Signs. We see them everywhere telling us things we need or want to know. The Bible gives us signs to watch for regarding the end-times and what they will bring.

Signs.  We see them every day.  We see traffic signs that help us to safely navigate through traffic to our intended destination.  We see signs that warn us of dangers ahead, whether it is going down the road or entering a building or room, there are there to warn us.  We see signs that identify places of interests, whether it’s a restaurant we’re looking for, a hospital, a tourist attraction or a place of historical significance, or even where restrooms are located, among other places.  Signs even tell us where we can locate things like a fire extinguisher or first aid kit.  What about signs for life itself, especially signs of eternal significance?

In Matthew 16:1-3, Jesus gives the religious leaders a scathing rebuke. 

1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 


Jesus told us what signs to look out for regarding the end-times and when He will return, both His return for His Bride and when He returns to establish His Kingdom here on earth, two completely different events.  If that wasn’t enough, Jesus then proceeds to tell us something in Mark 13:32-33 and Luke 21:34-36 that reinforces the need for us to pay attention to the signs.

Jesus lets us know that ONLY the Father knows when He will return for His Bride, the Church, and then tells us to be watching for Him.  In the parable of the ten virgins mentioned in Matthew 25:1-13, in verse 6 we’re told that a cry went out that the bridegroom was coming, and that the virgins representing the bride were to go out and meet him, of which only five were prepared to do so at that time.  I believe the cry going out mentioned in the passage is the fulfillment of the signs given us in Scripture pointing to His return, and I believe that cry is resounding even now.

In Mark 13:37, not only does Jesus make it clear that EVERYONE is to be watching, but His command for us to watch is strong and with emphasis so that we will know how serious He is in this.  In Revelation 3:1-6, Jesus addresses the church in Sardis.

1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘


In this passage, we find that one of the issues Jesus had with the church in Sardis was that they were not being watchful.  He then commands them to repent and to watch, warning them that if they don’t do so He will come upon them as a thief and they won’t know it.  He then follows this up with the admonishment that those who do so, those who overcome, shall be clothed in white garments, and that He will not blot out their name from the Book of Life.  Here we see Jesus addressing Christians who were not watching for His return, and with that commanding them to repent and start watching for Him, otherwise they would in essence be left behind as a consequence of not doing so.

In Revelation 16:15, Jesus again accentuates the need for us to be watching by telling us that those who do so will be blessed, and then rebuking those who didn’t and were left behind when He came back for His Bride.  Jesus’ command to watch and pray regarding His return is not a casual suggestion as some would like to believe, nor is it something that can be negotiated if we don’t think it necessary or vital.  Jesus does something that too few of us do, yet it is something that we all should be doing, and that is the fact that Jesus means what He says, and He says what He means.  If He tells us to watch and pray regarding His return, then He means just that and nothing less or more.

I’ve had Christians tell me that they don’t need to be watching for Christ to return, citing the belief that when He returns, they will automatically be ready and caught up to be with Him.  This is a very dangerous position to have on three accounts.  First, those that believe this way are saying they know better than Jesus as to whether they need to be watching for Him or not, much less praying that they’re ready when He does return.  Second, they are, in essence, in rebellion to Him if they are choosing to disobey His command to watch and pray.  And third, they are under the false assumption that all professing Christians will be caught up to meet Christ in the air, something that Scripture very clearly states is not the case.

I remember one Christian, a pastor, tell me one time that we don’t need to be watching for the return of Christ, and this on the basis that just living the Christian life as we ought to be is the same as watching.  If living the Christian life as we ought to be is good or enough, then why would Jesus speak so strongly about us watching and praying that we’re ready for Him when He does return?  Again, this way of thinking discounts Christ’s commands to watch and pray, and hat is a very dangerous position to be in.  I should add, however, that this pastor doesn’t even believe in the physical and literal rapture of the Church to Christ, much less a tribulation period, but rather an emotional and euphoric experience.

Some Christians take another approach to the subject of watching for Christ’s return.  When they see or hear the news, or even some of what is happening around them, they get so angry or depressed that they stop wanting to know more of what is happening.  In many ways, it’s as if they are choosing to stick their head in the sand so they don’t have to see or hear anything more.  These Christians are dealing with a “gloom and doom” perspective, having no real hope of better things ahead for them in Christ.  Even though what we see and hear can be very disheartening and depressing, if we see these things as not only signs of the times, but also signs pointing to His very soon return, then we can see these things with excitement and joy knowing that our Redeemer is soon to return for us.  This doesn’t mean that we are to be insensitive to what is happening, but that we need to keep a right and proper perspective of what is happening so we can be a light to those around us.

