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The Hour You Think Not!

Largely holding to the post-tribulation view,1 the Ecclesiastical Church has long believed that Christ will not return until after the seven-year Tribulation at the Second Coming. What conflicts with that theory, however, is the fact that Jesus warned of knowing the hour: ". . . Be you also ready: for in such an hour you think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:44).

The "hour you think not" plainly chronicles a return of Christ before the traditional Second Coming, especially since many in the Church ignore "the hour you think not," while holding to Second Coming Only Theology. Similarly, the words "be you also ready" preclude the idea that Christ will wait until the Second Coming to initially return. Inasmuch that these words counsel a need to expect the unexpected, which canít be the traditional Second Coming after a seven-year Tribulation.

How opposite the idea of preparedness is (the hour you think not), compared to that of the accepted eschatological positions of the Church. Point in fact: What hour does the Church put the initial coming of Christ? The answer: pre-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath or post-trib. Conversely, What hour does the Bible put the initial coming of Christ? The beginning hour wherein the possibility of Christ initially coming begins sometime after "spiritual Midnight," or when the Day of the Lord begins the seven year Tribulation Night. This authors says "spiritual midnight," because actual midnight of the Tribulation will be two-eighths (2/8) into the seven year Tribulation, being the beginning of the second watch of That Night.

Now the Lord's Day is nearing and here lies a serious dilemma for much of today's Church, who, as a whole, doesn't understand simple eschatology (Which came first, the chicken or the egg?). As Creation attests, the chicken was here before the egg. Naturally, so must the Day of our Redemption (Eph. 4:30) appear before Jesus Christ returns to redeem us in That Day. This the Scripture articulates:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the DAY OF CHRIST is at hand. 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 Thess. 2:1-3)

A partial redemption at His initial coming? As a real possibility? This is what the Thessalonians had believed. Easily troubled, the Thessalonians were "shaken" in mind (Greek: violently disturbed). Severely doubting their faith, they believed that the Lord had left them behind (2 Thess. 2:1-3). However, when admonishing the Thessalonians, Paul didn't chide them for holding a view that they had been left behind. Rather, He affirmed the fact that the Day of Christ must first precede our Lordís coming. In so many words, then, Paul assured the Thessalonians that they didn't miss the gathering of the saints, and that they weren't left behind.

Of course, the Day was yet to begin as was Christ yet to return.2 In realizing that the Day of our Redemption with its night segment must first appear, the Thessalonians were not to be deceived in accepting any other venue.

For the record, the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord both begin with birth pangs, as found in 1st Thessalonians 5:2-3 and Matthew 24:8. In support of this fact, "the beginning of sorrows" are literally birth pangs in the Greek (Matt. 24:8). Moreover, scripturally, the Bride and Bridegroom only come forth within the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:16)!

Now Paul characterized the coming of the Day of Christ as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:4), just as Christ's initial return will also occur (Rev. 3:3, 16:15). Of interesting note, when the Thessalonians thought that they were left behind (2 Thess. 2:2), they didn't mention the missing voice of the archangel, the missing shout, nor the missing Trump of God. Yet they were more than aware of these things (1 Thess. 4:17). Could it be that they were looking for signs other than these in connection with Christís initial return?!

Today, some clergyman take it for granted that "the day" mentioned by Paul is the traditional Second Coming. What conflicts with that view, however, is the fact that never is the Second Coming referred to as "That Day," or the Lordís Day," in Scripture. Actually, the Man of Sin and the Great Apostasy will both occur much sooner than the Second Coming: 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 Thess. 2:1-3).

All told, within the biblical directive of "let no man deceive you by any means," Paul went on to detail that two things must precede the Day of Christ before our Lordís return can become imminent. First, "a falling away," or a notable apostasy in the Church must occur. Second, ". . . that the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

Paralleling the above, the following also gives us the precise understanding that the Day of Christ must first appear before the Lord returns. Paul wrote, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philp. 1:6). According to Paul, Christ will perform a good work in us 'til the Day of Jesus Christ. Until then, no man is to know the hour, but is to live in expectancy of the hour. Thus, we are to "approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ" (Philp. 1:10). Until when? Until the Day of Christ: "let no man deceive you by any means"!!!

Categorically, the "trib positions," which all claim knowledge of the hour, present insurmountable obstacles in correlating them with the prior night segment of the Lord's Day. Here are those obstacles.

