Chapter 11: The Rapture of the “Body of Believers”

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A Clear Signal You Must Not Miss

What will be one of the most visible signs of the Messiahs coming? Most Biblical students agree that the Book of Daniel teaches that there will be a period known as the tribulation period in which the Antichrist, the prince of the earth, will reign for 7 years. Then the Messiah, the Prince, shall come. Listen to Daniel’s prophecy.

Daniel 9:24-27 (NKJ)

24 “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”

The final seven weeks in verse 25 (read as 7 years) are referred to as the Great Tribulation. Most also agree that this 7-year period will probably be preceded by the rapture of the “Church,” the body of believers. (I capitalize “Church,” not because it ranks with the Deity, but because there is only one Church although there are many churches). Listen to the words of Jesus as He taught his disciples what was going to happen.

Luke 17:34-37 (NKJ)

34 “I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.
35 “Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.
36 “Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”
37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

The question is not “whether the Church will be raptured,” but exactly when it will occur. Listen to God’s word regarding when it will occur.

Matthew 24:42 (NKJ)

42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

The answer to when the Church will be raptured is “you do not know.” Now the apostle Paul explains both the rapture and the resurrection of the dead in more detail.

1 Corinthians 15:35-57 (NKJ)

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?”
36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.
37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain– perhaps wheat or some other grain.
38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul, in a different letter, makes the same point again.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 (NKJ)

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
16 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.
17 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 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (NKJ)

1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

These verses describe the circumstance of the resurrection of the Body of Believers who have died and the rapture of those believers who are alive when the trumpet sounds. When one is taken and the other is left, the one taken will have confessed their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Redeemer and they will by the grace of God have entered into a saving relationship with Him.

There are other instances in the Bible in which individuals have been taken up to be with the Lord. Listen.

2 Kings 2:1-12 (NKJ)

1 And it came to pass, when the LORD was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.
3 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
4 Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they came to Jericho.
5 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.
8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more…

When you read the letters of Paul, you are amazed at his wisdom and insight. Read this excerpt and understand why Paul had insights into God’s will for our lives.

2 Corinthians 12:2-5 (NKJ)

2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago– whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows– such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I know such a man– whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows–
4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.

Paul was speaking of himself. He was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words. Is it any wonder that God used him in such a powerful way?

Another rapture of believers is prophesied. We will study more thoroughly the topic “two witnesses” who die during the tribulation and are raised again at the end of the tribulation. Listen to the account of their ministry.

Revelation 11:3-12 (NKJ)

3 “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.
5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.
6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
7 Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.

“They ascended to heaven in a cloud.” That is a “rapture” event. The single event that was of most significance to believers is the rapture of our Lord and Savior. Listen to the account of His ascendancy to heaven.

Acts 1:7-11 (NKJ)

7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

When some are taken up into heaven, what about those that are left? Let’s focus on “not being left.” What must one do to be assured of ascendancy? The choice is a personal one, made independently by each person. Salvation is not a “team” effort. Your record is “yours.” Listen to the Scriptures about how personal the choice is and where the responsibility lies

1 Chronicles 28:9 (NKJ)

9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

2 Chronicles 15:1-2 (NKJ)

1 Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded.
2 …”Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

Psalm 73:27-28 (NKJ)

27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; you have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.

Psalm 145:17-19 (NKJ)

17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; he also will hear their cry and save them.

Isaiah 55:6-9 (NKJ)

6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Hosea 6:1 (NKJ)

1 Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.

There are going to be some very surprised “Christians,” I suspect, when the rapture of the Body of Believers, the true Church, occurs. Why? They will be surprised because they have mistakenly relied upon “membership in a local church” and all of the busy activities of the church as a means to salvation. These are very good people, in terms of morals and attitudes, usually, but their comfort is in “ritual” and their personal relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is either non-existent or impotent.

If it is non-existent, then they simply have mistaken church membership, attendance, participation, tithes and offerings as acts of “merit” which will be rewarded. If it is impotent, then their lives simply do not bear “fruit.” They are like the fig tree that takes up space but yields nothing or worse yet they say they are a fig tree and yet, their life yields olives. Listen very carefully to the word of God.

Matthew 7:13-29 (NKJ)

13″Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,
29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The last words you and I want to ever hear are…
“… I never knew you; depart from Me…”
Does your life bear fruit? The one “measuring stick” which I feel confirms that the Holy Spirit dwells in you is described by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJ)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Consider memorizing this list of the “fruits of the Spirit.” You will have to remember “love, joy and peace” on your own but try using this mnemonic device for the others. Think, “package figs,” but visualize it as, PKG FGS. Then use the letters PKG FGS to memorize the list of fruits. I.e., Patience, (I know it says longsuffering, but that means patience), Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self control. PKG FGS.

