Wednesday February 11, 2009
Hartsville News Journal
Page 6A
"Preparing for His Return"
Understanding that “rapture” is not associated with the return of Christ is Preparing for His Return; it includes knowing where we are in time and understanding that we are being tested.

Having learned the truth of “rapture” has taught us that not being prepared leads to disaster. Preparation requires a foundation and we begin by witnessing a conversation that Christ is having with His disciples. They have asked Him what it will be like when He returns; His answer comes in Matthew 24:7 KJV:

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Christ’s Words form our foundation as this prophecy is now being fulfilled right before our eyes. Yes, we have proof that we now live in these days, the days that Christ is describing to His disciples:

(1) Earthquakes are increasing in diver’s places; they took 800,000 lives in 2008 and

(2) The famines and pestilences that Christ is prophesying for us is explained in Amos 8:11 KJV:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

Amos is describing the end times, the days in which we now live. The return of Christ is near as Amos is prophesying the thirst we now have for understanding the Word of the Lord; preparing for His Return requires thirst and understanding.

Knowing where we are in time begins our preparation and understanding why God placed us in flesh completes it. Placing us in the flesh is God’s way of testing us; it tells Him how much we love Him and what our feelings are towards Satan.

Sharing his experience, Paul explains God using flesh to test us. He begins in Romans 7:15 KJV:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Flesh is sin and using our ability to resist is passing the test…how well is Paul doing? He tells just how weak flesh is! Not allowing it, Paul hates sin but he still does it…he continues to sin.

Genesis 6:6 KJV shows how serious our being tested is to God; it grieved Him to put us here in the flesh:

And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Yes, it grieved Him to put us here but testing us He will do. He is precise about finding out how we stand with Him. Paul continues in Romans 7: 16, 17 KJV:

[16] If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. [17] Now then it is no more



I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

God’s law is good and by consenting to it, Paul obtains a better understanding of sin. Romans 7: 18 KJV shows God using Paul’s flesh to test him:

[18] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

“That which is good, I find not” shows that flesh is more accommodating to sin than to righteousness. We must thank God for forgiveness; it evens the playing field with Satan.

Preparing for His return presents this opportunity for us to be tested and being tested is an opportunity to show God our love. Romans 7:25 KJV summarizes God’s challenge to Paul…and us:

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Preparing for His Return is work, work that challenges us with opportunity. Will you join me in accepting the challenge that God’s law of sin presents?

In addition to this challenge, do you accept the role God gives you?


Pastor Billy Johnson can be reached by email at or viewed online at