What is your hope?
(Source: Heaven Dwellers)
1. Is it manifestation with christ in glory (over-heavenly places far above all heavens)
(Col.3:3 — 4)?
2. Is it meeting with him in the air
(1 Thess. 4:17)?
3. Is it to welcome his return as king at the mount of olives upon the earth
(Zech.14:4 — 5)?
Often in talking to Christians about the present trouble state of the world I ask them about their hope. Almost without exception a believer tells me « I am looking for Christ's coming into the air it may be at any moment now ».
It is put forth in plain language in 1 Thess. 4:15 — 17 and 1 Cor. 15:51 — 52 and in still simpler terms in John 14:2 — 3. This hope rests upon the « Word of the Lord » — that « For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord ... 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 ». 1 Thess. 4:15 — 17. We shall be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, into His likeness. 1 Cor. 15:51 — 51, 1 John 3:2.
It can be shown however, from the same letters of Paul to the Thessalonians and to the Corinthians as well as from his prison letters (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Tim.), that this is not the hope set before the faithful believer at the present time.
The church of Thessalonica were followers of the churches of god in Judea. 1 Thess 2:14. They were expecting « the Day of THE LORD » and were told by Paul that the apostasy from faith must come first and be followed by the revelation of the man of sin 2 Thess 2:3 — 12. The Temple of God in Jerusalem is spoken of in verse 4. The voice of the archangel is in keeping with all this, for Michael is the great Prince which standeth for the children of Israel (Dan. 12:1 — 2). This hope will be realized at the last trump (1 Cor. 15:52). This is the last of the seven trumpets of Revelation and it is sounded in Revelation 11:15, at the time of the judgments of God in Jerusalem after the ascent of the two witnesses following their death at the hand of the Beast from the bottomless pit. We can see therefore that this hope cannot be realized any moment. It is noteworthy too that the Christians who hold this hope are expected to « come behind in no gift » and to live as if they were not married 1 Cor. 1:7, 7:29.
Trumpets have always had to do with the earthly hope and Israel. There is not a mention of a trumpet in any of Paul's prison epistles which reveal the Great Mystery. Abraham is not mentioned even once. Why do you suppose that is so? Could it be that we do not look for a « city whose builder and maker is God »? Could it be, because our hope does not have anything to do with the earth? The omission of words and phrases can speak volumes. Search and See.
The earthly hope is associated with Christ as the Messiah and the Son of Man and is likened to the lightening, Mat. 24:27. It is set forth in innumerable Bible passages. It is the hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom, i.e that Christ shall return as King and is therefore the hope of the book of the Acts. Acts 1:11, 3:19 — 20, 28:20. It's realization is dependent on the repentance of Israel. It is set forth by Paul in:
This was nothing new for it was foretold in Isaiah 65:1, 2. The healing, tongues, and ministry of angels which mark the book of the Acts were consistent with this earthly hope of the Kingdom. When the Jews rejected the Kingdom in Acts 28:23 — 27, the earthly Kingdom was postponed. The signs and wonders associated with the Kingdom continued all the way through the book of Acts, even to Acts 28:3 — 6, where Paul was bitten by a viper without harm. In Acts 28:17 Paul who was bound for Israel (v.20) once again gathered the Jews again to testify nothing more than —
Paul tried to persuade Israel for the last time out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets. Then his final pronouncement:
Paul's first seven books were concerning this Kingdom. It included 1, 2 Cor. 1, 2 Thess. Romans, Galatians, Hebrews. While the Kingdom was in view, the signs and wonders were associated with it and the Gentiles were grafted in as wild olive branches to provoke them to jealousy. This grafting in to provoke Israel to jealousy was nothing new. It was foretold by Moses and Isaiah.
After the last pronouncement of blindness in Acts 28, a new and glorious hope was given to Paul, which is Mystery. It involves a group of believers whose hope is the highest of heavens. This hope was never before known, but hidden in God, till revealed to Paul. His prayer throughout was for the Saints to know « what is the hope of His calling », for this was a new hope never before revealed to the Old Testament Prophets.
This gospel of the Glory is proclaimed by Paul in his prison letters. It imparts the ascension power of Christ to the faithful believer, setting him in Christ far above all heavens in the over-heavenly places and blessing him there with every spiritual blessing. It calls him to the privilege of knowing the fellowship of Christ's sufferings and sets before him a hope consistent with the super heavenly nature of His calling. The seven-fold unity of the Spirit embraces this hope, to which the eyes of our hearts have to be enlightened (Eph. 4:4, 1:18). It is layed up for us in heaven and we must not be moved away from it, for it is the hope of Glory that we shall be manifested in Christ in Glory (Col. 1:5, 23, 27, 3:4). This appearing of our Great God and Saviour is called the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). When He appears. He will change our bodies of humiliation and fashion them like unto His body of Glory (Phil. 3:20 — 21). If we love His appearing we shall receive a prize — the crown of righteousness (Phil. 3:14 — 15, 2 Tim. 4:8, 18). There are no voices, signs or trumpets associated with this hope. As the Churches do not proclaim it, we must be prepared for rejection and isolation and be ready to endure all things in holding fast to it. Christ Jesus our Head will never forsake us.
Something to ponder: This hope is very spiritual and requires more faith than any of the other hopes before. The City of Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven has a description of it in Rev. 21. We do not have a description of « far above all », the over-heavenly places, except for the types and shadows of the holy of holies recorded in the O.T. The books written to those who embrace the Mystery and the hope of over-heavenly places truly are the Saints and faithful (full of faith) in Christ Jesus.
Which is your hope?
The above, though it may be new to you, is but elementary to those who realize what it means to be a member of the body of which christ is head.