By Aaron Swartzentruber
At Christmas time we celebrate the first coming of Christ. Thank God for the first coming but, much more, thank God for the promise of the second coming of Christ.
So many of us worship baby Jesus instead of King Jesus. Baby Jesus can’t save anybody. Only the crucified, buried, resurrected, and glorified Lord Jesus who is alive at the right hand of the Father right now is able to save us. Of course the birth of Jesus is important, but only because it lead to the death and ressurection of Him, so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be saved. And by the way, where are the founders of Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and all the others? Neither religion nor politics are the answer; Jesus Christ is. There is only one name given under Heaven whereby men must be saved (Acts 4;10-12) and it’s not Buddha, Muhammed, Joseph Smith, or Joseph Rutherford, nor is it Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, or former President Obama.
So what about the second coming of Christ? There are two phases to it. First, the rapture of the Church, when Christ comes for His Bride, before the great tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18). Then, the second coming of Christ, to end the great tribulation and to establish His kingdom on earth for a thousand years (Revelation 19:11-16, 20:6).
Here’s a great passage supporting a pretribulation rapture, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. Verses 3-6 describe the antichrist. Verse 7 is the key, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” The “he” is this verse is the Holy Spirit. He is in the Church, He indwells every believer (John 14: 16-17). When the Church is taken out of the way, Verse 8 says, “and “then” shall that wicked (lawless one) be revealed.”
And may I say that if God restrains the antichrist with the Church than it seems to me like God wants His people involved in government. “The question is not, can you be a Christian and be involved in government? The question is, can you be a Christian and not be involved?” -Adrian Rodgers.
Somebody might say, “I’ll just wait to accept Christ until after the rapture because than I know the end is near.” But the Bible says, in the aforementioned 2 Thessalonians passage, in verse 9, the antichrist is coming. Verse 10, “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received (past tense) not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Verse 11, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Verse 12, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Friend, if you hear the Gospel and reject Christ in the Church age, God is going to let you believe the signs and lying wonders of the antichrist in the tribulation period and you’re going to end up in hell. And God is not unjust for doing that. Because He’s reaching out to you right now! Think of the terrible regret if you end up in hell and you realize that you had a chance to get out but didn’t take it. God loves you and it is not His will than any man should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)
We have a unique opportunity in the church age. The Church is known as the Bride of Christ. So if Christ is the King of the coming kingdom then we (the Church) are the queen. What a glorious future to look forward to! The Church age started on the day of Pentecost and will end in the twinkling of an eye, of the rapture.
I love Bible prophecy. I believe correctly understanding Bible prophecy is vital to understanding the right role of the Church in this age, however, it is not essential for salvation.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31). Until next time.