Be Found Ready: Preparing For the LORD’s Return
This is a topic I’m extraordinarily passionate about. It’s something I’ve studied for years – not at my will, but at the LORD’s insistent invitation and command. When it comes to the subject of Christ’s return, I can be very intense. But I also get very, very excited! I believe we are living in prophetic times unlike any other; those which are unique to this specific generation. What we are seeing and experiencing today is what the prophets and apostles saw and spoke of only by divine revelation thousands of years ago. And folks, we’re here. We’re living it. For those of you who may not realize it, or perhaps refuse to acknowledge it, we are on the cusp of His return. I believe that we are one of the last generations, and that opinion is one held by many who are avidly watching and praying. I hold to it strongly, and I have come to that conclusion through the intense study of scripture, and by watching the state of Israel. When we look at God’s prophetic calendar in view of the Hebraic calendar, coupled with the current world events, there is no mistaking it.
Are you excited? I want you to be. But more than that, I want you to be ready. Because whether you’re excited or not – whether you’re dreading, anticipating, or actively planning for this event – none will escape it. Let’s remember that. We will all see Him face to face.
Needless to say, this is a deep subject. And for those of you who are interested in end times (otherwise known as eschatology), I’d like to introduce you to my new study: Matthew 24: The End According to Christ. This is the first of my Stepping Stones bible studies to be released. And there are many more to come.
I feel the LORD’s very personal passion for His bride. He’s wooing her to Himself. He’s calling her to awaken and rise up. Yet not all who are hearing that call know how to do that. Although our hearts may be awake, we often don’t know the “how” behind the “what” to do. This study I’ve written will help you.
I don’t have all the answers. I’m not a theologian, and I’ve never attended seminary. I have no biblical degree of any kind. What I do have is an assignment and an anointing from the LORD to present this message and material to the Church, and all those who are willing to hear. I humbly ask that you consider this study for yourself if this is a topic of interest to you. I truly believe God will use it to prepare you for Himself as His own. That is something worth investing in.
In this post I want to talk about preparing for the LORD’s return. I’m not going deep today. I’ll let the study take care of that. But what I want to do is hit some high points. Some may think that because the idea of preparation is presented, that means by default that I’m implying Christ will come in our lifetime.
That is an erroneous assumption and a naive speculation. No one knows exactly when Christ will come again – not even the angels. Only the Father knows the appointed time of His Son’s return. However, Christ has given every believer a very clear mandate to be found ready. That is without dispute. He commanded us to watch and pray. Therefore, in this post, I’m going to introduce some of the most basic fundamental truths one can begin to implement in their spiritual lives to help them do that. Let’s prepare – both spiritually and practically.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself READY, (Revelation 19:7, KJV, emphasis mine).
No one is going to do this for you. We have a spiritual responsibility and obligation to obey that call, heed the LORD’s word, and take initiative for ourselves.
The Elect Bride
First, let’s define the bride for whom Christ is coming. Christ is coming for His elect bride. That bride is described as a wise virgin; a good and faithful servant; one who is found without spot or wrinkle; one who has been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ; and who has been purified (sanctified) by the washing of water of His word. In Matthew 24 Christ talks about His ‘elect’. Many are called, yet few are chosen. So we need to understand that those who are elect are also chosen of Him.
We are exhorted in scripture to make our calling and election sure. With regard to our election, we are given examples by which apostasy can be realized. Those examples are clearly seen in two individuals: Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter. Both were chosen, and both were disciples of Christ. Yet both had very different reasons for falling away. One was possessed by Satan; the other sifted by him. One was reconciled; the other condemned. One repented; the other did not. Both were warned of their actions and they understood the consequences of those actions. One betrayed Christ; the other denied Him.
Christ told Judas that the one who dips into the cup with him was a devil and would betray him. Folks, there’s no missing that. I would bet that last supper came to a screeching halt. Yet Judas fulfilled that command in that very moment without hesitation. As a result he was filled with Satan and fulfilled the prophecy of the “son of perdition”.
