THE BLESSED HOPE- OUR COMING GREAT ESCAPE
(Note: many words capitalized and underlined for emphasis.)
The Holy Bible is replete with stories of great escapes, of God’s miraculous deliverance of man from catastrophic and apocalyptic disasters. These accounts also reveal God’s judgment of sin and corruption, and serve as examples and reminders of God’s role in protecting, saving, and delivering those who have placed their faith, hope, and trust in Him. While we have very little hope to the coming judgment upon this evil earth, God holds the key to our safety and survival from all the fearful things that will soon come.
Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no hope, no safety, and no salvation for mankind, in this world that is falling apart, for all will perish in their sin, immorality, and corruption. Regarding our personal salvation, Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that who soever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’ Jn3:16-18. Here, perish means to suffer everlasting damnation as opposed to everlasting life. In short, we cannot save ourselves or others. All will perish except those who place their hope and trust in Jesus Christ.
We will now look at some of these past events in lieu of the coming perilous times we will be faced with: major economic collapse, worldwide food shortages, widespread joblessness and poverty, pandemics, blazing wildfires, cataclysmic natural disasters, storms, hurricanes, great earthquakes, electrical grid failures, and even nuclear wars. In many of these events, our only escape will be through God’s divine intervention and deliverance of believers in Jesus Christ.
The following are some brief examples in the Bible of great escapes through God’s mighty intervention, while many others have perished.
The Great Flood and Noah’s Great Escape
About 1500 years after God created Adam and Eve, God instructed Noah to build an ark for He was going to destroy the earth with a great flood because the earth was wicked and evil, filled with corruption and violence. It grieved God and it repented Him that He had created man. Noah with his three sons, diligently worked to build the huge ark. Noah also warned the people to repent of their sins because of a coming disastrous flood, but to no avail 2Pe2:5. Perhaps tens of millions then perished. Only Noah, his family, and pairs of animals, male and female, escaped the deluge. It rained continuously for 40 days and 40 nights. All else drowned in the record historical flood. See Genesis chapters 6,7. Those who survived began to multiply and replenish the earth again. Jesus warned that world conditions will one day be as Noah’s days, just before the flood, i.e. wicked, corrupt, evil and violent before His return to earth Mt24:37. Wild fires will also be an endtime sign of Jesus’ coming 2Pe3:7.
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed- Lot and His Two Daughters Escaped
About 600 years later, God sent angelic messengers to Abraham saying He would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah ‘because their sin is very grievous’ Ge18:20,24. Abraham pled with the LORD, ‘Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be 50 righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the 50 righteous that are therein?’ God said He would not. Abraham then began to bargain with God, stating if there would be 40, 30, 20, and finally 10 righteous, would He still destroy those cities Ge18:24-33. Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family were then living in wicked Sodom. A major sin of S&G was homosexuality Ge19:4,5.
God sent two angels to forcefully pull Lot out of the city saying ‘Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither.. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain..’ Ge20:22-29. Only Lot and his two daughters escaped this brimstone and fire from heaven.
What is happening right now in America parallels that in S&G, because abortion, homosexuality is rampant and the gay agenda legalized. America is today’s S&G. The recent blazing wildfires on the West Coast is a grave reminder of what happened to S&G. ‘Flee while you can and don’t look back!’ Many people will perish in the coming great conflagration, famine, pestilence, and earthquakes Mt24:7, and also looming nuclear wars!
Moses and Israelites Escaped Pharaoh’s Wrath- God Parted the Red Sea
About 3500 years ago, after God sent 10 plagues that ravaged Egypt, Pharaoh finally released the children of Israel out of Egypt. But soon after, Pharaoh relented and began a hot pursuit of the Israelites as they began to leave Egypt. By then, they were nearly 2 million Israelites led by Moses. A miraculous cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night protected them, but Pharaoh was intent to stop them from leaving. As they fled, the pillar of fire came between the Israelites and the vast Egyptian army, many on chariots, such as to protect the Israelites. But Moses and company had a great obstacle, crossing the vast Red Sea.
Then God did a great miracle causing an east wind to separate the waters of the mighty Red Sea, such as it allowed the Israelites to cross over the Red Sea by foot on dry land safely, while holding back the Egyptian army with the pillar of fire from advancing against them. So when all the Israelites crossed over into the Sinai peninsula, God removed the pillar of fire allowing the Egyptian army in their chariots to advance. But the waters of the mighty Red Sea came back together, drowning and destroying Pharaoh and his army. This was another mighty supernatural escape engineered by God! See Exodus 14&15.
