By David Stahl

It is not God is on our side, but rather are we on His side, because believe it or not Jesus is coming back in glory.  Now that is not our glory, but God’s glory.  And it is not in an unconditional way, but very much conditional.  I wonder why we think salvation is unconditional? Did you know God has established conditions for those who would be saved.  Salvation is only for those who believe, confess, and repent even though offered to all, but it is freely given to only those who meet God’s conditions. Now it is true God’s love towards man is unconditional; there is nothing man must or can do to receive God’s love, but salvation is a totally different thing.  God has established for man to believe (John 3:16), confess (1 John 1:9), and repent (Acts 3:19) or they will not receive salvation. Sadly this unconditional thinking has bled over into the realm of salvation and many people miss the mark here.  I am afraid it will not be so glorious for many people when Jesus returns, but for those who are ready they will appear with Him in His glory.   Sadly many people dispute this truth, but that does not change the fact of the matter.  Oh how silly we are when we think by not believing something it will cause it not to happen.  I remember as a little boy hiding under a glass coffee table thinking no one could see me. The coming of the LORD in glory is seen in two fold periods of time.  First He will reveal Himself to His people.  After this He will be manifested to the entire world as the King of kings and LORD of lords. The first day began with the transgression of Adam and lasted until Jesus came on the scene.  The second day includes all that Jesus said and did together with the ministry of the present day Church.  During the second day what we call the Church Age Jesus is in the midst of His Church.  John helps us with that, “And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands; And in the midst of the seven lamp stands I saw one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band.” (Revelation 1:12-13) We must never forget the Book of Revelation is the unfolding of the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” and not so much about all of the mysteries we find it hard to get our thoughts around and questions that divide us.  After His resurrection Jesus appeared to His people, but no one else saw Him.  In 2 Thessalonians we read that He will first be glorified in His saints during the approaching time of His return.  When He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe . . .” (2 Thessalonians 1:10)  The primary purpose for Jesus coming to His Church first is to prepare them for their part in the judgments of God upon the earth and in heaven.  The message to the seven Churches in the Book of Revelation span the entire Church Age and addresses the needs within each of these Churches to correct and purify those who are called to become overcomers.  Therefore at the end of each message, Jesus said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”  The second reason for His coming to His Church first is to cleanse and purify her by the washing of the water of the Word so that He can present to Himself a Bride without spot or wrinkle.  Following this is the revelation of the Son of Man to the entire world for the final judgments which will lead into the establishing of the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is important for us to understand that the second coming of Jesus cannot be separated from the establishment of His kingdom. This fulfills the word concerning dominion which the LORD spoke to Adam when He created him.  Adam was to have dominion over the earth and all that exists on it. This dominion was forfeited by Adam to Satan and the principalities who presently rule from their usurped places. Now it is through “tribulation” that we are prepared for the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33) The word “tribulation” here means “to put pressure on.”  Now this is more than the many daily mundane pressures that we face in our lives, but also intense judgments and dealings from God to purify and refine our character. If we are not presently feeling a measure of this pressure then we may be less than fully committed to the LORD. It is very important that we understand that these pressures are not the result of the LORD being angry with us; nor are they punishment.  Rather He is seeking to produce a quality within us that will enable us to stand and endure in any situation we must face in life.

When the Son of Man appears in the sky all the tribes of the earth will mourn as a result of seeing Him. I do not know about you my friend, but it does not sound too glorious to me.  That which they had chosen not to believe will have become a reality, and now they must face the consequences of their rejection of Christ.  Jesus tells us, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of heaven, but only My Father.”  (Matthew 24:36)  There is wisdom as to why God did not reveal a time or date when Jesus will return.  Had He done so we could put off getting ready until almost the time. The disciples had asked when this would take place.  The answer Jesus gave was to explain the circumstances that would exist at that time. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man.”  (Matthew 24:37)  Thus His return will be in a time that is similar to the days in which Noah lived.  Lately I have been giving much thought to the “days of Noah” as compared to the manifested presence of the LORD on earth. I have wondered how the “days of Noah” got to be the “days of Noah,”  “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark.”  (Matthew 24:38) They were occupied with the everyday things of life and laughed at Noah for building a boat on dry land.  When Noah entered the ark it was God who shut the door of protection.  The people did not understand until it was too late when the flood came and took them away.  It will be this way again at the coming of the LORD.  I can remember as a child seeing the power of God in real and powerful ways where suddenly the power of God would drop (and you knew it was God), but today rarely do we see this power in churches. It seems with each generation there is less and less of the Spirit of God in the people and church not because God is taking His Spirit away, but because we are not as sensitive to His working and not so concerned with the things of God.  