Some time ago, while I was watching television a thought crossed my mind.  Christians in America, for the most part, are very distracted in what they are focused on.  Instead of maintaining a healthy perspective of watching the signs pointing to the soon return of Christ for His Bride, many Christians are caught up with watching several other things.  Some are watching news and politics to see how it will impact them and their standard of living, or even how it will impact them as Christians.  Some are caught up with looking for prosperity and material gain they think they are entitled to as Christians.  Some are caught up with spiritual manifestations and the feelings associated with them, even if false doctrine is present and promoted alongside such manifestations.  Some focus on building the kingdom of God here on earth and establishing a strong Christian presence in the “seven mountains of influence”, forgetting that this is not our home to create a “Christian utopia” in, and that is now what we are commanded in Scripture to do.  Some even focus on and take the role of what I’ve called for years, the doctrine police, focused more on identifying and exposing false doctrine that pointing people to truth and the need to be prepared for Christ’s soon return.  Amid such distractions, Christians in America seem to lose sight of what we are to be focused on, and that is to live a life pleasing to God while actively watching the signs for His imminent return for us.

We are clearly living in the last days, and the signs we’ve been given in Scripture to be watching for are clearly converging together for their ultimate fulfillment.  It is imperative that we be paying attention to them.  Some see the signs but have become desensitized to them because their fulfillment is not happening as quickly as they want or in the manner that they anticipated, and that is something we need to be guarded against happening within our own heart and mind.  We’re told in 1 Peter 3:3-4 that in these last days people would mock and scoff of the fulfillment of God’s promise to us because that’s all we’ve heard about since the beginning, but nothing has happened so far.  We live in a “microwave” society, where we think things should happen quickly and in a preconceived manner, and because of it many are becoming disillusioned to the reality of the days we are now living in.  Unlike any other time in history, all the signs we’re given pointing to the last days are happening all at once, and we need to be aware of them and making sure we’re prepared as we ought for when Christ returns for His Bride.

I grew up in church, and I remember as a kid hearing lots of discussions and teachings regarding the end-times, whether it was about the Rapture, the Tribulation period, or anything else related to them.  That seemed to be the overwhelming talk during that time in my life, and the belief in the Rapture, especially the pre-Tribulation Rapture, seemed to be the majority belief among Christians.  That is no longer the case.  In fact, it seems that more and more Christians, those who at one time believed in the literal, pre-tribulation Rapture, are no longer embracing these teachings as though they are not real or true, or that these events will not take place anytime soon.  On top of that, there is almost no teachings from the pulpits in America’s churches about the end-times or the Rapture, and in some cases more and more teachings against them.  One prominent minister who has written books and teaching materials for Christians and churches to pursue purpose, he has actually written that Jesus tells us as He supposedly told the disciples, that the timing and the signs of His return is none of our business, and this minister says that anyone who engages in the study or the teaching of Bible prophecy and the end-times is not fit for the kingdom of God.  Wow!  There is a major attack within Church circles against the study and teaching of Bible prophecy and the end-times, and this is part of what was prophesied for these last days.

Are you watching the signs, or are you distracted with other things of life, or have you been choosing to “stick your head in the sand” because you don’t want to see or hear them being fulfilled?  Jesus makes it very clear, that those who are not watching but are otherwise distracted with life and other pursuits will be left behind when He returns for His Bride, and I don’t want that for you.  That doesn’t mean we stop living and sit in lounge chair on the patio with a sweet tea in one hand and a smart phone in the other, staring up into the eastern sky, but rather in all we do it is with the awareness that the signs being raised all around us are pointing to His very soon return, and that our life needs to reflect that as we live in a way that is pleasing and honoring to Him in every way, not being ashamed to live for Him even it if means offending those who don’t understand or feel the same way.  Our eternity hinges on it.

Before we end today’s podcast, I must ask each of you two questions.  First, if you were to die within the next few minutes, do you know whether you would go to heaven or not?  This is an important question that each of us need to ask ourselves.  Second, and this is a bit more thought provoking, if you were to die within the next few minutes and find yourself face to face with Jesus, and I’m not saying that is how it would be, but if He were to ask you why He should let you into heaven, what would your answer be?  Some people believe that everyone will eventually make it to heaven, and others believe that just because they’ve been good then that should automatically afford them eternal access into heaven, but that is not so.  In Ephesians 2:8-9 we’re told that salvation is simply a gift of God, something that is obtained by His grace and through faith.

