The return of Christ will be an awesome event and every eye will see Him as He descends from heaven with a shout. No one will miss it. If you are honestly a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are included in His second coming. The dead and the living will all participate (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 1:7). But the Scriptures point to other events that will take place before Christ’s return that we could miss if we are not prepared.
Matthew tells the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The Kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were prudent and brought extra oil in flasks along with their lamps. While the bridegroom delayed, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom!’”1 The foolish virgins had to go purchase more oil. But those who were prepared went in with him to the wedding feast and the door was shut. This parable cannot be talking about the second coming of Christ because not everyone participates.
We must enter into something in our generation, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). This is not talking about the second coming of the Lord because that way is not narrow; you are pulled into it. After telling the parable of the fig tree, Yeshua (Jesus) said, “When you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. … Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:33, 42). Matthew adds, “If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready” (Matthew 24:43-44). I am telling you, Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 are not talking about the same thing. Before Christ comes in the clouds, He is coming like a thief. There are other manifestations and things that God is doing in the earth and our ability to enter into them is based on our preparation.
Our preparation is so important! We cannot leave anything until morning that Christ provided for us in His sacrifice. Eat all the Lamb in haste because things are going to transpire rapidly in the earth (Exodus 12:10-11). The Lord will use believers to initiate the events that are about to happen and only His appearings can prepare us and bring the equipping we will need. Those who are prepared will speak a word in the earth and move in authority. Some will know how to move like a Moses or move like an Elijah or move like an Elisha. But if we are asleep or if we are out buying more oil, we will miss it and the door will be closed.
We must press into this. “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). If I want to be part of what God is doing in this hour, I better press into it. I want you positioned as well. So get your haste back. Ask the Lord to give you a sense of urgency and start thinking differently. Be on the alert; watch and pray (Luke 21:36).
1 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).