Chapter 3 The Rapture Of The Church
By Ken Humphries
There is no debate that 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15 teaches on the rapture. Both chapters also teach the resurrection and the trumpet blast. Neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation before the rapture comes. There is no debate that Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the tribulation. Neither of those chapters speaks of the rapture, or of a resurrection, or of a trumpet blast. 1 Thessalonians 4v15 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord that we, which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them, which are asleep.”
1 Thessalonians 4v16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first”. 1 Thessalonians 4v17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. 1 Thessalonians 4v18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words”. (Caught up=HARPAZO=Rapture)
1 Thessalonians 1v10 “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come”. 1 Thessalonians 2v19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming”? 1 Thessalonians 5v9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”.
1 Thessalonians 5v23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1Corinthians 15v51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed”. 1Corinthians 15v52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed”.1Corinthians15v53 “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality”.
1Corinthians 15v54 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory”. 1Corinthians 15v55 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory”?
Luke 21v36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man”.
The Seven Churches; One is promised an Escape through the "open door" from the Great Tribulation. To Thyatira: Revelation 2v22 “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds”.
To Philadelphia: Revelation 3v8 “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name”. Revelation 3v10 “Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth”.
To Laodicea: Revelation 3v16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth”. (Out into tribulation as in Revelation 2v22). Revelation 4v1 “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter”.
Revelation 8v13 “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth (those not raptured?) by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound”! Feast of Trumpets (Open Door) The Open Door and Last Trump are on the Feast of Trumpets, which is on the new moon. The new moon feast (holyday) is a shadow/prophesy of the Rapture. The open door is prominently seen in the rapture verses of Revelation 3v10, 4v1 & Matthew 25vv1-13. Colossians 2v16 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday (festival), or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days”. Colossians 2v17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ”. Ezekiel 46v1 "Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days; but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened”.
Psalm 81v3 “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day”. Isaiah 26v2 “Open ye the gates that the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth, may enter in”. Psalm 118v19 “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD”. Psalm 118v20 “This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter”. John 10v7 “Then said Jesus unto them again, verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep”. John 10v9 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”.
Matthew 7v13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat”. Matthew 7v14 “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”. Luke 13v24 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able”. Luke 13v25 “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are”. The Feast of Trumpets, on the new moon, is when the moon is turned to darkness. It is also "on a day or hour that no man knows" --which is an expression referring to this feast (and to a Jewish Wedding) -- because the new moon happens 29.5 days after the previous one, creating uncertainty of whether it will fall on the 29th or 30th day after the previous new moon, which is the first day of the month, thus the festival is traditionally celebrated for two days just to be sure. Leviticus 23v24 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation”. Numbers 29v1 “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you”.
Just as the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all the spring feasts, and on each day of each feast, so too, will the autumn feasts be fulfilled when Christ comes the second time, and in order, and on each day of each feast. The Feast of Trumpets points to the rapture, the Day of Atonement points to Satan's defeat, The Feast of Tabernacles points to establishing the 1000-year kingdom. Trumpets are on the first, and Atonement is on the tenth, excluding the days of the Festivals themselves, there are "seven days of Awe" or tribulation between them...including, Revelation 2v10 “Fear none of those things, which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”. 2 Thessalonians 2 Falling Away / Departure All of the rapture positions (whether pretrib, midtrib, prewrath, posttrib) agree that the rapture happens before the day of the Lord. In 2 Thessalonians 2, the false report that the Day of the Lord was present meant, therefore, that the resurrection and rapture (the departure) had come and gone and was in the past. That the resurrection was past was a common false report, and is mentioned in 2 Timothy:
2 Timothy 2v18 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some”. Although the day of the Lord starts with the rapture, the presence of the Day of the Lord is wrath, darkness, trouble, and the tribulation. (Zephaniah 1v15) The tribulations described in 2 Thessalonians 1 were erroneously thought to be the tribulations of the day of the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 2v1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (rapture)” 2 Thessalonians 2v2 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (day of the Lord/tribulation) is at hand (present)”. 2 Thessalonians 2v3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (tribulation) shall not come (be present), except there come a falling away (departure/rapture) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”. 2 Thessalonians 2v4 “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God”. 2 Thessalonians 2v5 “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this?” 2 Thessalonians 2v6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time”. 2 Thessalonians 2v7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way”. (The Church at the rapture) 2 Thessalonians 2v8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: In other words”.
