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We Have Liftoff!

"We have liftoff!" has become a well-known term used in the US space program when astronauts begin their journey into the heavens (see Heavens Below, Heavens Above). If you have ever witnessed a launch in person, you know what an impressive experience it is to see, and hear, and sometimes actually feel the rumbling crackle of the mighty engines of the spacecraft. While only a very small number of humans have gone into space, The Bible plainly describes how many more are now awaiting the day of their "launch" - without a spacecraft. Their flight won't last long, one, or perhaps a few, orbits before returning to earth, but it is sure to be an awesome sight (Matthew 24:30), and sound (Matthew 24:31), for those "left behind" (see the Fact Finder question below):

The Countdown Is On

Mount Of Olives The first resurrection will occur at the time of the Return of Jesus Christ (see Resurrections). The dead in Christ (i.e. God's people through all time) will be resurrected to spirit, and those of His people alive that day will be changed to spirit, and together they will thunderously ascend into the sky to meet the Messiah, before returning to earth, with Him, that same day, to The Mount Of Olives (shown in the photo):

"For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep [see What Happens When You Die?]. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, 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, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet The Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 RSV)

It won't be a flight out into space, but rather just around the earth to gather (see Spiritual and Physical Gatherings) the resurrected/changed people of God from wherever on the planet they are, and then touchdown on the Mount of Olives:

"they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [see Two Very Different Triumphal Entries]; and He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect [see The Elect] from the four winds" (Matthew 24:30-31 RSV)

"On that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives [shown in the photo] which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley [see Earthquake!]; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward." (Zechariah 14:4 RSV)

"This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:5-6 RSV)

Fact Finder: Why are there different times of resurrection?
See When Will You Be Judged?

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