Taken from "Up, Up and Away!" --by R.B. Yerby, 1976.

( A Humorous Look at a Serious Subject )...

The account of my efforts to straighten out my family regarding events at the end of time is very interesting. It all happened one evening when we were sitting around the living room, my wife, my four children and I. For some time I had been concerned about their unwillingness to devote the majority of their time to a study of end-time doctrines.

"What do you think is going to happen at the end of time?" I casually asked one of my daughters.

"I think the Lord is coming back to earth to judge the quick and the dead, Daddy," she replied, barely looking up from her sewing.

"Yes, yes," I replied impatiently, "but what about the details?"

"Well, the angels said He'd come again in the same manner in which He left, and since he went from earth to heaven at that time, I believe He's coming from heaven to earth this time."

"Oh, now I see where you're confused," I said, with a sigh of relief. "That's at his second coming. I'm referring to his one-and-a half coming."

"His what?" asked my wife.

"You know, I said, with a touch of irritation. "When He comes at the Secret Rapture. This book I'm reading says only the Christians know about that coming of the Lord. It's all in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17."

"That 16th verse says He'll come with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel and with the trumpet of God," my wife said with a yawn. "How could an event that noisy be kept a secret?"

"It's because it all happens so fast," I protested. "The book quotes 1 Corinthians 15:52 which says it happens in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. After that there's a seven-year period called the Great Tribulation when the people who are left on the earth have to go through all those horrible things in Revelation 6 through 19."

"I thought you said all those horrible things happen after the last trumpet, Daddy," my second daughter said.

"That's right, that's right," I said excitedly.

"But seven more trumpets sound during those chapters in Revelation that you say take place after the last trumpet," she replied with a puzzled look.

"Okay, I said, "Let's forget about the trumpets and whether it's a secret or not. That's probably too deep for you. Let me show you how the Rapture works. There are going to be two in a bed, or grinding together, or in the field, and the one will be taken and the other will be left. The one that's taken goes to be with the Lord and the other is left to go through the seven years."

"I read about that in Luke 17:34-36," my wife said, "but a few verses before that, it said it would be the same as when Noah entered the ark and when Lot left Sodom."

"That's it," I said. "Noah and Lot were taken out and the others remained."

"Yes, dear," she replied, "but if it's going to be like it was then, Luke says those that remained were all destroyed, not consigned to seven years of hardship."

"You have the same problem with 1 Thessalonians 4, Daddy," my third daughter said. "You said the taking away of the church is described in verses 16 and 17 but, as I recall, just a few verses later it says sudden destruction comes upon those who are left. And sudden destruction sounds a lot different to me than seven years of suffering."

"I never could see where it says in which direction the believers go with the Lord after meeting Him in the air," my wife said. "To me it's always been the same as if an important person were coming to visit our city and the mayor and other officials met him at the airport to escort him downtown. It looks to me as if the Christians are meeting the Lord to escort Him back to earth."

A few moments of silence passed while I regrouped. Then I returned to the attack.

"What about the four resurrections that are coming?" I said with a confident smile.

The five members of my family exchanged anxious glances.

"Now get this," I said, leaning forward in my chair. "This is a very important doctrine. You've got to be right on the resurrections or you're nowhere. Now here's the way it's going to be, right out of the books I've read. First, when Christ comes for the church there's the resurrection of all the believers of history--right?"

They nodded in tentative agreement.

"Then, seven years later there's the resurrection of those new believers, who were somehow converted after the church and the Holy Spirit were gone, and who were killed during the Great Tribulation. You've got to get them out of the ground to enjoy the Millennium that follows--right?"

This time there were no nods of agreement, and I realized with some disappointment that it was getting too deep again for their shallow spiritual understanding. But I plunged on; they had to learn sound doctrine.

"Next is the third resurrection, this time of those mortals, believers, who die on earth during the Millennium. You've got to get them out of the ground to enjoy eternity--right?" Again only hopeless confusion on their faces.

"And finally," I said in triumph, "the fourth resurrection is necessary to resurrect all the wicked of all time for condemnation.

I sat back to relish their enlightenment. I knew I had stuck to just what the books said, and that it would bear fruit.

