Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The Bible tells of "last things" that common people around the world can understand (Abraham Lincoln said that God must love common people, He made so many of them):
The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God" (1 Thess. 4:16; that's the second coming of Christ that He promised in John 14:1-3--personal, visible, literal).
There will be a mortal people living on earth who will welcome Him: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the dead in Christ who will rise first] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (vs. 17).
Then and only then will this "mortality" be exchanged for "immortality," because "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet ... This mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15: 51-53). Clear, simple!
Those who at that day are "alive and remain" will be "the harvest of the earth." Jesus Christ, as an eager Bridegroom longing to come to claim His Bride, will be waiting impatiently for the command that lets Him come, but He must wait until "another angel [who comes] out of the temple ... [cries] with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Thrust in Your sickle and reap: for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe'" (Rev. 14:14, 15). Jesus must follow directions! The timing of the permission depends on His people on earth.
The context tells what "ripe" means: a group in the mystic number "144,000" have "overcome ... as [He] also overcame and sat down with [His] Father on His throne" (3:21); and "in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault ..." (14:5). Impossible? No! It's true.
Being "ripe" means they have outgrown their former status of flower girl at the "marriage of the Lamb." They are now grown up to share with Him executive authority in bringing to a belated end the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Due to His people overcoming, He now can be acclaimed "King of kings and Lord of lords."
Nobody dares be arrogant and say who will be in that mystic "144,000." The Bible says there will be such a people who like Christ have "condemned sin" while living in the same "sinful flesh" He "took" in which He "condemned sin" and rendered it forever defeated (Rom. 8:3, 4; Heb. 2:14-17, KJV). The idea is a "blessed hope" to be cherished by all who have begun to appreciate the grace of God (Titus 2:11-13).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 23, 2007.
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