As Mount Saint Helens rumbled during the spring months of 1980, one man stood firm in his resolve to remain on the mountain. Harry R. Truman, an innkeeper, refused to leave his home despite an evacuation order and repeated warnings that came via reoccurring earthquakes.
He acknowledged it was “possible” the mountain might “blow” someday, but he never reached the place where he was willing “to pack up his bags” and leave his home.
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted with such force that the top 1,300 feet of the mountain instantly disappeared. The explosion caused a huge landslide that moved down the mountainside at speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour, devouring everything in its path, including the residence of Harry R. Truman at the lodge he owned at Spirit Lake.
Why mention a stubborn old man who refused to heed the warnings of impending disaster? Because he epitomizes so many in our world today. Just like Mr. Truman, they hear the warnings of biblical prophecy and sense the danger inherent in our day, but they do not turn to the Savior or watch for His appearing.
Warning Signs are Everywhere
The Lord is not silent during these last days. The signs of the last days are far too numerous to describe in any one post. The first significant indicator of the last days occurred on May 18, 1948, when Israel became a nation in fulfillment of Isaiah 66:8. (President Harry S. Truman led the way in recognizing Israel as a nation.)
Jump ahead to 2020, and we see the world government of the tribulation springing to life before our eyes along with the technology necessary for the antichrist to enforce the “mark of the beast” under the penalty of death. The lawlessness and violence of our day, coupled with the multitude of signs, repeatedly warn us of the approaching devastation and death of the coming day of the Lord.
Like Harry R. Truman, many believers are not yet willing to “pack their bags” in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return. They do not recognize the urgency of the day in which they live; and as a result, they live solely for the things of this world without the necessary balance of an eternal perspective.
For many saints, the fault lies with their shepherds who have long rejected the prophetic promises of Scripture regarding Israel. They offer biblical encouragement but fail to warn people of the urgency of the day in which they live. They repeat the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees who remained blind to the signs that their promised Messiah stood in their midst (Matt. 16:1-4). Just like the religious leaders of old, many today fail to recognize the numerous signs pointing to Jesus’ imminent appearing.
Jesus is Coming Quickly
Jesus’ last words to His church contain the promise of His speedy return. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon’” (Rev. 22:20). The word for “soon” in the Greek is tachu, which is much better translated “quickly.” It refers to the swiftness or the speed of an action. The Lord ended His direct revelation to the church as a whole with the promise of His quick return for His bride.
Paul also wrote about the swiftness of Jesus’ appearing to take us home, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:52). Jesus will raise the dead in Christ and catch the living saints away in an instant, in the “twinkling of an eye.”
We will not have a day or two warning before rapture; as soon as we hear the sound of the trumpet, we will forever be with the Lord. What we already see in our world tells us this day is exceedingly close.
Just like the devastation that followed the Mount St. Helens eruption, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 tells us that “sudden destruction” will fall on those left behind after the rapture. This appears to be a pre-tribulation period outpouring of God’s wrath. After we depart from the earth, the world will experience unspeakable terror that will get far worse during the seven-year tribulation.
Are You Ready?
If you have not yet placed your faith in Jesus, please, please do so before it is too late to avoid the terror that is coming upon our world. Allow God’s Spirit to open your heart to the truth of the Gospel found in the words of Scripture where we read that Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended to heaven, and is coming again for His church.
Jesus’ resurrection proves He is who He claimed to be and is thus able to save all who believe. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This simple verse is the key to living forever.
Faith begins with an acknowledgement of our need for Jesus’ payment for our sins upon the cross. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our need of a Savior is universal. Because all have sinned, everyone needs Jesus (John 14:6); there are no exceptions. He alone paid the debt for our sins.
Some mistakenly think they can compensate for their sins with good behavior. In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul tells us that such is not the case. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one my boast.” Eternal life comes by grace through faith; saving faith rests solely on Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins.
If you depend on your own goodness or behavior for eternal life, you will fall far short. You will remain behind when Jesus comes for His church.
If you reside securely in Christ, please know that you have little time left in this world. I wrote about the lateness of the hour before Jesus’ appearing in One Minute to Midnight; Not Now, I have My Life to Live; and The Beast at Our Door.
When Jesus comes for His church, all who belong to Him will receive a glorified body (Phil. 3:20-21), no exceptions. In John 10:27-29, Jesus said this about all those who come to Him: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Our security does not, however, eliminate our need for watchfulness and readiness (Matt. 24:44 and 25:13).
Paul referred to a “crown of righteousness” reserved for “all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8); a special reward exists for those eagerly anticipating Jesus’ return to take us home. As for readiness, the apostle John wrote, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from him at his coming” (1 John 2:28). Carelessness in our walk with Jesus will not keep us from heaven, but it may cause embarrassment for us when He appears.
The Blessedness of Belief
In Revelation 22:7 Jesus said, “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” There’s a further blessedness in heeding the words of the book of Revelation.
The fierceness of Satan’s attack on the book of Revelation knows no bounds. He works day and night to rob believers of its comforting message that assures them of deliverance from the coming seven-year tribulation as well as the eventual punishment of the wickedness and violence so prevalent in our day.
The blessing Jesus promised us in Revelation 22:7 also comes from knowing that God remains totally in control of all our tomorrows regardless of what comes our way or the violence and chaos that envelopes our world. In Psalm 46:10 the Lord promises that He “will be exalted among the nations.” The apocalypse provides the details of His judgment of sin that paves the way for his exaltation that we read about in Revelation, chapters 19 and 20.
There’s no genuine imminent hope for those who dismiss the prophetic signs of the day in which we live; only the fleeting hope that “somehow life will somehow return to normal in the future.” They cannot see how the “Great Reset” championed by the elite of our world will lead to the kingdom of the antichrist just as John wrote about in the book of Revelation.
Those of us who understand the warnings of Revelation know that the judgments described on its pages are not only possible but imminent. Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day, we recognize the signs of Jesus’ return and look up in anticipation of His appearing to take us to the place He is preparing for us in his Father’s house (John 14:1-3). It does not get any better than that!
The tale of Harry R. Truman warns us of the folly in ignoring the prophetic signs that tell us we indeed live in the last days. Just like the eruption that suddenly consumed the top of Mount St. Helens, so the day of the Lord will bring sudden devastation to this world, to those who now reject the saving message of the Gospel and will be left behind to face the day of the Lord.
Harry R. Truman ignored the warnings of the impending disaster. What will you do with the warnings of biblical prophecy?
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