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Afterlife: The Great Reunion

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 10, 2021 3:00 am

Afterlife: The Great Reunion

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 10, 2021 3:00 am

The average life expectancy in the United States is about 78 years. What’s life expectancy in heaven? Forever. Not sure what the fraction is of our life here compared to our life there, but it’s clear we spend the larger amount of time thinking about the lesser part of our life. Today on A New Beginning, as Pastor Greg Laurie continues his series on Bible prophecy in Revelation, we’ll consider what life is like on the other side, and how the Rapture may take us there.

 

 

This year we are excited to bring back our SoCal Harvest. Why do large-scale, evangelistic crusades still matter after all these years? It’s pretty simple: in a time of division, disharmony, social unrest, and fractional politics, we, now more than ever, need to be together—physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, spiritually. We need the presence of God in our lives, the only one with a plan, a road map for all of us, RSVP today: harvest.org/socal 

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Everybody you're listening to a new beginning, which is a podcast made possible by harvest partners.

If this program is impacted you, I love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg@harvest.org again it's greg@harvest.org you can learn more about becoming harvest partner by going to harvest.org today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie addresses the great mystery of what lies beyond the grave is to look at the afterlife and who will get to see again when a loved one dies in week three. Imagine this dear reading suddenly a moment that happened so quickly with them. Your reunited with them. There they are great reunion.

Your sorrow vanishes from place with ecstatic joy and is about 70 years life expectancy in heaven.

Not sure what the fraction is of our life here compared to our life. There is clear within the larger amount of time thinking about the lesser light today of a new beginning pastor Greg continues his series on Bible prophecy and revelation. Consider what life is like on the other side of the rapture story is told Billy Graham going to the to hold one of his great Crusade. Billy wrote a letter to his wife Ruth to tell her how things are going. By the way, kids letters that we use to write a long time ago we wrote about we lick the envelope to put a stamp on it and went to a place called the post office and mailed them now.

People call that snail mail anything now even email seems low would rather text but anyway Billy wanted to send this letter home to Ruth North Carolina. But he didn't know where the post office was in this particular time you thought young man standing on a street corner and he called out to a young man wears a post office, and so the young boy told Billy Graham where the post office was and then Billy said to that young guy hey you want to come to the stadium tonight and hear me preach some of the tell people how to get to heaven little guy said, how would you not to get to heaven. You don't even know how to get to the post office well sooner or later. If you're a Christian, you're going to enter the afterlife, and if you put your faith in Christ you're going to go to heaven. What a great hope, that is, the Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord you close your eyes on earth and you open them and have so we have basic to modes of transportation to get us to the afterlife if for a believer it's either going to be death or the rapture, to talk a little bit about the rapture in this message I want to tell you what it is why there is a rapture when it would potentially happen in a little bit more. Let's read Revelation chapter 4 verses 1 to 2.

Remember John's on the island of Patmos. He's been catapulted into the future in kind of a spiritual time machine. I don't think it was a DeLorean. Eddie seen things that Arctic comedy writes about it now, in Revelation 4 when he says after these things.

You might underline that phrase after these things. John says I look and behold, a door standing open in heaven and the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me saying come up here and I will show you things that will take place after this.

You might underline those words. After this, and Johnson's immediately I was in the spirit, behold, a throne set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

So we begin placing after these things in the Greek it met at Delta. The book of Revelation as I pointed out to you before comes complete with its own outline and there is a golden key to unlocking the book, there is an encryption key or a password if you will that makes Revelation understandable in front and revelation 119 it says write the things that you have seen the things which are in the things that will take place after this. So Revelation is broken into three sections. Number one the things that you've seen this is what John writes about in Revelation chapter 1 he sees the glorified Christ with all power in heaven and earth and control of all that is about to happen. Number two the things which are, this is a reference to the seven churches spoken of in Revelation chapters 2 to 3 as I described it, it says seven love letters of Jesus to his church. And finally, category three, and that's all right now. Those things that will take place after these things, so we basically of the Lord's person is people in this program. That's all laid out again to review chapter 1 is a revelation of the glorified Christ chapters 2 to 3 is flyover of church history. Chapters 4 and five were taken up into heaven in the rapture. Chapters 6 to 19 we have the great tribulation. That will last for seven years. Chapter 20 we have the millennium. Chapters 21 to 22.