1. I beg you by our rapture hope, 2. That you don't worry if you hear that the Day of the Lord and the tribulation is present. 3. (Don't be deceived) ...unless the departure (rapture) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition. 4. WHO will, (3.5 years later according to Daniel 9v27) sit in the temple as God, as the abomination of desolation. 5. Remember I told you this? 6. Now you know that it is your presence that withholds the man of sin, so that he will be revealed in due time. 7. For the antichrist is working now only a little, because we restrain him as we are here and pray, until the rapture, when we will be taken out of the way. 8. And then the antichrist will be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the arrival of his presence. 2Thessalonians 3v3 “But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil”.
Jewish Wedding (a theme of the Feast of Trumpets) Bridal Chamber = Heaven
John 14v2 “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”. John 14v3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”. Our "many mansions" are in heaven (Revelations 21v2). Jesus went away to heaven in Acts 1. The words in Italics above are an expression, used by the groom in a Jewish Wedding. A groom would say those words to his bride and then leave to build an addition onto his father's house before returning for his bride. He returns for his bride in the middle of the night, as a thief, at an hour she might not think, with a loud cry, and a procession of trumpet blast and his friends saying "Behold! The Bridegroom Comes!" Entering our "bridal chamber/heavenly mansion" will be the start of the bridal week. This is shown in Isaiah, and indicates that the tribulation will occur while we are "hid in the bridal chambers or heaven". Isaiah 26v19 “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead”. Isaiah 26v20 “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past”. Isaiah 26v21 “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. Being "hid in the Lord's house, or heaven during tribulation" is also seen in Psalm 27, which is to be read daily in the 30 days prior to the Feast of Trumpets. Psalm 27v4 “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple”. Psalm 27v5 “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock”. Psalm 27v6 “And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD”.
Hiding, being hid, and having a place to hide away are themes of being hidden away in the bridal chamber during the wedding, as we will be hidden in heaven during the tribulation. Zephaniah 2v3 “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger”.
The Church is the Bride of Christ.
Ephesians 5v25 “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”. Ephesians 5v31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh”. Ephesians 5v32 “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church”. 2 Corinthians 11v2 “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ”. The Rapture is likened to a wedding, and from the Bible, we know a wedding lasts a week, we know the rapture will be pre tribulation. The scriptures define a marriage as being a weeklong event. (Bridal week)=(Tribulation week)
Judges 14v10 “And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms”.
Judges 14v12 “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast”.
Judges 14v17 “She cried the whole seven days of the feast”.
Genesis 29vv22-28 “So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast”. Finish this daughter's bridal week the time of intimacy (the bride being with the bridegroom sealed away in the bridal chamber) begins at the start of the bridal week, and this is what we look forward to in the pre tribulation rapture. The Parable of the 10 virgins contains many themes of the rapture, the marriage, and the feast of trumpets.
Matthew 25v1 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom”. Matthew 25v2 “And five of them were wise, and five were foolish”. Matthew 25v3 “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them”. Matthew 25v4 “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps”. Matthew 25v5 “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept”. Matthew 25v6 “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Matthew 25v7 “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps”. Matthew 25v8 “And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out”. Matthew 25v9 “But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for you and us: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves”.
Matthew 25v10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut”. Matthew 25v11 “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us”. Matthew 25v12 “But he answered and said Verily I say unto you, I know you not”. Matthew 25v13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh”. At the end of the tribulation, people are in heaven (the bride, the Church), and coming down out of heaven, because they have been there for 7 years. Luke 12v36 “And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately”.
Revelation 19v1 “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven (the raptured), saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God”. Revelation 19v7 “Let us rejoice and exalt and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready”. Revelation 19v8 “It was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure"--for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints”. Revelation 19v9 “And the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God." Revelation 19v14 “And the armies, which were in heaven, followed him (the raptured) upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean”.
Matthew 24v29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”. Matthew 24v30 “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”. Matthew 24v31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”. Zechariah 14v5 “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee”. Jude 1v14 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints”. Colossians 3v4 “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory”.
Interesting verse number: Rev.12v12, The Number Twelve is written all over New Jerusalem, and there are 24 elders in heaven after the rapture in Revelation 4v1. Revelation 12v12 “Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" Yes, the Bride is in heaven, coming down out of heaven at the end of the tribulation: Revelation 21v2 “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”. Revelation 21v9 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife”. Revelation 21v10 “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and High Mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Mt. Zion & New Jerusalem”. God's bride. Hebrews 12v22 “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels”. Isaiah 51v16 “And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people”.
