The Blessed Hope We Need To Know


The “Blessed Hope”
                                                                                                                    By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                                               April 19, 2013

     “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world;
     Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ;
     Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 
     These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no man despise thee.”

                                                                                                                      Titus 2:11-15
Introduction

     Every serious student of God’s Word knows that “the blessed hope” is a reference to the coming of Christ to resurrect and rapture His New Covenant believers to glory.   This “blessed hope” which all true New Covenant believers have in Christ is mentioned so many times in the New Testament in connection with the coming [parousia] of the Lord, that there is no need of laboring the point.   Yet some “professing Christians” today do not believe that the coming of the Lord Jesus to resurrect and rapture His people to glory is even remotely near, and therefore do not even want to hear about the “blessed hope.”   These “Laodicean religionists” obviously do not have a “blessed hope” and are doing everything they can to make sure no one else does either.   They cannot seem to grasp or understand why we believers who truly know our Lord and truly believe His Word are always talking about and emphasizing our “blessed hope.”   I have had some of them repeatedly ask me what is so special about “the blessed hope” that makes us want to think about it and talk about it and dwell on the subject most of the time?   Today, by the grace of God, I hope to answer that question for all who have “seeing eyes and hearing ears,” Matthew 13:16.   This is the subject matter of this study.   Join us for an enlightening study…..
What is so “special” about “the blessed hope”?

      What is it that is so “special” about this event that the inspired Word itself refers to it as “the blessed hope?”  What is there about it that makes it so “special” to those who truly “know the Lord?”     I’m so glad some have asked me this question.   Now as best as I am able, I want to give our readers a straight forward, honest, and Scriptural answer.   Read on…..

[1]  Deliverance

     When the resurrection and rapture occurs every true believer will be instantly delivered from “this present evil world,” Galatians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:52.   This inspired Scripture explicitly states that Christ died in order that “He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God and our Father.”  I love this statement, for it reveals not only that we are to be delivered from this present world [aion…age], but that God the Father Himself so willed it to be this way.   He obviously loves His people and did not want any of His own blood bought people to go into and under His wrath which is to be poured out in the future Tribulation period.   Glory to God!   Hallelujah!   Praise the Lord!  
      This Scripture makes it quite plain that our deliverance will be “from this present evil world [aion…age…dispensation].”  We are not being delivered from the age or dispensation to come.  We will be delivered from “this present evil world.”  This inspired statement is in perfect harmony with
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the words of our Lord to His church in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [peirasmos], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  Many “professing Christians” today want to argue about the time of the resurrection and rapture, rejecting and even ridiculing the idea of a Pre-tribulation Rapture.   However, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the very Son of very God, and the Savior of all true believers, said that it would occur BEFORE the Tribulation period begins.   Those who want to argue about this, go argue with the Lord!   Tell the Lord God that He was mistaken when He made this promise of deliverance to His Church and to all New Covenant believers.   Go ahead and make Christ Jesus out to be a “liar” with your rotten “theology,” and then don’t complain when the consequences of your wicked unbelief comes upon you.
     So dear readers, “the blessed hope” is “special” to all true believers because it will bring us “deliverance” “from this present evil world.”  Hallelujah!   Glory to God!   Praise the Lord!

[2]  Victory over Death

     Dear readers, I have had the sad experience, not once, but three times, watching dear companions whom I loved as my own soul, slowly fade away in their sicknesses and ultimately die from one of this world’s dreaded diseases; cancer.   I watched the wife of my youth slowly struggle for breath and life over a period of 16 months.  I saw her body weight go from a healthy 150 pounds down to 85 pounds by the time she finally passed away.  I saw her rosy cheeks become pale and watched the pallor of death settle upon her once lovely countenance.   I know that many of our readers have had similar experiences with their own loved ones.   Well, I have glorious good news for you.   We will meet our loved ones who “died in Christ” again at the time “the blessed hope” bursts forth into glorious reality.    
     When writing about the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers in 1 Corinthians 15, the inspired Apostle specifically stated that when the resurrection and rapture occurs, true believers will then break forth into singing a victory song.   That portion of the song which we will sing is recorded in these words, “O death, where is thy sting?   O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55.  In the preceding Scripture Paul assures God’s people that in the resurrection and rapture “Death is swallowed up in victory!” 15:54.   Notice that this is a two part song!  
     Those true believers who are still alive when the rapture occurs will never die, John 11:25-26.   Only the “living in Christ” can sing the first part of this inspired song, for the angel of death will have never stung them!   Death for the “living in Christ” will be abolished forever.  Glory to God!  Hallelujah!  
     The second part of this inspired song will be sung by “the dead in Christ” as they are brought forth from their graves.  They will be able to look back on the grave from which they have just been resurrected and sing, “O grave, where is thy victory?”  You see dear readers, Christ Jesus died for us in order “that through death, He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” Hebrews 2:14-15.   It is now Christ Jesus who holds “the keys of hell and of death,” Revelation 1:18.   As these resurrected saints look back on their empty grave from which they will have just come forth, the full impact of what Christ did for them at Calvary will fill their hearts and souls as never before; the graves which once claimed their bodies will no longer be able to hold them.  O glory to God!   Hallelujah!   Praise the Lord! 
     Death will be eternally abolished for every true New Covenant believer from the instant of the resurrection and rapture forward.  So dear readers, our victory over death at the time of the resurrection and rapture is another thing which makes “the blessed hope” “special” to every true believer. 

