A SEASON OF PREPARATION

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Copyright © 2015 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers

But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:29)

Remember Lot's wife. (Luke 17:32)

A Season of Preparation

The Coming of Christ to Separate the Wise From the Foolish

The Coming of Christ to Take Away Our Sins

The Coming of Christ to Teach His People To Live by His Life

The Coming of Christ to Examine What We Have Done With His Treasures

The Coming of Christ To Catch Up His Prepared People to Himself

The Coming of Christ at the End of the World to the People of the Nations.

A Season of Preparation

The present season of preparation will include four comings of Christ. These comings will not be visible to the world, only to those believers who are obeying the commands of Christ.

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19)

The coming of Christ to separate the wise from the foolish; to take away our sins; to teach His people to live by His Life; and to examine what we have done with His treasures; have as their purpose to prepare and qualify us for His coming to catch up His prepared people to Himself.

There may be two facts presented here that may arrest the attention of most Christian believers.

First, that preparation is needed if we are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. It probably is true that the general idea today is that if we once accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, no further preparation is needed.

This idea is based on the idea that the purpose of the catching up is to bring us to Heaven so we will not be harmed by Antichrist or the Great Tribulation.

The purpose of the catching up is not to bring us to Heaven. This is not accurate. Rather, the shout, the voice of the Archangel, and the trumpet of God, will announce the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon.

Those Christian believers who have taken full advantage of the present season of preparation, will be caught up so they can become part of the great army of saints and angels that is ready to descend and install the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will, on the earth.

This is not a “secret rapture.” Hardly that! I is the beginning of the Day of the Lord.

When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in. (Joshua 6:5)

This is a secret rapture? This is the attack of Armageddon!

One can see that if the catching up of the believers is so they can join the army of saints and army of angels and proceed to attack the forces of wickedness in the earth, they will need to participate in the Divine interventions that are taking place in the present hour and will continue until the Lord Jesus is satisfied that each participant is fully prepared for their role in this great invasion.

The purpose of Christ’s six comings is to create a Kingdom that will prevent another rebellion of His creatures. Everything that has occurred throughout the history of the world has been a reaction to the original rebellion of Satan and his angels, and Eve and Adam.

There have been numerous sub-purposes, such as the creation of an unblemished Bride for the Lamb, brothers for God’s Son, and sons in God’s image. I have listed these sub-purposes in other writings.

The first coming is sort of a screening. Its purpose is to separate the wise from the foolish. Since Christ is coming to set up His Kingdom is at hand, and He will bring His army of believers with Him, this is no place for lazy, foolish, Christian people.

The Coming of Christ to Separate the Wise From the Foolish

This separation is pointed out in the parable of the virgins. Five of whom were wise. The remaining five were foolish. Their foolishness was revealed in their lack of foresight in storing oil for their lamp.

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.” “No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” (Matthew 25:7-12)

So much for the unscriptural doctrine of “once saved, always saved.”

It is one matter for us to say we know the Lord. It is a different matter for the Lord Jesus to know us. The parable of the virgins reveals that everyone who has “accepted Christ” may not actually have come to Christ but merely believed in a religious formula.

Christ will receive everyone who comes to Him, if they actually come to Him with the intention of setting aside their own life that they might obey Him.

Much of today’s Christian teaching is preventing the believers from making preparation for the soon coming of Jesus. They are not storing up the prayer and Bible reading that will keep their light shining in the dark hours that are ahead of us in America.

One of the worst offenders is the doctrine of the “rapture.” Christians are being taught that there is no need for them to be concerned about the future because they will be in Heaven. This is a lie.

Noah and his family went through the flood safely because they had spent many years obeying the Lord by building an ark. If they had been careless, as so many believers are today, they all would have drowned along with the animals.

Another doctrine that contributes to the carelessness of today’s believers is the concept that grace is preventing God from seeing their behavior. We ought to know better than to believe God would make it possible for us to please Him and at the same time to be committing sin.

The “grace” teaching of today is a destructive lie.

