Posted by: cindybythesea | June 25, 2012

Going Home

In a few days, I’ll be traveling to the mainland for a family reunion and to see my children and my grandchildren.  While I am there, my son-in-law and my granddaughter will be getting baptized. It’s a joyful occasion that I am very much looking forward to.

And, as I’m packing I’m thinking about what I want to put in to my suitcase; this sweater, those jeans, two pairs of shoes or one; and, I’m also thinking about this whole idea of going home; and, what it means.

As a Christian, we know that our home is in heaven with Jesus. As the Bible says, “this world is not our home, we are merely strangers passing through”.  A concept that in some ways can be hard to grasp, especially, when faced with things like real life mortgages and jobs, hectic schedules and making ends meet month after month -things that demand our time and attention in ways that we do not like but, are responsible too, just the same. Leaving us to wonder sometimes, how ready we are for our departure, and, if we will even be going.

There has been a lot of talk lately about what constitutes the bride of Christ and who will be going in the rapture.  Do all saved people make up the bride of Christ or is it only those, who, the Bible describes as overcomers?  It’s a good question and one worthy of our consideration. And, while I cannot give a definitive answer on that, I do have a few thoughts of my own to add to the discussion.

Patterns in scripture:

Adam and Eve – Eve was taken from the rib of Adam; from his side – thus, God had provided for Adam a suitable and mature helper. And, because, Jesus is known as the second Adam his bride will likewise be fully mature as well. Regardless of the various ages and stages that believers are in (regarding their Christian walk), when Christ calls for his bride – at the time of her presentation, she will be presented to him without flaw and in full maturity.

Isaac and Rebecca – Rebecca was selected as a bride for Isaac through the help of Abraham’s servant (Eliezer – which means, “God is my help”) – a type of Holy Spirit, through whom, she agrees to marriage to Isaac – a man, whom, she has not yet seen but, is none the less willing to leave her home for.  As the meeting of Rebecca and Isaac draws near, Rebecca “veils” herself.  A custom derived from the days of arranged marriages – the veil only lifted after the ceremony so, that groom had no chance of backing out of the deal, if he did not like what he saw. Therefore, in the case of Yeshua and his bride, it will only be at the time of the wedding, when the veil is lifted that the true identity of the bride will be known. For now it is concealed – then and only then, will her identity be known. And, Yeshua will be completely pleased for it has been the Holy Spirit (like Eliezer) who made the selection.

*Side note – in reading the story of Isaac and Rebecca, I noticed that her family wanted  her to wait for ten days before leaving for her marriage. But, when asked, Rebecca chose to leave with Eliezer at the time he requested. (Genesis 24:58) – which, leads me to believe, when the time for the rapture comes, there will be no delay.

Boaz and Ruth –  On Naomi’s advice (another type of the Holy Spirit?) – Ruth washes and perfumes herself and putting on her best clothes goes down to the threshing floor at the time of the barley harvest to lay at the feet of Boaz, the kinsman redeemer in what would be understood in those days as a request for marriage. Which reminds me of this verse from Revelation 19:7-8 –

“Let us be glad and rejoice: and give honor to him, for the marriage of the lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And, to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”. 

Ruth made herself ready. How then are we made ready? By acquiring the righteousness of Christ because the Bible tells us that outside of him, we have no righteousness of our own.

And, then there is this:

Overcomers –

To the church at Ephesus:

“To him who overcomes, “I will give the right to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7

To the church in Smyrna:

“He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death”  Revelation 2:11

To the church in Pergamum:

“To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone and a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  Revelation 2:17

To the church in Thyatira:

“To him who overcomes and does my will to the end will I give authority over the nations.”  Revelation 2:26

To the church in Sardis:

“He who overcomes will like them be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and before his angels.”  Revelation 3:5

To the church at Philadelphia:

* “Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God”.  Revelation 3:12.

To the church of Laodicea:

“To him who overcomes I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21

*Revision from initial post, where I had missed the Revelation 3:12 admonission to the church at Philadelphia. Thanks to my friend Steve Coerper for bringing this to my attention.

Brothers and sisters, we are all at various stages in our walk with the Lord. Some have maintained a steady growth of maturity throughout their Christian life, while for some it is two steps forward and one step back. If our qualification for the rapture is dependent on our faithfulness as demonstrated by our walk and, our ability to overcome,  then who can qualify?  If this is the case, it will be a very slim bride indeed, who presents herself to be married and if this is how the Father sees it, then so be it, his judgments are right and true. But, is this really what scripture teaches when we look at it in its full context?  Using myself as an example, I would have to wonder – will the Father be judging me by my walk over the last week, the last year, the last four years or from the time I was saved as a young teenager?  Is he looking at my life from the time of my salvation and taking an average? Is C a passing grade? Or would a B be better?  If you looked at my life in the years following my divorce, I would have had a pretty poor record indeed. But, is that the whole story?  I have to wonder.

