“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me…Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to the world.”
This letter was to the ‘The Faithful Church’, otherwise known as the ‘True’ church. And as I’ve said in the previous devotions on Revelations, the believers are the church, we make up the church, and we are the bride of Christ, the body of Christ. This message was for the true believers who did not turn away from GOD and to live of their flesh for the worldly pleasures.
I do believe that the believers will be raptured before the Great Tribulation, I do not know if by this verse that it means that those who were saved BUT turned away from GOD after receiving salvation, will have to endure the Great Tribulation or not. That thought never occurred to me until just now. Perhaps understanding the types of unbelief will explain my thoughts on this…
I learned yesterday that are two types of unbelief, the type of ignorance (just don’t know any better) and non-persuadable (the kind where you do know, rebellion). The first type, ignorance unbelief, is explained by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” This type of unbelief have no knowledge of GOD, so they have never experienced salvation, because they have chosen not to accept it.
The second type is the type of unbelief that happens when someone has accepted Christ as their Savior, but after sometime have turned away from GOD and has placed the desires of the world above GOD. This is same rebellious unbeilef that the Israelites showed when they were in the desert. They had seen the miracles of GOD, they had seen the Red Sea part, they had eaten the Manna, they had seen GOD’s miracles every day, yet they doubted GOD's goodness in their lives. They chose their flesh over GOD.
“How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ Then the Lord said, ‘I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are.’”
Exodus 32:8-9 You see, GOD brought them out of Egypt, but Egypt was still in them! GOD had delivered them from their bondage, but they chose not to receive their freedom from that bondage.
The rebellious unbelief is what happens to believers when they allow their hearts to harden; they’ve choked the ability for their hearts to receive GOD’s blessings, grace and mercies. “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.”
A reference in my Bible
to this verse says that, “Those who abandon the truths and morals of the gospel in favor of false doctrine meet with catastrophe.” I imagine this to be the removing of GOD’s hand and favor from their life. These believers have experienced GOD's redemption and grace, but chose to turn away from HIM and thus removing HIS protection from their lives.
We that remain faithful will be received into Heaven without enduring the Great Tribulation. We will be watching from the Heavens the events that unfold here on earth. When we keep the Faith and honor the name of Jesus, doors will be opened to us that no one can shut. This door is blessings, mercy, grace, and love, GOD’s favor upon our lives. The door to eternal salvation as children of GOD, we have received permanent home with our Father in Heaven.
These doors are for us to use for GOD’s Kingdom, we are to use our blessings to bless and encourage others. We are to build HIS Kingdom here on earth, each of us make up the Body of Christ, and each of us has an individual responsibility. If you are not sure what your purpose is, pray for the answer, but know that while you are waiting for an answer, GOD can still use you to strengthen, encourage, and lead others to Christ.