In Matthew 24:37,38 Jesus said,
"But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall ALSO the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were BEFORE the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, UNTIL the day Noe (Noah) entered the ARK."
This passage of scripture tells us a lot about what the days of the coming of the Lord will be like. First off we see that the world will continue as they are now, and as they were in the days of Noah right up to the time that Jesus returns. In other words, the world will be oblivious to the fact that Jesus is coming back. The world, speaking of the ungodly and wicked will be “caught off guard”, so to speak, and they will not be prepared for the coming of Jesus.
Daniel 12:10 says it like this
"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and NONE of the wicked shall UNDERSTAND; but the wise shall understand."
However, the question still remains in my mind, “Will the Church, as a whole, be prepared for his appearing, the second coming of Jesus?” Let me ask you this, “Are YOU spiritually and mentally prepared for the days of great tribulation that Jesus tells us about in Matthew 24:15. I urge you to read Matthew chapter 24 in its’ entirety. But for now look at verses 21 and 24
"For then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's (God's people, BOTH the CHURCH and the Jews) sake those days shall be shortened."
There is going to be great persecution against God's people BOTH the Church AND the Jews during this time, and I sometimes wonder if the Church as a whole is prepared for such persecution. I am frequently reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 17:7,8.
"And shall not God avenge his own elect, (the CHURCH) which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. NEVERTHELESS when the Son of man comes, shall he find FAITH on the earth?”
Since Jesus himself is questioning this time of intense trial whether or not he will find FAITH on the earth when he returns, then this makes me take a CLOSER look at all that the word of God has to say on the subject of the SECOND COMING of Jesus. Will Jesus find faith on the earth when he returns? Will the Church as a whole be prepared for the great tribulation? How many Christians will deny the faith, because they were NOT taught the TRUTH? Many Christians, myself included, have been taught practically all our lives that we need not be concerned with what takes place during the great tribulation period, because the Church is going to be taken OUT out of the earth before it takes place. It is my opinion that those who still cling to this false teaching of the PRE-tribulation rapture will not prepare themselves for the days ahead, because they see no need to prepare, but here is what I know for sure.
When all I knew was the PRE-tribulation teaching, I once thought, that if for some reason I were to miss the rapture and go through the period of great tribulation that I would be confident that I would not deny the Lord when faced with martyrdom. However, once I fully realized the TRUTH of God’s word that the Church will without a doubt go through the entire period of great tribulation, and the reality of martyrdom became more real to me. And the more real the reality that quite possible I might be beheaded for Jesus Christ, then I was not so sure that I would lay down my life so willingly for my faith. In other words, I had to prepare myself spiritually and mentally for the reality that, one day, I might have to lay down my life for the Lord, and I want you to know that for me this preparation did NOT happen overnight.
There is an “Ark of security”, so to speak, that we need to prepare BEFORE the days of great tribulation are upon us, and it is going to take some time to build it into our spirits. It wouldn’t have done Noah much good to wait until the flood came before he began to build or prepare the ark. In the whole scope of things it is only going to get worse and worse, so the longer you wait to prepare your ark of security the more difficult it will be.
Don’t be caught unprepared! Building an ark of security is something that each and every Christian must prepare for themselves individually. Not I, nor any one else, can do it for you. I want you to take a close look at Ezekiel 14:13-20 which says,
"Son of man, WHEN the land sins against me by trespassing grievously (great FALLING AWAY), then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it.
Though these three men, NOAH, DANIEL, and JOB, were in it, they should but deliver their OWN souls by their RIGHTEOUSNESS, says God.
If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
Though these men were in it, (in the midst of it) as I live says God, they shall deliver NEITHER sons NOR daughters: they ONLY shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
Though these three men were IN it, as I live says the Lord God, they shall neither deliver sons and daughters, but ONLY shall be delivered THEMSELVES.
Or if I send pestilence into the land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
Though NOAH, DANIEL, and JOB, were IN it, as I live, says the Lord God, they shall deliver their OWN souls (how?) BY their RIGHTEOUSNESS."
