Two Purposes for Vigilance in These Last Days

 

As we have discussed, our vigilance, or the vigilance that God wants to give us will prepare us and make us fit to face and combat the forces of evil in the world.  But to what purpose?  In my study of vigilance, I have found two great purposes for vigilance: to help us in prayer, and to prepare us for the return of Jesus Christ.

1.  For prayer.  Prayer is perhaps the highest calling of God placed upon man.  It is that activity that moves God to do His own will, and which includes us humans in His work and connects us to His power.  It is also that exercise that both draws us near to God and persuades Him to give us what we desire. It is communication with God. Without prayer we all would be alone in the world, without God and without hope.

When we approach the throne of God for prayer we enter a place of holiness.  It is a heavenly place (Eph. 1:3) of pure light and love.  We cannot come to this place with a corrupt mind and with an unrepentant heart, weighted down with sin—for prayer and sin do not mix.  God requires that we come to Him purifying our hearts, mourning and weeping before Him over sins.  He requires that we totally submit our will to Him and that we try to resist all the temptations of sin and the devil (Ja. 4: 7-10).  When we prepare ourselves in this way, we are in effect becoming more alert and watchful, hence, more vigilant for prayer.  As 1 Peter 4:7 instructs us (in the NAS), “… be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”  

 

2.  To be ready for the return of Jesus Christ.  You may have noticed (above) that I didn’t quote the first part of 1 Peter 4:7.  That’s because I left it for this section.  The last part of the verse tells us that vigilance is for the purpose of prayer, but the first part gives us this second purpose.  It says, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore …” So here we see this second reason for vigilance—because the end of all things is at hand (He is coming).

There are also three other passages, in the gospels, which admonish us to be alert in preparation for His coming: in Matthew 24:42-44, in Mark 13:33-37, and in Luke 21:34-36.  These gospel passages, some would say, are written primarily to those living during the tribulation period, to both non-believers (to be saved and ready to enter into His kingdom), and to believers (to have strength to continue trusting Him and praying for strength to escape all the horrible things that are coming upon them, Lu. 21:36); however, the application here to alertness no doubt extends to us (the church) as well, to be ready for His return for us in the rapture.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 is clearly addressed to the church.  Here we are admonished to be alert so that we will be ready for Him when He takes us up in the “rapture” (1 Thess. 4:17, 1 Cor. 15:51-52)—if we are still alive when He comes.

Non-believers need to be alert also, because He will come without warning, like a thief in the night, to judge them.  And if they are not saved it will be too late for them (1 Thess. 5:2-4).

 If you are a Christian, however, that day should not overtake you like a thief, because you are already saved.  Nevertheless, believers still need to be alert, not so much to be ready just at that single day when He comes, but to be continually alert, praying without ceasing, so that when He returns He will have a reason to be proud of us—for I believe that our faithfulness here will greatly have an effect on our next life there.  Yes, everything we do now, whether good or bad, will affect our relationship with Jesus for eternity.  That’s why we need to be vigilant. 

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About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
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3 Responses to Two Purposes for Vigilance in These Last Days

  1. Thank you. Lord please keep us ever watchful.

  2. Irv says:

    PRETRIB RAPTURE STEALTH !

    Many evangelicals believe that Christ will “rapture” them to heaven years before the second coming and (most importantly) well BEFORE Antichrist and his “tribulation.” But Acts 2:34, 35 reveal that Jesus is at the Father’s right hand in heaven until He leaves to destroy His earthly foes at the second coming. And Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven with the Father “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. (“The Rapture Question,” by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even list, in its scripture index, the above verses! They were also too hot for John Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the scripture index in his “Letters”!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The “rest” for “all them that believe” is also tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the end of trib “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which Scofield views as Israel’s posttrib resurrection!) It’s amazing that the Olivet Discourse contains the “great commission” for the church but not even a hint of a pretrib rapture for the church!
    Many don’t know that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was stretched forward and turned into an idolized separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which evangelical scholars overwhelmingly rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” [“gathering”] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Google “Walvoord Melts Ice” for more on this.
    Other Google articles on the 183-year-old pretrib rapture view include “X-Raying Margaret,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart,” “Pretrib Rapture’s Missing Lines,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture,” “The Real Manuel Lacunza,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” and “Morgan Edwards’ Rapture View” – most by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (the most accurate and documented book on pretrib rapture history which is obtainable by calling 800.643.4645).

    [Hi Stephen. Found the above article on the amazing web. Lord bless you.]

    • Obviously, my views are different than yours. I want to respond to a few of your comments and show you how I understand scripture.

      Acts 2:34, 35 and Acts 3:21 — In the rapture, Jesus doesn’t actually come to earth; believers meet Him in the air. And just because Jesus takes a couple of seconds to bring believers to heaven doesn’t mean He isn’t still at the Fathers right hand. (But these are interesting verses which I had not considered.)

      You said, Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The “rest” for “all them that believe” is also tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left alive to serve the Antichrist?)

      But 1 Thess 5:1ff speaks of the time after the rapture. The “day of the Lord” does not refer to the rapture, but of the judgments of the tribulation period. The wicked are not destroyed until after the 7 year tribulation when Christ comes to the earth. Christ Himself will destroy them (Rev. 19:21).

      You said, Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the end of trib “death” (15:54).

      But 1 Cor. 15:54 refers to the resurrection of the dead at the rapture—when all the dead in Christ are raised (1 Thess. 4:16).

      You said, It’s amazing that the Olivet Discourse contains the “great commission” for the church but not even a hint of a pretrib rapture for the church!

      You are right, the Olivet Discourse does not speak of the rapture, only of the tribulation and the second coming.

      I know that for a long time the church did not teach the rapture. But there is evidence that the early church did teach it, and now, just in the last few years, we are getting back to its teaching. I believe that we can view the rapture as the first phase of His coming (though He doesn’t actually come to the earth), and then His glorious appearing as the second phase. I believe the church must be raptured before the tribulation, because the 7 year tribulation is meant to bring Israel to salvation (Dan. 9:24, “Seventy weeks are determined for your people”), and it is also meant to bring judgment on evil. The church will not go through the wrath of God.

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