Great Opportunity and Warning

by M.J. Agee

Christ said, "But be careful; behold, I have told you EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE" (Mark 13:23, Lamsa Bible)

At Mt. Sinai, the JEWS HAD THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITY EVER OFFERED TO MANKIND OFFERED TO THEM. They were espoused to God, engaged to be married to the Lord. The Israelites had the chance to become the wife of the Lord. Many lost it through unbelief during the 40 years of testing in the wilderness.

They had a chance to go into the promised land EARLY, when they spied out the land, but they were afraid to trust God to do what he said he would do. They were CHASTISED because of it. Out of millions, Joshua and Caleb were the ONLY TWO of the older generation that believed God and made it into the promised land.

We have a parallel today

I Cor. 10:11,12 (NIV) says, "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warning for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall."

Today, there are both wise and foolish virgins, Philadelphians and Laodiceans, those that will go into the promised land EARLY, and those who will be left behind for CHASTISEMENT during the Tribulation. No condemnation is mentioned in Jesus' message to the Philadelphians. To the Laodiceans, many of whom will be left behind, Jesus said, "As many as I love, I rebuke and CHASTEN: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev. 3:19). Don't be fooled, the Laodiceans are IN the Body of Christ or they could not be spewed OUT of this mouth (Rev. 3:16) at the time of the Pre-Trib Rapture.

Today, those that have accepted Christ as their Saviour, Jews and Gentiles alike, are OFFERED THE CHANCE TO BECOME THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. Christians and Messianic Jews are now going through a final 40-year time of "wilderness" testing that started when Jerusalem became one united whole in 1967. Psa. 122:3,4 in the New Jerusalem Bible says, "Jerusalem, built as a city, in ONE UNITED WHOLE, there the tribes go up, the tribes of Yahweh, A SIGN for Israel to give thanks to the name of Yahweh."

The Six-Day War, when Israel grew leaves (Sinai, Gaza Strip, West Bank and Golan Heights) was the Sign of the End of the Age (Mt. 24:3) and the beginning of the final 40-year countdown. It fulfilled the parable of the fig tree in Mt. 24:32-34.

NOW, we too have a chance to go to our promised land, Heaven, EARLY, before the final hour of trial that will come upon all the world, to try those that dwell on Earth (Rev. 3:10). Our early chance to escape the coming Tribulation is called the RAPTURE.

Jesus is the Bridegroom (Jn.3:29). He said, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO" (John 14:2,3). He will come for the Bride of Christ at the Rapture. Later, we will become his wife at the Marriage of the Lamb in Heaven.

Jesus Christ is both man and God. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (II Cor. 5:29). When he comes for his Bride (the Philadelphian wise virgins that love him dearly) this is what will happen: "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" (I Thess. 4:16,17). "CAUGHT UP" is from harpazo in Greek, Rapiemir in Latin, and so is called Rapture in English.

Do we believe him, or not? Do we trust him to get us there? Like Israel in the last age, we are being tested. The Rapture is now "at hand" (Rev. 1:3; 22:10). It seems certain that it has to happen before the last seven years of the forty begin in 2001, and it seems probable that it will take place before that.

Right now, we have an open door set before us. Will we go through it when Jesus says, "Come up hither"? or will we wait too long and wish we were on the other side when the door snaps shut, as when the Lord shut the door in the Ark after Noah and his family entered? Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Mt. 7:13).

The Rapture is as the days of Noah. All that went into the Ark were married. Man and animal went in two by two. All outside faced destruction. Today, the Bride of Christ is to be taken out of the Body of Christ just as Eve was taken out of Adam's side near his heart.

I see in Scripture that there are two Raptures, the Pre-Trib Rapture for the wise virgins filled with love for the Lord and the Pre-Wrath Rapture for the foolish lukewarm virgins. The first Rapture is the prize Paul was working for. I don't think that ALL of the Body of Christ will be the Bride of Christ.

In I Cor. 2:24-27, he said, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run ALL, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

The world is facing destruction again, this time by fire. An asteroid will impact Earth. II Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord (the Millennium) will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." We should take the EARLY OPPORTUNITY, to go into the promised land. We can learn by Israel's failure to go into their promised land right after the spies came out with their report.

What can we do to get ready?

First, we have to have accepted Christ as our Saviour. (If you have not, pray and tell him you accept Him.) Then, we should confess to God all known sins committed since we first believed, so he can cleanse us of all unrighteousness, as we are told in I John 1:9. We should forgive others who have wronged us as we want to be forgiven by God whom we have sinned against, as the Lord's prayer teaches us. Then we are filled with the Holy Spirit and are ready to be caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture. Sin quenches the Holy Spirit. It causes a barrier between us and God. When sin is out of the way, we are back in fellowship with our Holy God. With the sin barrier out of the way, the Holy Spirit wells up within us like a fountain of living waters.

II Peter 1:4-11 gives us a list of things to add to our faith, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature. These are virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and "agape" love, God's love. Then Peter says, "But he that lacketh these things is blind (like the Laodiceans), and cannot see afar off (Heaven), and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

The Lord is coming soon

We are a priviledged people. We have a chance that many many generations before us have not had. We have a chance to be caught up to Heaven without dying. We should be sure that we are ready when the Lord comes to take us to be where he is. He told us that he was going to prepare a place for us. The time can't be far away when he will come take us there.

Luke 21:36 says, "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."

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Updated 4-26-08
© 1998 Marilyn J. Agee