Jesus Is Coming!
 Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama
"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, 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. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, where in the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." (II Peter 3:1-14).
    Dear friend, Jesus is coming back. And His coming is imminent. I do not know when He is coming, and no man knows when. But He is coming, and He has instructed His people to be looking for Him, and to be expecting Him at any moment.
    There is only one second coming of Christ, or just one second advent. But that one event is to take place in two distinct phases, or aspects of the one event. We will, the Lord willing, deal with His second advent, showing the distinctions that the Scriptures hold surrounding His coming.
Coming For The Saints
    The first phase of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be in the clouds, when He shall call out, or gather unto Himself, or rapture away His precious saints. He will say unto His Blood bought saints, "Come up hither", and His saints will respond to His call, and will be caught away. It will be as a Bridegroom who calls away His chosen ones to meet Him, as is recorded in Solomon's Song, "My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away". (Song of Solomon 2:10).
    And Oh, what joy awaits God's people, and what matchless love is here manifested by our dear Lord! He loves His people, and has purposed to gather them unto Himself, and to maintain them eternally in His presence, where there will never, never, ever be separation any more. He is coming for His people. Soon.
    It is this calling out that is the very next great event in the life of a child of God. Experientially, this is what remains to be realized by the born again. Initially, regeneration was, or is to be experienced by God's elect, and then the home going. Great periods of time may intervene between these two momentous occurrences, but they are both stupendous and significant landmarks. Birth, then home going. How marvelous. How grand an expectation to be realized.
    You will recall that it is recorded in Acts, chapter 1 that He is coming back. "... Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11). Please remember now, that prior to this promise, Jesus has been virgin born; has proven His acceptability to God as The Sacrificial Lamb without blemish and without spot by His perfect life of obedience to the will of the Father; has been offered up to God sacrificially, upon the altar of God at Calvary; has been dealt with as our sin offering, having died in our room and in our stead; has been raised for our justification, God having testified of His satisfaction in His son; and has ascended to the Father, there to intercede in the behalf of His people before God as our High Priest.
    Now, after accomplishing all these marvelous acts of His for God's glory and in our behalf, why wouldn't He come back for us? Disregard the skeptics who deny His coming again, for they are foolish and know not whereof they speak. Rely upon the sure mercies of God. Rely upon His promises and upon His word. He is coming back! He is coming for us!
    Those who stood by and watched Him as He was taken up from them were amazed. But the Scriptures provided them, and us, with great and precious promise, namely, the promise of His return. Yet, in the face of this clearly stated promise, there are those who openly deny that He will return. "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11).
    In the texts that we read as we began this message, the apostle Peter had written to "elect strangers scattered abroad" throughout five provinces of the Roman Empire. (I Peter 1:1,2). He has reminded them that his purpose in writing to them is to stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance. He is not speaking to unregenerate sinners, nor is he speaking to the world in general. He is specifically addressing "beloved brethren". Only brethren have "pure minds". Lost men's minds are as the minds of reprobate. That is, they are void of correct judgment on spiritual matters.
    Peter warns these beloved brethren that in the last days there shall come scoffers who walk after their own lusts, and say, "Where is the promise of his coming?" You need only examine those who today deny the second coming of our Lord to see their ungodly motive. They lust after the things of this world. They seek the following of men, as do all cults of our day. They say, "Follow me", "Listen to me"; "Join me". Become one with me, and with my modern day crowd of the enlightened. They are scoffers at God's promise. But Peter warns against them with apostolic authority! And he reminds these brethren that God has spoken of these things through the prophets of old, and through the apostles in Peter's own day, and that the words of both the prophets and apostles is on God's authority.
    These scoffers ask, "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" (verse 4). And now I ask, "Are there men today who speak such words"? My friend, you know that there are such men today. Many deny the second coming of Christ, and will deny even while you read these words, at this very minute.
    Verse 5 of the text tells us that they are willingly ignorant of this promise. Just as were ungodly men in Noah's time, so are ungodly men today. They believed not God's promise then, and they believe not today. It is man's nature, in his state of depravity, to deny God. And man's nature has not changed in all the centuries that have passed since Noah's time. Adam's sin set us all on the downward road to destruction. Adam's sin brought depravity to all his descendants, and that depravity is still present and prevalent right now, at this moment.
