THE EAGLE, THE SERPENT, THE SHIP AND THE MAID
“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid” (Prov 30:18-19 [KJV]).
THE WAY OF AN EAGLE IN THE AIR
As Jesus was teaching the sermon on the mountain, He told the crowd to look at the birds of the air to learn from them. One of the birds severally mentioned in the Bible is the eagle. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).
In Proverbs 30:19, Agur the son of Jakeh wrote of how he was amazed by the “…way of an eagle in the sky.” An eagle has a very wide wingspread making it a very swift bird and enabling it to soar upwards to very high altitudes in the sky within a very short time.
Confront Your Storms Head on Like an Eagle
The eagle gets excited by a storm. When people and animals are being rescued and evacuated lest they get swept ad drowned by the approaching storm, the eagle confronts the storm and flies towards the storm. To rescue people and animals from being swept and drowned by an approaching storm like a hurricane, they are evacuated to remove them from the danger. When a storm’s maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph and above, it is called a hurricane. A hurricane is a type of storm which forms over tropical or subtropical waters with the winds travelling at sustained speeds of 74 mph and above. When other birds get swept by storms, the eagle gets airlifted by the storm. It uses the principle of aerodynamics which is the science that deals with the flow of air and objects moving through that air. It is the interaction between air and objects moving through it. For the eagle to be uplifted by the storm, it has to position its wings and steady them for takeoff so that it rides on the storm. Pilots use the same adjustment of wings of aircraft so that the aircraft gets lifted by the air the aircraft is riding on during takeoff and when airborne. The eagle knows full well that the greater the storm, the greater the uplifting. Emulate the eagle and face your challenges head on. Do not flee from an approaching challenge but face it to conquer it. Confront your storms like an eagle so that you ride those storms and the storms will lift you up.
Once the eagle is airlifted by the storm and it gets to the top of the skies, it glides effortlessly in the high skies seeing the whole world. If it wants to fly from one country to another in search of food, it does not need a visa or passport. We should learn to fly high like an eagle. Do not get swallowed by any storm like a hen or the way other small birds are swallowed by storms. Command the devil who is charging against you to submit to the authority of “Christ in you” (Col. 1:27) and be under your feet for you to ride on those storms he is bringing to you. If you are in Christ, you will be airlifted by the Holy Spirit like Phillip from Gaza to Azotus (today’s Ashdod), a distance of about 20 kilometres. “And the Ethiopian eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea” (Acts 8:34-40 [KJV]).
Once you overcome the storm, that test that you went through will be turned into a testimony. The greater the storm, the greater the uplifting and the greater the testimony. Tests come at a certain time to promote you to the next level. Without a test, you will not advance to the next class. Without storms, you will not advance to the next level. After you overcome the storm by riding it or making it your launching pad or stepping stone to greater heights, God will proudly testify about you saying, “You are of God little child and have overcome them because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4 [KJV]) because the one we believe in has already conquered the world for us. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 [KJV]).
THE WAY OF A SERPENT UPON A ROCK
Another amazing thing mentioned in Proverbs 30:19 is “…the way of a serpent upon a rock.” If we consider the thing that amazed the author, we will notice that he was not amazed by a serpent, nor by a serpent on a rock but by the way of a serpent on a rock. The serpent Biblically symbolizes the devil. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9) [KJV].
The author had spent quite some time observing the way of a serpent on a rock as it moves this way and that way in a confused manner similar to the confused way Satan was described in Job 1:6-7 [KJV]: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Where do you come from? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” The author of the psalm had also observed how the serpent moves on the sand: sliding, rolling, jumping, dancing and then burying itself in the sand with only its head popping out when its prey approaches. The design of its game is a stroke of genius where it hoists the tip of its tail above the sand while its head protrudes slightly above the sand so that it can see a lizard approaching to eat the supposed ‘shoot.’ And then the serpent strikes and eats the lizard. When serpents are moving on the sand, they leave various marks and prints on the sand. They draw various scribbled marks on the sand as they slither, glide or wind. The serpent moving on the sand creates paths and furrows changing the shape of the sand it is moving on. The serpent can do whatever it wants in the sand. It can strike at an enemy with lightning speed and hide without trace in the sand. On the other hand, he noted that a serpent is not able to run away when on a rock because the rock is smooth and hard and it becomes defenseless, powerless and easy to be killed. According to the Bible, rock symbolizes Christ. “Moreover, brethren, I would not want you to be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5) [KJV].
