There is coming a day, quite possibly in our lifetime, that Jesus will return to gather His faithful church, His Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:25-27). There is a convergence of the signs Jesus spoke of (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, Luke 21:25-28 and Matthew 24:4-8) all happening at once around the world right now. Jesus described them as birth pains, and as any woman who has given birth to a baby (or any man who has watched and helped her through it) will tell you, contractions start out mild and infrequent and increase in frequency and intensity as the moment of birth draws closer. Irregardless of how far along in this birthing process the world is currently in, it is my firm belief that every generation of believers should live in such a way that they are prepared for Jesus to return for them. None of us know how long God has numbered our days, so we should make every day count, keeping a short account with God in daily repentance, awake and ready to stand in Christ’s presence either in death or rapture.
When Jesus Christ first appeared He came as a Lamb, a suffering servant who died to set us free from the bondage of sin and death. When Jesus ascended into heaven He ascended as a champion of Heaven – a conquer of death, and He now stands at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 6:19-20). When Jesus appears again, He will not yet be the Lion – the King returning, Jesus will be coming as a High Priest to gather His Priests on earth in the 1st Resurrection and Rapture. He will be a Priestly Bridegroom coming for his faithful and ready Priest-like-Bride (1 Peter 2:5).
The Bible has a lot to say about Jesus’ appearing, and a careful read of the Scriptures will show there are three “appearings” of Jesus on the earth under the category of His Second Coming which spans a seven year time frame. Jesus’ first appearing will be as the High Priest and Bridegroom to snatch away His ready Priestly Bride from the coming wrath of the Tribulation. The focus of this post we be on this first appearing. Jesus’ second appearing and third appearing during His Second Coming will be at the end of the Tribulation as the returning King in battle, first for the remnant Jews who are the Bozrah exiles, and then in the Battle of Armagedon – which we will study in another post.
When He first appears He will come in the clouds (Acts 1:11) to call His faithful Bride up to Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). For this appearing, His feet will not touch the ground and he will remain in the sky. This coming is for the sole purpose of rescuing the faithful out of the earth before the coming wrath of God.
So what does the Bible say about this Appearing, when Jesus comes for his Bride to gather her in resurrection and rapture, and what should we, His Priestly-Bride being doing to prepare? Here are 12 Scripture Verses to encourage and prepare us to be the Bride we are called to be:
1. LONGING – We are to be longing for His appearing – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
2. WAITING – We are to be waiting for Him – Hebrews 9:29
3. SAYING “NO” TO SIN – We are waiting for the blessed hope of His appearing, being self-controlled and saying “No” to ungodliness – Titus 2:11-14
4. LOOKING FOR THE CONVERGENCE OF SIGNS – We are to be looking for the signs of His coming, and when they ALL BEGIN to happen, we are to stand up and look up. – Luke 21:25-29
5. PRAYING WE ARE ABLE TO ESCAPE – We are to be careful and always on watch, praying that we may be able to escape all that is about to happen – Luke 21:30-36
6. PURIFYING OURSELVES – We are purifying ourselves and continuing in Christ, so that we will be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming – 1 John 2:28-3:3
7. WITHOUT SPOT OR BLAME – We are to follow the command of 1 Timothy 6:11- 15 without spot or blame until Jesus appears – this command is: to flee from the love of money which is the root of all kinds of evil, to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness, to fight the good fight of faith and to take hold of the eternal life to which we are called
8. HIDDEN IN HIM – We are to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. We are hidden in Him, He is our life. When Jesus appears, we will appear with Him in glory and will receive a Crown of Glory – Colossians 3:1-4 and 1 Peter 5:4
9. DEAD TO SIN – We are to count ourselves dead to sin and alive in God, united with Christ in death to be united with Christ in a resurrection like His – Romans 6:5-14
10. NOT SURPRISED BUT AWAKE & SOBER – The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, but it should not surprise us like a thief – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:23
11. SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION – We are marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance – Ephesians 1:11-14
12. CHANGED IN A TWINKLING OF AN EYE – We belong to Him, and in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye we will be changed – 1 Corinthians 15:20-24, 50-54