Rahab Escaped the Destruction of the Walled City of Jericho
After Moses died, God used Joshua to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land. Their 1st obstacle was the mighty city of Jericho. Joshua sent out 2 spies to spy out the land. They lodged overnight at ‘an harlot’s house, named Rahab’ Josh2:1. Rahab knew that God was for the Israelites, and how He separated the Red Sea for them. Rahab hid the 2 spies and lied to the king of Jericho of their whereabouts. But she asked the spies a favor for helping them- to spare her family.
God then instructed Joshua ‘.. See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do 6 days. And 7 priests shall bear before the ark 7 trumpets of rams’ horns: and the 7th day ye shall compass the city 7 times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.. that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout.. the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him’ Josh6:2-5. At the final blast of the trumpets, the mighty walls of Jericho miraculously came tumbling down. The people of Jericho panicked, became defenseless against the Israelites and were destroyed. But Rahab and her family escaped. They were spared. The Bible states ‘By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace’ Heb11:31.
Israel Escaped Giant Goliath’s Threats- Rescued by a Shepherd Boy
God used the shepherd boy David, the youngest of 8 sons in his family, to escape the threats of the 10+ft. giant Goliath, the Philistine. He kept all of Israel in abject fear, terrorizing them with taunts for 40 days. Goliath said send me a man: ‘If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.. I defy the armies of Israel this day..’ 1Sam17:9,10.
To King Saul’s dismay, no one including himself, accepted this challenge, except young brave David. Since Saul’s amour was too heavy, David went against Goliath with only his sling, 5 smooth stones, and his faith in Almighty God. Fearless David said ‘.. Thou comest to me with a sword.. spear, and.. a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee.. that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands’ 1Sam17:42-45. David slung the 1st stone which struck Goliath’s forehead and stunned him. David then rushed toward him and decapitated his head with Goliath‘s own sword. The embolden Israelite army then destroyed the fleeing Philistine army.
The Great City Nineveh Repented and Escaped Destruction
God sent the prophet Jonah to warn the wicked city of Nineveh, of its soon destruction. But Jonah disobedience of God, took a ship voyage away from Nineveh. A terrible storm arose at sea, causing the crew members to fear for their lives. They concluded that Jonah’s disobedience of God, was the cause of this raging adversity at sea. Jonah was thrown overboard into the ocean to appease God’s anger, at which time a huge fish, swallowed Jonah up bodily such that he was in the whale’s belly for 3&1/2 days. Then God had the whale spit Jonah out on land near Nineveh. Jonah then carried out his mission to speak judgment and destruction against the people of Nineveh. But instead of rejecting Jonah’s message, the people of Nineveh repented, from the king down to the peasants. They all put on sackcloth, fasted, and prayed, and begged God for mercy and forgiveness.
Because of their repentance, God repented in destroying Nineveh, to the chagrin of Jonah. But God consoled Jonah, and spoke of His forgiveness and mercy, if we would repent, return, and remain with God. Here, the 120,000 people of Nineveh escaped the wrath of God and were spared. See Jonah 1,2,3. But the great city of Nineveh was destroyed about a hundred fifty years later for their wickedness Nah3:7. Jesus warned ‘.. except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’ Lk13:3,5.
Other Great Escapes in the Holy Bible
There are many other great escapes and deliverances mentioned in the Bible, like how Deborah rose up to lead the outnumbered Israelites against the Cananites Judges4,5; how Gideon and his 300 defeated the mighty Midianite army Judges6,7
; how Samson destroyed the idolatrous kingdom of the Philistines, who had enslaved his people the Israelites Judges13-16; how Queen Esther saved her people, the Jews, from annihilation in the vast Persian empire reaching from India to Ethiopia. Esther revealed the treachery of Haman to kill the Jews to her husband the king, who then decree the Jews could defend themselves Esther2-6. These are just some examples of help and great escapes engineered by God in the Bible to deliver His chosen people. Likewise, one day soon, Jesus will one day engineer a great escape, to help all believers who are watching, praying and ready for His return, in the coming terrible great tribulation on earth.
The Greatest Escape To Come- the Rapture of the Saints
The concept of a coming great escape in very dire times known as the Rapture of the Saints, is revealed in the New Testament of the Bible. When Jesus was asked ‘..what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?.. Jesus said ..ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be’ Mt24:3,7,21.
The text here is shortened to bring out the gist that there will be a time of great tribulation in the world never experienced before. It will be a time of horrific privation and desperation. Many will be killed, and except the days be shortened, no one will survive. But Jesus said there will be an escape for the elect. Some believers will escape this period of destruction and slaughter in the greatest escape ever to come– the Rapture of the Saints.