Well, I have my suitcase half-way packed and, I’m still deciding on which shoes to take. Speaking of which, I am reminded that the third piece of spiritual armor is shoes.

“And, your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. Ephesians 6:15

Kind of cool, when you think about it like this:

The sandals of the Roman soldier “often were fitted with nails, or armed  with spikes, to make the hold firm in the ground” (Albert Barnes’ Notes    on the Bible). God’s good news and our mission—our marching orders—to  preach it serve as our firm foundation. When we truly allow ourselves to take  comfort in the good news promised by God, there is nothing from outside ourselves  that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid. Christ has overcome  the world (John 16:33), and so we have nothing to fear from it.   http://www.freebiblestudyguides.org/bible-teachings/armor-of-god-shoes-of-preparation-gospel-of-peace.htm

And, because Christ has overcome the world. We in turn are overcomers too.  He became righteousness for us, when we had no righteousness of our own. It is he who has dresses us in fine linen bright and clean, when we could not do it for ourselves – it is his blood and his blood alone that makes us wedding ready.

Jack Kelly at gracethrufaith addresses the issue of being an overcomer in this way:

 I’m one who believes that the 7 letters chronicle Church history.  Notice that in each letter the admonition is to overcome the tendency to get away from total reliance on the Lord for our salvation.  In that sense much of the Church has not been over comers. http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/who-was-revelation-meant-for/

From the earthly to the heavenly

Therefore, I would have to say that when the time arrives for the wedding of the Lamb, the bride will stand before her groom fully transformed  – aka raptured – changed in the twinking of an eye – in to the beautiful, spotless and mature bride, he so willingly paid the price for and deserves.

May it be so, Lord Jesus and may your coming for us be soon!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy

*Hopefully, I will be seeing all of you in the air very soon, but, should the rapture not take place sometime in the next two weeks, I will see you back her at Cindybythesea sometime around July 15.  Grace and blessings to you all!

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Responses

  1. […] EXCERPTED FROM Full Armor Of God source https://cindybythesea.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/going-home/ […]

  2. Have a wonderful time with your family Cindy. God bless you and give you many opportunities to share His love with those who don’t yet know Him while you are on your trip!!

    [Thanks Linda! As I mentioned in my post, my grandaughter and my son-in-law will be getting baptized while I am there. I have asked if I can say a few words to them at the ceremony, so, please pray for me that God will give me just the right words in addressing them. We are all gathering for a family reunion and several of our family members are Mormon and I know they will be attending the Baptism – at least out of respect for the rest of us, if nothing else. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will do a mighty work of ministering to them and, to all in attendance that day. Grace and blessings! C]

    • You got it sister!

  3. Hi Cindy-
    I too have longed for the great “catching away” ever since I discovered there was one! For a great deal of time after my conversion, I grappled with what it meant to be an “overcomer” – not what my definition was, or how I compared to other believers, but how the Word of God defines who that is.

    And may it be a blessing and a comfort to you to discover what I found:

    “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4

    The Bible clearly teaches that all who are born again of the Spirit of God are those who have overcome the world. And those who do not have the Spirit of Christ are none of his (Rom. 8:9), but rather those who are walking in the flesh of false religion and dead works (Rev. 2-3).

    Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

    Grace and peace,
    Ian

    [Great comment Ian and thanks so much for writing! I woke up last night in the middle of the night still thinking about this post and one more thing came to mind. Regarding the typology of Adam and Eve (the bride taken from Adam’s side), it came to mind, that the bride of Christ is likewise taken from his side as illustrated by the spear that pierced his side at the crucifixion. Yes, I believe you are right, Ian, we are overcomers, because HE has overcome! Grace and blessings and thanks again for writing! C]

