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Preparing for Our Total Redemption
Wake up spiritually, so you can get ready for the Bridegroom
Sometimes, when I’m writing articles for this site, watching Mark Hitchcock’s videos or even reading your comments, I remember the earliest days of my Christian faith. To tell you the truth, I could really have used a community like Tipping Point when I first got saved in 1973. I didn’t know anything about the Bible at the time. I didn’t even own a complete Bible—just a New Testament.
You’ve probably heard me tell the story before, but when Karen and I went to the local Christian bookstore to buy a Bible, I came across the book The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. I bought it, and started reading that book and my Bible.
I couldn’t put either of them down. I looked up every Scripture Hal Lindsey used. All the teachings were new and exciting to me. Every day I was amazed at the new things I was learning:
I started to learn how current events—related to the Bible—were signs that Jesus was coming soon.
I began to learn how God had told us about the future in the Bible so we could know what is coming and be encouraged.
I also discovered that almost one-third of the Bible is prophecy, and most of it relates to the end times.
It became clear to me that the prophecies in the Bible were coming true in my lifetime.
That book started a new habit. I kept going back to that bookstore to see what other books were saying about the end times. I bought those and read them, too. I encountered a lot of different opinions about the details of the end times, but I just kept reading.
Over the next few decades, I read and studied every end-time prophetic passage in the Bible many times and probably read over 100 books on the subject. But around 2000, I experienced a breakthrough in my understanding of biblical prophecy. It all started to gel. The pieces fell in place.
I began to understand how the prophecies of the Bible fit together like a mosaic, but it required deep study and a broader perspective to see it. That was around the time I changed my views about the Tribulation, shifting from a post-Tribulation perspective to the “pre-Trib” understanding I have now.
I no longer believe Christians will experience the Tribulation. I believe Jesus will return and rapture us before the Tribulation even begins.
And because of this, I know studying the return of Jesus should comfort and encourage us rather than make us afraid. Even more, it should inspire us to tell other people about what God has done and will do on our behalf. Sharing the message of Jesus with an unsaved family member or friend is probably the best gift you can ever give another person.
“Eye Has Not Seen”
In the two decades since then, I have taught many lessons and preached many sermons and series about the end times—I’ve also written books and started the Tipping Point community—because I believe we are living at the end of the times right before the Rapture. These signs are undeniable, and I want people to know what is happening in the world in the context of what God is doing for His people.
But beyond that, I want people to know what God has planned for us at the moment of the Rapture and beyond. That’s why I wrote my latest book, Look Up!
I keep thinking of what the Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Church at Corinth:
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
—1 Corinthians 2:9
God has prepared a glorious future for you. It’s so wonderful, you can’t even imagine it in your wildest dreams. Your future is better and brighter than you even have the ability to understand right now. The best day of your life is coming, and I believe it’s coming very soon. So look up!
Here is what Jesus Himself said about His return:
And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”—Luke 21:25–28
It’s easy to get stuck on the bad news in this passage: distress, roaring seas, failing hearts, “the powers of the heavens” being shaken. But it’s also filled with good news, because Jesus is telling His followers that when they see the beginning of the end, they should get excited. They should pay attention. They should look up because the end is very near—close enough to touch it.
In verse 26, the English word fear comes from the Greek word phobos. That’s the root where we get our word “phobia.” You could also translate it “terror.”
Jesus is saying that, in the end times, people’s hearts will actually begin giving out because of terror. He prophesied literal, worldwide terrorism. Time is short. It’s coming.
Of course, I don’t want you to read those words and think I am telling you to panic. I’m also not telling you to build a bunker in the woods and become a doomsday “prepper.” It’s good to have some supplies on hand in case of an emergency, but not amount of stockpiling will help you endure the Tribulation. If you know Jesus, you won’t have to worry about the Tribulation at all!
No, what I am urging you to do is to wake up, get dressed, and prepare for the Bridegroom!
Wake Up and Get Ready
Look at how Jesus described this in the parable of the ten virgins:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”—Matthew 25:1-13
Instead of going through this period “asleep” and unaware, we need to wake up spiritually so we can prepare for the Lord’s return! If you are not ready to meet Jesus, then of course there should be some appropriate fear and concern.
But Jesus told His followers they should be watchful and ready because our redemption is near! That is not dreadful news; that is great news!
If you are a Christian, the first thing He did is redeem your personal relationship with God the Father. But in the passage above, Jesus is talking about more than that. He is speaking of your total redemption.
God has so much more for your future. He is getting ready to free us from all bondage. He is preparing to restore every broken thing in our lives. He will give us perfect bodies, minds, pleasure, identity, authority, home, intimacy, innocence and knowledge. I write about all nine of these things in Look Up!
And He will do it “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” The return of Jesus via the Rapture is imminent. It’s coming before we know it, but you can be prepared. All you have to do is surrender to Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him. Then you will be ready to meet Him when He comes.
If you haven’t already, please check out my newest book, Look Up! Awaiting the Rapture and Our Final Redemption! I know it will be a blessing to you and other people in your life who have questions about the End Times.
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