How Shall They Know

Hello, Everyone!  My name is John Johansson, and welcome again to another broadcast of the Resounding Shophar Blast!  It’s been a while since our last broadcast due to some pretty significant things taking place on the Johansson front, and in time we may share some of those with you in future broadcasts.  In the meantime, we are back and looking forward to sharing more Resounding Shophar Blasts with you as we see the day of our Lord’s return speedily approaching as never before.


To begin with, the Apostle Paul asks a rhetorical question that is the theme for today’s broadcast, and that question is found in Romans 10:14 which says;


14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?


As Christians, believers and followers of Christ, we know and have a message that the world is looking for, and it is our responsibility to share that with others.  What is our message?  It’s the message of salvation through Jesus, and Him alone.  It’s a message that through Jesus one can be set free of the bondage and penalties of sin.  It’s a message that gives hope to the hopeless of a glorious, pain, sickness and death free eternity in heaven.  It’s a message of the Blessed Hope found in Jesus alone where He returns to receive His people to Himself, an event that takes place before God’s judgement is released upon the whole world in a seven-year period identified in Scripture as the Tribulation Period.  The problem is that it seems most churches in America are not sharing this message with others.


A lot of churches are embracing various false and deceptive teachings, and in the process, they are not presenting the message of salvation accurately or completely to those that are within their sphere of influence.  Some churches are not embracing false and deceptive teachings, but still they are not presenting the message of salvation and what it is, what it means, and why it’s so important for each of us to embrace.  We recently left a church we had been members of for nearly five years, and at that time someone made the comment to me that as long as it wasn’t over a salvation issue then that was okay, but something inside me rose up and I had to tell them it was over a salvation issue.  There were different reasons for our departure, but the main one was that in the nearly five years we were attending it was extremely rare, if at all, that the message of salvation was actually preached or taught from the pulpit or at any “outreach” events, and that is a salvation issue.  Let me explain.


If I know someone is very sick, perhaps with something like cancer, and I know what the cause of it is and have the cure for it, what could be a great life-giving event turns into a life and death situation if I withhold that from them.  In like manner, if I know the spiritual condition of a person, the root cause and that salvation is the cure, if I don’t let them know and give them the cure which is Jesus, then that is a salvation issue.  It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable I am of the situation, it doesn’t matter if I learned from honest and accurate teachers about it, if I don’t share the cause and the cure with them then that is a salvation issue.  In other words, even if a church is doctrinally sound, if they do not preach and teach on the subject of salvation, then that is a salvation issue as those under their influence have no idea what it is and why they need it, and as a subsequent result could still be eternally lost in hell unless they are told the truth about salvation.  How can people know about the salvation made available to them through Jesus if no one tells them about it?


On the same note, a lot of churches lead people to Jesus, but it stops there.  I liken it to me taking someone I know to be sick to the doctor.  If I take them to be introduced to the doctor, but I never tell them why they need to see the doctor or how the doctor can help them, after the introduction we can turn around and leave and all the person knows is that they just met a nice doctor.  We can take people to Jesus, figuratively speaking, but if we never tell them why they need to meet Jesus and what He can do for them, then all they’ve done is met an important person in world history.  Again, how can people know about the salvation made available to them through Jesus if no one tells them about it?


Something else we need to be sharing with others is about Jesus’ soon return for His bride.  This is another message that seems to be overlooked or ignored in many churches here in America.  There are many reasons for this; pastors and other Christians don’t know much about it, some are intimidated by the subject, some are afraid that others will respond with fear or contempt, possibly taking their money with them, and others just don’t believe in it.  In either case, it isn’t getting preached or taught in most churches.  I remember a time when I was a kid in which this subject seemed to be talked about nearly all the time, both behind the pulpits and outside the four walls of a church, but now it seems like it’s almost taboo to even discuss it.  People that once strongly believed in the pre-tribulation rapture, now it seems many of them no longer believe even in the rapture itself.  Sadly, this is another fulfillment of Bible end-time prophecy pointing to the ever-imminent return of Jesus for His followers.  Getting back to the issue, it’s scary to me that more and more churches are not preaching or teaching on Biblical end-time prophesies and the return of Jesus for His followers in the event we know as the Rapture.  When I think about this, I can’t help but remember some of the things Jesus said on the subject, things that should be a red flag for us to pay attention to.


When it comes to His return for us, on multiple occasions Jesus tells us to watch and pray, and He said it with emphasis.  Each time He said it, it was not a suggestion or a recommendation, but it was a strongly stressed command.  What does it mean to watch and pray?  To watch for His return, it means that we need to expect Him to return at any moment, and with that to be watching the signs of His coming.  Granted, there are no specific signs pointing to His return at the Rapture, but there are many signs pointing to the Tribulation Period, and when we begin to see those signs being fulfilled pointing to the Tribulation Period, that should tell us that the Rapture is that much sooner.  There are some who say we don’t need to be watching for Jesus to return at any moment, or even to be watching the signs of His return, but that is simply in contradiction to what Jesus tells us to do.  I don’t know about you, but I believe Jesus means what He says, He says what He means, and since He knows more than we do I think it best to take Him at His words and be obedient to them.  To not be watching as He has commanded us is disobedience wrapped up in pride that says we know better than Jesus what we need or don’t need to do.  In Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells us not only to watch, but He also tells us to pray that we are counted worthy to escape that which is coming on the earth.  Counted worthy?  Yes, that is what Jesus said.  Some will argue that we are already worthy at the point of salvation, and that we will remain worthy from that time forward no matter what, but there are many passages in Scripture that would seem to contradict that way of thinking.


In Titus 2:11-13 and 1 John 3:2-3, we are told that as we look forward to Jesus’ return for us in the Rapture, the Blessed Hope, we are to purify ourselves from sin and all ungodliness.  For those who believe their admittance into Heaven was sealed at the point of salvation, and that there is nothing more they need to do until then, it is a dangerous place to be in because it becomes very easy to not take the presence of sin in their lives seriously.  According to the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John, the more we look forward to Jesus’ return for us, the more we should be motivated even more to repent of sin in our lives and turn from it.


So, how serious is it that we be watching for Jesus’ return for us?  Well, apparently Jesus takes it pretty seriously.  In Revelation 3:1-6, speaking to the church in Sardis, He pretty much tells them to repent and start watching for Him, and that if they don’t watch for Him to return, they will miss it when He does.  I don’t think you can get much clearer than that.  If we don’t watch for Him to return, then we will be caught off guard and miss it when it does happen.  Is there another passage that lends some weight to this?  Yes, there is.  In Revelation 16:15, Jesus makes it clear that those who are watching for His return, and who keep their garments clean of sin, they are blessed.  But He goes on to say that those who did not watch and keep their garments, people will see them naked (without their robes of righteousness) and see their shame as ones who knew the truth but didn’t take it seriously enough to apply it to their lives.  Wow!  I guess that means we should be watching for Jesus’ return for us, and to make sure we’re ready when He does.  Going back to the main theme for today, how will people know about Jesus’ soon return, the need to be watching for Him, and the need to keep our garments clean of sin, if no one is preaching and teaching them about it?


How shall they know ….


In Ezekiel 33:1-11, God makes it very clear that if we don’t warn others of what is coming, then their blood will be upon us.  However, if we do warn people of what is coming, and how to prepare and avoid it, then if they choose to disregard the warning then their blood will be upon themselves.  This should be a stark warning for all followers of Christ given that we have been given a message we are commanded to share with the lost, and if we neglect to do so their blood will be upon us.


