Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are You Rapture Ready?

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.
2 Kings 2:1-2
The story of Elijah's translation is chock full of meaning.  It is one of those uplifting portions of scripture that remind us of the catching away of the bride of Christ as this is the second "catching away" found in the Bible (Enoch being the first).  In short, this is also a picture of the twofold coming of Christ in that Elisha comes back across the Jordan doubly anointed.  These men comprise the shadow of Christ's prophetic ministry being two-fold (Aaron and Eleazar at Aaron's death type Christ's two-fold priestly ministry while David and Solomon type His ministry as King of Kings. In each case, the second one had a greater ministry.)  You think Jesus was greatly anointed in His first appearance, just wait until He returns as the Lion of Judah.  Sorry!  Getting excited!!  This very real story of the rapture of Elijah should inspire us all, but did you notice what the prophet did before the event?  He visited 4 places:  Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, and Jordan.  Why?  He was showing us that He was ready to go at a moments notice!

2 Kings 2:1 as shown above tells us that as Elijah perceived the coming of the LORD for him was near, he went to Gilgal.  This was the place of fulfilled promise!  A lot of great things happened to the nation of Israel here. It was the first place they encountered when they came into the land of promise as they entered by the miracle of the Jordan being rolled back.  Gilgal means "a rolling away," so we read this,"And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day."  How far did the waters roll back?  Joshua 3:16 says all the way to Adam.  Jesus is our Gilgal!  His atoning sacrifice, which we trust alone, rolled our sin away all the way back to Adam.  Bless the Lamb!!

You see, Gilgal was the place where the Jordan was dried.  For those who simply trust Jesus by faith, death's power has been dried up.  This is where the nation renewed the covenant by circumcising all of the men who had been born in the wilderness.  This seems to be the place where people break down, but our reasonable response to such a gracious act as the atoning death of Christ should be to wholly offer ourselves that God may glorified in our lives.  Next, the manna dried up as they began to eat the fruit of the land at Gilgal.  This speaks of obtaining the promises of God and feeding on them.  Finally, at Gilgal, Joshua had 12 stones placed as a memorial of God's fulfilled promises.  Elijah may have even visited this very place as a reminder of the grace of God that makes us ready for the rapture.  Have you experienced this place of promise in Christ?

Elijah then went from Gilgal to Bethel.  This is the place of relationship.  The first time we encounter Bethel in scripture is when the LORD appears to Abraham, the friend of God, in Genesis 12 and gives the promises of being a great nation through whom all of the earth will be blessed.   This is where Abraham returns to offer sacrifice after his sojourn in Egypt during the famine.  Bethel, which means "house of God" is also the place the Jacob dedicates his life to God when he sees the ladder into Heaven.  Bethel speaks of dwelling with GOD in an ongoing abiding relationship.  It, then, seems significant that Elijah took time to visit this place of relationship as God prepared him for his departure.  These pictures are  literally the  promises concerning the cross of Christ from which we obtain salvation and through which we receive a relationship with God, like Abraham, by faith.There is nothing more important in this life than your personal relationship with God in Christ.  Have you accepted Him and entered into His house?

Jericho is the next stop.  This is the place of a walk of faith and witness.  For 7 days the people marched around this city looking at how seemingly impregnable and foreboding its walls were.  But on that 7th day after that 7th silent march around Jericho, they let out a victory shout of faith and the LORD brought the walls crashing down.  Faith in the promises of God brought the victory.  However, this is not the only event of note here as faith always brings the presence of Christ as a witness.  Where?  There was a woman in this town whose life was less than a stellar example of righteousness.  However, the witness of the Israelites began to tug at her heart. Hebrews 11:31 gives us the specifics, "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace."  It is certain that a walk of faith always brings a witness to a lost world.  Also, it is important to note that Jesus as a man is a direct descendant of Rahab.  He was there saving even the worst by grace through faith!  Elijah surely reviewed his walk of faith to prepare for Heaven.

The prophet then went to Jordan--the place of death.  The funny thing about salvation is that in order to escape death we must die.  What?  Listen to Jesus from Luke 9:24, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."  Elijah's last stop came to the very place the journey started, the Jordan.  Gilgal was on the banks of Jordan.  Jordan, which means "descender" is that place where we die to self and raise in newness of life by faith.

Are you ready for the LORD's return?  Accept His pardon by faith and begin a relationship with Christ.  Walk daily by faith as you die to self.  Simply trust the LORD to do what you yourself cannot do.  Trust the Savior Jesus so that when He does come soon, you too will go to be with Him.  Remember, He is Soon2Come.  

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