From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 13:32-37

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”                     NKJV

History is filled with examples of people attempting to pinpoint the date of Jesus return.  William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted that Jesus would come on March 21, 1843.  Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, announced in 1835 that Jesus would return within 56 years.  Of course, it did not happen.  The Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) have variously predicted Jesus return in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994.  Obviously none of those predictions came to pass.  Edgar C. Whisenant wrote a book titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Happen in 1988.  Needless to say, that the book is no longer on the best seller list.

Jesus plainly states that no one, other than God Himself, knows when He will return to rapture His church.  There are no signs given in Scripture that must precede the rapture (the first phase of His second coming).  All of the signs given in the Olivet discourse (i.e. a world war, the abomination of desolation, the flight of the Jews from Jerusalem, the great tribulation, and the global blackout) all precede the revelation (the second phase of Jesus’ second coming).  Prior to the rapture, life will be proceeding normally (Matt. 24:36-42).  The Bible exhorts us to look for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, not signs (James 5:8; I Thess. 1:10; Phil. 3:20; Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40; Rev. 22:7, 12, 20).  The timing of the rapture can occur at any moment, on any day, in any year.  No one can predict when it will happen.

“Watch” in our text does not mean to look for signs.   Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation looks for a sign.” (Matt. 12:39, 16:4).  Rather “Watch” means to be ready; not to be caught unaware.  How can we be ready?

First, be sure that you are saved; that you have repented of your sins and by faith, received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Second, if you already saved, live your life as though the rapture will occur in the next moment.

I John 2:28 exhorts us to abide in Him (Jesus), that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  When the rapture happens, where will you be, and what will you be doing?  We should strive to live every moment of every day so that we may say along with the Apostle John in Revelation 22:20, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

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