Sunday, February 7, 2010

Preparations of the Bride

I recently stumbled on a very well done commentary regarding The Church and how we should be preparing for the epic, upcoming event known as the Rapture; also known as the "catching up" or "gathering up" of the Bride of Christ. I can't testify to the website nor the author; this article came from a site known as "Midnight Call", (link here), and their "about us" is found here. It seems pretty solid, and I intend to dig deeper to see if this is a site to recommend. So far it seems solid. The article below is excellent.

This article is worth reading for several reasons. Relating to a conversation from last week, many of us notice that - often it is hard to be a prophecy watcher. Most of us watch prophecy because of an intense longing to be with Christ Jesus. We watch prophecy because it tells us of the nearness of that event - the event which will bring us to the very presence of Jesus - and that creates great excitement. Having this ongoing "edge" or feeling that one is just on the brink of that moment, however, can become tiresome because it HASN"T happened yet, and it is something that we crave constantly and unremittingly. Maintaining that "edge" can lead to "prophecy fatigue", and occasionally it is good to get a "booster shot", such as this article.

Additionally, the information contained in the article below details how our time should be spend in the remaining days on earth - as we prepare for and await the Rapture: Often, after a presentation on "Signs of the Coming Christ", and having described the "signs" that surround us - telling us that we are at the end of the generation - and close to the Rapture of the Church, I receive the question "Ok, you have convinced me...but now what? What do I do now?", or "What do I do now that I have this information?"

The article below does a beautiful job of answering those questions.

In fact the article is quite long, and I wasn't planning to post all of it, but during the process of editing, I couldn't find any sections worth deleting. This article is so well written, and it is a topic that doesn't receive nearly enough attention, so it is worth posting in its entirety (I hope it means as much to you as it did to me...It is worth saving and re-reading periodically):


The Consequences of the Rapture

Ernst Kraft

How much more should we Christians be joyful, singing people? Awaiting us is a different kind of marital bliss. What is the reality however? Are we not all too like the people around us who lament all the time? Yet we should be joyful because the time of our salvation is nearer than it was.

We are all on a journey. Every day we draw nearer to the goal. Whether we are conscious of it or not, today we are a day closer to the Rapture than yesterday. Paul also spoke of this truth in Romans 13:11-12, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” With every passing day this glorious event comes nearer. We may comfort ourselves with this (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Although we have surely all heard and read that for those who believe on Jesus Christ in truth, the best and most glorious awaits us, yet this assurance often hardly affects us in our daily lives.

We read in Ephesians 1:15-18, that the believers in Ephesus were blessed with all spiritual blessings, really believed in Jesus and also lived in true love for one another, yet they did not have the true picture where the heavenly glory is concerned. Paul prayed for this, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (verses 17-18). They had everything, and yet Paul had to pray that their eyes would be enlightened to see it.

Is this not our problem also? We are captivated by what is visible and the many things that occupy us, and we do not have our eyes enlightened for this glorious future.
How different our lives would be if we would have the Rapture in our sights! This would even help us to overcome suffering. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

A German pastor named Johannes Busch once told how he was walking down a street in a town on a cold, dismal day. Suddenly he heard someone singing a joyful song. He stood still and listened. The song came from a very poor-looking house. Who could the happy person be? On an impulse he went into the house and found to his surprise a young girl scrubbing the floor. He asked what was the reason for her song. The girl sat up and said to him with radiant eyes, “In a week I will be getting married!” With such joy in a person’s heart, they may well sing!

How much more should we Christians be joyful, singing people? Awaiting us is a different kind of marital bliss. What is the reality however? Are we not all too like the people around us who lament all the time? Yet we should be joyful because the time of our salvation is nearer than it was. We should all be concerned with the preparations for the meeting with the Bridegroom. What is it like when a wedding takes place in a family? Mother, father, sisters and brothers, relatives, and all who have been invited are concerned with this event, the bridal couple maybe for years even. It fills their thoughts when they work. Perhaps they buy a new dress or suit. They live in this anticipation every day. And the nearer the day draws, the greater their joy is. The bridal couple are completely occupied with their thoughts and deeds in order to please one another.

Remember that we as believers in Jesus, as His bride, have received an invitation to a wedding from Jesus Himself. He spoke very clearly of our glorious future. And yet it seems as though many believers have forgotten it completely. For them it is important to be blessed here and now, to earn more money and to gain the world in order to lead a better life. Where is Jesus? Do not such Christians actually lack enlightened eyes? Where is their longing for the Bridegroom, their complete occupation with the preparations for this glorious day, their life as a purified vessel in sanctification? If we have the promise of living with Him in all eternity, then we should make progress in purification and sanctification at all costs.