We have the new heavens and the new earth. So let's talk about the next event on the prophetic calendar I already mentioned it.

It's called the rapture.

Look at what John writes in verse one.

The first voice which occurred was like a trumpet speaking with me saying come up here and I'll show you things that must take place after this. After this, after what after the things of the church on earth. So now the church are all believers in Jesus are caught up to meet the Lord. First Thessalonians 4 is the Lord himself will descendent from heaven with a shout in the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first and we which are alive and remaining shall be caught up together with them in the air you're taking notes here is point number one truly a question what is the rapture listen very carefully. The rapture is a future event, when Christ will descend from heaven and resurrect the bodies of believers who have died, their spirits of God, the government, but their bodies are still here in the earth in the gray at the same time, we who are alive. If it happens in our lifetime we will be caught up together with them with you with those others who are having their resurrection bodies given to them will be caught up together with them in heaven will be a great reunion.

The word rapture comes from the Greek word harp also this word harp also is used 13 times in the New Testament it means to take forcibly dispatched or to catch up symbols ideal for the word rapture in the Bible will depend to feel the Latin Bible you have it because of the Latin translation of harp also is rapturous for beginner English word rapture. It doesn't matter what you call it the rapture. The harp also the greatest gate. Whatever you prefer. But it means to take forcibly to snatch or to catch up. That's what the rapture is so why is there a rapture point number two Paul was writing to the believers there in Thessalonica and they had loved ones who would die and they were wondering if they would ever see those people again.

So he wrote these words inspired by the Holy Spirit to calm their hysteria and to bring them perspective. He saying you are going to see them again going back.

The first Thessalonians 4 verse 13, Paul says I don't want you to be on informed brothers about those who have died so that you will not grieve as those who have no hope when a Christian loses a loved one.

When a loved one dies. We greet I bring this up because sometimes well-meaning Christians will say to someone who's lost a level don't cry during heaven. Excuse me, I will cry. I must cry my sorrow is an indication of my love.

So Paul's not saying don't create anything, don't grieve as those who have no hope he saying don't grieve hopelessly grieve. Hopefully yes, you can miss them just you can be sad to remind yourself of this fact. You will see them again and so that's what he saying to the believers there and really in effect to all of us today and you know when you've lost a loved one, especially if they were taken from you quickly or unexpectedly.

It devastating you had conversations that weren't finished things that weren't said things you wanted to do with them adventures you wanted to have an you you find yourself thinking about them often are, or they enter your dreams and in your saying things to them that you want to say they're never far from your thoughts so imagine this dear grieving friends, you could be going about your business doing whatever it is you're doing. Maybe even thinking about your departed loved one when suddenly in a moment that happened so quickly it can't be measured in time though your without your reunited with them. There they are.

And even better you're there in the presence of Jesus himself. Mothers and fathers reunited with sons and daughters husband reunited with wives, wives reunited with her husband's children reunited with parents and parents with children, siblings reunited with siblings, and of course friends with friends. The great reunion.

Your sorrow vanishes and it's replaced with ecstatic joy. And again, you're not only with your loved one your with the Lord as well.

So go ahead and think about these things and dream about these things and look forward to the afterlife.

CS Lewis wrote these words and I quote a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking it's one of the things a Christian is meant to do. Paul writes in Colossians that we should set our affection on things above. Another translation says, think heavenly thoughts, or simply think Kevin so it's a good thing to contemplate the afterlife. It's an important thing for all of us.

We hope you're enjoying this series were doing on the book of Revelation, and I'm very excited to tell you about a brand-new book that we have just released simply called Revelation, a book of promises. I wanted to tell you how to get your own copy at the end of the program, but if you can't wait, just go to harvest.org to find out more about getting your copy of this brand-new book.

This commentary on the book of Revelation called Revelation, a book of promises and no backdoor study coming back to this event that we referred to as the rapture is it spoken of elsewhere in Scripture. Answer yes Jesus spoke of it. In John chapter 14, he said, in my father's house are many mansions were not so I would've told you. I go to prepare a place for you if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, you may be also. Jesus also mentioned this event and what we sometimes call the all of the discourse found in Matthew 24. He says there in verse 42 men will be in the field will be taken and the other left. Two women will be at a hand mill one will be taken and the other left. So be watching you don't know what day your Lord will come. So summer in a field summer working summer sleeping, so it's a global event that will happen in a moment that you can't even really measure in time. The apostle Paul again refers to it in first Corinthians 1551 he says behold I tell you a mystery.