Another lie that contributes to the foolishness of today’s Christian people is the concept that once we have made a profession of faith in Christ we cannot be lost. But the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of Galatia that if they continued in the sins of the flesh they would not inherit the Kingdom of God.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:190-21)

Did you ever hear the above passage emphasized by a preacher?

Probably not.

Would you agree from reading Paul’s warning to the Galatians that Paul did not subscribe to the doctrine of “once saved always saved.”

Of the ten virgins, five were foolish. When they wanted to go in to the wedding, the door was shut in their face.

The fact that they were “virgins” indicates that they were believers in Christ. At one time they had the light of eternal life. But they lived carelessly from day to day, giving no thought to the fact that the time might come when they would run out of oil.

Did Christ love and forgive them, have mercy on them while they were screaming in their terror? No, He did not. And He will do the same to you and me if we behave foolishly.

Today is a season of preparation before violent Christian persecution arrives. Do you and I have enough “oil” of the Holy Spirit to stand in the darkness that is approaching America?

Little boys and girls in Iraq are being decapitated because they will not deny Christ. What will you and I do if this takes place in America?

Jesus may call to us in a time of tremendous spiritual darkness. If we have not prepared ourselves beforehand, carrying our cross of deferred desires patiently behind Christ, the door may be shut before we can gain enough spiritual strength to obey Christ.

Do not think this cannot happen. It certainly can, if we do not get busy right away and look to Jesus to see what His will is for us as an individual

I sincerely believe this period of preparation is taking place today.

The Coming of Christ to Take Away Our Sins

In the Jewish Day of Atonement, a goat is slain and its blood sprinkled upon and in front of the Ark of the Covenant. This action portrays our sins being forgiven by the atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.

However, the forgiving of our sins is only one-half of the atonement. The other half is the removing of the cravings and practices of sin. Can you see the sense of this? If our sins are forgiven, but we then keep on sinning, what has been accomplished? The goal is to make us in God’s image, and God does not sin!

The second half of the atonement was portrayed as a live goat was presented before the Lord, the High Priest laid both hands on the head of the living goat and confessed the sins of the people, and then the goat was led away into the wilderness. One can see in this dramatization not the forgiving of the sins but the taking away of the sins.

I am not certain to what extent the taking away of the cravings and practices of our sins has been preached, but it is certain that the forgiveness of our sins has been preached to a much greater extent.

All aspects of the program of redemption are announced and emphasized in God’s time. In previous centuries the forgiveness of the cross has been announced and emphasized. Now the taking away of our sins is being announced and emphasized.

We are to be praying and looking to Jesus throughout the day and night, as we continue with our responsibilities. As we do, the Spirit of God points out to us the sins dwelling in our flesh that cause us to act in an ungodly manner.

We are to confess to Christ each sin pointed out to us, just as the High Priest of Israel confessed the sins of the people and placed them on the head of the scapegoat.

Christ then will forgive the sin and lessen its power over us. Then, as He leads us and gives us strength, we are to turn away from that behavior and never practice it again. This is an eternal judgment. Unless we choose to return to that sin, it is gone from us forever.

Try it and see? We cannot receive resurrection life when Jesus next appears if we are walking in the sins of the flesh.

As far as our sins of behavior are concerned, that are not sins dwelling in our flesh but are part of our personality, such as pride, or arrogance, or sullenness, or stubbornness, God will send afflictions upon us until they are driven from our personality. During this season of chastisement, we must keep trusting in Christ and not blame people or God for our suffering.

If we hold steady during our suffering, we will become a new creation.

The Coming of Christ to Teach His People To Live by His Life

If you will examine the following passage carefully, you will see that it is telling us we are to live by the Life of Christ:

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:19,20)

The above is what it means to be “in Christ.” So much depends on our being “in Christ.” The dead “in Christ” shall rise, the Bible says.

Perhaps we believe that once we have gone through the religious exercise and have “accepted Christ,” from now on we are “in Christ.” This may or may not be the case!

There is a simple practice of mine that will reveal to us whether or not we are living in Christ and He in us.

