… 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?
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.”
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:10)
This scene in heaven takes place shortly after Jesus opens the fifth seal of the seven-sealed scroll. The Tribulation is just beginning. The first seal releases the white horse rider that carries a bow but no arrows. He has a crown and he goes “forth conquering, and to conquer.” Most end-times prophecy teachers believe this one is Antichrist that appears at the beginning of the Tribulation. That he has no arrows for his bow suggests that he conquers through diplomacy. Further confirmation of this comes from the statement that “a crown was given unto him;” he does not take it by force. The Prophet Daniel describes him as the “fourth beast/kingdom” whose kingdom will be unlike any before, and it “shall devour the whole earth.” Daniel’s “beast” – the “little horn” – a.k.a. Antichrist, will “speak great words against the Most High.” Daniel says that he will “wear out the saints,” i.e., the Jews for three and one half years. This will take place at the final three and one half years of the seven-year Tribulation.
In a later vision, Daniel predicts the appearance of Antichrist. “And he [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]: and in the midst of the week [after 3 ½ years] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [when Christ returns], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27, emphasis mine). Of him the Apostle Paul says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [i.e., Antichrist]; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, emphasis mine). Jesus also warned, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).
So, to recapitulate, Antichrist, the rider on the white horse, comes on the scene and obtains world renown and power by diplomatic means (“speaking great words”). He confirms a peace agreement with Israel (and “with many”), which probably allows for the construction of the third temple (which needs to exist since he is going to desecrate it). This act will begin the seven-year Tribulation. After 3 ½ years, he breaks the covenant, he enters the Temple declaring himself to be god, and initiates what will be the worst persecution of Jews the world has ever known. By the way, this persecution will also include Gentiles that come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation.
The next riders also show up at the beginning of the Tribulation, the first 3 ½ years. The rider on the red horse removes peace from the earth. The rider on the black horse brings global economic collapse. The rider on the pale (green) horse brings famine, plague, and death. The four horse riders represent the first four seals of the seven-seal scroll.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10, emphasis mine). These are the “Tribulation Saints” that come to faith Christ after the Rapture (the “snatching away”) of the Church. Being a follower of Christ during the Tribulation will come at a high cost and many will pay with their lives. Now their souls are with the Savior, but they also see their brothers and sisters in Christ suffering the horrors of the Tribulation on earth. So, they cry, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” And, the Tribulation has only just begun.
We are beginning to see the “signs” of the end-times. Israel, the focal point of end-times prophecy, is ready to institute an unstable government. The players in the Gog and Magog war are staging for battle. Through vaccine and mask mandates for the Wuhan Bug, the world population is being conditioned to blindly obey all orders that come from “above.” The US Government spends money that does not exist in the treasury and justify their foolishness by simply printing more. The “woke cancel culture” systematically undermines or destroys all social norms. Even language has lost all meaning. Violence among people groups is increasing all over the world. The downward spiral of our moral decay removes any trace of hope for a rational thinking person.
It seems that I find myself on a daily basis crying out, “How long, O Lord will You allow things to continue as they are?” Anyone who places their faith and trust in Jesus sees the light at the end of this dark tunnel. That light is the hope of Jesus’ soon coming for His Bride. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine). After that comes the seven-year Tribulation, which culminates with the return of Christ to set up His 1000-year reign on earth.
I feel bad for those that will not come to Christ until after the Rapture. Life will be unimaginably difficult for Christians (Jews and Gentiles) living in the Tribulation, if they are not martyred early on. However, Jesus’ reign on earth is the only fix for this sick and broken world. I can only plead to anyone reading this if you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to settle that right now. Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life” and meet Jesus at the Rapture rather than at His Second Coming.
 Israeli religious leaders claim they have everything they need to build the Third Temple. All they need is the “go ahead” in order to start construction. They claim they can have it built in a matter of months.
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:15)
In the United States, we set aside (consecrate, sanctify, make holy) Memorial Day to commemorate those who paid the ultimate price in the defense and preservation of our freedom. As is common with all “holy” days, the significance of the day wanes after one or two generations lost in habitual and meaningless traditions and mechanical ceremony. True, one will find gatherings here and there in honor of our fallen heroes, but the crowds are usually small and composed mostly of those whose loved ones are entombed beneath the sacred ground. But for the majority of Americans today, Memorial Day is just another excuse for a three-day weekend.
Few veterans of the Second World War survive today, and many veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars are quickly fading away. Our children scarcely remember Desert Storm, nor can they explain the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One may debate the legitimacy of our involvement in the wars since World War II, but the blood spilt and the lives sacrificed in those conflicts remain precious to their Creator and to us. They died, rightly or wrongly, for their country and for our freedom, and it is fitting that we sanctify a day for their memorial.
