While many believers are waiting for America, and the world to crumble in God’s judgment, it is important to remember that God did not rain judgement on Sodom, and Gomorrah until Lot was out of the city, nor did He flood the world until Noah was out of danger.
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matt 24:38-39 (NASB)
It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Luke 17:28-29
There will be signs of His coming, they will increase, the world will fall into chaos, and the Antichrist will come; however, GOD’s judgment will not come until the church is removed.
That being said, it has alsways been, and is still imperative to watch for sings of the coming of the Lord. Why?
HOPE. Signs are a demonstration of the supernatural, and they give humanity continued hope for the coming of the Savior.
I heard a preacher, a few weeks ago, say that he once was very heavily into eschatology, and he followed end times signs religiously (no pun intended). He had followed all the protocol, and prepared for the Y2K disaster, predicted for the year 2000. When nothing happened, he became so despondent that he gave up on eschatology and “moved on with life.” It is only recently that he felt God calling him back to the watchers’ wall. The message of his sermon was “don’t’ give up, He is coming!”
Consider the answer Jesus gave to the disciples when they asked him: “tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Matt 24:3
Why didn’t He tell them He would not return for thousands of years, and just instruct them to merely pass the signs down, directly to those living in the last days?
In addition, how do we explain all of the supernatural signs, and miracles humans have witnessed, and reported throughout time? Would humanity, in all of its weaknesses, have continued to believe in God, for this long, without the assistance of supernatural signs?
God has not been slack concerning His promise (2 Peter 3:9). He has given us signs, throughout the ages, to increase our faith, so we would protect our salvation until death, and cause unbelievers to believe.
Then said Jesus unto him, except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. John 4:48
Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent… Exod 4:1-3 (NASB)
The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” Jud 6:20-22 (NASB)
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. John 2:23 (NASB)
And, whether you believe in the pre-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath, or post-trib rapture, it is paramount to at least be prepared to go through the tribulation; merely for the sake of hope.
Even though God spared the just, in the days of Sodom, Gomora, and Noah, they still lived in an unholy, and ungodly environment until “the day” of God’s wrath. Believers will also be living in similar worldly conditions, just prior the return of the Lord:
“‘…they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you… At that time (last days) many will fall away…'” (from v.9-10)
“‘For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.'” (v.21)
“‘But immediately after the tribulation of those days… they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds… And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.'” (from v.29-31)
Can you imagine how distraught believers will be if, while waiting for each sign to snatch them up into the rapture, they find themselves going through the whole seven-year peace treaty/tribulation? This could cause many to lose hope, and give up the fight.
So be diligent, and keep the faith… until the end.
For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” Heb 6:16-19 (NASB)
As scripture points us to the hope of the second coming of the Lord, and tells us to watch, pray (Matt 26:41), and be ready for that day (Matt 24:44), we must also remember our great commission to reach lost souls along the way, who also must prepare for that day.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt 28:19–20