1.) In citing the four Roman summertime watches of the night,4 Christ, besides prophetically admonishing the end-time Church to watch for the Summer Harvest, clearly foretold the unprecedented oppression and spiritual darkness of the coming Night.

2.) The four watches of the night are within the Tribulation period, not before it (pre-trib),3 nor after it (post-trib). Thus, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2).

3.) In strict biblical exegesis, the Tribulation, like the Day of the Lord, equates to a period of night (Matthew 24:29, 43; Mark 13:24, 35-37) prior to the dawning of That Day (Amos 5:20; Joel 2:2; 2 Pet. 1:19). If this isn't so, then Christ isn't the first light after the night, or the Bright and Morning Star of Scripture (Rev. 22:16).

As related in the above, Christians can't effectively watch in the daylight hours, or before the prior night-segment of the Lord's Day. Neither can they watch after the morning, which is to say, after the dawning of the Lord's Day. Squarely, then, the "trib positions" are both biblically and sensibly refuted. And this is why it will be of utmost importance to watch within That Night. The following chart contrasts the watches of That Night to that of the "trib positions."

Whether one accepts the watches as literal or not, it is wise to realize that the Lord's Day will have a preceding night-segment to it. First, is the fact that the Lord's Day equates to a period of darkness (Joel 2:2; Amos 5:20; Mark 13:35). Second, Christ is the bright and Morning Star, or the first light after the night (which is the case of Venus--the literal Morning Star).

If this isn't enough to convince the skeptics, we have a third witness to the Day's preceding night, which is the fact that the Day will dawn (2 Pet. 1:19). Now a day can only dawn after its night inception. Aptly, then, we even have another witness, because the Day, like Christ Himself, will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2)! Speaking of that very dark time, Jesus said, "the night cometh that no man can work."

As the Scripture states, we know PERFECTLY that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. Thus the Day doesn't begin at pre-wrath, which, according to those who hold that theory, begins deep into the seven-year Tribulation at 3/4's trib. Simply, no man knows the day or the exact hour of Christ's initial return (Matt. 24:36), that is, within That Night (Mark 13:34-35).

The Cry of Midnight

At "midnight there was a cry made"? If the At-Once Rapture Teaching were true, which catching-up supposedly happens without warning, exactly, What is the Cry of Midnight? Tantamount in nature to that question, If Midnight's Cry came right before the Second Coming, How then could it possibly fit all the biblical facts which encompass that cry?

Frankly, these questions are unanswerable, because the Cry of Midnight neither matches the At-Once Rapture Teaching nor the Second Coming Only Teaching, or any other theory of Christ's return, including pre-wrath. Nevertheless, Midnight's Cry of the parable does fit prophecy to the cross of a "t," by heralding in the coming of a new day: the Day of Jesus Christ in That Night (1 Thess. 5:3).

To reiterate, the Lord's Day will begin as all days do, by having a prior night segment before it dawns: "Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:20).

Although the Scripture tells us that there is no brightness in That Day, the darkness of That Night is largely spiritual in meaning. Supporting this view is the fact that the sun will literally scorch men in That Day (Rev. 16:8). In weighing this absolute, the night of the Lord's Day surely embraces spiritual darkness also, or the oppression of the enemy upon the whole world in That Night (John 9:4). But tellingly, that darkness won't be just spiritual in its finality: "The sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining" (Joel 2:10).

No matter what all the perceptible attributes of the Lord's Day turn out to be, there is one inviolable characteristic of which we can be certain: that Day will come upon the world as a snare. In effect, the Scripture pictures the beginning of the Day of the Lord as one who surprisingly meets a bear while fleeing from a lion; or as one who leisurely leans their hand against a wall, only to get snake-bitten (Amos 5:18-19). Fittingly, the Lord's Day will commence in the abnormal, but normal times of todayís world (Matt. 24:37-39). In other words, the Tribulation Night begins without notice from the world.

Just as a sly thief targets the unsuspecting, the Day of the Lord will also overtake those in the Church who fail to put on the armor of light. Contrary to the opinions of some, inattentive Christians can, and do, spiritually sleep (Mark 13:36; Rom. 13:11; Eph. 5:14; 1 Thess. 5:6; Rev. 2:5). However, this is not the case with those who wholeheartedly serve the Lord (1 Thess. 5:4). Risk free, leaving nothing to chance, the wise are not in darkness that the Day should overtake them:

 

and take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so That Day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch you 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. (Luke 21:34-36)

 

The Day will overtake the world; that is a given. In fact, the world doesnít value divine counsel. So Jesus' obvious concern in Lukeís above passage solely addresses Christians: Christians are to "take heed unto yourselves," lest the Day catch them unawares. Indeed, the Christian is not to be overtaken with overindulgence (surfeiting) and the cares of this life.

