The coming of Christ for His Body is quite a different event, and belongs to quite a different Dispensation, than the coming of Christ to the earth with great power and to execute judgment. The end for which the Body of Christ is waiting is not judgment or tribulation, but to be "received up in glory" (1 Timothy 3:16), to be "called on high" (Philippians 3:14). The Body of Christ’s seat of government exists now in heaven, from whence we look for the Savior (Philippians 3:19-21).
That coming is into the AIR, and NOT unto the earth; it is in Grace, and NOT in judgment; and it concerns those who are "IN Christ". Nothing is revealed in the Old Testament or in the Gospels about this coming! Those books know nothing of it. This coming concerns the Mystery, which was kept secret from times eternal, and was "hid in God", until revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul. The Body of Christ (which is the Mystery) waits for ONE thing, and that is to be "received up into Glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). But this is NOT the subject of the Book of Revelation.
To make this even clearer we must compare what we call the "second" Advent with the "first" Advent.
When the Coming of the LORD was announced in Micah 5:2, it was announced as a coming FORTH; and then in Zechariah 9:9 as a coming UNTO. Micah speaks of the coming forth at Bethlehem, and Zechariah of the coming unto Jerusalem.
In Zechariah, Christ comes UNTO Jerusalem, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Zech. 9:9
In Micah 5:2, Christ comes FORTH at Bethlehem, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2
Now, pay attention here, there was nothing in those prophecies to tell the Jewish reader whether there would be any interval between these events, or what that interval would be. The Jewish Bible student might think there was a discrepancy; while the Jew with the mind of a "higher critic" might see a greater difficulty, and refuse to believe either Scripture.
Now, of course today, we, with our knowledge, know that there was an interval of more than THIRTY years between the two events. Both refer to one and the same Coming, but to two different stages in it; and that all the events between them go to make up what we speak of as the "first Coming."
We believe that it will be exactly the same with regard to what we call the "second Coming." There will be the same two stages, with a similar INTERVAL (or longer it may be) between them, and all the events (which are recorded in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere) will go to make up what we speak of as "the second Coming." This will also provide opportunity for the Antichrist to set up his kingdom, albeit for “an hour”.
There will be the coming forth (as at Bethlehem) of "the LORD Himself" and the calling of His saints on high (Philippians 3:14), and the receiving of them in glory (1 Tim. 3:16); and then, LATER ON, to fulfill all the prophecies which related to His People Israel; and, as the Son of man will "come unto" the earth, to take unto Himself His great power, and reign.
This LATTER COMING is connected with "the Day of the LORD," and it is THAT which the subject of the Book of Revelation is. Revelation 1:7 settles this for us, "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth( a better rendering would be ”the Land”) shall wail because of him." Only Jew and Gentile are in this verse, and not the Body of Christ. This is the Coming of which Israel’s Prophets speak. See Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:9-10, which is the Scripture referred to here.
This is the Coming which the LORD spoke of when on earth in Matthew 24:30-31; Matthew 26:64, and elsewhere (make note of the "ye").
What He there said is perfectly clear, and in perfect harmony with all that had been said in the Old Testament. Therefore, to read Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians into the Gospels is only to create confusion; and make a difficulty where none before existed: it uses one truth for the upsetting of another.
The same difficulty is created when we arbitrarily introduce these later Prison Epistles of Paul into the Book of Revelation. And, to save us from making such a mistake, the Holy Spirit gave special instruction, through the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5, immediately after He had inspired the revelation of 1 Thessalonians 4. If we pay attention to this and learn the great and important lesson here, all will be perfectly clear.
1 Thessalonians 5: 1, "But of the times and the season, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you."
Why, "no need"? Simply because the Coming forth into the air and our "gathering together unto Him" there, do not depend on any time or season. His "Coming unto" the earth DOES; but that is NOT what he had been speaking about in the chapter immediately before (Thessalonians 4).
2. "For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the LORD so cometh as a thief in the night."
It is the "Day of the LORD" which (as we have been discussing above) is the subject of the Book of Revelation: and in Revelation 3:3, the LORD distinctly warns as to His Coming "as a thief," which is the VERY OPPOSITE of what we read of in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, and even in 1 Thessalonians 4-5. For mark the sudden change of pronouns in the latter chapters.
3. "For when THEY shall say, 'Peace and safety,' then sudden destruction cometh upon THEM, and THEY shall not escape."
It is this "destruction" which the Book of Revelation describes. It is this which gives its character to "the Day of the LORD." It is "sudden," and comes "as a thief;" and it comes upon "THEM" and "THEY," not upon us: for mark the change of pronouns again.
4. "But YE, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake YOU as a thief."
Here, our point is spot on and emphatically stated, with a pin-pointing which leaves nothing to be added. Can anything be clearer than the fact that the Church of God of the Dispensation of Grace, the Church of the Mystery, the Body of Christ, is NOT the subject of the Book of Revelation...And that the "Coming" which IS the subject of the Book of Revelation is NOT the Coming for which the Body of Christ is now longing, waiting, and looking?
The Book of Revelation is "prophecy," and therefore it awaits a future fulfillment in "the Day of the LORD," when the LORD Jesus shall be unveiled as the Son of man, and every eye shall see Him.
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20)