The reason you should memorize that list is because those are the fruits of the Spirit, the evidence of the Holy Spirit in you. Which of us would like the opposite of those terms to characterize our life? Just start naming the opposite of those words. Love/hate, joy/depression and so on and you will get the point. When does your life become “overcome” by the opposite terms? Are you impatient, unkind, not good, unfaithful, not gentle and lacking in self control? Are you unloving, not joyful and not at peace?

Of course we all suffer from moments of lapse, but it is never God’s will that we fail to enjoy the fruits of the Spirit. God calls us to be perfect. Listen to the words of the prophet Samuel.

2 Samuel 22:31-33 (NKJ)

31 As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; he is a shield to all who trust in Him.
32 “For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
33 God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.

Does God make your way perfect? I doubt you or I think our way is perfect. But, when you are sensing that you are completely within His will, don’t you feel His presence, His perfection in you? We can take no credit for that feeling, for it is His Spirit in us that rescues us from the impulses of the flesh. We are in the flesh until we die or until we are raptured. The battle between our flesh, which will perish, and our spirit which will endure forever continues, moment by moment as long as we remain in this “testing ground” called earth.

The test is but for a moment because three score and ten years is as nothing, it is as a vapor, in terms of eternity. Yet this “vapor” is all we have to work with. It seems to us to be a big deal. We can’t, in this body, get a grip on the eternal existence that we can only visualize.

God has placed His truth deep in our hearts. You know He exists, that He created everything that was made, including you and me and even though we can not reduce it to a level of understanding that will leave us without questions, we can believe. Our faith will sustain us and His grace and mercy will save us.

Perfection will elude us as long as we are in the flesh. The closest thing to perfection available is His Spirit, His perfection, in us. We die to “self” that we might live in the Spirit. His Spirit witnesses to our spirit. We crucify the flesh as it were, that the spirit within us might live, with abundance. Listen to the words that God gave to King David for our benefit.

Psalm 19:7-14 (NKJ)

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

The Word of God is an astounding treasure of love, strength and wisdom. This Psalm and hundreds of others are…

“… a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119:105)

If you feel you are walking in darkness, unguided by God, it is because you have not opened your heart to Him. God wants to place His Spirit in you and to have your spirit be “as one” with Him. This marriage, becoming as one, is not forced upon you.

God has extended His hand, repeatedly, but He will not enter into a relationship with an infidel, sinners like you and me. Since we can not atone for our sin, nor can the sacrifice of bulls and goats atone for our sin, the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, is the only means of salvation. Only He can present us to the Father, blameless. Your faith in the fact of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is the “enabling factor” that allows God’s grace to be present in you. If what I just said is true, you had better get to know Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, very quickly. There is no other means to salvation because there is only one Son of God, only One who has the power to cleanse you and only One who will judge you. The God you and I love and worship has sent Him to us.

I realize that when I say “God” in the context of His Spirit in you, I mean the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Chapter 39, “The Holy Spirit” is more fully considered. It is His Spirit in you that lifts you into the presence of the Father. But, your flesh must die, daily, for your spirit and His Spirit to function as One. Listen to these wonderful verses.

Galatians 2:20-21 (NKJ)

20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
21 “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

First, memorize verse 20, then as a Jew understand verse 21. Do you feel you have achieved righteousness as a result of your obedience to the Law? Has the Law not become the straight edge by which you are measured? Is your sin still with you or has it been “covered” by sacrifice? You are God’s chosen people. It is to you to whom He revealed Himself and it is upon your history, your prophets that we stand. Did the Messiah die in vain? No, many will follow Him but the choice is yours.

These questions are intended to provoke, yes, but they are asked in love and out of a sense of desperation. How can I, a Gentile, grafted into the branch not seek your eternal salvation? If your prophets are my guides and if their prophecy is true, the One to whom they point, with such precision has come. If the Jewish nation has delayed in acknowledging His mission of mercy, His love for God’s chosen people, then it is only because God willed that it be so, allowing the Gentiles to enter into His presence.

In this chapter, we are concerned with the rapture of the Body of Believers, the one true Church. It will either include you, as a believer, or it will not. If it does not, signs like the rebuilding of the Temple are going to become increasingly important to you. Doesn’t prophecy fulfilled motivate you? Isn’t it a wonderful fact that God sent His Word to His prophets and we can now witness all of the times in which prophecy was fulfilled. It is as though we could peek behind the curtain of uncertainty and see what was going on backstage. We have been invited into the presence of the Creator, the orchestrator of the history of man on earth. He has revealed Himself to us.