Some proponents against the Bridegroom Return of Christ are quick to point out that it is Israel who must pray to escape "all these things," yet the direct exegetical context of Luke's passage decidedly differs, hinging on the Summer Harvest for the Church (Luke 21:30), and watchfulness for That Day (Luke 21:34). Moreover, two thirds of Israel are going to die in the Great Tribulation (Zech. 13:8-9), while the remnant of Israel flees to the wilderness (Rev. 12:17). Simply, according to the Word, Israelís fate has long been sealed. So it isnít Israel who is to see the Day approaching, but the Church that she might escape "all these things" (Heb. 10:25; 2 Pet. 3:12!). Besides these overriding points, judgment begins with the Household of God (1 Pet. 4:16-17), not end-time Israel.

Now the Lord's Day Tribulation will commence in all normality, or without the world's observation as the days of Noah. Still, it will have its snare as both Amos and Luke have related. That is, on its onset, again, the Lord's Day will appear "unawares," just as a normal day appears (Luke 21:34; 2 Pet. 3:10).

Contrary to the idea that the Lord's Day can only begin after the display of universal cosmic signs deep into the Tribulation, the actual commencement of That Day, will, again, overtake the world. This we know perfectly, because the Lord's Day will come upon the world as a thief, just as it will surprisingly come upon many in the Church (1 Thess. 5:6; Rev. 3:3, 16:15).

Long after the Day arrives as a thief, cosmic signs will signal the manifested coming wrath of That Day deep into the Tribulation. For within the Lord's Day, immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light (Matt. 24:29). Joel wrote, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come" (Joel 2:31). In like fashion Luke penned, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:20-21).

The "great and notable day" (Greek: conspicuous) is the great and obvious part of That Day, or that great part which is readily seen. Thus, these signs are right before God's manifested wrath of That Day deep into the Tribulation, but not before the beginning of the Day itself, which will have begun much earlier in That Night.

Paul wrote, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2). Paul is translucently clear. A thief comes stealthily without announcing his arrival. In other words, a thief is sneaky. Comparatively, we should know perfectly well that the Day of the Lord will appear just as a surreptitious thief does, without announcement, and not at a presupposed hour, such as prewrath.

More importantly, no person, despite their profession of the "trib-positions," knows exactly when the Day of the Lord will commence. Because that would be like knowing the exact time of the call for "peace and safety," or like knowing exactly when the Tribulation will begin. Now, Who can rightfully claim that the call for peace and safety (the Day of the Lord) will take place at, or right before, pre-wrath (3/4's trib)?

 

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, PEACE AND SAFETY; then sudden (Greek: unexpected) destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that THAT DAY should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thess. 5:1-6)

 

Note Paulís blatant correlation of the call for peace and safety and the beginning of the Lord's Day, all in connection with the times and the seasons. Thus, Paul's mention of the growing travail of a woman in labor, is his vivid description of how the seven-year Tribulation begins and ends. Actually, the call for peace and safety will clear the way for the Antichrist to conquer by peace (Dan. 8:25), which, again, will signal the beginning of That Day and its Tribulation Night long before it dawns. Now here lies an irreconcilable fact that pre-wrath, not to mention the other "trib positions," can't reconcile.

How do we further know that the Day begins in somewhat normal times long before the appearing of cosmic signs deep into the Tribulation? Because the Day of Jesus Christ cannot be ushered in unawares, that is, if the openings of the first five seals transpire beforehand (Rev. 6:1-17). For upon their turbulent onset, in which worldwide catastrophic effects will more than manifest, they would nullify all surprise.

Affixed to this reality, the Throne Room setting (time-line), which is immediately before the onset of the seven seals (Rev. 5:1), opens with the following: "After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in Heaven, and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me. . . . and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." (Rev. 4:1-2). Here, the first voice that John heard is the same voice that he heard earlier in Revelation 1:10, which is where John commented that "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. . . ." So then, when John heard the second voice, which was like the first voice, it had to be within his Lord's Day "vision experience" (in the Spirit). Mandating, that, John's Lord's Day experience had already begun before the opening of the first seal (Rev. 1:10).

