33“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 34 Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:33-36
We may spend our time looking up in expectation, but we should also have our noses in the Word of God. While the heavens and earth are ultimately transitory, his words are permanent fixtures and cannot be expunged. We must be careful to stay sober and aware of the spiritual turmoil underway at all times around us and in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12.
Even with Noah building a huge object lesson in his backyard, those breathing at the time were having nothing to do with his warnings, and were preoccupied with the cares of this world, living lives of dissipation. Matthew 24:37-39 We don’t want to be caught unaware (trapped, snared) when the gavel comes slamming down, in this case, the rolling door of the Ark. Jesus is telling us no one “on the face of all the earth” will escape God’s sudden judgment. There’ll be no time to react when you feel the first drop of rain, especially from a drunken state.
While not mentioned here, preliminary to this judgement will be the Rapture of believers as noted in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. They will not be “present.” The Bible teaches that we will meet the Lord in the air and ultimately accompany him when he triumphantly returns to earth. Our true faith in Christ is indeed our ticket to ride.
But those just toying with the idea of Christianity but still immersed in worldliness could get left behind. These unfortunate souls will be awakened “by the thief in the night” and will have to endure the Great Wrath to come. This will not be pleasant to put it mildly. We put our trust in Christ now to escape the terrors to come and the risk of potential eternal separation from God.
21 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Matthew 24:21–22
It’s still possible to stand before him in the end, for those who are present, but only through the strength that prayer to the Almighty provides. There’ll be an unimaginable gauntlet to run. But if he tarries, we still need to account for our mortality. The chance of “dying unexpectedly” is high these days.