Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread":

I bristle when I hear someone say (in all good intention), “Everybody has to die someday,” when the Bible says precisely the opposite: “Listen, ... we shall not all die” (1 Cor. 15:51, GNB; it’s a good translation; our KJV says, “We shall not all sleep”).

The inspired apostle Paul wants to make doubly sure we don’t misunderstand: “I do not want you to be ignorant ... concerning those who have fallen asleep.” He goes on to explain that there will be a generation of people who “are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord.”

They will have no advantage over those who died and who come up in the “first resurrection” at the call of Christ at His second coming, for “we [who remain alive on earth at that time] 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 comes what he calls “the blessed hope.” The two parties will have no advantage over each other: “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” (1 Thess. 4:14-17).

“The blessed hope” is explained elsewhere: “The grace of God that brings salvation to all men has appeared, teaching us to say No! to ungodliness and worldly lusts. ... looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11, NIV).

In other words, we are not to look forward to death, but to meet the Lord at His second coming. This has always been “the blessed hope” cherished by the pioneers of faith in the second coming of Christ.

And Paul can’t talk about “the blessed hope” without remembering in the same breath what He endured for us on His cross: “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.”

This precisely is the work that Jesus as our “great High Priest” is now performing in His solemn cleansing of the sanctuary. Do we understand every minute detail perfectly? No, but our hearts tremble with excitement to contemplate it.

Be sure to check your e-mail for "Dial Daily Bread" again tomorrow.


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