Do you realize that Jesus’ return for His followers is very close and could happen at any moment?  Do you even care?  Jesus isn’t going to rescue you from the judgment that is coming to the world if you really aren’t concerned about it.  He’s looking for people who are eagerly waiting for Him to return for them, the Blessed Hope we read about in Titus 2:13.


Perhaps you are a Christian, but you haven’t been living as you know you ought to, allowing sin and idolatry to reign in your life.  If that is you, then I strongly encourage you to repent of such, to make things right with Jesus, asking Him for forgiveness and turning away from the sin.  Don’t play what I call Russian Roulette with your eternity because you want to hang onto that which is sin and dishonoring to God.  Do it today!  Don’t delay!


Maybe you have never given your life over to Jesus.  Maybe you have been living life as you wanted, and on your terms, but in listening to me today you realize there needs to be a change in your life.  You are seeing the signs I mentioned earlier only increasing, and you can tell things are not going to get any better but instead much worse, and you want to avoid as much of it as possible and realize the only real way of doing so is by surrendering your life to Jesus.  Well, you can make that change right now wherever you are.  It’s simple, as simple as “A, B, C”.  Let me tell you how.


For you to be considering making such a change in your life, this only shows that God is speaking to you.  He wants to have that saving relationship with you far more than you could ever want it yourself.  To enter that relationship with Him, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you are a sinner.  To acknowledge, or to admit, that you are a sinner is the “A” in the “A, B, C’s”.  This may be difficult for some to do, but it’s vitally important.  We are told in Romans 3:10 that no one is righteous or good, no, not one.  The reason for that is found in Romans 3:23 where we’re told that all, everyone, has sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  This means that nobody is good enough, no matter how good we may be, because we all have sin in our lives.  Continuing in Romans, we are told in Romans 6:23 that the wages of our sin is death, or in other words the penalty of the sin in our life is eternal death.  So, where does that leave us?  We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 that the salvation God offers us is a gift of God, something we receive by grace and through faith.  No one deserves salvation, and no one certainly can earn it through works of any kind, but rather it is a gift from God.  To receive this gift from God, the first thing a person must do is “A”, acknowledge or admit that they are a sinner.


The second thing a person must do, and this is “B” in the “ABC’s”, is to “BELIEVE” in their heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.  Romans 10:9-10 tells us that if we confess with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.  It’s not just a mental believing as some would like it to be, but rather a believing that dictates the way one lives their life.  It’s a way of life that reflects and supports what they say they believe.  In James 2:19 were told that even the demons believe, and they tremble, but salvation is not available to them.  Just having a head knowledge is not enough.


The third thing a person must do, and this is “C” in the “ABC’s”, is to “CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD.”  You need to call Jesus Lord, and to do so means one must surrender their life to Him.  There is coming a time when every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess to God that He is Lord.  Now is the time for salvation, and now is the time to voluntarily surrender your life to Him.  The eternal rewards for surrendering your life to Jesus is far greater than anything this world could ever hope to give you.


Is a relationship with Jesus like I’ve described important and worth it?  It is most definitely worth it, and then some.  I won’t say that life will be easier or with less problems, but it will be more fulfilling, and with that there is a Blessed Hope for all Christians to embrace and pursue.  More and more people are beginning to feel hopeless with life, especially when they see everything that is happening around them and around the world, but as Christians we have a hope that is solid and independent of anything this world could ever hope to offer us.  The signs we are seeing across the news headlines now days only energizes the hope we have of Jesus’ ever imminent return for us.  It is that same hope, that Blessed Hope, that encourages Christians to keep the faith and to continue living for Him and Him alone.  Are you one of those who place their trust and hope in Jesus?


If you do not have a saving relationship with Jesus, and you would like to, I encourage you to talk to God right now.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or eloquent, just a sharing of your heart to Him.  If that is you, and you’re ready to give your life to Jesus, then say this prayer from your heart and to Him.  Again, it’s not a formula, just a sharing of your heart to Him.


“O God, I am a sinner.  I’m sorry for my sin.  I want to turn from my sin.  I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son; I believe that He died on the cross for my sin, that He was buried, that You raised Him to life, and that He’s coming to take me back to His house in heaven very soon.  I have decided to place my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, trusting only in His shed blood as more than sufficient to save my soul and to take me to heaven.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me.  Amen.”


Now that you have entered into this relationship with Jesus, I strongly encourage you to find a Bible and start reading it, and to find and get plugged into a solid Bible-believing church that teaches and preaches the full Gospel of Jesus, which includes Bible prophecy and the need to be living righteously and holy before the Lord in all your ways.


In closing, know that Jesus is coming soon, very soon, for His followers, and it is vitally important for each of us to be found both watching and ready for Him when He does.  Don’t get lulled into the deceptive thinking that His return is not near for one reason or another, especially when the fulfillment of the signs given in the Bible tell us that it’s at the door.  It’s our responsibility to be watching the signs for Him, and to be ready, free of any spots, blemishes, or wrinkles brought on through sin in our lives.


Remember these two things:

  • The King is Coming!
  • Be ready for Him when He does!


By John Johansson

Rapture or No Rapture

I grew up in church and with the awareness of a soon coming rapture of the church, the bride of Christ. The only argument I ever heard never questioned if there would be a rapture, but rather when the rapture would take place, pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I had even heard of those who don’t believe in the rapture.  I have heard some of the arguments used in defense of their assertions for there being no rapture, but it’s hard for me to find much substance to them.  It’s not like they have a lot of scripture to support their views with, because they don’t, but it seems that in order for them to take the position that they do requires them to discount other scriptures which would support the rapture position.

Those who don’t believe the Bible speaks of a rapture are of the opinion that the rapture is a fairly new line of thought, and that it originates from the early 1800’s. This is not so.  According to Chuck Missler, if we were to look outside of the scriptures found in the Bible, we would find that the earliest writings referring to a rapture, especially a pre-tribulation rapture, were as early as A.D. 100 in the epistle of Barnabas.  This is followed by four other writings leading up to the fourth century writing of Ephraem, the Syrian.

It is believed by some that the basis for the idea of a rapture hinges upon two scriptures, I Thessalonians 4:15-17 and I Corinthians 15:51-53. While it is true that these are well used scriptures in defending the position of a rapture, we can find that the Bible has a lot more to say on the subject than just that.  We see it not only in the words of the Apostle Paul, but also in the words of Jesus.  We see it in the Jewish feasts, the marriage customs of the ancient Jews, and in some of the historical records found in the Old Testament.  As I mentioned earlier, to discount the idea of the rapture as from God requires one to discount various aspects and sections of the Bible.  I know that none of us truly want to do that, so let’s take a quick look at some of what I just mentioned.

To begin with we need to see that the idea of a rapture is seen in the seven feasts God gave the Jews to observe each year. It is commonly believed that the feasts were only for the Jews, but that is not the case.  In Leviticus 23:2, God makes it very clear that these are His feasts that they are to observe.  That same passage refers to these feasts as convocations, also translated as “rehearsals”.  In other words, God established these feasts as rehearsals for an appointed time to come.  Many believe that with Jesus and the subsequent dispensation of grace, the Old Testament has no real value to a Christian outside of historical information and to help us understand the plan of God leading to salvation through Jesus.  Seeing how that none of the feasts were fulfilled until Jesus came, and that there are still three of the seven feasts left unfulfilled, it could be argued that the Old Testament is still very relevant to us as Christians in this day and age.

