1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
I was praying the other night when the Spirit of the Lord deposited this eye opener into my spirit. Hopefully I can get across the point that was communicated. The basic idea is not a new one. Those mid trib, "pre-wrath" and post-trib die hards to absolutely refuse to watch and pray for the Lord's any time imminent return might be in trouble. It is not their erroneous doctrine per say that will cause them problems (i.e. believing in mid trib rapture etc), rather their problem lies in their refusal to do what they were told to do, which is watch for the Lord's unexpected return which He made a point of beating that message into the ground:
Mark 13:32But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
The Lord, The God of all creation communicates with an economy of words. He, being the master writer has no need to write wordy rambling messages to us because He is infinitely wise and can communicate perfectly His message in the minimum words necessary to do the job. Which is why we need to pay more attention when we see Him repeat Himself 4 times in 5 verses as we see above.
What the Spirit impressed upon this writer is a no brainer we should all already know. What we believe matters. What we expect, watch for, intend, pray for, all matters. Or why would our Lord write this to us:
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
When we combine this idea ^^ with the matter of obedience:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
We get a 1:2 punch as it relates to this idea of watching and praying for the Lord's return.
To wrap this all together, we are told to be watching for the Lord's unexpected return. How do we "watch?" We do it as 1 Peter 4:7 tells us, through prayer. And what is an example of one of these "watching" prayers? Consider this one:
Luke 21:34And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
We were told right here ^^ in no uncertain terms that we should be praying that we may be counted worthy to escape all that is about to come to pass and stand before our Lord. In that same sentence our Lord combines the idea of watching with prayer just as we read in 1 Peter 4:7 above.
^^And this idea becomes a real problem for the mid-pre-wrath-post trib crowd as they both 1. know what they were told to do (pray to escape all that is about to happen) and 2. refuse to do it (willfully disobey). And why would they obey the direct command of the Lord to pray for an escape from all when they have knowingly, willfully accepted another doctrine that directly contradicts the Lord's own commands and considered their own doctrines superior to the Word and commands of the Lord?
What happens to those who are not found watching?
Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Matt 25:1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
What this all really comes down to is not as much a matter of say the mid-trib doctrine itself (or pre-wrath, post-trib) as it is a major problem with lack of obedience. Who knows, maybe the mid-trib folks are correct and the escape takes place in the middle of the tribulation, if that was the case, we should have all been watching and praying for the unexpected return of the Lord and escape every single day up until the middle of the tribulation. Its called obedience. Its a matter of placing more weight and importance on the direct, unambiguous commands of the Lord than our own interpretations of the more ambiguous portions of scripture like the timing of the unexpected return of the Lord.
This means we should not be as dogmatic about the timing (pre, mid, post trib) of the Lord's unexpected return and more dogmatic about doing the things that we were clearly told to do and we have no shred of a doubt about. Said another way, we can debate the timing of the rapture but we cannot debate the command to watch and pray for the Lord's unexpected return and or the escape, every day.
The elegance of the logic is another proof it comes from the Lord and not from man. If you are watching and praying for the unexpected return of the Lord/rapture every day you cannot miss it. You cannot be caught "not watching" if you are watching through prayer every day. If the timing of this unexpected event takes place either pre, mid or post tribulation you cannot be wrong watching and praying every day for the Lords unexpected return. Those, on the other hand, who refuse to watch and pray for the escape today could have some real problems if this unexpected event takes place before their dogmatic doctrine stance.
This was a real eye opener for this writer even though there is nothing new in it per se but they way it was impressed led to an "ah ha" moment. All we have to do is exactly what we were told to do. We do not have to figure everything else out, just do the things we were clearly told to do and the rest that is less clear will take care of itself. Glory to God!
grace and peace