As a boy, while growing up in the South, I was blessed with the times that my family and I had as we met each day around the supper table. Whether I was at home with my mother, brother and sister and step-father, or with my grandparents (Big Mama and Papa), those times were always good. A prayer of thanks to God for the meal was always said. Conversation was good, Fried chicken, pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and cream style corn, okra and tomatoes, flat corn bread and “sweet tea,” were a sight to behold, and a blessing for a hungry stomach. Oh, how sweet those times were! The memories stay with me and strengthen me…George Younce, who led this song, would soon be at home waiting for “supper time.” Glen Payne, who was the other older gentleman in the video, was not far behind George in his own “home-coming.” .. Remaining from the picture that I painted of my family are my sister, step-father and me…”Age is a crown of glory, when it is found in the way of righteousness. “(Proverbs 16:31, 1599 Geneva Bible). Now, let’s consider the best supper of all times, and the road that will take us there. We will begin with a conversation that Jesus had with His disciples.
Matthew 24 New American Standard Bible (NASB) – Tribulation – Second Coming Of Jesus
It is important for us to understand the context of the following conversation. Jesus is talking to Jews, about things that will relate to unsaved Jews and Gentiles in the future, during a time that He calls “tribulation,” and “great tribulation.” He was not speaking to, or of, the New Testament church. In John 1:11 we read that Jesus came “to His own,” who were the Jews. In John 4:7-26, Jesus spoke with a woman of Samaria. Samaritans had intermarried with non-Jews, and were considered by full-blooded Jews as being half-breeds. During this conversation, Jesus discussed places of worship and true/spiritual worship. The woman came to know that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. In John 12:20-21, we read about some Gentile converts to Judaism who wanted to talk to Jesus, as follows;
20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
Jesus did not speak with the Gentile converts.. Remember John 1:11. Jesus was not sent to the Gentiles, Samaritans or Gentile converts to Judaism. He didn’t speak to Jews about things of the church, or about the rapture of the church. He spoke to Jews about things that were of particular importance to the Jews, which related primarily to His being the promised Messiah. (Re: John 1:11).
Signs of Christ’s Return
3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Notice verse 14. This passage addresses the tribulation, and not the rapture/catching up of the church, as we will discuss later. Jesus is speaking from the Mount of Olives. Upon His return to earth, He will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4)
21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
Notice verse 21: We hear that there has always been tribulation in the world. But, consider the wording of this verse.” such as has not occurred until now, not ever.” Times may be hard now, but for those who find themselves on the earth, during the time of the anti-Christ, during the tribulation, those days will be times “that have never been experienced.”
22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
Notice verse 22. The elect of this context relates to Jews. So many Jews will be killed by the anti-Christ during the tribulation that “those days will be cut short” so that not all Jews will die.
24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
The Glorious Return
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.31 And 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.
Notice verses 29-31. These events occur a the end of the Great Tribulation. The raptured church will not be present on earth during these times, but will return with Christ at the end of the tribulation (see Zechariah 14:1-9)
Notice verse 30. Zechariah 14:1-9 discusses the return of Jesus to earth at the end of the tribulation, when Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives, and bring peace to the earth during his thousand-year millennial reign.
Notice verse 31. The gathering of the Elect occurs at the time of the return of Christ, and is not the same event that takes place during the rapture of the church when believers in Christ are caught up in the air to meet our Lord and go on to take place in the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage of the Lamb. (discussed later in this post)
34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Notice verse 34. The term, “this generation,” relates to the generation of Jews who will be present during the tribulation.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Notice verse 36. This passage does not address the rapture of the church, but the truth of this teaching relates to the rapture.
Now, let’s focus our attention to the time of tribulation, and proceed to the Supper Table from there.
The Great Tribulation
Jesus speaks with Jews about a future time of tribulation that will affect those who have not been caught up in the rapture of the church prior to the tribulation. In this context, the Jews are the elect, but who are left behind when the rapture of the church takes place. A missionary core of 144,000 Jewish missionaries will be used by God to call unsaved Jews and Gentiles to accept Jesus as the Messiah (see Rev 7:1-4, and 14:1-5). Notice that 144,000 are present in both passages, which indicates that their being sealed protects them from the anti-Christ, and they are being protected “during the tribulation.” Revelation 3:10 shows that the church is being protected by being kept “from the tribulation.” (more about these two protections will be discussed in later posts) Three scripture texts will follow the passage of the tribulation and will discuss the catching up/rapture of the church, which includes those who have the Spirit of God indwelling their spirits.
Matthew 24:21-22 New King James Version (NKJV) – Consider the particular topic of the Tribulation
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
John 14:1-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Jesus Tells His Disciples, “I will come and take you away.” They become the believers of in the church of Christ.
