THE BLESSED HOPE—WHEN? When will the BLESSED HOPE spoken of in Titus 2:13 become a reality? Only God knows for sure but He does give us some hints in the Bible. I believe the Blessed Hope, an event in part commonly called the Rapture, is imminent in its hope. It could occur at any moment. In the first century the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica and said this, “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 NIV).
These first century Christians were not waiting on the wrath of the tribulation period. They were waiting on Jesus. It was said about the Christians in Corinth, “you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1 Corinthians 1:7 NIV). In regard to the Christians at Thessalonica Paul reminded them, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NIV). To summarize a long subject the only way that these Scriptures would make sense is that every generation of Christians has been waiting for Jesus to show up at any moment. Maybe today He will return. Maybe today is the day of the Blessed Hope revealed in Titus 2:13!
Let me tackle one more verse on this topic of the imminent coming of the Blessed Hope, the appearing of Christ, and the rapture of the church. In writing to the first century church of Philadelphia the Apostle John gave Jesus’ promise, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon” (Revelation 3:10-11a NIV). These verses tell us that God is going to keep the church from the tribulation period, that trial will encompass the entire earth. The tribulation period has not happened yet and Jesus’ return for the church is imminent. As if to emphasize the point Jesus gives details of the church age in Revelation chapters 1-3 and in Revelation 4 He takes John to heaven to show him what will happen during the tribulation period. The Church will be in heaven during the time of wrath on the earth. And we get there through the Blessed Hope—the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ. My next post will share what will happen at the moment the Blessed Hope becomes reality.