Daniel's 70th Week:
The 70th week of Daniel, which becomes the 7-year Tribulation, is a judgement and curse determined upon Israel, not the Church. Daniel 9v24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”. Daniel 9v25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times”. Daniel 9v26 “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolation’s are determined”. Daniel 9v27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”. The Church's sins are taken care of by Jesus' death, and we are not under the curse of the law, nor is the 70th week "to make an end for sins" determined for the Church. Galatians 3v13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”. Galatians 5v18 “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law”. Romans 6v14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”. 1Corinthians 6v12 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any”. There is no need for the tribulation to purge or cleanse the Church. The blood of Christ, and the Word of God, sanctifies and cleans the Church, and makes us spotless and ready for the rapture now. Hebrews 13v12 “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate”. 1John 1v7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”. Ephesians 5v26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”. Ephesians 5v27 “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”. Who has dominion? Satan or the Lord Jesus Christ's Church?
Satan will be given dominion for 42 months on earth; the second half of Daniel's 70th week, and the Church will not be put under Satan's dominion. The Church, given power by the Almighty Father in heaven, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, restrains Satan, as was shown in 2 Thessalonians 2. We know that Satan has not had full dominion over the Church, even though there are many Christians dying still today, for if Satan did have this power, the Word of God would have been extinguished from the face of the earth by now. History alone proves that the Church is more powerful than Satan in this age, but the scriptures speak for themselves:
Mark 3v14 “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach”. Mark 3v15 “And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils”. Mark 6v7 “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits”. Mark 6v13. “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them”. Luke 9v1”Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases”. Luke 10v19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you”. Matthew 10v8 “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils: freely ye have received freely give”. Casting out Devils was not "just for the disciples only". Anyone can do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mark 9v38. “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us”. Mark 9v39 “But Jesus said forbid him not: for there is no man, which shall do a miracle in my name that, can lightly speak evil of me”. Mark 9v40 “For he that is not against us is on our part”. Successfully casting out devils does not make one "saved". Hence, if "unsaved" can cast out devils, then the Church surely has the power to restrain Satan. Matthew 7v21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven”. Matthew 7v22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works”? Matthew 7v23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. Ephesians 6v12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Matthew 16v19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. Matthew 16v18 “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. But Satan will be given dominion and power to dominate the other way around! Daniel 7v21 “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them”.
Revelation 13v7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindred’s, and tongues, and nations”. So the Church must be raptured, "caught up", and Satan fights whoever is left over, the tribulation saints. In a word, Satan’s ruling passion is to exterminate the Jews (Revelation 12vv1-17). There are four great things brought before us in this wonderful chapter—a great sign, a great red dragon, a great eagle, and a great wrath. We can be absolutely assured that the Holy Spirit’s use of the word “great” is discriminatory. Chapter 12 has to do with the woman, the war, and the woe. In Revelation 12vv1-6 the Holy Spirit warns us that He is about to describe a great wonder, or sign, from which we gather that what is actually seen is symbolic; it is a sign of something else. Interpretations that take the woman to be the Virgin Mary lead us into difficulty. Interpretations that view the woman, as the church cannot be correct either, for the church did not bring God’s Son into the world. He had come and gone before ever the church was born.
Now, three things we should consider concerning the woman, she represents the nation of Israel, a fact that becomes increasingly clear as the chapter unfolds. John draws our thinking around “The Glorious Dignity that was Israel’s.” He says, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12v1). This of course takes us back to the story of Joseph in Genesis Ch. 37 the only Scripture that bears any correspondence with this sign. Joseph dreamed that the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars made obeisance to him. He understood from this that his parents and his brothers would one day bow down to him. His dream was in fact a revelation from God that Israel would be preserved through him. This chapter in Revelation gives us a glimpse of the glorious dignity that, in God’s thinking, clothes the nation of Israel. It’s true to say, the nation of Israel has failed and faltered through out the years, none-the-less, Israel has always and will always belong to God in a very special way. Therefore, Israel’s glory is the glory of the heavens. I am sure this is the reason Abraham’s seed is likened to the stars (Genesis Ch.15v5). No wonder Satan has such a passionate hatred for Israel, you see her presence and place in God’s calendar of events reminds him continually of what once was his and of the great dazzling heights from which he fell. John not only draws our thinking to the glorious dignity that was Israel’s but secondly, he draws our thinking to “The Glorious Destiny that was Israel’s!” Revelation Ch. 12v2 “And she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered”. This of course takes us back even further in the book of Genesis than Joseph; this takes us to Genesis Ch. 3 to that amazing first promise and prophecy of Scripture. You will no doubt remember that this was the promise that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. The promised seed, of course, was to come through Israel, as Scripture makes clear further down the track. That would be the great hope of the nation, the continual theme of the prophets, the great conclusion to which all else led. Every devoted Jewish mother held fast to this precious hope that indeed she would be the one through whom the seed would come. The nation of Israel continually, through its long and amazing history, longed for the coming of messiah. Israel’s grand destiny was to be, through her and no other would come blessing upon every other nation that ever lived or had being on this planet. “Who are Israelites.” Exclaims Paul, “To whom pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God, blessed for ever, Amen” (Romans Ch.9vv4-5).
