David Jeremiah - A Great Day
In all of his mansions, there's not room big enough for all of his awards. Sir Paul McCartney may go down in history as the greatest musician of all time, a founding member of the Beatles, and a man who became, as the Guinness Book of Records puts it, "the planet's most honored composer and performer in music". His fans know it's been a rough ride for him. Some of his hardest days were after the Beatles broke up. I mean, what do you do after you're in the Beatles? He went to a dark place. He stayed in his Scottish home smoking pot and getting drunk, and he lost all hope. After all, how do you follow the Beatles, their life after that kind of a ride?
McCartney's turnaround started when the chords of a song came to him, one he'd worked on from time to time. And the music made him feel optimistic and he worked it into a song for his children. He called the song "Great Day," and the lyrics talked about a future day that was coming. And it was going to be a great day, and it would be here in a short time; and it was something to look forward to, something to celebrate.
Now, before you think McCartney had a spiritual experience, he explained, "I like the idea of a song saying that help is coming and there's a bright light on the horizon. I have got absolutely no evidence for this, but I like to believe it. It helps to lift my spirits". He didn't realize how close he was to the truth because there is a great day coming and it won't be long, and there's a bright light on the horizon and we have plenty of evidence for it and we have biblical evidence and, boy, does it lift our spirits.
Jesus Christ is coming back, and he's coming back soon. Frankly, as you look out at the world today and you're looking for answers and hope and solutions, that's about the only one that you can really count on. One day Jesus is going to come back and set this all straight, and he will be the king of the earth and there will be no craziness like we're going through right now. Can I get a witness to that? Zephaniah 1:14 says, "The great day of the Lord is near; it is near, and it hastens quickly".
The apostle Paul talked about it. He said, "Which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day in his return. Not to me only but to all those looking forward to his coming back again". It's a great day that we're looking forward to; and this is a message about that day, a day of the rapture. The exact date is already circled on God's calendar. Did you know that? We aren't privy to that. We don't know what day it is, but we know there is a day and it's already settled in the heart of God. That day will come as surely as any day that's marked on your calendar.
Now, the rapture is an event in the impending future when all of us living or deceased who have put our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life will be suddenly caught up from this earth into the heavens and will be reunited with loved ones who have preceded us in death. We'll be met by the Lord himself who's going to usher us into heaven and we're going to live in perfect fellowship with him forever, and the major truth concerning that coming is found in three passages in the Bible. There's a chapter in this new book that I've written called "The Rule of Three," and here are those three passages.
First of all, John 14; secondly, 1 Thessalonians 4; and thirdly, 1 Corinthians 15. If you want to know about the rapture, those are the three passages you need to know аbout: John 14, 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15. Now, John 14 presents our Lord's statement about the many mansions in heaven. You know that. "In my Father's house are many mansions; and if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also". According to the Scripture, the return of the Lord will be announced by three distinct and spectacular sounds. He is coming back, but he won't sneak in to town. He's coming back with some announcements. First of all, the sound of the Lord's command.
1 Thessalonians says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout". The Greek word used to describe the Lord's shout is that of a command of a military leader who comes out of his tent and issues a command to his soldiers. The sound of the Lord's command, and then the Bible says accompanying the sound of the Lord's command is the sound of Michael's voice. "With the voice of the archangel," says the Scripture. Now, ringing out along with the Lord's command will be the thunderous voice of the archangel. We know from Scripture just who that is. He is Michael, the only archangel named in the Bible and the chief of all of the angels. And then there's the sound of the trumpet.
Now, Paul refers to this in Corinthians as the last trumpet. When the rapture trumpet blows, the blast will surround the earth like an echo chamber reverberating into the soul of every ascending Christian. It will be loud enough to wake up the dead literally. When you hear the last trump and the shout of the Lord and the sound of Michael's voice, the rapture is happening. And, you know, I believe, I've said this. I've said this all along, that I believe that I could be alive when the rapture happens. I hope you believe that too. We're supposed to believe that. I really believe it, and every day that I get up and read the newspaper I think it's getting more true than it's ever been. I think he is getting ready to come back.
I can't prove that. I don't have any dates. I'm not going to do any crazy thing like telling you I know when it's going to happen, but we are in the season. We may not be at the moment, but we're in the season. Are we not? The Lord's coming back; and when he does he's going to announce his coming, his return. You know, Winston Churchill has always been one of my favorite historic characters, and he incorporated the meaning of the trumpet into his funeral service. I remember reading this. It's really cool. He arranged for a trumpeter to sound the last post or taps, as we know it, from the highest reaches of St. Paul's Cathedral. The long slow ballad echoed mournfully throughout the ancient church, and the dirge was a ruthless reminder that Britain's hero had finally been conquered by death.