Eph 2:8-9

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.


If salvation is something nobody can earn or deserve, then how can one be saved, not just in this life but in the life to come on the other side of eternity?  Well, let’s keep this as simple as “ABC”, because it is simple.

Unlike other religions, Christianity does not require you to do works to receive salvation because it’s a gift from God.  Rather, it’s as simple as “ABC”.  To begin with, “A” stands for your need to “ADMIT” that you are a sinner.  Romans 3:10 tells us that no one is righteous, no, not one.  And why is that?  In Romans 3:23 we’re told that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  This means that nobody is good enough, no matter how good they may be.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of our sin is death, but the gift of God, the gift of God, is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Like we mentioned earlier, in Ephesians 2:8-9 we’re told that this gift of salvation is nothing that any of us can earn or deserve.  It’s simply a gift that He offers us by grace and through faith.  So, the first thing one needs to do is to 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?  YES!  Yes, it is.  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.”

In closing, if you haven’t been doing so already, you need to start paying attention to the signs pointing the very near return of Jesus for His followers.  These signs are seen in the fulfillment of Biblical end-time events, and while some may become depressed or discouraged with what they are seeing, and while others get their focus misdirected off of Jesus and His imminent return to focus on things here on earth, this is truly the most exciting times to be living in as Christians, as followers of Christ!  Watch the signs!

John Johansson

Don’t Blink!

Have you ever been on a trip heading to a specific destination, but because you blinked you missed it?  Oh, you were watching for it, but in that moment you blinked or got momentarily distracted you went right past it.  Or what about that time you thought for sure you still had another 10 or so miles to go before you would be at your exit, only to find yourself suddenly and unexpectedly going right past it?  At those moments you probably felt frustration, surprise, and possibly anger towards yourself for missing it.  It probably didn’t help much if there were others with you at the time, too.


Can you imagine what it would be like for those who get left behind when the rapture of the church takes place?  Especially for those who thought that they would be one of those caught up to meet Jesus in the air?  I don’t know about you, but I definitely do not want to be one of those left behind.


I’m hearing more and more Christians take the position that Jesus isn’t returning anytime soon, if at all.  For some, they think that things have to get much worse before Jesus will return.  Others believe that there has to first be a great revival.  And still a growing number of Christians are taking the position that Christ isn’t returning for His church at all in what we call the rapture.  Is this okay, or is there a danger for embracing such positions?


In Matthew 24:42 and Matthew 25:13, as well as in Mark 13:35-37 and Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells us to watch for His return because we don’t know what day or hour that He will come for us.  Jesus isn’t casually telling us to be watching for Him, but He is saying so as a command with strong emphasis to heed and take seriously.  To emphasize the point, Jesus tells us in Revelation 16:15 that the one that watches for Him and takes care of their garments will be blessed, while those who didn’t watch or take care of their garments would find themselves walking naked, or without their robes of righteousness they once had through Christ, and others will see their shame.  Jesus doesn’t pull any punches, commanding His followers to be watching for His return, and rebuking those who didn’t heed His commands regarding His return.


So, where does that leave those who are taking the position that Jesus is not returning anytime soon, or that He’s not returning at all?  We’re told in 2 Peter 3:1-13 that in the last days there will be those who will mock the idea of Jesus returning for the Church, and we are seeing that more and more all the time.  How many times have you heard someone say something to the effect that “people have been saying He was coming back for 2000 years”, as if that is a good reason to assume He’s not coming and that they can live as they please?  These are the very people that the Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told us would be scoffing at the thought of Christ returning in the last days.  If you are someone that doesn’t believe, for whatever reason, that Jesus isn’t coming back in the very literal and physical event we call the rapture, you are the very ones that God warned us about in these last days.  If you are a Christian and you still don’t believe that Jesus is coming back for the literal and physical rapture of the church, then you are embracing what the Apostle Paul referred to in Galatians 1:6-10, a “different gospel”, and he said to let those who preach and teach it to be “accursed”.


