In These Last Days
Are we in the Last Days?
Strictly speaking, the hope of Israel was their Messiah. But with the coming of Messiah were connected many other things which also were a part of the hope of Israel.
In Ezekiel 37 we read of the valley of dry bones. It is a picture of the resurrection of Israel and her entering into the promised land in the times of the kingdom. Daniel 12 begins with the same hope.
But it is in Isaiah 66 that we find something that we can link with Revelation 12. You will note that the travail of the woman, who is Israel, is the birth pangs mentioned in Matt. 24:8 Now Isaiah speaks of a manchild born before the birth pangs, and then children after the travail. In Revelation 12 we see that there is first a man-child born, and then the time of tribulation, after which is the resurrection at the seventh trumpet. The man-child is evidently overcomers, faithful ones who escape the tribulation.
So far, these have to do with Israel, the baptism by fire in the tribulation, and the resurrection.
We go to John 11 and we find something about the last day, the same times. In reference to the last day the Lord declares that He is the resurrection and the life. He then shows that He will be the resurrection for the believing dead at that day, those asleep. He also shows that He will be life to believers who are alive at that day, for they shall never die.
This is a further explanation of Rev. 11:15 where the last or seventh trumpet sounds and the kingdoms of the earth come under the rule of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Paul speaks of this great event in First Corinthians 15. He describes what happens at the last trumpet, speaking of the raising of the dead and the change of the living as in John 11. Note the use of the word sleep here and in Daniel 12.
In First Thessalonians, Paul refers to the same event, except it is written some time before the Corinthian letters. In chapter 4 he notes the archangel that is mentioned in Daniel 12. The trumpet is also spoken of. And the dead rise first (the Lord is the resurrection to them). And then those believers who are alive rise up into the air (not heaven) with those who had been dead. They meet the Lord who is coming to set up His kingdom as described in Revelation 11. So they do not stay in the air for long, but come with the Lord to the earth. Note also that there will be clouds, just as at the ascension of the Lord. He comes in like manner as He left. The clouds are angels, sometimes called saints, and also plainly spoken of as His holy angels. Look up all these carefully. Angels have to do with Israel, the heirs of salvation. They are not connected with the church.
Now, going back to Isaiah 66, we find there just what Nicodemus should have remembered, but did not. He was told that he would have to be born again (resurrected) in order to see and enter into the kingdom. He was told (plural YE) that his people Israel would have to be born again (resurrected) so that they might enter the kingdom. And the same was true of the King just suppose He had never been raised!
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