How to Prepare for Christ's Coming
1 Thessalonians 4:15 "For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep."
I understand by undertaking the exposition of a text that is pregnant with prophetic truths, my readers will, for the most part, have their heels dug in deep to defend their prophetic predispositions. For this reason, my dear readers, if you deem preparation for hard times valuable, you must be willing to lay aside for a moment previously held beliefs on the outside chance they are incorrect. Why? Because the only way to freedom from error is a teachable spirit. I have taken this route times without a number. If a proud man such as I can go that way, by the grace of God, anyone can.
There are things to consider. 1) I am very familiar with all the teachings, which in and of itself does not make you or me correct. 2) Big trouble is coming, and will we be prepared? 3) What is most important, that we hold to our previously held position or we be prepared? 4) Do we understand the text according to what we want to hear or by what the text says?
This teaching will take some weeks, so please don't rush it,
but be patient, settle down and wait for my complete reasoning.
My opening verse, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, states that some will be alive and remain until the coming of the Lord. When this coming of the Lord takes place depends on more but must include our present context. For example, some will reason that going up and immediately descending is unreasonable and, therefore, should not be considered. I wish all such reasonings were swept away for conclusions based on the Apostle's point for writing the letter.
A literal rendering of Revelation is necessary to avoid allegories (A hidden meaning behind a story) that never disclose an author's intentions. The only allegories in the Bible are the parables, which our Lord explained in the text; there are no others. Therefore, anyone who interprets Revelation allegorically forces his thoughts upon the reader.
Revelation 20:4-6 "Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years."
Some will be alive at the Lord's coming, and some will be raised from the dead. The key to all these details is the who, what, when, how, and why these things happen.
Please, do not be too quick to draw too many conclusions, but wait until the end of the series.
Consider the statements from the previous text. 1) Following the end of The Great Tribulation, the coming of Christ, the doom of the beast and false prophet, Satan bound, judgment thrones belong to them (not explicitly named). 2) The martyred for Christ by not taking the mark of the beast reigned for a thousand years. 3) The rest of the dead did not come to life for a thousand years. 4) And very important, this is the first resurrection. 5) And equally important, blessed, and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection. 6) And most significant, the second death has no power over these. 7) The second time stated there is a thousand-year reign, which fulfills the Old Testament prophecies and promises of a Davidic kingdom.
In conclusion of this post alone, 1) The martyred do not survive the tribulation. 2) The rest of the dead do not participate in the first resurrection; therefore, the second death has power over them. 3) Anyone not participating in the first resurrection will not be eligible to avoid the second death. Therefore, and most importantly, all previous saints must participate in the first resurrection. 4) All who participate in the first resurrection will be priests of God and reign with Christ. 5) The first resurrection is for all the redeemed because any left out will end in the lake of fire.
Please note that my conclusions are only based on the texts supplied. There will be subsequent conclusions to follow.
The final question is, are you prepared to give your life for Christ?