    How was it in Noah's time? God tells us: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). And God destroyed the world that then was with the deluge. But the world that now is is reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But before the judgment of the flood, God provided an ark of safety for His people, and secured them against the judgment, and carried them over the flood.
    Before His soon coming judgment, God has promised the catch away, or to rapture His saints out of this present evil world. He has prepared for their safety THE ARK, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will deliver them safely over the judgment. This promise is made to God's people, and it is to this event, the rapture, that the first phase of Christ's second coming relates.
    In I Corinthians, Paul deals with this calling out, or this rapture of the saints of God. He declares that Christ is risen, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. And God has raised up Jesus Christ to testify of His having pleased the Father in all things. He, Christ, is the Firstfruits.
    Remembering the Feast of Firstfruits in the days when God dealt with His chosen people, Israel, as He then did, we see the significance of the Old Testament types. When the priest offered a sheaf of the early grain as a wave offering before God, this offering, when accepted by God, became the firstfruits, or the earnest (guarantee) of the harvest. As the wave offering was accepted, it became the consoling announcement to Israel that their harvests would be fruitful, and that God would be merciful to them in this regard.
    Now, Christ has become, in His resurrection, the firstfruits of them that sleep in Him. When God raised Him from among the dead, He published abroad the guarantee that so should the harvest be. Thus, we are assured that they which sleep in Jesus will God bring forth from the grave in glorious resurrection. And this is our consolation as we are required to bid them farewell for a season at their home going. God has promised, and has testified of His fidelity, and of His veracity to do His will in all matters, including the resurrection of His people from their place of sleep.
Coming With The Saints
    "But of the times and the seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." (I Thessalonians. 5:1-11).
    Dear friend, Jesus is coming back. He is coming back to this earth, just as He has purposed to do. It has been often prophesied in the Old Testament, as will be shown by the writings of Zechariah, chapter 14.
    "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah King of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light, and it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former (eastern) sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and winter shall it be. and the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." (Zechariah 14:1-11).
    It has been promised in the New Testament also that Jesus is coming back. Coming back in the clouds to gather His beloved unto Himself, as we have previously discussed. And coming back to this earth to defeat His enemies at the time when the "kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (Revelation 16:14). This is commonly called the Battle of Armageddon, (Revelation 16:16). The place of this conflict and defeat of God's enemies will be, literally, in the "Valley of Megiddon (Megiddo, Old Testament references in many places) spoken of by Zechariah in chapter 12 of his writings, he says, "In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon." (Zechariah 12.11).
    It will be here, that "His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives  ... (Zechariah 14:4). This is a literal standing upon the literal Mount of Olives to the east of literal Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives shall literally "cleave in the midst in an east west direction". Half of the mountain shall literally "move to the north, and half toward the south", and the ensuing valley will extend east and west, forming the literal valley and plain of Megiddo, in which the battle of that great day of God Almighty" shall take place. This is Armageddon, where the blood of God's enemies shall flow to the horse's bridles for a space of 200 miles. Incredible, you say? God said so. (Revelation 14:20).
    After Christ comes back to call His beloved saints out of this present world, as we have proclaimed, and do now proclaim, then He will bring in the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make and end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to annoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week 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, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Daniel 9:24-27).
    The 70th week is literally one week of years, or 7 years in duration. It is a literal 7 years, and as of this moment, is yet future. It is just as sure to occur in all its exactness as the other 69 weeks of years that Daniel prophesied of, and which were in every way literally fulfilled. The completion of the 69th week occurred when "Messiah was cut-off, but not for himself". He was cut-off, that is, He died for the sins of His people in complete sacrificial payment for the sins of His people, and for them alone.
    This future 70th week is commonly called the "Great Tribulation". More correctly, it is said to be "the time of Jacob's trouble". "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it". (Jeremiah 30:7).
    It is prior to the Great Tribulation, or time of Jacob's trouble that Christ will come in the clouds to catch away, or to rapture away His saints. Hence, we use the term Pre-Tribulational Rapture to describe the true Bible position as to when Christ will call His people away from this still cursed earth. Just as Enoch was translated, or caught away prior to the judgment of the flood, so God's children will be caught away prior to the judgment that is yet to fall upon God's enemies upon this earth at the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
    And so, the Bible position on eschatology (the doctrine of future things) is clearly, and without doubt, pre-tribulation as to its time of occurrence. That is the position that we preach, and that is the position that all those who are correct on the matter preach, for it is the truth.
