… and said unto them, Occupy till I come. (Luke 19:13)
As I wrote last week, “For many years now, I come to this time of year with a heightened sense of expectation.” More than ten years ago, I learned about the Feasts of the Lord. By His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled first three spring feasts, and Pentecost fulfilled the fourth feast. The last three fall feasts remain unfulfilled, and the Feast of Trumpets comes first in that series. The Feast of Trumpets is significant because it heralds the new year. It is also a holy convocation announced by the blowing of trumpets that summons the people to the Temple.
The connection with the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the Church comes by way of deduction derived from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; and Revelation 4:1. These passages speak of the sound of a trumpet preceding the Rapture of the Church, so it seems logical that the call could come at the first fall feast that remains unfulfilled.
Although it might seem like a reasonable conclusion, the fact remains that nothing in Scripture tells us when the Rapture will take place. The Bible gives no signs to signal the Rapture. Instead, the Bible (the New Testament) teaches that the Rapture is imminent; it can happen at any time without warning. Jesus said, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:44-46, emphasis mine).
In a different place, Jesus relayed a parable of a “A certain nobleman [representing Himself] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:12-13, emphasis mine). Our “nobleman,” Jesus Christ, has gone to receive His kingdom and He has promised to return (John 14:1-3). We do not know when. In the meantime, He has commanded, “Occupy till I come.”
Another Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets, came and went again, and the trumpet did not sound to call us home, but Jesus did not tell us when He would return. He just told us to watch, wait, and occupy until He comes. When He does come for us, He expects to find us taking care of His business. What will He find us doing?
The Rapture is imminent. It comes without warning and without signs. However, the Second Coming does have signs, and we see many of the signs falling into place. The greatest of these signs is the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel. As the signs of the last days increase in number and intensity, we know the time is near, and if the Second Coming of Christ is near, the Rapture is closer. Are you ready? Are you occupied in the task He has given you or are you distracted by the cares of the world? He did not come last Tuesday, or Wednesday, but He may come today. How will He find you?
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)
An old Gospel song that goes by the same title talks about “a mansion just over the hilltop in that bright land where we’ll never grow old.” The singer dreams of having a “gold one that is silver lined.” Does that not seem somewhat esurient to covet the riches of heaven? I admit that the thought did not occur to me until recently.
When I think of a mansion, I imagine the $5 million (or more) homes of the super-rich or the palaces of royalty. Somehow, I do not think that is exactly to what Jesus referred when He spoke the words of our beginning verse above.
Consider this. “Heaven” as described in Revelation 21-22 enjoys a perfect environment much like that of the Garden of Eden that God originally created. So perfect was that environment, that the first couple could run around naked and not worry about getting sunburned, rained on, or frost bitten. Furthermore, all their nutritional needs were provided. It was a perfect place. Their only shelter were the stars above (and oh, how the stars must have sparkled at night in the pollution-free sky!). There was no need for any kind of building for shelter, much less a mansion.
Heaven will be like that, I think. No mansions of gold with silver trim. Before ending His earthly ministry, Jesus promised that in His Father’s house – only ONE house – are many mansions. That word in the Greek is monē, which means “a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode.” If Jesus meant some kind of building, He could have used the word “castle” – Greek parembolē meaning something like a fortress. Or, He could have used the word “palace” – Greek aulē, meaning “a yard (as open to the wind); by implication a mansion: – court, ([sheep-]) fold, hall, palace.” However, Jesus used the word monē promising that we would have a place to stay and He has many places to stay and dwell for those who follow Him.
Sadly, we too often derive our “theology” from the songs we sing rather than from the Word of God. Next time you hear that old Gospel song, put that golden mansion out of your mind and be happy that Jesus has given you a place in His Father’s house.
Reader, if you are unsure of your eternal abode, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.” Jesus has a reservation for you in His Father’s house, but you have to take Him up on His invitation.
 “Mansion Over the Hilltop” by Ira Stanphill, 1949.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
With all the COVID shutdowns, mask mandates, and constant browbeating about taking experimental and unproven injections, it seems that many have become convinced that the government propaganda is really intended for our wellbeing. After all, realizing that the lockdowns caused great financial burdens on families throughout the nation, our government stepped in and sent money to almost every family. I even received a check even though I did not need it. Then when job losses lingered, our government provided generous unemployment checks to all those affected by the lockdowns they imposed. So generous were the unemployment benefits, that when things started to open up, and businesses needed workers, few were willing to go back to work because the unemployment checks were better the money they could earn working.
What a wonderful caring government we have that wants to take care of its people! It matters not at all that the government has no money to just give away. The government has no means by which to produce wealth. It only has what money it takes from taxpayers, and here in America, the number of taxpayers continues to decline while freeloaders increase. What the government cannot collect from taxpayers, it just arbitrarily and indiscriminately prints to make up the difference. But, the people do not care, as long as they have they have beer money and some left over for groceries. Why, they do not even have to pay their rent because big brother will take care of that too.