We shall not all sleep. By the way, when this phrase, we shall not all sleep is used in speaking of the death of a believer is not interesting, it's never used to describe the death of a nonbeliever. Only a believer, I don't know about you, but as I get older I kind of enjoy sleeping or at least I like naps right and in the same way you don't have to dread a nap. You don't have to be afraid of sleep and you don't have to be afraid even of death. But Paul goes on to say we shall not all sleep or die, but will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we show be changed. Now some would say we you know that there's no example of people being enraptured in the Bible. Actually, I would beg to differ. We find it in the Old Testament. Let start with enough to remember him. Bible says peanut walk with God and was not he was close to God in a relationship with the Lord and I guess one day in a can. God were taking their daily walk, the Lord said, hey buddy, were closer to my place and yours. Why don't you come home with me but he walk with God and he was caught up to be with the Lord and haven't little commentary and then Hebrews 11 five it says peanut was taken up to heaven without dying.

Suddenly he disappeared because God took him before he was taken up, he was approved as being pleasing to God, so he was in a solo rapture if you will. Also think of Elijah. He did not really die but he was taken suddenly into heaven second Kings chapter 2 tells us that Elijah and Elisha were walking together and talking when suddenly a chariot of fire appeared drawn by horses of fire and drove between them separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind in they have so those are two Old Testament believers who did not die but were effectively caught up to heaven coming to the New Testament. Philip was enraptured in a way, but I might say it was like a sideways rapture. Let me explain.

He was sharing the gospel with the men visiting from Ethiopia and we read in acts chapter 8 verse 39 after he baptized this man. The spirit of the Lord caught Philip away by the word. That's that root word our puzzle again and the unit never saw him again. Anyone on his way rejoicing. And basically he's placed 30 miles away. Now I would like to move around that which is going to get move from this place of that place without having to drive or walk. That's what happened to Philip. In effect, Jesus Christ himself was enraptured if you will, because he was taken into heaven. Remember, he had given the great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel and then we read the word harp. Also, when it says he was taken up our puzzle into the sky and they were watching as he disappeared into a cloud. So my point is simply this. There's precedent for it and it's going to happen for a generation of believers. Now here's the big question one that says more than any other.

When is the rapture and I want to give you the answer. So get ready for get out your pen get ready to write it down. When is the rapture answer any talk think it happened today can happen. Then I get up in the morrow we don't know the Bible says no man knows the day of the hour when the Son of Man will return.

If you were to go back to the original language that would be translated to no man knows the day of the hour when the Son of Man returns and what that means is no man knows the day of the hour.

So when someone comes along and says I've cracked the code. I know the date don't listen to on the wrong. No one knows the day or the hour to get up and it any time in a moment in a twinkling of an eye. It's been said that the twinkling of an eye is 1000 of a second. So what's going to happen.

First will when the rapture happens, the dead will rise first thing you might be asking Greg are using people get a burst out of their graves and be given new bodies. Actually, that's exactly what I'm saying because that's what the Bible says. The Bible teaches that there is a bodily resurrection. So this is something we can look forward to.

In fact there's even a prototype for this event found in the Gospel of Matthew. After Jesus died on the cross. A lot of amazing phenomena took place. We read in Matthew 2751.

After Christ died at the moment the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, listen, and the tomb was open and bodies of many godly men in women who die were raised from the dead after Jesus resurrection. They love the cemetery and walked into the holy city of Jerusalem and appeared to many people it's it's only in one gospel. It's amazing. So you're walking through Jerusalem and and name and that's I just saw uncle Harry walked by me that we buried him three days ago is alive again the people going to come out of their graves and be alive against the lid. Listen to the chronology of these things and try to understand that because sometimes people confuse the rapture and the second coming, the rapture is what we might call a stealth event Jesus coming like a thief in the night you guys going to come rip you off in the night he is and call you at Salem actually robbing you breaking into your home at 3:04 AM, so you might want to know they don't tell you that the they come like a thief in the night when he comes, it'll be sort of acquired event were just caught up to meet the Lord in contrast, the second coming is a big global event in everyone's aware of it.

