By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:4-6)
The famous “Faith Chapter” in the book of Hebrews, begins with two Saints, Abel and Enoch as examples of faith which we are to imitate. Faith is the point, for faith is the only way to please God.
I once asked the LORD, ‘Why Faith? Why is that what you require?” I believe I received several answers in the form of scripture and impressions, from the LORD. God requires faith, because we simply cannot save ourselves. Only God can save our souls, no one can redeem themselves, therefore Faith is required, because faith glorifies God and not man.
Another reason for the requirement of faith that came to me, is that our problems began when we quit believing in the goodness of God. Adam and Eve were willing to entertain a false and degraded notion of God, that He was holding something back that would be good for the first couple. The Serpent bore false witness about the LORD, and they believed it.
The way back? It has to be faith. We must repent and believe again in the goodness of God.
The “hall of faith” begins with Abel and Enoch. One Saint who was murdered for his faith, and for bearing witness to God in a hostile world. There would be literally millions upon millions who would follow in his footsteps, being willing to let go of their life rather than deny the truth of God.
The other Saint, Enoch, was a man who lived in a kind of “end times scenario” living in the time leading up to the flood. It was a day of Apostasy, but Enoch walked with God, until God took Him home. He didn’t die , He was raptured. God took him home, to be with himself.
Faith was required of each of them.
I believe that we also live in an end-time. I have no doubt that Jesus is coming, and in our lifetime. What makes us unique is the re-emergence of the nation of Israel, in 1948, in fulfillment of the prophecies about the last of the last days. All of the prophets pre-supposed that there would be a national Israel, and a Jewish occupied city of Jerusalem, as well as a controversy over Judea, (The West bank) which would engulf the whole world.
The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:1-3)
Which brings us back to our two Saints at the beginning of Hebrews 11. One died, He was martyred for his witness to God. The other one did not die. He was Raptured. Both of these Saints lived by Faith and Pleased God.
I believe that this speaks to us in our generation.
No doubt. many of us will end up dying. Perhaps some of us will be given an opportunity to be martyred. We are Saints and love God, but all things being equal, unless the LORD returns, we will die, one way or another.
(Of course, Christians don’t really die, they “go to sleep”) but the real point is that Faith is the only way to please God.
But according to the scriptures, there is a unique end-times event, coming, as I hope I have pointed out in this series, called the Rapture, or “Our gathering together unto Him”, “the Episynagogue” and Jesus coming to “take us where (He)…is, unto himself”. The LORD is coming to snatch us off the earth with a swift and irresistable power”.
To participate in such an event is a rare honor among the countless Millions of Saints who believed in Jesus before us.
But whether we die, or are martyred, o whether we are raptured, the real point is that we must live our lives by Faith,which is the only way to please God.
This is why I do not enter into the countless discussions as to the timing of the Rapture. “Will The Rapture be pre- ,mid , or post Tribulation”?
Honesty, the only things I am sure about the Rapture at all are that it is:
* For God’s Saints only, and the prospect of it is a comfort.
* A Mystery revealed in the New Testament era.
* It occurs before the actual “Wrath ” of God.
* It involves the “dead in Christ” as well as “We who are alive, until the coming of the LORD”.
As far as I know, all else can only be speculation. God doesn’t want us to know the exact timing otherwise it would be clearer. I am glad there is a Rapture, and my prayer has always been that I be involved in it, while alive. But I cannot say with certainty what the timing of it is, so I don’t.
What counts is Faith in Jesus. Not dead works, but a living, vital, infectious faith. Let us have a faith which still moves us to confess and forsake our sins, to Love and seek God. To forgive and love our brothers, and a faith which moves us to share with others what God has shown to us. Is your faith alive? Do you have oil in your lamp? Are you current with God?
We Overcome the World by our faith. “This is the victory that overcometh the World…our faith”. We overcome the Spirit of antiChrist also, by our faith. So also we overcome the sins that so easily beset us, and the Coldness and soul deadening effect of this world, by our Faith.
Of course we want out of here, we can increasingly see that there is nothing in this World for we who believe, but rejection and opposition.I want Jesus to come, and Long for the Rapture. I am either going up in it, or I am gong to die, but one way or another we are leaving.
Either way, the point is Faith. So I will leave the timing of the Rapture to God, and just strive to be counted worthy to attain it, whether ded or alive.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:35)