So, if big brother says to take a shot because it is for your own good, they are more than happy to get in line for their turn. However, these who believe their government values their wellbeing, are blissfully ignorant of a human flaw that makes those in positions of power avaricious of greater power. One way they achieve greater power is to appease the masses by providing carefree sustenance and a sense of equity among all. “You will own nothing, and you’ll be happy.”
But do not be fooled. The government does not care about you. The government wants to control you, and you are happily going along with it. You wear your mask when told to and even when not told to, just make sure no one gets offended. You line up and take your jab as every good comrade, I mean citizen, should. What you do not know is that the mask is useless against the Coronavirus, or any virus for that matter. In fact, Dr. Fauci said that at the very start of the plandemic. Another bit of information kept from you are the number bad outcomes from the injections – miscarriages in pregnant women, neurological problems which are irreversible, blood clotting, heart problems and even death. These facts are recorded and made public by the CDC, but your government cares so much about you that it does not want to worry you. Just take the jab and trust your government.
This last week provided us with a perfect example of how much our government cares about its people. In a sudden, though not unexpected, move, our President decided to pull all of our troops out of Afghanistan. I do not know of many who believe we should have been there as long as we have been. Russia spent many years in that place and accomplished nothing. So, why did we think we could do better? Once we got Osama Bin Laden, we should have pulled out in an orderly manner, of course. However, there are those that profit from war and they “support” politicians that support them. “Oh! The tangled webs we weave!” Our government makes a big to-do about our fallen and wounded heroes, but if it really cared about them, it would not keep sending them off to fight senseless wars. And what about the wounded families at home? They get a folded flag and a litany of pointless platitudes. Our people honor their heroes more than the government does. Many non-profit organizations provide for the needs of our fallen and wounded warriors, while our government cares more for illegal border crossers (potential Democrat voters) than for our own service men and women.
So suddenly, and without warning our troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan without first removing our civilians that are in that country, or those Afghanis that assisted our troops. They have been left to their own resources to get themselves to the extraction point through a gauntlet of Taliban rebels.
I will reserve further comment about this bone-headed operation. It really churns my innards. One can find no greater proof than this that your government cares nothing for its people. Britain, France, Germany, and others went right in and rescued their people, but not the “superpower” with the greatest military in the world.
You know what? Your government does not care about you. Who cares about you? God does, and the sooner you get a grip on that great truth, the happier you will be. God loves you so much, that He took on human flesh, lived a sinless life, and gave His life to cover your sins. And if you will place your faith and trust in Him, He has secured a place for you in His presence for eternity. Your government has not done that for you! If you do not know Him, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
Lately I find myself at a loss for subject matter about which to write. I want to make my articles encouraging and uplifting, but as I look at what is going on around me, in our nation, and in the world, I find very little that is positive. Our government lacks leadership. Those in positions of power seem to be following the dictates of some unseen puppet master. Ultimately, that puppet master is Satan, but that is another topic altogether. Our world fares no better. Economies are failing all over the world placing the whole world at the brink of war. The powers that be continue to increase control over the populous through fear tactics over the supposed pandemic that threatens to kill us all. Pressure to take “the jab” comes from all directions so that, at least in the USA, the government can feign innocence in pushing an unconstitutional mandate. Soon we will not be able to travel, work, buy, or sell without proof that we have been jabbed. No, the jab is not the “mark of the beast,” but it is a good conditioning method to train a compliant society.
All of this may sound depressing to some, but I am actually encouraged. These “signs” indicate that the return of Christ is very near. Jesus foretold all of these things in his Olivet Discourse. Of course, Jesus prophesied of the events that would take place during the Tribulation period seven years before His Second Coming. Before that happens, those who are part of the “true Church,” His Bride, will be raptured out of this world to meet Him in the air.
Some imagine that the Tribulation will begin as soon as Jesus takes His Church out of the world. Then all the Tribulation judgments will begin and escalate rapidly. However, I do not hold that opinion. I believe that the signs will begin slowly, and then steadily increase in frequency and intensity. Jesus described His Second Coming (at the end of the Tribulation) as “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John 16:21). “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh … So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” (Luke 21:28; 31).
All the things of which Jesus spoke cannot take place in an instant. Things have to progress (or regress depending on your perspective) slowly. Economies must fail. Desperation must increase. Distrust in leaders must diminish. Governments must maneuver to gain advantage and power. Wars and rumors of wars will increase. Currently, the USA is under threat from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Israel is surrounded by hostile nations. Iran, Turkey and Russia along with their allies are staging their armies in Syria and Lebanon to threaten Israel’s northern border.
The situation seems rather grim. I have heard several prophecy teachers offer this illustration: “When you see the Christmas decorations going up in all the stores, you know Thanksgiving is near.” In the same way, as we see all of the signs for His Second Coming intensify in number and frequency, we can be sure that the Rapture of the Church is very close.
For the believer, that should be cause for joy, hope, and anticipation! At least, that is how I feel about it. So, imagine my surprise when I recently shared a link to one of Jan Markell’s pod casts and a “sister” asked me to remove her from my mailing list because she did not want to hear anything “political.” It occurred to me that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ want to plug their ears and not hear about what is going on in our world. They want to live their lives as “normal” without anything to disrupt the status quo. Ignorance is bliss, the saying goes. Jesus described these days as the days of Noah and the days of Lot when people carried out their lives as normal without a care in the world of the impending doom. When judgment came, they were caught by surprise. In context, Jesus referred to the time of Tribulation, but the same principle can be applied to the time before the Rapture.