Worldly and carnal distractions have filled our lives drowning out God’s presence. I think this is what happened to Noah’s generation.  God finally had enough, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.’  (Genesis 6:6-7)  In six short Chapters God had enough of man’s sin, but God never hid His face or voice from man.  Man had to have known right from wrong for God to bring such total judgment.  The next verse says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8) God always provides grace ahead of judgment.  Even in God’s anger God provided a way of escape for man. Peter tells us,  “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”  (1 Peter 3:20)  The Lord embraced these eight souls by putting an “ark” around them.  Then He Himself closed the door and they were safe.   When the Son of Man comes He will not take us and fly away.  The ark did not go up to heaven rather it stayed on the earth rising on top of the waters of judgment.  Eight out of millions maybe billions of people on the earth and we think heaven will be crowded? During this time the Son of God will embrace His people.  Just as those eight people were spared in the universal destruction of all mankind by water the Lord will save the redeemed in the midst of the fire, but He will forsake the rest.  It is those who have rejected Him that will be gone or destroyed in this fire.  This is not a flying away process, but rather Jesus is coming to embrace those who are the redeemed and who have overcome by responding to His words when He was in the midst of the Church.  Matthew (Chapter 25:1-13) compares the Kingdom of Heaven to 10 virgins who went out to meet their Bridegroom. Of these five were wise and five were foolish.  Yes foolish Christians in the Kingdom of Heaven.  While the Bridegroom (Jesus) tarried all of the virgins (even the wise) slumbered and slept, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”  (Matthew 25:5)  Is this not a picture of most Christians (myself included at times) in the Church today? Distractions chiefly due to the rise of technology in the world has blinded the eyes of our understanding putting Christians fast to sleep as we slumber on day after day.  I cannot believe how easy and how fast hand-held electric devices have conquered the world and the Church. I hear Christians say technology is the way to share the Gospel message, rubbish!  Take heed do not be deceived by those Christians who know not God (foolish virgins) and have sold out to the god’s of this world that broadcast Christian TV (an oxymoron) and the word of faith prosperity crowd.  Entertainment: Christian rock (another oxymoron) music, dance, light shows, sound shows, fog shows, every show imaginable to excite and titillate our senses fills our services not allowing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to humble us.  And I cannot believe the sudden rise of Christian movies (yet another oxymoron) from Hollywood.  Are Christians that deceived that they would spend their money supporting the abortion, gay and lesbian agenda of Hollywood?  Are Christians that deceived that they would spend their money on parlor trick special effects movies instead of missions and people in need?  Are Christians that foolish and deceived that they would give their money to Hollywood’s social engineering that shakes its fist in the face of God? I would say yes. Hollywood has discovered Christians are easy prey and yes even suckers for anything that looks or acts “Christian.”  And why?  Because most Christians do not read their Bibles nor have an imitate relationship with Jesus Christ. Take heed church in America (and around the world) you are about to get fleeced again with the movie “Son of God” (which Jesus never referred Himself as.  Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man” as in Isaiah) and “Noah.” Please do not go and see these movies if you have that much extra time read your Bible or spend the two hours plus in prayer.  Those who were wise did not know the time of His coming in glory, but were ready.  Did you get that? The foolish virgins did not know Him maybe they only had their sins forgiven, but the foolish put off knowing Him until it was too late. Then when the Bridegroom (the LORD) came at an unexpected time the foolish asked the wise for some of their oil (knowing the LORD through personal experience), but were told to go and buy for themselves, symbolic of developing this personal experience. “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”  (Matthew 25:10-13)  In so doing they missed the time of entrance of the Bridegroom into His Kingdom and were lost.  Thus the important thing is for us to become ready by coming to know the LORD in this present time in anticipation of His return.  There are within the Church those who name the Name of Jesus as their Savior.  But within these are those who are overcomers; those who have fully committed their lives to the LORD and have been tested and proven faithful.  These will not only survive, but they will be the instruments of the coming judgment. Isaiah tells us “Behold, a king (Jesus) shall reign in righteousness, and princes (us) shall rule in judgment.” (Isaiah 32:1) We are not called to understand how the LORD will do this, but rather we are to be ready in that day when He returns in manifested glory to be joined to Him as a member of His manifested body. Jesus is about to return to establish His Kingdom on the earth, and those who are overcomers will rule and reign with Him.  I do not believe we will be raptured out of this world nowhere in the Scriptures does the LORD rapture people from tribulations, trials, and troubles, but will remain here on the earth not as victims of God’s universal judgments, but as overcomers and instruments of His judgments which will lead to our ruling with Him in ages to come.  Are we to rule and reign with Him in heaven?  No on the earth!  John tells us, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”  (Revelation 5:10) Regardless of our view of these things, there is one thing on which we all agree; Jesus is coming soon in glory and we must be ready.  This time Jesus is not coming back as a wee baby in a manager, but as the ruler of all.