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Preparing Ourselves For The Coming

John Collins09/08/2013

We have received some questions regarding the scriptures describing the coming of the Lord, and the relationship between this event and the Bride of Christ.  Many have been persuaded by the doctrine that was introduced by John Darby, affected by the prophecy from the "mystic woman" Jane Leade, regarding the rapture, and the "little bride" theology that claims the "small elect" are taken before the tribulation.

This is a very interesting study, and one that we should all participate in.  We send our children to schools to study the things of this world, but many times refuse to study the things that are pertaining to the World to come.

And be aware that there are many, many other verses describing the Kingdom of Heaven.  Just when you think that you have a clear direction from the Holy Spirit as you read, you quickly find that God is just giving you one piece of the puzzle.  What I understand now does not fully match what I understood a year ago.

This is all part of our constant sanctification.  Our pouring ourselves into scripture to better understand God.  You must release your pride to give room for God’s leading in your hearts as you study.

To begin this study, you must fully study the Bible passages about the "Kingdom of Heaven" and the "Day of the Lord."

The most convincing and compelling study is the "Kingdom of Heaven Parables."  Jesus always describes the "bad guys" taken before the "good guys," and always mentions both sides remaining until He returns.  Here is one example:

"Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’

Notice how the two grew together.  At the end, the tares were bundled together to be burned, but both grew together so as not to disturb the wheat.  At reaping time: one taken, one burned.

Zechariah 14 tells about the coming Day of the Lord, and then tribulation starts at verse 6:

On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.  And there shall be a unique[b] day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.

The chapter starts describing deep tribulation here in verse 12;

And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

But notice that this is after the Lord returns and is made King in verse 9:

And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

Towards the end of the chapter we see the famines:

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain;[f] there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives the signs to look for as "birth pains" for the coming Kingdom, signs – which we now see:

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 

The Bible does not say, "any who believe me will be removed from this tribulation".  Here is what Jesus said next:

But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Next, Jesus talks directly about the tribulation.  And Jesus says that the tribulation itself will be cut short for the sake of the elect.  Some have twisted this to say ONLY for the elect, but the scripture does not say this when you combine the first part of the sentence:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Right before the end, Jesus speaks about the final roadsign we are given:  when the powers of the heavens are shaken and the sun refuses to shine:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other

And after these things, Jesus gave warning to everyone: be prepared for this.  Don't be surprised.  The Lord will return.  And notice, he mentions both the good guys and the bad guys, one taken, one left:

"Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

Here is the part that most people miss.  They divide the Bible into chapters, rather than reading the books as one single scroll.  After these things, Jesus describes what happens when he sits on the throne, and we see both the good and the bad together, going through Judgment.

And don't misinterpret the word "Judgment," confusing it with "Sentence" as many ministers do.  God will judge (decide the fate for) all people.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Revelation 12 also mentions the stars falling from the heavens, and specifically tells us that we will suffer at the hand of Satan.

Starting in verse 4. 

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.

Notice the "woman" that is described in that passage when you read it in full.  The woman represents Jerusalem, which brought the Christ child:

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Next is the final most compelling argument for tribulation before catching away.  

The woman is tormented.  Satan unleashes his fury on Jerusalem.  But then, Satan turns toward her offspring: the church.  The Gentiles, the Jews, all who became children of God, the Church of Jesus Christ:

"And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea."

That last verse is the key.  "Those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."  Satan was waging war against them.

I truly believe that the false prophets were sent to make the church unprepared for this event.  We've all been lulled to sleep by false doctrines and false prophecy, and led to believe that we do not need to be prepared.  For this very reason, many do not study their Bibles, and are found unprepared.  Many are looking for false signs, not the signs given in scripture.

As for me and my house, we will be ready!