ChristianToolKit's logo
  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Bible Facts About Heaven

Dr. John R. RiceBy Dr. John R. Rice
1895-1980

 

7 - Christ May Come Today to Take His Own   

     Death is a door to Heaven.  For that reason Paul could say, "To die is gain." Thus, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord."  My mother could rejoice and ask for a song as she went out to meet God in that little unpainted country home in north Texas many years ago.

    Death is a door to Heaven.  But it is not the only door to Heaven.  Millions of Christians will enter Heaven without dying.  When Jesus comes, He will take all His to Heaven, and those who live to that glad day shall in a moment be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and carried straight to Heaven.  Enoch and Elijah went to Heaven without dying, so will millions of others, when Jesus comes.

    In John 14 the Saviour comforted His disciples before they went to the Garden of Gethsemane and talked to them about Heaven.  "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."

    We need not necessarily think of death in connection with Heaven.  Death is a way to go to Heaven but not the main way.  Throughout the Bible the Christian is taught to look forward to the day when Jesus comes and when he will be taken to Heaven without dying.

    There are some who foolishly teach that, when Jesus said, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself," He spoke of death.  But He did not.  Others say that, when Jesus said, "I will come again," He spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit.  But that is not what He said, nor meant.  Jesus plainly said, "I will come again."

    When Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem and gave His last message to the disciples and was then taken up into Heaven and a cloud received Him out of their sight, two heavenly messengers came and stood by them and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

    The same Jesus is coming again.  His going away was literal, physical, bodily.  His return will be just as literal.  Jesus went away to prepare a place for all the born-again and redeemed children of God.  The same Jesus is coming back again to receive them.  Jesus said, "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."

    Those who are in Christ and alive when Jesus comes to receive His own will be changed in a moment and will never die, but will be carried straight to Heaven.

    In I Corinthians 15:51,52, we are told what will happen when Jesus comes for His saints:
     "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."
SLEEP is God's way of speaking about DEATH for the child of God.  But "we shall all be changed."  Not all Christians will die.  Not all of us will leave this body and have it buried in a grave.  Not all of us shall be carried out to the cemeteries.  Not all of us shall say good-by to weeping loved ones while the flickering breath of life leaves us.  We shall not all sleep.

    It is not true that every Christian will die.  When Jesus comes, all the saved will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at that trumpet sound.  The Christian dead shall be raised up with immortal, incorruptible bodies, and Christians who are alive will be changed and given immortal, glorified bodies immediately.

    So every Christian should hope that Jesus will come for and take us away to the heavenly mansions He has prepared before death comes.

    After all, it matters little, just so we go straight to Heaven.  And the Christians who have gone on before will return with Christ to get resurrected bodies from the graves.  Look at I Thessalonians 4:13-18:
     "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
     Jesus is coming back to get His own.  When He comes, those of His whose bodies sleep in graves will come back with Jesus to receive those bodies.  The bodies will be raised up from the graves first; then we Christians "which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."

    The saved who are already in Heaven will come back with Jesus to meet us.  Their bodies will rise out of the graves; then we shall be changed, and together we shall meet Christ up in the air and then go with Him to the Father's house of many mansions for our honeymoon in Heaven!

    Then we shall see again all of our loved ones in Christ.  Then aches, pains, partings will be forever past.  Oh, what a meeting when we are caught up in the air to meet all our loved ones whose bodies will be raised out of the graves and whose spirits will come back from Heaven; and the dear Lord Jesus will fulfill His promise: "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Blessed, blessed hope!

    No one knows just when that will be.  He said no man knows, "no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36).  Yet we know that He may come at any moment.  Again and again Jesus warned His disciples to be always on the watch, that He might return at any time.  Read these passages and see for yourself how many warnings there are.
     "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." - Matt. 24:42.

    "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." - Matt. 24:44.

    "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." - Matt. 25:13.

    "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." - Mark 13:33-37.
     Since it is clear that Jesus may come at any moment, then every Christian should be continually on the watch.

    Paul consistently looked forward to the coming of the Saviour in the hope that he would be caught up alive to meet the Lord in the air.  In this hope, he was simply following the express command of Jesus and watching for His coming.

    Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:52, "The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."  He counted himself with those who would be alive and changed instantly when Jesus came.  Likewise in I Thessalonians 4:15 he wrote, "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."  Paul expected to be among those alive and remaining on the earth when Jesus came.  That was what Jesus had commanded Christians to look forward to, and Paul obeyed.

    So a Christian ought always to look forward to the coming of the Saviour.  In the Epistle to Titus we are admonished to be "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."  Blessed hope!  Jesus is coming to receive us into the House of many mansions which He has prepared for us.

    Through the years some have gone to Heaven.  Saints have laid down their tired bodies, and their spirits have been taken home to God.  The bodies have been laid away to sleep in the dust of the earth until Jesus comes.

    But one day when Jesus comes into the air to receive us, there will be a great resurrection of the bodies of the Christian dead; their spirits He will bring back with him from Heaven; then all of us who are saved and are alive shall be changed in a moment and caught up with them to meet the Lord Jesus, and what a triumphant procession it will be as we enter Heaven!
It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory,
To receive from the world "His own."

It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives "His own."

While its hosts cry Hosanna, from Heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive "His own."

Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying,
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives "His own."
Chorus
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
'Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! Amen.
- H.L. Turner

     When will Jesus come?  No one knows.  Surely Jesus may come soon.  And when He comes, He will take all who have trusted in Him, all who have been born again, straight up to Heaven.  We shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.  All the taint of sin will be taken away, all the frailty of body, all the weakness of the flesh.  Glorified beings with sinless, immortal, deathless bodies, we shall be caught up to meet Jesus and, with a glad reunion, go straight with Him to the Father's house of many mansions.

    Let us talk and think about Heaven.  But oh, let us not worry nor fret about death.  Likely multitudes who read this book will never die but will experience the glad quick change when the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes for His own.

    Jesus said those precious words, "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."  Let us believe this precious promise.  Let us memorize it, hide it in our hearts.

    Jesus will come soon to take to Heaven all those who have trusted in Him as Saviour.  No sickness, no dying, no funeral parlours, no graveyards, no parting from a single loved one who is saved.  We shall leave all the unconverted, but all who have trusted Jesus for salvation will go to Heaven, that sweet home of the Lord Jesus and departed saints. 

 

Contents                                                                                                                                Chapter 8











Published 1940

 

sitewizardlogo 

BaptistTop1000.com - Top Baptist Websites      KJV Bible Top 500 The Fundamental Top 500