The Signs of the Times
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.(Revelation 22:6-7) KJV
Jesus is coming soon. It’s Christmas and the celebration of Jesus coming as a baby, but we live in anticipation of His return as King. Many people believe that the Lord may return at anytime, but can he? What has to happen first?
This is used as a threat to keep people in line and to help them be mindful of engaging in activities that the Lord wouldn’t approve of. You wouldn’t want to be … fill in the blank … when the Lord returns in the clouds of heaven at the sound of the last trumpet, right? They’re generally referring to something called the pre-tribulation rapture and it’s, ironically, seen as a way for Christianity to be connected to our present reality.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) KJV
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.
This is confusing because things are prophesied in the scripture that haven’t come to pass yet, but which have to happen before Jesus returns as king. Despite this pastors can often be heard to say that Jesus can return at any time and there’s nothing to prevent it. The pre-tribulation rapture has passed into mainstream doctrine because it’s a convenient way to threaten people into good behavior, an example of pastoral abuse based on selective interpretation of the verses above.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.(1 Corinthians 15:52) KJV
The problem here is that we’re told elsewhere that the rapture happens at the last trumpet, and the last trump is AFTER the first six. This means that all of us Christians should anticipate witnessing the first 6 trumpets. Our summary of what happens as each trumpet is blown is part of the daily devotional for November.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.(1 Peter 5:8) ESV
The call for Christians to be sober and vigilant is just as urgent as ever, but we don’t need to be watching the skies in anticipation of his imminent return. We need to be watching the signs of the times so that when the tribulation begins, and the first six trumpets start to sound, we can keep our heads on our shoulders and not be overwhelmed by the events as they unfold.
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.(Matthew 16:1-4) ESV
Many people believe that the Lord may return at anytime, but can he? What has to happen first?