The long and short of it is that YOU are ultimately responsible for your OWN salvation. Other brothers and sisters in Christ are not always going to be able to be at your side to help you through each and every trial you may go through.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:12,
"Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not in my PRESENCE ONLY, but now MUCH MORE in my absence, work out YOUR OWN salvation with fear and trembling."
Keeping yourself in the faith is again ultimately YOUR responsibility.
Jesus said in Luke 18:1 that men ought ALWAYS to pray, and NOT to FAINT. We need to be in continual fellowship with our heavenly Father. No more up and down, in and out Christianity can be tolerated, IF we desire to dwell in an “Ark of security”. We need to learn to pray without ceasing, that is to say, without giving up or casting away our confidence in what we pray.
Without a doubt judgment is coming, and in 1 Peter 4:17-19 we read,
"For the time is come that judgment must BEGIN at the HOUSE of God: and if it FIRST begin at US, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
And And if the righteous SCARCELY be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
WHEREFORE let them that suffer according to the will of God COMMIT the KEEPING of their souls to him in well doing (righteousness), as unto a faithful Creator.”
Wherefore is another one of those words like “therefore” and “nevertheless”. When we see these types of words we need to look closely for the reason why these words were used. In other words these words are like warning signs telling us to wake up and pay attention. Now let’s go back and take a closer look at 1 Peter 4:17-19 to see why the word “wherefore” was used. Here is my own paraphrased version of this passage to emphasize the importance of COMMITTING the KEEPING of our souls to God.
“The time is very near and is even upon us now that the judgment of God should begin. We clearly can see that God’s judgment will begin with us, his Church, and continue until it comes upon all the world, that is the sinners and ungodly who do not obey the truth. And if we who are made the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ are SCARCELY saved, then how shall the ungodly be able to stand in that day? THEREFORE my brothers and sister in the Lord I cannot over emphasize the importance for you to COMMIT the KEEPING of your souls unto God the Father who is faithful to sustain you in doing his WILL, which is to live your life without sin and to overcome the enemy on every side.”
Paul says it like this in 2 Timothy 1:12,
“For the which cause I also suffer these things; NEVERTHELESS I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to KEEP that which I have COMMITTED unto him against that day (the second coming of Jesus).”
We need to believe and become fully persuaded that God will keep us IF we COMMIT the KEEPING of ourselves unto him. Then in verse 13 we are told to HOLD FAST the form of sound words. In other words each and every believer needs to get his or her self rooted and grounded in the word of God. It is only SOUND Biblical teaching that will sustain you when the enemy attacks. Verse 14 goes on to say that all these treasures of God’s word, which are committed to us, are to be KEPT BY the Holy Ghost that dwells IN us.
Let’s briefly summarize and piece together what we have so far in building our “Ark of security” for the coming days of great tribulation that lay ahead.
I would like to focus on this fifth point for a moment, because it is vital that we discern between truth and error. Some Christians are being deceived by the traditions of men and doctrines of devils, simply because they have not been taught to search the word of God for themselves to see if the things they are being taught are in line with God’s word.
The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 to,
"Study to show YOURSELF approved unto God, a workman that needs NOT to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.”
The word approved here literally means to be found genuine when tried or tested. Will you be found to be genuine when the enemy comes against you? The only way you can know for sure is study God’s word for yourself.
Well how does one rightly divide the word of God?
Take a look at Isaiah 28:9-11 which says,
"Whom shall he (God) teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are WEANED FROM MILK, and drawn from the breast.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept: line upon line, line upon line; HERE a little, and THERE a little.
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he (God) speak to his people.”
First and foremost you have to know and understand that it is only through the Holy Spirit that God teaches his children. Secondly you must understand this principle is Isaiah that tells us that God places a little knowledge HERE in his word, and a little knowledge THERE in his word; HERE a little and THERE a little. In other words you cannot build sound Biblical doctrine from just one verse of scripture. And you have to search the WHOLE word of God to ensure that the doctrine which is being taught does not conflict the central truth of God's word.
In 2 Corinthians 13:1 we are told that in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every thing be established. So in like manner we need two or more scriptures saying the same thing or agreeing with each other as well as NOT contradicting the rest of God’s word before you have rightly divided the word of truth.