As the last sorrowful note faded, a second trumpeter suddenly sounded revelry high from another gallery. This too was arranged by Churchill. The great statesman wanted the somber call asleep to be followed by a more triumphant call to arise. For all who perish before the return of the Lord, our lives will follow a similar pattern. We will sleep, but at the rapture the trumpet blast will be a revelry calling us to awaken and we'll go on up. So that's the return.
Now, notice the second part of all of this is the Resurrection. First, Jesus is coming back, and then the second part is the Resurrection. 1 Thessalonians 4 says this: "We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. The dead in Christ will rise first". When Christ descends from heaven with a shout, he will begin by summoning to himself all of those who are asleep. Now, that is not a description of the people at 11 o'clock in my church service, all those who are asleep. This is a description of everybody who has died. Paul's terminology, those who are asleep, is a New Testament language that identifies Christians who have died.
Did you know that the Bible writers never used the word sleep to describe the death of an unbeliever? Only Christians are allowed to use that term for their death, and it's in the Bible. Let me just show you where it is. "'And David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep and was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.' And Christ is risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep".
When Christians die, it's like they are slumbering peacefully in a place of rest ready to be awakened at the return of the Lord; and the words have great importance for they convey the idea that for a Christian death is not a tragic finality, it's a temporary sleep. We go in the grave awaiting for that day when the call of the angel and the voice of the Lord and the trumpet of God is going to wake us up, and the Bible teaches that those who are sleeping in Jesus will not be left out of the rapture. Here's what happened, y'all. Paul and his associate went to Thessalonica to teach, and they were only there for a very short time. You can read about this in Acts 17. And so they had started to teach about the rapture and about the coming of the Lord, but they had to leave before they were finished.
So the Thessalonians, they were all jazzed up about Jesus coming back. But they had already lost some of their parents, they had lost some of their loved ones, their siblings and there was no instructions about them. "What about them? Are they going to be left out of the rapture"? So when Paul wrote back to them, he said, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep". And he gives us all this information. Because those who are asleep aren't left out, they take preeminence over everybody else. They go up first before anybody else is raptured.
Somebody told me because they got 6 feet further to go. Right? I don't know if that's true or not, but anyway, if I'm still alive, listen to this, if I'm still alive when Jesus comes back, I will not go to heaven before my mom and dad who are in the graves in Cedarville, Ohio where they are buried. They'll be caught up first, and then I will be caught up to be with them, and then together we'll go into heaven. Won't that be something? You know, I'll get to see the real heaven with my parents. And do you know what we do when we see stuff that we really love? We high-five people. Don't we? A lot of high five going on when we go to heaven. Amen?
Now, there's one little thing that we have to talk about in the meantime, and that's the redemption. So let me read 1 Corinthians 15, which is one of the ancillary passages. "So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body". Here is some wonderful news. At some point in the future, you get to upgrade your body to one that is a top of the line in every respect. You are going to have, I call this particular thing the extreme makeover. We're going to all get an extreme makeover. Amen?
As you get older, you appreciate that more. Can I get a witness? Yeah. 'Cause more things ain't working that used to work, right? The rapture is going to spark this renaissance across the globe. Christians who have died will live again and not only in a spiritual sense but physically too. These words apply not only to those who will be resurrected at the rapture but those of us who are alive are going to get a new body too. Before we get to heaven, we're going to be transformed and the Bible says in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Everything that happens to a resurrected body is going to happen to a caught-up-to-heaven body, and specifically I want to tell you six things about this that will answer a bunch of your questions.
Number one, our new bodies will be incapable of sickness or death. Now, that's a hallelujah moment right there. Right. How many of you know our present bodies wear out and they grow old but our resurrection bodies will have no capacity for deterioration or decay? Your new body will be designed for eternity. It will not be subject to accident, disease, aging, or death. It will be pain-free and disease-free. It will never die. It will outlive the stars. Amen?
Number one. And then the Bible teaches us that our new bodies will be identical to the body that Jesus had when he was resurrected. The Bible says, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ," now watch this, "who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself". Now, what does that mean, that we're going to have a body like Jesus? How would you try to figure that out? What kind of research would you do to find out what kind of body? Well, if you could find some place that would tell you what Jesus's body was like, you'd study Jesus's body and say, "If my body is going to be like his, here's...my body is going to be..."
Guess what? The Bible is got a bunch of research about that. The body of Christ was touchable. It wasn't some ghostlike thing, you know, floating around. That's what I hear people think sometimes. Jesus is going to be in some sort of apparition. No. Do you remember that Thomas who had a hard time believing that Jesus was really risen from the dead Jesus said to him, "Thomas, reach here your finger, and see my hands, and reach your hand and put it into my side. And do not be unbelieving but believing". Bodies are tangible and touchable and huggable. When you get to heaven, you can hug each other. Is that good? Yeah. Right.
