As the Bride of Christ, is our mind in the Groom, or is it fraught with worry and burdens of the day? And how do we regard our Groom? Consider for a moment that:
He’s coming to take to Himself a Bride whose eyes shine with His light; who spends her days fulfilling her earthly responsibilities, while dreaming of Him and the new life they will share when He returns to get her.
Wow, that should stop us in our tracks, shouldn’t it? That excerpt is from an excellent and thought-provoking article by Donna Wasson over at the Rapture Ready blog, reprinted here:
Hey Everybody, Watch This!
by Donna Wasson
More often than not, that phrase is uttered by someone with less than stellar decision making skills, engaging in some foolish, risk taking behavior which usually results in the need for a quick trip to the nearest emergency room. Funny thing is, one of Webster’s Dictionary definitions of the word ‘watch’ is, “to keep in view so as to prevent harm or warn of danger,” which seems to be at odds with the request to have someone witness accidental carnage.
Of course, there are other meanings of the word ‘watch.’ 1. Stay awake intentionally: keep vigil. 2. To be on the lookout for danger: be on guard. 3. To keep oneself informed about. 4. To lie in wait for, especially so as to take advantage of something. The synonyms include alertness, heed, expect, anticipate, await, expect and hope.
Jesus tells us over and over in His Word, to watch for His return. Actually, it’s more of a warning to watch, so we’re not taken by surprise. However, there doesn’t appear to be very many Christians these days who are truly watching, and that concerns me.
There seems to be two main theories regarding who will be taken in the rapture, and who will be left behind. One states that everyone who is a professing Christian will be raptured, with no regard given to the seriousness of their walk with Christ. The second theory posits that only those who are watching and longing for the Lord’s return will be whisked to safety.
This is a touchy subject, but hey, since I’ve never been one to shy away from a controversy, I thought I’d put my two cents worth in the pot, stir it up and see what happens. I can’t wait for the hate mail. OK, here goes. It is my opinion that the latter theory is correct; that only those who are actively watching and longing for the Lord’s return, will be spared the Tribulation.
There are several reasons why this makes sense. Allow me to explain. First of all, let’s start at the obvious; the relationship the Bible states the Church has with Christ. We are His Bride, the one He chose to love and cherish forever. Think logically here. What prospective groom wants to marry a bride who isn’t crazy in love with him?
What groom wants to take on the responsibility of providing for, respecting, protecting and loving a potential spouse who’s more interested in what she can get out of him, than giving herself to him completely? She should respect, admire and adore her fiancée, confident and resting in his love for her. When they’re together, she shouldn’t be looking over his shoulder, checking out other men, or thinking about how to manipulate him into buying stuff for her.
And when they’re apart for any length of time, he needs to be assured and comfortable, knowing she is faithful and belongs only to him; that she is willing to be patient as she waits expectantly and joyously for his return so they can start their lives together. Is that what is happening in the mainstream church of today? Are you kidding? Not even close!
The mainstream church/bride of today is out partying, spending money hand over fist and sleeping around with every attractive male that walks in the door. Her mind isn’t stayed on her future groom. Now, does that really sound like the kind of so-called, professing Christian Jesus would want to waste His time on? I don’t believe so.
No, He’s coming to take to Himself a Bride whose eyes shine with His light; who spends her days fulfilling her earthly responsibilities, while dreaming of Him and the new life they will share when He returns to get her.
Let’s look at what scripture has to say. Luke 21: 34-36 seems to have been written for the church of today. This is what Jesus said, with the Greek meanings in parentheses:
“And take heed (be attentive) to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts (soul, mind, desires) be overcharged (weighed down) with surfeiting (giddiness that comes from alcohol), and drunkenness, and cares (anxiety) of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares (unforeseen, suddenly). For as a snare (unexpected deadly trap, peril) shall it come (arrive, overtake) on all them (individually) that dwell (a fixed abode) on the face of the whole (entire) earth. Watch (be attentive, ready) ye, therefore, and pray (desire, long for) always, that ye may be accounted worthy (judged deserving) to escape (flee out of) all (each, every) these things that shall (will) some to pass (happen), and to stand (continue safe and sound) before (in the presence of) the Son of Man.
Hmmm. Interesting. According to this, we Christians are commanded by Christ Himself, to take great care to stay on guard against the probability that the responsibilities and anxieties of this life can weigh so heavily on our minds and hearts, taking up so much of our attention, that His coming catches us off guard.
This event is going to be so unexpected, it will feel like a deadly trap to everyone on the whole earth who isn’t prepared to go. Therefore, we are to stay acutely aware that He could show up at any moment, and we should pray and long for his appearing, so we can be judged worthy to completely escape the tribulation that is coming and be able to stand, safe and sound in His presence.
Sounds pretty clear to me. Does this, or does this not imply, that there will be some professing Christians whose hearts are so caught up with the things of this life; that aren’t looking for, much less LONGING for His return, that won’t be judged worthy to escape. Gee, how many people like that do you know? Let’s cut the baloney here. That describes the VAST majority of so-called Christians today!
I get hundreds of emails from folks describing the reaction they get from fellow believers in their social groups or church congregations, who look at them as if they have three heads, when they express the genuine desire for Jesus to return as soon as possible. These people make them feel like fools; as if THEY are all holy-roller and out of touch with life.
It’s been said that when the Bible repeats itself, you’d better pay attention. So, is this commandment to ‘watch’ for His return, stated anywhere else in scripture? Yes, and by none other than Jesus, the one who promised to come back.
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the same Greek word for ‘watch’ was used in each of the following verses. The word, ‘grhgorevw,’ means ‘to give strict attention to,’ ‘be cautious, active,’ ‘to take heed, lest through remission and indolence, some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.’