If the above chronology of events is in error, it remains that the Day of the Lord can only begin at the revealing of the Antichrist to the Church (2 Thess. 2:3), which, without coincidence, coincides with the much sooner opening of the first seal. That rider being the one who imitates Christ's Coming on a white horse (Rev. 6:2, 19:11), but conquers through peace without arrows.

Aside from the above point, the affluent days of Noah, in which Christ initially returns, occur considerably well before the poverty-stricken times of the Great Tribulation. Indeed, the days of Noah occur long before the demonstration of cosmic signs of that epoch (3/4 Tribulation). For that matter, the affluent days of Noah occur well before the later and exacting watches of That Night. Thus, not only is Christ's return possible in the earlier watches of That Night, we are warned that it is probable (Mark 13:35). 

Clearly end-times' biblical prophecy is a "more sure word of prophecy." Peter wrote,

 

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts. (2 Pet. 1:19)

 

The "more sure word of prophecy" relates to the overall need of the Church to discern the Lord's returns. For the Church does well to take heed of the time when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light (Matt. 24:29). To the time when the light that shines in a dark place, exemplifies the earliest light of dawn upon a darkened world: the appearing of the bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16) at the dawning of That Day--the traditional and glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Ironically, as the planet Venus introduces the arising of the sun and a new day, so will Jesus Christ, the biblical Morning Star. To that end, "the bright Morning Star" will be a brilliant precursory signal of the Lord Jesus coming with great power and glory at the Second Advent: "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" (Matt. 24:30).

Yes, we do well to take heed until the Day Star arises in our hearts--'til the first light after That Night arises in our hearts. For only then can we truly perceive the preceding night segment of the Lord's Day, in which Christ initially returns for His Bride in the same manner as does a Jewish bridegroom.

Surely the Church will partake of the cry at "figurative midnight," and this, in the prosperous days of Noah well before the manifold turmoil of the Great Tribulation and the judgment of God. Undoubtedly, the Day of our Redemption is much nearer than pre-wrath, not to mention the Second Coming. In fact, it is much nearer than many in the Body of Christ have believed. It is the hour you think not:

 

And that, KNOWING THE TIME, that now it is high time (midnight) to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than we believed. The night is far spent, the Day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light (Rom. 13:11-12).

 

Get Ready is Robertís new book and is available at Amazon.com. Also, just give the title and name of the author at any book store.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2/192-7466094-8207627?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=get%20ready%2C%20Robert%20c%20harris.

 

 

 

 

The Midnight Cry found in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:6) symbolizes the beginning of a new dayónamely, the Day of the Lord, which is the Day of Jesus Christ (Philip. 1:6, 10; 2 Thess. 2:3), being again, the Day of our Redemption (Eph. 4:30). Get Ready addresses the issues of Christianity, while mixing the understanding of end-time events with sound doctrine and biblical preparedness. Simply, if the entire Church were to go up in an automatic at-once Rapture, why then the command of Jesus to pray always to escape all these things that are coming upon the world (Luke 21:34-36)?

 

Moreover, if the chapter division is removed between 1st Thessalonians 4 & 5, we donít see an at-once pre-trib Rapture, but a return of Christ within the Day of the Lord, which in that passage, Paul describes as the birth pangs of That Day, or the night of the Tribulation. Additionally, we immediately behold the "times and seasons," and Christians are then told to watch (1 Thess. 5:6). Yet the world will face "sudden destruction," which in the Greek means "inescapable destruction," and this, as the Day progresses until the Second Coming dawn (2nd Pet. 1:19). Then, at that time God, who is Christ, returns with all of those who sleep in Jesus, and "all His saints."

 

 

No need to watch? No night? No doors? No Jewish Wedding? No Bridegroom Return? No first fruits? No Like Manner Return? No Summer Harvest? No Early and Latter Rains? No ďthief likeĒ coming? No Open & Closed Door Returns? Is it all just to be cast aside? Is it all just allegoric and meaningless?   

 

 

Got Questions? We Answer All Questions, Including Bible Prophecy Questions.

When the Scripture states to born again Christians, "Let no man deceive you by any means...." (2 Thess. 2:3), is this verse in vain? Is the pre-trib at-once Rapture true? Is Second coming Only Theology true? Or must we as Christians prepare for the coming night segment of the Day of the Lord before it dawns, that is, in a wise fashion? Get Ready answers these questions thoroughly, so order your copy today!

 

 

The Night-trib View Is That Christ Returns in The Spiritual Night Of The Tribulation!

 

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