Ever So Close :: By Dennis Huebshman

Luke 21:28; “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (ESV – all emphasis is mine)

First, we need to look at what “these things” consist of. Some serious Bible reading would start with Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Jesus gave a number of specific events and attitudes that would be present toward the end of this era. Once He gets to “abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place” (Matthew 24:15), He is speaking of already being in the tribulation/wrath. This is an event that true believers today need not worry about. Before the “abomination” or antichrist can come forth, we will have to be gone from this earth.

Looking at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, we get a very good picture of this. “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed; the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be god. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains it will do so until He is out of the way. And the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of His mouth, and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”

One note here: in numerous books of both the Old and the New Testaments, we are told all who are true believers and have received and accepted Jesus as Savior will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament it would pertain to all who were in the will of the Father. The Holy Spirit would be the “restraining force” that is keeping the antichrist from coming out until the Father decides it’s time for the wrath to begin.

God promised that believers would not go into the wrath or tribulation in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, and Revelation 3:10. When the Holy Spirit allows the antichrist to come out, all who are indwelt by Him must have been removed to keep us from the wrath as promised by the Father, and that will be through the event called the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.)

Therefore, if the “things” Jesus and others spoke of have already begun, we are getting ever so close to leaving this wicked, sin-filled earth to be with our Savior. On the way up to meet Him, the dead in Christ will be reunited with their earthly remains, and they will be converted into their forever immortal bodies.

Then, all who are alive at the Rapture will be converted into a new forever body as each one rises up to see our Jesus face-to-face for the very first time.

One additional benefit; we will be “just like Jesus” as given in 1 John 3:2-3; “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”

From the instant of conversion, we will never again be subject to the sin nature that all humans were endowed with through the first sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). We will have the same nature that our Lord and Savior Jesus has, and that gift was paid for by Him for us at Calvary. After all, He was the only “human” that ever lived, or ever will live, that never committed even one sin.

He was totally committed, as given in Philippians 2:5-8; “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13-14 that there would be more people attracted to the things of this earth rather than those who would receive and accept Him. It is obviously that way in today’s world. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 about the negative attitudes and actions that will be here, “in the last days…” Every one of them he listed is here in today’s worldly societies.

In 2 Peter 3:3, he tells us, “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”

In 1 John 4:1-3, we are told, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming, and now is in the world already.”

All the above verses from Paul, Peter, and John were given nearly 2,000 years ago, and antichrists and false prophets were in the world already. There has been evil in this world from the very beginning, and it’s still here today. There will be sin right up to the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus. After that, there will be only one of two places that souls will go.

First, for all who were out of the will of the Father from the beginning and up to Calvary, and those from Calvary up to the end of the Millennial Reign of the Savior that refused to receive and accept Jesus, they will attend judgment at the Great White Throne to learn their eternal degree of punishment. No one can receive forgiveness at this judgment, and there will be no pardons there (Revelation 20:11-15).

The judgment of all who were in the will of God pre-Calvary, and all who truly received and accepted Jesus from then on, will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ as given in 2 Corinthians 5:10. “For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body; whether good or evil.” We gain or lose rewards at this judgment, but we do not lose eternity in Heaven with our Precious Savior.

For those who have passed from life on this earth, there is really no mystery for them as to which judgment they will attend. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man of Luke 16:19-31 gives a clear picture of this. For the rich man, he was destined for eternal punishment and was already suffering. Lazarus had been in the will of the Father, and when he passed, he went to Abraham’s side, or a place of comfort and peace.

Paul told us that to live was to live for Christ, and to die was to go and be with Christ (Philippians 1:21-23). That tells us that the precious flock will be with Jesus when we take our last breath here.

One more observation: a couple of verses for any who are saying they will call out to Jesus later for their Salvation. Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Also James 4:13-14, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town, and spend a year there and make trade or profit’; yet you do not know what tomorrow may bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time, then vanishes.”

What part of “forever” slips by without notice? If a person lives to be over 100 years old, that isn’t even an eye-blink in eternity. Nothing on this earth is worth your eternal soul being pulled away from the Savior, no matter what Satan may tempt you with. After all, he will be receiving the worst condemnation of all in the lake of fire, which should be very obvious.

Before any more time passes, call out to the Savior and admit that you are a sinner and are lost without His precious gift. Ask His forgiveness and that He will come into your heart and be your Shepherd forever. He will turn no one away who truly calls out to Him, and no one has sinned so greatly that they cannot be forgiven.

Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us we cannot earn or buy our way to Salvation. It’s a gift from the Father through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus the Christ.

No decision you ever make will be more valuable or as important as this one. His coming for His precious flock is ever so close. Be Ready!

Shalom – Peace; Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus!


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