14 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
1 Corinthians 15:50-55 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Paul tells believers in Christ, “you will be changed”
50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Those Who Die in Christ
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not proceed those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
2 Corinthians 5:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Our Future after Death At The Judgment Seat Of Christ/Bema Judgment
This event is for believers in Christ, who are “The Bride Of Christ,” after they are caught up in the rapture of the church. Remember the importance of “the bride,” as it has been taught in scripture. This event is not to determine salvation, which took place at the time of belief and new birth into Christ. Unbelievers will come before “The Great White Throne Judgment” (Rev 20:11-15) to face God, in the form of Jesus, who will judge them according to their sins. Believers come to the Bema judgment/judgment seat of Christ (tribunal of Christ) to receive eternal rewards because Jesus paid their sin debt on Calvary’s cross. Unbelievers have their eternal punishment and separation from God finalized at the time of their death, when they die in a state of “unbelief.” (John 3:18/Rom 8:1)
10 For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless
Revelation 19:7-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The marriage of the lamb also occurs in heaven between the raptured church, who is the bride of Christ, and Jesus, who is the bridegroom/Lamb of God. The saints, the church, the bride of Christ, were made righteous by Jesus. (2 Cor 5:21, see below). This event precedes the second coming of Christ with His saints at the Battle Of Armageddon, and also precedes the Marriage Supper Of The Lamb, which takes place following that Battle. The 1,000 year reign of Christ, the millennial reign of Christ, and the marriage supper of the Lamb are the same event. A bride is one of the two participants in a wedding. Invited guests are present during marriage suppers. Such guests will be the Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints. Consider the joy and happiness that are present during marriage suppers. (Isa 11:6, Isa 65:20, Rev 19: 9. see below)
Marriage of the Lamb
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
2 Corinthians 5:21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
By being made righteous through belief in Christ (right standing before God), our sin debt has been paid and we are kept from appearing before The Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15).
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Isaiah 11:6 Living Bible (TLB)
6 In that day the wolf and the lamb will lie down together, and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Calves and fat cattle will be safe among lions, and a little child shall lead them all.
Isaiah 65:20 Good News Translation (GNT)
20 Babies will no longer die in infancy, and all people will live out their life span. Those who live to be a hundred will be considered young. To die before that would be a sign that I had punished them.
Revelation 19:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 19:11-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Those believers who were “caught up/raptured” will return with Christ from where they experienced the Judgment Seat Of Christ and the Marriage Of The Lamb. (See 2 Cor 5:10/Zechariah 14:1-9). Jesus leads the assault on the anti-Christ, False Prophet, and those who oppose God and His people at the Battle of Armageddon (see Rev 16:12 forward;Armageddon vs 16). This is a spiritual battle (angels accompany Jesus and the Bride), with Rev 19:15 showing the battle being won without the actions of anyone but Jesus. This event shows Jesus actually returning to earth, as opposed to His coming in the air in the rapture.
The Second Coming of Christ At Armageddon
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine-press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
Doom of the Beast and False Prophet
20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
Zechariah 14:1-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Jesus returns at the Battle Of Armageddon and stands on the Mount Of Olives (vs 4). His Holy ones come with Him (vs 5, Raptured saints and angels). The battle will be the Lord’s victory, which comes from a spiritual battle (vs 3). Notice that all of the nations of the world will be the target of this attack by the returning Jesus (vs 2). “The world,” will include the USA. The “soldiers, and those opposing God and His people” will include those who were left behind when the rapture of the church took away those soldiers who had been born again, were the bride of Christ, and who knew Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The Second Coming Of Christ At Battle Of Armageddon
1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.5 You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! 6 In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle.7 For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.8 And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea;it will be in summer as well as in winter. God Will Be King over All 9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.
Revelation 20:1-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Battle of Armageddon ends. Satan is bound for a thousand years (vs 2). During that time, sin and its temptations will also be bound. At the end of the thousand years (millennium, marriage supper) Satan will be loosed, at which time he will begin to tempt those who were born during that time, and those who may have survived the Battle of Armageddon (see Zech 14:16). Consider the situation that will exist when Satan is no longer a factor in the lives of people. It was because of sin that death came to mankind. (See Romans 5:12). There was no death before Adam sinned, so no one died before God created Adam.That fact is very important to remember about the Genesis account of creation.
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
Revelation 20:4-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Saints Rule And Reign With Christ
4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Those who were resurrected at the rapture, and those who were alive at the time of the rapture, accompany Jesus as He returns to Earth at the Battle of Armageddon. Those who accepted Jesus during the tribulation and survived death from the anti-Christ are present. Those who were martyred during the tribulation, and the Old Testament saints, are now resurrected. All of those who had saving relationships with God are now ruling and reigning with Christ for the thousand-year millennium. All of those who had never had a saving relationship with God, upon their death, will not be resurrected until the end of the millennium.
So, what time is it? It’s “supper time.” It’s waiting for all of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
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