These can be the most awful words to hear, especially when they are said about life, relationships and second chances. We don’t like to think about things that are irreversible and permanently “too late” to do anything about. Death is scary to think about, but it is inevitable – and how much scarier it is when you aren’t positively sure of your eternal destination.
Do you know that the Bible warns of specific times when it will be too late for you to choose to follow and obey Jesus and therefore too late for you to ever enter Heaven? The most obvious time is after death. Once each of us has died, we no longer get any more chances to get to Heaven. The Bible clearly states: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
There are many religions that teach that there are things other people can do on behalf of the dead to help them enter Heaven, but this is not true. The choice to be made is yours alone – no one else can make such an important decision on your behalf. God doesn’t want rebels with Him in Heaven! Once a person is in Hell, they would do anything to get out and are no longer able to make a genuine choice to follow Jesus out of devotion and love rather than out of a selfish desire to escape punishment.
Only God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, was worthy to die in our place as the sacrifice for all of our sins. We, as sinful people, cannot atone for our own sins, much less the sins of others. If we could do anything for ourselves or others to make our own way to heaven, then Jesus wasted His sacrificial death for us upon the cross. But God specifically says that through His Son is the only way to Heaven: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
There were 2 specific times in history, when the door to salvation was literally closed. The first was during God’s worldwide judgment with the flood. Noah warned people for 150 years while he built the ark that God’s judgment was coming, but no one believed Noah besides his own family. People were happily and obliviously going about their own lives when the flood began. Not one of those untold millions of people had a second chance. Once the doors to the ark were shut by God, there was no turning back - it was too late for them. The same happened with the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As soon as Lot and his family were clear of the cities, all the people in them were entirely destroyed.
The Bible clearly warns that God has one last world-wide judgment for the entire world. It is known as the Tribulation and will last for 7 years, during which much of the world, people and animals will be destroyed by plagues and supernatural disasters. Those who have put their full trust in Jesus now, will escape this terrible Tribulation, by being raptured, which means "taken away" to Heaven ahead of time. Those who have believed in Jesus and have died before the rapture will be resurrected and given glorious new bodies, and those who are still alive will be instantly transformed with glorious new bodies without ever having to face death! At the end of the 7-year Tribulation, we will return to earth with Jesus to help Him rule the world for 1000 years of peace on the earth which is restored to Eden. What a glorious hope and future we have!
But Jesus warns that when He returns to earth to save His people from the Tribulation, the world will be the same way it was in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah; people will be happily going about their lives, totally oblivious to the coming judgment of the 7-year Tribulation, which will be worse than anything that has ever happened before!
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
In His parable about the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins, Jesus teaches that all 10 of the virgins knew that the Bridegroom was coming for His Bride, but only the wise virgins were ready to go with Him. The wise virgins were truly His – not in profession only, but sealed by His own Holy Spirit (symbolized by the oil for their lamps). “The bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:10-13) It was too late for those foolish virgins, as it will be too late for you to be saved from the 7-year Tribulation judgment, if you don’t commit to Jesus now. His return for His Bride, the church, which is made up of every born-again Holy Spirit sealed believer, will be spared the horrible times of judgment upon the earth. Anyone who believes in Jesus during the Tribulation will be beheaded by Antichrist. Or, if they choose the Mark of the Beast in order to be able to buy and sell necessities such as food, they will be forever sealed to go to Hell – it will be too late to turn back then, even while still alive.
God also warns that if you have rejected Him and continue on a persistent path of rebellion and sin, He will harden your heart so that you can no longer choose Him! This happened when the Israelites refused to trust God and enter the promised land that He provided for them after He rescued them from Egypt. God's punishment was that every one of the original unbelieving Israelites, including Moses*, died without ever entering the promised land. Only the 2 leaders who believed God, Joshua and Caleb, and the next generation of children born during the 40 years in the wilderness possessed the promised land. (*Moses believed God for his salavation and is in Heaven, but God did not allow him to enter the promised land because of his rebellion. Believers who remain in serious unrepentant sin, may risk the same thing.)
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews 3:7-13) This is also what happened to the Jewish nation when they rejected Jesus. God hardened their hearts so that they could no longer be saved, and He offered salvation to the Gentile world at large. Of course, there were still a remnant of individual Jewish believers, but as a whole, Israel has continued in unbelief of Jesus as their Messiah to this day. “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1)
The time that we now live is the age of Grace – where God has lovingly offered His salvation to everyone Who will accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. But this time is swiftly coming to an end. There is only one, most important decision you can make that will be thankfully, irreversible – and that is to trust in Jesus as the only One Who died for you to pay the price for your sins and by Whom you can be completely assured of escaping the judgment to come both in this world and the next! “Nor yet that he (Jesus) should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:25-28)
Paul wrote to true believers: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-10)
Jesus is coming again soon and then the devastating 7-year world-wide Tribulation will begin.
We never know what tomorrow will bring or even how many more breaths we have left to take…
I urge you: don’t wait until it is too late!!
Copyright 2005 Cherie Marie Leck ~ www.CraftDesigns4You.com
Craft Designs for You, 175 West Monroe Street, Suite 125, Wytheville, VA 24382 U.S.A.
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