I heard of a Christian, a minister that doesn’t believe in a literal and physical rapture of the church, that said he’s convinced that if he was wrong regarding the rapture he would still be raptured up.  To take that position just shows how little he knows of what the Bible teaches regarding the rapture of the church and the consequences of those who aren’t looking and watching for it.  If a person can’t receive salvation if they don’t believe in it, or receive divine healing if they don’t believe in it, how can someone expect to be raptured up if they don’t even believe in it?  The logic this minister is using just doesn’t add up as sound or credible logic in the face of what Scripture tells us.


What about those who do believe in the rapture of the church but don’t think it will happen anytime soon?  As I mentioned earlier, some think things have to get a whole lot worse than they are before He will return, and others believe a great revival must first take place before He comes back.  Those who think that things need to get a whole lot worse before He returns, they often times take the approach that Christians in America have to first experience the physical persecution Christians experience in other countries.  Whether or not that is true is really a mute issue, especially when Jesus told us to be watching for His return as He will come at an unexpected moment.  If we think things need to get worse before He will return, then we are at least subconsciously lowering our guard on the premise that He’s not returning anytime soon, as if we really know that.  There is a very real danger with this mindset that I will address shortly.


Some Christians seem to think that there has to be a great revival before Christ will return, and like those who believe things have to first get much worse, there is a very real danger with this mindset as well.  While it would be great to see a tremendous revival happen before He returns, to think it has to happen prior to Jesus’ return is a dangerous position to embrace.  Yes, both Joel and the Apostle Peter talked about a great outpouring in the last days, but is it what we think it will be?  After all, when Jesus came the first time, fulfilling the prophesies of how He would come to a “T”, the people and the religious leaders didn’t recognize Him as the messiah because He didn’t come as they thought He should have.  I hear people talk about the prophesied revival of the last days, and what they think it should look like, but have you ever taken a really good look at the revival Joel and Peter described?  When you look at the description of the revivals they prophesied about, we’ve already been experiencing it the past 50 years, going back to the mid 1960’s.  I do believe there is a great revival yet to come for the whole world, but I believe the revival many people are talking about is one that will take place AFTER the rapture of the church.  Like I said, to be thinking that Jesus won’t be coming back until after one last revival is a very dangerous position to be in.


How can it be dangerous to believe that things have to get much worse than they are now, or that there has to be one more great revival before Jesus will return?  To begin with, most people who take such a position tend to lower their guard and take their relationship with Christ more casual and laid back than those who are expecting Him to return any moment.  It is here that people are less diligent to keep their robes of righteousness clean without spots or blemishes from sin and the world.  They become lax, thinking they still have tomorrow to “tidy up and get prepared” for His return.  Are these the only reasons why it’s dangerous to embrace such positions?  No, they are not.  We read in Matthew 24:45-51 that the servant that thought his master was delaying his return, and therefore paid little attention to the how he lived in the present, when the master returned at a time when he wasn’t expected to he cut the servant into pieces and gave him his portion among the hypocrites.  We see in Matthew 24:42-44, Luke 11:46-52, and Luke 12:35-48, that those who thought that the master was delaying his return not only got rebuked, but they also were dealt with along with those who were evil and hypocrites.  Luke 12:47 is especially sobering because it speaks to those servants, Christians, that know the masters will and did not prepare themselves or do the will of the master, that they would be beaten with many stripes.  Earlier we saw how strongly Jesus commands us to watch and prepare for His return, and now we’re seeing the consequences of those who don’t because they think His return is still a way off.


We are living in a time when we can’t afford “to blink” in our walk with Him, to get distracted with the cares and pleasures of life, or with the idea that He’s not coming back anytime soon.  We’re living in a time when the signs pointing to His very real and increasingly more imminent return are screaming out to us to watch and prepare for Him.  This is not the time to “blink”, because to do so may very well cost us eternity with Him.  To think that this isn’t possible, especially because of His love for us, that we don’t have to worry about it and that we’re a shoe-in for the rapture, is to discount both the commands and the warnings of Christ regarding His return and the times we are living in.  To embrace a teaching that says He’s not coming, or that He’s delaying His return, is a very dangerous position to take and could be viewed as playing a form of “Russian Roulette” with eternity.


You might be getting tired of hearing about Jesus’ return and the signs pointing to it, and perhaps finding yourself despising or rejecting any thoughts or conversation on the topic, but Jesus, Himself, tells us as He did the church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13, to persevere.  He tells us that it is in our persevering that we will obtain the crown of life Jesus promises for us, and will keep us from the hour of trial and testing that will come to the earth.  Jesus said in Luke 21:36, that we are to watch and pray that we are counted worthy to escape that which is coming to the earth.  Watch!  Don’t blink!


