Calvary Road Baptist Church

“CHRIST IN HIS PRESENT SESSION: ITS CULMINATION”

 

 

For the third consecutive week, I have placed a list of passages in the bulletin you were given that addresses the issue of where Jesus is, and has continually been, since His bodily resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven almost 2,000 years ago.

One of the reasons for dealing with the present session of Jesus in heaven is to overcome the inertia that people are subject to because of the onslaught of erroneous propaganda that contradicts Bible truth. For years, people have been repeatedly told that Jesus is everywhere and that Jesus saves people by coming into their hearts. These two assertions are demonstrably false.

However, our minds tend to cling to error that has been repeatedly declared to us, even when we have been exposed to the truth. Therefore, it is important that the truth be conveyed in a convincing manner repeatedly in order to dislodge the foothold that error has in our thinking.

Therefore, allow me to rehearse several well established Biblical truths: First, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and His resurrection was accomplished in His glorified physical body, which was both seen by men’s eyes and felt with men’s hands, and which demonstrated what every body demonstrates, be it the unglorified body every person is born with or the glorified body that accompanies the resurrection, which is locality. That is, Jesus is where He is. Next, it is firmly established in God’s Word that the resurrected Jesus appeared to many witnesses over the course of several weeks before ascending for the last time, in a most public fashion, to His Father’s right hand on high, where He now administers His present session. To deny that Jesus is in heaven at present is to refute one of the most solidly established truths found anywhere in the Bible, as those verses on the back of your bulletin will attest.

Therefore, Jesus is where He actually is, since His incarnation (the taking upon Himself of human nature and flesh) demands it. As well, where Jesus is when He is where He is is certainly not everywhere, and is certainly not in anyone’s heart. So long as words have meaning, it is certain that Jesus is presently in heaven. Being in heaven as I speak, the Lord Jesus Christ is certainly not inactive. Not only is He active to save sinners who come to Him by faith, but He is also extremely active on behalf of His Own who have already embraced Him as Lord and Savior. You may remember from last week’s message, that Jesus is now exercising universal authority, is Head over all things to the Church, is bestowing gifts to men in the form of gifted men, is interceding on behalf of His own, is fulfilling His role as our Advocate, is preparing a place for us in heaven, and is expecting until His enemies are made His footstool.

Thus, Christ’s present session began when He finally ascended to heaven in the sight of those many witnesses, and has continued over these almost 2,000 years of what some refer to as church history. You might think that anything that has continued for almost 2,000 years is certain to continue forever, but that is not so when Christ’s session is considered. “Though theologians differ about the time and the manner of Christ’s Second Advent, all who receive the Bible seriously do agree that He will return to this earth. The Scriptures clearly teach that Christ will come for judgment and for the setting up of His kingdom on the earth.”[1]

I realize that a barrage of new facts and information can be somewhat overwhelming. Therefore, for the purpose of bringing a few unasked questions you may have into focus and answering them, allow me to address several topics briefly before Brother Isenberger comes ahead of this morning’s message from God’s Word:

 

The New Testament mentions the coming of Christ over 300 times. This is about once in every 25 verses. In the Old Testament, there are 20 times as many references to the second coming as to the first coming of Christ. If anything is found in prophecy, it is His coming again.

 

The term “Second Coming” is commonly loosely used of the two phases of Christ’s coming, either as one concept or separately. When we say Christ is coming, we may mean either the rapture or the revelation, or both as one concept. For purposes of clarity, we have described the second phase of His coming (i.e. after the Tribulation) as “the revelation.”

 

Chronologically, this second phase of Christ’s coming will be “immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29). It will be sudden (Matt. 24:27), although preceded by signs (Matt. 24:4-26), and evident to all (v. 30). The chronology of Revelation 19:11-20:15 shows also that the revelation of Jesus Christ will be before the millennium. The revelation of Christ with the saints will therefore be after the tribulation and before the millennium.

 

With regard to the Jews, as the coming of the Lord draws near, there will be a regathering back to the land of Palestine (Matt. 24:31). The nation will be “born in a day” (Zech. 12:10) as they recognize and acknowledge Him “whom they had pierced” (Zech. 12:10). After His coming, Israel will be judged (Ezek. 20:33-38) and prepared for entrance into the millennial kingdom.

 

With regard to the Gentiles, the Lord’s coming will be seen and mourned (Rev. 1:7). The nations will be gathered for judgment (Matt 25:31-46) and only the righteous will be allowed to enter the kingdom.

 

Of the tribulation’s evil trilogy—the beast, the false prophet, and Satan—the first two will be cast permanently into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20), while the last one is temporarily chained in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). This will happen after the seven-year tribulation period when Christ and the saints return to earth to reign (Rev. 19).

 

With His enemies thus disposed of, Christ with the saints sets up the millennial kingdom on earth (Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:9).[2]

 

SERMON:

 

Jesus is coming again. Two thousand years ago, the eternal Son of the living God left heaven’s glory to take upon Himself a human nature, thereby becoming the God-Man. Though there was a time when three of His disciples caught just a glimpse of His glory during the course of His earthly ministry, for the most part His radiant majesty was well concealed in a body that seemed in all respects normal and ordinary. Isaiah had said there would be no beauty in Him that we should desire Him.

