Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. If you’re new to our program, in this first segment we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come?—Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ. Dave, simple, very basic question, “Why is Jesus coming back?” Scripture tells us that His death, burial, and resurrection made full provision for our salvation, so why return and for whom is He coming?
Dave: Well, He did say on the cross, “It is finished!” So, that simply meant that the sacrifice was finished.
Tom: Right, although some (a little digression here) . . . Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Moonies, he believed that Jesus didn’t finish it, and that he is now the Messiah that’s here to pick up where Jesus, kind of, didn’t get the job done.
Dave: Yeah, but he’s not planning to die for our sins, Sun Myung Moon. He says the real mission that Jesus should have fulfilled was to get married and have the perfect family. That’s the . . .
Tom: They’re not far removed from Mormonism.
Dave: Right. So, he claimed to get the perfect family going. However, he’s had a lot of problems in his family, and . . . is this his third wife? I’m not sure.
Tom: Right, but we’ve had suicides, alleged suicides, from his some of his children.
Dave: Yeah, well, anyway, the family is the family of God. The Father is God—not Jesus even. We’re His brethren. So, the family is the family of God, and it is for those who are born again through faith in Christ. Pretty simple. When you’re born into this world the first time, you become a child of your earthly parents. That’s physical birth. To be a child of God you have to be born into the family of God by the Spirit of God, and that’s what Jesus said: “You must be born again,” okay?
So, Sun Myung Moon doesn’t have it He’s not a country mile from the truth! I mean, he’s worse than that—the distance between heaven and hell. Jesus said, “I am THE way, THE truth, THE life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.” So, Sun Myung Moon better repent, and all of his followers need to, and get back to the Bible and understand what salvation is and the problem between man and God. But anyway, you asked . . . ?
Tom: Yeah, why is He returning, and who is He coming for?
Dave: Right. Well, He said, “It is finished,” on the cross. That’s the work of our redemption. But He did say, “I will come again.” He told his disciples at the so-called last supper (John 14, you would get that), Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” (You know, I can even quote that in Russian . . . )
Tom: Dave, I know people are going to get upset that I’m interrupting you, okay? Sometimes they do. But why did you say, “so-called last supper?”
Dave: Well, it’s not the last supper. I mean, it was the last supper for Christ on this earth, but He said He would drink this cup and eat this bread, you know, anew in His Father’s kingdom. So, that’s okay, if they want to call it that, but then we get all kinds of problems about the last supper. Some people think the last supper was the Passover, which it wasn’t, but we cannot get into that, Tom . . .
Tom: Yeah, I didn’t mean to . . .
Dave: . . . go down that road.
Tom: No, that’s too far. Yeah, some people say, “Why did He say that?” I just wanted you to kind of cover it a little bit.
Dave: Yeah. I shouldn’t have said that, okay? Sometimes I’m not as wise as I could be in what I say, because I’m thinking of all kinds of other things, and that opens lots of doors.
Tom: Rabbit trails?
Dave: Right, but it was definitely the last supper with His disciples on this earth. So, we’ll give them credit for that, certainly. All I’m saying is that by giving it that title, then we get all kinds of baggage attached to it. He said (I’m quoting Him now, from John 14): “In my Father’s . . . “ Well, let me go back to the beginning, John:14:1: “Let not your heart be troubled.” Why would He say that? Because He told them He was leaving. They thought He had come to establish a kingdom on David’s throne, and they were all looking forward to that. And now He says He’s leaving!
“Lord, where are you going?”
He says, “Well, don’t be troubled about that. You believe in God; believe also in Me.” Now, He’s claiming to be God, which He did often. I mean, would you dare to say, “You believe in God, believe also in me?” Well, you’re putting yourself on the same level as God. And then He goes on and He says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: 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 you may be also.”
And [Thomas] said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” and so forth. Anyway, so Jesus said He’s going to go away and come back and take His disciples to be with Him. Now, when we talk about the return of Christ, what do we mean? You just implied that. What is He coming to do? Who is He coming for? There are actually two phases, you could say—if you say there’s two comings yet, that really upsets people, but there are, seven years apart. He comes at the Rapture—He says (we just quoted Him), “I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am . . . (I’m going away to my Father’s house, so obviously, I’m going to take you there to be with Me forever) okay?
Well, He’s going to have to snatch us off of this earth. He’s not taking everybody; He’s onlåçy taking the ones who believe in Him. We call that the Rapture, okay? That is Christ coming for His Bride, His church, and there is going to be a wedding in heaven. The wedding is not on this earth; the wedding is in heaven. Now, there will be a reception on this earth, and a supper—the marriage supper is on this earth. It’s not in heaven. That’s the wedding, okay? Revelation 19. Then, in Revelation . . .
Tom: Dave, could you explain that a little more? When is the reception, the dinner, as you point out—the supper?