"I think there are only two resurrections, Daddy," one of my daughters said cautiously. "First, the spiritual resurrection or new birth that makes us alive in Christ after being dead in sin, like it says in Romans 6:13 and the first five verses of Ephesians 2, and second, the general resurrection at the end of time when all the saved and unsaved who ever lived will be raised together at the same time."

"That's true, dear," my wife added. "John 5:24-29 speaks of one resurrection which even 1,900 years ago was a present one, when some of those who are spiritually dead hear the voice of the Son of God and receive eternal life, and then of another resurrection, sometime in the future, when all shall hear His voice and come forth, some to life and some to condemnation."

"Yes Daddy," another irritating voice said. "In John 11:24 Martha told Jesus she knew her brother would rise in the resurrection at the last day but you said he'd rise at the Rapture which you say takes place 1,007 years before the last day."

"I knew you people wouldn't be able to understand these things!" I said with great agitation. "How can you refute the clear statements of all the books and commentaries I've read? Listen, when I became a Christian I believed what people told me, and the books they gave me, and I wasn't argumentative like you are."

There was silence about the space of half a minute. Then my little boy apprehensively raised his hand and I graciously encouraged him to speak.

"Did you say there were mortals living on earth during the Millennium, sir?" he asked hesitantly.

"Yes, my boy," I said tenderly. "Let me tell you what the books say. At the start of the 1,000 years the unbelievers who survive the Great Tribulation are cast off the earth and the surviving believers inherit the Millennial Kingdom, and they live and prosper on a peaceful earth." "And are they mortal people just like us, sir?"

"Yes, my boy," I said warmly, "just like us."

"But, Mom," he said, "didn't you tell me flesh and blood can't inherit the kingdom of God?"

"Yes, dear," she replied. "1 Corinthians 15:50."

I gnashed my teeth, ignoring repeated warnings from my dentist, and resolved to start again from the beginning.

"Look," I said, after my breathing returned to normal, "Let's get down to basics. You've got to understand that God has two people and you've got to keep them apart. That's why the Church goes up in the Rapture, so that those Scriptures that apply only to the Jews, like almost all of Revelation after Chapter 5, can work themselves out. God started out working with the Jews and His Son came to sit on old King David's throne in Jerusalem but when the Jews surprised God by rejecting Jesus, God had to change His plans and allow Jesus to be crucified. Then God set up the Church to fill in the gap between the first and second coming of Christ. At the second coming, Christ will finally sit on David's throne."

"I don't understand about God having two different people," one of my stubborn daughters said. "There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, it says in Romans 10:12."

Another said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, Galatians 3:28."

When no similar insolence was forthcoming from my son I turned my gaze on him. He had been thinking hard, and finally he turned to his mother and asked, "Mom, what was that about the wall being broken down?"

"That's Ephesians 2:14-16, dear," she said, smiling sweetly at him. "It tells how the Lord at Calvary broke down the former wall of partition between the Jew and the Gentile and made of the two one new man, one body."

"Well, isn't Dad wrong then? my only son asked.

"Well, he has studied a lot of books and charts, dear," she said. "The girls and I are only going by the Bible."

"Look," I said impatiently, "If you don't understand that, do you at least see that the Jews are God's special people, a peculiar treasure to Him?"

"I know that in Exodus 19:5,6 the Lord told the Israelites that if they obeyed and kept His covenant they would be a peculiar treasure to Him, and a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation," my wife said.

"Yes, yes," I cut in, "that's it!"

"But I haven't finished, dear," she said. "I think they must have disobeyed and then God found a new people to replace them because Peter uses those same verses to describe everyone who has been converted to Christ."

"I never saw that," I snarled.

"It's in 1 Peter 2:9, dear," she said.

I gnashed my teeth some more, audibly this time. When the noise died down, one of my daughters said she thought the church had succeeded to the promises originally made to the Jews.

"Listen, kid," I snapped, "Those promises were made to Abraham and his descendants through his son Isaac and through Isaac's son Israel."

"That's clear from Genesis 12:7 and 22:18, Daddy, but viewed in the light of the New Testament it seems that we--all who are Christ's through the new birth--are in fact the descendants of Abraham."

Thinking that I was rising from my chair to strike the child, my wife threw herself between us. When she saw that I only intended to pace the floor, she sat down again and asked her daughter to continue.