Moses made a blunder when he caned the rock (or did he cane Christ unknowingly?) instead of speaking to it as commanded by God so that the rock would produce water. “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather the assembly together, you and Aaron your brother, and speak unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth its water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock: so you shall give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he struck the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe me, to sanctify me (to show me as holy, to hallow me) in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Numbers 20:7-12) [KJV]. Moses did not sanctify the Lord in front of the children of Israel and he was denied entry to the Promised Land. Caning the rock by Moses can be likened to the way the devil planned to cane Christ by inciting the Israelites to nail Him on the cross at Calvary on trumped up charges. Satan wanted to execute the plan that had aborted earlier when he failed to tempt Christ in the wilderness before Jesus began His ministry here on earth. As Satan was tempting Jesus “… he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over you to keep you: And in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said to him, It is said, you shalt not tempt the Lord your God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:9-13) [KJV]. Once Christ was securely pinned on the cross, the devil could come and beat Him to death using his agents like the Roman soldiers who flogged him, beat him on the face with a cane, plucked his beards and pierced him on the head with a crown of thorns. It is like the serpent pinning itself onto Christ and striking Him on the head, hands, feet, back, chest, face, in a spirited onslaught to ‘humiliate and kill’ Jesus on the cross. “They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him” (Mark 15:19). It was like a serpent on a rock trying to bite the same rock it is lying on forgetting that serpents are powerless on a rock.
After resurrection, Jesus told His disciples before ascending to heaven that He would not leave them alone as orphans. That He would leave them with a Comforter. Jesus told them that “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17). This means that if we abide in Christ and He abides in us, we shall be like Him, the Rock of ages, who gives those who believe in Him the power to bear fruit that lasts. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you” (John 15:16 [NET]). The devil will not have any power over us. Jesus told His disciples that “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12) [KJV]. What a great joy for us. The Rock has conquered and made us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus such that even if a serpent pins itself on our bodies, we shall just shake it off and it shall not have power to harm us as written in Acts 28: 3-6: “And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened itself on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet vengeance does not allow him to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. The people expected him to swell up and fall down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.”
When we stand on Christ the solid Rock, no harm can come upon us as we become untouchable and unconquerable. “These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes with their hands, and whatever poison they drink will not harm them; they will place their hands on the sick and they will be well.” (Mark 16:17-18 [NET]) “Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you” (Luke 10:19 [NET]).
When Jesus anoints us by filling us with His Holy Spirit, the devil cannot touch us because we are covered by the blood of Jesus. We become untouchable because we are standing on the one who created everything in heaven and on earth. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Col 1:16 [KJV])
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4 [KJV]).
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 [KJV]).
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:10-12 [KJV])
That revelation is supposed to excite us and make us break into a song as we sing the hymn:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.’
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.’
THE WAY OF A SHIP IN THE MIDST OF THE SEA
The other amazing thing mentioned in Proverbs 30:19 is “ the way of a ship in the midst of the sea” (Proverbs 30:18-19) [KJV]. One of the things that particularly amazed the author was the way of a ship in the midst of the sea. Means of travelling to your destination can be by air, land or water. The psalmist is talking about a ship in the high seas sailing in a certain direction to a certain destination. Moving on dry land is very different from moving on water. Moving on dry land is cowardly as you have to make twists and turns, meandering to avoid mountains. This is in sharp contrast to the ship that moves in the high seas, gallantly riding over the big waves and over the small waves. Some of the waves are so huge that it is not easy to imagine how ships ride over the “…mighty waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4) where the “waves mount up to heaven and then down again to the depths” (Psalm 107:26).
That ship that is floating in the midst of the sea is you. We are surrounded by a vast sea of humanity. The sea is the world that is trying to swallow us. As one ponders of a ship in the midst of the sea, one wonders what keeps it afloat when all else is sinking. That power that keeps the ship afloat in the midst of towering storms, with the ship overcoming every storm, is the power of God. All around are sinking or sunken vessels. When we relate ourselves to that ship, we are amazed at the goodness of the Lord who keeps us afloat when all else is sinking.
