But take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be weighed down…and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the earth – Luke 21:34-35
I have been grieved over the Great Apostasy that is coming soon (I wrote of it in my last blog post). I have come to realize that there will be many professing Christians who are going to fall away from the faith, and enter into the Great Tribulation time spoken of by Jesus and others. There will be two ships leaving for glory in these last times. Those who are paying attention, who are found faithful and watching, will make the first boat, which will leave out before the Great Trial comes. This is the boat you want to be on. But, sadly, we see that many professing Christians will miss out. They will be too weighed down, too distracted, too caught up in worldly things…they’re going to miss it.
The second shipload will be much more painful to catch. You’ll need to endure great difficulty, persecution, and death to get on board. Many will make it on board, but only with their head detached from their body. That’s pretty awful, but at least they’ll be on board. Those who fail to get on board will perish in the lake of fire, eternally lost.
Jesus said that this ‘Day’ is coming unexpectedly, and that it will be a ‘snare’ on all those that dwell upon the face of the earth. This ‘Day’ is not a typical 24 hour day, but a time period. He’s referring to the time in the end when the world will be ‘thrown into the oven.’ It will be a time of great difficulty, great suffering, and great judgment. The world will rage greatly against God and against His people, and God will pour out His wrath. Yet in midst of all this, there will be many people who will recognize their error and turn back to God, but it won’t be easy. But, thank God, it will still be possible! God’s grace is even abundant in the time of His wrath.
After these things I looked, and behold a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb… Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me. “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. – Revelation 7:9-14
Praise God! Did you notice how this great multitude came exclusively out of the Great Tribulation? Even though many will miss the first boat, they will still be able to get on the second! God is merciful!
This reminds me of the time when God’s people had forsaken Him in the land of Israel. God had been very merciful to them, giving them a beautiful land that flowed with milk and honey. Yet, despite God’s goodness, they rejected Him, and went after other gods. God sent many prophets to them to rebuke them and to warn them of the punishment that would come as a result of their sin. But they would not listen. So God prepared the king of Babylon to be the rod of His wrath. When the king of Babylon finally came, he surrounded the city of Jerusalem. God’s wrath had arrived. But God was still merciful! Even in the time of His fierce anger, he made a way of escape:
Thus says the Lord: ‘He who remains in the city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.’ – Jeremiah 38:2
Do you see that? God didn’t have to do that. He had been sending His prophets to warn these people for ages, and they would not listen. Yet even in the time of His wrath, he still provided a way of salvation: defect to the Babylonians.
This will also be the only way to be saved in the Great Tribulation. You will have to defect to the ‘enemy.’ The ‘enemy’ will be those that resist the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ and his supporters will despise those that hinder the process of unity. They will be enemies of the state. They will be fugitives, on the run..and they won’t win. The resistance will lose*. Many, many will die. It will be awful to all those who see it.
But don’t be deceived! Those who die in Christ during that time will be the most blessed of all people on the earth! They will leave that time of suffering, be clothed with a white robe, and brought before the Prince of Life! Glory to God!
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” – Revelation 14:13
Just like God gave the Israelites one last chance at saving their lives by defecting to the Babylonians, so those who miss the first boat will still have a chance to be saved, but it won’t be easy.
These saints will endure the fiercest trials that any saints have ever endured. Yet this fire will refine many of them like gold. Many will rise up as heroes of the faith. They will be bright lights in the darkness. They will be the workers hired in the eleventh hour, who will receive the same reward as those who labored through the heat of the day. What a merciful God we serve!
Here’s my advice: don’t miss the first ship! Be ready, be watchful, be prayerful. Keep your spiritual eyes open, keep in the word. The day is near. The signs of the times are around us. He is coming soon, suddenly, unexpectedly, like a snare, like a thief in the night. Be looking for Him so you won’t have to endure the difficult time to come.
But if you do miss the first ship, don’t despair. You can still have your life as a prize. Determine that you will suffer whatever you must. Be faithful unto death (don’t get the mark!), and you will receive the crown of life. Amen.
* The Anti-Christ will prevail over the saints during his allotted time. When his time is over, however, Jesus will destroy Him with the brightness of His coming (Rev 13:7, 2 Th 2:8)
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