Thirdly our text speaks of “The Glorious Deliverance that was Israel’s.” Never has there been a people or nation who have suffered so violently and for so long as Israel. And I am certain we are left in no doubt as to the why’s of this suffering. Johns says, Revelation Ch. 12v3 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and, Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” Its interesting, the word dragon is mentioned some thirteen times in Revelation Ch.12, eleven times here and once each in Revelation chapters 16 and 20. Now, it’s good for us to understand that a dragon in this context is a flying serpent, in fact, a Biblical symbol for Satan (Revelation Ch. 20v2). The heads, horns, and the crowns of the dragon are symbols of earthly power that Satan claims. Satan is the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians Ch. 2v2). Satan is also the “prince of this world” (John Ch. 12v32). Here, in Revelation Ch. 12 he is pictured as a great red dragon, which of course is a symbol of cruelty, blood-lust and power. It is he who is the cause of the woman’s suffering, it is he who wants from the beginning of time to see to it that Israel will not survive so that messiah would never come, praise God his wicked plans were spoiled and God’s plan is still very much on course and will be completed therefore, we can say with confidence Israel, although having to face such amazing suffering will be delivered, reminding us once again that all of God’s plans and purposes will be complete, thus we can say with even greater confidence:
Christianity Is A Nation:
1 Peter 2v9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”. "Lights/Christians" are not in "Darkness/Day of Lord/tribulation!" (Matthew 5v14) “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid”. (Philippians 2v15) “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”. John 8v12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”.
Amos 5v18 “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light”. Amos 5v20 “Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark; and no brightness in it?”
Joel 2v1 “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh
at hand” Joel 2v2 “A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick
darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations”. Joel 2v31 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come”. Mat 24v21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”. Zephaniah 1v15 “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of waste-ness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness”. 1Thessalonians 5v4 “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief”. 1Thessalonians 5v5 “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness”. Colossians 1v12 “Giving thanks unto the -Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”. Colossians 1v13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”. So, another reason why Christians of the present age are not in that darkness, when Satan will have dominion, is: Matthew 12v25 “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand”. Mark 3v24 “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand”. We cannot effectively pray against Satan taking power, when God gives Satan power. It will be tough for the tribulation saints God lets them be killed.
Revelation 13v10 “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints”. Revelation 14v12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. Revelation 14v13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them”.
Noah and Lot as examples of deliverance!
The Rapture is compared to Noah and Lot's time when people are caught unaware going about their daily lives. Peter describes Noah and Lot as examples of the rapture, stressing deliverance. 2 Peter 2v4 “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment”. 2 Peter 2v5 “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly”. 2 Peter 2v6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly”. 2 Peter 2v7 “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked”. 2 Peter 2v8 “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds”. 2 Peter 2v9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished”.
(The day of judgement is the day of the Lord, the time of trouble, the tribulation, the time of wrath, the time of testing, the time of temptation.) Luke 17v26 “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man”. Luke 17v27 “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all”. Luke 17v28 “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded”. Luke 17v29 “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all”. Matthew 24v36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”. Matthew 24v37 “But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”. Matthew 24v38 “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark”. Matthew 24v39 “And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”. The wicked people will be taking no notice, eating and drinking, before the rapture happens. People eating, drinking, and feasting at marriage parties does not describe the tribulation, when famine will come upon the earth. See Revelation 6vv5-8, 18v8 One taken (in the rapture); the other left (behind in tribulation). Matthew 24v40 “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left”. Matthew 24v41 “Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left”. Luke 17v33 “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it”. Luke 17v34 “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left”. Luke 17v35 “Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Luke 17v36 two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Gathered to the body of the Lord, as eagles:
Luke 17v37 “And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them where so ever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together”.