As our nation rapidly declines in the whirling vortex of moral decay (I can almost hear the sucking sound!), holy days lose their virtue and give way to debauchery. Just this week I read in the online Washington Times that a small display of crosses set up especially for this occasion was taken down after one person found the crosses offensive and complained. Ultimately, things like this result from the nation’s rejection of and enmity with God.
It is interesting that the first time the word “memorial” appears in the Bible, it is in the context of God revealing Himself to Moses. God confronted Moses through the burning bush and commissioned him to liberate His people from Egyptian bondage. After a series of excuses as to why he was not up to the task, “Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:13-14, emphasis mine). The name, יehâyâh (I AM), means “to exist.” God was proclaiming Himself to be the “Self-existing One,” the One Who Is, the eternal One. God specified, “this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (v. 15, emphasis mine).
“All generations” means ALL generations. That includes our generation, and our nation, but our nation – our generation – has rejected God. All that God opposes, our nation has embraced and even promoted. Therefore what used to be precious is now held in contempt. What used to be contemptible is now admired. What was shameful now is something for which to be proud. What was kept in secret is now flaunted. Therefore God says:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 5:20-25, emphasis mine)
Having forgotten our Memorial – the I AM – nothing is sacred, and Memorial Day simply becomes just another three-day weekend because those who gave their lives for “one nation under God” died for something that is now forgotten, or held in contempt. Yet God always has His remnant. He still has those “who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4), and He does not forget His own. For those who remain, Memorial Day retains its sanctity as we remember those who selflessly offered up all that they could give that we might live free, if only for a little while longer. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The God who spoke those words gave His life that we might live. He also promised, “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).
So, if my musings seem a little cynical (I am not), it is because I cannot obscure the putrid decay I plainly see taking place in our nation. Yet, the same gives me hope because I know what the future holds, and I know the One who holds the future. Jesus is coming back bringing the tree of life “for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). Men seek the Utopian state, but that will only come when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords reigns supreme upon the earth. That hope turns my cynicism into confidence for what my Memorial has in store. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:53)
I celebrated my 71st year of life this past week, and I must admit that it was the worst birthday of my life. It ended with a decision I have mulled over for many years, but only now have I decided to follow through with it. I decided to sever communications between my sons and myself in order to (hopefully) relieve myself of the heartache of strained relationships and the knowledge that my sons are lost and, unless the Lord intervenes, bound for eternal damnation.
Some may criticize my decision and think of me weak as both a father and a Christian for not persevering in prayer for my lost sons. Those that think that may be right; however, I would ask that you not be too quick to judge without knowing that with which I have contended for over 25 years. This was not a snap decision done in a moment of anger, but one that has been carefully weighed over many years. It should also be understood that I am not closed to the possibility of reconciliation later on, if the Lord delays His coming. I have not “disowned” my sons. How could I? They carry my DNA. I have only decided to break off any further contact with them and turn them over to the Lord and let Him deal with them.
I do not want to go into detail as to what brought this to a head. Basically it had to do with a post I made on Facebook with which they vehemently disagreed. They both seized the opportunity to berate, disrespect, and humiliate me on social media. It is not the first time this has occurred, but in past times the offense was easily overlooked considering the source. Not this time.
In the process of making my decision, I remembered our Lord’s account of the Prodigal Son who disrespected his father and separated himself from him. It occurred to me that the father did not chase after the son, but rather waited patiently for the son to “come to himself” and return of his own volition. That is what I have decided to do.
I know many Christian parents these days are experiencing the same thing. We are living in the “last days” as we wait for Jesus’ return to take us home. Jesus predicted this would happen. “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Luke 12:51-53). Certainly, many can relate.
Mark records Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse like this: “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:12-13, emphasis mine). Of course, Jesus referred to the time of Tribulation, but what we see now is the beginning of these things.
The Apostle Paul predicted the general character of people in the last days. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, [without self-control], fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7, emphasis mine). Those characteristics that I emphasized describe my sons. That last sentence especially fits them to a tee. My oldest son graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters Degree in Family Counseling, and later declared himself to be an atheist. My youngest son dropped out of high school but is self-educated; he is actually highly intelligent, and he considers himself quite the intellectual. Both of them consider me a rube for taking the Bible seriously and for my faith in God. Although I never push religion on them, they know where I stand and they resent that I will not move from my opinions. Truthfully, I am very flexible in my opinions, but God’s Word is not my opinion, and that is what they do not seem to understand.
As I said, I am not alone in this dilemma – torn between the love of God and the love of children – but I decided long ago to heed the words of Jesus. “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:36-39, emphasis mine). Personally, I prefer to be worthy of Jesus even if it means losing my sons. Sadly, that includes grandchildren too.
The time is short. Jesus may come for His Church – His Bride – at any moment. There is no time or place for divided loyalties. I choose Christ!