early 21st century American. We would fit right in.
But how will we do in heaven? Will we know what is expected of us as house guests of our eternal Host? Will our deportment meet the requirements in that new and strange environment in which the only person we can confidently call by name is Jesus Christ? Will we be ready to undertake the remarkable activities that God has announced as the program for His guests in heaven?
to be continued:
Jesus' overwhelming promise of John 14:1-3 separates the true biblical faith from all religions man has concocted. It is not some wishful thinking on our part that provides us a visit to heaven but God's own pronouncement.
On that particularly tense Passover night when our Lord was to face arrest, trial and conviction, and finally crucifixion, he uttered the promise that makes Christianity what it is:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1-3).
Those few momentous remarks deserve careful examination since the future of every one of us hinges on how we understand them. In the first verse above, Jesus appeals to the disciples (and through them to us) not to be troubled by this earthly existence since we are believers in God. God has plans, He says, to take care of our aching hearts and Jesus is going to look out for us in regard to those plans. He goes on to assert that "In my Father's house are many mansions." This phrase has received much attention, with many people taking "mansions" so literally as to assume that each of us will live like a king in heaven, directing servants about huge households with much property. In reality, "mansions" probably just indicates dwelling places. Mansions can be compared to the honeymoon chambers built by each bridegroom for his bride in the ancient Israel as was their custom; they were certainly beautiful and well appointed but they were simple and functional. They were constructed to be used only seven days, the length of the Israeli honeymoon, which of course, pertains to our seven years in heaven. Surely the groom spared no pains to make the honeymoon chamber as comfortable and luxurious as the occasion befitted but he certainly did not build a splindid house of many rooms for the week-long nuptials. I rather think we will merely have comfortable places in which to keep ourselves during our short visit to Jesus' Father's house, in the manner that any out of town host would make his guest as comfortable as he could within his own property. Even the shabbiest of heaven will be more beautiful than anything we have ever seen on this earth. I don't think we can expect a building of any size for each of us any more than we would expect an earthly host to build us a house for a short visit. (Not that Jesus' Father couldn't accomplish that, owning the cattle on a thousands hills as He does. He could provide us each with a whole city if He wished, but our accommodations are not the point of our visit.)
Our Lord's next phrase, "if it were not so I would have told you," is vital. There are plenty of churches that are teaching that Jesus is not going to return and that what we see is what we get. The liberal Protestant churches - if they really believe that Jesus existed as characterized in the Gospels at all - are really not expecting His return or preaching it. The Moonies do not expect Jesus, nor do any of the other cults. The Roman Catholics have a vague idea of some Kingdom to come or some general trip to heaven, but no appreciation of the details of the Rapture, the Second Coming, etc. But the Lord would not have troubled to give us such exactitudes if He wanted us to "average things" and merely expect some bright but inexplicable future. Rather, He said plainly that if He were not coming back He would have said as much. He would not have asked us to carry a cross a lifetime for no real reward. He would not have asked us for our services, and enrolled us as soldiers in His army and workers in His fields, without providing us with a day's pay for a day's work (or an eternal reward for a lifetime's work, more to the point). Should you hear someone proclaim that Jesus Christ, the Carpenter from Galilee, will not be returning, point out that He said, "if it were not so I would have told you." You will find yourself having to tell this to many people called Christians, though it is difficult to imagine why a person would be a Christian and not understand the best part of the arrangement.
Without doubt Jesus' impending departure upset His disciples when He announced, "My hour is come." They became very concerned, as all of us might. Walking with the Lord was one thing and walking without Him something else altogether. He promised the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to take His place as their leader and enabler, but they still reacted with very real fear at the idea of Jesus' departure.
And yet He told them plainly: "I go to prepare a place for you."
