ON HOT STANDBY
Subtitle: Are You Ready To
In military jargon being "on hot standby" means to have equipment and personnel ready to move at a moment's notice. Sometimes tense situations make rapid deployment of combat units necessary and when this type of thing is anticipated, leaves are cancelled and all who are under orders must make the necessary preparations.
And due to the time element involved, many misunderstand that the Church of Jesus Christ has been on hot standby for 2000 years! The Lord promised to return for His saints and He instructed us to be vigilant and watchful--anticipating that blessed day. But even though it appears fairly obvious from some of his comments that the Apostle Paul expected the Lord's return during his lifetime, the following statement made by Peter--inspired by the Holy Spirit, of course--hints at a longer time frame:
"Beloved, I am now writing you this second letter. In [both of] them I have stirred up your unsullied (sincere) mind by way of remembrance,  That you should recall the predictions of the holy (consecrated, dedicated) prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [given] through your apostles (His special messengers).  To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing, [people who] walk after their own fleshly desires  And say, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation" 2 Peter 3:1-4 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
Well, the scoffers are definitely out in force today and using every available opportunity to make fun of us poor deluded "funnymentalists." And since they are mocking, believers should take heart and realize their attitude is fulfilling "last days" prophecy. Then Peter continues by saying:
"Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people's conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance" 2 Peter 3:8-9 (Parallel Bible, KJV, Amplified).
So the 2000 year interval is but a couple of days in God's sight because He dwells in eternity and is not subject to the limitations of time and space. Plus the interval gives sinful mankind (all of whom are prisoners of time) ample opportunity to repent of their sin and believe on Jesus Christ.
But the point I want to stress is the numerous exhortations found in the New Testament for believers to "watch"--to anticipate the Lord's return. And I believe the reason many still cling to the Preterist position on eschatology is that they do not realize those statements refer to two different events.
In the Gospel accounts the Lord's exhortations to watch definitely relate to the Second Coming. His ministry focused upon the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24) and those prophetic utterances looked forward in time to their judgment during the Tribulation Period.
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" Matthew 24:42 (KJV)
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" Matthew 25:13 (KJV)
"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning" Mark 13:33-35 (KJV)
"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" Luke 12:35-37 (KJV, emphasis mine).
The Lord's Second Coming will take place after His marriage to the Church (the wedding mentioned above) and the "marriage supper of the Lamb":
Rev. 19:7-9 (KJV)
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
So it just stands to reason that in order for the Lord to return after the wedding, He will have taken His Bride to Himself prior to that time.
Therefore the exhortations to watch that are found in the Gospel accounts were directed to elect Jews and their descendants--not the Church because when the Lord uttered those Words, the Church was still a divine mystery. And, taken in proper context, the Lord's prophetic statements looked to that time when the elect remnant of Israel would be in the Great Tribulation and anxiously awaiting their Messiah to come and rescue them.
Whereas by contrast the following exhortation to watch refers to Church Age believers:
"But as to the suitable times and the precise seasons and dates, brethren, you have no necessity for anything being written to you.  For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the [return of the] Lord will come [as unexpectedly and suddenly] as a thief in the night.  When people are saying, All is well and secure, and, There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction (ruin and death) will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape, for there will be no escape.  But you are not in [given up to the power of] darkness, brethren, for that day to overtake you by surprise like a thief.  For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we do not belong either to the night or to darkness.  Accordingly then, let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard) and let us be sober (calm, collected, and circumspect)" 1 Thes. 5:1-6 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
That "day"--the "day of the Lord" (the onset of the Tribulation Period)--will be a total surprise for all but genuine believers. We are anticipating the return of Jesus Christ for His Bride and that blessed event must precede His Second Coming. Because it makes no sense whatever to think the people on earth will be saying, "All is well and secure, and, There is peace and safety..." just prior to the Second Coming! Even a cursory reading of the Book of Revelation will show that the entire world at that time will be experiencing unprecedented chaos and horror. So when we carefully compare Scripture with Scripture, it is apparent that the events described in Matthew 24 pertain to Israel and the rest of the world during the Tribulation Period, whereas 1 Thess.5:1-6 pertains to the Church and describes the days leading up to it.
It is the position of Cutting Edge that World War III will precede the Tribulation Period, because occult/New Age writers such as Albert Pike have predicted it and said the principle combatants will be Israel and the followers of Islam. Such a conflagration makes sense, because it will afford the antichrist and his forces opportunity to present their "christ" and ostensibly bring peace and stability to a badly shaken world. But just when people become convinced the golden age of the Millennium has finally arrived and begin to talk about the "Peace and safety" the new world leader has brought them--God's judgment will fall.
However, we are told "that day" (the Day of the Lord--the Tribulation Period) will not begin until two prerequisites take place:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" 2 Thes. 2:3 (KJV)
The prerequisites that must be met before the Tribulation Period can begin are: (1) The great apostasy, or "falling away" must occur, and (2) the antichrist revealed. So if (as many claim) there will be no removal of the Church prior to the Tribulation Period and the Second Coming is what we are to watch for, then why bother to start watching until those two prerequisites take place? The Tribulation Period will precede the Second Coming, so why not just "eat, drink, and be merry" until the two prerequisites indicate the time has arrivied when we must exercise vigilance? My friends, simple logic dictates that two separate events are in view and that is why Christians are told to watch. The Rapture of the Church continues to be imminent--can occur at any time--and has no prerequisites. But the Second Coming will not take place until after the apostasy has occurred, the antichrist is revealed, and the Tribulation Period has run its course. Once the covenant has been confirmed (ratified) with Israel (Daniel 9:27), God's "prophetic clock" will begin to tick again and count down the days of His judgment upon Israel--Jehovah's unfaithful wife of the Old Testament. Satan will be given free rein for seven years to try to prove his way is superior to God's and then Jesus Christ will return and put a stop to the insanity at Armageddon. But that cosmic battle will not be "the end of the world" as so many erroneous believe--just the end of Satan's brief and bloody rule on earth.
So are you ready to go? Are you eagerly watching world events as they take shape and anticipating the return of the Lord for His own? Evil men are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim.3:13)--so the fuse has been lit and is burning very close to the dynamite. When it blows, the world of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:5) will be taken completely by surprise and terror will reign supreme until the Lord returns to establish His Kingdom on earth.
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" Rev. 22:20 (KJV)
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
Finally, we would love to hear from
you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
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You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you.