by Neil McKinlay
Though some may differ on some of the details of what happens before hand, Christians are united in the Biblical fact that the risen Saviour will physically return to this earth at some unknown future point. In relation to this, I have been asked where Jesus is right now. The answer is that He is seated at the right hand of God in glory. One questioner probed further, ‘Yes, but where is His body?’ I replied with Scripture, that Jesus rose from the grave bodily, ascended bodily, and will return bodily.
Why is it so hard for some to grasp the fact that Christ is risen? As He Himself says, ‘I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’ Revelation 2:18. Therefore why seek the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5) Jesus’ body is in heaven and is attached to the rest of Him! He lives!
Where is heaven? Above the clouds? Beyond the stars? The resurrected Jesus ‘passed through the heavens’ (Heb. 4:14), and has ‘ascended far above all the heavens’ (Eph. 4:10). Scripture is unclear on heaven’s exact location. However, we do know that Jesus is going to return to earth from heaven: ‘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’ 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
The ‘trumpet of God’ is not the final or last call. It is reminiscent of when the LORD descended upon the mountain in fire to give His Ten Commandments: ‘And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder’ Exodus 19:19. Therefore, it is nothing like the musical notes that sound at the airport before the final call for boarding is announced. Nor is it like when patrons hear someone shout ‘last call’ so that they can all rush to get more drinks before the bar closes! No! The final trumpet is not the time for everyone still alive to rush to heaven’s gate for boarding! It is not the time when people hurry to get right with God! Rather when the ‘trumpet of God’ sounds, it will already be too late – ‘The door was shut’ (Matthew 25:10b). This means that ‘last call’ is right now! ‘Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation’ 2 Corinthians 6:2b.
Jesus will return ‘with a shout, with the voice of an archangel.’ There is only one Archangel mentioned in the Bible: ‘Michael, the great Prince who protects’ the people of God (Dan. 12:1; Jude 9). Luther and Calvin held Michael to be the uncreated Angel of the Lord, i.e., the eternal Word, who in the fullness of the time, became flesh (John 1:14; Gal. 4:4). If so, it is ‘Messiah the Prince’ (Dan. 9:25) who does the shouting as ‘the trumpet of God’ announces His arrival. Is Christ not ‘Commander of the army of the LORD’? (Josh 5:14) ‘A war broke out in heaven: Michael and His angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him’ Revelation 12:7-9. If Satan has been defeated in heaven by the pre-incarnate Christ and on earth by a Man, the incarnate Christ, then Christ Jesus is stronger than Satan is. Therefore, He who is stronger is now in a position to plunder the strong man’s house. Thus the Gospel!
The Gospel being announced to all nations is Christ’s ‘last call’ before He closes heaven’s door. He is the door through whom we must enter to ‘sit together in heavenly places’ (John 10:9; Eph. 2:6). The devil and his angels were cast out of heaven, but Jesus says, ‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out … No one can come to Me unless the Father
who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day’ John 6:37,44.
If it is the Father who gives us to Jesus and draws us to Him, then no one can say, ‘I was saved by the skin of my teeth’! None is saved by a whisker! Salvation is never a close call! It is as Jonah says, ‘Salvation is of the LORD’ Jonah 2:9b. It is the Father who ‘gives’ us to His Son, not we who give ourselves. The Father has to draw us to His Son in order to give us to Him. Thus the preaching of the Gospel.
The Gospel ‘is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes’ Romans 1:16. Jesus says, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand’ John 10:27-28. His was the voice that called to Adam in the Garden after Adam rebelled against Him (Gen. 3:9). His was the voice that called to Moses from the burning bush (Ex. 3:2,4). His was the voice that thundered on Mount Sinai. Hear His voice today. Don’t wait for the trumpet of God!
Neil McKinlay is an army chaplain in Queensland, Australia, and the author of Nordskog Publishing’s newly released title Mason to Minister: Through the Lattice. Mason to Minister is a personal biography and pastoral relation of his spiritual journey. In it, he brings insight into Free Masonry, and tells how his experience with it led him to the full saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Republished from the May, 2010, XpresSing the Spirit, by permission