Every religious leader has died and left a group of devout followers on earth, but one has announced that He died for a purpose; one has promised that He was merely departing to do work on behalf of His disciples. The leaders of the various cults will not be making return trips and are not able to promise that reassurance to their followers, but Jesus asserted just that. He went further: He said, "I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am ye may be also." He has not ony gone to prepare us a place in His Father's house but He will come personally to escort us there. This is very much in keeping with what the bridegroom did on behalf of his bride. After he proposed, he left to prepare the bridal chamber, or mansion, and then later returned to take her there personally. We are so very literally the Bride of Christ, as Paul described us. We are being treated as the best of all brides by that one-of-a-kind Bridegroom, who came to us from an unearthly place and who will one day come to take us there.
Jesus concluded with this brief but stirring announcement with the statement:
"And whither I go ye know and the way ye know (John 14:4).
This seemed to bring rather skeptical reactions from His nervous listeners in that Upper Room. They were not completely satisfied that their master would care for them as always and they wanted Him to be absolutely specific about that lay ahead. We all might have the same questions Jesus was obliged to clear up on that fateful night:
"Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5)
To the question of the doubtful Thomas Jesus replied with brevity, subtety and force:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
What is the meaning of that? Simply that the way to travel to heaven is by belief in Jesus Christ. He'll take care of all the other details. The concept is not really so subtle and mystical after all. When we travel on a complicated tour, perhaps involving an airplane, a ship, many ports, etc., we trust a travel agent to make all our arrangements - "the way" for the purposes of our trip. We merely pay a fee in our home port and show up for the departure. He'll look after all the other details.
But the average travel agent can't say he's "the truth and the life". This can only be said by the Son of God. These more intangible attributes of Jesus Christ are better understood through the study of other Scriptures bringing understanding of just what the Bible means by "truth and life". The truth should answer the question for all of us, "What should I believe?" The life should deal with, "What is my place in God's creation and how shall I plan to be with Him after this earthly sojourn?" No human being was ever created for an earthly life only. Every one of us is to be resurrected, believers and unbelievers alike, to go on to eternal bliss or damnation.
The believer will rise to heaven with the Lord and enjoy the pleasantries still to be described. The unbeliever will rise to be judged at the Great White Throne, at the end of the Kingdom to come. But the point is, everyone will rise, everyone has life everlasting. The question is, "How do I get the real life - the life with God," and to that Jesus replied with perfect confidence, "I am the life."
Thomas wasn't the only disciple who lacked real faith when the chips were down. Philip now speaks up:
"Philip saith unto him, Lord shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us" (John 14:8).
What an extraordinary thing to say! Philip is actually telling Jesus Christ to produce for them, there in that upper room, what Abraham had never seen, what Noah and Solomon had never seen, what Job had suffered a lifetime and never seen. Philip is saying, in effect, "Show us, the tradesmen and tax collectors and fishermen of Galilee, Almighty God, and we will believe you."
Jesus would have been perfectly within His rights to say, "Philip, if you want to see the Father it can be arranged. We can just send you on ahead of us!"
to be continued:
Good message Jeanette!!
WHY STAND YE GAZING INTO HEAVEN?
The disciples were greatly discouraged when the Lord actually died in crucifixion, but of course, they became different men when they saw His resurrection. Thomas again had to have the absolute proof but finally it was clear; the Master had actually defeated death itself. He was with them again and He continued to encourage them to carry on the work. He taught the Bible, the O.T. of course, in a 40 day Bible School that surely has no equal.
Somehow after the Lord ascended, Peter, who had denied even knowing Him the night before the crucifixion, was able to quote profusely from Joel and the Psalms, and John and the other disciples went on to enjoy the careers of true spiritual giants. Good as His word, the Lord continued to teach them about the things of the Kingdom of God but they continually asked that He bring it at once. He indicated that this could not be the case (Acts 1:6-7). Because of the necessity of calling out those of other nations to be subjects of the Kingdom, Jesus gave explicit instructions regarding the invitation to the Gentiles to His Father's house:
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The disciples were astonished at the ascension. God sent two angels to announce clearly once again that in just the manner they had seen Him go into heaven He would return. Just as they had seen Him bodily go up they would see Him bodily come back from heaven:
"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
The above verse has in it the implication that the disciples of Jesus Christ should not stand idly gazing heavenward but instead take action. There is much work to be done previous to that glorious gathering at His Father's house. The disciples, ourselves included, are to continuously build up the membership of the Kingdom so that when the Lord does return from heaven He will have a mighty host to bring with Him.
