Hope We Have

(Formerly That Blessed Hope)

“Well, well,” I stated as we walked up to the church on Sunday morning. “Seems like we did this a week ago.”

            Felicity looked at me. “That’s because we did,” she bantered.

            “I know,” I replied.

            “Good morning,” Brother Max, one of the ushers, greeted us. “It’s good to see you again.”

            “Thank you,” I replied.

            We chatted for a couple of minutes and then swam to our seats when the prelude began.

            “Good morning,” Pastor Mast announced. “Let’s open with a word of prayer.”

            Everyone stood and bowed their head.

            “Lord we thank You for this day and for the time here that we have together. Bless this service we pray, and help us through the rest of our week. Thank You, dear Lord, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

            “Please take your hymn books and turn to hymn number 489; hymn number 489, ‘Glory to His Name’,” Pastor Mast announced.

            “Down at the cross where my Saviour died…” we all began.

            “Hymn number 492; 492, ‘Jesus Loves Even Me’,” he announced next.

            “I am so glad that our Father in Heaven…” we began again.

            “You may be seated,” Pastor Mast stated.

            Everyone sat down.

            Pastor Mast ran through the announcements, then we sang two more songs (I’ve a Home Beyond the River and My Home, Sweet Home), then we had the offering. Afterwards we sang two more songs (Meet Me There and Face to Face), and then Brother Yoder stepped to the pulpit.

                “Well good morning,” Brother Yoder began. “Please take your Bibles and turn to Titus 2. Titus 2, verses 11 through 14:

                “‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

                “My topic this morning is ‘That Blessed Hope’. For the past several days we’ve been looking at eschatological views, and comparing them to Scripture. Today, this morning, I want to prove a view: I will prove to you the Pre-Tribulational view of Scripture.

                “Here in this passage,” Brother David went on, “Paul says that the grace of God has appeared to all men, and has taught us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world’. Romans 6:1-2 says, ‘What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ Peter said, ‘Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless’ in 2nd Peter 3:11-14. Last week I spoke on 1st John 2:27-29, ‘Having Confidence’. Verse 28 says, ‘And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.’ The Bible is real clear, we should live in a manner that will please God, so that when He comes, we will be ready.

                “So the question this morning is: When is He coming? Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us in one passage ‘Jesus is coming before Daniel’s Seventieth Week’; there isn’t a verse that says that. If there was, there would be no debate about it.

                “BUT,” David stated, “a person can find a Pre-Tribulational Rapture IF they study carefully. I keep saying we’ll see that but I keep rambling on.”

                Several laughed.

                “Let’s start here in Matthew 24,” Brother David stated. “Here in this chapter, the disciples ask Jesus about the end times. In verse 15, Jesus says, ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.’ Then ‘let them which be in Judæ’ flee. We’re not in Judæ, nor are we Jews. Furthermore, as Jess pointed out last night, we do not have to be concerned about the Sabbath. Those whom Jesus is speaking to are concerned about the Sabbath, or else they wouldn’t have to pray to not have to flee on the Sabbath.

                “Now let’s back up here a bit while we’re in Matthew and go to chapter 16. Matthew 16:17, 18, and 19:

                “‘And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’

                “Here Jesus tells Peter—(the ‘first pope’, by the way)—that Jesus will build His Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. But Daniel says, in Daniel 7:21, the little horn ‘made war with the saints and prevailed against them’. Unless you believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture, which distinguishes between Church-age saints and Tribulation saints, you have a contradiction between Daniel 7:21 and Matthew 16:17-19.

                “Here’s another contradiction,” David continued. “Turn back to Matthew 24. Verses 29 and 30 say, ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’ Here Jesus says, ‘Everyone will know when I’m coming.’ Even Antichrist knows, because over in Revelation 19, he’s there to meet Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon. Mark 13:24-26 says the same thing: Everyone knows He’s coming. So it’s pretty clear, everyone knows when Jesus is coming. Revelation says, ‘Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall mourn because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7). Everyone will know exactly when Jesus is coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, or the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’. After all, doesn’t it sound like there’s a sign that announces, ‘Jesus is coming!’?

                “But guess what?” David asked. “Matthew 24:36-51, Mark 13:32-37, Luke 12:35-40 and Luke 17:26-37 all indicate that no one, repeat, no one will know when Jesus is coming. We’re here in Matthew 24; let’s read it.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe 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 Noe 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. 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. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

                “Turn to Luke 12:35-40. ‘Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.’ I don’t think Scripture could be plainer—no one will know when Jesus is coming. I don’t know about you, but my King James Bible in English (with a capital e) doesn’t have any contradictions.”

                “That’s right!” someone called.

                “If you don’t believe in a Pre-Tribulational Rapture,” David continued, “I don’t know how you’re going to reconcile these things. Either we spilt the Second Coming into two parts, in such a manner that Jesus comes before the Tribulation for the Church, and after the Tribulation with the Church to rescue Israel, which will clear the Bible of any charges; or, you have some serious problems, contradictions existing in the Bible. And don’t let the atheists catch wind of this, or they will really laugh at you: “Oh, do you have contradictions in your Bible? Do you finally see what we’re talking about?’”

                Many laughed.

                “Furthermore,” David continued, “the Bible calls Daniel’s Seventieth Week ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’! Jacob is Israel, not the Church. The Great Tribulation, the worst time of earth, is to purify Israel, not the Church, which is already purified.

                “And what kind of ‘blessed hope’ is it, if it wasn’t Pre-Trib?” David persisted. “If we had to go through any part of the Great Tribulation, it would not be ‘blessed’, but ‘cursed’.

                “Also: Where in the Bible are we told to look for the Antichrist? You could search all of today, and all of tonight, and all of tomorrow, and all of tomorrow night, and you would never find ONE passage that says we must look for the Antichrist. Instead, we are told many times to look for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

                “So in conclusion,” David stated, “I want us to remember two very precious verses: Luke 21:36 and Philippians 3:20-21:

“‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’

                “Let’s pray,” David stated.   

                All of us bowed our heads.              

                “Father we thank You for this day, and for the time we’ve spent here. We thank You that ‘we shall not all sleep’ but ‘we shall all be changed’ at the last trump, when You call us up to Heaven before that ‘great and terrible day of the Lord come’. Help us all to be ready for Your glorious return, the Pre-Tribulational Rapture. And Lord, as we finish up this conference this week, I ask You bless those who will watch the DVDs, those who will read Amos’ reports, and those who will hear the audio recordings. And Lord, if anyone here, or watching or listening to or reading about this conference, if they don’t know You as their personal Lord and Saviour, don’t let them go another day until they settle this issue. And Lord, if someone here or watching or listening to this conference or reading Amos’ papers does not believe in this ‘blessed hope of the great God and our Saviour’, our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, help them to study it out and see for themselves that what we have said and will say here in this conference is straight from Your Word. Bless us now as we leave, and bring us all here again tonight if it be Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

                “Please take your hymn books and turn to Saved by Grace, hymn number 512, Saved by Grace; we’ll sing all the verses,” David announced.

                We sang the song, and then Pastor Mast closed:

                “Lord we thank You for this day and for this message, and we pray for Your guidance and blessing through the rest of today and all of this week. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

                “You’re dismissed,” Pastor continued, “we look forward to seeing you tonight. Go, and have a good and a godly week.”

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