The Bridegroom Cometh, Go Ye Out To Meet Him - Part II
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight, there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.”
As Christ continues this all-important narrative, it is now midnight. However, when he speaks of midnight, He is not actually speaking of the time of day, but rather that we are living in the last of the last days. I want to focus on the fact that we are not told in Scripture when the Lord is going to come back, and because of that, we must live our lives as being ready for that momentous event to take place at any time. Of what momentous occasion are we speaking? We are, of course, speaking of the rapture of the church. I want to take this time to answer some questions about the rapture of the church that some of you may have.
When Will The Rapture Take Place?
The first question that I want to answer is regarding when the rapture of the church will take place. According to our text, and several others that we will refer to, we do not know when the rapture will take place, but one thing we do know is that it could take place at any moment. Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels in heaven, but My Father only.” We have heard from many individuals peddling the idea that they have decoded some secret message throughout the pages of the Bible that will guarantee the exact date of the rapture, but all have been proven wrong. The above Scripture tells us that NO ONE knows when this event will take place. So, when you hear someone proclaiming that he knows when the rapture will take place, do not believe him. I can tell everyone one thing about the rapture, and that is that it will take place. Seeing that major events take place every 1,000 to 2,000 years, we know that this day is drawing nigh. And seeing that we don’t know when the rapture will take place, we should live our lives as prepared as we possibly can.
What Are The Qualifications Of Being Included In The Rapture?
This next question is one that has been asked by many throughout the years, and the answer is very simple. The only qualification to be included in the rapture is to be saved or, in other words, born again. This means to accept Christ as one’s personal Lord and Saviour, to be washed in the blood of the Lamb, to believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again, and He is now seated by the right hand of the Father. To make a few unhappy with my statement, this means that you do not need to speak in tongues to be saved and to make it to heaven. I understand that there are some who believe that in order to be saved, the individual in question needs to speak in tongues, but that is a wrong belief system. There is nothing in Scripture that says that one has to speak in tongues in order to be saved. Nothing! However, I do want to make one thing very clear—I believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, but one does not need that in order to make the rapture or to make heaven his home. The baptism with Holy Spirit is for service, meaning that we need the infilling of the Holy Spirit to live this life here on earth. As someone has said, “We don’t need the Holy Spirit to get to heaven, but we need the Holy Spirit to go to Wal-Mart.”
Without The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Little Can Be Done For God
I understand that some may disagree with this next statement, but I believe it to be scriptural. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, and I speak of one being filled with the Spirit, there is little that can be done for God on this earth. This is why it was an imperative statement made by Christ in Acts 1, that every single disciple (Christian) needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak with tongues. I have had many Christians try and argue this point by bringing up individuals who have done a great work for Christ without being filled with the Spirit. My answer to them has always been the same—they walked in the light that they knew, and God honored such. However, we have been given much more light, and being filled with the Spirit is a part of that light. If we reject what God has provided, there is not much that He can do within our hearts and lives.
Along with this thought, there are some who believe that we need to be water baptized in order to be saved. Once again, this is an erroneous belief. What are we to do with the dying thief who hung next to Christ and died believing that Christ was, and is, the Messiah? He did not have time to be water baptized, and neither was he filled with the Spirit, but yet, Christ told him that he would be welcomed into paradise. Think of this: when that dying thief went down with Christ to paradise, he didn’t stay for long because when Christ led captivity captive and brought the old covenant believers to heaven, he was one of them. That man is in heaven right now all because he believed. Water baptism is simply an outward sign of what has already happened on the inside of the individual. Water does not, and cannot, save anyone. There are many who believe that one has to be baptized in water to be saved, but once again, that is not scriptural. I once heard a famous country music singer make the statement when asked when he accepted Christ, that he was baptized in water at a young age, and because of that, he was good to go. Notice that he never made a profession of faith, or that once he said yes to Christ, he knew that he had been changed. The only thing he said was that he was baptized in water. Am I saying that this famous country music singer is not saved? No, because I don’t know his heart. What I am saying is that if that person, or anyone, places his faith in the act of water baptism and not in Christ, then all that happened was a ceremony.
Faith in Christ and the cross is the only requirement to be saved, and as such, is the only requirement to be qualified for the rapture. If you are truly born again, then you are a candidate for heaven. In the meantime, while we are waiting, we must be vigilant in what God has given us. We never know when that day will come when He will call us home, whether in death or by the rapture. We see from our text that when the Bridegroom came, there were five virgins who were not ready, and neither were they looking for Him.
Part III of this article will be continued in the March issue of The Evangelist.
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