Don’t blink!


John Johansson (Pastor John)

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Are You Watching?

A number of times in the New Testament Jesus is recorded as commanding us to watch.  Usually this was in reference to His return for us, His bride.  Over the years, and especially in recent months, I have talked with people who took one of three positions regarding this idea of watching and what it means to watch.  Some have indicated that they believe they don’t need to watch for Jesus’ return as long as they are living for Him, and others have shared that there isn’t a need to be watching for him now as they don’t believe Jesus will be returning anytime soon but instead 20 to 100+ years from now.  And, there is a third group of people who believe Jesus could return at any time and are actively watching for it.


So, what does it mean to “watch”?  Perhaps this is why some people take such a relaxed approach to Jesus’ return, not really understanding what it means to “watch”?  According to, the definition of “watch” is;


  • to be alertly on the lookout, look attentively, or observe, as to see what comes, is done, or happens:
  • to look or wait attentively and expectantly:
  • to keep awake, especially for a purpose; remain vigilant, as for protection or safekeeping:
  • to look or wait attentively and expectantly for:
  • to guard, tend, or oversee, especially for protection or safekeeping:


For those who think that just living for Jesus qualifies as watching for Him, we can clearly see from this definition that this is not the case.  Imagine with me for a moment that two people are cruising down the interstate at 70 mph, both of them are in the farthest lane to the left.  Both of them are heading to the same destination, maybe a vacation resort of some sort.  One of these people are in deep conversation with someone else in the car, listening to some music or intently observing the scenery as they go along.  The other person is also talking to someone, listening to the radio or looking at the scenery, but all the while they are paying close attention to the signs along the interstate so at to make sure they don’t miss the exit.


After traveling for several hours and hundreds of miles the second person begins to make their way making one lane change after another until they are in the farthest right lane, yet the first person is still in the fast lane and busy talking to someone and taking in the sights as they go.  After a few more minutes the second person activates their turn signal and prepares to exit the interstate, but the first person is oblivious to the fact that they are about to go right past their exit at 70 mph.


The correlation is that the first person is too busy living and enjoying life and not paying any attention to the signs alerting them that their exit is just ahead, but the second person, while they are still living life, are paying close attention to the signs and begin making the necessary preparations to safely exit the interstate when they reach their exit.  The first person wasn’t watching at all, or even felt the need to be, but the second person knew that they needed to pay close attention to the signs so as to not miss the exit.  Some Christians are too busy living and enjoying life and are not paying attention to the signs all around alerting us to Jesus’ soon and possibly imminent return for His Bride, and that is a dangerous place to be in.


The second group of people don’t feel the need to really be watching and preparing for Jesus’ return because they think it will be another 20 to 100+ years from now before He returns.  Many of them like to say that it’s been 2000 years since we were first told He would be returning, and therefore it’s going to be quite a while still before He actually returns.  This, also, is a very dangerous view to be embracing.  One of the indicators we see in Scripture regarding the last days, which only confirms that we are in that day, is that people would mock or scoff at the idea of Christ returning any time soon.  Don’t be one of those who take that position.  It’s not going to be worth it!!


Like I said earlier, several times Jesus instructs us to watch, and in Mark 13:37 Jesus commands us with emphasis to “watch!”  So, if Jesus is telling us so strongly to be watching for His return, and the signs that point to it, why do so many seem to think that they don’t need to?  I know some think that all Christians will go up in the rapture, and because of that they feel secure enough that they don’t see the need to watch for Him, as if they know more than Jesus on the subject.  Jesus wasn’t telling the non-believer, those who were not following after Him, to watch, but instead He was telling those of us who are believers and follow after Him to watch.  If that is the case, apparently He knows something that many choose to ignore or refuse to believe, and that is not everyone who call themselves Christians or follow after Him will go up in the rapture.


Others seem to think that Jesus will not be returning any time soon, even though they do believe He will one day return.  These people are basically sticking their heads into the sand and wanting to think nothing but positive thoughts, listening to teachers and preachers who tickle their ears.  These same people are choosing to ignore for one reason or another the signs along the interstate telling them that the exit is just ahead and not as far away as they would like to think.  Multiple times Jesus describes these individuals, Christians who believe Jesus won’t return any time soon and live as they choose, as wicked servants.  Pretty harsh words, but Jesus is making the point of how foolish it is to embrace such a mindset.  Nowhere do we find that Jesus complimented or praised those who didn’t live watching and preparing for His return, but instead He chastised them for believing and acting accordingly.