Matthew 24v28 “For where so ever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together”. Isaiah 40v31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”. John 6v53 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you”. Mark 13v27 “And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven”.
Not knowing the day or the hour.
The Feast of Trumpets happens on the "new moon", which is 29.5 days after the last one, meaning it might occur on the 29th or 30th day, nobody knows for sure. "Of that day or hour no man knows" is an expression referring to this feast, and thus, the rapture. "Of that day or hour no man knows, but my Father only" is an expression used by a groom when asked when he will go and steal away his bride like a thief in the night. He says this because it is his Father that will tell him when his preparations on the bridal chamber are completed and it is time. Since the Feast of Trumpets is the "wedding of the Messiah", then this expression about "not knowing the day or the hour" refers to the rapture, and means that the rapture must take place on a Feast of Trumpets. Matthew 24v36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”. Matthew 24v42 “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come”. Matthew 25v13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh”. Mark 13v32 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father”. Mark 13v33 “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is”. Mark 13v34 “For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, which left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch”. Mark 13v35 “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning”. Mark 13v36 “Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping”. Mark 13v37 “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. Thus, not knowing the day or the hour is a parable, and, as with all parables, is designed to prevent unbelievers from understanding the meaning”. See Matthew 13vv10-17.
The reality is that believers WILL and CAN know the time, because this phrase indicates the Feast of Trumpets. Other verses on this topic plainly declare that not knowing is a punishment for the wicked servant. Matthew 24v48 “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming”. Matthew 24v49 “And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken”. Matthew 24v50 “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of”. Matthew 24v51 “And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Luke 12v45 “But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken”. Luke 12v46 “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers”. Revelation 3v3 “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee”. Since "not knowing what hour" is the punishment for not watching and a punishment for the unfaithful servant, it does not apply to faithful believers. And other scriptures confirm that we will know the hour: 1Thessalonians 5v1 “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you”. 1Thessalonians 5v2 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night”. 1Thessalonians 5v3 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape”. 1Thessalonians 5v4 “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief”. 1Thessalonians 5v5 “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness”. 1Thessalonians 5v6 “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober”. 1Thessalonians 5v7 “For they that sleep; sleep in the night; and they that are drunken are drunken in the night”. 1Thessalonians 5v8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation”. 1Thessalonians 5v9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”. The Lord comes for his bride as a thief in the night to take her away in the marriage.1Thessalonians 5v2 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night”. Matthew 24v43 “But know this, that if the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up”. Matthew 24v44 “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh”. Luke 12v37 “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them”. Luke 12v38 “And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants”. Luke 12v39 “And this know, that if the Goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through”.
Luke 12v40 “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not”. Because the "day or hour no man knows" refers to the marriage at the Feast of Trumpets, and because not knowing is a punishment for the evil servant, and because we are to "know perfectly", and because "we are not in darkness", then we can watch and be ready, because we DO KNOW when the thief will come, he will come at an unexpected time. Like the Goodman of the house, we should "be therefore ready". Those who deny the pre-tribulation rapture are like the evil servant, they say something else; they say the master will delay his coming until after the tribulation. (Luke 12v45, Matthew 24v48) and they are NOT watching for him now (Rev 3v3). John 10v10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Revelation 16v15 “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walks naked, and they see his shame”.
We look forward to Christ's appearing and return.
Luke 21v28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh”. Titus 2v13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”.
Philippians 3v20 “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ”. Hebrews 9v28 “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation”. Hebrews 12v1 “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. Hebrews 12v2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”. Jude 1v21 “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”. We do not look for, nor are told to look for, Satan's appearing, nor the tribulation to appear. In fact, we are told to specifically avoid looking for Jesus' physical appearing or return. The reason to avoid looking for Christ's physical appearing is because the antichrist will appear physically and claim to be Christ, from 2 Thessalonians 2. Matthew 24v23 “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not”. Matthew 24v24 “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”. Matthew 24v25 “Behold, I have told you before”. Matthew 24v26 “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not”. Thus, we have a paradox. We look for Christ's return, but are told not to believe it if we hear he has returned in person on earth, or someone claims to be Him. This mystery is solved through the pre-tribulation rapture, which precedes the appearance of the antichrist in the seven-year tribulation. By the time the Lord Jesus Christ arrives at the end of the seven-year tribulation, everyone on earth will suddenly know who the Lord is without question. Why? Because he will destroy the antichrist with the "brightness of his coming" (2 Thessalonians 2v8), and every person will "Look upon the one whom they pierced" (Zechariah 12v10, Revelation 1v7, John 19v37). We know that Jesus will appear physically at the Second Coming (Revelation 19 & Zechariah 14), despite the warnings against believing a physical appearing of a false Christ in Matthew.