[3]  The Aging Process Reversed Forever

     When speaking of the resurrection and rapture, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, the inspired Apostle explicitly stated, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are
asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”  [No “blessed hope!  How sad!]
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Dear readers, to me it is sad that now some 2,000 years after Paul wrote this statement by Divine Inspiration, so many true believers are still “ignorant” of many truths that the Scriptures tell us about the resurrection and rapture of God’s people. 
     In this Scripture passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul was inspired to tell us some of the details of the resurrection and the rapture.   But this is by no means all that is said about this event in God’s inspired Word.   One of the descriptions of this event which few preachers even seem to know about and never emphasize when preaching on the subject is found in “The Book of Job,” chapter 33.
     In this inspired chapter, Elihu [an Old Testament type of Christ] explained to Job how God speaks to mankind upon the earth.   Elihu states that God speaks to men in two ways, Job 33:14.
     First, God speaks to mankind by what we could call “providence; that is, through dreams and visions “of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed,” Job 33:15-16.  This may or may not involve serious illnesses, 33:19-22.  These Scriptures make it clear to any true believer that God loves the souls of men and women and will do whatever is necessary to get their attention.   When He has obtained their attention, then He speaks the second time to them through His Word, 33:23-24.  Remember, it is true now and always has been true, that “faith cometh  by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” Romans 10:17.  But now notice what the inspired writer clearly predicts to occur when one truly hears the Word and believes it…..
     “Then He [God] is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom [1 Timothy 2:5-6]His flesh [body…resurrected or changed] shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth,” Job 33:24-25.  
     Did you read it?  Okay!  But did you hear it?  It is God’s inspired Word!  Do you believe it?   The inspired writer explicitly states that the true believer will “return to the days of his youth.”  This literally means to the strength and prime of life!   Folks, I have seldom ever met an elderly person who enjoys growing old.   Our muscle tissue weakens, our memories fail, our body aches, our eyesight grows dim, our hearing fades, our teeth fall out, and we become much more subject to various illnesses.   I am speaking from experience, because I am now 79 years of age and have been physically unable to work the past four and a half years.   Who really wants to grow old and weak and decrepit and then die in weakness and ill health and pain?   Be honest in answering!   No one really enjoys this!   It is just a part of this present life.  But I have good news for every true believer
     At the time of the resurrection and rapture of God’s New Covenant people, all of those who died in “the faith” will live again, and every living true believer will be “changed.” This means that your dear old Grandmother or Grandfather you once knew and loved who died in “the faith” will live again.
Your precious Christian Mom and Dad whom you had to say goodbye to at their gravesite will live again.  That precious wife or dear husband of yours who died in “the faith,” by whose graveside you stood with your heart breaking and the tears streaming down your face will yet live again.   That beloved precious baby or young child that you had to give up way too soon, will yet live again.  You will see them again with your own eyes and hold them again in your own arms.  But they will not be old and decrepit and sick.   They will be young and strong and healthy and vibrant, and they will greet you with a lovely smile and the beauty of the Lord Jesus shining all over their faces.   Read it for yourself in 1 Corinthians 15:43-44, 15:45-49, and Philippians 3:20-21.  When “the blessed hope” bursts into glorious reality, there will be no more sickness, disease, pain, sorrow and growing old for New Covenant believers as long as the ages of eternity endure.  Those things will be gone “for ever.”       
     Many times dear brothers and sisters in Christ write to me in deep sorrow, sharing with me the sad news that their loved ones have slipped away to glory, and their hearts are breaking.   I can sympathize with them, for I have had those experiences, not just once, but several times in this life.  There is no pain nor grief in this world, like the pain and grief that one feels when someone they love as their own soul is taken away never to be seen or heard or touched again in this life.   Never again in this life to hear their voice or see their sweet smile.   I know!  I have been there!   But several years ago I was led by the Lord to refer these sorrowing saints to this passage in Job 33:25, and to urge them to get out a photo of their loved one when that loved one was young.   For those readers who have lost their companion in marriage, or a son or a daughter, or their Mom and Dad, find a photo of your departed loved one when they were young.  Perhaps even your wedding picture when you married that
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handsome dashing young man that had captivated your heart, or that beautiful young woman you chose  to be your bride.    Place that photo in a new lovely frame and set it up where you will see that photo of your loved one or your soul mate every day as you go about your activities.   Let that photo imprint itself upon your mind and in your heart, for when the resurrection and rapture occurs that deceased loved one you once knew and loved as a young person is the person you are going to meet again face to face.   There are no old people in Heaven!   All the saints who died old and sick and weak and decrepit and in suffering and pain down here have returned “to the days of their youth,” Job 33:25, and that is the way you will see them at the Great Reunion in the Sky, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.   And no one will ever grow old in glory.  Do you remember singing that old hymn in church services, “Where We’ll Never Grow Old”?  It is true!  It is literally and Scripturally true.  Glory to God!   Hallelujah!   Praise the Lord!   Thank you Lord Jesus for dying for us that we might have “life, and that more abundantly,” John 10:10.  Praise the Lord!  
     So here is certainly a Scriptural truth that should make “the blessed hope” very “special” to any true believer.  Glory to God!   Praise the Lord!     

