With all the talk we hear in today’s world about wars, financial collapses, natural disasters, etc.; we can’t help but wonder just what the next event is that we should prepare for. So many people are preparing for the physical; a natural disaster or the next big financial crisis, but will all this preparation be in vain? Have you ever stopped to consider your eternal preparation? There is a life after this, but where are you prepared to spend it? You will go one of two places.
Some are preparing for the coming of Christ, commonly referred to as the rapture. The Bible makes it very clear that the Lord will return some day for his “Bride.” The Bride of Christ is the whole body of believers. And believers are anyone who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Its anyone who has said, as the eunuch did to Philip in Acts 8:37b, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Once it is understood that Christ is returning; believers may prepare themselves for His coming. I would like to present three basic ways, or methods, in which a believer may better prepare for His return. Just as you are preparing to save your physical self, also emphasis the need for your spiritual future? The first of these important steps is to simply believe God’s Word, the second step is to read the signs of the times, and the third is to repent.
The first step in preparing your spiritual self for the coming again of the Lord in the last days is to simply believe. Believe God’s word! After all, the scripture says in 2 Timothy 3:16a that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” This is proof of the inerrancy of the scriptures. Therefore, if we take the Bible literally, we understand that God wrote the words of scripture using human authors. This is called plenary verbal inspiration. In simple language it means that God gave the exact words of scripture to human authors who then penned the words of scripture as we know them today. When we know that the words of scripture are literal, we better appreciate and understand what God is telling us through His Word. We must believe that the scriptures are truth.
Even the Apostle Paul applauded the early church for their firm belief that the scriptures are, in fact, God’s Holy Word. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul tells the church:
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
Paul is telling the early church that the scriptures are in fact the true words of God. And just believing the word of God in truth allows the Word to work through us as believers.
In taking a look at scripture, knowing first that the scriptures are true, we find irrefutable proof of Christ’s coming (for his people). One such example is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Christ’s return is an unquestionable truth of scripture. Likewise in Mark 13:36-26 the word of God says:
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”
Countless accounts in scripture could be given for the truth of the Lord’s return. But in order for us to understand this truth, we as part of the Bride of Christ, must first believe his word. Believing in God’s word brings us to the second step in preparation.
The second step in preparing yourself for the Lord’s return is to read the signs. This may sound unusual, “read the signs”? This is not a road sign. Although reading the signs of scripture will help us in understanding where we are in scripture, and how close we are to the Lord’s return. No, Scripture does not tell us a specific day Christ will return, as it says in Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man (Christ) cometh.” However, if we read the signs of scripture we can get a better awareness of the fact that it must be very close at hand.
The book of Daniel covers many prophecies concerning the “end times.” In Daniel 12:4 the Lord told him “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” This last phrase “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” is quite significant today. Think about it, 150 years ago humans thought the idea of flying was impossible; today we have gone to the moon, air travel is used for the family vacation, and we are landing rovers on mars. How about the internet? Today anyone anywhere at anytime can access anything known to man with a smartphone which fits in your pocket. My have we advanced in travel and knowledge. Could this be a sign of the end times?
Christ gave many prophecies of the end times when he was here on earth. In Luke 21:25a Christ gave a warning of the end times when he said: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations.” Anyone remember all the blood moons and their significance; or the fact the the nations of the world are in distress both financially and politically? Could these be signs of the end times?
We have so far looked at what it means to believe God’s word and what it means to look for the signs of the end times. Both could be greatly expanded upon, but that is for a future study. The final and, in my opinion, most important subject we will cover in this article is a subject which in today's world is highly controversial.
The final step in preparing your spiritual self for the coming of Christ is that of Repentance. The word which has been removed from most every pulpit in America over the last several years. But it is none-the-less vital in a walk with Christ, both with him on this earth as well as in preparation for his coming.
Examples of repentance can be found all throughout scripture. David repented of his sin with Bathsheba and God turned away his wrath (though there was a consequence). The nation of Israel, throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, was often judged for their sins and immediately after repenting as a nation, God restored them. He forgave them of their iniquities. Whether it was a single person or an entire nation, when the people repented God turned his wrath back from them.
Now how does this apply to our discussion? In the modern world, which I believe to be the “last days,” America and the whole world is corrupt. We have Hollywood with its pollution, we have the murder of the unborn, etc. The list goes on and on. But yet believers are called to be separated from the world and their ways. I don't know about you, but I want to be guiltless when I stand before my savior. And this requires repentance. It is not solely prayer, yet it is certainly part of it; it is not just a “good feeling.” Repentance comes from “a broken and a contrite heart (Psalms 51:17)” before God.
Christ is returning for his body of believers at his coming and they need to be ready. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In order to be found “blameless” believers must repent and come before God asking for forgiveness of sin.
A great number of people have emailed lindseywilliams.net and have asked about the coming of Christ. Hopefully this Bulletin will answer many of your questions. The Bible says in the Gospel of Luke chapter seventeen verses twenty six through thirty – “And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah) so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe (Noah) entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. EVEN THUS SHALL IT BE IN THE DAY WHEN THE SON OF MAN IS REVEALED.” Noah had to be in the ark before the flood could begin – Lot had to be out of Sodom before the fire and brimstone came from heaven. The Bride of Christ, that is ready for His coming, will meet Him in the clouds in the air at his return before that great judgment.
The last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, is divided into three parts. Chapter one is the time of John. John pinned the book as it was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Chapters two and three tell of the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2), – The past two thousand years plus. Chapter four and verse one says – “After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were a trumpet talking with me: which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.” This last word of the verse is extremely important. HEREAFTER. Hereafter what? The answer is – After the coming of Jesus to meet his bride in the clouds of the air. Everything in Chapter four through chapter twenty two of the book of Revelation deals with things that will happen after the Dispensation of Grace. The Tribulation and Great Tribulation will take place after the Rapture.
Many unpleasant events could possibly take place before the coming of Christ. A world wide financial collapse is eminent. Persecution of the church has already begun. America is in terrible trouble. The Bible says in, I Corinthians 10:13 “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Place your trust totally in Christ. Revelation 22:20 “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
If you wish to pursue this subject of the coming of Christ in depth I suggest you read in the Bible, Matthew chapter twenty five and verses one through thirteen. This is a parable of ten virgins. Virgins are a type of Born Again believers. There are five wise virgins and five foolish virgins spoken of. The wise are those who are in perfect fellowship with the Lord. The foolish virgins are a type of so many Christians today who are living in sin and not in fellowship with the Lord. The oil that they had in their lamps is a type of the Holy Spirit. It is very dangerous for a Christian to live in the sin of this world. The five foolish virgins missed the opportunity to go in with the bridegroom (Christ at his coming.)
Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Credits: My son Daniel Williams is attending Pensacola Christian College and is pursuing a ministerial course of study. I asked Daniel to assist me in the composition of this Bulletin.