Remission means, ‘negligent, careless, derelict, lax,’ and indolence means, ‘lazy, idleness, sloth.’ Finally, calamity means, ‘great distress, disaster, an event causing great harm, loss or affliction.’
The verses with the bold highlighting were said by Jesus.
Matthew 24:42, “WATCH therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
Matthew 25:13, “WATCH therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Mark 13:35, “WATCH ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.”
Luke 21:36, “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.”
1 Thessalonians 5:6 “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us WATCH and be sober.” (Per Paul)
1 Peter 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and WATCH unto prayer.” (Per Peter)
Revelation 3:3, “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.”
Revelation 15:16, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that WATCHETH, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
Just as a little matter of interest, the word ‘thief’ in this verse means, ‘embezzler,’ ‘pilferer,’ ‘false teachers who do not care to instruct men, but abuse their confidence for their own gain.’ Can you say, ‘Emergent Church’?
OK, let’s review. Jesus is the one who died for us, the one who rose again for us and intercedes for us at this very moment. He’s the one who feels the tender affection a groom does for his bride, and who has spent over 2000 years preparing just the perfect place for us, and he specifically told us no less than 6 times, to WATCH for his return!
Hmmm. You reckon He wants us to watch for His return? You think He really meant it? Do you suppose there is a difference in His mind between those who actively watch and long for His return, verses those who are still entangled and enchanted by the things of this world? I have a sneaking suspicion the answer is ‘yes.’
There’s another reason I think the number of Christians who will be spared the Tribulation will be surprisingly small. Take a look at Revelation 7: 9-10, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
On to verses 13-14. “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Here we clearly see that John witnessed in heaven, a ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.’ Think about it. Again, the VAST majority of professing Christians today in first world countries are not particularly interested in the return of Christ. They aren’t hearing about the rapture from their pastors, because most seminaries today don’t teach about eschatology and end time events anymore.
Those subjects don’t fill the churches with happy, shiny faced people who are willing to give lots of money to building projects and community outreaches. Prophecy and the rapture and the tribulation are scary subjects and difficult to understand, so they pretend that stuff’s not really a part of the Bible, and just kind of respectfully ignore it. Besides, those things represent major life changes, and people are naturally afraid of and resist change, even if that change is for the better. After all, the unknown is terrifying.
Here in America, people’s attention is fixated on what another four years of this administration will bring. They’re worried about the economy and their jobs, as well as their retirement accounts and their children’s future. Most folks are STILL completely ignorant of what this President and his Globalist handlers have planned for this country. Hate to tell ‘em, but their lives are going to drastically change anyway, and if they aren’t accounted worthy to escape these things, what they’ll face ain’t gonna be a barrel of laughs.
So, if everyone who states they are a Christian IS raptured, where did that innumerable multitude of tribulation believers that John saw, come from? According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, as of December 2011, there are approximately 2+ billion Christians in the world. Of course, what is included in the term ‘Christian’ isn’t universal.
The term ‘Christian’ I am using, is a person who confesses that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, who was born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as the propitiation for our sins, rose again the third day, ascended to sit at the right hand of God the Father, and who offers salvation by our confession and acceptance of His grace alone.
Pew Research states that of that 2+ billion, half are Catholic, 37% are Protestant, 12% are Orthodox and the remaining 1% belong to sects who claim they are Christians, when they are no such thing, i.e., Mormons.
True Christians are those who strictly hold to the teaching of Ephesians 2: 8-9 for their definition of salvation, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” That unfortunately disqualifies an awful lot of those 2+ billion people who profess they belong to Christ.
When we subtract the Emergent Church crowd, who are not taught the need for repentance and trusting in the blood that was shed for them, along with the untold millions who go to church because it’s they think that’s what it takes to get in good with the ‘Man upstairs,” along with those deceived souls in the Chrislam movement, that 2+ billion number really shrinks.
Of the professing believers that remain, who are true Christians in every sense of the word, how many do you suppose would be included in the remnant that spend their days watching and longing for the return of their Lord? How many Christians have hearts that have disengaged from the things of this world, whose greatest desire is to go home to be with Jesus?
I venture that number is abysmally small. Don’t forget that Jesus emphasized over and over again, His desire that His Bride watch for His return; that we are NOT to be distracted by the concerns of this world, but to ‘pray always’ that we will be found worthy to escape the coming wrath of God. It is more than obvious this mindset is of utmost importance to Him.
This would explain why the number of tribulation saints John witnessed in Revelation, will be so huge. I fear there will be untold millions of Christians who, to their horror, will be left behind because they weren’t WATCHING as He instructed.
So where do you fit in? Are you secretly hoping Jesus will hold off coming back due to plans and dreams you want to see fulfilled first? Do you ever give more than a passing thought that today might be the day He snatches His Bride home to be with Him, as He promised? Do you spend intimate time alone with your heavenly fiancée every day, praying you’ll be found worthy to escape the horrors we see closing in on us?
I freely admit that I hold no doctorate in theology, nor have I attended Bible school, but I’ve been a dedicated Christian, by the truest definition, for 42 years. In that time, I’ve logged a bazillion hours of church services and Bible teaching/reading and have a very solid grasp on what the Word of God teaches. I’ve also got a decent amount of common sense, and carry a simple belief that the Bible literally means what it says, and says what it means.
Now, I may be flat out wrong in my opinion that the number of those raptured will be shockingly small, but from what I see and hear about the church of today, compared to what Jesus Himself said He expected us to be doing in these last days, I don’t think I’m off base at all. If I’m wrong, then I’ll be wonderfully surprised when that Blessed Hope occurs.
But if I’m correct in my assessment, most of you reading this had better examine your hearts and make sure you’re watching and ready to go. Disengage from the things of this earth and look up, for our redemption draws near. Again, I could be wrong. But do you really want to take that chance?