It is impossible to watch current global events in the light of the Revelation and witness the increasing apostasy of man being manifested all around us, and not be reminded of the fact that we are nearing the time of the fulfillment of all prophecy. This was on my mind as I went to the Word recently and was brought to the prophecy of Zephaniah, a short book filled with sober warnings, but also blessed encouragements. Verse 14 of the first chapter was a great encouragement to me:
"The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly."
The "great day" referenced is not the Rapture of the church, but the great day of judgment as the next verse clearly states:
"That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness."
Why was this an encouragement to me? Because "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2Timothy 1:12), and that the salvation the Lord has given me (and all other true Believers) has "delivered [me] from the wrath to come" (1Thessalonians 1:10). This hope should encourage and empower everyone who shares it with me to serve Him with all confidence and joy as we enter the “last days.”
But what are we to do while we wait expectantly for the Lord's eminent return? The Lord was very specific to His chosen remnant of Zephaniah's time, and I believe His instructions apply to us in this time as well:
"Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; [read Hebrews 10:22-25]
Before the decree bring forth,
before the day pass as the chaff,
before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you,
before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.
Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment;
it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger."
Zephaniah 2:1-3 [underlines added]
How consistent this is with the Lord's own message to His disciples when instructing them of the great judgments of the end times of our dispensation:
"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."
And Paul's encouragement to Titus:
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great Go and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"
Titus 2:11-13 [underline added]
The only generation that these encouragements could apply to is the generation that is alive when the judgments prophesied are fast approaching. It is this generation who is given the hope of escaping "all things that shall come to pass," that will see their "blessed hope" become a "blessed reality."
Christian, our "blessed hope" is the hope of the pre-tribulation return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His church, His Bride. It is every Christian's hope. It is a sure hope that will not fail us.
God's people of Zephaniah's time were delivered through the great judgment(s) prophesied, as will be His earthly people in the end time. This is pictured by Noah who was saved through the great flood, kept safe in the ark which is a type of Jesus Christ (Genesis 6-8; Luke 17:26, 27). However, the church, the body of Christ, i.e., all who have been truly "justified by faith" (Romans 5:1a) in this present age, are "accounted worthy" (2Corinthians 5:21) by faith in Jesus Christ to "escape all the...wrath to come (Luke 21:36; 1Thess 1:10), as was justified Lot who, despite his personal unbelief, was delivered from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (2Peter 2:4-9; Luke 17:28-30). This is also pictured in the Old Testament by the "rapture" of Enoch, Noah's great-grandfather, who "walked with God" (i.e., had "peace with God" Rom 5:1b) and was caught up to heaven by God without seeing death before the flood came upon the earth (Genesis 5:24)!
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
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.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
1Thessalonians 4:15-18 [underline added]
Praise God and look up. Your redemption draws closer every moment.
"After this I looked, and,
behold, a door was opened in heaven:
and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,
Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter [i.e., after the Church Age].
And immediately I was in the spirit ("in the twinkling of an eye...we shall be changed" 1Cor 15:52, 53):
and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne."
Revelation 4:1, 2 [underline added]
Rejoice Christian. Your homegoing is near.
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