Many “blissful” Christians will be caught by surprise when Jesus snatches them out of this world. That is not so bad you may think. However, think of all those left behind who did not hear the Gospel because Jesus’ servants were carrying on their lives as if nothing were happening. Jesus described such servants in two separate parables. In both examples, one servant did nothing with the charge left to him by his Master, and when the Master returned demanding an accounting, the unfaithful servant was chastised and demoted. So, how will these blissful Christians react when Jesus asks for a reckoning? “Lord! I didn’t know you were coming so soon!”
That is what will happen when you go around with plugged ears refusing to hear what is going on around you and what the Bible has to say about it. At least a third of the Bible, I am told, deals with end-times prophecy. It stands to reason that God put that much prophecy in the Bible to prepare us for the things to come. We cannot prepare for the coming days if we go around with plugged ears. The Bible commends the children of Issachar for their situational awareness. “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment” (1 Chronicles 12:32, emphasis mine). We should follow their example. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15)
Reader, perhaps you do not have plugged ears, you are very aware of the decaying condition of the world around you, and you wonder what in the world is going on. I have many articles on the topic of last days under “Categories” that may help answer some of your questions. However, it will all be moot if you do not know the Savior. I encourage you to please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Our starting verse assures us that in Christ, we (who belong to Him) have a high priest – an advocate, an intercessor, or a “go-between” – that can relate to “the feeling of our infirmities,” i.e., our weaknesses or frailties both physical and emotional. He understands because He “… made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). He knows our struggles because He experienced our struggles Himself.
We may find ourselves on trial some day in a court of law for some alleged infraction of the law. In our defense, a lawyer – an advocate – will plead our case, but that lawyer goes only by what evidence we can offer. He cannot plead our case from personal experience. Jesus can.
Satan, our prosecutor/accuser, started his practice from the very beginning of creation. He not only brings the accusation, but he initiates the offense to begin with. His first victim was Eve in the Garden of Eden and his tactics have not changed from the beginning. He introduces doubt in God’s Word – “Yea, hath God said?” Then he asserts that God’s Word is a lie – “Ye shall not surely die!” Next he accuses God of withholding something good and implies that he can offer something better – “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Of course, Satan cannot take all of the blame. God gave humans free will to choose whether to obey or disobey and a nature capable of enjoying all the pleasures God created for us to enjoy. John the Beloved warned, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). The Greek word translated “world” – kosmos – has a broad range of meanings. However, in this context, John is referring to “the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ.”
John sums up “the world” three ways. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16, emphasis mine). Eve demonstrated all three of these frailties. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [lust of the flesh], and a tree to be desired to make one wise [pride of life], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6). We are no different today. Satan employs the same tactics and we still have the same weaknesses.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke both record Satan’s attempt to cause Jesus to sin. At the beginning of His ministry, John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Jesus went into the wilderness, and for forty days and nights he fasted in preparation for His ministry. At the end of the forty days, he was physically exhausted, malnourished, and hungry. He was at His weakest point both physically and emotionally.
Satan assessed his victim’s weakened condition and availed himself of a prime opportunity to attack. Knowing with whom he was dealing, Satan dispensed with his usual tactics. He knew that he could not cause doubt in God’s Word. He was facing the Word Himself. He could not slander the Word of God because he was in the presence of the Truth. He could not tempt Him with “ye shall be as gods” because he was in the company of God. Rather, Satan attacked Jesus’ human nature through human weaknesses. “And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread” (Luke 4:3). Here, the lust of the flesh, was especially challenging to a starving man. Who could fault Him for succumbing to that temptation? Yet Jesus answered Satan’s challenge with the Word of God. “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4, emphasis mine).
Failing at his first attempt, Satan tried again. “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time [the lust of the eyes]. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:5-7). Again, Jesus responded with Scripture. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Luke 4:8).
Satan knows Scripture too, and he knows how to twist it to suit his purpose. “And he brought [Jesus] to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone [the pride of life]” (Luke 4:9-11, emphasis mine). The final fail – Jesus sent Satan packing with His final Word making clear to Satan with whom he was dealing. “And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Luke 4:12, emphasis mine). Satan knew he met his match, so, “he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:13, emphasis mine). Satan is a highly intelligent being, but he is stupid. Knowing full well that he is out matched by God, he still thinks he can somehow pull off a win.
We continue to struggle with our frailties, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Jesus faced those challenges also, just as we do, “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Because we, who belong to Him, have His Holy Spirit in us, we can conquer our temptations the same way Jesus did, by standing on the Word of God. However, the Holy Spirit in us can only use the amount of ammunition that we provide, so it is vitally important that we maintain a well-stocked arsenal of God’s Word by reading and studying it daily. And when we fail, and we do fail, we can be sure that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are” (Hebrews 4:15) that intercedes on our behalf.