to be continued:
IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE
The Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly for His Church, according to the Scriptures, and He will take those who believe in Him. To the church at Thessalonica Paul made most clear the details of the Rapture:
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
More details are added in the letter to the church at Corinth:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
The verses about the Rapture of the Church are most clear in the N.T. They are objective and decisive - not given in the language of poetry or parables so they may be "spiritualized" away by those who have difficulty believing in the Lord's return. If a person does not believe that Jesus Christ will come back from heaven to take His Church (His Bride) to His Father's house, that person does not believe in Christianity. He may believe in the moral messages of Jesus and in the principles of Christian behavior and the like, but he is not believing in the principle that makes the biblical faith what it is. We count on--we live for--the Lord's return. That visit to His Father's house, and the Kingdom and eternity beyond, are our very basis for being believers in Him.
But we are concerned in the events and details of what will happen in Jesus' Father's house when we go there. We are not going to heaven merely to luxuriate in that mystical place but to accomplish two things necessary to our own perfection as the Bride of Christ. In His Father's house we will each enter the Judgment Seat of Christ, and then we will celebrate our wedding to the Lord at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
to be continued:
THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
Some Christian people are not aware that what we do in our lives here on earth counts for something in the afterlife. It is not a question of our sins, which have all been forgiven at the cross, but rather of the nature of our service for the Lord in this life. We all have gifts and we are to put them into His service. Paul is particularly clear on this point.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (1 Corinthians 5:10).
The idea is that we each will review with the Lord the events of our lives as Christians while on earth. Evidently we have done both good and bad, the human condition being what it is, and the Lord intends to reward us accordingly.
More details are given in 1 Cor. 3:11-15. Here the Apostle begins by declaring plainly that there is no foundation other than Christ upon which a spiritually profitable human life can be built:
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).
With that principle established the Apostle now considers the varied possibilities of building upon the foundation of Christ. We may build works that are valuable and lasting or we may instead waste our lives in works of little consequence and no durability. Paul places the works in two distinct categories.
"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stone, wood hay, stubble;" (1 Corinthians 3:12).
In the above verse the gold, silver and precious stones obviously signify works of lasting value, and the wood, hay and stubble, those a mere temporal kind. The fact is, the Lord will try our works with fire. The gold, silver and precious stones will of course not be damaged by the fire, while the wood, hay and stubble will be completely consumed:
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13).
We might speculate over what the Lord considers a work of gold and a work of wood. Obviously those things He Himself commanded us are the better things. Evangelism must rank very high among the priorities of our King because that is the very reason for the delay of the Kingdom and because He commanded us to "make disciples of all nations." The gathering of material goods for our own comforts must rank as a work of wood, for the Lord Himself counseled us not to lay up our treasures on earth. These would be extreme and obvious cases; actually most Christian works probably lie in the middle ground areas where only the Lord would be a fitting judge as to their value. We will all surely receive some surprises from the Judgment Seat of Christ. In those momentous individual interviews in heaven we may learn that the slightest remark of ours to an unbeliever sowed the seed that saved a soul, or a hundred or a thousand souls. We may again find that the slightest carelessness on our part caused a man or a city to stumble. Only the Lord would know the ultimate consequences of our every action and only He would be the fair and impartial judge.
At any rate the works have to do with our rewards and this is made plain:
"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).
We will receive heavenly rewards for our good works and suffer losses for the bad ones. But the latter verse above also makes clear that no one will lose his salvation over these issues ("he himself shall be saved"). No one is going to fall back out of heaven because of having a lengthy list of bad works. Nonetheless our contract with our King calls for good service. The Lord told parable after parable concerning servants in the field, servants who invested their master's monies, and the like, invariably illustrating the master's pleasure with those who most energetically did his bidding.
