There are a number of alarming predictions floating around the Internet telling us that "the end is near" and some alarming cataclysmic event is waiting for us any day now. As with all things, I have taken these things to the Lord in prayer and this is what I perceive His response to be:
1. What about the Restrainer? I've been sitting on this post, not writing to be sure that what I write is not more of the opinion of man (which we have enough of already) but something that is actually from the Lord. I've had "the Restrainer" lit up inside me each time I've asked the question about all these cataclysmic predictions.
2 Thess 2:7 (YLT) for the secret of the lawlessness doth already work, only he who is keeping down now will hinder -- till he may be out of the way, 8 and then shall be revealed the Lawless One, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation of his presence,
Let's be clear about what this means. There have been world wars, famines, pestilences, a worldwide depression and more during this age of grace we live in, while the restrainer has restrained. Could we see more of the same before the restrainer is removed? Absolutely. Just realize that what is being restrained will be much much worse than anything the world has ever seen, but until that day that the restrainer is removed, why should we believers be troubled and fear like the world does?
The restrainer is still restraining today, that's part of what I hear the Lord saying.
2. Watch and Pray
This is the other part of the answer. The Word tells us over and over again to watch. Watch for what? 1. the Lord's coming, and 2. Watch and pray that we do not fall into temptation:
Matthew 25:13 So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
We can put aside all rapture timing debates here and now and say emphatically that if you are not watching for the Lord's return each and every day, you are wrong. Read Matt 25:13 again and again until it sinks in, if that doesn't work read the other 3 gospel writers telling you the same thing until it sinks in.
There is no compelling argument, none, for disobeying this clear command in scripture. I will concede to the "other tribbers" that I am not 100% sure of the rapture timing. They must concede to me that they are not 100% sure of the rapture timing. In this case where nobody is 100% sure, the only reasonable thing to do is what the Word of God clearly tells us to do, that is, be ready to meet the Lord every day.
3. The word of His patience
Again, I'm not going to get into rapture timing here. What I will address is the overwhelming and persistent command we read for us to be patient:
Rev 3:10Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience? You think we need to be patient? Sounds like it to me. Another big note in this neighborhood of scripture. The Lord pointed out to me for the first time (and I've read Rev 1-3) so many times I've lost count, that two and only two of the "churches of revelation" mentioned have a "door" mentioned by the Lord:
The Philadelphia church
Rev 3:8I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
The Laodicean church
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
That says that both churches exist at the same time, a time relevant to the "door" Jesus is talking about. Which "door" is He talking about? Just keep reading because immediately after mentioning "doors" to the churches of Philadelphia and Laodicea, we read in Rev 4 1After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Now, regardless of what your rapture timing view is, we all have to admit that "doors" are used for people to go through, and specifically these "doors" are described to the churches. A "door in heaven" is open in Rev 4 then we see no more specific mentioning of the church for the rest of the book of Revelation. I know, I know, people have excuses for why the church is not mentioned. The counter to their arguments is, the Lord specifically addresses the churches by name in Rev 2-3, why would He not specifically address them for the rest of the book? Did the Lord forget the names of the churches? There are no idle words in the bible, if something is specifically mentioned, its for a reason, if something is mentioned specifically then not mentioned again, its for a reason...
In my mind, the rapture debate has been settled for good. It has been settled in a one word command...WATCH. If the pre-trib view is correct, I'm covered. If the mid-trib view is correct, I'm covered. If the pre-wrath view is correct, I'm covered. If the post-trib view is correct, I'm covered. If I die before any of these things, I'm covered. Readiness to meet the Lord every day is something there is no argument against..case closed.
Now, back to the original reason for this post: the doom and gloom predictions coming out of the woodwork today. I'm sorry if I can't get excited about the "end is near" message any longer. Over time, the people soothsaying and shamanizing the future through all their "signs and symbols" and other methods have been wrong.
I'll be the first to admit I thought the "end was near" years ago...and yet the world continues on just as in the "days of Noah" and the "days of Lot." What happens when year after year people predict the "end is near" and the world goes on just as it always has? The prognosticators lose all credibility, that's what happens. Those who hear them start to say
2 Peter 3:4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
The Lord has my attention today. The Lord may come back today for us, therefore we are to watch, today and every day for His coming and we are to pray that while we watch we do not fall into temptation.
These days call for patience. Be watching, be ready, but be prepared to wait however long it takes for our Master to return for us. While we wait, we should expect the same protection and provision we have received during our lifetime. The same God who has provided for me and protected me for decades will continue to do so till the very end. Never will I leave you or forsake you was His promise...I'm a believer in His promises. This is what I hear the Spirit saying today. Grace and peace