“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. That they may be one just as We are one. Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him … We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Right now the church is like a pregnant woman experiencing contractions in quick succession. Church birthpangs are increasing in frequency and intensity. The rapture of the church is very close.
The strength of the early church was in their unity. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47). The gathering to the Lord of the Bride of Christ is designed to dovetail the seven years Tribulation Period.
After Rapture Events
After the rapture of the church there will be contemporaneous events in heaven and on earth. While the twenty-one seal, trumpet and vial judgments will be taking place on earth, raptured saints will experience what Apostle Paul meant when he quoted prophet Isaiah in 1 Cor 2:9 “But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Events In Heaven
Events that will take place after the rapture of the Church in Heaven include:
- Assemblage of raptured saints in the Atmospheric Heaven
- First Banquet in the second heaven “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies (Ps 23:5).
- Judgment Seat of Christ – presentation of crowns and other prizes
- Presentation of saints to the Father – third heaven. Father discloses each saint’s eternal name that He assigned before the foundation of the world.
- Marriage of the Lamb.
- Preparation for Kingdom rule and assignment of duties and responsibilities.
- Marriage Feast of the Lamb – last day of the Tribulation Period.
During the Marriage Supper that will last a whole day, there will be signs in heaven to signal that the Son of Man was about to descend to earth. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” ((Mt 24:29-30).
Christ will land on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem to confront and destroy an assemblage of the forces of the antichrist at the plain of Megiddo. This is the future battle of Armageddon. The visible personal appearance of Jesus on the Mount of Olives with His saints and the holy angels will cause the greatest earthquake in human history. It will bring about a topographical readjustment of the earth’s surface to correct the devastating glacial upsurge caused by the Angelic war and the Flood of Noah in order to bring the earth to pre-rebellion state for kingdom business.
In contemporary human marriage there are basically three stages: betrothal, wedding and the feast, supper or celebration of the union. The Church has been betrothed to Christ; the next event is the marital union. Focus is currently on the Bride who is busy making herself ready for the wedding.
The basic requirement to be in heaven in this dispensation is to be in Christ at the point of death or rapture whichever comes first. Not everyone who participates in the rapture of the church will be eligible to be part of the the Bride of Christ. The Bride will be drawn from those born again in the current dispensation of grace that is from the day of Pentecost to the day church rapture takes place, who qualified to be included in the rapture and won laurels at the Judgment Seat of Christ. That excludes Old Testament saints (Lk 7:28) who, in their own right have varying prestigious positions to occupy in the future kingdom. Qualities of a bride include having the mind of Christ, denying all to follow Him, suffering persecution for the sake of the gospel, abiding in Him to the end and being obliged to love God more than mother, father, brother, wife, husband sister for the sake of the kingdom. In addition, the Lord Himself gave four outstanding qualities of the Bride in Mt 24:42-47 – watchfulness, readiness, faithfulness and fruitful occupation till He comes.
In conclusion, “let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev 19:7).