    Now, this brings us finally to the texts that we read at the beginning of this section of the message. Look again at I Thessalonians chapter 5. "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (I Thessalonians 5:1-3).
    Because God has clearly instructed His people concerning the rapture of the saints in chapter 4, there is no need to tell them the exact time when the day of the Lord is to occur. The dead, or sleeping saints will have been resurrected and given glorified bodies, and the living saints will be changed into glorified bodies before the day of the Lord "so cometh as a thief in the night". To those left behind when Christ calls out His own, this day will come un announced, as a thief comes un-announced. It takes them by surprise. They are unprepared for its arrival. The day of the Lord is when His judgment will fall, prior to the day of Christ's one thousand year reign.
    Now, this day of Christ is His day. For about six thousand years now there has been man's day. But, soon the Sabbath, the day of Christ will dawn. And His day upon this earth will be for one thousand years. It is upon this earth. It is literal. It will be in Jerusalem that David's throne will be occupied by the only legitimate Heir, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
    The second phase of the Lord's coming will occur after the pre-tribulational occurrences of the first phase, which we have already discussed. This second phase will commence with the Lord Jesus Christ's arrival on the earthly scene. Having gathered out His own from among the world, He now comes to defeat His enemies. The battle of Armageddon, as it is commonly called, is the occasion of His warfare against those who have opposed Him and have been in rebellion against His sovereign authority.
    This great event will be at the end of the 7 years of Great Tribulation that Daniel spoke of. The 70th week is not designed to chastise God's little children, nor is it designed to subject the Lord's New Testament churches to the effects that the time produces. Rather, it is the time of Jacob's trouble! It is the time when God will have turned again to His chosen nation of people, Israel, to restore them to His favor, and to deliver His elect from among them from sins awful consequences. It is to save His elect from among that nation.
    Christ, not desirous of causing His precious churches to be made to bear the difficulties of this Great Tribulation, takes them out BEFORE the tribulation. And His coming to end the tribulation period also heralds the beginning of the age that follows. That age is the 1000 year Reign of Christ - the Millennium. His arrival on the earth will be Pre-Millennial, because He will come just before the millennium begins.
    But who are these of whom Paul speaks as being made to be partakers of this resurrection? Listen to the inspired apostle as he speaks, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (I Corinthians 15:22,23).
    Please note that in verse 22, we are told that all that are identified in Adam died when Adam died. That is, they, at that moment, were in a state of spiritual separation from God. This number includes all of Adam's race, without exception. That's you, and I, and every son of Adam that now lives, or has ever lived, or that shall ever live. That is universal death to all of mortal mankind; "... for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God " (Romans 3-23).
    Then we are told that all those identified in Christ shall be made alive. (verse 23). Here, there is distinction made as to who they are, and the word all is used to speak of them. But the all in Adam and the all in Christ are not the same all. It cannot be the same all in both cases. Indeed all died in Adam. That is, all men of Adam's race, without exception. But if the same all are also identified in Christ, then they too must be made alive. And if this be true, then hell is, and will continue to be uninhabited. We know that this is not the case however, for the rich man, in hell, lifted up has voice and pleaded for a drop of water for to cool his tongue, hear him, "... I am tormented in these flames", (Luke 16:24) speaks sufficiently to confirm this.
    Who is it that will be made alive? Why, it is all that are in Christ. Even the most unlearned of men, when confronted with the facts must admit that all men are not saved. Yet, the Scriptures declare that all shall be made alive. There must be distinction made between the all in Adam, and the all in Christ. This discriminating grace of God is therefore proven. Why do men rebel at such clear teaching of God's word? Why do men insist that God does not choose His people, and then bestow distinctive, elective grace upon them?
    Paul also speaks of the resurrection of God's people in other of the writings that God used him to pen. Listen to him: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." (I Thessalonians 4:14). "... them also which sleep in Jesus ..." are a distinct people. They are distinguished from all other people. They are they which sleep in Jesus, and none besides. They are a peculiar people; a purchased people; a particular people as distinguished from all men in the universal sense.