Now we should not lay undue stress on the "judgment" aspect of our interviews with the Lord. The Church errs when it makes Jesus some sort of undercover policeman who wiretaps our life's events in order to catch us in some technicality. No attempt is made in the passage to threaten the believer with any serious loss. Rather, the function of the Judgment Seat of Christ seems to be to cleanse us of memories of bad works. Fire is utilized advisedly as the method since fire purifies and cleanses. We use heat to sterilize away objectionable substances and the Lord's fondest wish, as He and His apostles so often stressed, is to have a perfect Bride. We are without sin when we go into the Judgment Seat since we are all saved; but we still have the occasional stumble in our life of service to reckon with. Evidently the fire will take care of that and we will be finally left with jewels for our crowns, which we eventually will present to the Lord as wedding presents.
Some people confuse the Judgment Seat of Christ with the Great White Throne Judgment of God the Father (Rev. 20). The two are in no way alike. Christ's judgment is for the perfection of His Bride; God's judgment is to mete out to the unbelievers the just desserts of their lack of faith.
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).
Disbelief is a sin. Those coming out of the Judgment Seat of Christ go on to marry the Lord; those coming out of the Great White Throne Judgment go to the Lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
Still in all, no one should regard bad works in this light as mere excusable mishaps. Rather we should all endeavor to go into the Judgment Seat of Christ with as proud a record as we can place before our King. We will all want to earn that most magnificent of commendations,
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Christian good works are not painful and obviously they have eternal effects.
It is often suggested that our sins are being counted up and that we will be confronted with those at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As a matter of fact God has promised,
"I will remember their sin no more" (Hebrews 8:12; Jeremiah 31:34).
However, sin has an effect upon works and there can be no doubt of that. If we are busy piling up lives of sin we could not simultaneously be gathering very many good works. The person with whom we indulge in adultry would hardly be saved by our testimony. The person from whom we have stolen wouldn't have a very good impression of the Lord we say we believe in.
At any rate, it is more than clear that the Judgment Seat was not instituted to punish the believers but to establish for them the proper sanctity to marry the most perfect of Bridegrooms. We can rest assured that this is our promised destiny.
As a matter of fact, the very next event in our seven year sojourn in heaven is our delightful marriage supper, in which we can at last feel worthy to become one with the very Son of God.
to be continued:
THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
Our final event in heaven will be our marriage to the Lord. Evidently the imate is more than pure symbolism; we are actually to become the wife of Jesus Christ, just as we are now His bride. Our wedding day and our honeymoon will be celebrated in heaven.
To understand this magnificent idea more completely we need to revew the Jewish wedding custom, which is referred to as a Christian Love Story. Basically, the wedding breaks down into seven parts:
The Departure of the Bridegroom
The "Stealing" of the Bride
The Bridal Chamber
The Marriage Supper
The picture of that great heavenly wedding will become clarified through the Israeli tradition of marriage in the time of Jesus.
1. The Contract. Israeli marriages were by contract, rather in the manner that we purchase real estate today. The bridegroom would see the girl he wanted (she could be a perfect stranger) and simply go to her house with a contract of marriage. It would have in it the rules of the waiting period before the bridegroom would come back for his bride (explained below) and other standard features of a normal matrimonial agreement. Any young man could show up with a contract, although typically the marriages were arranged and the contracts drawn by the parents long before the youngsters got the news. As Tevye sings to his wife in Fiddler on the Roof, "The first time I saw you was on our wedding day..." Rebecca married a man she never met.
2. The Price. Each bride had a price and the prospective bridegroom was expected to pay it. The bride's father received the money, in effect because he had raised the daughter so wisley and so well that someone out there desired her for his wife. It amounted to fair compensation to the fathers of daughters who had not enjoyed the advantages of strong male backs around the farms in that agrarian society. They more or less "consolidated their losses" when the young men inevitably came around to marry their daughters. The bride price also served to show that the bridegroom was indeed in love, or at least in earnest, when he made his proposal. We still call this sort of payment "earnest money" and, like the contract, we use it in such important transactions as real estate. The wedding procedure doesn't sound very romantic so far but it certainly gets there pretty fast.