Frequently throughout the day and night I ask Jesus two questions: “Right now am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?”; and “Right now am I where I am supposed to be?

Christ may or may not say yes or no. But you can sure that God will see your sincere determination to do His will. If you are not doing what Christ desires, or you are not where you should be, God will guide you into His perfect, complete will if you keep praying.

I believe we Americans all realize that fearful times are coming to our nation. We are saturated with abortion, drunkenness, weird sexual practices, the love of entertainment, and the worship of money. No nation of the past has lived in this manner and survived.

God is seeking a house, a place of rest, and a place where He can establish His Throne. We have been created to satisfy these three needs. Christ, and the members of His Body, are God’s house, place of rest, and the location of His Throne.

The four Divine interventions I am emphasizing are occurring during the present dreadful hour of spiritual darkness. No power can prevent the four preparations coming to pass in us except our unbelief and occupation with the distractions of the American culture.

At the height of the coming spiritual darkness, no Christian will be able to stand and assist others who have needs unless that believer can say in truth, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I am living. Yet it is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me.”

That should be our goal these days. We should be pressing into it every moment, asking the Lord Jesus to be our life.

The Coming of Christ to Examine What We Have Done With His Treasures

Christ has given us so much: forgiveness, deliverance, and His own life lived in us. In addition there may be natural talents, such as music, and spiritual talents, such as a gift of wisdom or knowledge.

What have we done with the gifts and abilities we have? Have we used them to build the Kingdom of God, or have we gone about our business in whatever manner pleases us?

It is incumbent on every sincere Christian to seek the Lord until they know what their treasures are—especially which ministry or gift they are to be emphasizing or utilizing.

Some Christians have many gifts. Some have only one. And it is the person with only one gift who is apt to ignore what they have and occupy themselves solely with the task of making a living.

We would think that not seeking and using what Christ has given us would not be a grievous sin, like adultery or murder. But look how Christ addressed the person who had buried their one gift!

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:29,30)

How would you like that to happen to you?

Tell me. Do you know what Kingdom treasures have been given to you? Why not? Have you gone to Jesus about this? Are you earnestly asking Christ for the best gifts? Are you faithfully putting to use what He has given you? If not, you may be a good person in other respects, but you are in danger of being thrown into the Land of Darkness.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)

Then Paul goes on to talk about several areas of responsibility that are to be fulfilled faithfully and consistently if we are to hear the “well done” of Jesus Christ when we stand before Him.

We American people are overstimulated by the things of our materialistic culture. There are numerous Christian believers who expect to be praised by the Lord when they appear before Him, or to be caught up to a mansion any moment now in an unscriptural “rapture.” Yet, it hardly could be said of them that they are patiently bearing their cross of deferred desires behind the Master!

They are living in deception. They have not been taught what the Bible says about using our talents, about seeking earnestly the best gifts that we may help with the task of building each member of the Body of Christ to the full stature of Christ.

Honestly, the spiritual blindness of our American believers is astounding. I believe this blindness is largely true also of some of the other Western nations, the so-called Christian nations.

Thankfully, the Lord has given us a period of time in which to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ to catch up the prepared believers to His staging area in the air above us.

The Coming of Christ To Catch Up His Prepared People to Himself

The purpose of Christ’s next appearing is to give resurrection life to prepared believers and to catch them up to His staging area in the air, from which He will descend and establish His Kingdom on the earth.

The popular teaching of the “rapture,” in which all who have “accepted Christ” are caught up to Heaven to escape the Great Tribulation, is not scriptural. It has succeeded in disarming God’s people so they do not pay anywhere near enough attention to the several passages of the New Testament that warn them if they continue in the sins of the flesh they shall not inherit the Kingdom; they shall destroy their own resurrection.

There shall be a shout, the voice of the Archangel, and the trumpet of God. This is not a secret “rapture.” It is the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon, in which the forces of Satan shall be destroyed. Antichrist and the False Prophet shall be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Satan Himself shall be confined in the Bottomless Pit for a thousand years.

