by Dr. Raymond W. Barber
(Loyal Pastor for 35 Years of the Worth Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas)
"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: "For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. "And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. "And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."—Rev. 19:1–10.
Nothing will be the same after the sound of the trumpet, after the descent of the Lord, after the voice of the archangel, after the resurrection of the dead, after the translation of the living—everything will be changed. God is working out His plan. We are now living in what is commonly called the church age or the dispensation of the church or the age of grace. But one day ere long, the day of opportunity will end. When the last Gentile believer is saved and the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, then comes the rapture. It will be the end of the church age and the onslaught of tribulation. Following the Tribulation, all of His saints will come with Christ to establish His kingdom upon the earth.
He will fight the battle of Armageddon. John says:
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."—Rev. 19:15,16.
Then comes the great millennium, the period of righteousness and peace when the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas, and into eternity the ages will roll.
God has a plan. God has a program. God has a purpose. God has a prescription.
You are not an accident nor an incident. God has a plan and purpose for your life: It is either counting for Christ or a bad example to the world. I hope each of you can say, "I’m ready for the coming of Christ. I know where I’ll be after the rapture."
AT THE RAPTURE
Can you imagine the consternation that will be going on here on earth! Can you imagine the headlines in the newspapers all over the world the day after the rapture: "Millions Missing From Every Continent!" Someone asks, "How are we going to solve the employment problem?" God is going to solve that. Another asks, "How are we going to solve the food problem?" God is going to solve that. When Jesus comes, every believer will be taken out of this world. Planes will be flying through the air at seven hundred miles an hour; suddenly the saved pilots will be taken out. What about those left who are unsaved? Cars will be speeding across the highways; the saved drivers will be caught up, but their unsaved passengers will be left. What then? Ships will be sailing through the ocean; Christian captains will be taken out at the rapture. Then what happens to the ships as they sail unmanned through rough seas? Trains will be going across the rails; Christian engineers are caught up. What is going to happen to those trains and their passengers who are not saved? What an awesome day that will be! I’m glad that Christians will not go through that awesome period. God said He is going to spare us of it.
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [that’s the hour of tribulation], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."—Rev. 3:10.
TWO CLASSES OF PEOPLE
There are two classes of people—saved and unsaved. Whatever else they are—their status in life, their nationality, their color or creed—they are either saved or lost. There is no middle ground.
Jesus tells us about two ways, two roads, two destinations, and two groups of people. I hope that you find yourself in the right company.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."—Matthew 7:13,14.
Notice the contrast of many and few. Most people tonight are not saved. The world is heavily populated with people who have never been born again, dear and precious people who have never trusted the Saviour. What a harvest field! What an opportunity! What a great time to reach out and bring the lost to Jesus, ere the trumpet sounds and time as we know it will be no more! When night settles in, the opportunity to win the lost will be gone. It will be too late when the day of God’s wrath comes!
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."—Matt. 7:15–23.
Not everyone whose name is on a church roll is saved. Some are going into Hell from a church pew. They are depending on their good works or their baptism or their reformation or their turning over a new leaf or signing a card or shaking a preacher’s hand or going into a baptistery. But Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." You must have a new birth, a new life. You must be born all over from above. All who experience the new birth will be raptured when Jesus comes. All who have not experienced the new birth will be left upon the earth to go through the horrors of that awesome period called the Tribulation. The saved will be in Heaven after the rapture; the unsaved will be left on the earth!