The Need for Spiritual Readiness

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The Need for Spiritual Readiness

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The rapture theory helps a Christian be in readiness for Christ's unexpected appearance to take him away, or so goes the reasoning of those who adhere to the belief. On the other hand, the need for spiritual readiness is a valid teaching found throughout the New Testament regardless of any supposed rapture teaching. The Scriptures invariably connect it to Christ's actual return to inaugurate the Kingdom of God, not to a near approach to the earth by Christ years before His final coming.

Christ's comparison between the time immediately preceding His coming and the time just before the flood of Noah's day illustrates this fact. "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:37). The comparison continues with a description of how some people who lived and worked side by side with Noah were caught off guard by the coming of the flood.

Similarly, in the end of the age people living and working side by side with Christians will be caught off guard by Christ's return. "Watch therefore [meaning stay alert to one's spiritual commitment and responsibility], for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming" (verse 42). There is no intimation, either in Greek or English translations, of any secret aspect to this coming. It is the prophesied return of Christ.

Luke records a parable in which Christ went to some length to emphasize the need for Christians to conduct themselves to be ready at all times for His return. "Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning," He said (Luke 12:35). In other words, be dressed and equipped to move at a moment's notice. After three separate analogies to illustrate His point, He summarizes it with the plain admonition, "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (verse 40). Notice that He obviously refers here to His coming; that is, to His return, not a near approach to earth.

Are there signs by which Christians can recognize the time of the end? Yes, and Paul reminded the Thessalonians to be aware of those signs at the time he repeated Christ's message that He will come as unexpectedly as a robber visits his victim (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Jesus inspired John to write it again in Revelation 16:15.

Peter urged his readers to hold to the identical perspective, adding advice concerning what we should do in light of it: "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless [in character and conduct]" (2 Peter 3:11, 14). In other words, be ready at all times.

The Scriptures do not connect the need for spiritual readiness with a rapture of Christians. GN