THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (29)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” …. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you … For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom 1:16, 7; 8:10-11; 8:22-25)
We live in spiritual season called ‘The Last Days’. This season started with the first coming of Christ, two thousand years ago. There is a day called ‘The Last Day’ (also called the Judgment Day, or the Day of Redemption, or the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ). At that Last Day Christ will come again. This is His second coming to earth, to judge and to reward. He will come visibly, with His angels and the souls and the spirits of the believers who have been in heaven. The believers shall receive new bodies. The dead in Christ shall rise first, receive their new spiritual bodies and now complete, they shall rise and meet the Lord in the air. This holy process is less than a second! In a twinkling of an eye! The believers who are alive at that time shall be changed instantly, without passing thru death. They too shall receive their new bodies and meet the Lord in the air. This is not a spiritual resurrection but a bodily resurrection. Then, the believers shall be complete, like Jesus, united forever with Him! This event is also called the Rapture or the Blessed Hope! It signifies the complete salvation of the believer, body, soul and spirit! (By the way, nothing is said about the body resurrection of the unbelievers!).
The Second Coming of Christ has been promised by Him. It is our Blessed Hope! His second coming to earth shall be hugely different than His first coming. It will be sudden (like a thief in the night; 1Thessolanians 5:2), Bodily, Visible, Powerful and Glorious. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
The doctrine of the Second of Coming of Christ and the redemption of the bodies is much neglected. Many pastors do not preach these doctrines. They are tired to wait for this Blessed Hope. Fear of death is another factor. Because these scriptures are read at burials, many believers associate them with death. They avoid reading them. Also, they think that these scriptures are not ‘practical’ enough to live a happy life in this world. Another reason is this: many prophesies have been made about the end times. All have failed. That is why the pastors avoid this subject. But this is the deception of the devil. The purpose of this doctrine is for us to have greater hope, to be serious with God and to worship Him even more!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for THE BLESSED HOPE, and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit 2:11-14). The Grace of God teaches and helps us how to die to sin. The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is the greatest incentive to sanctification, to holy living. As we look ahead to our Blessed Hope, we purify ourselves as He is pure, and we are ready to serve Him even more!
At the last day, when our Lord comes again, we the believers shall receive new bodies, spiritual bodies like Christ. We shall rise from the earth and meet the Lord to be with Him forever. This is not just a spiritual resurrection. It is bodily. It is not just the continuation of the spirit but the body as well. In the ancient world, once a king comes to visit a city, his friends come to welcome him, while the wicked ones, his enemies, they hide behind, afraid of his judgement! Our Lord was born on the earth and He died on this earth. Man, too was made of dust, dies and is buried in the earth. But at the resurrection, having our spiritual bodies, we shall meet the Lord in the air and not on the ground. At the resurrection, we shall be ‘caught up’ in the air. The word ‘caught up’ means to be violently snatched as by robbery. The angels will snatch us and take us on the clouds to rise and meet the Lord! Encourage each other with these words. The word ‘Encourage’ is the Greek word ‘parakletos’, the same as for the Holy Spirit. It means a Helper, a Friend who comes close to help, encourage and strengthen you. Therefore, preaching about the second coming and our resurrection, releases the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a special powerful way! When our Lord shall come again, the believers who have died (slept in the Lord) shall arise first. The believers who will be alive at that time shall immediately change from the natural body to the spiritual body, without passing thru death. The spiritual body shall rise thru the power of the clouds. Our Lord was raised by the clouds (Acts 1:9). In the same way, the believers will rise lifted by the clouds of glory. This is a reminder of the doctrine of the unity of Christ and His body, to the glory of God!
The frustration of the natural creation corrupted by sin has affected us. But our hope is that one day, Jesus will come and change our bodies to be like Him. This revelation will produce faith and perseverance. We know that our future is better than the past. No more fear of death! (Rom 8:22-25). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil 3:20-21) Our spiritual bodies will be like the body of our Lord! ‘Lowly body’ is also translated the weak mortal body, vile (KJ), the Body of humiliation. Our new bodies will be totally free from sin and its polluting effects. It encourages us to stand firm in the faith, have the hope of glory and serve Jesus forever! These scriptures deliver us from all inferiority complexes concerning our bodies, from the fear of sickness, depression, fear of the future, old age and death! We must preach the complete Word of God. The preaching of the doctrine of the second coming releases a special anointing to comfort and encourage the brethren. It tells us that our future is better than our present! I may not know what the immediate future may hold, but I know the ultimate glorious future and best of all, I know Him who holds my future! Glory! Worship the Lord!