Peter was also warned that he would deny Christ three times, yet he vehemently resisted and protested that prophecy. In contrast, this grieved Peter deeply.
Judas and Simon are both clear examples to us of what can become of a believer.
Apostasy is very real. Christ, as well as the apostles, candidly talk about it. This is not a topic they ignored. In fact, they addressed it openly, and even warned against it. We are told that in the end times all will be shaken until what cannot be shaken remains (see Hebrews 12). The only thing that cannot be shaken is Christ Jesus. Therefore, if we are found in Him, we will remain stable, sure and steadfast. He alone is the Rock upon which the Church is built, against which the gates of hell will not prevail. He is the author and perfecter of such an unshakable faith, if we will allow Him to perfect that faith in us.
To think that we, as believers, are immune from such deception by which apostasy occurs is a deception in itself. Every believer needs to be aware of their own vulnerability to deception, understanding the intent behind it, and take up arms against it. Peter, in his pride, never gave the possibility of denying Christ a mere thought. To him it was an impossibility, and the prophecy of his doing so was something he vehemently protested. Yet he denied Christ three times. The reality of this broke Peter’s heart. He wept bitterly and repented. Because of this, Peter was lovingly restored. That restoration came through a clear command to love. Judas, on the contrary, did not repent, although the opportunity was presented to him on more than one occasion. Christ called him a ‘devil’. As a result, Judas died a cruel death that depicted the curse for those who become apostate (see 2 Peter).
THE TRUTH IS
EVERY BELIEVER IS VULNERABLE TO DECEPTION.
SATAN’S ULTIMATE GOAL IN DECEPTION IS TO ACHIEVE APOSTASY.
With regard to the end times, we are told there will be a great falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Therefore, Christ gives several warnings (see Matthew 24). Every one of them are in reference to deception in its various forms. When we consider what He says, these warnings are both severe and poignant. In speaking them, He directly addresses His Church. These warnings against deception are Christ’s wake up call to His elect. If we are going to effectively guard against deception, then we must be found abiding in Christ and His Truth. The only way we can do that is by cultivating and nurturing an intimate relationship with Him through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and His Word.
THE ELECT BRIDE EFFECTIVELY GUARDS AGAINST DECEPTION AND THE DANGER OF APOSTASY THROUGH INTIMACY WITH CHRIST AND HIS WORD.
HER RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM IS SAFEGUARDED BY LOVING OBEDIENCE
WHICH CAN ONLY BE PRODUCED BY THE SPIRIT OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD.
Signs of the Times
When I think of practical ways to prepare, we must understand that we now live in a global economy: politically, financially, and socially. To place yourself in a spiritual bubble is not the answer. Quite the contrary. We must be aware of what’s going on in the world around us – especially with regard to the nation of Israel. The part Israel plays in the return of Christ is central. She is the clock by which He tells divine time, and by which time is measured on earth. Therefore, to have some knowledge of the Hebrew calendar is highly advantageous for every believer.
Ladies and gentlemen, the digital age is in full throttle. What we are seeing today is precisely what is allowing the Word of God to come to pass on many levels, in many arenas, among many people. The Church Age (otherwise known as the Age of Grace) is drawing to a close. Although that ‘door’ is closing, the opportunities for a global reach are widening. That may sound scary, or even mysterious. It shouldn’t. Nothing is a secret anymore. The Gospel is out there! People are hearing about Jesus Christ through many digital avenues in astronomical numbers that can’t even be counted or measured.
With that being said, I truly believe that there are very few left who have not heard. How many, I don’t know. Yet the manner in which we reach the outliers is changing dramatically. Internet and social media are making headway for the Gospel. It’s now available to everyone on a massive scale that is moving at the speed of light. Let’s understand that the fulfillment of the Great Commission, which is the spread of the Gospel globally, is finally upon us. It’s nearing completion. When Christ gave the command for the Gospel to spread to the ends of the earth beginning at Jerusalem, that included its remotest parts such as the islands and farthest seas. Today the Gospel is coming full circle – back to Jerusalem from whence it began. As a result, we are seeing the prophetic salvation of Israel come to pass before our very eyes. That very sign is a clear indication of that the fulness of the Gentiles is being fulfilled (see Romans chapter 9-11). Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ), is being preached in Israel by born again Jews and Arabs in record numbers.