When we look at the Jewish feasts, Jesus fulfilled the first three and the birth of the Church fulfilled the fourth feast on the day of Pentecost. The next feast to be fulfilled is Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets, a feast that very closely parallels our understanding of the rapture.  When we take a close look at this feast, there is a lot about it that screams out that it represents the rapture of the church.  This fifth feast is next on God’s prophetic timetable yet to be fulfilled, and when we look at the final two feasts we see that they closely resemble the end of the tribulation period and the start of the 1000 year reign of Christ here on earth.  In addition to that, the period of time between the fifth and sixth feasts is known as the “Days of Awe”, a period of time that appears to represent the seven-year tribulation period.

The Apostle Paul alludes to the Jewish feast Rosh Hashanah when he mentions the “last trump” in conjunction with the “catching away” of the Church. The “last trump” Paul talks about is not the seventh trumpet sound mentioned in the book of Revelation.  How can we know that?  To begin with, the way Paul mentions the “last trump” indicates that the Jews were well acquainted with it and what it was, and that there was no need for him to explain himself.  Also, Paul’s mention of the “last trump” was about 40 years before the Apostle John’s revelation of end time events and the seven trumpet blasts of judgment, therefore Paul could not be referring to John’s revelation.  The “last trump” he was referring to was the last of 100 blasts of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets, a blast that all Jews knew as the “last trump”.

When speaking of His return, Jesus made the statement that it would be at a day and hour no man knows. The phrase “day and hour no man knows” refers to the Jewish feast, Rosh Hashanah.  Ancient Jews referred to this feast with that phrase because it was the only one of seven that they never knew when it would begin, but they knew it would be within a 48 hour time frame.  When a Jew made this statement, or used it themselves, they were referring to this feast, the same feast that is symbolic of the rapture.  In this way it can be argued that Jesus was letting us know His return for the Church would be on this day, though we don’t know which year, day or hour it would take place.

When we look at the marriage customs of the ancient Jews, we see a number of things that closely resemble the rapture and the events surrounding it, including the time of the 7-year tribulation period and the following millennium reign of Christ. In order for us to seriously look at these, we need to first remember that the Apostle Paul tells us that the Church is betrothed and espoused to Christ (I Corinthians 11:2), and that the relationship between a husband and wife models the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).  In the process of an ancient wedding, the bride and the bridegroom enter into a marriage relationship, but they don’t consummate it until later.  After entering into the marriage, the groom departs to prepare a place for his bride at his father’s house.  During this period of time, the bride has no idea of when the groom will return for her, but her responsibility during this time is to prepare herself for his return and to eagerly anticipate his return at any moment.  If she fails to do so, the marriage process will be cancelled with a letter of divorcement and he will return to his father’s house without her.  If she has done what is expected of a new bride, the groom will take her back to his father’s house and consummate the marriage, and this will be the start of a 7-day period of time known as the marriage feast.  After the marriage feast is concluded, the husband and wife will re-enter public life.

When Jesus told us that He was going to prepare a place for us, and that in His Father’s house are many rooms, He was talking as a groom to His new bride. The fact that we don’t know when He will return is locked up in both the marriage customs of ancient Jews and the Feast of Trumpets.  The rapture is Christ’s return for His bride, another piece of the puzzle found in the Feast of Trumpets.  Many times Jesus told us He would return as a thief in the night for those who are not watching for Him, and that only those who are watching will not be caught off guard.  It is because of that, and because of the example we see in the ancient Jews marriage customs, that we understand why it is so important to be watching and prepared for Him when He returns.

Some argue that no one has ever been raptured up, or caught up, before, but that isn’t true either. Not only can we say it did happen before, but we can also say it happened in the Old Testament.  We know that Enoch just disappeared and was never seen or heard of again because God took him (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5).  Elijah was another one that was “caught up” to heaven (2 Kings 2:11) as a whirlwind pulled him up.

What about the belief of a pre-tribulation rapture? One aspect of the pre-tribulation position is that the rapture keeps us from the judgments to come, and we see this in the lives of both Noah and Lot.  God withheld the judgment of total destruction until His people were safe.  Noah found his safety in a boat God commanded him to build, also known as the ark, and Lot found safety when he left Sodom and Gomorrah and went to Zoar.  If that wasn’t enough, Isaiah 26:20-21 speaks of the rapture of the church, the Bride of Christ, and that God calls her up to be hidden from the judgments He’s about to pour out upon the earth.

As we can see, the argument opposing the rapture position, especially the pre-tribulation rapture, doesn’t have much to stand on, and the argument for a pre-tribulation rapture is pretty strong. So, is there a rapture to come or not?  I think it is a very risky thing for someone to argue against the rapture position.  In my next blog I will be answering the question, “Does it really make a difference whether or not someone believes in the rapture?”  In the meantime, watch and pray so that you are not caught off guard and left behind.

Are You Ready

There has been a lot of talk lately about four blood moons and their connection to the Jewish feasts, also referred to as a “Tetrad”. The talk says history shows that each time there is a tetrad of four blood moons, all of which land on a Jewish feast day, something major happens with Israel.  Well, we’re in the middle of another tetrad of blood moons landing on Jewish feast days, and so a lot of eyes are on Israel at this time to see what may or may not happen.


In light of all we are seeing in the news at this time, there is little doubt that something big could easily happen at any time with Israel. Israel has just entered into a ceasefire after several weeks of fighting with Hamas in Gaza.  They are also closely monitoring their borders with Syria as ongoing fighting continues between both Syrian and rebel forces.  Also, there is the ever increasing emergence of ISIS, now known as IS, a group of radical Islamist terrorists seeking to expand their territory and influence as far as possible with Israel and the west in their sights.


Something else that is unique at this point in time, especially during this tetrad, is the presence of a Shabbat year and the end of a 50 year Jubilee cycle. What is also unique during this period of time, based on the “Creation Calendar”, something that will only happen one time in the history of mankind is the beginning of the seventh millennium of mankind’s existence.  There is a belief based on scripture that mankind as we know it will only last 7000 years, the last 1000 of which will be the 1000 year reign of Christ following the 7-year tribulation period.  I realize that we are not in the tribulation period at this time, but with the way things are happening it is evident that the final steps leading up to it are currently taking place, but it’s hard to see the 1000 year reign of Christ beginning any sooner than seven years from now since it’s supposed to be preceded by the 7-year tribulation period.  What this means for us as we enter into the 6001 year of creation, especially since it’s in the middle of the current tetrad, only time will tell but it is definitely something for us to keep in mind for the next several months.


During this tetrad of blood moons, as well as during other tetrad’s of blood moons, is the Jewish Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah. For me personally, I have a big interest in this particular feast as there seems to be indications within scripture that the rapture of the church, the bride of Christ, will happen on this feast day.  I realize that we are told that the rapture will be on a day or hour no man knows, but that is exactly what Jews in Jesus’ day called Rosh Hashanah.  Also, the “last trump” the Apostle Paul mentioned regarding the rapture is a direct reference to the last trumpet blast on Rosh Hashanah, also known and identified by Jews of that day as the “last trump”.  I don’t know about you, but that definitely peaks my interest in this feast.  Even if there can be a good argument for the rapture taking place on Rosh Hashanah, which Rosh Hashanah it would take place on is something we do not know.


