The Big Gathering
On the appointed day when our Lord Jesus Christ shall come again, at His glorious appearing with His saints (1 Thess 4:14) and His holy angels (Mk 8:38), there will be a big gathering (Zeph 2:1–3; Rev 16:13–15; 20:8).
First, when He comes and sits on His glorious throne (Mt 19:28; 25:31), He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other (Mt 24:31), and from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven (Mk 13:27). The souls of all the predestined elect, redeemed by Christ, and who died in Him, will be joined with their resurrected and glorified bodies to gather for the judgment (Jn 5:28–29; Rom 8:30; 2 Cor 5:10; Col 3:3; 1 Thess 4:13–5:11).
Second, God the Father has given the Son of God authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man (Mt 28:18; Jn 5:27; Acts 17:31). The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God at the hour of His coming, in which all who are in tombs will hear His voice (Jn 5:25, 28). In this, one time, general resurrection, some will come forth to a resurrection of life and some will come forth to a resurrection of judgment, based on their deeds, whether good (because they were saved by grace) or evil (Jn 5:29).
The gathering of elect saints in the resurrection to life will include their being raised with an imperishable body (1 Cor 15:42). The bodies of His saints will be glorious, powerful, and spiritual (1 Cor 15:43–45). The dead in Christ will be raised in His image and likeness: holy, immortal, imperishable, and heavenly (1 Cor 15:48–49, 53).
Christ’s victory over the world, sin, the devil, and death — through His resurrection, ascension, and enthronement — is the first fruit of resurrection life for the victorious believer (1 Cor 15:20, 23). We give thanks to God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). We are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37; 1 Jn 5:4) — steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor 15:58). Our labors in the Lord are not in vain because of the resurrection.
The dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thess 4:16), then those who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thess 4:17). So whether we are dead or alive at His coming, we will live together with Him…forever (1 Thess 5:10; 2 Thess 2:1).
Behold, He is coming with the clouds of heaven, sitting at the right hand of power (Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62), indeed, with power and great glory (Mt 24:30; Mk 13:26). Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him (Zech 12:10; Rev 1:7), and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him (Rev 1:7).
In later times, as evil waxes worse and worse, deceitful spirits will promote doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1) leading to apostasy at the end (2 Thess 2:13). The global potentate will be the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, often referred to as “antichrist” (2 Thess 2:3). His activity is in accord with Satan, performing powerful signs and false wonders (2 Thess 2:9). His political and military intrigue is in deceptive wickedness, and most will believe his falsehoods and take pleasure in wickedness (2 Thess 2:12).
God’s deluding influence (2 Thess 2:11), giving them over to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:28), will cause them to gather on the day of the Lord. Their purpose will not be a gathering for salvation, but it will be a gathering to judgment. They will come together to wage war against the Lamb (Rev 17:14). Demon spirits, performing signs, will go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty (Rev 16:14).
The Lord is a warrior, Yahweh is His name (Ex 15:3; c/f Zeph 3:17). He is a dread champion for His people (Jer 20:11). He has a purpose in gathering His enemies before Him (Is 42:13), “For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her bloodshed and will no longer cover her slain (Is 26:21).” Behold, our Lord Jesus Christ comes quickly and violently (Rev 19:11–21; 22:7, 12).
The great and sudden dread of God will be on all the kingdoms of the earth (2 Chron 2:29), and the terror of the Lord will cause them to say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:16).” The Lord will bring upon them what they dread (Is 66:4).
What men dread most is the ruin of the world system, “Babylon has fallen (Is 21:9; Jer 51:8; Rev 14:8; 18:1–2).” Both Egypt and Babylon, in the Old Testament, served as types of the world system. Notorious and nefarious is its mistreatment of Israel, the church of God, His chosen race of people throughout history (Is 49:3, 6; Gal 6:16; 1 Pet 2:9).
In one day, the plagues, pestilence, mourning and famine will come in a double portion to the degree of Babylon’s pride and evil deeds (Rev 18:1–8), “For in one hour your judgment has come (Rev 18:10).”
The big gathering on the great and terrible day of the Lord (Joel 2:1; Mal 4:5), amidst cosmic chaos and destruction of the world system, will have not only a gathering, but a separation, “All nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Mt 25:32).”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is exalted above the heavens and separated from sinners (Heb 7:26). He is coming with the clouds, with healing in its wings for those who fear His name (Mal 4:2). There is no healing for Babylon (Jer 51:9), only the execution of righteous judgment for her pride, sensuality, and immoralities.
All people ever conceived in the womb will gather at the big gathering of the living and the dead. Every eye will see the King of glory, whose face shines like the sun because He is the sun of righteousness (Mal 4:2). The Great Shepherd of the sheep will gather His own (2 Tim 2:19), those who belong to Him (Jn 10; 1 Cor 3:23), the remnant of Israel (Is 49:3, 6; Rom 9:6), from every nation, tribe and tongue (Rev 5:9; 7:9).
On that day, those who hear His voice will hear, either “Come to Me, blessed of My Father,” or, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire (Mt 25:41).” Thus, on the last day (Zeph 1), it will be a big gathering for the purpose of separation. May Christ Jesus be with you on that day and from this day forth and forevermore.
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 12, 2022