Dave: Well, that will be when He returns to this earth. I believe that all the redeemed will be welcome there, but there are those who are not part of the bride.
Tom: I see.
Dave: And the bride and the bridegroom get married. Then they meet the guests (and Jesus gave a number of parables talking about the guests), and so forth.
Tom: What specific scriptures would relate to this reception on earth?
Dave: Well, in Luke 14, Jesus told the story of a . . . well, He told a number of stories. You see, there is not only a bride and groom, but there are guests. Now, on this earth the guests are at the wedding, not in heaven, okay? We read of that in Revelation 19: there is a marriage in heaven. The Bride is married to the Bridegroom, Christ to His Bride. So, it doesn’t say anything about any guests being present. They couldn’t be present. If they are there, they would be part of the Bride, okay? They would have been raptured.
So, the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb,” it’s called, would have to be on this earth. And Jesus gave a parable, for example, of a man who made a great feast, invited many, and they didn’t show up. So then he gets other guests. Or you have the one of the wedding, and you have the man who tries to get in without a marriage garment on. Obviously again, this is not the Groom, this is not the Bride, or one of the members of the Bride, because the Bride is the body of Christ.
Scriptures that talk about the marriage supper, or the supper, that’s not the wedding, obviously. The wedding is not a supper. There is a supper, or a meal, that accompanies the wedding, and it is for the guests—not just for the Bride and Groom.
So anyway, at the end of Revelation 19, it says He comes back to this earth. And when Christ was taken up to heaven, Acts 1, the disciples stand gazing up there, and He’s taken up, and then He is out of their sight—He’s gone! They saw Him physically taken up, and two men stood by them in white raiment, it says—well, those are angels—and said to them: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus that you have seen go into heaven shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go.”
Okay, that takes care of reincarnation, takes care of Sun Myung Moon, it takes care of the various false Christs, it takes care of the New Age movement. It doesn’t say the “Christ Consciousness” is going to settle upon all of us, or the Christ Spirit, or the reincarnation of something. This same Jesus, okay? Jesus, the man, is going to come back in exactly the same way as you have seen Him go. And that is when His feet will touch the Mount of Olives.
So, at the Rapture, He doesn’t come to this earth. He catches us up, it’s very clear, 1 Thessalonians 4 (probably many people out there know these scriptures very well): “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren” [I guess it depends on where you put the comma—“I don’t want any ignorant brethren around here.” No.) “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep,” okay? Well, asleep is the body. We do not believe in “soul sleep.” This is the teaching of many cults.
Tom, you interrupt me any time, because I’m just rattling on here.
Tom: Yeah, but it’s good rattle, Dave!
Dave: It says, “Concerning them who are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope.” I think, in The Berean Call—maybe it’s a newsletter coming up—I quote one of my . . . well, my best friend in those days, Ed McCully, who at that point, has gone to South America to Ecuador as a missionary to the Indians. I think we quote him standing at the bedside of an 18-year-old Indian boy, dying. Then the wailing, he relates, of the survivors, and they weep and wail for a couple of days. There is no comforting them, because he is gone.
So that’s what Paul is referring to, concerning those who are “asleep.” Remember the “young damsel”? It says, “She’s dead.” And yet, Jesus comes and says, “No, she is not dead. She is sleeping.” And they laugh Him to scorn, the scripture says. Well, her body is sleeping, and He calls the soul and spirit back into the body and raises her from the dead.
So Paul says, “I don’t want you to be ignorant about, you know, Christians who have died.” They all knew that Jesus said that He is going to go away and come back and receive us to Himself. Well, naturally, then, there would be concern. What about those who died—and some of them did—but He hasn’t come back yet? They are just out of this.
“No,” He says, “I want you to know that those who sleep in Jesus, He will bring with Him.” So, obviously, it’s not the body; it’s the soul and the spirit. And in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul talks about “being absent from the body, present with the Lord, which is far better.” And in Philippians 2, he says, “I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ.”
What do you mean? He’s not going to be caught up like Elijah was in a flaming chariot, chariot of fire. He’s going to die as a martyr. He knows that, but when he dies, he’s going to depart.
Now, is he just going to be in limbo somewhere, and just be sleeping? Look, there are a couple of ways people try to explain this: “Well, he won’t be asleep, or he won’t be gone to sleep. I mean, he dies, and when he awakens, the Rapture has occurred.” Well then, I don’t know why Paul would be so anxious to die, to be with Christ. Philippians 1, in the Old English, he says, “I am in a strait betwixt two.” You know, “I’ve got two things ahead of me.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. He has to make a choice.