"Well, Mom, as you pointed out to us long ago, the third chapter of Galatians makes it all very clear. Verse 7 says they which are of faith are the children of Abraham. Verse 16 explains that the seed of Abraham to whom the promises were made was Christ. Verse 27 says we who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And therefore verse 29 says that if we are Christ's then we are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."

"I can quote scripture too!" I shouted. "How about, children, provoke not thy father to wrath! That's in there some place, too, you know!"

"That's Ephesians 6:4, dear," my wife said gently, "but you've got it backwards. It says fathers, provoke not your children to wrath."

"Well, how can I help it?" I exploded. "She takes one isolated passage of scripture and uses it to tell me I'm an Israelite!"

"A spiritual Israelite, dear," my wife said, watching with compassion my spastic ambulations across the living room floor. "But she didn't really take an isolated passage. That one was about Abraham but you also mentioned Isaac and Israel. Well, Galatians 4:28,29 says that we who are born after the Spirit are, as Isaac was, the children of promise. And Romans 9:6-8 makes the same point, saying they are not all Israel which are of Israel."

"Any more?" I asked sarcastically.

"Well, yes, she replied. "Romans 2:28,29 says that a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit. Oh, and Philippians 3:3 says we, that is, all the saints in Christ Jesus, are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh."

"Well, if you're going to favor all those New Testament scriptures above the Old Testament you certainly won't reach the conclusions my books reach," I said, again striving for sarcasm. Somehow my remark didn't seem to make the point I intended so I hurried on.

"Can you at least see that Jesus came to set up a restored Jewish Kingdom but that His rejection by the Jews made it necessary to postpone His kingdom for a couple thousand years?"

One of my daughters immediately said that John 6:15 shows that when Jesus saw that the people wanted to make Him a natural king He departed from them and went off to be alone in the mountains. Another said that if Jesus had sought such an earthly kingdom in Israel He would have been technically guilty of the accusation brought against Him by the high priest and rulers of the Jews, and His crucifixion would have been justified by law. The third added that Jesus himself said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (Jn. 18:36).

My wife said my statement implied that Christ didn't complete the task that was given Him at His first coming while in fact John 4:34 and 17:4 quoted Jesus as saying that He came to do His Father's will and did it.

"And Luke 24:25-27 says that the risen Lord told His disciples that the Old Testament prophets clearly foretold His suffering and crucifixion."

"Maybe," I said, "but what about His kingdom? At some point that's got to be set up and I don't see it yet."

"Oh, Daddy," one of my daughters said, "you know Luke 17:20,21 says the kingdom of God doesn't come with observation, or visual evidence, but the kingdom of God is within you. It's the Lord's rule in the hearts of His people."

"You can't see or enter it except by the new birth, it says in the third chapter of John," another said. "Yes, Daddy, we've already been translated or transferred into the kingdom of God's dear Son, according to Colossians 1:13," the third added.

"And Romans 14:17 says the kingdom of God isn't physical things like meat and drink but is actually righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost," my wife said.

"A man's enemies are those of his own house!" I shouted, and then a brilliant thought occurred to me. "Look," I said, thumbing eagerly to Revelation 12:10, "here it shows exactly when the kingdom of God is going to be set up. Isn't that something that's going to happen at the start of the Millennium? See, it's in the next chapter after the seventh trumpet sounds."

My wife turned to my proof text and smiled as she read it to herself. Then she read it aloud: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down."

A chorus of giggles and shrieks came from the children. My wife shook her head at them tolerantly, and said, "What they're trying to say is that all of those things took place at Calvary more than 1,900 years ago. In John 12:31 Jesus predicted that at His crucifixion Satan would be cast out, and in Colossians 2:15 Paul confirms that through the cross Christ triumphed over all His enemies and made a show of them openly."

"Why wouldn't you think salvation and strength and the power of Christ came long ago, Daddy? one of my youthful tormentors asked me. "We all know when salvation came, and we know where our strength comes from, and in Matthew 28:18 Jesus said all power, or authority, in heaven and earth had already been given to Him."

My young son twisted the knife. "If the other three have come, then I guess the kingdom has come, too, Dad."

"The kingdom couldn't have come yet," I raged, "because when it does come then finally we're going to reign with Christ."