Listen to how Jesus explains the intimacy that God intends for His children.

John 15:1-26 (NKJ)

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
17 “These things I command you, that you love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
23 “He who hates Me hates My Father also.
24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.
25 “But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Jesus tells us many wonderful truths here, but notice that we are called “friends,” no longer servants, but friends. And now, our Messiah says that He will send the Helper, the Holy Spirit in you, who proceeds from the Father. The Trinity is summarized in verse 26.

Notice that Jesus says that if they persecuted Him, they will persecute His followers. Following Jesus, with dedication and enthusiasm will not be “easy.” It will be glorious and exciting but many that say they love you, in your state of unforgiven sinfulness, will hate you because of your faith in Jesus. Your faith will offend. The scriptures assure you of that. You will, in that faith, send off signals of your rebirth that are unmistakable. You will change. You will exchange your righteousness for His. Your friends and family will see your joy. Listen.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NKJ)

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

You will be the aroma of life to some, the aroma of death to others. Why? It is because you will be changed, forever. Your flesh, even while you live, will die. The Spirit within you will live, lifting you from the heaviness of the flesh. The battle for your soul will continue for a while, but Satan can never defeat the Holy Spirit in you. In time, you will become more and more attune to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in you. Listen.

Romans 8:22-28 (NKJ)

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Do you not see what happens when you commit your soul to the Father and accept the empowerment of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit Himself makes intercession for you, with groanings, which cannot be uttered. He makes intercession for you, according to the will of God. Do you now feel that is true, in your present condition? Notice verse 23. We have the “first fruits” of the Spirit. Jesus, the Christ is the first fruit of the Spirit of God. It is Jesus who is the “only begotten Son of God.” It is He who broke the barrier of death and showed us His resurrected Self. It is He who paid the price for our sins. It is His mind “in us” that we seek. Listen.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (NKJ)

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

I am completely unworthy as a spokesperson to you. Fortunately, it does not matter. God can use anyone to accomplish His will, even a Gentile sinner. He has given me access to the “mind of Christ.” My constant prayer in this endeavor is to not miss His will and to know that I am His “good and faithful servant,” serving, not leading. It is He who leads. It is our magnificent pleasure to be His servant. We stand in the court of the King at His invitation, and in the worthiness of the Messiah, not our own. It is in His power, His wisdom, in which we stand, knowing that we are as nothing, apart from Him. Listen.

John 16:13-15 (NKJ)

13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
15 “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

I will make one final point about your decision to either join the “Body of Believers” or not. The decision is yours, not anyone else’s. You stand completely alone before your Judge. You will not be able to blame anyone for your decisions. You stand alone, completely alone, before God, even this moment. You will be held accountable. Listen to these scriptures.

Psalm 62:12 (NKJ)

12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; for You render to each one according to his work.

Proverbs 24:10-12 (NKJ)

10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

Zechariah 13:9 (NKJ)

9 …They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Matthew 16:27 (NKJ)

27 “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Romans 2:5-11 (NKJ)

5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:
7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;
8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness– indignation and wrath,
9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;
10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
11 For there is no partiality with God.

Romans 12:3-5 (NKJ)

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

1 Corinthians 3:13 (NKJ)

13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

1 Corinthians 4:5 (NKJ)

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

1 Corinthians 7:17 (NKJ)

17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk…

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NKJ)

7 … the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJ)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Galatians 6:4-5 (NKJ)

4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5 For each one shall bear his own load.

Ephesians 4:7 (NKJ)

7 …to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Revelation 20:13 (NKJ)

13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

If you suspect that you may feel “lonely” in making this decision, you are correct. If you want to commune with God, to confess your sins, to beg for forgiveness, to pour out your heart to Him, you will find that He awaits. Not necessarily in a synagogue or church, but perhaps by the sea or on a mountain or in the privacy of your back yard. Jesus taught many important truths, but perhaps the one I am going to offer here, is what you need to hear. Listen.

Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJ)

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Revelation 3:15-21 (NKJ)

15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’– and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked–
18 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

If the rapture occurs while you are still alive, it will be an unmistakable sign to you, one more prophecy fulfilled. If you are “left behind,” do not accept The Mark of the Beast. That decision will shape your eternal future. The situation will be calamitous. You may feel that you will be up to handling that trial. You will only do so in the strength and grace of God and I pray that is the case.

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