    Paul also says "... 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 in the Lord". Now surely none would declare that all who will be living when Christ returns in the air shall be caught up together with them. And if not all men without exception, then who is it that shall be caught up? Why, it is all those who are identified in Christ. I ask you: "Is this particular, or general rapture"? You answer.
    Now, getting back to the matter before us in II Peter, chapter 3, we find that the day of the Lord is indeed to come. But men have denied this, and still deny it. But God said that men are willingly ignorant of this promise, and so they remain unto this late day. Will men remain in such a state of ignorance on this important matter? They will unless and until God be pleased to work a work in them. Otherwise, they will remain in total darkness on this matter.
    God has also warned, and does warn the brethren to be not ignorant of this one thing. Read again: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
    To begin with, Peter is speaking to "beloved brethren". This point is vital to your understanding of these scriptures. He is not talking to lost men, nor is he talking to men in general. He is talking to brethren - to saved people. He tells them that God's promise is to them, and that it is sure. He is not speaking of the regenerating act of the Holy Spirit in birthing people into God's family. He is taking of the promise of His coming again. That has been the subject throughout this epistle. So, dear reader, be instructed that the subject is not the saving of sinners, but the promise of Christ's coming for those sinners He has already saved. He came ONCE to save sinners. He is coming again to gather those He has saved unto Himself.
    Have you ever heard some preacher use these scriptures and apply them to lost men? Have you ever heard one say that God is not willing that any should perish, but that He wants all men to come to repentance? I have. In fact, it is frequently used this way, and great zeal is often demonstrated in pleadings and urging to "let God save you".
    But, dear friend, what kind of a puny god do men serve who is so impotent that he must rely upon men to let him do what he wants to do? God is not a weakling. He is not a worn out old man who sits in a corner, wringing His hands in anguish because man will not let Him do what His heart desires to do. In fact, He has declared in Job 23:13 -"But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth." Does this sound like the kind of God that man imagines Him to be?
    Verse 9 is more often than not misquoted and then misapplied. Here is how man generally quotes it; "God is not slack concerning his promise, and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Then, a general call goes out, "just repent, for God does not desire you to turn down His offer of salvation", as if man, in his dead state could repent. Or, as if God wills all men, without exception, to be saved, but they just won't let Him save them. Beloved, how pitiable this perversion of God's word is, and how pitiable and blind are those who have such a wrong understanding of what God has said. I pray God to open the blinded eyes of preachers who distort the pure word of God and present such a message.
    Remember that Peter is addressing brethren, saved people, not lost sinners. To take God's word addressed to His people, and to wrest it into such as men offer is totally dishonest.
    Here's what these verses actually say. Read them for yourself now to be sure this is what they say. "But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
    God has promised to return. That is a fact. He has a set time for that return. But his time is not our time. That is a fact. He is not slack concerning His promise to return. That is a fact.
    God is longsuffering. That is a fact. Just as He was longsuffering in the days of Noah. (He waited 120 years while Noah prepared the ark.) BUT, He was longsuffering in NOAH'S BEHALF, not in behalf of the hordes of unregenerate reprobates who died under His judgment. He is longsuffering to US-WARD in this age. Did you catch that? He is longsuffering to US-WARD! He is longsuffering to US-WARD! He is longsuffering to US- WARD!
    Indeed, God is not willing that any of the US-WARD, to whom He is longsuffering, should perish, but that all of the US-WARD to whom He is longsuffering should come to repentance. And come to repentance they shall for God GRANTS repentance to His chosen ones. To each one of them, He GRACIOUSLY GRANTS Repentance, and GIVES Faith. But He does so to each of them at His own appointed time, and is longsuffering toward them until He brings them to Himself.
    God GRANTED Repentance, and GAVE Faith to Saul of Tarsus. But He did so in DUE TIME. As Paul later affirmed, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:" (Galatians 1:15,16).
    When Peter preached the gospel of the grace of God to the household of Cornelius, and those whom the Lord saved received the gift of the Holy Ghost, even the religious Jews could not contend with the reality of the glorious transaction. "Forasmuch then as God GAVE them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE." (Acts 11:17,18).
    Lest someone of you who reads this misunderstand what the Scriptures teach concerning God's act of saving a sinner, let me hasten to assure you that all that God has chosen to salvation, He is indeed unwilling that any of them should perish. And they SHALL NOT, for HE SHALL SAVE THEM!