[4]  A Change in our Position

     Yes, even our position will change!   The inspired Word explicitly states that when God created mankind upon the earth, man was “made…..a little lower than the angels,” Psalm 8:3-8; Hebrews 2:6-9.   This obviously refers to man’s position as a created being during the present history of mankind.  It also indicates that the angelic order of beings is presently greater in strength, power, and knowledge than mankind.   However, these same Scriptures clearly indicate that it will not remain this way!  God ordained from the beginning that mankind should rule over the whole earth and everything in it and on it, Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8:6-8.  Adam lost his rule over the whole earth by his disobedience to God and his transgression of God’s Law, and Satan became “the god of this world,” Romans 5:12; 2 Peter 2:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4.  But what God purposed for mankind when He created man has not been forgotten or set aside.   What God purposed for mankind in the beginning shall come to pass in the resurrection and rapture. 
      The Scriptures explicitly state that when we New Covenant believers are resurrected and raptured, we shall be “equal to the angels,” Luke 20:34-36.   In fact, in the resurrection and rapture we believers will come forth as “kings and priests,” Revelation 1:5-6; 5:8-10, actually higher in position than the angels.  The angels will then serve us, carrying out our will as directed by the Lord, Hebrews 1:13-14.
      Folks, we New Covenant believers have been “born again” by the Spirit of God [John 3:3-8], making us “sons of God,” Romans 8:11-17.   As the “sons of God” we are “created in Christ” to rule and reign with Christ over God’s kingdom “forever.”   Paul tells us in Romans 8:18-23 that the whole creation is waiting for our “manifestation” [unveiling].   Presently, we are veiled in a body of frail flesh with a “sin nature” and seek to do our best to live for our Lord under often trying conditions.   But our entire position will change when the resurrection and rapture occurs.   No more will we be forced to sometimes serve the flesh and cater to the world.   Instead, we will come forth as “kings and priests” spiritually equipped to rule the world with Christ Jesus for the honor and glory of our God and our Savior.   Glory to God!   Hallelujah!           
     So here is yet another thing about “the blessed hope” that should make it very “special” to every true believer.  
[5]  A Change in our Residence