3. The Cup. The cup was a formality establishing the bride's answer to the proposal. When the contact and the price had both been presented, the bridegroom would pour a cup of wine for his intended and propose a toast to her. She could pick up the cup or she could withdraw, and this was her way of saying yes or no to the proposal. Almost invariably she did take the cup (after all, she didn't know when the next contract was coming) but she was perfectly free to turn it down.
4. The Departure. As soon as the bride drank the cup the bridegroom would make a little speech on the order of, "I go to prepare a place for you." He then returned to his father's house to build her a bridal chamber - a little mansion - for their honeymoon.
And we can now clearly see just how the Gospel works into this wedding tradition. Jesus made that very speech in John 14:1-3, as we said above, and if we trace His actions back we can see that He came to our house and brought up a contract (the new contract, or new covenant, or N.T.; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 26:27) and He paid a price (the cross). We could elaborate forever on how advantageous a contract we have ("This is my blood shed for many for the remission of sins") and on how high a price He paid ("Not my will but Thine be done" and He sweated drops of blood; Luke 22:39-42). Finally He actually poured the cup for the Church (His Bride) at the Passover table, bading us "Drink ye all of it" (Matthew 26:27). The bride did not fear the departure of the groom since, of course, he had paid a price for her, and we need not fear Christ's return for us again because He simply paid so much. The Gospel would be pointless if the crucified Messiah would not bother to come back for His Church.
to be continued:
Jeanette good message. I have often wonder why I would need a mansion if I dont need to rest nor sleep. The new holy city Jerusalem John saw coming down from God out of heaven 1500 miles in a cube is where I thought our mansions would be in the new Jerusalem?
Michael, I used to think that also. But Jesus did say "In My Father's house.......I go there to prepare a place for you". We need a place to stay during that time that we are in our Father's house too. When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to this earth, that will be the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The way I understand it now, Jehovah God, our Father, will remain in His house where He has always been and will be throughout all eternity. I could be wrong and would welcome any discussion and/or scriptures on this subject. We can never learn too much or reach a point where we know everything. That is why I post these different topics, hoping someone will enlighten us further so that we may all grow in the spirit of knowledge and truth.
The bride would spend her time (up to two years!) gathering her trousseau, getting her oil lamp ready to travel at night (Matthew 25:1-13) and keeping her veil on whenever she went out (in effect, keeping her faith in good order and not mixing with the world). She waited at home every night for her bridegroom as the contract normally specified. "Ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price," Paul admonishes us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). She did not know her wedding day. At the bridegrooms father's house the young man would build a beautiful bridal chamber as fast as he could. His father would be the judge of when it was properly finished (to prevent the excited youngster from throwing up some sort of simple shelter and going to get the girl)! So the bridegroom did not know the wedding day either. If one came along and asked him he would say, "I don't know, only my father knows" (Acts 1:7).
5. The "Stealing" of the Bride. The bride was "stolen" in the sense that the groom would come completely unannounced in the middle of the night and seize her out of her bed. She did not know where she was going, and with a lamp in hand could only be led along over hill and dale to her bridal chamber. Now it's getting romantic! All the Jewish brides were stolen out of their beds in the middle of the night by young strangers they may have seen once, two years before, and that is the way they did things back then! Their divorce rate was nil, by the way.
The bridegroom comes therefore "like a thief in the night." When the chamber was finished and the bridegroom's father had approved, the groom would gather his friends and depart to get the bride and his father would invite the wedding guests. When they were within hearing distance of the brides house, the friends would shout, "the bridegroom cometh." Who will be the guests at our wedding in heaven? Our Bridegroom's Father's friends - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, etc., etc.
When Christ returns to "steal" His bride, the Church, He will be accompanied by the angels and the shout will be made, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out and meet Him" (Matthew 25:6). This is what we refer to as the Rapture of the Church.