Then Christ shall lead His two armies of saints and angels throughout the earth, destroying all the institutions of Antichrist.

What a marvelous scene indeed!

But we can see at once that the believers who are caught up to the staging area in the air, in preparation for their descent with Christ, will have to be wise; will have to be free from the sins of the flesh and from self-will; will have to be living by the Life of Christ; will have to be faithful with His treasures given to them.

They will not be the, casual church-goers of our day who treat the church as some sort of social institution to which they belong and give some of their money.

They, and the warrior angels with them, form a great and mighty army. They will strike terror into all the forces of Satan. They will prepare the “sheep” of the earth for the government of Christ and His saints; for the rule of the rod of iron.

We of today have been given a period of time to prepare ourselves, should we be lacking in any of the areas I have mentioned. Let us not be like the foolish virgins who were looking forward to attendance at a festive affair, only to have the door slammed shut in their face.

How about you and me? If we were in the middle of our business in the office, or school, or down town shopping, and there was a terrific trumpet blast, what would we do? We would know it was the Lord calling us to join Him in the attack of Armageddon.

What if it was at the crucial moment of some sports event on television? Would we wait to see the outcome?

If we were away from home, would we join the panic-stricken people as they ran to their cars and then jammed the highways, as we were shaking with fear as to the fate of our children?

Think about this scene. Think seriously about it. And then call to mind that Jesus warned us to “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Remember Lot’s wife! (Luke 17:32)

A little reflection will point out that out of the millions of church-goers of

our day, there may not be five thousand who are living in such close fellowship with the Lord Jesus that they would drop everything and look to see where they were supposed to go as the trumpet blasts continued.

Would they be selfish if they did not stop and try to bring someone with them? Would they really? Did the wise virgins assist the foolish at the critical moment? Lot’s beautiful wife was turned into a pillar of salt because of her concern for her neighbors. A pillar of salt!

I asked the Lord if I could give of my “oil” to someone when the great announcement came. He replied, “You will have just enough for yourself!”

Perhaps some mother reading these words would say to herself, “I could never leave my toddlers at home with a babysitter if I were downtown and heard the trumpet blast announcing the coming of Christ.

If a mother is living close to Jesus, He will speak to her about the time of His coming so she will keep her children close to her. Then, when the trumpet sounds, she and her children will go to where the Lord Jesus is gathering His people.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. I Thessalonians 5:4)

We are not allowed to look back, and so the Lord will tell us when He is coming. We then can journey straightforwardly to the place nearest to us as the trumpets direct.

So the people of the world, and most of the professing Christians, will remain behind while the prepared believers go to wherever Christ directs them. Then the prepared believers will be filled with incorruptible resurrection life, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” This is the first resurrection.

Now, all those who have received incorruptible bodies, the saints who have come with the Lord Jesus plus the newly transformed people living on the earth at the time, will enjoy the greatest and most joyous fellowship of all time.

God will set a table full of good things in the very presence of our enemies.

When Jesus deems it to be time, to the sound of glorious, heavenly music, the prepared believers of the earth and those who came from Heaven with the Lord Jesus will slowly begin to arise from the earth—and this in the sight of those remaining on the earth.

They all will be caught up to meet Christ at His staging area in the air.

There they will be helped to mount a white war stallion and directed to their place in the army of saints. They will look about in amazement at the army of mighty warrior angels, holding their spears in readiness for the charge.

There is nothing those left behind can do other than rage and fume in their anger.

As soon as the Lord’s prepared saints leave the earth to go to be with the Lord, terrible judgments will fall on those who remain.

But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:29)

These are the bowls of wrath, spoken of in the Book of Revelation.

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” (Revelation 16:1)

The bowls of wrath are to prepare the world for the coming of Christ and His two armies. Believe it or not, it will require this much Divine fury to deal with the sinful behavior and self-centeredness that characterize so many people of today; to prepare them for the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ and His saints.

As soon as the bowls have been emptied on the earth, the Lord Jesus will appear at the head of the saints and angels.

