Are You Prepared?

… the Word of God says in I Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 4 that it [the rap­ture] will in fact hap­pen:

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: 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.”

Again, in ancient Jew­ish wed­ding tra­di­tion, the bride was unaware of when the groom would return for her and there­fore spent her time prepar­ing for his arrival. In Matthew 25, the Lord gives us a para­ble on such prepa­ra­tion:

Then shall the king­dom of heav­en be likened unto ten(the num­ber 10 in the Bible speaks of per­fec­tion) vir­gins (rep­re­sents those who belong to the Lord), which took their lamps (rep­re­sents the light of Christ in all believ­ers), and went forth to meet the bride­groom(Christ). And five of them were wise, and five were fool­ish (indica­tive of mod­ern Chris­tian­i­ty). They who were fool­ish took their lamps, and took no oil with them (began to live out­side the domain of the Holy Spir­it): But the wise took oil in their ves­sels with their lamps(a con­stant flow of the Spir­it with­in their hearts and lives, which can only come about and be main­tained, by one’s faith in Christ and the Cross [Rom. 8:1—2, 11]). While the bride­groom tar­ried, they all slum­bered and slept(does not imply by this that they were doing some­thing wrong). And at mid­night there was a cry made, Behold, the bride­groom cometh; go ye out to meet him(the rap­ture of the church). Then all those vir­gins arose, and trimmed their lamps (but with­out the oil, the trim­ming was use­less; it is reli­gious activ­i­ty with­out the Holy Spir­it). And the fool­ish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out(it’s too late now!). But the wise answered, say­ing, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them who sell, and buy for your­selves (pro­claims the truth that spir­i­tu­al ener­gy can­not be derived from oth­ers). And while they went to buy, the bride­groom came; and they who were ready went in with Him to the mar­riage: and the door was shut (there will come a time, when it’s too late; today is the day [Heb. 3:15]). After­ward came also the oth­er vir­gins, say­ing, Lord, Lord, open to us(because they were reli­gious, they thought they were saved). But He answered and said, Ver­i­ly I say unto you, I know you not (mil­lions present­ly are in the church, but not in Christ). Watch there­fore, for you know nei­ther the day nor the hour where­in the Son of Man cometh(our lives are to be lived as if Jesus would come today) (Mat. 25:1–13, “The Expositor’s Study Bible).

Antic­i­pa­tion

Part of this wait­ing and watch­ing also includes work­ing. Remem­ber Rebekah – she worked hard draw­ing from the well that day, and Eliez­er watched care­ful­ly as she drew pitch­er after pitch­er to wit­ness whether or not the Lord had made his jour­ney pros­per­ous.

Like­wise, I believe the Holy Spir­it is watch­ing us care­ful­ly to see whether or not we are draw­ing from the well to give the water of life to a lost and dying world. Are we let­ting the Holy Spir­it lead us and allow­ing His gifts to work prop­er­ly in our lives so that oth­ers will profit? Are we wear­ing the bracelets and the ear­ring that He first gave to us—His right­eous­ness and His holi­ness?

Isa­iah 61:10 says, “I will great­ly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joy­ful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the gar­ments of sal­va­tion, he hath cov­ered me with the robe of right­eous­ness, as a bride­groom deck­eth him­self with orna­ments, and as a bride ador­neth her­self with her jew­els.”

Peo­ple want to know what else, prophet­i­cal­ly, must hap­pen before the rap­ture takes place, and the answer is, noth­ing. The Lord could return at any time. Are you pre­pared to meet the Lord in the air?

Remem­ber how Abra­ham delayed in send­ing for Isaac’s bride. Even so, God the Father—in His tremen­dous grace and mer­cy has delayed in send­ing Jesus to catch His bride away. But in the Father’s per­fect tim­ing, Jesus will come. Soon and very soon, there will be a shout, and the trump will sound. Although the Bible doesn’t say, some believe that shout will be, “Behold the bride­groom cometh!”

And the Spir­it and the bride say, Come.

By Frances Swag­gart

Source: The Evan­ge­list Mag­a­zine, June 2018, Vol. 52 No. 6