Jesus knew that it is vital that we be prepared for the rapture. We need not gather food for seven years, we need not find hiding places, and need not get weapons to protect ourselves for a seven year time of judgment from God. No, we are ‘caught out of harm’s way,’ and need to be ready for that sudden event. If we were truly to go through the tribulation, the return of Jesus would not be a mystery to us, we would know the day. For when the Antichrist defiles the Temple, we know exactly how many days until the second coming. When the abomination of desolation occurs in the middle of the tribulation, the exact number of days from then to the second coming is spelled out. If we were to go through the tribulation, we would not need to be concerned about a secret, surprise coming. The secret and surprise coming is the rapture of the church.
And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched ...
If we know when a thief were coming, we would prepare. The doors would be locked, the alarm system armed, and we would be prepared to defend ourselves. Most would have 9-1, of the 9-1-1 already dialed. We would be more than ready. Yet, many say they believe Jesus is coming soon, and still are unprepared, un-studied on the subject, and apathetic to spiritual things. That does not speak ‘readiness’. It tells others that we do not really believe in the soon coming rapture.
speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? ... Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
The disciples were curious whether the parable about the return of the Lord was to them alone or to all the thousands there. They were a bit concerned, for their desire was to be the faithful and wise stewards, and become ‘rulers’ over the household. There was a bit of hope in them that they were the chief ones, the ones to be honored more than others. The Lord is ‘no respecter of persons, and will reward us according to our faithfulness. There is not honor given for being chosen, but honor given for our faithful service. Judas was one of the disciples who was there then, but he forfeited his blessings due to his unfaithfulness.
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? ...
The Lord wants them to know that He asks that question, and the answer is due to their choice. He is not going to choose some to give great honor, whether they have been faithful or not. He chose 12 disciples, and 11 were faithful. He chose you and I, and if we both are faithful, we will receive great honor from Him. The choice is our own.
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
Blessed" means happy, due to faithful care of his master's goods. The blessing comes if we are faithful in the work the Lord gives to us. We will soon be ruling and reigning together with Jesus, if we are faithful.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
The words ‘in his heart’ indicate this could be just a ‘thought’, and perhaps never voiced openly. The thoughts and intents of our heart are known by the Lord, and if we just ‘think’ that the Lord is delaying, and not coming soon, and therefore begin to live unrighteously, we will be judged for it. We need to have in our heart a living hope for the rapture.
The word ‘menservants’ is the Greek word pais (G3816), meaning a child, a boy or girl. This refers to not just ‘unfaithfulness’ but also to cruelty, abuse, and severity against the weak and unprotected. It may refer to children as an age group, or as those young in the Lord, i.e. new Christians.
Jesus speaks of several sins of the unfaithful, unprepared, non-expectant ones. Their hearts are turned away from their Master, they abuse younger saints, they become gluttons of things, and are senseless in drunkenness.
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
The Lord will deal with these unfaithful, sinful, rebellious ones. The judgment is to be cut him in sunder, to go into ‘outer darkness, to weep and gnash teeth in agony. Some would say they backslid to this state, others would say they never were saved to begin with. Either way, their end is with the unbelievers.
What is the portion of the unbelievers?
Revelation 21:8 (KJV)
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
The servants who know the will of the Master are held accountable for that greater knowledge. Punishment is received according to how much revelation was given, how much mercy was rejected.
An ignorant person receives less punishment. A person who committed a petty crime would be beaten with four to six stripes. The maximum was to be 39 stripes.
In a nation like the United States, where churches are on many corners, and Christians own television and radio stations, where Bible are in most every home, where we can pray and preach without imprisonment, (at least not yet), we have no excuse for ignorance. So, the punishment of those who have sat in many a sermon with ‘repent and believe’ as the emphasis, will be very great.
WE NEED A PATIENT IMPATIENCE
FOR OUR LORD’S RETURN
II Thessalonians 2:13-17, 3:1-5
13. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, Who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17. Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
1. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
2. And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men:
for all men have not faith.
3. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
4. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
5. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
2 Thessalonians 3:2 (KJV)
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 (KJV)
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
2 Thessalonians 3:4 (KJV)
And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 (KJV)
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
Anyone can be spiritually strong at the end of a great revival. But what happens when there are daily pressures, and constant trials? We all will have peaks and valleys, and a few plateaus, in our walk. We need patient standing fast, having faith in spite of trials, delays, and seemingly endless waiting.
God has "chosen" us to salvation. This is what we refer to as the ‘doctrine of election’. We have God choosing to save us, the devil chooses to devour or destroy us... and we have the deciding vote. We are chosen to salvation, with our part is ‘belief of the truth’ and a process of ‘sanctification of the Spirit.’ The Holy Spirit is the active one first in salvation, bringing us to Jesus for forgiveness, Who then takes us to the Father, forgiven for His sake. Belief in the truth, accepting the offer of salvation in the Bible, is our exercising of faith that brings us salvation.