When we talk of watching for the return of Jesus for His Bride, the church, we also have to remember some other words of Jesus regarding this.  In Matthew 24:32-51, Jesus reiterates the need to watch for His return.  He indicates that it was the good servant who watched, prepared and guarded his household against the thief’s arrival, but it was an evil servant who did not watch and take the necessary preparations against the thief.  Jesus used that illustration to point out that the “good” follower of Jesus will be watching and preparing for His return, and that the “evil” follower of Jesus will not be, and when Jesus returns he will give to the “evil” follower his portion among the hypocrites.  This also corresponds with the parable of the 10 virgins who represent 10 Christians.  The five wise ones who were waiting and prepared for Him left with Him at His arrival, but the five foolish ones who had not made enough provisions to last until He returned missed Him when He arrived and were later denied access to the wedding.


In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus tells us not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father.  Some think that just because they said a prayer and go to church they are a shoe-in for heaven, but Jesus doesn’t say that.  According to Jesus, what kept some from entering heaven even though they acknowledged Him as their Lord and had an impressive Christian resume was the fact that they did not do the will of God in their life.  Instead they lived as they deemed sufficient and appropriate in their sight, practicing lawlessness in the sight of God. Part of God’s will for each and every one of us is that we be watching the signs that point to Jesus’s return and taking the necessary steps in preparation for it, which according to the signs screaming all around us is imminent.


Are you watching?  If not, then perhaps you should start, paying close attention to the signs around us that point to His return.  Jesus warned us, not the non-believer, of deception in these last days, as well as wolves in sheep’s clothing who deceive us into thinking and believing things that are contradictory to Scripture, ignoring what is said in the Bible regarding the days we are in which will only get worse.  An apathetic and complacent attitude and behavior in our relationship and pursuit of Christ, as well as in regards to Jesus’ return, is one of the biggest weapons the enemy of our souls is using to ensnare and trap Christians into.  Keep watching and don’t get caught up in the lies of the enemy promoted by wolves in sheep’s clothing, no matter what his or her Biblical credentials or resume may be like.


Are you watching????  Keep watching!!!!


John Johansson

Is It That Important?

In my last blog we took a look at whether or not scripture supports the view of a rapture, or a catching away of the church, Christ’s bride. I believe we successfully showed that scripture does in fact support the rapture theory, and that the argument opposed to that view is very weak.  So, where do we go from there?

Over the years I have heard people who believe in the rapture argue about the need to be watching for the time of Christ’s return for His bride. Some have argued that there is no need for Christians to be concerned about it, citing that “when it happens it happens”.  They generally have the idea, as I did until recent years, that every Christian will automatically be caught up when He returns, which lends itself to a false sense of security when it comes to the rapture.  After all, isn’t salvation a free ticket to the rapture?  Well, not necessarily.

While it is nice and feels good to believe that all Christians will go up in the rapture, scripture points out, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, that this isn’t necessarily the case. Some have concluded based on Jesus’ parable of the sower that only 25% of Christians will make it to heaven, and that based on His parable of the ten virgins only 50% of Christians will go up in the rapture.  Only God knows the percentage of those who call themselves Christians will actually make it, but the scriptures are very clear that just because one believes themselves to be a Christian isn’t enough.  Jesus, Himself, tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 that broad is the gate that leads to destruction, and narrow the gate and difficult the way that leads to eternal life.  In Luke 13:24-30, Jesus also tells us to strive to enter in through the narrow gate for many will seek to enter but will not be able to.  In Philippians 2:12-16, the Apostle Paul tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and then goes on to mention how we need to become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the crooked world we now live in.  Did you catch that?  Paul is telling us to become blameless, and in Ephesians 5:25-28, we’re told that Christ is coming back for a church without spot, wrinkle or blemish.

Does this tell us whether or not it is important for us to believe in the rapture, much less whether or not we as Christians need to even prepare for it? I think it safe to say it is important for us to believe in a rapture, not only because the Bible points to one but also because a person can’t watch or prepare for one if they don’t believe in it.  And, as we can see from the above scripture, it is important for us to be prepared for it when it happens, which could be at any moment.