As I’ve alluded to we stand to see a lot of things happen within this tetrad of blood moons, a period of time which will last until September 2015. Whether or not the rapture of the church takes place sometime within the next several months or so only God knows, but there is more than sufficient reason for us to be prepared in case it does happen.  There were times that Jesus spoke of His return, sometimes in parables, where He told us to watch for His return, the rapture of the bride.  Those who were watching for His return for His church, they would not be caught off guard, but it was for those who were not watching that His return would be like a thief in the night and caught off guard.  I hear many say it isn’t important for them to be watching as long as they are living and evangelizing as God would have them, but many times Jesus stressed with great emphasis for His followers to be watching.  Why do so many take that command of Jesus so lightly?  Do they think they are too secure to worry about it?


I recently spoke with a pastor that doesn’t believe in the rapture of the church or the tribulation period. His sales pitch to persuade me to see things as he does was accompanied with scripture that was either taken out of context or was interpreted far differently than the original text.  It was also very evident that he wasn’t open to any view different than his own, whether or not there was supporting scripture.  I’m concerned about Christians who choose to not believe in the rapture, especially when they discount or twist scripture that would point to one.  A person that does so cannot claim that they believe the whole Bible and that it is from God.  I’m glad I’m not the one who will determine who will and will not be caught up to meet Jesus in the air through the rapture, or go to heaven for that matter, but I get concerned about the potential danger that lies in wait for those who either deny this reality or discount the need to be watching for it.


For those who choose to believe there will be no rapture something comes to mind. For those who deny a soon coming rapture, if they are right they have everything to gain, but if they are wrong then they potentially have everything to lose.  However, for those of us who do believe in a soon coming rapture, if we are right we have everything to gain, and if we are wrong we still have everything to gain.  I like the odds for one who believes in the rapture, content that there is more than sufficient evidence in it.


At the end of the day the question to be asked is “are you ready?” Just because you may want to deny that there will be a rapture of the church, that doesn’t mean there won’t be.  Are you ready for the soon return of Christ for His Church, His bride?  If you are, are you watching for Him?  This is the time to not only be sure we are ready for His return, but also to be watching for Him.  We’re told and commanded by Jesus, as His followers, to be watching for His return, and that to me is very sobering.  I definitely do not want to be caught off guard and/or unprepared for Him when He does return.


Are you ready? Are you watching?  If you’re not ready, or you haven’t been watching, perhaps today is the day to get ready and to start watching?  Jesus gave a stark warning to us in Revelation 16:15, stressing the need to be watching for Him.

Is It For Itchy Ears?

Over the years I have heard many proclaim from the pulpits of local churches and on TV and radio that there was a great revival coming to America. Oh, wouldn’t that be awesome if that were to happen!  I’ve been in places where God was moving in a powerful way among all those in attendance, I’ve heard of the great revivals of the past, and I would love to be a part of another one.  Wouldn’t you?


When I first heard these people proclaim a great revival yet to come, I was one that was excited and looking forward to it. But in recent years I’ve begun to view things from a different perspective, wondering if the great revival some are talking about would be post-rapture.  When I look at the Biblical description of the end times, the last days, I don’t see a great revival taking place before the rapture.  Instead, the Bible is very clear that those days will get bad, and it’s not just referring to the world at large.  We also read that there would be a great falling away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12), not the revival that is so often times promoted.


Several years ago it was easy to believe for a great revival coming to America, partly because America appears to be absent from Bible end-time prophecy, and partly because no one would ever think that the persecution experienced in other countries would ever come here in any form. Well, we live in a very different America now compared to just 10 years ago.  We’re seeing the very liberal, anti-Christian movement infiltrate every aspect of our society more and more all the time.  The very real threat of both domestic and foreign terrorists is growing every day, not to mention that there have been reports of ISIS within our borders.  We’re experiencing an exponential increase of illegal aliens cross over into our country relatively unhindered, tremendously increasing our vulnerability to terrorist’s attacks within our borders, greatly increasing the threat of uncontrollable and incurable diseases to our citizens, creating an overwhelming demand on our economic system and financial stability, all of which could mark the end of America as we have known it to be since its inception in more than 200 years ago.  This doesn’t take into account all the other aspects that seem to be tearing away at this great nation we call America, chipping away at it with greater enthusiasm than we’ve ever known before.


Despite all these things, I find it interesting and disheartening at the same time that many not only proclaim great revival is on its way, but also that things are going to get much better. They proclaim that things are going to get better, prosperity will increase for the believers, and that the threats facing America will suddenly be defeated by God before America is destroyed.


I’m reminded of Hananiah the prophet in the Old Testament. Do you remember him?  In Jeremiah 27, God told Jeremiah to put yokes upon his neck to signify the bondage and captivity of Israel under King Nebuchadnezzar.  We also read that God spoke with the kings, the priests and all the people that they were to be under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule until God said otherwise.  God also told them that if a prophet, or someone else, were to tell them the time for them to break the bonds and come out from under the bondage of Nebuchadnezzar had come, that they were not to listen to them because that was a lie that did not come from Him.  In Jeremiah 28, the prophet Hananiah came to rest of the prophets, the priests, and all the people telling them that the time of their bondage would end within two years.  Because he was a prophet everyone took notice of what he had to say, including Jeremiah.  Hananiah went even further by breaking the yoke that was around Jeremiah’s neck to symbolize that the time of bondage was about to end.  It wasn’t until Jeremiah left and went his own way that God spoke to him letting him know that the words of Hananiah was not His words.  So Jeremiah went back and confronted the prophet Hananiah, telling him that because he misled the people of God into thinking a lie as though it came from God, God would take his life within a year.  I say that to say this, it doesn’t matter who it is that says it (a pastor, a teacher, a prophet, etc.), if they are proclaiming things that are contrary to what God says in His word, then it’s not from God and we ought not to listen to it.


Whether you look at Matthew chapters 24-25, the book of Revelation, or even some of the prophets of old who prophesied regarding these last days, and we are in the last days, you will find that the days we live in only get worse as time goes by until Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation period to defeat His enemies and establish His reign here on earth. The people that promote the idea that things are only going to get better are either “sticking their head in the sand” regarding what is in the news and happening all around them and how it all relates to Bible prophecy, or they’re reading from a different Bible.  The difference between what they are promoting and what the Bible foretells about these last days is great.


I’ve recently became aware of a theology embraced by some that says it is the churches responsibility to overcome the enemies of Christ in any way they can, primarily through the government system, and that Christ cannot return until they do so. Obviously this group of people seems to think that things will get better because it has to in order for Christ to return, but there is a problem with this way of thinking.  To begin with, they are not referring to the rapture, or the catching up of the Bride of Christ, because they don’t believe in it.  So when they talk of Christ’s return, what they describe lines up with what we know to be Christ returns at the end of the tribulation period.  Second, their idea that the church must first overcome the enemies of Christ before He can return is faulty and flies in the face of scripture.  In Revelation 13:1-10, in the midst of the tribulation period, the Apostle John tells us that when the beast arises from the pit he was going to be given power and authority for 42 months, and with that he will be given the power and ability to not just make war with the saints, but also to overcome them.   Third, in Revelation 17:12-14, John also tells us that when Christ returns the beast and those who are with him will make war against Jesus, but when they do Jesus will overcome and defeat them.


When the disciples asked Jesus regarding the signs of His return to set up His kingdom, and the signs of the end, the first thing He told them was to not be deceived (Matthew 24:3-5). A lot is said in the New Testament about being deceived, but for Jesus to indicate that is the first thing to watch out for tells us how bad the deceptions will be in these last days.  The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 that people will not listen to sound doctrine, but instead their own desires and because of their itching ears they will heap upon themselves teachers, turning their ears away from the truth and to fables.  When I think of some of the things that people are saying in the times we live in, how that things are going to get better and things will be restored, including America, I can’t help but wonder if it is merely wishful thinking and having itching ears to those who support that wishful thinking. Yes, I would love to see God stop the surge of wickedness in all its forms and restore us into what He would have us to be, individually and as a nation, but the Bible tells me that is not the case for the days we now live in.