     I could mention many more details about the changes which will take place when the resurrection and rapture occurs, which will make it a very “special” event for every true believer.   But my desire is to keep this article as short as possible while mentioning only the main reasons why the resurrection and rapture is very “special” to God’s people.  Therefore I mention only this last major “change” which will occur when “the blessed hope” becomes a glorious reality.
     The Lord Himself explicitly stated in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions
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[abiding places]:  if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.   And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”   In this Scripture the Lord God plainly promised His disciples that He was going away to “prepare” a place for them in His “Father’s house,” making it clear that every true believer will ultimately reside where the Lord Himself abides in glory.   Our place of residence is going to be “changed.”  
     Passage after passage in God’s Word, in both the Old and New Testaments, points out Heaven as the place from which the Godhead rules the entire universe.  From this place God looks down upon the earth beholding all mankind upon the earth.  This place is referred to in Galatians 4:26 as “Jerusalem which is above.”  In Hebrews 12:22 it is called, “…the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.”   In Revelation 3:12 the Lord God promised that every “overcomer” would be made “a pillar in the temple of My God” and would have “the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem” written upon them.   Then in Revelation 21:2 John was shown “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband.”  The exact same Greek word translated as “prepared” which is used in this Scripture is also the word the Lord God used in John 14:2-3 when He told His disciples that He was going to “prepare” a place for them.  So obviously the place the Lord went to prepare for His New Covenant church is in “New Jerusalem.” 
     We New Covenant believers shall come back with the Lord at the end of the Tribulation when He returns to set up and establish His Millennial Kingdom.   We shall then reign with Him over the flesh and blood survivors of the Tribulation who will repopulate the earth with nations of people in their natural bodies.   Yet our eternal home or dwelling place will be “New Jerusalem.”  We will commute back and forth between the earth and “New Jerusalem” as necessary, even as the angels of God do today.
     What a wonderful eternal “home” the Lord God has prepared for His New Covenant bride and people.   A great golden city, with a wall of jasper, gates of pearl, a street of gold, a river of living water, and trees of life growing on the banks of the river and in the midst of the street.   A perfect climate at all times.   Green grass, beautiful flowers spreading their lovely fragrance, and absolutely no sin nor hate nor war “forever.”  And what a view!   Contrary to what is commonly assumed and taught by many, “New Jerusalem” will not set down upon the earth, but rather will orbit the earth in space even as the Moon does today.   Folks, this is a beggarly description of our new residence.  Remember that God’s Word explicitly states, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him,” 1 Corinthians 2:9.  
     But we will be with and have access into the presence of  Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ “forever,” 1 Thessalonians 4:18.  Glory to God!   Hallelujah!   Praise the Lord!
      How much more do God’s people need to know about “the blessed hope” to make it “special” in their hearts and minds?  
Conclusion

     In view of the truths I have pointed out about the glorious future that every true believer will enter into at the time of the resurrection and rapture, I have no apologies to make to anyone for being excited about “the blessed hope.”  Truly, it is very “special” to the true believer.   I could write much more on this subject, but this is sufficient to answer the question of our critics who wonder why we true New Covenant believers are always thinking about and talking about “the blessed hope.”  I would that the Lord God would raise up more of His people who are excited, yea, even thrilled to their soul, as they anticipate “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:13. 
      Dear reader, if you really claim to be a true believer and yet you are not thrilled and excited by the anticipation of entering into these things that our Savior and God has prepared for us at the time of the resurrection and rapture, then I suggest you read 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:10 and “make your calling and election sure.”  Is it remotely possible that “a profession” is all you have, and you are not even really saved?  Our text Scripture passage in Titus 2:11-15 explicitly tells us that “grace” teaches us that we are to live daily “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”  Since God’s “grace” teaches the true believer to live daily
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looking for the “glorious appearing” of our Lord, then the resurrection and rapture must be very “special” indeed. Are you really listening to God’s “grace? [your teacher]?  Well…???   Do you know and have assurance of forgiven sin and eternal life in Christ?   Read 1 John 5:13.  
     Any reader who needs spiritual help is urged to contact me at once.   By the grace of God, I know the way of salvation, and I will pray with you, counsel with you, study with you, and help you in any way I can to find salvation and assurance in Christ.   Read John 3:3-8; 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Romans 10:8-13, and Ephesians 2:8-10.   I want to meet you in glory when “the blessed hope” of every true believer bursts forth into glorious reality.   Please don’t disappoint me!
 
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     Permission is granted to any true believer or to any Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written
     This ministry is supported solely by the free will offering of those of our readers who feel led of the Lord to help us send forth God’s wonderful Word to His people and to lost seeking souls.
     Please address all questions, comments, and correspondence to:   Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or to:  fmr7sngn@centurylink.net

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