Exit, Stage Up :: By Dennis Huebshman

Starting in 1959, a cartoon mountain lion called “Snagglepuss” was created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and has been around ever since. One of the character’s favorite lines was “Exit, Stage Right” or “Exit, Stage Left.” He would then dash off in that direction and usually crash into something. As believers in our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, we are waiting for a call to “Exit, Stage Up!” (ESV – all emphasis mine)

A big difference between the cartoon character and what we’re waiting for is there will be no collisions, and our exit will be over in less than one second.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53, “I tell you this brothers, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I will tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”

Before going further, I have heard it said that the trumpet in the above passage has to do with the trumpet judgments of Revelation 8 and 9. There were trumpets used throughout Jewish history to let the Israelites know something important was about to take place. The judgment trumpets will be used in the tribulation period to announce punishments against those who will pledge allegiance to the antichrist, and current believers will not be here for those trumpets.

When taking 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 along with the 1 Corinthians verses, we have a more complete understanding of what the “twinkling of an eye” event is all about. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the Trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will be always with the Lord.”

The “in Christ” souls Paul talks about are the ones who received and accepted Jesus on this earth before they took their last breath here. In Philippians 1:21-23, we’re told; “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”

All who lived in God’s will prior to Calvary went to a place of peace, or as Luke 16:22 tells us, “The poor man was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.” All who died out of the will of God went to a place of torment, which the “rich man” experienced, as he stated he was “in anguish in this flame” (Luke 16:19-31).

From Calvary to the end of the existence of this earth, all who do not receive and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will end up like the rich man in Luke’s gospel. There will be a final White Throne Judgment for those who rebelled from the beginning to the end of this earth’s existence to receive their final condemnation and then be cast into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).

On the positive side, no one who was in the will of God pre-Calvary, and all who received and accepted His Son from Calvary on, will not be condemned, but will attend a Judgment Seat of Christ, as given in 2 Corinthians 5:10. There, we will receive or lose rewards for what we did while on the earth, but we will still have a forever Home in Heaven.

Please know that 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Verse 21 concludes with, “For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”

In 1948, Marvin P. Dalton (1906-1987) wrote a song called “Oh What a Savior.” My personal favorite version of this was performed by a Southern Gospel Group called “The Cathedrals.” This song gives praise and glory and accolades to the One who gave His all for us so that we could have the opportunity to be with Him forever.

“(Prelude) He gave His life’s blood, for even me.

1.) Once, I was straying in sin’s dark alley; no hope within could I see. But they searched through Heaven and found a Savior to save a poor lost soul like me.

Ref) Oh, what a Savior; Oh, Hallelujah! His heart was broken on Calvary. His hands were nail-scarred; His side was riven; He gave His life’s blood for even me.

2.) He left the Father, with all His riches, with calmness sweet and serene. Came down from Heaven and gave His life blood to make the vilest sinner clean. (ref)

3.) Death’s chilly waters, I’ll soon be crossing, but His hand will lead me safely o’er. Then I’ll join that chorus in that Great City; I’ll sing up there forever and evermore. (ref)”

For the 1 Corinthians 1:18 people; “For the word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” The free gift must be received and accepted.

All humans have the sin nature because of the first couple from the Garden of Eden committing the first sin (Genesis 3). The only “Human” who was ever, and could ever, be worthy to appease God’s need for perfection was a part of the Father Himself. Jesus became that Human, and for His entire time on this earth, He never sinned even once.

Our precious Shepherd willingly shed His pure, sinless blood so that our sins could be as far as east is from west to the Father (Psalm 103:11-12). It’s something we could have never accomplished for ourselves.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” To get personal, it has become my gift, as I could never earn one second of time in Heaven on my own merits.

God will force no one to call out to His Son to be saved but will deny no one who truly does. And yes, we will still sin until we take our last breath here. However, that’s the reason we have 1 John 1:8-10.

Too many “evangelical churches” today are tweaking their messages to tickle people’s itching ears. (2 Timothy 4). They are changing God’s word to make the members more comfortable with being there. Light shows, videos, and heart-pumping music take the place of true Gospel Worship.

All of us are sinners without exception – that’s Romans 3:10, 3:23, and 6:23 – once we have our forever bodies and new mindsets after the Rapture, we will not be subject to Satan’s temptations ever again. God does not put limits on us by saying, “OOPS! That’s your 10th sin, so you’re lost.” Matthew 18:22 takes care of that.

With all the latest evil and changing morals in the world today, it’s obvious this earth is entering its last phase of this era. We are getting set up for a one-world government with a single leader who will apparently have the ultimate peace plan. However, before this antichrist can make an appearance, all true believers must be gone (2 Thessalonians 2).

Romans 10:9-13 gives the steps of Salvation, and they’re only difficult if people believe there must be more to it. Just follow the steps, read God’s love letters to us (Bible), and talk to Him regularly (pray).

Our Savior would love to add many souls to His flock, even though He knows more will choose this world than will choose Him (Matthew 7:13-14). He is ready to receive your call and will gladly add all who will receive and accept Him to His precious flock. Today would not be too early to call, as no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Shalom! (Peace) Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)


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