Everything around us seems to be sinking: the sinking economies, decaying morals, calamities, sicknesses, accidents and poverty. One wonders why God has kept us afloat and above all those quick sands which are yawning to swallow us. The world is a vast quick sand. You have heard of ships sinking but yours is not sinking. You have heard of people sailing in ships and getting out of one storm and finding themselves in another storm. You have read in the book of Acts 27 and 28 how Paul and other inmates survived a shipwreck only to get into another storm in form of being bitten by a venomous snake and how God saved him from that snakebite in the island of Malta. God will help you overcome storms and even other storms thereafter. And your ship will continue moving on and on to take you to the other side without a hitch.
At the Deck
You can imagine yourself on the deck of that ship that is in the midst of the sea. As you look around into the distant horizon, you are not in a position to know where you are going. It is like the ship you are in is at the centre of a giant circle of water surrounded by a circumference of the horizon which is then married to the blank blue sky. If you do not have a vision of where you are going, you might panic and feel lost in the high seas. But the Bible says that “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18) [KJV]. When sailing in that ship, remember to carry the traveller’s kit. It contains the map of where you are going and the compass. Travelling without a compass and the traveller’s map is like being without a map or compass in the midst of a massive sandy desert where no person, town or mountain is visible in the distant horizon except sand, sand and more sand.
Inside the ship that is in the midst of the sea, the only sounds you hear are the roaring waves which are trying to drown the drumming sound of the vessel’s engine. That droning sound reminds you that the ship is still moving. But whether the ship is moving east or west or north or south is not easy to tell as there are no landmarks to indicate where you are going. You marvel at this vast wonder of God’s creation and try to figure out how He created that huge heap of water and the ocean deeps. “He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap: he lays up the depth in storehouses” (Psalms 33:7) [KJV]. And if God has carried you this far, it is high time you thanked Him and worshipped Him while inside the ship because He is your Ebenezer, this far has He helped you. “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12) [KJV].
The Pilot Knows Where the Ship is Going Because He Has Been There Before
After God has carried you this far, try to find out more about the country you are going to. The compass may tell you the direction you are going; north, east, west or south. But it may not tell you about the place you are going. The map you are studying to find out where you are going may not tell you everything you need to know about that place. You need to know more about the country you are going to from a person who has been there. And that person is the pilot who is in the cabin and is just a walking distance from where you are. The pilot knows the way. He knows about the entry requirements into that country.
Ask him more about the country you are going to because he has been there before. He comes from there. Ask him more about their language, entry requirements, and how you can get citizenship into that country. Do not ignore him anymore. Break the silence. Get closer to him and establish some relationship because he has piloted you this far through the storms of life. That pilot is none other than Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. Ask Him to show you the way because He said that He is the “way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) [KJV].
THE WAY OF A MAN WITH A MAID
The author of Proverbs 30 did not understand ‘the way of a man with a maid.’ Consider a man wooing his maiden in the following scripture. “You have captured my heart, my sister, my bride. You have captured my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful your love is, my sister, my bride. Your love is much better than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any balsam. Your lips drip sweetness like the honeycomb, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. My sister, my bride, you are a locked garden — a locked garden and a sealed spring.” (Song 4:9-12 [HCSB]) Surely the man loves the maid with all of his heart, mind and body. He craves for her, yearns for her and can do everything to win that girl. On the other hand, she adores him with all of her heart. “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my love among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banquet hall, and he looked on me with love.” (Song 2:3-4 [HCSB])
The man can sacrifice anything to win the hand of the girl for marriage. Some men pay huge dowries to ensure that they are given the girl for marriage. Some parents demand far-fetched requisitions before they can consider releasing their daughter for marriage. But a serious bridegroom can pay for anything to secure the bride. That man wooing the maid is none other than Jesus Christ whose bride is the church. The scriptures use the marriage to explain the kingdom of God. To explain marriage, the scriptures use the kingdom of God. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” (Eph 5:25 [KJV])
It is God’s wish that a man marries his love and that she also loves him in what stories of old used to say: happily ever after. Marriage was ordained in heaven. To demonstrate that marriage is a lifetime commitment, Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God was sent by the Father down here on earth to redeem man back to God, to establish a holy nation that He called church, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; a church which will prevail over the gates of hell. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One and His Anointing), the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (which means stone), and upon this rock (the rock of the revelation that Jesus is the Anointed one who had been prophesied in Isaiah 10:27), I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:16-19 [KJV]) Jesus was willing to pay even with His own blood to regain the church to Himself and present her to the Father in heaven. For those He has redeemed, we were bought with a price. The church is reminded “you are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19) “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13-14 [KJV])
