Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. A hiding place away from the wrath of God.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:2-4
“Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.” Isaiah 26:20
“The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.” Isaiah 57-1-2 NKJV
The word “perishes” in Isaiah 57:1-2 in Hebrew is the word “avod” which actually means to “disappear, remove, and lose oneself.” So when this verse says “The righteous perishes” it is not meaning that they die, but instead, that they will disappear.
Think about that for a moment.
The faithful believers are going to disappear. Jesus is coming back for the sole purpose of taking us away from evil to be with Him. He will rescue us. And when He does, we will enter our rooms that He has prepared for us in Heaven. We will shut our doors behind us, enter into peace, rest in our beds and hide ourselves for a little while until God’s wrath has passed from the earth (Isaiah 26:19-20). These two verses in Isaiah above have everything to do with the promise of the 1st Resurrection and Rapture (Luke 20:35-36, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 20:4-6) as a pre-tribulation event.
In John 12:35-36 Jesus set out a prophetic foreshadow of our hiding when He told a crowd of people (and us) that we would “have the light just a little while longer” and that we were to “believe in the light” while we still “have the light, so that” we “may become children of the light.” The Scriptures then goes on to say “When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.” I believe this prophetic act has two spiritual applications. Firstly, when Jesus ascended into Heaven he physically left the earth and remains hidden in Heaven at the right of God. Secondly, when the faithful church, the Bride of Christ, is forcefully taken from the earth, the light of Jesus in us by the power of the Holy Spirit will no longer be restraining evil in the world (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) and we will be hidden from the world during the time of God’ wrath.
Consider this verse in Zephaniah that reads most accurately in the New King James Version:
“Neither their silver nor their gold
Shall be able to deliver them
In the day of the Lord’s wrath;
But the whole land shall be devoured
By the fire of His jealousy,
For He will make speedy riddance
Of all those who dwell in the land.
Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together,
O undesirable nation,
Before the decree is issued,
Or the day passes like chaff,
Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you,
Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you!
Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth,
Who have upheld His justice.
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
It may be that you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger.”
Zephaniah 1:18-2:3 NKJV
It is speaking of gathering an undesirable nation (Christians are undesired more now that ever) to gather and hide them before the decree of the wrath of God takes effect. As genuine believers, we are the “prisoners of hope” who will return to our “fortress” who is Jesus Christ (Zephaniah 9:12). All who have this hope in Christ will spend our life here on earth purifying ourselves (1 John 3:3) by the washing and doing of God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.
As children of God and the Bride of Christ, both currently alive in Heaven and on earth, Jesus will gather us together
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” Ephesians 1:10 KJV
We are told by Jesus “to always be on watch and to pray that we will be able to escape all that is about to happen” and pray that we will be “able to stand before” Him (Luke 21:36). For those of us who are faithful, Jesus will return for the sole purpose of rescuing us from the coming wrath set for the time of the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10) as we are not appointed to suffer God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Before we surrender our life to Christ we were under a curse (Galatians 3:10-13, Matthew 25:31) but now, through Christ we are saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9). God’s wrath will only come on those who are disobedient (Ephesians 5:6 and Romans 1:18), and in fact, God’s wrath remains on all those who reject Jesus as the Son of God (John 3:36) and they will not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
This word “escape” is the Greek word “ekpheugo ” which means “to flee out of, flee away, to seek safety in flight, to escape.” This word Ekpheugo is also found in other verses warning us that we may not escape when we: pass hypocritical judgement on others – and yet do the same thing (Romans 2:3); when we refuse Christ (Hebrews 12:22-28) and admonishes us to pay the most careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1-3).
There is a door placed before us, standing open in Heaven (Revelation 4:1) and soon Jesus will say “Come up here.” Those who keep Christ’s commands and endure patiently will be kept from the hour of trial that is coming to the whole earth (Revelation 3:7-13). One day that door will be shut. Now is the time of Grace for all to come freely to faith in God through His Son Jesus.So, how do we know we will be hidden by Jesus, and taken to be with Him before God’s wrath comes to the earth? A good indication is this: If we make Him our life now, our life will be hidden in Him, and we will remain hidden in Him when He returns for us. Those of us who are hidden now, will be hidden then.
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4