Dave: “I don’t know which one. I know that to remain here would be more needful for you—it would be helpful for you—but myself, I’d rather leave this earth and be with Christ.” Now, obviously, he’s going to be consciously with Christ. Otherwise, he’s not going to leave an active ministry, where he is blessing people and seeing people come to Christ, and writing epistles, and serving the Lord. He’s not going to leave that. That would hardly be a choice, would it—to go into a sleep, for . . . I don’t know—a couple-thousand years, until the Rapture and then you are wakened?
No! “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.”
“Present with the Lord” must have some significance. We’re not just in bins over here, all asleep, like you see in some movies. So, it says, “Those who sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him.” They have been with Him. They’ve been absent from their body, they’ve been “present with the Lord, which is far better,” Paul says, okay? And they come back with Him. He brings the souls and the spirits of those who have died, those who are sleeping, and on that basis, Paul says, “Comfort one another with these words, because you don’t mourn like the heathen.”
Tom: Yeah, but, Dave, you said He’s coming back with the souls and spirits. Hasn’t there been a resurrection?
Dave: No, no, not yet.
Dave: He’s bringing them back to be united with their resurrected bodies. Okay, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, the trump of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” So, they don’t rise until He comes back, and He brings the souls and spirits with Him to be reunited with the bodies that they left in the grave, which have now been transformed to new bodies.
And people say, “Well, wait a minute! I know this guy was cremated, and he had them sprinkle his ashes all over the ocean out there. You can’t raise his body again.” Well, you don’t have to be too bright to realize that we continually are giving off atoms. That’s how dogs can trace your trail! I mean, we don’t know it, but we are giving off parts of our body all the time. We take in food, and it’s transformed into new molecules and cells in our body, and we get rid of the old stuff, and so forth.
So, you don’t have the same hydrogen and oxygen and carbon, and so forth, atoms, in your body today that you had a week ago—certainly not that you had a month ago, okay? So, these bodies, no matter what the condition of them, they will be resurrected. He will reconstitute the body of each person, it will be identifiable, but it will be like His body, no blood in it, flesh and bone—we talked about that, I think, a few weeks ago—because it lives in the power of an endless life. “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” That was poured out on the cross, and we will have the life of Christ—Christ will be our life. Okay, so . . .
Tom: What I want to make sure that you come back to is “the guests”—who these guests are.
Dave: Right. Okay. All right. So, we’re talking about the Rapture. “The dead in Christ will rise first; we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them and meet the Lord in the air.” First Corinthians 15 says, “We will not all sleep . . .’ So we won’t all die, but “we will all be changed in a moment, a twinkling of an eye. The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed,” okay? That’s the Rapture, when He comes for His bride, the saints.
But at the Second Coming He comes with His saints. There has been a wedding up there, okay? And now He comes down at the Second Coming. He comes to rescue Israel in the midst of Armageddon. Every Jew who is alive at that point on this earth will believe in Jesus! Zechariah:12:10, “They will look on me, whom they have pierced.” They will realize the One we have rejected all these centuries is God! Look, here He comes! Yahweh is speaking, and Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, “They will look on Me, whom they have pierced!”
When Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” He wasn’t speaking error. “Look on Me whom they have pierced,” and then it said, “And they will all mourn because of Him.” Me, Him, I, He—Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” okay? Well, of course, there is going to be great rejoicing and a reception, and Christ is going to introduce His Bride to Israel, to the redeemed—I think there will be many who will see Christ. It says in Revelation:1:7:“Every eye will see Him.” Okay.
Tom: What about the Gentiles? You said Jews would be guests, but what about the Gentiles?
Dave: Well, Tom, I love the Bible! See, if it only said, “Every eye will see Him,” then we would think, “Well, I guess it’s just the Jews.” No! It says, “Every eye will see Him, and they also, who pierced Him!” Okay, that’s the Jews. So, the whole world will see Him, every eye will see Him, and I believe that every person who is alive at this moment on planet earth, upon whom God’s judgment has not fallen, they will be overwhelmed with His glory and they will believe!
Every Jew will be saved—“All Israel will be saved,” Paul tells us. Then I think, there’s a reception. I mean, there’s going to be a feast. So, the ones who will be at that feast, the guests, they have to be redeemed ones as well. Well, then, why aren’t they in the church? Well, Tom, again, people will disagree with me—how do we distinguish?
We’re going to have to come back to this. Is Abraham going to be in the church? I think so. David? David, who foretold the resurrection; Abraham, of whom God said: “Before Abraham was, I Am, and Abraham rejoiced to see My day.” I think they are.
Tom: Job saw His day!
Dave: Yes, where is the separating line? I think it is those who do not believe until they see Him physically return. They go into the kingdom in their physical bodies, and we will rule over them. Those who come to faith in Christ—Old Testament up to the end of the great Tribulation, they are martyrs in the great Tribulation for their faith in Christ. It says we have a special resurrection for them. In Revelation 20, those who have been beheaded—I believe they are all in the church, and that’s the dividing line. Then the guests are those who are not in the church—they are not part of the Bride.