What does this mean for Christians? What this means is that we are in for some very rough days ahead, but we also have that blessed hope of His return for us, and if not then most assuredly on the other side of eternity.  Some people like to scoff or attempt to discredit what the scriptures say about a rapture of the church, saying it is a doctrine of escapism, and I would like to know what is wrong with that?  Jesus told us in Luke 21:34-36 to watch and pray that we’re counted worthy to escape that which is coming to pass.  In Revelation 22:12-20 we read that the Spirit and the Bride both say “come quickly!” to Jesus, which must be a cry made before the rapture since the Bride will be with Him forever more from that time on.  What we need to remember, though, is even though we are watching for His return to escape that which is coming to the earth, it is also important for us to be about the Father’s business while we’re here.  Be mindful of the signs pointing to His return, and reaching out to others as His ambassadors until He returns.  This is what we must be doing, both to be watching and praying and also to be working for the Father.


The good things that we’re hearing promoted and proclaimed regarding revival and the restoration of America, is it for itching ears?? I wonder.

Edge of Eternity

“People have been saying that for more than 2000 years.”  How many times have you heard someone say that about the rapture?  Or, perhaps you’ve said that yourself.  There is a mindset among many that since people have been saying that for so long then surely He’s not coming, or at least not any time in the immediate future.  This mindset is based simply because Jesus hasn’t already come, but is that one argument, in and of itself, enough to discount His coming back?  I don’t think so.

When Israel became a nation in May 1948 the dynamics changed.  In Matthew 24:32-34, Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree, a parable that many believe points to the rebirth of the Jewish nation.  In this passage of scripture Jesus indicates that the generation of people that see Israel become a nation will not pass away until the rapture and the tribulation comes to an end.  There are many differing views as to what Jesus is alluding to in regards to a generation, whether it is 40 years, 70 years, or even 80 years.  There are even differing views as to whether this period of time started with Israel becoming a nation, with the six-day war in 1967, or even with the Yom Kippur war of 1973.  The point is that we are now living in the time of that generation of people, and that means unlike 2000 years ago, or even 100 years ago, we are on the ‘edge of eternity’.  Yes, we are on the edge of eternity because at the moment of our last breath we go from life here on earth and into eternity, whether that is in heaven or in hell, but I’m not talking about that edge of eternity.  The edge of eternity I’m speaking about is for all humanity.

What does this tell us?  It tells us that the rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ is imminent.  Is it safe for us to say that?  We have entered a period of time where the final positioning of Biblical end-time events surrounding the tribulation period and the anti-Christ are climaxing before our very eyes, literally setting the stage for this to take place at any moment.  We see this in the ever increasing descent of America both domestically and abroad, in world economies and in the many changes taking place in the Middle East.  Keep your eyes on Jerusalem.  With all that is going on we see America turning its back on God and falling into a moral collapse.  America today is not the America many remember it being from even 50 years ago.  The world is waiting and looking for a one-world government, a one-world economy and one person to lead it, but the only thing currently standing in the way of that is America.  That is until America becomes meaningless in the eyes of the world for one reason or another, but nonetheless it has to decline very significantly, something that is happening rather quickly before our very eyes.

So, what am I trying to say?  I’m trying to say that we are on the edge of eternity, and that we need to make sure we are ready and in right relationship with Jesus before that trumpet sound calling His bride to meet Him in the clouds on our way to heaven.  Are you ready?  I hope so.  If not, I strongly encourage you to make yourself ready with no delay.  It will require more than just saying a prayer or walking down an aisle, it will require surrender to Him of our lives for His purposes.  Are you ready to do that?  Think about it!

A Wake-up Call to Prepare

I just recently heard that Russia has practically bailed out the economies of Greece and Cyprus, which I admit was a surprise for me.  This apparently was done through the acquisition of some of these countries natural resources.  The European economy is struggling with the financial collapses of some of its member states, and some even predict its collapse within months.  The United States economy is teetering on the brink of collapse as well, with various city and county governments declaring bankruptcy, the increase of unemployment and the spiraling, out of control debt we are experiencing nationwide.  I’ve even heard some experts to say that if the European economy collapses so will the United States that is how much the two economies depend on the other.

Here in America we are experiencing some extreme weather conditions that have threatened our economy, our energy resources, and our food supplies significantly.  The price of so many things, including food, has begun to rise as a result.  The cost of obtaining an education has also begun to skyrocket which either prevents some from pursuing an education, or for others obtain financial assistance they may never be able to repay because of the cost and lack of employment opportunities we are now facing.  We are also facing an election in November that will determine the future of our country in ways that it may never be able to recover from.  A lot is at stake with this election not just on a federal level, but also in the varied levels of government.  A lot is happening.

All eyes are on the Middle East right now.  Can’t say it is for any one particular reason as there are many.  For quite a while there has been a focus on Iran and its nuclear pursuits coupled with their determination to wipe Israel off the face of the world.  We’ve seen how different countries have gone through what has been labeled as an “Arab Spring”, using force to remove the current leaderships of those countries, and how the Islamist extremists are seizing power wherever they can.  Just these two issues alone scream out for attention, creating instability to the region, but it doesn’t end there.  Currently a lot of attention is on Syria and its neighboring countries.  Syria is going through a civil war between the established government regime and rebel forces made up of Syrians and others from other countries, including various terrorist groups.  Syria has the attention of the world right now not only because of the violence and loss of life that has been experienced there, but also because they possess possibly the world’s largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.  There are a number of reasons for the concern in that there is a fear Syria’s government will begin to use them against their own people, or perhaps against Israel or one of its other neighbors.  The fears don’t stop there as many fear these weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of the rebels, of terrorist groups like Hezbollah which can then use it against others.  If that isn’t enough, Russia, China and Iran have made it clear that they will defend Syria if there is any attempt by outside forces to undermine or replace the current Syrian regime.  Needless to say, there is a lot going on in that region.  Even now various governments are looking and preparing for a major war to break out in the region in just weeks, not months or years.  Some even believe it is very possible and maybe even probable, that this war will turn nuclear because of the issue with Syria’s chemical and biological weapons.

All of these things, as well as others I haven’t mentioned, have gained the attention of many.  People are wondering what is going on, and more importantly what is in store for us within the next several weeks.  Remember I told you that there is the preparation of a major war in the Middle East within weeks, only to be followed by the elections in November?  Well, I’m noticing something that I want to briefly share with you, something that could have eternal ramifications for you.

I want to start off by reiterating the fact that no one knows when Jesus will return for His bride, and to declare a date for His return is foolishness.  However, Jesus does tell us to be watching for His return pointing out many different signs that would indicate His return being extremely close.  I notice that not only do the signs we currently see scream that His return is very near, but I find it interesting that many of these same signs point to a climaxing period of time that coincides with a particular event.  What is that event?  It is Rosh Hashanah, the fifth of seven feasts the Jews remember each year.  Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Feast of Trumpets.  For 30 days preceding this feast a trumpet is blasted once each day.  The day before this feast no trumpet is sounded so people will know Rosh Hashanah is next, but on Rosh Hashanah there are 100 blasts of the trumpet with four different sounds.  Three of the four sounds are blasted 33 times, and the fourth sound is only blasted on the 100th blast.  The trumpets being used for Rosh Hashanah and the preceding 30 days is not a metal trumpet, but instead a shofar which is made from an animal horn, usually a ram.  These 30 days are set apart by the Jews as a day to repent, remember their sins and to prepare for the judgment.  The Rosh Hashanah feast has many parallels to what we refer to as the rapture, but I’m only going to highlight a few.  This feast is known as the day of the awakening blast, the day of the resurrection.  It is also identified as the day of the coronation of the King; the King takes His bride, and the day of the Kings wedding.  The 100th blast of the shofar is known by Jews as “the last trump”, the same one that the Apostle Paul referred to when addressing the rapture of the saints.  This is also the day that God divides mankind into three groups, the wholly righteous, the wholly wicked, and those who are in the middle.  There is one more element to this feast that has my attention and screams out to me, and perhaps it will for you as well.