The consequence for a bride is that she cannot enter into any further love relationships. She is now destined for the bridegroom alone. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” This verse speaks in its context clearly of the separation from the world, unrighteousness and darkness. We should concern ourselves with what relates to the Bridegroom. We should only have eyes for our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. We should not court friendship with the world, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Verse 5 continues in the NIV, “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?”

Cleanse yourself in preparation for the meeting with the Bridegroom! This was Paul’s endeavor, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). This cleansing is necessary in order to be able to live with Him alone. Think what a glorious future He has planned for you. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15). It is necessary to live in holiness so we can live with Him in glory for all eternity. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

When Ruth prepared to meet Boaz, Naomi said to her, “Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor” (Ruth 3:3). To wash has to do with cleansing. The bride must be suitable for the Bridegroom. This is the untiring work of God in us, for it says in Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” This is why we are sometimes tossed and turned. It is the purification we need so that we become more like

Cleansing and sanctification are what precedes the Rapture, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). And, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14).
A Christian was once asked critically, “Are you still a sinner?” He answered, “Yes, unfortunately!” “Well, what is the difference between your previous condition and your present condition?” the man asked. The Christian thought for a moment and then said, “Before, I was a sinner who pursued sin. Now I am a sinner who is running away from sin.”

In 1 Thessalonians 4, which speaks of the Rapture (in verses 13-18), we read twice, in verses 1 and 10, “ more and more.” These words refer to our increasing in our faith lives. Paul pursued this goal and said in Philippians 3:12, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” His wish was to gain Christ and be found in Him (verses 8-9).

Naomi gave Ruth the advice to bathe, to anoint herself with perfume and to put on her best clothes for the meeting with Boaz (Ruth 3:3). She was not only to be clean and pure but also to give off a pleasant scent, and through her clothing show that this meeting was something special for her. We put on our best clothes for festive occasions.

Our clothing, according to Colossians 3:12-14 in the NIV, should be compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love. With this clothing we are fit for our Bridegroom and give forth a pleasant aroma. We should work on this and prepare for the Rapture in this way. It may be that we soil our garments, that we walk around in our old clothes again, which draws attention to us and not to Jesus. Then suddenly sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language are to be found in our lives (Colossians 3:5-8). God’s Word tells us to “Put off the old man with his deeds; and… put on the new man” (verses 9-10), “…so ye would abound more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). It should be our aim to become like Jesus.
Is it not so with married couples that live together in harmony, that they become more and more united in their thoughts and desires? It may be that the husband says something and his wife says she was just thinking the same thing. Jesus wants to see this more and more in us, that we think like Him, desire like Him and strive after that which pleases Him.
The church has the same duty as the wife toward her husband, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). The wife should submit herself to her husband. In the same way, the Church should submit to Jesus and increase more and more in this. Yet we often live for ourselves instead of asking Him, obeying Him and doing what He says.

The need for patience. It says in Hebrews 10:37, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” In the preceding verse it says, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” This means living in continual expectation. We may become impatient and through this go astray. In Matthew 24:48-49, such a situation is described, “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken….” The same thing is said in James 5:7-9, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”

Impatience concerning His return is a danger. The years go by and we so hoped that He would return soon, but till now He has not returned. If we no longer keep in mind that He could actually come at any time, our lives will be characterized by indifference: “He is not coming yet so it doesn’t matter if I….” The consciousness of His presence is lacking. Let us take heed that we do not give up our expectation through impatience and behave like the scoffers who say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). The Lord will not neglect to keep His promise: He will come. But it is because He has so much patience that He has not yet returned, because He does not want anyone to be lost (verse 9).

It happened that after the Second World War, some women remarried because they had not received any news of their husbands and thought they would not return. But some husbands did return one day and found their wives married to another. Imagine what it would mean if Jesus were to find us like this because we no longer reckoned with His coming.
Dear reader, be patient and strengthen your heart in the assurance that He will return and bring glory with Him.

We see nothing of this glory, and yet it is very near for the believer. Even if He keeps us waiting, we know with certainty that He will come, because He promised to. Of Moses it says in Hebrews 11:27, “He endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Peter said in 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

In faith we comfort ourselves with the promise of His return and rejoice, although we perhaps have to go through a valley of weeping here. We see nothing of this glory, and it is as described in Hebrews 11: we are in the midst of a great battle of suffering, have tribulation, go through trouble and humiliation, and feel ourselves to be strangers here on earth. All this can lead to our wanting to cast aside our confidence, because the visible things almost crush us. This is why the Lord encourages His own, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward” (Hebrews 10:35). My dear reader, do not draw back but persevere in faith. The Rapture will bring us redemption from all the present unpleasant things. “The just shall live by faith” (verse 38), even if we see and experience nothing of this glory.

