1 - They are made immortal, and caught up to Jesus.
"The living righteous are changed 'in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,' At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord In the air." Great Controversy, 645:1.
2 - Changed in a moment, they meet their Lord in the air.
"The voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints, clothed with glorious immortality. The living saints were changed In a moment and were caught up with them into the cloudy chariot." Early Writings, 35:1.
3 - They ascend amid shouts of glory and victory.
"And the graves were opened, and the saints came forth, clothed with immortality, crying, 'Victory over death and the grave'; and together with the living saints they were caught up to meet their Lord In the air, while rich, musical shouts of glory and victory were upon every immortal tongue." Early Writings, 273:0.
4 - The meeting in the sky.
"There stands the risen host. The last thought was of death and its pangs. The last thoughts they had were of the grave and the tomb, but now they proclaim, '0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory?' . . Here they stand and the finishing touch of immortality is put upon them and they go up to meet their Lord in the air. . There are the columns of angels on either side; . . then the angelic choir strike the note of victory and the angels in the two columns take up the song and the redeemed host join as though they had been singing the song on the earth, and they have been. Oh, what music! There is not an inharmonious note. Every voice proclaims, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.' He sees the travail of His soul, and is satisfied." Sons and Daughters of God, 359:4
5 - When we receive holy flesh.
"When human beings receive holy flesh, they will not remain on the earth, but will be taken to heaven. While sin is forgiven in this life, its results are not now wholly removed. It is at His coming that Christ is to 'change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.' " 2 Selected Messages, 33:3.
FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES ARE REUNITED
1 - Angela bring loved ones together. "Angels' gather together H is elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.' Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part." Great Controversy, 645:1.
2 - Infants wing their way to their mothers. "As the little Infants come forth immortal from their dusty beds, they immediately wing their way to their mother's arms." 2 Selected Messages, 260:1. (For more on children in heaven, read 2 Selected Messages, 260, and Early Writings, 19.)
3 - Friends are recognized.
"The 144,000 shouted. 'Alleluia!' as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air." Early Writings, 16:1.
"We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured, in this mortal life, and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved. Then shall we know even as also we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:12. In the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, we shall recognize the lineaments of those we love." Desire of Ages, 804:1.
"He will come to honor those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise. There will be a re-linking of the family chain." Desire of Ages, 692:9.
4 - They meet those who brought them to Christ.
"The redeemed will meet and recognize those whose attention they have directed to the uplifted Saviour. What blessed converse they have with these souls! 'I was a sinner,' it will be said, 'without God and without hope in the world, and you came to me and drew my attention to the precious Saviour as my only hope. . Others will say, 'I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable home and came to teach me how to find Jesus and believe in Him as the only true God. I demolished my idols and worshiped God, and now I see Him face to face. I am saved, eternally saved, ever to behold Him whom I love. .'
"Others will express their gratitude to those who fed the hungry and clothed the naked. 'When despair bound my soul in unbelief, the Lord sent you to me,’ they say, 'to speak words of hope and comfort. You brought me food for my physical necessities, and you opened to me the Word of God, awakening me to my spiritual needs. You treated me as a brother. You sympathized with me in my sorrows, and restored my bruised and wounded soul, so that I could grasp the hand of Christ that was reached out to save me, In my ignorance you taught me patiently that I had a Father in heaven who cared for me, You read to me the precious promises of God's Word, You Inspired In me the faith that He would save me. My heart was softened, subdued, broken, as I contemplated the sacrifice which Christ had made for me, . I am here, saved, eternally saved, ever to live in His presence and to praise Him who gave His life for me.'
"What rejoicing there will be as these redeemed ones meet and greet those who have had a burden in their behalf! And those who have lived, not to please themselves, but to be a blessing to the unfortunate who have so few blessings—how their hearts will thrill with satisfaction!" My Life Today, 353:1-3.
5 - They will meet those who gave them papers which brought them to Jesus.
"I was shown men and women studying with intense interest papers and a few pages of tracts upon present truth. They would read the evidences so wonderful and new to them, and would open their Bibles with a deep and new interest, as subjects of truth that had been dark to them were made plain, especially the light in regard to the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment. As they searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so, a new light shone upon their understanding, for angels were hovering over them, and impressing their minds with the truths contained in the publications they had been reading.
"I saw them holding papers and tracts in one hand, and the Bible in the other, while their cheeks were wet with tears; and bowing before God in earnest, humble prayer, to be guided into all truth,—the very thing He was doing for them before they called upon Him, And when the truth was received in their hearts, and they saw the harmonious chain of truth, the Bible was to them a new book; they hugged it to their hearts with grateful joy, while their countenances were all aglow with happiness and holy joy." Life Sketches, 214:3-215:1.
6 - Oh, we must be there!
"Only those who are holy, those who have followed fully the meek Pattern, will with rapturous joy exclaim as they behold Him, 'Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.' And they will be changed 'in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump' that trump which wakes the sleeping saints, and calls them forth from their dusty beds, clothed with glorious immortality, and shouting, 'Victory! Victory over death and the grave!' The changed saints are then caught up together with the angels to meet the Lord In the air, never more to be separated from the object of their love.
"With such a prospect as this before us, such a glorious hope, such a redemption that Christ has purchased for us by His own blood, shall we hold our peace? Shall we not praise God even with a loud voice, as did the disciples when Jesus rode into Jerusalem? Is not our prospect far more glorious than was theirs? Who dare then forbid us glorifying God, even with a loud voice, when we have such a hope, big with immortality, and full of glory? We have tasted of the powers of the world to come, and long for more. My whole being cries out after the living God, and I shall not be satisfied until I am filled with all His fullness." Early Writings, 110:1-2.