His purpose in becoming a man and living among men was to take upon Himself the sins of men, so that He might perform the duty of a Kinsman-Redeemer, being of near kin to us as a man, being able to save us as God, and being willing to save us by suffering the wrath of God on our behalf, the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God.

Suffering, bleeding, and dying for the sins of others on a cruel Roman cross, the body of the sinless Son of the living God was then buried. After three days and nights, He rose bodily from the dead, demonstrating His complete victory over sin, death, Hell, and the grave, leaving behind an empty tomb for all the world to see. By the way, this fact of the empty tomb was never challenged by anyone living in the city where the resurrection took place, Jerusalem.

Then He showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs. The reality of His resurrection from the dead was on one occasion witnessed by more than 500 brethren at once. However, that was only one proof. Another convincing proof of His resurrection was the dramatic conversion of His once skeptical half brother, James, who lived and served as a testimony of Christ’s resurrection until he was martyred. Having proven to the doubting city of Jerusalem that the reason His tomb was empty on the third day was that He had risen from the dead, which would result in thousands living in that city being saved, the Lord Jesus Christ then visibly ascended to His Father’s right hand on high, where He conducts His present session.

It is important that we pay attention to the manner of His ascension, for a reason that will be obvious. Acts 1.11 records what Christ’s disciples heard as they watched their Master disappear out of their sight on His journey to the Father’s right hand in heaven: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ’s present session will end at the time of His second coming, with His second coming, like His ascension, being both a visible return and a physical return. Of course, this will mean the visible and physical presence of the King of kings and the Lord of lords here on earth once again.

However, different than His first advent, when He lived among us as a man of low station in life, the second coming of Christ will be an arrival that features His great power and majestic glory. What will His return to earth be like? The answer depends upon your individual perspective. Consider the question from four perspectives:

 

IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN, WHAT WILL CHRIST’S RETURN BE LIKE?

 

Keep in mind that, if you are a Christian, you will be taken up by Christ into heaven before His second coming. After the Rapture of church age Christians, the next event on the prophet calendar, seven years will pass in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. It is referred to as the 70th week of Daniel and the time of Jacob’s trouble, but it will be a time when Christians will all be in heaven. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to establish His millennial reign on earth, He will be at the head of a vast multitude of Christians who have been in heaven for those seven years, Revelation 19.14, a virtual army of believers returning with Christ to rule and to reign with Him.

Therefore, if you are a Christian, the second of Christ will be the ultimate vindication, the greatly anticipated victory, and the great triumph of Christ over a world system that opposed us and resisted our attempts to proclaim our Lord’s gospel. For us, His return will be a mighty triumph over His foes.

 

Next, IF YOU ARE A TRIBULATION SAINT, WHAT WILL CHRIST’S RETURN BE LIKE?

 

Let me say once again that every Christian will be taken to heaven in the Rapture, leaving no saved people on earth, for at least the beginning of that brief seven-year era between the Rapture of the Christians and the Revelation of the Christ. What about the so-called Tribulation saints, those people who come to Christ during that span of time?

They will be those converted to Christ under the preaching and ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will proclaim the gospel of Christ throughout the world, according to Revelation chapters 7 and 14. Themselves sovereignly converted by means not specifically revealed in the Bible, these young, male, Jewish virgins, will be Spirit-empowered witnesses for the Savior during the days of the antichrist’s ascendancy.

Millions will be converted to Christ during this time. Most of the converts will be martyred for their faith in Christ, either starved to death or beheaded for their refusal to take the mark of the beast. However, those who are still alive at the coming of Christ will welcome their conquering king with great rejoicing, and will be among the first subjects in His worldwide millennial kingdom.

For those believers, having turned to Christ after the Rapture and having endured such brutal suffering and deprivation for Christ’s sake, the coming of their long awaited Savior to rescue them will obviously be a time of much anticipated celebration. Therefore, you see, the second coming of Christ will be a return with Christians of this era, for believers of the Tribulation era.

 

Third, IF YOU ARE A JEW, WHAT WILL CHRIST’S RETURN BE LIKE?

 

Jewish people who are saved during this present era, of course, will experience the blessings of the Rapture, just like Gentile Christians of this era, the middle wall of partition being broken down and no difference existing between Jews and Gentiles in Christ. That is one of the great truths of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we read in Ephesians 2.14: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”

However, it will be quite different for Jewish people who are not converted prior to the Rapture. In the Tribulation, unsaved Jewish people will observe the 144,000 Jewish evangelists crisscrossing the world, powerfully testifying of the salvation, which is found only in Jesus Christ. Though filled with jealousy because of the conversions of so many Gentiles, the bulk of the Jewish people will nevertheless remain stubborn in their resistance to the gospel. Their exposure to the gospel witness will not be without effect, however. As the Tribulation proceeds, the antichrist will forsake the peace established with the Jewish people and he will defile the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, signaling a turning point as he commences a reign of anti-Semitic terror such as the world has never before seen.