Again the children laughed. "Daddy we're already reigning with Him," one of them said. "Romans 5:17 says that we who have received abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."

"That's true, dear," my wife said. "If you read Peter's speech on the day of Pentecost, particularly Acts 2:30-33, it seems clear that Peter felt that Christ's resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God fulfilled the promise that a descendant of David would occupy his throne."

"Let me see that," I grumbled, picking up my Scofield Edition. "God had sworn...of the fruit of his loins...would raise up Christ to sit on his throne...he, seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ...this Jesus hath God raised up...by the right hand of God exalted..."

As I scratched my head over these verses, my wife added: "And, of course, Ephesians 2:6 says God has already raised us up to sit with Christ in the heavenlies. So we're already reigning--or should be-- over every difficult problem or situation or circumstance."

"You'd better talk to him about 1 Corinthians 15, too, Mom," one of the kids said.

"What!" I exclaimed, mopping my brow. "I've already covered that, I told you that verse 52 says all the dead believers will be resurrected to meet Christ in the air along with all the living believers."

"Yes, dear, we know," my wife said, "but the point is that verse 54 says that the resurrection described in verse 52 fulfills the saying of Isaiah 25:8 that death is swallowed up in victory."

"So what?" I thundered.

"Well, don't you see, dear? Verses 25 and 26 of chapter 15 say that Christ's present reign must continue until He has put all His enemies under His feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed will be death. So, since verse 54 says His last enemy will be destroyed when the saints are resurrected, that means His reign ends then. At that time He delivers the Kingdom up to the Father (verse 24) and the Son Himself becomes subject unto God in order that God may be all in all (verse 28). So if you're going to reign with Christ, you've got to reign with Him now."

"But if His reign ends at the time He comes for the church that would mean there would be no 1,000-year reign later on the earth," I said, with exasperation.

"That's true, dear," she replied.

I excused myself from my oppressors and, determined to rebuke and admonish them scripturally, took my Scofield Edition with its concordance into the next room. I found that Proverbs 19:13 took care of both my wife and my son ("A foolish son is the calamity of his father, and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping") but the only verse I could find about daughters was Proverbs 31:29 ("Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all"). Obviously that wouldn't do so, disappointed, I postponed my thoughts of revenge and returned to the living room.

"Look," I said as calmly as I could, "I believe most of your confusion occurred right at the beginning of our discussion. After explaining the Secret Rapture I should have told you about the Antichrist because during the seven years after the Rapture he's going to do some incredible things."

"No, he's not, dear," my wife said quietly.

"What do you mean?" I sputtered. "My books spell it all out. He'll be a beast, and put marks on people, and they'll have to worship him, and he'll execute people, and... and... and..."

"Now just relax, dear," my wife said soothingly. "Some of the other ladies and I have looked into that situation and found out that the Antichrist won't be around to do anything after Christ comes for his church."

"You can't prove that!" I yelled, but I feared she could.

"Well, dear," she said calmly, "one of the ladies had an Interlinear Greek-English New Testament that shows each of the original Greek words and the English equivalent. The Greek word for the coming of the Lord for his church is parousia and that's the word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Then in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 this same word is used for the coming of the Lord, and in that verse it says the Lord will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of his parousia. So when the Lord comes for the church, He simultaneously destroys the Antichrist."

"That's ridiculous," I said, but I was perspiring freely now. "Listen, if you don't believe anything I'm telling you, suppose you tell me what you do believe."

"We believe that Jesus Christ is coming again, all the way to earth," my wife said, "and that when He comes, all the dead will be resurrected, and they and the living will be judged worthy either of an eternity in the presence of the Lord or an eternity of punishment. Satan will be eternally punished. The kingdom will be turned oever by Christ to God the Father, and there will be a new, or probably renewed, heaven and earth. Every person will be as close to the Lord throughout eternity as he or she is in this life."

"You mean that's it?" I said. "That's the whole thing?"

"Basically, yes," she said.

"But if that's all there is to it," I said, "people wouldn't need all those books and charts to figure it out. Why, it's so simple that even a child could understand it."

"Precisely," said my wife.

"Exactly," chorused my daughters.

"I understand it," said my son.

Later, our neighbors said the smoke from the pile of books and charts I burned in the back yard could be seen three blocks away. [ the end...that's it folks! ]

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