" Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that SCOFFERS will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' "
2 Peter 3:1-4
There is an event that is discussed frequently in churches and religious schools. It is usually called the Rapture. Seldom do we hear of anything about the Rapture which makes sense. I don't know of any commentary that explains this topic in a way that agrees with scripture. You can't understand the Rapture unless you understand another event frequently mentioned in scripture,- the DAY OF THE LORD. And, if you don't understand the DAY OF THE LORD, you won't understand the most important topic of all. How do you avoid going to hell, and end up going to heaven ?
" But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. "
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
" But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the DAY OF THE LORD so comes as a thief in the night. "
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
In the original manuscripts, there were no chapter breaks, and no verse breaks. Chapters were inserted after 1200 AD. Verses were added after 1500 AD. In the original manuscripts, there is no break between 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1. Thus, being caught up ( the rapture ) and the Day of the Lord, are found in the same context in the original scripture. If we are to understand the rapture, judgement, and salvation itself, it is extremely important that we understand the DAY OF THE LORD.
The prophet Joel ( A small Old Testament book in the minor prophets, just after Hosea, and just before Amos ) is frequently called the prophet of the Day of the Lord. Many of the things, that the New Testament says about being saved, are not New Testament teaching at all. They are direct quotes from the book of Joel.
" And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved..." Joel 2:28-32
The DAY OF THE LORD is mentioned in 10 Old Testament books, from Isaiah to Malachi. It appears, in some form, in at least 14 books, in the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation. Usually it is accompanied by a mention of a darkening of the moon and sun, or the moon turning into blood, or something like that. It is this darkening of the moon and sun that allows us to identify the DAY OF THE LORD, even when it is not specifically mentioned.
The DAY OF THE LORD always refers to a time of God's wrath or judgement. In some cases it is a reference to an immediate judgement, such as the Babylonian captivity, or the destruction of Jerusalem. But to us, the most important impending judgement is that, which will take place at the Rapture. Those left behind ( Where have you heard that before? ) will endure horrible things, or be killed, in a terrible time of God's wrath on earth, of about 7 years. There are some who refer to this time (incorrectly) as the Great Tribulation.
Once you understand the DAY OF THE LORD, you can spot the time of the Rapture, in Revelation chapter 6, at the time of the opening of the sixth seal:
" I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ' Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand. ' "
If all this sounds unimportant, check out this scripture:
" For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS! "
1 Corinthians 5:3-5
There are many on the earth today, who have been told that they have been saved. Most of these people don't go to church, and are living in sin, just like the pagans. Yet, they have been told that they are saved and that they can't lose their salvation! This is simply not Biblical! There are at least 28 scripture references that indicate that, if we are to be saved, we shall be saved in the future, ie. at our death, or the DAY OF THE LORD, not now. How many of these people, who claim to have been " saved " do you hear cursing, or talking about their evil lifestyles, as if there were immune from judgement?
Yes. You need to receive salvation. But, you can't be saved unless you have first been born again ( more correctly born from above ). Think about it. How can you possibly live the life that God wants you to live, if you haven't even been born into His Kingdom? If you're not born again from above, you will not be saved on judgment day. Your salvation has been provided for, by the death of Jesus Christ on the cruel cross of Calvary. But, for this to be of any benefit to you, you need to become a part of the Kingdom of God, as Jesus taught. Jesus said that one must be born of the Spirit. That's what the New Covenant is all about!
Read in Jeremiah chapter 31:31-34, what the Old Testament says about the NEW COVENANT. ( We call that the NEW TESTAMENT today. ) You need to get thru that narrow gate, and stay on that difficult pathway, that Jesus talked about. And, you need to stay on that pathway!
" Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because, narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous
" Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming,- in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning- lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to ALL: Watch! "
If you are saved and all set, already, why does the Lord say to watch? Why does He say:
" But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day ( the DAY OF THE LORD )come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the WHOLE EARTH. WATCH THEREFORE, AND PRAY ALWAYS THAT YOU MAY BE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS THAT WILL COME TO PASS, AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN. " ( Luke 21:34-36 )
If we are " saved " and all set, because we said a prayer or performed some ceremony, why are we told to examine ourselves, whether we are in the faith?
" Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you,- unless indeed you are disqualified? " ( 2nd Corinthians 13:5 )
Come now you ministers and pastors and teachers. Isn't it time to put aside your commentaries, and start studying the Bible for yourselves? If not, I fear for your future, and the future of those whom you are teaching.
Jesus is coming soon. Since we are not told exactly when, it is vitally important that we live every moment, as if that was the moment, that He was going to appear in the clouds. I certainly don't want to have Him come, when I am not serving Him faithfully. And, I don't want Him to catch you at a time, when you aren't ready, either.
Questions and comments are invited. Click on the link below which says " Contact Us ".
Have a great week. May God bless you, and your family!
Our Sunday AM services are being held at the Mexico Beach Civic Center. In accordance with federal laws, we have permission to use this heated, and air conditioned, facility on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM central time. We begin with a short time of greeting and fellowship, and then TJ leads us in worship. After the service we have holy communion, a time when people can request prayer, especially for healing, and sometimes, a pot luck luncheon.
The Mexico Beach Civic Center is located at 105 N. 31st Street. It is the white building with the dark green roof, which is just behind that new Mexico Beach restaurant, Mango Marley's. It is behind Parker Realty, and is on the northeast side of Rte 98. It is about 7/10 mile south of the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. For a map showing the location of the Mexico Beach Civic Center, click below the photo:
Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area