And They Knew Not

Heinrich Angst

We do not know when our Lord will appear, but He tells us unmistakably that we should be ready at any time.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus prepared His disciples for something that would take place in the end times. He will take His own who are waiting for Him from the earth in a moment of time. First, all those who are dead will rise from their graves. They will be followed by those that are alive and will be united with Jesus, and taken to heaven to be with Him forever. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). It will be a time like that before the flood. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (verses 37-39).

“They knew not.” Today, it is just the same. “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:40-44). For many Christian churches, the rapture is not mentioned although the signs of the times show that it is very close. If you speak to anyone about it, they are quick to say that people said that twenty years ago. With many Christians, it is as Peter says, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

Many churches and a Christianity that is only interested in this world, are ignoring the warning, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Just imagine a Sunday morning in a Christian church. As on every Sunday, cars from all directions are filled with people on their way to hear the Word of God, to worship God with their brothers and sisters, and to have fellowship with each other. One after another they arrive to take part in the service. Warm greetings are exchanged, even among those whose names we do not know (yet). Before the service, there are conversations which take place over coffee and tea. It becomes clear how almost everyone has their burden to carry. It may happen then what is written, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). We experience how enriching it is to come to know one another better and to make new friends. Slowly, the conversations ebb at the sound of the first song. Everything continues as usual. Really? Then suddenly the singing stops…the organ goes silent…those who were singing before look up, and their faces turn pale…everywhere where people were sitting there are empty seats…the organist has also disappeared. Those present wait in vain, but no one goes to the pulpit. Where is the person who does the introduction? And where is the pastor who should be preaching?

“One shall be taken, and the other left.” Here a question arises in me: how genuine was my conversion? Am I really born again? The above described event has not yet taken place. The time left us, however, will get shorter. Did we really crucify our old man, the flesh, with all its lusts (Galatians 5:24), and can we say with Paul, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20)?

Only those who have died with Christ receive the Holy Spirit (Romans 6). Have we crucified the love of the world and sin? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15; cf. verses 16-17). In our life with Jesus, it is not about the law but about a new mind which is worked in us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:17-20; 6:4-15; Titus 2:11-15; Philippians 3:17-19). Paul wrote once, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10). Are we ready?

Midnight Call - 06/2017

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