The prophet Isaiah said, "Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed."
The Apostle Paul quoted a portion of this prophecy in Romans 11:7-10, applying it to his kinsmen according to the flesh. He knew that they had fallen heir to the condemnation of that prophecy, and had failed to receive the fulfillment of the promise for which they had sought. Just about two thousand years had transpired from the beginning of the promises to "Abraham the Hebrew." Now their time was up, and just before God sent them John the Baptist and Jesus, God poured out upon them the spirit of deep sleep.
In their stupor, ignorant of what God was doing during the day of their visitation, they fulfilled another prophecy also. The coming of the Messiah, the Son of God, was one of the most prominent doctrines on their spiritual table, and His coming should have been a great blessing to them. However they did something which spoiled it for them. Incredible as it sounds, they made a law which forbade Him to come to them. When Pilate brought forth Jesus with that crown of thorns and the purple robe, he said unto them, "Behold the man!" But at their insistence he finally said, "Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God" (John 19:5-7).
God blessed Israel with the Law and the Prophets so that at the time of the coming of their Messiah and Savior, they would have "eyes to see and ears to hear," if they would but see and hear. Their table had become full of vomit (Isaiah 28:5-12) by the infusion into their religious beliefs of such contradictions as the law which they cited to Pilate, and Psalm 69:21-24 had become their lot. God Said, "Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them." Accordingly, in 70 A.D., God poured out His wrath upon Israel, and the sword pursues them yet today.
The Apostle Paul explained it this way in Romans 2:5-11, "After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God."
During the ministry of John the Baptist, a few of those "modern" Hebrews began to awaken, and prepare themselves for the next move of God: the arrival of the Messiah. But most of Israel missed it. Paul said, "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." The 2000-year journey of the children of Heber, from the calling forth of Abraham unto the coming of the Son of God, ended in tragedy for most of the Hebrews, who should have been blessed by the coming of the Messiah.
Furthermore, the Apostle Paul explained to the Romans that the same thing which happened to the Children of God: the Children of Israel, will also happen the Children of God: the Christians who are living at the end of the age of grace. All of the glory, honor and peace which was manifested in the Jews in that day, and more, shall also be manifested in the Gentile Christians shortly before Jesus Christ returns. So also shall the "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" come upon God's disobedient children of our time. In Matthew 25, Jesus spoke of our day in His parable of the ten virgins. And for years now, all of Christianity has been asleep, in fulfillment of His prophecy in that parable.
All of Christianity is, seemingly unknowingly, slumbering and sleeping: fulfilling the words of our Redeemer. That means you, and your church! If your reaction to what I just said is "Not me, not us," you are simply telling me that Jesus did not mean what He said, or did not know what He was talking about. Read the passage in Matthew 25:1-13. They all slumbered and slept, and when they awoke, they all had to trim their lamps. That figurative language must be fulfilled by Christians reading their Bibles to see what Jesus really said. When the foolish virgins returned, seeking entrance, he answered and told them they were not on the list. Then He said, "Watch therefore." Are your Pastors and Church leaders watching, and urging you to watch, lest that day overtake you unawares.
The first alarm went off September 11, 2001, and it is now time to let the snooze alarm bring you out of your stupor. When the towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and another effort was thwarted, ending in a fatal crash in the hills of Pennsylvania, it was truly a signal that "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord. - A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers" (Zeph. 1:14-16).
We will all wake up eventually, but we will not all go in to the marriage. Paul is clear: Two things are about to happen to Christianity. Some Christians are going to be awake as the disciples of Jesus Christ were in that day. But, remember, the rest were blinded, and so will multitudes of Christians be blinded today. It happened then, because God let their table (doctrine) became a snare. It wasn't just the law they made which I named above, neither is it just one thing which is blinding our eyes today. However, there is one thing in particular which has done, and is doing, the most toward keeping us oblivious to what God is doing right now by way of preparation for the "marriage." It is the "Rapture" doctrine.
One of the most important items on our doctrinal "table" is that we believe Jesus is coming back. However, just as the Jews did in the days of the Jewish church, we also have contaminated the truth of His coming with a doctrine by which, if we continue to embrace it, we will miss His coming altogether. Oh we will be here, and we will still be born again, we just will not believe what is taking place (Job 24:1). We were warned by 9-11 that "the murderer" is on his way here, but our doctrine has become a snare unto us, because we do not believe there is anything that we must do except to believe that we will be whisked away just before the trouble comes. And we believe this while more Christians are being killed around the world than at almost any time in the history of Christianity.
When the modern "election" has entered into the marriage chamber, multitudes of the followers of Jesus will be outside where there will be weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 22:2-14). In the words of Paul, there will be "tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath" upon all of Christianity who fail to receive a love of the truth. I am not talking about eternal damnation, but rather suffering the wrath of God in the day of His wrath, because they believed a lie. We have heard the lie for about 150 years now, and God is offering us an opportunity to hear the truth before the day of His wrath. Multitudes of "born again believers" will be waiting for the "Rapture" and probably scoffing at the "election" who, as Lot, will be leaving with the two witnesses. But so many are so sure that the two witnesses do not even begin the days of their prophecy until we are gone. Remember, the foolish virgins came back, seeking entrance, after the door was shut, just as God's disobedient children did when Noah was on the ark, and the flood waters had begun to rise (Matt. 24:37-39).
Paul persuaded many people to accept Jesus Christ, but in 1 Cor. 1:17 he said, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." He simply showed here that his primary work went far beyond making converts. Jesus had given to him the responsibility of translating the law of faith to its application for the Gentiles. The converted Jews had to keep the Law of Moses, together with the Law of Faith, until the destruction of the temple, but the Gentiles knew not the Law of Moses, and were never required to keep the letter of the law (Acts 15:13-20).
As the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul managed to show how that God had dealt with the Hebrews for about 2000 years, fulfilling the promises in those who he calls the "Election," and how the Grace Age would end when "glory, honor and peace" had been given to the Gentiles also (Rom. 2:6-11). He went on to show that when the "fulness of the Gentiles be come in," and before Jesus returns, a Gentile prophet will come out of that glorious Gentile Church, "and turn ungodliness from Jacob." By Paul's ministry, mercy was extended to the Gentiles, so that when the fulness of the Gentile Church will have come, they will appoint a man to do the work of extending mercy to the Jews (Rom. 11:28-33).
Jesus is coming in a very few years, the dead will be raised, and we shall be changed. When that great event occurs, mercy will be extended no more, whether we be Jews or Gentiles. I beseech you to begin to diligently search the Holy Scriptures, and prepare yourself for the coming of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.