While growing up, children often look forward to events planned by their parents. This could be a trip to an amusement park or some other adventure they long for. As time passes, the children mature, and the things they look forward to become more important. Marriage comes to mind and having children who will begin to pine for the very things the parent themselves once did. Likewise, God has provided the most important things for mankind to desire. Chief among these things is the gathering of the faithful at the moment of the rapture. Ask around; anyone who has the Spirit of the living God residing in them will tell you the departure of the church is at hand. That is to say, the rapture could happen any second.
The doctrine of imminence teaches that this attitude has been prevalent amongst the faithful since the beginning of the church age. Therefore, perhaps the best way to look forward is to look back in an attempt to ascertain the greatest possible way to behave while we wait.
Since the very beginning of the church, the best way to exist has been to look to the author and finisher of faith and allow Him to lead and guide (Heb 12:2; Prov 3:5-6). Actually, this statement has been applicable since the time of the very first man. Had Adam kept his eyes on God and followed His leadership without question, the world would be a very different place today. The good news is, the last Adam, Jesus Christ, through perfect obedience, made a way for all to overcome the sin and death introduced by the first. Though all are born of the nature of the first Adam, those who are saved by believing in Jesus the Son of God, the last Adam, will be at the rapture, changed into the mysterious incorruptible ‘spirit-being’ foretold by the apostle Paul (1 Cor 15:35-57).
The question at hand, however, is how does one behave while waiting on the aforementioned rapture, the moment of great transformation? Paul concludes his instructions to the Corinthians in regard to the ‘change’ the church is to long for, with the statement:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).
Paul’s words imply that faithfully working for the Lord is the reasonable service of any believer. He also says whatsoever is done for the Lord is counted as worthy. With this in mind, believers should strive to do all things in a manner worthy of God. Could it be this simple? Could the task at hand simply be to do all things as unto the Lord? (Col 3:23). A brief examination of those who were deemed worthy to receive mention in the most holy book ever written, the Bible, will provide adequate proof that this is all one needs in order to overcome while we wait.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; Genesis chapter six explains why. The world had become so wicked that God had decided to destroy mankind along with the beasts, creeping things, and the fowls of the air. It was at this time that God found one just man, a man referred to as perfect in his generation. The same faithfulness which caused Noah to receive grace caused him to heed God’s word and build the ark. In fact, Genesis 22 states that “Noah did everything that God commanded him to do.” This is the beginning of a pattern of success we are to follow while we wait.
Moses, targeted for destruction by Pharaoh because of fear the Israelites were becoming too strong, was miraculously saved. Ironically, he was saved by the very people who sought his demise, the Egyptians. As incredible as his birth was, this is not what makes him so important to the topic at hand. The story of Moses stretches from the fateful moment in the bulrushes all the way to the Mount of Transfiguration. Many instances could be expounded upon with equal effectiveness; however, one particular moment stands out. Moses had led the people out of Egypt and, on more than one occasion, had to place himself between God and the rebellious children of Israel. One such instance, the rebellion of Korah, provides the key to understanding why Moses was so greatly beloved by the Lord.
In the midst of the rebellion, Moses does not reflect on his leadership. Instead, he tells the people they will know the Lord had sent him to do all the works he did by the judgment which would come upon Korah and those with him. Then he provided the secret to his success in his next statement, “For I have not done them of mine own mind” (Num 16:28b). Indeed, Moses did whatsoever the Lord commanded him to do. By the way, things did not go well for Korah and those faithful to him; they ended up swallowed whole by the earth (Num 16). Obviously, these were not doing all things as unto the Lord.
David, the shepherd boy who became king, lived a life full of ups and downs. As a youth, he was anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel. Next, he, as a ruddy boy, killed Goliath for blaspheming the God of Israel with a sling and stone, no less. He became great while serving Saul, who attempted to kill him repeatedly; he then fled for his life and lived as a throneless king for a time. After his exaltation to the throne, he fell into sin with Bathsheba and lost a son in the process.
King David’s story goes on; however, this last point will suffice. In the midst of his sin, David received forgiveness, not because he was king, but because he was quick to repent (2 Sam 12:13). Yes, David failed to live a perfect life; however, any time he came short of God’s desire, he quickly repented. These instances proved that David lived according to God’s testimony of him; he was a man after God’s own heart who would fulfill all of the Lord’s will (Acts 13:22). Again, the way to ‘live ready’ is to do all the Lord desires.
The prophets, named in the Bible, were no different than the patriarchs already discussed. Each one followed the will of the Lord closely, even if it meant maltreatment by their own peoples. Micaiah comes to mind. He was the only prophet in the entire kingdom who would speak the unpopular truth to King Ahab, who desired to war against Syria. After being encouraged by a messenger from the king to speak good things like the four hundred prophets that had already declared victory, Micaiah said, “As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak” (2 Chr 18:13).