The salvation of Israel, as prophesied, is finally coming to pass. She who is blind and asleep is now awakening and seeing the light. The salvation of Israel was a contingency upon which the LORD would finally return. Christ made a clear statement regarding this contingency when He said:
O 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 under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,'” (Matthew 23:37-39, KJV).
This is only one of the many contingencies He gave, and it’s currently in the process of fulfillment. The time has arrived. It’s here and it’s happening. Jews are coming to Christ! Israel is awakening to her Lord and Savior. How long will it be until we hear her proclaim, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the LORD!” I don’t believe it’s far away. This is merely one sign. So, let’s eagerly watch and pray.
Watch & Pray
So how do we watch and pray?
As I said before, Israel is central. She is our divine clock by which God tells time.
With that truth in mind let’s ponder and consider this question for a moment. As believers we have access to the throne of God directly at any given time through the blood of Jesus Christ by the Spirit of God. That level of intimacy allows for intercession by which we are able to obtain ‘inside information’. I believe God will entrust only what He knows we can be responsible toward. In His divine wisdom He will withhold knowledge He knows we cannot be responsible toward. This loving discretion is something we should be thankful for, because it spares us from an unnecessary judgment that we would incur from Him otherwise.
Let it be known: The Father is speaking to His children. Listen: It’s time to awaken (see Romans 13:11)! I believe the alarm has sounded. If you are at all asleep or spiritually groggy – let Him shake you awake! To all who will hear, He’s giving a clarion call to come forth; to arise; to get ready; and to prepare. Every generation must be found faithful for the age in which they live, so that the plans and purposes of God are fulfilled by those destined within that allotted and appointed time. We all have a part to play. I believe that our present generation, if it is not the last, is one of the last. I believe we are extraordinarily close to the time of Christ’s return. So we must be found ready. That is an obligation every believer must accept, regardless of their individual beliefs. The fact is – whether you go, or He comes, we will all meet Him face to face. That is a solemn day of reckoning for which you want to be prepared – I assure you.
Intimacy with Christ and intercession are imperative – especially in the days ahead. And if you haven’t already, you need to begin interceding with regard to what Christ would have you do personally so that you might prepare and be found ready. Your life and walk with God are unique to any other.
YOU NEED TO BEGIN INTERCEDING WITH REGARD TO YOUR PERSONAL PREPARATION ACCORDING TO THE WILL AND PURPOSE OF GOD.
The times in which we are living are growing darker by the day. Most Christians are very much aware of the rapid moral decline. We, as a society, are circling the proverbial drain. Good is being called evil; and evil good. There is gross darkness abounding all over the globe, and it’s accelerating. I believe we are in the ‘beginning of sorrows’. The birth pangs are growing closer together. And if you think it’s bad now, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Your relationship with Christ and your knowledge of His truth is going to be what gives you the edge you need against the increasing deception. Christ sternly warned His elect against being deceived, if it were possible. That possibility lies with us and is dependent upon our obedience to Christ. If it were not possible, He would not have given such a warning.
EMBRACE THE FEAR OF THE LORD. LET IT GUARD YOU IN HIS WISDOM.
I know that I’ve experienced deception in my life before at different times, as have many other believers. None of us are immune, and we are witnessing this with increasing frequency. Deception happens in many ways, and in many areas, at many levels. Most of the time it happens gradually. What amazes me is that it happens so commonly among those in leadership. Scary. My previous post gave some real-time examples of this deception in the Church. It’s very sad. It’s very dangerous. And it’s very real (see Jude). Yet Christ has promised that we can successfully guard against it. And He’s shown us how to do precisely that. So let’s understand that the deception we need to guard against is not necessarily flagrant and glaring. That is not what truly threatens us. It’s simply too easy to recognize. Instead, what we need to be able to discern is the very subtle, gradual, sly, cunning, and seductive deception that will abound and circulate around us, for which we must be aware. Such deception will have an appearance of light and truth, but its substance will be nothing but darkness and lies which lead to eventual apostasy and death.
