The Rapture and the Wrath of God

Part Four

Like a Thief in the Night.

 

The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).

So the day of the Lord, that is, the day of His wrath, shall come as a thief in the night, it shall come when it is not expected.  However for the Christians who are aware of coming events, and therefore watching, they shall not be overtaken by these things.

Not only is the day of the Lord coming when not expected but so also is the Son of Man coming when not expected.  Matthew 24:36-44 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Two things will happen simultaneously and unexpectedly, first the Son of Man will come for His church and gather them all together to be with Him (see Revelation 14:14-16). This represents the wheat harvest which is said to be "ripe", then shortly afterwards the wrath of God will be poured out on the earth (Revelation 14:17-16:1). This is the vine harvest and the grapes also are said to be fully ripe. Notice that both have to be ripe for these things to happen.

In the days of Noah they just lived for themselves and left God out of their lives. Even when Noah built an ark they still did not believe nor repent like Nineveh did.

The same with Lot, when the angels came to take him out of Sodom he went to his sons in law who were married to his daughters and warned them about what was going to happen but he was to them someone who was joking, they didn't want to know, so he had to leave along with his wife and two daughters who were at home with him and everyone else was destroyed, unfortunately his wife looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt.

The reason why the wrath of God will be unexpected is because it isn't something people want to hear so they will not listen.  There minds are blinded to the truth. They have their hearts fixed on one thing, pleasing self.  If anyone warned them it was about to happen  they would either laugh or get angry, as far as they are concerned, they are in control not God.

So the coming of the Lord for His own (the wheat harvest) is followed soon after by the day of the Lord, that is, the day of His wrath.  He removes His own from the earth and pours out His wrath on the earth.

 The wrath of God will continue for a few years until the return of Christ at Armageddon (this is right at the end of the day of the Lord).  Once again those who are left on the earth will not be expecting the appearance of Christ with His armies to confront them.

 The whole point of God warning us that these things will happen is not for us to have debates about whether He is saying this or that but rather to encourage us to be ready and watching all the time. Debates usually strengthen our flesh, we don't need our flesh (our self life) strengthening, but rather our spirit, our inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith (see Ephesians 3:14-21, 2 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 1:16, Galatians 2:20, Revelation 3:20).  Jesus said, "--- For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). If our hearts are full of the Lord, what we speak will be what the Lord is saying.  What we speak is a good indication to us of our inner state.  Are our words carnal or spiritual? It is not that we should try to improve ourselves but rather that we spend more time in fellowship with the Lord and with others of a same mind. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, and neither can we unless we abide in Jesus (see John 15:4).

Remember, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, because God took him” (Genesis 5:21).

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Mark Greenwood

June 2020