On a number of occasions Jesus tells everyone who follows Him, to “watch and pray”, and in one instance, Luke 21:34-36, Jesus even tells us to “pray that you’re counted worthy to escape” all the things that will come to pass in the last of the last days. Why would Jesus tell us that if we will automatically be raptured up because we are Christians?  In Revelation 16:15, in the midst of the judgments being poured out on mankind during the tribulation period, in what could be a “news flash” Jesus blesses those who watch for His return and keeps their garments.

In Matthew 24:42-44, Jesus tells us in relation to His return to watch, citing that the good master of the house would be watching and would not allow his house to be broken into. In Luke 12:35-40, we see Luke addressing the same thing that Matthew did, indicating that the master of the house would be watching to prevent the thief from breaking into the house.  In both passages, in reference to His return for His bride, Jesus tells us to be watching for His return, and that it is a good master of the house that watches to prevent the house from being broken into by a thief.  In Mark 13:32-36, Mark recounts the same words but adds emphasis to them at the end when he shows that Jesus said “watch!”.  Apparently it is very important to Jesus to command us, His followers, to be watching.  The difference between the good master and the bad one was the watching.

I mentioned that some believe all Christians will go up in the rapture, and that is a scary thing to believe. Some don’t take the rapture very seriously because they believe they will have another opportunity after the rapture to get to heaven.  The problem with this way of thinking is that Jesus apparently knows it is not a time we are going to want to be here for, the tribulation period that is.  Not only that, but what guarantee do you have that you would be able to or even have that opportunity?  Jesus commented a few times that there would be those who “missed it” that would try and enter into heaven after the door had been shut, and that they were denied entrance.  This leaves a lot of questions for those Christians that were like the foolish virgins and unprepared when Christ returns, questions that I would prefer not waiting to get an answer for.  I say we just plan on making sure we’re prepared for His return and not gamble with eternity.  How about you?

What does it mean to be watching and praying? I’ve written a number of blogs on the subject that I’m not going to get into right now, but let me briefly address that.  Jesus indicated that we need to be watching for the signs of His coming for His bride, and that is essential.  When writing on the parable of the ten virgins, I indicated that I believe the “midnight cry” mentioned in the parable is the fulfillment of the prophetic signs of His return and the end.  Are you paying attention to the fulfillment of Biblical end time prophecies that point to His return, or are you just busy living life with the idea that it will happen when it happens?  Also, when you’re watching for something, you are making sure you’re ready when that thing arrives.  If you’re waiting and watching for someone to come pick you up to go somewhere, you’re making sure you are ready when they arrive, right?  If you were not watching for them to arrive, you would probably be too relaxed to be ready on time, and if you were not ready they might have to leave you behind.  While watching means to be watching, watching also means to make sure we are prepared for Him.  Are we striving to become more like Christ in every area of our life?  Are we learning to live by the Spirit, to die to the flesh and its many desires and cravings, and to allow Jesus to live in and through us?  Are we seeking the forgiveness of others when needed, and are we forgiving others as He has forgiven us, which was unconditional and non-negotiable in His eyes?  Are we guarding ourselves from sin and the worlds influence on us?

When Jesus tells us, in conjunction to watching, to pray and to pray that we’re counted worthy to escape that which is coming to the earth, I believe that humility has to be key. None of us are, or will ever be on this side of eternity, perfect.  I may be wrong, but I believe what goes into us being worthy hinges on our heart and pursuit to please Him in every area of our lives.  That doesn’t mean that we will have it all together and be perfect examples and witnesses of Him, especially since we are all at different levels of maturity and growth in our walk with Him.  I believe the key is our desire and efforts to live for Him, doing what He’s called us to, taking the unpopular stands for Him, righteousness and the Kingdom, and sharing the Gospel with others.  The fact is there is no “formula” for being worthy to escape that which is coming to the earth, but it instead rests on Him to make that determination, and it is up to us to pursue that in our lives with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So, in conclusion, I believe it is very important for us to not only believe in a rapture, but also that we live our lives preparing for it as a bride prepares for her wedding day. I’ve seen many a bride as she’s approaching the day of her wedding, no matter where she is at or who she is with, become almost obsessed with pleasing her groom and trying to prepare herself to be as pleasing to him as she can possibly be for that day.  We are the bride of Christ, and are we just as driven to please and prepare ourselves for Him as a bride does for her groom?  Just something to think about.

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