The Rapture of the Saints– Escaping the Wrath to Come
The belief of an escape from the wrath to come is found a few times in the New Testament. Jesus said ‘Watch ye 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’ Lk21:36. The apostle Paul said ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him’ Heb2:3; ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it’ 1Co10:31.
I believe that the word escape mentioned 3 times above, refers to the coming promised Rapture; taking us up bodily into heaven. Jesus said ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also’ Jn14:1-3. Here Jesus promised to return for us to take us back to heaven with Him one day. This is the Rapture of the Saints.
Paul wrote ‘But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you’ Ro8:11. Jesus will take us up in our glorified bodies to heaven, by the power of His Spirit that dwelleth in us. But we need the Holy Spirit indwelling us, in order to change us into a glorified body to be taken into heaven, for ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption’ 1Co15:50.
This means that in our earthly body, we cannot be Raptured unless we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us! Paul said ‘grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of Redemption’ Ep4:30. We will be changed into glorified bodies in order to be taken up to heaven in the Rapture, as Jesus was taken up bodily 40 days after His resurrection from the dead Acts1:9!
The Rapture of the Saints– We Must be Ready
Are you ready for the Rapture? If you feel that Jesus will not return soon, but in 3, 5, or 10 years from now, you are not ready. To be ready, one must have the expectancy of His return at any moment. Ready means imminency! As the scriptures tell us, we who are alive, need to be Looking, Watching, Praying, Waiting, and Prepared for Jesus’ return, in order to escape the very bad things to soon come to pass upon this world Tit2:13, Lk21:36. There is no need for the dead in Christ to escape the coming evil and disasters. They are already dead and present with the Lord. Paul said ‘.. I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord‘ 2Co5:8.
Jesus said ‘Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh’ Mt24:44, Lk12:40. Jesus was talking to us living today, about being ready for His coming one day in order to escape! If not ready, we will be Left Behind and not escape the coming wrath. Paul said ‘And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come’ 1Th1:10. Paul added ‘For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him’ 1Th5:9,10. The key point here is that God has not appointed us to wrath. For those alive, we will escape the wrath to come in the promised Rapture! If not, it will be a time of great suffering, destruction, desolation, and misery.
The Blessed Hope– The Great Escape From the Wrath To Come
Jesus spoke of the great tribulation, such as never happened Mt24:21. When will this be? Never before has man had the ability to annihilate himself such as today, in nuclear warfare, flying missiles, and space weaponry. Jesus also spoke of great famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in divers places Mt24:7. We are living in a time of great instability, of a looming worldwide economic collapse and food/supply shortages in the world largest population of over 7 billion people, who will soon be hungry, desperate, desolate, and helpless.
The Rapture is our Blessed Hope, the greatest escape from the wrath to come! Paul wrote ‘Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works’ Tit2:13,14. The Blessed Hope is our redemption and purification, of a special group of that is alive and ready believers, that are zealous of the Lord’s work.
Paul said ‘ye are called in One Hope of your calling’ Ep4:4; at the appearing of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, which is the Rapture of the Saints. Paul spoke of ‘.. this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory’ Co1:27. The coming Rapture is ‘Christ in us, the Hope of Glory’. We will then be glorified to be like Jesus. Another scripture of the Blessed Hope and the Rapture is ‘For what is our Hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?’ 1Th2:19.
The Blessed Hope- Our Escape From Death and Dying
The Blessed Hope is only for those living in Christ today and filled with His Spirit. It is they who will escape the time of deep trials, persecutions, and turmoil, and will not experience physical death. It is an escape only for those who are alive and remain, that are watching, praying, looking, pure and holy, and ready for Jesus’ coming in the Rapture. Jesus said ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.. whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ Jn11:25,26.
The messianic prophet Isaiah wrote ‘He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation’ Is25:8-9. Isaiah prophetically spoke of waiting for the day of Jesus Christ, to deliver and save us, and to bless us from the wrath to come.
The apostle Paul wrote ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation’ Heb9:27-28. But Paul also said there will be an exception to death for those now living, looking, and seeking Jesus Christ at His return. Paul said ‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.. and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1Co15:52-56.
David, the psalmist, also wrote ‘this shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.. To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death’. Some believers today will be loosed from their appointment with death, and never die. This is what we can hope for- never dying and being with Jesus Christ, our Blessed Hope forever! Praise God!
Finally, The Blessed Hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ in the coming Rapture of the Saints, is our Redemption and Glorification, our greatest escape from the soon wrath to come! The apostle John said ‘.. when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this Hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure’ 1Jn3:2,3. We shall be changed into the same image as Jesus Christ Ro8:29! ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus’ Re22:20. Amen!
Please also see: THE RAPTURE- SOONER THAN YOU THINK