  4. Cindy,
    I apologize for the long post but you ask a very pertinent question in terms of what qualifies one for eternal life. Is it simply believing, or does one need to be an overcomer, and what does that look like? Although Jesus had not yet been resurrected, the thief on the cross believed and Jesus promised him paradise. Other examples, most notably in the Book of Acts, depict people being saved at the moment they believed. So in the affirmative we can say that one is saved upon belief which is consistent with the rest of Scripture. However if we look at the full context of Scripture as you say, does this premise still hold true, or are there caveats? If one is saved at the moment of believing faith, can one later forfeit or lose one’s faith? And if so, what does that look like? What did Jesus himself say and do regarding this question?
    I have often thought that if the rich young ruler were to walk down a church aisle today in response to the preacher’s gospel invitation, we would have no problem or question whatsoever in “getting him saved” and into the church ASAP. Just imagine the big boost to the church coffers if he tithed (just kidding – perhaps). Jesus didn’t do that did he? Jesus never preached an “easy believism” gospel message like so many churches are prone to do today. He told the rich young man to count the cost and follow Him, which the young man unfortunately could not do at the time. There is a personal cost in following Christ which means taking up our cross and giving up our own lives in order to find new life. Dying to self – I don’t hear that message preached anymore. Perhaps we should be more honest and up front with people when we invite them to “accept” Christ. At least they would know what they’re getting into and can count the cost beforehand.
    Once one becomes a believer, did Jesus say anything else regarding the need to keep following Him and remaining obedient? And if one does go one’s own way, can one possibly put oneself at risk of spiritual death?
    The parable of the prodigal is often cited as an example of God’s forbearance and willingness to forgive even the prodigal. The compassion and forgiveness of the father is often the point of emphasis. However the main point I believe of this parable is repeated twice by Jesus in Luke 15:24 & 32. The father states twice in this story (for point of emphasis and importance) that his son was dead and is alive again; was lost and is found. We know that this can only mean spiritual death since the prodigal did not physically die in the story. The prodigal had life as long as he remained with the Father but became spiritually dead when he strayed and went his own way. But he became alive AGAIN when he repented. Whenever we repent and return to him, God is faithful to restore us to him. If we fail to repent and our sin becomes habitual and we make a habit or PRACTICE of conscious sinning then Scripture warns:
    1 John 3:8
    “Whoever makes a PRACTICE of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”
    And conversely, the positive:
    1 John 3:9
    “No one born of God makes a PRACTICE of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he CANNOT KEEP ON sinning because he has been born of God.”
    Most assuredly, when we sin and consequently repent, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and he cleanses us of all unrighteousness. However, no where in Scripture is any such assurance given to believers who commit chronic, habitual sin and refuse to repent. That is why we are encouraged to examine ourselves, to persevere, to finish the race and fight the good fight. In other words – to overcome.
    Paul put it very succinctly when he addressed the brethren in Rome:
    “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Rom 8:13

    [Excellent comment Stuart, thanks for adding to the discussion. Jesus said, “you must be born again” – and, I think you are right – for many, walking the aisle has provided not a “born again” experience but, the purchase of “fire insurance” – which, in the end, will prove to have been a fatal assumption.

    I contend that a person who is truly born again will make a steady progression to maturity in Christ throughout the course of a lifetime and, while, not perfect and sometimes encountering setbacks, will none the less make a steady progression forward – which is why, we have the promise of Phil. 1:6 “that he who began a good work in us is faithful to bring it to completion”. But, for those who live in habitual sin and seemingly have no desire for the things of God, most likely they were never born from above and, we do them no service by not calling them out on it.

    Blessings and thanks again for your thoughtful comment! I do appreciate it! C]

  5. Hi Cindy,
    Saturday I was reading in Mark where the Pharisees seeing Jesus “eating and drinking” questioned it stating that John’s disciples were fasting so why weren’t his. Jesus answer “Can the children of the bridechamber fast while the bridegroom is with them” Mark 2;19. Wanting to fully understand exactly who the “children of the bridechamber” were I googled that phrase and found this study on it. I believe this article lends to the discussion here and adds another helpful piece to the puzzle in being truly prepared for his coming.

    http://hethathasanear.com/bridechamber.html

    God bless and have a safe and wonderful trip.

    [Hi Donna, thanks for writing! I clicked on the link and it looks to be very interesting and because I am short on time, I have not had time to digest it completely. Perhaps, I missed something but, it appears to me that the writer contends that Israel is the bride – I have always understood Israel to be the wife of the Lord, while, the Church is the bride of Christ – which, are two very different things, but, as I say, I have not had time to review it depth. Thank you so much for writing and thank you so much for your well wishes, I do appreciate it! C]

  6. Have a wonderful time in the mainland Cindy! I keep you in prayer daily and will add this specific request about the baptism ceremony. Blessings, Tracy

    [Thank you so much Tracy! I really appreciate it! C]

  7. Dear Cindy,
    Thank you for this writing. It was so encouraging! Several months ago, I heard in my spirit, “I make you ready”. And I believe HE does, through the circumstances in our life and opportunities to obey HIM through variious acts, trials and tribulations. Like Eve, HE forms us into the Bride HE desires us to be!
    How exciting it will be to finally see our Husband, Redeemer, Lord and Savior, KING JESUS!
    Deirdre


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