Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Genesis 18:23, NIV
Some Christians are wondering when the last events leading to the rapture will take place. I am. My best friend is. Surely the world is ripe for harvest.
So why does Jesus not come and take us away? A student of the Last Day can say, "Because the Apostasy of the church is not complete, and the Man of Sin has not been revealed."
But then we may ask, "Why are these things not yet fulfilled?"
One of the greatest problems of being human is the difference in the perception of time we have, compared to that of God. "How long, oh Lord?" asks the prophet. Though it is not yet time for destruction, the time for judgement is drawing near. So, Lord, why do you delay?
The story of Sodom may help us here. The schedule of Acts 15, may also tell the story. Here, we are told that God is presently calling out a people for his name. Since the days of the church in Antioch, they are called Christians. Many people, but one body, called the Bride. We may accurately say that the Bride is not yet complete.
Many then will say, "We need more missionaries to go to the far reaches of the earth to find the remaining members of the Bride."
Now, this idea leaves out the idea of the unreached in the country where we live. This neglects people in our own households who do not believe. Strange, is it not, that the unsaved are often thought to be in some remote region of Borneo. The farther away the mission field the "holier" it becomes.
But there are unreached people quite nearby. The last person to complete the Bride may be in your neighborhood, or even your own household. As if everyone in (my case) the USA was not as lost as the most remote person.
I was. My mother and sister were. Yet they were long time church attendees. My mother in law was caught up in a legalistic cult that taught salvation by keeping the law of Moses. Who reached out to her?
Am I blaming the churches? Yes indeed I am! Their presentation of the Gospel, of Christ Himself, is so horribly warped that many of the elect must be reached by other means than by corporate churches. It could be a radio broadcast, by a book (as in my case), or a Gospel pamphlet.
It could be by talking with an unsaved friend. I had the privilege of reaching my best friend at the time in this way. In his kitchen.
As cynical as I am, let me say that many, many people shun the corporate church and its self serving blather. Churches can really be repulsive, repulsive, repulsive. The lost lose their identity and become part of a program. Phony friendliness just doesn't make it. Many feel they are not "good enough" to associate with such wonderful, perfect people. They may even smoke and drink!
Personally, I feel churches are competitive branch offices seeking funding for wonderful business enterprises.
So why the title? The Bride has not been completed. She is not ready to be taken to heaven. Only God knows how many are yet to be called out.
But even a lowly clod such as I am knows that we must be better at witnessing. And one of the greatest obstacles to this is the business model of the church. We dress up, we expand our huge churches, and we overlook individuals. The Bible, personally applied, reaches people. I know. I have done it.
Are we there yet Abba?
Let us not put obstacles in peoples' way.