Zechariah 14v3 “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle”. Zechariah 14v4 “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south”. Zechariah 14v8 “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be”.
More scriptures emphasising Christians wait for and look to Christ's return and not the appearance of the antichrist. 1 Corinthians 1v7 “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1 Corinthians 16v22 “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema”. (Maranatha) (In Aramaic the expression Come, O Lord is Maranatha.) James 5v7 “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain”.
James 5v8 “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh”. James 5v9 “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door”. 1 Timothy 6v14 “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Revelation 22v17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”. Revelation 22v20 “He who testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus”. Acts 1v11 “Which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”.
Will Christians REALLY be spared the Tribulation?
Psalm 97v10 “Ye that love the LORD hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked”. Romans 5v8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5v9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him”. Romans 5v10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”. Isaiah 57v1 “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come”. Micha 7v2 “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net”. Malachi 3v16 “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name”. Malachi 3v17 “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him”. Malachi 3v18 “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not”. Malachi 4v1 “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch”. 2Timothy 4v18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”.
More "Rapture" verses:
Romans 8v23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Philippians 1v21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. Philippians 1v22 “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not!” Philippians 1v23 “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”. Philippians 1v24 “Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you”. Philippians 3v20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”. (NIV) Philippians 3v21 “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”. (KJV)
2 Corinthians 5vv1-21 (Read full chapter) 2 Corinthians 5v1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” 2 Corinthians 5v2 “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven”.
1 Timothy 6v14 “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2 Timothy 4v1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom”. 2 Timothy 4v8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”. 1 Peter 1v7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. 1 Peter 1v8 “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”. 1 Peter 1v9 “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls”. 1 Peter 1v10 “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you”. 1 Peter 1v11 “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow”. 1 Peter 1v12 “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into”. 1 Peter 1v13 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. 1 Peter 5v4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away”. 1 John 2v28 “And now, little children abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming”. 1 John 3v1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not!. 1 John 3v2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”. 1 Peter 3v3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure”.
In chapter three I have simply let Scripture speak for its self. Comments may be added when expounding the passages to your people in whatever context, which means we must exercise our own hearts before the Lord in order to feed the flock of God.
Lest there be any confusion about my statement on the saints knowing the when of his coming, I simply mean while we do not know the exact time of His coming we know His coming is imminent and moment by moment our hope of his coming should be beating in our breasts. We should get serious about Immanency!
Many signs were given to the nation of Israel, which would precede the Second Advent, so that the nation might be living in expectancy when the time of His coming should draw nigh. Although Israel could not know the day nor the hour when the Lord will come, yet they can know that their redemption draweth nigh through the fulfilment of these signs. The church on the other hand were instructed to live in the light of the imminent coming of the Lord to translate them into His presence, they were to be looking for the Saviour more than for signs. You see, always the believer is directed to have his attention focused on the Lord Jesus more than anything else. Jesus we all have; He is all we need and all we want. We are shipwrecked on God and stranded on omnipotence! Vance Havner, Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 3.
May I ask, as I conclude this chapter, are you living looking for Jesus? Is there an ever-deepening desire to see the Lord Jesus coming to the air as the bridegroom for the bride? The Apostle Paul urges us in Titus 2v13 to live “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
In fact, in 2 Timothy 4v8 he says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but onto all them that love his appearing”. Dwell on that thought for a moment. Why has this wonderful reward been called a crown of righteousness? Why does Paul associate righteousness with devotion to the Lord’s return? It is of course because the two go hand in hand. I stress this thought continually to our young people today in order that they might be aware of the importance the Lord places on His return to the air for the Church especially, to those young people who have evident gift for personal work, or a missionary zeal, or those who are exercising the gift of preaching. You see, Biblical Prophecy can transform the way a young Christian, or indeed any Christian, can live today, if an individual can be convinced of two things in living today it will make an amazing change in their approach to both themselves and to others. If a Christian can be convinced that Jesus is coming back and that He is coming soon it will draw them closer by far to the Saviour and will give them an urgency to win the lost to Christ. Many dear Christians today give little or no time in thought to the fact of “The Second Coming” of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, if that be so let me encourage you to take God’s precious Word and search the Scriptures for yourself daily, with diligence and do so now!