Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth (Luke 18:8)? Jesus had a very good reason to ask this question. So often when the Lord has come down to the earth, He has given plenty of time and warning so people could make preparations. And yet so few are ready to meet Him.
In Exodus 19, God had just delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage through amazing signs and wonders, destroying Egypt with ten plagues and parting the Red Sea so they could escape Pharaoh. The people had no reason to doubt God, as He had proven Himself to be their divine protector time and time again. He now invited them to the greatest privilege mankind had ever experienced. They told Moses they would do anything the Lord wanted. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do (verse 8). But would they really?
Verse 9: And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. God was now ready to come down and reveal Himself to His people, allowing humanity to be in His presence for the first time since Eden. The people had three days to prepare for this great event. Verse 11: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
People often claim they don’t believe in God because they can’t see Him; surely seeing Him face to face would make them believers, right?
The Israelites were given strict orders. Because God is holy, nothing unclean could be in His presence. The people were to be pure and spotless, just like the Bride that He is coming back for today. They even had to wash their clothes. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes (verse 10). The people were to gather around the foot of Mount Sinai, where God was going to come down and appear. However they could not come any closer. A rope had to be put around the base of the mountain as a border; the glory of God would be so powerful, if anyone stepped over that line, they would die. Verse 12: And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death.
The people spent the next three days washing themselves and their clothing and making preparation for this great moment. But when the third day came, something was wrong. Despite claiming to be ready, they were still caught unaware by what transpired that morning. First came thunder and lightning, and then a great cloud of God’s glory descended upon the mountain. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled (verse 16). Just like when the Lord comes again in the Rapture, a great trumpet announced His arrival. But the people were terrified by His presence. When He arrived, the entire mountain erupted and quaked before its creator. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly (verse 18).
Only Moses wasn’t afraid. Verses 19 and 20 tell us that Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And as a result, only Moses was allowed to cross the border and ascend the mountain, to disappear in the cloud of God’s presence. But first he had to warn the people not to try to follow him, or they would die. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish (verse 21). Due to their fear and doubt, the people had to stay on the other side of the rope and were left behind as only Moses was caught away to be with the Lord. It was there on Mount Sinai that God gave Moses the Law.
Mankind has an inherent yearning to be in the presence of his Creator. And yet when God comes, most people will reject Him.
The Old Testament is filled with prophecies of the Messiah. Everything about Jesus’ coming was foretold in advance, in amazing detail. The Lord told the prophets when and where the Savior would be born. The place was given in Micah 5:2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. The time was given by the prophet Daniel in 9:25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. The Jewish people were awaiting their Messiah for centuries. This was supposed to be God’s holy nation, and everyone should have gathered to see Him, from the high priests to the beggars. But when the time finally came, only a small group of shepherds were there to see the great event.
God’s people are claiming to be eagerly awaiting His return. But are we truly ready?
The night before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples to wait while He went alone to pray. Matthew 26:36: Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. He didn’t go far; in fact, Luke 21:41 tells us He was only a stone’s throw away. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed. They knew He was coming back, and He was so close to them they could likely hear Him, but they still fell asleep. Matthew 26:40: And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? So many Christians know that Jesus is coming soon, and in fact, the Rapture is so close that He is only a stone’s throw away. But they are still asleep.
The disciples were supposed to be Jesus’ chosen followers. They had been closer to Him than anyone. They walked with Him, talked with Him, and listened to all of His teachings. They saw every miracle He performed firsthand. But He told them He would be crucified, and they were still caught off guard by His arrest and fled. He told them He would arise again, yet they still doubted. Only Mary was there to see Jesus after His resurrection. And even after this eyewitness account, they were all shocked when He appeared to them. John 20:19: Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The warning bell has been ringing for almost 2,000 years. Each day has brought us closer to the Rapture. Most Christians have experienced God in so many miraculous ways. They have seen Him answer prayers. They have seen miracles and healings. They have watched as He parted the Red Seas in their lives. And yet there is still so much doubt about His soon return, and so many will be caught unaware by His coming. Matthew 24:44: Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. What reason have we to doubt God? Yet so many of us do. Just like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are asleep. The end time signs are everywhere, and His coming is a stone’s throw away. Verses 40 and 41: 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.
Whenever the Lord descended to the earth, His people were told in advance and all of them acted excited in anticipation of His coming. And yet when the moment arrived, He always found very few ready. When He comes again soon, some will be taken, but most will be left behind. My plea for the Christian church in this hour is that we will wake up, and make preparations. Our garments must be without spot, wrinkle, blemish, or any such thing. Jesus was not speaking to the world, but to His church, when He warned them in Revelation 3:16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. How awful to be spewed out of the mouth of God, into great tribulation!