6. The Bridal Chamber. The bride and groom would arrive finally back at the bridal chamber and shut the door behind them. The "best man" would stay near the door. When the marriage was consumated the bridegroom would tell him that fact through the door and he would tell the other guests. Then the celebration would begin. The custom sounds very personal but it is borne out perfectly in the Gospel:
"Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled" (John 3:28-29).
The bride and groom would remain in the chamber for seven days, at last emerging for the marriage supper.
7. The Marriage Supper: This is what we would call the reception, in effect, a banquet for the new couple. In heaven presumably all the O.T. saints will be at that magnificent celebration and we as the wife of Christ will be the guests of honor:
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:7-8).
After the meal the bride and groom would typically leave his father's house and go to the housing that the groom had arranged for them. And thus it will be that after seven years (the seven days of the wedding) we will return to earth with our Bridegroom. We will not stay in heaven, as some preach, but instead return to the Kingdom that has been prepared for us on earth. And so at last "the meek shall inherit the earth," and "God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven."
There are an infinite number of elegant details that go with the wedding and parallel the Gospel but our purpose here is to carefullly study the events "In My Father's House". Those events take us from the departure of the Bridegroom to the marriage supper. We have seen in detail how Jesus departed and what He said to His disciples. We realize that we are now in that lengthy waiting period while He prepares our bridal chamber. We can see clearly that the stealing away of the bride is the Rapture of the Church. As a matter of fact, in order to prevent the young man from literally snatching the girl out of her bed and to give her just a moment or two to prepare herself, the rules were that when he got close enough to her house to be heard, someone in the wedding party had to shout. And this is clear from Scripture that the Lord will play the part of the bridegroom, even at the time of the Rapture:
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. . . .(1Thessalonians 4:16).
In the parable of the ten virgins we also see the verse, "It was midnight and a cry was made..." The shout identifies the stealing of the bride with the coming of our King most clearly.
Therefore we are left with the conclusion that the bridal chamber represents the Judgment Seat of Christ, and at first glance this doesn't seem accurate. But in a way the Judgment Seat is like a honeymoon. A honeymoon is the one place we go with what we have; all costuming, perfumes and the like can be dispensed with because we are who we are with our partner at our honeymoon. The honeymoon is where the groom removes the bride's veils and knows her secrets. When we meet with the Lord in the Judgment Seat we are there in love, not at all to be punished for anything, and it's up to us to prepare the best of all honeymoons. Should we bring Him good works, He will be pleased. Should we be more troublesome partners - well, some honeymoons aren't quite as agreeable as others but we all seem to come through that test since we're with the one we love. So it will be with that Judgment Seat in heaven. The real purpose, as we said above, is to take care of our last vestiges of imperfection, our bad works. Our sins were forgiven long ago at the cross but we carry the memory of our bad works with us into heaven. Those will be taken care of in the Judgment Seat so that at the point when we marry the Lord at that marriage super we will be simpley perfect; as perfect as He is.
This post was modified from its original form on 11 Nov, 8:34
Jeanette I believe we will ascend to and fro from heaven to earth. I might be wrong. When the Kingdom comes down we will go in and out of the Holy city to help people that repented in the great tribulation. Satan will be bound for a thousand years. Thy will have children and work and have a new start of life for a thousand years then Satan will be turned lose again to see how many will truly serve God. After that God will destroy Satan for good and the earth will be replenished for good. Heaven on earth just like the garden of Eden again.
Michael.....I'm not sure that I believe that we will be going in and out of the kingdom to those that remain from the tribulation. The Scriptures tell us that we will rule with Him in the kingdom. It also says that the nations will come to Jerusalem at given times to worship. It has always been my idea that we will stay in His presence for all eternity. You have given me more to think about and more to search for answers to. We do agree about life continuing on in a normal fashion for those that make it through the tribulation. There is no end to learning and there is always something we can search for. Don't you just love it? I certainly do. Have a safe and blessed weekend my brother.
This post was modified from its original form on 18 Nov, 7:44