For instance in order to accurately say that the Bible teaches that there is a place that you can attain where the evil one cannot touch you, then you will need two or more scriptures that give solid support to this teaching.
Let’s begin by looking at 1Peter 5:8,9 which says,
“Be sober, be vigilant: (why?), BECAUSE your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, SEEKING whom he may devour:
Whom RESIST STEADFAST in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
I have emphasized the word “SEEKING” in this verse to show that FACT that Satan cannot go about devouring anyone he desires to anytime he wishes. The truth is that the devil must SEEK OUT those Christians who are not doing “that” which God has told them in his word to do. And because of lack of knowledge of the enemies’ devices, they are lured into the SNARE of the devil, which then results in them being taken captive by Satan.
A snare is a stationary trap and has no power over you unless you walk into it. Satan has no power over you EXCEPT that which you give to him.
"WE know that whosoever is born of God sins not: but he that is begotten
of God keeps himself (from sin) and that wicked one (Satan, the devil)
TOUCHES him NOT.”
"There shall NO EVIL befall you NEITHER shall ANY PLAGUE come nigh
your dwelling place."
“But whoso hearkens unto me shall dwell SAFELY, and shall be quiet from
the FEAR of EVIL.”
“And who is he that will HARM you, IF you be followers of that which is
(In other words NO ONE will be able to harm you IF you obey the Spirit of God.)
“The fear of the Lord tends to life: and he that has it (the fear of the Lord)
shall abide satisfied; he SHALL NOT BE VISITED WITH EVIL.”
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes EVEN his enemies to be at
peace with him.”
(God will even make Satan our enemy to be at peace with us)
"But the Lord is FAITHFUL, who shall establish you, and KEEP you FROM
The truth of the matter is that the Bible does in fact teach that there is a place of safety, an “Ark of security,” IF you will continually abide in God and his truth, then you be out of the reach of Satan. AGAIN there are conditions that all these scriptures have in common which MUST without fail be KEPT by each individual believer, before God’s hand of protection will be set in place around you that only you can remove. God does NOT place a hedge of protection around his people and then remove it without just cause. A closer look at these scriptures will reveal that we need to keep sin out of our lives, because whenever sin is present the protection of God is removed.
Romans 6:16 says,
“Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”
Don’t be deceived into believing that being a child of God ALONE provides you protection from the enemy, Satan. If you have sin in your life, then you are binding the hands of God from protecting you.
Amos 9:10 says,
“All the SINNERS of MY PEOPLE shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake or prevent us.”
You see just being a child of God even though you believe in the protection of God does not automatically provide you a hedge of protection from the hand of God. You must yet take another step and KEEP yourself free from sin. In reality every time a Christian sins, he or she temporarily removes Gods protective hedge and places their self back into the dominion of Satan, until they repent and ask forgiveness of their sin.
Christians often blame God for the evil things that happen in their lives when in reality they themselves have removed the hedge of protection that God placed around them when they choose sin over obedience to God’s word. God desires nothing but blessings for his people.
The Bible tells us this in Exodus 15:25,26,
“\And said, IF you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put (allow or permit) NONE of these diseases upon you, which I have brought (allowed or permitted) upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that HEALS you."
God’s provision of protection is always conditional, just as is our salvation also CONDITIONAL. And God only allows or premits evil because he is FAITHFUL to perform his word. He has SPOKEN his word and now must perform it even whether of not if it is his will. It is up to each individual believer to keep their self free from sin, THROUGH the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:12,13,
“And BECAUSE of INIQUITY (sin) shall abound, the love of many (brothers and sister in Christ) shall wax (grow) cold. But (only) he that shall endure unto the END, the SAME shall be saved.”
Don’t give into sin. Don’t be deceived by taking sin as a light thing. Jesus said MANY shall say unto me in that day. Jesus did not say, a FEW shall say unto me in that day, but he said, MANY (Christians) will say, Lord, Lord, have we not done many good things in your name? And they will be told by Jesus to depart from him. WHY? Because, they allowed sin back into their lives.