Jesus paid the dowry in advance with His own blood to redeem us from the kingdom of darkness unto his kingdom of righteousness. To redeem means “to buy out,” to redeem a slave from captivity. The streets of heaven will be filled with former captives who, through no merit of their own, find themselves redeemed, forgiven, and free. Slaves to sin have become saints. No wonder we will sing a new song—a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain (Revelation 5:9). We were slaves to sin, condemned to eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price to redeem us, resulting in our freedom from slavery to sin and our rescue from the eternal consequences of that sin. One can imagine the Son of God delighting in the joy of His creation, rejoicing with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden only for Eve to go astray and find herself in another corner in the garden being seduced to disobey God and obey the devil instead; being seduced with false promises that the forbidden tree was something to be desired and good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and also a tree to be desired to make one wise so that would be like God in wisdom and power (Genesis 3:5-6) And surprisingly she said “I do” and ate the fruit to consummate their newly found relationship. Soon after that, she seduced her husband to eat that “evil wedding cake” and they realized that they had sinned against God and found themselves naked and guilty of the sin of disobedience and rebellion against God. They became slaves of sin and passed on that curse to all mankind. Jesus realized that there is nothing that can take away our sins from us except the blood, the precious blood of Him who was sinless. And He agreed that at an appointed time, He will come down from heaven into this evil world of sin where man is held captive by the devil and pay for our redemption at the cost of His own blood, since ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.’ (Hebrews9:22) Jesus was so determined to regain the church (bride) for Himself and for God the Father that He was prepared to suffer the worst by enduring the cross for the joy that was set before him: the joy of gaining His bride again for Himself to be with the bride forever in heaven. Crucifixion was indisputably one of the cruelest and most barbaric forms of punishment in the ancient world. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, described crucifixion as “the most wretched of deaths.” It was the most barbaric, most humiliating and most painful form of death reserved for the most notorious terrorists and for those who had committed acts of treason. Jesus experienced hours of agony, limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins — a terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. One remembers again the 22nd Psalm, the 14th verse: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”
It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I thirst.” (John 19:28) One remembers another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death.” A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionaries, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn’t take any of the liquid.
The body of Jesus is now in extremes, and He can realize that he is bleeding to death, the feel of the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) His mission of atonement has completed. Finally He can allow his body to die.
With one last surge of strength, he once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
He was prepared to pay the bride price with His own blood and with His own life. Not the blood of goats and sheep but by his own blood. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:12-14 [KJV])
Jesus offered his own blood to be shed and thereby die for us so that he bought us out of slavery of satan. There was nothing that could remove the yoke of bondage that the devil had placed around our necks except the sinless precious blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God who was God Himself. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 [KJV])
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:3-5) Let us also look forward to the time the Lord will appear in the clouds and take us unto Himself so that where He is, we might be also. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2 [KJV]) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess 4:16-17 [KJV])
At the end, the bride will be married to Jesus as the saints meet the Lord in the air to be taken to heaven for a three and a half year honeymoon.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [that’s the hour of tribulation], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”—(Rev. 3:10)
Just as God removed Noah and his family from the destruction of the flood and Lot from the destruction of Sodom that was to follow immediately after God removed them, so will God remove His saints from the tribulation that was to come after rapture.
“And he [the Antichrist, the Man of Sin] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]: and in the midst of the week [after the first three and one-half years] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”—Dan. 9:27.Daniel is saying that at the beginning of the Tribulation Period, the A
‘Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that THE DAY OF THE LORD will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.’
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are neither of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.’ (1Thessalonians 5:1-6)
‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.’ (1 John 3:2-3)
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Rev. 19:6-8)
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband…. One of the seven angels… said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God. (Rev. 21:2,9-11)