Christ gave some insight into this kind of deception and how it takes place when He said this:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single (undivided), thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” (Matthew 6:21-24, KJV, emphasis mine).
THE TRUE BRIDE OF CHRIST WILL HAVE A SINGLE HEART AND EYE
FOR HER LORD.
THIS IS THE HEART AND EYE OF A WISE AND EXPECTANT VIRGIN BRIDE
WHOSE LAMP IS BURNING BRIGHTLY.
I am all about relationship with Christ. When you are tight with Jesus Christ He will keep you in the know. He’ll keep you in the light and truth.
As Christians we have an obligation. We cannot watch and pray effectively if we don’t know what’s going on in the world.
I truly believe that every Christian has a moral, spiritual, ethical, and civic responsibility to stay up-to-date with the news. Yes, the news. In no way am I implying that all news is worthy of our time and attention, because many sources are not reliable. However, that does not excuse us of our own self-inflicted ignorance. We need to make a concerted effort to be informed, and carefully consider our source. We should be giving necessary time and attention to reliable sources that broadcast truth. To allow yourself to be ignorant of what’s going on in the world around you is absolutely inexcusable – and it’s irresponsible. If you are a believer who is paying attention, watching and praying as Christ commanded, you need to know what is going on at the most fundamental levels of government with regard to the world events unfolding. Not only does this open our eyes in providing an awareness by which we may discern the times, but it also gives us insight in how to pray, and furthermore in what to do.
I have talked with many people in the younger generation who have no idea what is happening in the world today. They are essentially clueless. And to be clueless is to be powerless. They are walking in darkness. When asked why they do not watch the news, the number one reason I hear is, “the news is depressing”, or “the news scares me”. They simply cannot relate because they have little to no foundational knowledge regarding the present world issues. For these reasons, world events and government activities are of no interest to them personally, and they have chosen to incubate themselves in a bubble of ignorance, by which they feel safe. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and this is a very good example of how sly deception creeps in. For the sake of self-preservation (which is imagined), they live in an insulated and fictitious bubble. And it’s a very dangerous one that will explode with the exposure to the world they are unprepared to live within. Such ignorance is not only dangerous, but it’s shameful and selfish.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s live responsibly and take a proactive stand for what is right according to truth. Let’s pay attention. Let’s make that a priority. Let’s open our eyes fully, and let’s take the time and initiative to educate ourselves so that we can watch, pray, and prepare as Christ commanded.
OPENING YOUR EYES SPIRITUALLY DOES NOT EXCUSE YOU FROM CLOSING YOUR EYES PHYSICALLY.
WATCHING AND PRAYING IS EXERCISED BOTH SPIRITUALLY AND PRACTICALLY.
Open your eyes and watch, so that you may also pray effectively – on target – and according to God’s perfect will so that it may be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be an engaged and proactive citizen – not only of heaven – but of society.
The Wife of the Lamb
The wise virgin is the pure and spotless bride without wrinkle (see Ephesians 5:25, 26). This is the unified bride who walks with the LORD in His Spirit (see Ephesians 2:11-22), who holds the testimony of Jesus (see Revelation 12:17), whose love does not grow cold (see Matthew 24:12 and 1 John), who bears His name without shame (see Revelation 19:13), and who carries His presence to all those who don’t know Him (1 John & 1 Peter 1:22). This is the elect bride of Christ who will become the wife of the Lamb (see Revelation 19:7).
We are all a work in progress, myself included. In no way to I pretend to have it all together. I’m on the same journey you are. Christ regularly deals with me about my own “spots” and “wrinkles” which I have to address. Yet I have been given a gift which I long to share. It burns within me. I pray with all my heart that every one of you reading this will take the time to watch, pray, and prepare.
Whether you go, or He comes, we all have a biblical mandate to be found ready. If you haven’t started preparing yet, I pray you begin today. It’s not too late. God bless you!
Cheers & Shalom,