The true believer has God as his Comforter and is not strengthened by the things of earth and heaven, but through God Himself, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:25-26). Joy in the Lord can give us such strengththat we can overcome in the greatest tribulation, in the knowledge that the best is yet to come.

We do not know when the Rapture will take place. For this reason we should put our lives in order today. Let us make peace where we are in conflict, pray for forgiveness where it is necessary, and sever bonds that do not please God. We should watch and walk in the light. Then His light will not terrify us when He comes but cause us great joy.

Peter also mentioned this thought in 1 Peter 4:7-8, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” Above all things we should walk in love, so that we do not live in strife when the Rapture takes place. The epistle of Jude also makes this clear. Of false teachers, Jude testifies that they cause divisions and quarrels, and then he says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (verse 21).

The enemy is attempting in all sorts of ways to keep us busy and to involve us in many things, so that the love for the Lord is not kept alive in our hearts. Where there is no love, is chaos. “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). We are only prepared to be raptured if we stand in this love of God. A wedding, the union of a man and a woman, only takes place on the basis of love. It is the same with the Rapture.

The fear of this day is also solved in this way. We know that the most glorious things await us, and yet there is often the question in our hearts, “But what about my mistakes and failures?” Where true love is, fear is banished, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:17-19).

This is why it is so important that our love is perfect and not hindered by anything. If our love is hindered, our expectation of Jesus is not joyful but fearful. A bride gives her Bridegroom all her love. Although she is concerned with many other things, her perfect love only belongs to him. This is how it should be for us: we should not love anything more than Him alone!

All the work and problems that are connected with the preparations for the wedding cannot touch the joy of the bride and groom. Before the wedding takes place, they have to confront many sorts of people. There are some among them who make the lives of the bridal couple more difficult. And yet the two will not give up until the moment of their marriage comes. Only one thing can hinder this celebration, and there really have been cases where one of the two has called off the wedding. What was the reason? Were the preparations too difficult? No. There is only one reason for a planned marriage not taking place, and that is the lack of love of one of the partners. One of them never really loved the other.

The love of Jesus Christ will never be lacking. Therefore the question for us is, how is our love for Jesus? If we love Him with all our hearts, we will prepare ourselves and look forward to this meeting. Where our love is no longer His alone, however, it becomes difficult and problematic. What would you think of a bride who had put on her wedding dress and opened all the presents and said, “I don’t care if the bridegroom comes or not. I’ve got all the presents, and I can have the company of my friends. That’s enough for me!”? Either she never loved him or she has given her love to another.

My dear reader, the Holy Spirit is striving after your whole heart belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is your Bridegroom. Love Him, then, with all your heart!

The Rapture is not a thing that we hope will not take place yet, but an event that we await longingly. The Rapture will bring us together with Jesus forever. We will be with Him for eternity!
Song of Solomon 7:10 says, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” How is it with you? Is He only allowed to live in one room in your heart, or the One who is standing at the door? Open your whole heart to Jesus Christ, your Bridegroom. Give Him all your love, and wonderful fellowship with Him will become reality. Invite Him in now, as it is described in Luke 24:29, “But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.” Jesus had fellowship with those who invited Him in. And not only that, they said in verse 32, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way?” This is how we should go toward the Rapture: in unclouded fellowship with Him and with a burning heart. Without doubt, the wedding is the climax of the lives of two people. And without doubt, the Rapture will be more glorious than everything we can imagine, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness” (Proverbs 10:28)


hartdawg said...

the site midnight call is solid. i checked it out pretty thoroughly. furthermore has a label "who is who in bible prohecy" it list prohecy teachers and if they`re good, o.k or bad. the host of midnight prophecy is good.

Scott said...

I am starting to agree with that assessment. I've been through the site pretty well (I actually like it and may frequent it) and can't find anything objectionable. It was actually nice to find another good site!

Unknown said...

Hi Scott,
Thank you for putting the article "The Consequences of the Rapture" on your blog. It was just what I needed to read today. I'm also happy to find out about "Midnight Call". There aren't that many prophecy sites I follow daily. It's good to find a new one.
Your Friend, Mark.

KParker said...

What a beautiful and inspiring reminder of what we are to be about every day! Thanks, Scott, for your efforts and your blog.

Scott said...

It really IS a great article. I think I have now re-read it about 7-8 times. I keep coming back to it, and noticing different things. Inspiring and a good reminder - I agree KParker. Also thanks Mark for the encouragement - and I agree, its a site worth keeping.

God Bless you guys!