I wonder if most of us really understand the severity of God. God is exceedingly distressed because of homosexual behavior, a behavior that prevents the reproduction of God’s image as portrayed in man from the beginning of time. The Bible states that homosexuals shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Down through the clouds will hurtle the invincible saints in their incorruptible bodies, along with the army of warrior angels led by Michael the Archangel.

At the head of the charge will be He whom evil, jealous men crucified, now on His great white war-stallion.

The armies of Antichrist will be destroyed, Antichrist and the False Prophet will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. One angel will wrap Satan in chains and throw him into the Bottomless Pit.

After this the Lord Jesus and His armies will go through every city, town, and village on the earth and destroy all the works of Antichrist.

A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come. Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste—nothing escapes them. (Joel 2:2,3)

The wicked will be slain. Those whom God has chosen to save will be kept safe in their homes until it is time for them to go to Jerusalem to be directed to the area assigned to them.

After the Lord Jesus has told them where to go, they then will be sent out from Jerusalem to various areas of the earth. Accompanying them will be their king and other officers, and holy angels, whom the Lord Jesus Christ has selected for them.

This is somewhat different from reclining on a couch in Paradise. But these Christians are more excited about bringing God’s will into the earth, and their inheritance of people, than they are at the thought of dawdling about in Heaven, doing nothing of significance for eternity.

How about you and me? What sort of future would we prefer? God will look to see what it is and will cause it to happen. He will give us the desire of our heart.

The Coming of Christ at the End of the World to the People of the Nations

The purpose of Christ’s appearing to the people of the nations is to separate the people who have shown a positive attitude toward Christ’s disciples, His brothers, from those who have scorned the disciples and refused to assist them in any manner.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:12)

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

It is interesting, isn’t it, that the Kingdom of God, from the creation of the world, was prepared for the “sheep” of the nations.

It may be true that numerous Christians believe that God’s plan of redemption is for their benefit, so they can go to Paradise and enjoy their mansion.

This is why the doctrine of the “rapture” appeals to them. “We can forget about the people of the world. Let them kill each other in their ignorance.”

But the Kingdom of God, from the creation of the world, was prepared for the people of the nations, who are not members of the Royal Priesthood.

“God so loved the world”!

The Royal Priesthood, the brothers and sisters of Christ, have been in the world to prepare them to receive the saved people of the world. The Royal Priesthood is the Kingdom that is being prepared for the “sheep” of the nations.

The inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. We are co-heirs with Christ. Our inheritance is not a mansion in the spirit Paradise. It is people and the earth. In the future it will be a new earth, but still the earth, not Heaven.

So we see the things that happen to us are getting us ready to bring the blessings of God to the saved people of the nations. God is so great, I believe it is true that God already knows what people will be assigned to you and to me.

I have spent a large portion of my adult life working with children in a public-school setting. I still hold three life credentials in the State of California: Elementary, Secondary, and General Administration. However my age disqualifies me from further work in the public schools.

I never was so happy as I was at that time. I hated to see the summer vacation come around, because I had no children to love and teach.

But the God of Heaven gave me those children to love, and I did, and enjoyed teaching them.

I enjoy also being a pastor and Bible teacher. I genuinely care for the people and appreciate their love for me. I am hoping that many of them will be able to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom after I am gone. I feel certain that they will. They have made it possible for me to spread the revelation that God gave me in 1948. They have encouraged and supported me.

So who knows what is ahead. Perhaps some work with children. Perhaps some opportunities to help believers in the spirit world come to a closer walk with Jesus, who has been my closest friend for seventy years.

So the great separation shall come at the end. The sheep shall be separated from the goats. The goats will go to be with Satan, whom they have served. The sheep will enter the Kingdom of God and a new earth, and be blessed by the New Jerusalem, that is to say, by the members of the Royal Priesthood.

Since you to whom I am writing are members of the Royal Priesthood, use this time of preparation wisely. Jesus has great things for you if you will endure to the end.

Dr. Robert B. Thompson