Now, here's the third one. This is probably the most asked question that I ever get about this. Our new bodies will be identifiable by all who knew us on earth. People ask me all the time, "Will people know me in heaven? Will my parents know me as their son? Will I know my parents as my parents? Will I know my friends I've been friends with down here"? The Bible is very clear in its answer to this question. After the Resurrection, Jesus knew his disciples and they knew him. They recognized the glorified Jesus is the very same one they had known before his death, and they were so convinced of his identity that they all went to their death proclaiming the reality of the message of everlasting life.
This wasn't just something they wanted to believe, something they hope was true. They knew it was so true that they were willing to give up their lives and proclaim the message. They died because of their preaching about the Resurrection. So when you get to heaven, you're going to know everybody you've known down here. It's impossible for me to believe that our memories in heaven are going to be worse than they are here. You know, we all think about people. You get in front of somebody and said, "You remember me"? And maybe you should remember them, but for all the world you don't remember them. That will never happen to you in heaven. You will always know the people.
You know, when Moses and Elijah appeared out of heaven to stand with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples instinctively recognized Moses and Elijah as real people. They knew them. And when Jesus described heaven in Matthew 8:11, listen to these words. "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven". We're going to know people in heaven. So that's good news.
Number four, our new bodies will be illumined in brilliance. In Revelation 21 we're told that the entire city of New Jerusalem will be luminescent. In other words, brightly illumined by the light that radiates from Christ. The Bible says there will be no need for the sun or the moon in heaven because Jesus Christ will be all the light you will need. He will light up heaven. Can you get that? Now, Daniel 12:3 says that resurrected saints will "shine like the brightness of the firmament". The glory of the Lord Jesus in his glorious body is a pattern for the glory we will have in our bodies. When we are resurrected from the grave, we're going to shine. We're going to have a luminescence to us.
And then the Bible teaches us also that our new bodies will have infinite power. Paul writes about this. He says our bodies are sown in weakness, and they're raised in power. We will be buried in weakness. How many of you know a dead body has no strength or power? It can't lift a finger. But when we come out of the grave, we will have so much energy we'll think a lightning bolt has supercharged us with electricity. Our resurrection bodies will be incredible, full of enthusiastic power, capable of extraordinary functions. And when you read about the Lord Jesus after his resurrection, he could enter sealed rooms without ever going through the door. You remember that?
"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" I don't know what that all means, but I have a feeling that we won't get caught in traffic in heaven. I'm pretty sure of that. I think we can think where we want to be and we'll be there. You won't have to go through the agony that oftentimes is associated with travel.
And then finally, our new bodies will be incredibly suited for heaven and for eternity. God is going to give us a new real body like the ones we have now but completely made over and transformed, no longer governed by the appetites of the flesh, listen to this, but governed by the appetites of the Spirit. That is the hope we cling to as followers of Jesus Christ. The rapture assures us that death is not the end of life; it's the beginning of a new existence in our new, perfect, glorious body. Turn to your neighbor and say, "I'm getting a new body". Amen. Amen.
Okay. Now, we're moving through this. Remember now here's the outline, here's the structure. First Jesus returns, then those who have died in Christ are resurrected, and then everybody is changed so that they're ready to go to heaven. And we've already covered that. Now comes the rapture itself. "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. Therefore comfort one another with these words".
The Bible says that in a nanosecond the Lord will call all believers to himself. We will simply vanish from the earth. No one who has confessed Christ as Lord will be left behind. We got the return, the Resurrection, the redemption, the Rapture, and then the reunion. It says in verse 17 in 1 Thessalonians 4, "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". There are actually three reunions. I've told you about them. The reunion of bodies and souls, coming back together; the reunion of dead believers with living believers; and the reunion of all believers with their Lord. That's the rapture. He's coming back. We're going to be raised up, we're going to have our bodies changed to be like the risen body of the Lord Jesus, and then we're going to meet our loved ones in the air and together we're going to go to heaven with Jesus Christ as our leader and guide.
Have you made your reservation? Are you ready to go to heaven? Here's what you must do. You must confess your sin. You must tell the Lord that you know you have failed him and you're a sinner. You say, "Well, I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to humble..." If you won't do that, you can't be saved 'cause... my dad used to say, when he was a pastor, he said, "You know, David, the hardest thing I have among my people? I have to get people lost before I can get them saved 'cause some people don't want to be lost". Well, if you don't know Jesus Christ, if you've never had your sins forgiven the Bible says you are lost, but you don't have to stay that way. Because if you will say, "Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. I know I need to be saved. Please come and forgive me of my sin". He will come and take up his residence within you and you will be in heaven and I will see you someday in glory.