Signs, wonders, devastating judgments poured out by God on an unbelieving world, Satanic wonders, unmatched ecological disasters, and the deaths of billions of people. This will all culminate in a pincer movement by three armies that will squeeze the Jewish population, as they have never before experienced. Remembering the witness of the 144,000 and finding themselves on the brink of annihilation, the Jewish people will finally look heavenward and cry out for deliverance by their Messiah, as Paul predicted in Romans 10.13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Then, fulfilling the prediction of Israel’s Messiah recorded in Hosea 5.15, this same Jesus they had for so long rejected and stubbornly refused, will finally come for them: “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”

Oh, it will be a glorious day when Jesus comes for His chosen people, on the day when they turn from their sins and reach out to Him in faith. For so many centuries, they had been a stubborn and gainsaying people, but when Jesus Christ comes to this old earth again, do you realize it will be in response to and for the deliverance from danger of His kinsmen according to the flesh?

 

Finally, IF YOU ARE THE WAY YOU ARE NOW, WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE WHEN JESUS COMES AGAIN?

 

Let us assume that you are as you presently are when Jesus comes again. The Rapture has taken place, the Tribulation’s seven years have passed, you have lived through the disasters that will result in one-half the population of earth being torturously killed, and you look up in time to see King Jesus coming from heaven at the head of the most astonishing entourage conceivable.

The scene is recorded in detail, beginning in Revelation 19.11. Read with me what the Apostle John sees:

 

11     And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12     His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13     And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14     And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15     And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16     And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

17     And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

18     That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

19     And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

20     And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

21     And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

 

What will happen to you when King Jesus returns? What will it be like for you when His regal majesty appears in the clouds in His great glory? We know what will happen to the kings, the captains, and the mighty men. We see in verse 18 that they will all be slain. However, what about you, the normal and ordinary, regular and routine, kind of person? What happens to everyone who is not a king, a captain, or a mighty man?

Look to verse 21, where the fate of the remnant is described, where what happens to those who are not kings, captains, and mighty men is seen. You will be “slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” When the Lord Jesus Christ returns He will slay you Himself, and the vultures and ravens will eat your flesh.

 

So you see, for the most part the second coming of Jesus Christ will be a most glorious event. Those of us who are Christians will return with Him. Those who become believers during that time before His return will be among those He returns for, with the Jewish people who cry out to Him (finally) for deliverance being the instigators of His return. As Romans 11.26 declares, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

However, not everyone will be filled with delight when King Jesus comes. The fourth group, which will numerically be the largest group by far, will dread His coming and will mourn His arrival. Why so? Because Jesus will kill them, or will kill you, whatever the case may be. Slaying His enemies is the least of what He will do to those who have rejected Him. Remember, in Matthew 10.28, He said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

When Jesus comes again, He will not only kill the bodies of those who reject His person and refuse His salvation. He will also destroy their souls in Hell. This does not mean lost souls will cease to exist, but that they will be tormented in Hell forever.

What a terrible fate awaits every man and every woman who stands opposed to God by not immediately embracing His Son, Jesus. However, it is the fate of every last soul who remains lost when Jesus Christ’s present session ends, which end occurs when He comes again.

Do you see how important consideration of Christ’s present session in heaven is? It is during His present session that He saves sinners who come to Him by faith. Once His session ends, when He comes again to rescue His chosen people from their sins and from antichrist’s danger to them, He will no longer save sinners.

Therefore, my friend, today is the day of salvation and now is the accepted time. At the end of Christ’s present session all opportunities to be saved from your sins will be passed.

Come to Jesus, my friend. Come to Jesus today.

 

____________________________

 

Some Bible Passages Showing Christ’s Presence In Heaven

 

1.    (Psalm 16.11)  “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

2.    (Psalm 110.1)  “A Psalm of David.  The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

3.    (Matthew 26.64)  “Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

4.    (Mark 12.36)  “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

5.    (Mark 14.62)  “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

6.    (Mark 16.19)  “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”

7.    (Luke 20.42)  “And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.”

8.    (Luke 22.69)  “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.”

9.    (John 3.13)  “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

10. John 14.2-4:  “. . . 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. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

11. (Acts 2.33)  “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”

12. (Acts 2.34-35)  “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand. Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”

13. (Acts 7.56)  “And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

14. (Romans 8.34)  “Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

15. (Ephesians 1.20)  “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”

16. (Colossians 3.1)  “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

17. (Second Thessalonians 1.7)  “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.”

18. (Hebrews 1.3)  “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

19. (Hebrews 1.13)  “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?”

20. (Hebrews 8.1)  “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”

21. (Hebrews 9.24)  “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”

22. (Hebrews 10.12-13)  “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

23. (Hebrews 12.2)  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

24. (1 Peter 3.22)  “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

25.  (Revelation 19.11)  “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”



[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. V, (Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1948), page 280.

[2] Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation Of Prophecy, (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1974), pages 349-351.



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