    To affirm, however, that God is not willing that ANY OF ADAM'S FALLEN RACE should perish is to wrest the Scriptures, and to misuse the blessed word of God. If God willed that all men, without exception, are to be saved, then saved they shall be. Otherwise, you would affirm that there is in unregenerate man, a will that is superior to the Sovereign Will of God. This affirmation I must categorically deny, as do the Scriptures also deny such a position. If God is TRYING TO SAVE someone, but is unable to overcome that one, then that one is more powerful than God. Can you imagine such foolishness?
    What saith the Scriptures? (Psalms 110:3) - "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."
    Notice, THY PEOPLE, God's people, shall BE WILLING. When? In the day of THY POWER. When God undertakes in behalf of a people, and when His power is employed, He is successful. EVERY TIME!
    John 6:37 - "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Christ came to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21).
    He is coming in the air to gather them to Himself. I Thessalonians 4:16,17 -- "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."
    What is the purpose of the time of Jacob's trouble, known as the Great Tribulation? Please examine the message of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He lamented over the city of Jerusalem, the seat of government of His elect nation, Israel. "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:37-39).
    Jesus said these words WHILE HE WAS ON THE EARTH ALMOST 2000 YEARS AGO.
    And Israel has not recognized Him since that time, nor have they owned Him as their Messiah. But THEY WILL! One day, they, as a people, shall say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
    "Ye shall not see me henceforth (from this time) TILL YE SAY ..." The word "till" says, "Not YET -- but sometime."
    So, the 70th week, the Great Tribulation week, that shall come has always been designed to BRING ISRAEL TO ACKNOWLEDGE JESUS CHRIST. And Israel SHALL SO ACKNOWLEDGE HIM! Psalm 118:26 makes this prediction. "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord."
    He will come back to complete THAT WEEK, and at the end of THAT WEEK, usher in THE DAY OF THE LORD, HIS VENGEANCE, then the 1000 year LITERAL REIGN UPON THIS EARTH!
    Note the actions that Jesus Christ shall take to end the Great Tribulation that the Anti-Christ has seemingly controlled, and to begin HIS DAY.
    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." (It is Jesus Christ Himself.) "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." (This is the clothing worn by His saints.) "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the NATIONS: and he shall rule THEM with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." Revelation. 19:11-21
    In summary, the pre-tribulational rapture of the saints of God will deliver God's people out of, or over, the tribulation judgment. It will provide armies that will accompany Christ at His return to the earth. These armies will be literally armies of believers and they will be clothed in fine linen, clean and white.
    At the pre-millennial return of Christ, these actions and events will take place: Christ comes in righteousness to judge and make war. He comes with His saints. He defeats the anti-christ and his associates, and his army. The fowl will have been called ahead of the time so that they will be used to clean up the carnage of the battle of the great day of God Almighty. Christ will have His vesture dipped in blood, but not His own blood this time; rather, it will be the blood of His enemies. Jesus then hears Israel as that nation acknowledges Him. Then King Jesus rules the nations of the earth with a rod of iron. The beast and false prophet are cast alive into the lake of fire that burns eternally with brimstone. Satan is then bound and placed in the bottomless pit where he will be incarcerated for one thousand (1000) years, during which millennium, Christ rules and reigns from David's throne in Jerusalem.
    "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." (I Thessalonians 5:1,2).
    That day will be unannounced to God's enemies, but it surely will come. Unbelievers will be continuing on in their mad dash into destruction, totally unaware that judgment awaits them. They will be eating, and drinking, and living it up as they disregard God and the things of God. But their judgment is coming.
    God's people are to be living anticipatingly and longingly for His imminent return to take them out of the imminent dangers that the Great Tribulation week is so fraught with. God's people are not to be looking to identify the anti-christ. They are to be taught, and to believe that Christ will come for us BEFORE that great enemy, the anti-christ is openly manifested upon this earth. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or to be troubled, neither by spirit, nor be word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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; 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." (II Thessalonians 2:1-4).
    Christ will catch away His people before the anti-christ is identified, and before he begins his diabolical schemes of world conquest and control. Don't prepare for the anti-christ! Rather, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior, and then live for Him, while we await His second coming. "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians  2:10,11).

(The Baptist Herald - November, 1991)

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