Pastor’s Note: The following excerpt is a continuation from the article I posted last week. Like the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians, we SHOULD be comforting one another with the Scriptural prophecies that have been given us in God’s written word. Put your trust in the eternal word!
As with any of these articles that are not mine, the credit is listed at the end of the excerpted article and all rights are reserved to the author and publisher.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-21, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” KNJV (Bold emphasis, added).
The Rapture Has a Cleansing Influence on Sinning Hearts
When people used to come up to Donald Grey Barnhouse, the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and ask him a prophecy question, he would ask them if they knew 1 John 3:2–3. If they said no, then he told them to go look it up and read it before he would answer their question. Barnhouse wanted to make sure that those interested in the Lord’s coming were living in light of it.
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3:2–3 (NASB)
A proper understanding of the Rapture should produce a life of holiness and purity. Focusing the mind and heart on Christ’s coming can powerfully motivate our efforts toward living a pure life. Note the certainty: “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Here is a perfect prescription for living a life of holiness—focusing on the Rapture. How can we be riveted by the Rapture and live an impure life at the same time? First John 3:3 says it can’t happen. Fixing our hope on Christ and His coming is a purifying hope.
In 2011, Harold Camping set two different dates for the Rapture. Of course, he was wrong both times. I always like to say when someone sets a date for the Rapture that you can be sure that’s not the day. All date setting is foolish and futile (Matthew 24:36; Luke 21:8). However, I’m sure that Camping’s reckless actions did cause some people to reexamine their lives just in case he might be correct.
We are to live as if Jesus could come at any time, and if this becomes real to us it will transform our lives. The Bible declares that we are to always be looking for Christ’s coming, not just when someone sets an arbitrary date. “Live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12–13, NASB).
Prophecy and purity are mentioned together in Romans 13:11–14:
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Second Peter 3:10–14 also presents the practical, cleansing effect of prophecy.
The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless. (NASB)
When anyone says that studying Bible prophecy is impractical or irrelevant to everyday life, they reveal that they don’t understand what the Bible says about the personal impact of prophecy. In an immoral, sinful society like ours what could be more important and down to earth than personal purity? Many people view prophecy as having no real impact on everyday life. Living a godly life is the essence of a walk with Christ. What could be more practical?