Thursday, January 9, 2014

Snatched up!

I enjoy listening to good preaching. I listen to a lot of good preaching on Moody Radio. The habit started several years ago when I taught evening classes in the summertime. About the time I would start home, John MacArthur and the “Grace to You” program would begin. MacArthur quickly became, and still is, one of my favorite Bible teachers. I then discovered other good preachers on Moody Radio. Folks like Ravi Zacharias, and Alistair Begg, always seemed to be able to use God's Word to stir my heart and mind. I still listen to Christian music, secular music and talk radio with political and social commentary, but more and more, my radio dial is tuned to Moody.

One day Will and I were loading into the van, and as soon as I cranked up, James MacDonald's voice could be heard on the radio and he said, “Jesus is coming back soon!” The following conversation ensued:

Will: Jesus is coming back soon?

Me: Yep. One day God will say "ENOUGH!" "Enough death. Enough pain. Enough hurt. Enough tears. Enough!" And He'll say "Son, go get your children." And then Jesus will snatch us up into heaven with Him and we'll have the biggest party EVER! Won't that be cool?

Will: Nope...

And I quickly realized that going to Heaven that summer was not on Will Fisher's agenda. Now, before you giggle too much at young master William, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” The simple truth is that most Christians are as excited about Heaven as a ten year old boy who has just been invited to an all girl birthday party. Deep down our hearts say, “I guess I'll go...but, if it's all the same, I just as soon stay here.”

I posted mine and Will's conversation on Facebook, and a friend of mine pointed out that it might have been my use of the phrase “snatch us up” that had caused Will's reluctance. She mentioned that she didn't like the idea of being “snatched” to anywhere, much less up into the air. I can certainly understand that.

However, I did a little research and the idea of being snatched up is completely accurate. The original Greek lexicon, used in the New Testament some thirteen times is “harpazo”, and it means “to snatch out or away”. It is the word Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 when he writes, “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

Another definition of “harpazo” is “to claim for one's self eagerly”. Now that's a definition that Will, and you and I for that matter, should be able to get our minds around. Think about it. If a child finds a sibling playing with their prized toy, their first impulse is to say “Mine!” and snatch it away.

I believe this is exactly what Jesus will do. In the fullness of time, when all that is to be fulfilled has been fulfilled, Jesus will say to Satan, “These children are mine...and you will persecute them no more!” And then, “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”(1 Cor. 15:52)

After all, for those who are Christians, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”(1 Cor. 6:19-20a) If we were “bought at a price”, then we are indeed His. And if we are His, then He indeed has every right to say “Mine!” and snatch us up to be with Him forever. And about that we should be not as a ten year old boy invited to an all girl birthday soiree, but a five year old boy on Christmas Eve.

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