I have loved God's Word from the moment I received faith to believe it. As I have mentioned before, on Sunday, January 31st, 1971, I woke up thinking that God, the Bible, and religion of any kind were ridiculous. Little did I know that by noon, I would have what psychologists call, a gestalt switch. Most of you are aware of what that is, but you most likely do not know it by that name. A gestalt switch is when you look at a picture and see an old woman, and all at once, your perception changes and the picture becomes a young woman. That is what happened to me. For the first time in my life, I knew the Bible was God's Word. It is funny what a little faith does. It changes everything.
Since that moment, I have tried to study the Bible, even to the point of enrolling into Bible College, and then, Seminary. I might mention that in spite of all my efforts to understand it, the greatest thing I learned was that it is beyond my comprehension. For example, I was reading a chapter in Zachariah last night, and I had no idea what it meant. This, after graduating with honors from schools filled with scholars. Either they were total failures at teaching this old guy, or more likely than not, they were barely scratching the surface of the treasure that is buried in the Word. The longer I study it, the more I realize how little I know. It is very humbling.
I have endeavored to share my limited knowledge with children at a Christian school were I taught Bible. I have also been asked by my pastor to teach Eschatology (future things found in the prophecy of the Word) in the Summer Christian University classes for adults at our church. It is a difficult subject to teach, in that most people in the class come from a variety of churches, and find hard to unlearn what they have always believed. Nevertheless, they keep coming and I have really enjoyed seeing the "light come on." While some leave thinking I am nuts, most are very excited about the new perspective. Their enthusiasm is so encouraging.
But, with all my vast knowledge (tongue in cheek), I become like a child at Christmas when I discover some new (to me) connections within God's Word. While reading His Word this morning, for the first time, I was able to see the connection between two parables. I have understood them separately for a long time, but today, I saw what I had taught confirmed. I believed that the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25) is teaching that Christ's second coming was not to a wedding, as we know it, but unto what we call the reception. Even though the word in Matthew 25:10 calls it "the marriage," I found through study, that the Greek word gamos is often translated "wedding feast." Since the marriage of Christ to His bride, the church takes place in heaven before His return, the use of "marriage" in the parable is easy to misunderstand. Well, as I read this morning in Luke 12, I found the confirmation of my belief. In verses 35-41, Christ's return is to be met with burning lamps. He is coming from the wedding. Notice that He is not coming to the wedding/marriage, but is coming to what must be the reception. He is coming to Israel. The Church, His bride, is coming with Him.
I won't get into it here, but this is just one of many passages that support the Rapture of the Church prior to the Tribulation period. So, when Paul says for us to "comfort one another" in 1 Thessalonians, he is letting the Church know that we have nothing to fear. The Tribulation is Daniel's Seventieth Week appointed to His people, Israel (Daniel 9:24-27. Be of good cheer, fear not, rejoice, for the Lord is coming soon for His Body, His Bride, His Church!