When referring to Rosh Hashanah, the Jews knew it by another name.  Before I tell you what that name was let me give you some background.  Of the seven feasts God instituted for Israel, this is the only one that the Jews never knew when it was to take.  They were able to pinpoint a 48 hour period of time each year for when it was to start, but that was it.  They knew it was to start with a new moon, but they didn’t know which of two days that would be.  As a result, they would be watching for the new moon, and when it was seen then two witnesses had to go and testify of this to the priests who would then declare the start of the feast.  Because of this what was instituted by God as a one-day feast turned into a two-day feast referred to as one long day, but that is not the name I’m referring to.  With the uncertainty of when it was to start, the feast became known by ancient Jews even in Jesus’ day as “the day no man knows the day or hour”.  Do those words sound familiar?  They should be.  This is the words of Jesus that people use to argue that we can’t know when Jesus is returning.

So, when is this feast?  Well, in 2012 it starts on the eve of September 16th and extends to September 18th.  Whether or not Jesus is returning during that time only God the Father knows, but I find it ironic that it seems things in our world seem to be climaxing around the same period of time, and it behooves us to make sure we are ready if that is the case.  Just as the Jews are using this time to prepare themselves and make themselves ready, so must we.  There’s more I could share but in the attempt to keep this from getting too long, if it isn’t already, I’m going to go ahead and finish this.

The fact is that Jesus is coming back, and all indications are that it is very near, perhaps nearer than we realize.  Make sure you are right with God and ready for Jesus’ return.  Let go of any unforgiveness of any kind.  Rid yourselves of any sin or sinful thinking, and embrace Jesus and His word as never before, more than just the standard by which we are to live by.  Make sure He is your one and only and not your one of many.  Be a follower of Jesus and not just a passionate fan.  BE READY!!!!!

As We See That Day Approaching …

As I was thinking about the soon return of our Lord and Savior for His bride, I began to think about what are some of the things we need to be doing as we see that blessed day approaching.  Or, should we just continue living life, as some would say, believing it will all work out in the end?  Well, what does scripture tell us?

In Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells us two things we should be doing.  He tells us that we need to be watching for His return, not getting caught up in carousing, drunkenness and the cares of this life.  He makes it clear that if we get caught up with these things His return will come on us unexpectantly.  I’ve heard many people say that they’re not concerned about ‘watching’ for His return, in observing the signs of the times and the unfolding of Biblical end-time prophecy.  They claim that we are to ‘occupy’ until He comes, and that as long as they are ready then it will all work out, but that mindset concerns me.  In multiple passages Jesus tells us to ‘watch’, and with emphasis.  Why, because apparently it would be easy to get caught up with the cares of life and not be ready for His return.  By the way, did you notice He’s telling this to His disciples and not to those who were not following Him?

The second thing that Jesus tells us in this passage is to pray continually that we may be counted worthy to escape that which is coming down the pipes upon this earth.  Wait a minute.  He’s telling His disciples to pray, and pray continually, that they are counted worthy to escape that which will be coming to pass?  Wow.  What does that tell us?  What it tells me is that we can’t just sit smugly in our Lazy Boys and think we have it made and have nothing to worry about.  One of the best lies of the enemy, among many, is that once we’ve asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior then we have nothing to worry about and can relax believing we’re okay, but that is not how Jesus wants us to approach it.  Jesus knows far better than we do what will come to pass after He comes for His bride, and He’s letting us know we need to take our relationship with Him so seriously so as to not take anything for granted.  Oh, Lord, help us to take your warnings and admonitions to watch and pray as seriously as you need us to.

In Philippians 2:12, Paul tells us to ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’.  While there may be differing views of what that may mean, I believe the consensus is that we take our relationship with Jesus seriously.  I also note that in the same verse prior to the above statement he comments on the obedience of the Philippians to the gospel.  This is something that is missing in most church circles in America these days, the commitment to being obedient to God and His word, the Bible.  We live in a time when it’s fashionable to decide which parts of the Bible we will follow in our own lives, and which ones we will conveniently ignore.  One of my pet peeves is when we either put words in Gods mouth, or for that matter take words out of His mouth.  We have a tendency to look at a scripture we don’t like or agree with and to ‘modify it’ according to what we think God really meant by it so as to justify why we don’t embrace and live by it.  Jesus said that if we love Him we will do His commandments, and when we fail to be obedient to Him and His word we are then considered as lawless in His sight.

Another thing we need to be doing is found in Hebrews 10:24-25.  The writer of Hebrews tells us to consider one another so that we can stir up love and good works.  He further states in the same sentence that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as apparently some made a habit of doing, so that we can exhort one another, especially as we see the day of His return approaching.  Check this out.  We are told that as we see the day of His return approaching we must not forsake the times that we gather together with the brethren.  The more evident it becomes that Jesus’ return is imminent, the more we need to embrace times with fellow believers both in church settings and in our ‘social lives’, this is so that we can be an encouragement and a help for others and they in turn can do likewise for us.  The closer we get to His return, which means the closer we’re getting to the tribulation period, the darker things are going to get in this world, and the harder it will be for us to stay close to Him.  Might I also add, the closer we get to His return the harder it will be for us to 1) watch for His return, 2) continually pray that we are counted worthy to escape that which is coming, and 3) to remain obedient to Him and His word when so much of this life will pull us away.  We need more than ever before, to relish all the time we can with fellow believers where we will find the encouragement, the help and the corporate strength to persevere until that blessed day arrives.  I’m speaking even to myself in that I’m not a ‘social butterfly’, but it is going to be essential for each of us to lock arms with our brothers and sisters in Christ like never before if we’re going to stand.  I’m not saying we need to isolate ourselves from those who are not followers of Christ, because that is not what we are called to do, but it does mean we need to value time with the brethren more and more all the time.  People who are not followers of Christ, or those who think they are but are merely fans of Jesus, and there is a difference, may not understand this, but we need the support of those in the family of God if we are going to make it in these last days.  Many feel that being faithful to your local church and spending time with fellow believers of Christ is optional and not essential, but I’m afraid that they will one day have tremendous regrets for not heeding the instructions of the Lord and taking their walk with Him more seriously.  After all, if you knew that there was a potential threat coming to you and your family, would you not take it seriously and do whatever  you needed to do no matter how inconvenient and disliked it was just so you could protect them?  How much more seriously should we take our walk with Jesus as we see the coming judgments of God coming soon to this earth after what we call the rapture takes place?

So, as we see the day of His return approaching more and more each day, and seeing the urgency of the times we live in and that His return is imminent, are you doing what you should be doing?  If not, I strongly encourage you to grab a hold of these things as you prepare for Him.  No matter how some may paint things, you will not want to be here during the tribulation period as it will be worse than many think it will be.

Wedding Guest Gets The Boot.