7 - A summary of the final triumph of the redeemed.
"The Life-giver is coming to break the fetters of the tomb. He is to bring forth the captives and proclaim, 'I am the resurrection and the life.' There stands the risen host. The last thought was of death and its pangs. The last thoughts they had were of the grave and the tomb, but now they proclaim, '0, death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory' (1 Corinthians 15:55). The pangs of death were the last things they felt.
"When they awake the pain is all gone. '0 grave, where is thy victory?' Here they stand and the finishing touch of Immortality is put upon them and they go up to meet their Lord in the air. The gates of the city of God swing back upon their hinges, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. .
"There are the columns of angels on either side, and the ransomed of God walk in through the cherubim and seraphim. Christ bids them welcome and puts upon them His benediction: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord' (Matthew 25:21). What is that joy? He sees of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. That is what we labor for.
"Here is one, who in the night season we pleaded with God on his behalf. There is one that we talked with on his dying bed, and he hung his helpless soul upon Jesus. Here is one who was a poor drunkard. We tried to get his eyes fixed upon Him who is mighty to save and we told him that Christ could give him the victory. There are the Crowns of Immortal glory upon their heads, and then the redeemed cast their glittering crowns at the feet of Jesus; and then the angelic choir strikes the note of victory and the angels in the two columns take up the song and the redeemed host join as though they had been singing the song on the earth, and they have been.
"Oh, what music! There is not an inharmonious note. Every voice proclaims, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain' (Revelation 5:12). He sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied. Do you think anyone there will take time to tell of his trials and terrible difficulties? 'The former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind' (Isaiah 65: 17). 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes' (Revelation 21:4)." 3 Selected Messages, 430:5- 431:4.
9 - A third summary statement.
"But while anguish was upon the loyal and true who would not worship the beast or his image and accept and revere an idol sabbath, One said, 'Look up' Look up" Every eye was lifted" and the heavens seemed to part as a scroll when it is rolled together, and as Stephen looked into heaven, [so] we looked. The mockers were taunting and reviling us, and boasting of what they intended to do to us if we continued obstinate in holding fast our faith. But now we were as those who heard them not; we were gazing upon a scene that shut out everything else.
"There stood revealed the throne of God. Around it were ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands upon thousands, and close about the throne were the martyrs. Among this number I saw the very ones who were so recently in such abject misery, whom the world knew not, whom the world hated and despised.
"A voice said, 'Jesus, who is seated upon the throne, has so loved man that He gave His Life a sacrifice to redeem him from the power of Satan, and to exalt him to His throne. He who is above all powers, He who has the greatest influence in heaven and in earth, He to whom every soul is indebted for every favor he has received, was meek and lowly in disposition, holy, harmless, and undefiled in life.
"He was obedient to all His Father's commandments. Wickedness has filled the earth; it is defiled under the inhabitants thereof. The high places of the powers of earth have been polluted with corruption and base idolatries, but the time has come when righteousness shall receive the palm of victory and triumph. Those who were accounted by the world as weak and unworthy, those who were defenceless against the cruelty of men, shall be crowned conquerors and more than conquerors.' [Revelation 7:9-17 quoted.]
"They are before the throne enjoying the sunless splendours of eternal day, not as a scattered, feeble company, to suffer by the satanic passions of a rebellious world, expressing the sentiments, the doctrines, and the counsels of demons.
"Strong and terrible have become the masters of iniquity in the world under the control of Satan, but strong is the Lord God who judgeth Babylon. The just have no longer anything to fear from force or fraud as long as they are loyal and true. A mightier than the strong man armed is set for their defense. All power and greatness and excellence of character will be given to those who have believed and stood in defense of the truth, standing up and firmly defending the laws of God.
"Another heavenly being exclaimed with firm and musical voice, 'They have come out of great tribulation. They have walked in the fiery furnace in the world, heated intensely by the passions and caprices of men who would enforce upon them the worship of the beast and his image, who would compel them to be disloyal to the God of heaven.
"They have come from the mountains, from the rocks from the dens and caves of the earth, from dungeons, from prisons, from secret councils, from the torture chamber, from hovels, from garrets. They have passed through sore affliction, deep self-denial, and deep disappointment. They are no longer to be the sport and ridicule of wicked men. They are to be no longer mean and sorrowful in the eyes of those who despise them.
"Remove the filthy garments from them, with which wicked men have delighted to clothe them. Give them a change of raiment, even the white robes of righteousness, and set a fair mitre upon their heads.'
"They were clothed in richer robes than earthly beings had ever worn. They were crowned with diadems of glory such as human beings had never seen. The days of suffering, of reproach, of want, of hunger, are no more; weeping is past. Then they break forth in songs, loud, clear, and musical. They wave the palm branches of victory, and exclaim, 'Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb' (Revelation 7:10).
"Oh, may God endue us with His Spirit and make us strong In His strength! In that great day of supreme and final triumph it will be seen that the righteous were strong, and that wickedness in all its forms and with all its pride was a weak and miserable failure and defeat. We will cling close to Jesus, we will trust Him, we will seek His grace and His great salvation. We must hide in Jesus, for He is a covert from the storm, a present help in time of trouble." 3 Selected Messages, 428:2-430:4.