For the sake of this discussion, we don't need to repeat all of the signs that we have been tracking - anyone following the current news in the context of biblical prophecy knows this already. We know just how close we are. But while we watch the various signs of this generation, we also have to remember to "take it up a notch" in our relationship with Christ Jesus.
We have been given our knowledge of the prophetic scriptures for a variety of reasons - to warn others, to witness to others in the context of prophetic fulfillment, recognition that God is in control and has a plan for mankind that is being carried out, to give us peace in these difficult times, etc. But one of the most important reasons for biblical prophecy is so we can be spiritually prepared for what awaits us - ascending "in the twinkling of an eye" to Heaven and facing Jesus in person - Jesus, our bridegroom.
What bride doesn't prepare for her wedding date? What bride isn't consumed with wedding preparations as that date approaches? What bride doesn't get more and more excited as that day approaches?
We can look at Enoch - arguably the first person "gathered up" as a model for the Church Saints and from this we can find our pathway:
Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: "He could not be found, because God had taken him away." For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
Short and simple.
This one doesn't require a lot of great insight or complicated interpretation. It's right there. Enoch "walked faithfully with God", "pleased God" and "was taken from this life so he did not experience death". Sounds like a picture of the "gathering up" of the Church Saints doesn't it?
So, how do we prepare for meeting with our bridegroom, Christ?
We can do as Enoch did. We can walk with God, which suggests a minute to minute, second to second connection with God. How is this accomplished?
The apostle Paul covered this topic, as he discussed the "gathering up" in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"
The key part of this passage seems to be continual prayer.
This may seem obvious, but maybe not. We can become so consumed with tracking the news, discussing context, discussing world events, the Middle East, approaching totalitarianism, etc., that often the central focus and most important point (our connection to Jesus and our imminent meeting with Him) can get lost in the shuffle.
Perhaps this is why we are given this directive:
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near"
By the term "lifting our heads", we can gain important insight. That strongly implies a solitary focus on Jesus as we watch for His return. It also implies a situation of focusing less and less on the events of this world (while continuing our diligent watch, of course) - and in the midst of our continual watching, our focus needs to be on Jesus and His coming, and everything that this fact implies.
How do we want Jesus to find us when He returns?
Any Christian knows that our faith is a series of ups and downs. Over the years we have periods where we feel closer to God and we have periods where we become distracted and lose that focus, as the events of life interfere with this "walk". It's an easy trap to fall in. There are so many life's distractions - school, jobs, bills, projects, sports, vacations, trips to the mall, etc. None of which are sinful, but all of which can separate us from God and interrupt the process of "walking with God".
As the return of Jesus approaches, we have to shift our focus to what really matters and none of these distractions really matter.
I believe in these last hours, we want to stay connected with God 24/7 and see Enoch as our model. We need to continually "walk with God" and we need to be looking up - at all times.
From the minute we wake up in the morning until the minute our heads hit the pillow, we need to be walking with God - and preparing to meet Jesus. We need to attempt to be as pure as possible and avoid sin as much as humanly possible. We need to be consumed with Jesus and what He did on the cross.
I'll never forget reading some advice given by Hal Lindsey in one of his many books. I wish I had the direct quote, but the essence of his quote can be conveyed. Basically, brother Hal said the following:
We need to immerse ourselves as much as possible, throughout every day - every waking moment - on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us, and the magnitude and significance of that event.
Jesus is coming, and we know He is coming quite soon. We should be excited as we anticipate this coming date and we need to be spiritually "peaking" in our love for Christ and our attempts to live as He would have us live.
Or more simply put, we need to be like Enoch and walk with God.
Our Lord Comes!