Of course, the story goes that the king has Micaiah imprisoned and fed only bread and water until the king should return safely. Ironically, even though the king disguises himself, he is felled by a stray arrow, and his passing fulfills the words of the prophet Micaiah with perfect precision. Incredibly, the death of King Ahab also fulfilled a prophecy by another prophet, Elijah (1 Kings 21:19). Micaiah’s desire to speak only what the Lord tells him to speak validates the presented proposal that the best way to wait on the rapture is to be busy doing all things as though doing them to the Lord, even if it brings difficulty.
Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. Therefore, He is the best example possible. In fact, His entire existence on earth was in direct fulfillment of God’s will. The apostle John, the beloved, recorded these words from Jesus, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). Jesus demonstrated the truth of this statement with every action and word. Perhaps, the most poignant example of this is when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Without a doubt, He knew of the impending turbulent ending of His earthly life when uttering the words, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt 26:39).
Jesus, in the most difficult season of His life, relied solely on the Father’s will, as demonstrated by the remainder of His time on earth. Like Jesus, our reasonable service, even in the midst of great difficulty, is to do all that we do to and for the Lord.
The Apostles, the first to live as Christians without Christ on earth, validated the principle before us. They lived and died gracefully, knowing that Jesus was genuine. They had seen and touched Him. They walked with Him for over three years as He taught in word and deed.
Incredibly, in the midst of being with Christ, they sometimes struggled to maintain focus on the most important thing, Jesus Christ. For instance, Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off of the one who had called him out onto the waters; later, he denied the Lord three times. Thomas, could not believe in the resurrection without seeing evidence of the risen Savior. Ironically, the disciples slept through the aforementioned prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, even though Jesus admonished them to pray with Him. These are but a few of the examples of how the apostles struggled to do all things as unto the Lord.
The good news is Jesus provided a way for the disciples and all those who believe after them to overcome while waiting. He sent the Holy Spirit, and from the Day of Pentecost onward, the Apostles never looked back. In fact, each one faithfully ministered for the remainder of their lives, which were often cut short by martyrdom. Indeed, the ‘Spirit-filled’ Apostles exemplified how those who followed them, the church, should wait.
Since its inception on the aforementioned Day of Pentecost, the church has certainly seen its ups and downs. Throughout its existence, spanning nearly two thousand years, the body of Christ, another name for the church, has been comprised of many individuals. Some have remained faithful to the will of the Lord, while others have fallen astray because of a wandering gaze. For some, the church became a religious function; for others, a means to escape coming judgment. Still others have used the church for gain and thereby have been led astray while also leading others off of the simple ‘narrow path’ of true obedience onto a crooked ‘broad path’ that leads to destruction (Matt 7:13).
The journey each believer undertakes while waiting is often affected by this struggle to stay on the right path. Another way to see this fierce combat is to understand it is a war between the flesh and spirit. The flesh wants to do things that make the individual happy; think David and Bathsheba. The spirit, on the other hand, wants to please the Father in the same manner that Jesus did. Therefore, waiting is not a task for the faint of heart. Instead, the one who waits must not shy away from the battle at hand.
The good news is, the very fact that one wants to don the armor of God as depicted in Ephesians chapter six and engage in the warfare necessary to maintain a spiritual stance, proves the believer, like any good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:3), has a desire to do all things as unto the Lord. The armor and battle would otherwise be unnecessary.
Throughout its existence, the church has demonstrated varying degrees of faithfulness, as demonstrated by the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. Some see these churches as seven sequential church periods marked by the conditions noted in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the last book of the Bible. However, perhaps it is best to recognize these as physical churches in John’s day, which further represent the possible conditions or combination of conditions of all churches throughout the existence of the church up until the rapture.
One sure way to grasp this truth is to examine the words to each church and the admonition, to any that have an ear, to hear what the Spirit says unto the “churches.” The plurality of the message indicates the message for one is for all. Remarkably, this same statement validates the very argument at hand.
Notice, regardless of the circumstance of each church, any that ‘have an ear to hear’ are admonished to hear what the Spirit says. One could argue this is the very crux of the Christian life. All Christians are to live daily as children of the Most High who ‘desire to hear from Him’ in order to faithfully live while waiting for our gathering unto Him (1 Thess 4:13-17). This desire to hear indicates one has the necessary faith to ‘do all things as unto the Lord’, which is the best way to emulate Jesus and the other faithful examples provided in Holy Writ.
Time after time, these examples have shown exactly how to behave while waiting. Each has lived a life wholly dedicated to doing the Lord’s will and speaking what He commands, even though the individual was not always perfect and the way was not always pleasant. Only Jesus lived a sinless, perfect life while doing all things as unto His Father. His life is the one we are to strive to emulate. However, if we, in our struggle, stumble, let us be like King David and quickly repent and continue on our journey of faith while we wait.
Website: In His Commission
 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the King James Version.