We need to ‘stand fast’, i.e. be firm, and ‘hold to the traditions (rules) that ye have been taught." If we hold onto the faith that Paul taught, that the Bible reveals, and use that as our ‘statement of faith’, the basic Bible truths that we believe, we will be established in the Lord.
Paul then prays for them to be ‘stablished’ in every good "word and work." Many have the good words, and some have the good works, but we need to have both.
We would like to be kept from evil. The Lord is faithful, and never fails. He will ‘direct your hearts’. Direction is ‘guiding’, and making sure we have encouragement for good. He directs us into the ‘love of God’, and shows us that no matter how long the delays seem to be, we can patiently make it through, knowing that the Lord loves us.
He also directs us into the ‘patient waiting for Christ.’ The hope of the rapture is an impatient desire, a ‘patient waiting’. We all long to have Jesus come and rescue us from the trials of life, but we must patiently await such rapture. Always long for it, always pray for it, always be anxious for it... but do it patiently!
The worldwide knowledge of the coming of Jesus is growing. There has been sermon after sermon, movies have shown our desire for a rapture, talk shows have interviewed and mocked our faith in such, the government has identified all who await a second coming as a ‘cult’, Bible studies have pondered and marveled in the Biblical revelation of such, and the news has confirmed prophecies by multitudinous revelations of fulfillment.
The danger is that if the Lord does not come ‘soon enough’ for some, that impatience makes them do unwise things. Do not get so involved in the time, but concentrate on the ‘Who’.
The rapture should have a great effect on us, we should have comfort in trials of our faith. We should be assured of reunion with ones who have gone on before us. We should anticipate the new body which will not feel pain, weakness, disease, or age. We should have hope for the inheritance that will alleviate the poverty of this world. We should expect the deliverance from the persecutors. There should be an awakening from spiritual drowsiness. We should be purifying ourselves in joyful readiness.
There are snares to beware as we patiently await the rapture.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man
The day can come upon us ‘unawares’. We need to beware of ‘surfeiting, drunkenness, cares of life that may distract us from readiness. Instead of those things, we need to put more prayer and watching (staying alert) readiness in our lives.
"Surfeiting" is overindulgence. Too many Christians accept and say nothing about what God condemns, as abortion, sex perversion. Some overindulge in satisfying fleshly desires.
To be ‘overcharged’ (Greek = baruno) means to be ‘weighed down. Some things in life can ‘weigh’ us ‘down’ and make it hard to function.
‘Drunkenness’ means to be overcome, made insensitive to reality by alcohol or drugs. One can be misguided in vision and judgment when under their influence. The ‘cares of life’ will easily distract many.
The day will come ‘suddenly’. I Thessalonians 5:3 ‘Then cometh sudden destruction" The rapture is the beginning of that time, and if the destruction is ‘sudden’, we will find that the ‘rapture’ is also ‘sudden’. It will happen ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’
Do not be deceived by imposters. Many false messiahs and false prophets will be present in these last days. Some will be easily identified as false, but some will be like ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing." Hold fast to Jesus and His Word.
Do not be disturbed by news, by the current event crisis. There will be things happening in the last days, that will terrify the common man, will shake the faithless, and put fear in the carnal. The rapture will be our ‘catching out of harm’s way’ (harpadzo), so do not be overly concerned.. All these events should make us ‘look up, for redemption draweth nigh’.
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
Do not fear how to answer those who oppose you in these last days, for the Lord will give you the answers.
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
Then what should we do?
First, we need to be ‘patient’. Patient endurance is needed. All signs will not be fulfilled in ‘one day’. There will be periodic ‘labor pains’ of fulfillment. Just as a woman has moments of great pain in child birth, so in the fulfillment of prophecy, there are times of many sudden fulfiLlments, and then times of seemingly nothing happening. It is normal to get anxious as the time gets near, but we must remain patient.
In your patience possess ye your souls.
Turn your thoughts heavenward, think of Jesus and His power. We need to be watchful, expectant, hopeful, and anxious for our Lord’s coming.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Stay alert to the times. Know, do not be non-committal in your testimony and prophetic speaking. So many speak, ‘I do not know if." And the world wants ‘authoritative speaking’ as was done by the Lord. We have His Word, the prophetic message of the Spirit in the Word of God, and we should speak it with authority.
So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
It is a trap to be unprepared, unaware. If we study the Word of God, we need not be unprepared. We are not to be in darkness but in light.
I Thessalonians 5:4-5
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.
If we are ready, we will escape the wrath to come, and we need not e ‘appointed unto wrath." (I Thess. 5:9)