For the longest time I have wondered about the meaning or significance of the parable of the wedding feast found in Matthew 22:1-14.  More specifically, what is Jesus trying to tell us with the wedding guest that was given the boot?  At face value we can merely see the significance of having the proper wedding garment on at the wedding, but there seems to be something more to this than just that.  Think about it, why would Jesus be telling us about the wedding guest who didn’t have the wedding garment when we’re the bride, and more importantly how did the wedding guest even make it to the wedding to begin with?  Well, I have some thoughts on this.  I realize that this may be controversial to say the least, but I ask that you will take it to prayer and ask God about this before making any quick judgments on it.

To begin with, let’s establish who the Bride of Christ is.  In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 Paul tells us about the body of Christ and how it is made up of many different types of members, and then in verse 27 he plainly tells us that we are the body of Christ and members individually.  Furthermore, Paul also tells us in Ephesians 5:22-33 that the relationship between Christ and the church is like that between a husband and a wife.  In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul also tells us that we are betrothed to one husband so he can present us as a pure virgin to Christ.  We, the children of God, saved by grace through faith in Jesus, are not only a part of the body of Christ, but we are also the Bride of Christ.

This is further established when we understand the marriage customs of ancient Jews during the time Jesus was here, and when we see how our relationship and future with Jesus parallels those very customs.  When we accept Christ as both savior and Lord of our life, we enter into a marriage contract with Jesus.  In our western culture, entering into marriage starts and is completed with the “I do’s” that both the bride and groom indicate during the marriage ceremony, leaving only the consummation later that day.  This is not the process in the marriage customs of ancient Jews.  When the bride and groom agree to enter marriage they enter into a marriage contract.  After they’ve entered into this marriage contract with each other, the groom then leaves to go prepare a place for him and his new bride without even consummating the marriage.  The bride does not know when her groom will return for her, but it is her responsibility as she waits to both prepare herself for him and to keep watching for his return.  If the groom returns to find that his bride had not prepared herself for him, or that she was not watching for him or if she had her attention or affections towards another, he could return to his father’s house without her even knowing he was there and will give her a letter of divorcement.  This would be final.  However, if he did return and found she had prepared herself for him, and that her affections and attention was still towards him and watching for his return, she would return to his father’s house with him where they would consummate the marriage and have a wedding party that would last on an average of seven days.  Can you see the parallels between these ancient marriage customs and our relationship and future with Jesus?  I hope you see them.

So, who are the wedding guests at the wedding party?  There are some who believe that we, the church, are the wedding guests Jesus refers to, but that doesn’t match up with scripture.  We’ve already established that the church is the bride of Christ, and so it wouldn’t make sense that we are the wedding guests.  Would it?  I don’t think so.  Based on the relationship we have with Christ, and the return we are waiting and watching for called the rapture, I think it is safe to say that the wedding guests are all who lived and died prior to Jesus that were Gods, as well as those who surrender and give their lives to Jesus after the rapture event takes place.  The church is the bride of Christ and did not exist prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the church will be caught up to be with Christ at the rapture.

In Matthew 25:1-13, we have Jesus telling us the parable of the ten virgins.  Some people would like to say that the virgins represented in this parable are the wedding guests, but that doesn’t make sense.  For one thing, the bridegroom doesn’t come to get the wedding guests, and if the virgins represented the wedding guests how come they were not allowed to enter the wedding party after the bridegroom took the wise virgins back?  Based on the marriage customs of the ancient Jews, during the wedding party that would take place over several days, some of the guests would come to the party after the marriage was consummated, so it wouldn’t make sense that in this parable the guests would not be allowed to enter in.  There may be some who think these are the guests because there are more than one virgin represented in this parable, but we have to remember that Paul tells us in one of the scriptures I referred to earlier that we are all a part of one body, but many members.  Just as we all make up the body of Christ, even so we all make up the Bride of Christ.

So, referring back to the scripture in Matthew 22 that talks about the wedding feast and the wedding guest that gets the boot, is there any reasonable explanation as to who this guest is and how they made it to the wedding feast without the wedding garment?  I believe there is an explanation, but it will be a tough one for many to swallow as it cuts against the grain of what we may have been taught in the past.  Do you want to hear of one explanation of this?  Are you ready to hear it even though it is controversial?

Okay, here we go.  When we accept Christ as our savior and Lord, we exchange our rags of filthiness for His robes of righteousness.  That’s a pretty good deal if I may say so.  We briefly touched on how many who have started a relationship with Christ will not make it into heaven.  In Matthew 7:13-14 we are told that there are two gates to go through, one that is broad and leads to destruction, and one that is narrow and leads to life.  Jesus tells us that many will go the way of the broad gate while just a few will go the way of the narrow gate.  Later in that same chapter, in verses 21-23, Jesus makes it clear that there will be many who refer to Him as Lord, citing all that they did and accomplished in His name that will not be allowed to enter heaven.  There are other scriptures that seem to indicate not only that there will be many who think that they are saved that will not enter into heaven, but also that there will be some who once walked with Jesus that will not be numbered among those in Heaven.  Among these other scriptures there seems to be one that just doesn’t get much attention for some reason.

In Revelation 16:15, in the midst of the different judgments the Apostle John tells us about, Jesus makes an interesting comment.  Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming as a thief.  Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”  In both Luke 21:34-36 and in Matthew 24:42-44, Jesus tells us to watch for His return.  Many think that it isn’t important to be watching for His return, but that is in contradiction to what Jesus tells us to do.  There must be a reason why Jesus made a point to tell His followers to be watching.  Jesus doesn’t stop with blessing those who are watching for His return, but He continues on by narrowing things down to those who not only watch for Him but also keep their garments.  This is an indication that even though someone may have entered a saving relationship with Jesus, at which time they received His robe of righteousness that it is possible to be without it.  Furthermore, apparently those who were not watching or did not keep their garments will be found naked and others will see their shame.  I believe it is safe to say that those who took on the name of Jesus but were not ready and prepared for His return lost their robes of righteousness when His bride was caught up to be with Him.  Can you imagine the shame those who were not ready will experience when others recognize them as those who called themselves Christians yet did not go up in the rapture?  I imagine it will be very overwhelming and humbling.

I know that growing up I found myself thinking if a Christian was not ready to go up in the rapture, that there was still a chance for them during the tribulation period though the price to be paid would be much higher.  I also knew that there would be some during the tribulation period that would find their eternal destination in Heaven only if they were martyred for Christ.  This has changed for me over the past several years.  While I still believe that there will be many who will receive salvation during the tribulation period by way of giving their lives for Christ, I am no longer convinced that unprepared Christians, or ‘foolish virgins’, will have another opportunity if they miss the rapture.  I think as the unprepared bride who was not watching for the grooms return missed out and was then given in finality a letter of divorce, even so the ‘foolish virgins’ and unprepared Christians will find out that they squandered any opportunity of eternity in heaven when they missed the rapture.  I think this is where the wedding guest gets the boot.

You see, this particular wedding guest did not have a wedding garment on, and when questioned they were speechless, possibly thinking that they did have the proper attire on.  I can’t help but wonder if this is one of the ‘foolish virgins’ or unprepared Christians who attempted to enter heaven as a wedding guest by dying a martyrs death during the tribulation, but because they already had the robe of righteousness at one time but lost it, they did not have the proper attire when they arrived at the wedding.

Now at this time I must clarify something.  Not everyone who claimed to be a Christian actually entered into a saving relationship with Christ at any time, and so it is impossible for anyone to say that anyone who called themselves a Christian that missed the rapture has no hope for salvation.  This can only be decided by God, Himself, and if anyone is left behind I strongly encourage them to still give themselves and their lives over to Christ.