Jesus says as the lightning shines from the east to the west, so will the coming of the son of man be. The rapture does when he comes in the air and the second coming, he returns to the earth and the rapture. He comes for his pride for his church in the second coming, he returns with his church and the rapture comes before judgment, the second coming, he returns with judgment. Greg Laurie valuable clarification today from his message, simply called afterlife and he'll have a final comment before today's addition of a new beginning. Concludes stay with us, especially in our current series and revelation. It helps to hear the entirety of each study. Their building blocks to complete the whole picture of John's description of the end times and if you missed any of today's presentation. You can get a replay by going to harvest.org just look for the title afterlife will pass to Greg are excited to make available your new book on Revelation in conjunction with our current study series and now many Bible students know revelation promises a blessing to those who read here and keep the words of this book.

That's right so it seems. Even the Bible acknowledges that revelation is no ordinary Bible study. That's right, it stands out from every other book of the Bible.

Of course it's the final book at the end of your Bible and the word revelation means unveiling because it's not God's desire to conceal but to reveal in Bible prophecy is not given to scare us but to prepare us and there is a special blessing attached to this book. In particular, and it's in the first chapter of Revelation, and that promise is blessed is the person that reads, hears and keeps the words of this book. So they've it's interesting because that phrase remains to read out loud so there's a blessing on you if you will simply read this book but then it says you must hear it you know Jesus will often say he that has ears to hear, let them.

Here are about a vernacular would be.

Listen up. Pay attention so I have to read it. I have to hear it and then finally I need to keep it. Meaning I need to take these Jews in this book and apply them in their own life. What we study Bible prophecy is not just to know more about the future but it's for us to know how we should live in the present and we are not only teaching on it here on a new beginning, but we have a brand-new book that we have just completed its thick hardcover book a commentary if you will, on the book of Revelation. Here's what I've had a lot of people say to me for the first time I understood how this book applied to me. I think this is very understandable, but a very relevant book, especially for the times in which we are living so for your gift of any size were offering you this brand-new book hot off the presses, simply titled Revelation, subtitled a book of promises. So whatever you can send a helper ministry is greatly appreciated.

This helps us to get the gospel out get the teaching of the Word of God out so order your copy of this brand-new book Revelation, a book of promises yet it's writing will rush a copy back to you to thank you for your investment in these daily teaching opportunities is only through listener support that we can continue to come your way.

So get in touch today for Pastor Rick's new book Revelation, a book of promises by the way, where including a custom bookmark along with the book it shows the timeline of God's end times events graphically help you see the order of events very clearly comes automatically with the book, so send your donation today to a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org sometimes we can always make sure here's his church is coming to you is coming due on your TV screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone. We do it every weekend and it's called Harvest at Home.

We worship we have a message of the word of God. If you want to find out more, just go to harvest.org enjoy this this weekend for harvest at all will next time more insights on the life beyond. As pastor Gray continues his message called afterlife. But before we go for today. He closes with a final comment I mentioned Ina in the Bible says in his walk with God and was not for God took him know what is it mean to walk with God.

It's a word that means to be in harmony with God to be in sync with God and so the idea is not us dragging God our direction.

It's us walking in his direction is sometimes my grandchildren were small and did take me by the hand puppet come here and I got the little hand and I'm trying to keep up with them and they want to show me something that's us with God. Here's what I want to do, Lord, come on Lord say no wonder that you keep pace with me whether to stay in sync with me.

But how do you do that you read this word and then you discover though the mind of God the will of God. And as you do that you want to stay close to him about other way when you're close to God and you know is will it'll change your prayer life. You start learning to think biblically and then you start praying biblically and as you get in sync with God. Your praying prayers that are in alignment with his well I mean what is prayer is a pulling God my way or is it pulling me his way.

If you're on a boat you want to get the document you throw your rope out your pulling yourself as a dog coming to you. Are you going to the dock. That's prayer were coming to God were aligning ourselves with God were abiding in Jesus and were walking with God, the one day who knows in our lifetime. Maybe later.

Only the Lord knows, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye will be caught up to meet the Lord or Jeff will come knocking.

But we don't have to be afraid of it because we live with and cast with meat will buy harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to become harvest partner sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith harvest.org

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