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The Last Words of DavidBy Rachelle Hamlin
Fort Fairfield Journal, February 20, 2013
Lights dimmed in Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut. The Travelers Choral Group looked out at a full house come to hear the Easter Concert. The musicians began at the nod of the chorale master and hundreds of voices rang out like bells! "He that ruleth over men... must be just... must be just... must... be just! Ruling in the fear of God... the fear... of... God!" My heart was captured.
Over ten years later, in the early 1970's, five of us were crammed into a Subaru, rotating drivers on a non-stop return to Vermont from Ohio. At midnight I was roused to drive my 6 hour shift. It was pitch black out there. Surrounded by my sleeping cargo, I plunged East into an empty, viewless highway. To amuse myself I meditated on the passage from 2nd Samuel where on his deathbed David, seized by Divine inspiration prophesied about the times of the end. To my surprise I was blessed with Divine guidance of my own. For six hours, insight into the meaning of David's prophecy poured into my understanding as the darkness deepened and the first signs of light appeared most dimly in the sky. I watched the long, slow process of the sunrise over flat terrain on a "morning without clouds" that included the sudden appearance of the sun's orb in mountains, and the greater story of what sunrays do to the earth.
While this changed me to my depths, there was no way I could convey this knowledge to my friends over breakfast, or to anyone since, except once. Since then I've watched while every insane idea about the second coming that man can devise fights for the attention of the church. One, among the worst, is what is called the Rapture Doctrine (or irreverently, the “Great Snatch.”) This silly teaching—a grownup's version of the Santa Claus myth—says that if we are good, Jesus will come and carry us magically up to heaven. Unfortunately, we will have to bear the anguish of leaving our naughty loved ones behind to deal with their lump of coal. Today I go on record. That is just plain stupid, foolish, dangerous and without foundation in truth.
Jesus taught, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." In modern English, it won't be a visible, instantaneous event. To those who have been diligent in Bible study, the New Testament affirms clearly that Christ in us is the hope of Glory. Even the Old Testament had its counterpart to Christ in us; Emmanuel (God in man). So for a moment focus on the fact that Jesus and the apostles taught that The Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the part of the One God we worship who is fitted and chosen to be the presence of God in the midst of a dark and perverse world. He chooses this form because it suits His Divine purpose perfectly.
The main fact of life in Christ is that you and I are the earthly temple where God is. So many people ask, "Where was God when this or that happened?" But the sleeping church has no answer. A drowsy church might reply "right here in His temple; come to church and learn about him." How many are awake enough to answer, "God was right there at the scene, with his arms around each and every person who died, comforting them and leading them to their reward." I'm trying to put a mystery into words that will demystify it. Jesus will appear in a fully awakened church; the risen body of Christ.
That ride through New York State in the dark and through a beautiful sunrise was an allegory for the second coming of Christ. Jesus has been, is and shall be appearing right where he belongs, enthroned securely within the hearts and minds and bodies of His believers. Time magazine printed two small articles in the 1980's about an angel that was seen all over America. He was a hitchhiker, dressed all in white and when the driver spoke to his passenger, the angel would say "Jesus is coming soon" and disappear. I myself saw this angel standing right by a highway in Springfield, Massachusetts at the time. He looked like a man of thirty, with pristine white shirt, v-neck sweater and slacks and dusty white buck shoes. I had a strong desire to pick him up but the driver wouldn't turn around to go get him.
I am making several points here. The first is that we aren't going to be able to see the 2nd coming of Christ-- just as Jesus explained. The second is that His second coming has been very gradual and very slow. The third is that the place where Christ will appear for the second time is in His temple, that is, the Resurrected Body of Christ. The third is that His appearing will of necessity be a cooperative work between the individual believer and God Himself. And the fourth is we are in the time of his arrival, already testified to by independent people who picked up a strange hitchhiker only to learn it was an angel with a message. Consider these things carefully. The only thing that will seem to happen fast is the glory of His Presence that will soon be visible in His people.
Luke 17:20, 2 Sam 23:1, 1 Co 3:16, 6:19 & 9:13, Romans Ch. 8, 2 Co 13:5, Col 4:19, Php 1:6, Col 1:27, PHM 1:6, 1 Cor 1:7, Rev 22:20
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