Tuesday, July 29, 2014
What I affectionately call The Checklist is a Biblical study of a schedule of events that is to begin with the Tribulation Period in history-future. The Checklist also includes signs of the times leading up to that starting point. The Checklist is a means of reminding myself and others to continue The Watch - "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' " (Mark 13:35-37) Matthew puts it a little more succinctly - So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)
Some may say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4) - to which I reply, "Wait for it (Him), wait for it (Him)." I know that a whole lotta waitin' has been goin' on. However, even with the Doctrine of Imminency - no signs needing to be fulfilled for the Lord's return - the frequency (number of times) and intensity (strength/overwhelmingness) of The Checklist is daunting. Entire books have been written about how close believers in Christ are to the next major, spiritual event in human history. Many Christians believe in and call this next major event the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. And as you can probably deduce from the description of The Checklist, according to Scripture, the closer we are in history to the start of The Tribulation Period, the closer we are to the Catching Away of the Saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The Rapture being an event that happens suddenly and at any time (Matthew 24:36). The Tribulation Period being an event that is said to begin with the signing of a covenant with many (Daniel 9:27).
As I witness the many things, especially in Matthew 24, that I can check off my Checklist and study the Old Testament prophecies that also can be checked off, the Lord's words about the nearness of His coming start getting louder in my mind and spirit. Words like Mark 13:30 - "I tell you the truth, this generation [1948 Israel] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." Also Luke 21:28 comes to mind for many people - "So when all these things begin to happen, stand straight and look up, for your salvation is near!"
So, while Believers wait and watch I have a question for you straight from Christ Himself. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. (Matthew 24:45-47)
Now was that really a question? Have you ever been asked a question, especially by your parents, that the questioner knew the answer to? Here we have a classic example of that. Plus, God provides the answer within the question as well as supplies an actual answer. I can clearly hear the Lord clearing His throat and saying something like "Ahem" before asking this question. A verbal cue to pay attention - He wants us to be that faithful and wise servant in charge of the Body of Christ (servants in his household) to give them edifying words, teaching, encouragement, and support OR "food" at the appropriate time [Pritchard Paraphrase]. The Lord continues in His actual answer - The things I just mentioned, would be good for you to be doing when I return. For if you are a faithful and wise servant administering edification at the proper time then I will put you in charge of all my possessions [Pritchard Paraphrase]. A serious responsibility with an awesome reward - promotion of responsibility. We are in His Service and should desire to give back with every waking breath we have.
It is great to be on The Watch, but I encourage you to be busy about the Lord's work while you check The Checklist.