Read Matthew 7:22,23, which says,
“MANY shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name cast out devils? And in your name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, you that work INIQUITY (sin)."
It just seems to me that the church as a whole doesn’t take sin seriously. You seem to hear more and more excuses like it is human nature to sin, rather than rebuke and admonish them not to sin. When we begin to rationalize away sin by saying to ourselves, “It is only a little white lie, it won’t hurt anything”, then we are only a step away from falling into the snare of the Devil.
The Bible says in James 2:10,
“Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and YET offend (that is sin) in ONE POINT, he is guilty of ALL.”
In other words no matter how small the sin, it is still sin in the eyes of God and he has no choice but to lift his hand of protection until you repent and ask forgiveness. God’s hand of protection will only remain intact as we keep sin out of our lives, so don’t take sin lightly. And if you do slip into sin, then repent quickly.
You can be a Christian all your life and not have even sinned one time, but go out and sin on the very day that Jesus returns and loose your salvation. This may not seem fair, but it is what the Bible teaches. Now we have no problem on the reverse side of this coin. The flip side of this truth is that a person can live their entire life deep in sin and before they take their last breath can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, repent of their sins and obtain eternal life.
God is not willing that any should perish. God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Look at Ezekiel 33:11-19 which says,
“Say unto them, As I live says the Lord God, I have NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked; but the wicked turn from his way and live; turn you, turn you from your evil ways, for why will you die, oh you house of Israel?”
Notice that God is talking to his own people here is this passage of scripture pleading with them to stop sinning, because the wages of sin is death.
Let’s continue with verse 12.
“Therefore, you son of man, say unto the children of YOUR PEOPLE, the righteousness of the righteous shall NOT deliver him in the day of his transgression (sin): as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day he turns from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live by his righteousness in the day that he SINS.”
In others words you will not be judged on your past merits whether they be righteous or they be wicked. ONLY your PRESENT state WHEN Jesus comes or you DIE will determine whether or not you shall called into the joy of the Lord and hear the words. well done good and FAITHFUL servant.
Verse 13 says,
“When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trusts to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity (sin), ALL his righteousness shall NOT be remembered; BUT for his iniquity that he has committed, he shall die for it.”
God is faithful to his word and has NO CHOICE but to perform his word, for God is honor bound to keep his word. His word is TRUTH, and it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to LIE. Romans says that the wages of sin is death, and if the last thing that you do before you die is sin, then God has to honor his word. This is why we must commit the KEEPING of our souls into his hands for he is faithful to help us remain faithful to him. But we must BELIEVE and OBEY the Holy Spirit
Continuing with verses 14 –19 we read,
"Again, when I say unto the wicked you shall surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he robbed, walk in the statutes of life, WITHOUT COMMITTING INIQUITY (sin); he shall surely live, he shall not die.
NONE of his sins that he has committed shall be mentioned unto him: he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
Yet the children of your people say, the way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity (sin), he shall even die thereby.
But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.”
Again every time a Christian sins he or she removes the protective hedge that God has placed around them, and they have placed their self back into the dominion of Satan, by removing the hedge of protection that God has placed around them.
If we are going to walk fully in the protection from the evil one that God has freely given to us, then we must KEEP ourselves from any and all sin. In Job 5; 19-24 we see that in the last days that our tabernacles will be in peace and we shall visit our habitation (please read psalm 91), and shall NOT SIN!
You might be saying to yourself right now; “ Oh I have tried and tried to quit sinning, but I just can’t do it.” Well I have good news. The GOSPEL clearly teaches that you are ABLE to live your life free from sin, and I will show you how in a five part study beginning with the study called "HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE FREE FROM SIN". Due to the length of this subject I found it best to divide it into sections for easier reading. Also these separate sections will make it easier for you to refer to over and over again and again in the areas you may need help in the most. Remember that faith comes by HEARING and HEARING and HEARING over and over again and again, so keep reading and studying God’s word until it is written upon your heart and becomes the greater influence in you life. I hope you have enjoyed these studies thus far. May God richly bless you as you continue to study his word.
Yours in Christ,
Always and forever,
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