It’s seldom spoken about when we hear teaching about the End-Times, but it’s essential to the application of the Word of God on the topic of the End-Times that we must apply on a daily basis. We are told by Jesus to Watch and Pray (Matthew 24:42/ Mark 13:33 and Luke 21:36 NKJV). What are we to Watch and Pray about? The End-Times—especially the Rapture and the Signs that point to Jesus’ return, so we may be counted worthy to escape the Tribulation that will be coming on the earth.
Jesus was the first person to share these 2 words (Watch and Pray). Jesus shared these 2 Words in regards to being alert to catch the Signs of the End-Times and be ready when He returns (Matthew 24:42/ Mark 13:33/ and Luke 21:36 NKJV); and also about Watching and Praying so we won’t enter into Temptation (Matthew 26:38, 41/ Mark 14:34, 38 NKJV).
Watching and Praying
Aside from Jesus sharing these 2 Words (Watch and Pray); Paul shared these 2 Words in (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV) after he spoke about the Rapture in (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18/ 5:1-10). Peter also weighed in on these 2 Words in (1 Peter 4:7 NKJV). Then Jesus told the Apostle John in the island of Patmos to tell the Church in Sardis to be Watchful if not they will not be ready when He returns (Revelation 3:1-6 NKJV).
What are we to Watch?
Jesus was answering 3 questions that His disciples asked Him concerning the Sign of His Coming and the End of this Age (Matthew 24:3 NKJV). During the course of Jesus’ explanation Jesus outlined the following phases of End-Time events that will take place on the earth.
1. Phase One—is the Beginning of Sorrows (Matthew 24:8 NKJV) The whole explanation (verses 4-14)
2. Phase Two—is the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15 NKJV) The whole explanation (verse 15-20)
3. Phase Three—is the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21 NKJV) The whole explanation (verses 21-27)
4. Phase Four—is After the Great Tribulation or The Second Coming (Matthew 24:29 NKJV) The whole explanation (verses 28-30)
5. Phase Five—is the Rapture (Matthew 24:31, 40-41 NKJV) The whole explanation (verses 31-51)
There are several factors that we must acknowledge about these 5 Phases that will play out during the End-Time events;
1. Phases 1 through 4 are in chronological order.
2. Phase number 5 The Rapture happens between Phases 1 and 2. Why is that? Because the Beginning of Sorrows happens before the Rapture, and The Abomination of Desolation happens during the Great Tribulation according to Daniel and John (See Daniel 9:27; 11:30, 31 and Revelation 13:14, 15 NKJV).
3. So the order of the End-Time events that Jesus spelled out for us is not confusing because Jesus left the Topic of the Rapture for the last point of explanation to give His disciples and us today a glimmer of hope that we can experience—if we Watch and Pray.
Why did Jesus explain the Rapture Last?
There are currently four major views of the Rapture that different Churches debate about and won’t even fellowship with other believers because they are convinced that their denomination is right and the other views are wrong. The 4 views are;
1. The Partial Rapture position--which believes that those who are sanctified (or living holier than other Christians) will be taken before the Tribulation, and the rest of the Church will go through judgment.
2. The Pre-Tribulation position—which states that the Church will not go through any portion of the Tribulation. (I personally believe in this view).
3. The Mid-Tribulation position—which believes that the Church will go through the first half of the Tribulation because the Tribulation period on earth is literally 7 Years of hell on earth.
4. The Post-Tribulation position—believes that the Church is going through all of the Tribulation.
Jesus clarifies the Misconceptions
Truthfully, after reading 8 Study Bibles about the 4 Views and all the back-and-forth debates, Jesus told me to teach the End-Times like He taught it. So what I’m about to share comes straight from Jesus’ own Words which He described that these Study Bibles left out.
First Point of Reference
The first time the subject of the Rapture (or the phrase One Taken and the Other Left) is found in Matthew 24:40-41 NKJV). The interesting thing about this comment made by Jesus was that He mentions the description of the Rapture happening right after He spoke about Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV). Now if we go back to the Old Testament with the story of Noah and the Flood there were parallels that match everything Jesus said about the Rapture with Noah’s experience.
1. Noah was commanded to build an Ark
2. Noah preached righteousness during the building of the Ark and warned the people of upcoming judgment by rain and severe flood on the earth.
3. The people rejected the message they just continued to party and play. The people didn’t even considered the Miraculous event of seeing all the wild beast living in harmony and entering the Ark.
4. God Supernaturally closed the Ark and then the rain started.
5. When the judgment of rain and flood were taking place on the earth Noah his family and all the animals escaped unharmed. This is a type of Rapture. They were taken and the rest of the world was left.
The Second Point of Reference
The second point of reference that Jesus spoke about was the faithful and wise servant vs. the evil servant (Matthew 24:43-51 NKJV). The wise servant is ready for the Masters return the evil servant is unprepared for the Masters return. The wise servant is blessed to share the things with His Master and the other is sent to Hell.
The Third Reference Point
Then Jesus goes into the third example of wise and foolish servants by speaking about the 10 Virgins. The 5 Wise go with the Bridegroom (Jesus) and the foolish virgins knock on the door but the Bridegroom says He doesn’t know them (Matthew 25:1-12 NKJV).
The 4th reference point is the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV). (See article, "You are Talented" written 2-11-2013).
So who’s going in the Rapture?
So the entire argument about who is going to the Rapture is Believers, while the unbelievers will experience the Tribulation according to Jesus’ explanation in Matthew’s chapters 24 and 25.
The second thing we must acknowledge is the time-frame of the Rapture and again according to Jesus it was Noah and everyone in the Ark that escaped the Judgment on the earth. So believers are not going to be on the earth when all hell breaks loose during the Tribulation.
So, what are we to Watch and Pray for?
Jesus said, Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:42 NKJV)
Mark wrote, take heed, Watch and Pray; for you do not know when the time is (Mark 13:33 NKJV)
Luke wrote, Watch therefore, and Pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36 NKJV)
We are currently Watching the Beginning of Sorrows play out right before our eyes that’s the first phase of the End-Times. Now, more than ever we need to Pray that we are counted worthy to escape these things that are coming on the earth during the Tribulation. In the meantime, let’s have (Oil in our lamps) a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit upon us daily to operate in the Kingdom of God. Then we must serve God faithfully where ever we find ourselves on earth and produce double the talent that God expects us to produce by His Divine Grace and Favor He gave us to do His will so we may be Raptured out of here before all hell breaks loose on the earth amen. So, therefore, Watch and Pray!