Time is very, very short for the imminent return of Jesus for His bride.  The pieces of Biblical prophecy regarding the return of Jesus for His bride and the tribulation period are rapidly coming into place.  I’ve already highlighted some of these in a previous article, but to add to that list is the fact that Syria is speedily entering into a position that almost guarantees their destruction as described in Isaiah 17, an event that most scholars and prophecy ‘experts’ believe will take place either just before or just after the rapture of the church.  This could possibly be the very event that brings the anti-Christ on the stage.  People, this is not the time to be gambling with your eternity, but instead take all the steps you can with determination to make sure you are right with Jesus, ready and prepared for His return.  This involves getting sin out of your life, which will probably require some pretty tough decisions and actions on your part.  This is also the time to let go of any hurts, wounds or offenses you’ve picked up over the years, as well as any unforgiveness, resentments or bitterness.  Time is short!  Don’t delay!  Your eternity hinges on it.

If this article ministered to you, I ask that you will consider sharing it with others to help them prepare for Christ’s soon return.  While I appreciate the Facebook ‘Like’ buttons, I believe sharing it will reach many more people and have an opportunity to help others.  If you’re also on Twitter, I ask that you will be sure to ‘re-tweet’ this to others as well.  The more people that see this the better.

As in the days of Noah …

I often times will take a minute and just observe people and what they are doing.  As I observe them I can’t help but wonder if they even have a clue about what is coming to this earth.  I see them in their cars talking to others in the vehicle, some going in and out of various establishments, and others just walking down the street seemingly without a care in the world.  Well, some of the people I observe are actually carrying a lot of the cares of the world on their shoulders, and it shows.  I don’t know how many of these people are followers of Christ, or for that matter mere fans of Jesus, but I believe it is safe to say that the majority of them are not.  For many of them, Jesus is the farthest thing from their minds, being more concerned about the party the night before, looking for that perfect dress, checking out the sights and feeling the excitment of a relationship they’re in.

In Matthew 24:37-39, Jesus tells us that the time of His return will be as the days of Noah, a time when they were more caught up with enjoying life than they were in heeding the warnings of this man named Noah.  After all, who could’ve imagined a flood of any type, much less a global one that would destroy all life as they knew it.  It sounds just as absurd as the rapture, doesn’t it?  Well, the flood Noah told them was going to come actually came, and only those who heeded the warnings of Noah was saved.  People are so caught up now with living life that they are not heeding, or even listening to, the warnings of Jesus’ soon return.  They are more concerned about living for the moment than they are in preparing their lives for eternity.

In Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells us to be watching for His return, and I wonder how many people are heeding these words of Jesus.  Sadly, the majority of people, both Christian and non-Christian, are not watching for Him.  Obviously, those who are not Christians wouldn’t be looking for His return, but what about Christians?  You would think that Christians would be watching, but many of them are just content with living life under the premise of ‘occupying till He comes’.  Yes, we are to ‘occupy till He comes’, but Jesus made a point in telling us, no, commanding us to be watching for Him.  So, why is that many Christians are just not watching?

I find myself listening, watching and reading the news only to see Biblical end-time prophesies jumping off the pages more and more.  I can’t help but see that Jesus’ soon return is very soon.  Who knows, perhaps He’ll come back tonight while we’re sleeping, but seeing how so few are even looking for His return I can only imagine how many will be caught off guard.

I encourage you to take another look at Luke 21:34-36, and see how clear Jesus is that we keep watching for Him.  Don’t be careless with your eternity and not take His return seriously.  In watching for Him, it would only make sense that we make sure we’re ready and prepared so that we won’t be left behind.  I can’t help but wonder how much peoples lives would change if they were to take His return seriously and lived a life watching for Him.

Jesus is coming back, and if what is happening throughout the world is the fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophesies and the final steps in lining things up for the tribulation period, then we need to realize His return is very, very, very close.

Be watching!!!!

John Johansson

Ready or Not, Here He Comes!

For years I have been concerned about the current state of the Church in general, specifically the church in the USA.  As we see Bible end time prophesy unfolding before our very eyes, we would be hardpressed to think that Jesus’ return is not immiment or even close at hand, yet the church in general seems to be more caught up with life in general, both the good and the bad.  I sometimes wonder what it’s going to take before the church rises from it’s apathy and realizes the urgency of our times, but I also remember scripture that tells us the majority of those who call themselves Christians will not be ready for His return.  I hear people say that things have to get a lot worse before Christ returns, but is that true?  Or is that only true when it comes to Christ’s return at the end of the tribulation period?  The stage is being set for His return for His bride, and we need to make sure we are ready for Him.

I also hear people talk of a great revival that supposedly takes place before Christ returns for His bride, but I would have to disagree with that line of thought.  Yes, we are told that in the last days the Spirit of God will be poured out on all flesh, but I have two thoughts regarding this.  The first thought is what if what the church has been experiencing the past 60+ years with the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements is a fulfillment of that prophesy?  After all, if we were to take a step back and take a look at the past 60+ years we can see each of the items listed in that prophesy taking place like never before in history on all flesh.  Now, before you jump and tell me it is something more than what we’ve been experiencing, I want to remind you that when Jesus came the people did not recognize Him as the messiah because they had it determined within themselves how His appearing would happen.  Jesus did not fit the mold that they had conjured up in their minds, but that didn’t change the truth and the reality of things that He is who He says He is.  So, in like thinking we need to be careful not to quickly discount what the church has experienced the past 60+ years simply because it doesn’t look like what we think it should.  The second thought I have regarding this revival that some talk about is that it could possibly be a revival among those who get left behind after the rapture.  We know that there will be martyrs for the faith during the tribulation period, and oddly enough America is supposedly not mentioned in Bible prophesy for these last days, so I can’t help but wonder if the revival many talk about is actually going to take place after the rapture.  If that is the case, then it would appear to line up with other prophesy that indicate the falling away of many from the faith leading up to Christ’s return for His bride.  Instead of making sure they are ready for Christ when He comes for His bride, it appears that many are banking on more time because things are either not bad enough, or because there will be a great revival to come first, and both of those mindsets are very dangerous as many will be caught and left unaware.

This is not the time to be playing Russian roulette with your eternity, thinking you have more time because things aren’t bad enough or hanging out for the great revival to come.  What if He comes before these events, then what?  To follow Jesus after the rapture will be much, much harder and will require each person to literally give their lives for Christ, and if you’re not willing or able to do that now then what makes you think you will be able to then?

Don’t be deceived!!!!  He’s coming back as a thief while people are busy enjoying life and it’s many pleasures.  When He comes He will see who it is that has their affections first and foremost on Him and His return, because if they don’t then they will get left behind.  Did you know that according to ancient Jewish customs, not only did the bride not know when her groom was coming for her, but if when he did he found that her affections were not on him but on another or something else, or if she hadn’t been taking advantage of the time to prepare herself for him, then he could just as easily leave her behind and issue her a letter of divorcement?  You see, our marriage to Jesus, much like the ancient Jewish marriage customs, is not final and complete until after He’s come for us and has taken us to the marriage feast which takes place during the tribulation period.  We have to be watching and praying that we will be ready when He returns for His bride, otherwise we will be counted among the foolish virgins Jesus refered to in His parable of the 10 virgins.

So, I say all that to say, BE WATCHING AND GET YOURSELF READY FOR HIM!!  You eternity hinges on it!

John Johansson

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