Some Days There’s No Second Chance
With the popularity of the “Left Behind” series, there is a prevalent doctrine that after the Rapture folks who were nominal believers or heard the Gospel but either rejected it or just put off being saved will get another chance. This is a very desirable doctrine and seems very much like the grace and mercy of the Lord but is it Biblical? Would the God of second, third and more chances ever have a time when there would be no second chance? Let’s search the Scriptures and see.
Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Gen 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Here in the first book of the Bible we find that God had a one-strike rule rather than a three strike one like in California. God did not give them a second chance. Eat and die was the rule and indeed in the meaning of the Hebrew dying they died. One strike and they were out of the Garden, under the curse and sentenced to death. Each breath was a stay of execution but eventually that stay was vacated and they vacated this life.
Was He a God of mercy and grace then? Yes, He didn’t strike them dead immediately and provided a covering for their nakedness that was now apparent because of their sin. In that act, He showed them the way of salvation that would be fully revealed in His Son. Abel understood and accepted it but Cain did not and hence we have the first battle between faith alone in what God provides or seeking to please Him with our works. It ended in death of the innocent and banishment of the guilty. Even that is a foreshadowing of the Gospel in that the innocent one died that sin and death might be banished. Glory!!!
Gen 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
Gen 7:16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
We are not told how long it actually took Noah to build the ark. We first meet Noah when he was 500 years old and he entered into the ark at the age of 600. If his youngest son was 20 when they started working on the ark then it was probably less than 70 years unless Ham, Shem and Japheth were triplets then maybe 80 years.
We do know that they were all old enough to have wives. So the youngest was at least whatever the youngest age that people married in those days. In history where life expectancy was 40 to 50 years old and infant mortality was high most people married shortly after puberty to ensure plenty of opportunity to have a child that would reach adulthood and still be able to have the parents be alive to raise them. However, in a time when people lived to be several hundred years old normal marriage age but have been 50-60 so maybe they only worked on it 40 years. The number 40 is used often in Scripture so maybe they worked on it one year for every day it rained. They were much stronger then and there was no Sabbath law or unions so they might have spent 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week thus completing it far more quickly then we would have in this age.
Noah may have only supervised while the boys worked so that Noah could take care of the animal situation and preach to the others. However that all worked out, we know one thing when the door closed there were no second chances. Those people had heard the Gospel of their salvation and rejected it. They may have laughed when the door shut and even when it first started raining though some may have started having second thoughts. Once the water started getting about their ankles and their dwellings flooded and stuff started floating away the mood changed. Many started banging on the ark pleading to be let in and as the waters rose the numbers of people and the cries magnified but the door did not open. They believed now but there was no second chance.
Noah could not open the door and being a righteous and compassionate man I believe that he wept for their plight but he knew that God had given them the chance. I don’t believe that there was a rope on board long enough to lower from the window and even with that it would have been too small to let anyone in as entry and exit was not the purpose of design. Had he tried and some managed to get on a rope and start climbing I believe that God would have sent lightning to strike the person or to just sever the rope. They had their chance. There would be no other. They had years to consider their decision and once made there was no retraction. The glory of it is that there was no retraction for Noah and his family either. Once in the ark they could not get out. They would be saved from the judgment no matter what and that is a beautiful picture of the eternal security of the believer. Once in, you can’t get out because God is not opening the door! With Adam and Eve, once out no way back in. God has set a precedent in these two stories and there are more examples.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. (KJV)
I love this verse! You can’t get into a much worse military scenario than this. Talk about being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea! An army both capable of and desiring to destroy you is racing your way and all you have is water before you and certain death behind you. Can you imagine how the people felt when he said, “Fear not”? I am sure that at that moment most of them felt like they had followed a madman to their death. Stand still? Like running anywhere was going to make a real difference! It’s going to take the Lord to get them out of this! I am sure that there were a few that said in their hearts, “God did not do all He did to get us out here to kill us so this is going to be a really glorious miracle!!”
The only part they were really interested in was that you won’t see these lads anymore FOREVER! What a joy it will be when we see the devil and his cohorts for the last time FOREVER!!! The thrill of being done with the sin nature FOREVER and the last of this world’s order FOREVER is better to me than any mansion over the hilltop. Give me a pup tent in the South 40 of Glory but let me serve and please Jesus without the hindrance of the world, the flesh and the devil FOREVER and I need nothing more FOREVER!!! If that doesn’t get you excited, you for certain aren’t a Baptist and you better check your pulse and your pedigree! If I weren’t so old and worn out I’d do a David dance all around the sanctuary!
26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses. (KJV)
No matter what made them come out with Moses, fear, curiosity or a desire for freedom once they went out the chances of going back was pretty much nil for all they had behind them was a very angry army that would have killed them without question. Going forward was their only hope. Yet, here they were with no place to go.
God gave Moses the Word and the way forward and out opened up and they walked between walls of water on DRY ground. People ran through afraid, glad or whatever but they took the way of escape. The soldiers may have halted at first but then followed their leaders. Both decisions became irreversible. The Jews and others on the other side could not go back once the waters fell back together and the Egyptians could make no further decisions. There was no second chance for either.
6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. KJV
Here is a perfect example why we should not complain about what God gives us in our life. God gave the people the most perfect food for their bodies in the exact amount that they needed and yet they complained because there was no variety. Ever hear that at your house when your teenager looks in full cupboards and a full refrigerator and claims there is nothing to eat in the house? I believe that it may have fulfilled their body’s water requirements as well but because they did not have water in a cup or leeks and garlic they would have gladly gone back into slavery rather than be God’s people and trust Him. Ouch! That gets close to home for most of us when we cry because we don’t have what we think we need.
Understandably, God became angry. Their tongues were biting and poisonous as snakes so God sent them fiery serpents to give them a taste of their own venom. In wrath, He remembered mercy and when Moses interceded for the people God gave them the cure. Look at a brass replica of the snake on a pole and live. Don’t and die. It was a one shot offer. Make your decision and live or die with it. It made no earthly sense but those who trusted God’s Word lived and those who did not died.
Jesus referred back to this incident and said that it was a likeness of what He would be doing for the world. There is no other way to be saved but to look to His death for our salvation. The people did no good works before looking at the brass snake nor did the ones who did not look do anything more evil than those who looked. It was the look of faith that saved them and it is what will save us. Look and live!
42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah. KJV
We all remember the story of the twelve spies that came back and gave their report of the Promised Land. Only two believed God and wanted to enter in. The ten spies that gave the negative report won the hearts of the people and they decided to not go in. So much for the majority rules concept being beneficial. When God killed the ten with a plague and told that generation that they would wander forty years in the wilderness and die there some tried to go up and take the land but were killed by the Amalekites. Only the two spies that believed and those not of that generation ever made it into the Land. There was no second chance for that generation. They had seen the miracles of Egypt and of the Red Sea, the pillar and the cloud and still they decided not to trust God for their physical well being and victory over the Canaanites. The rejection of Caleb and Joshua’s “gospel” sealed the fate of that generation like the slamming of the door in Noah’s time.
2 Thess 2:7-12
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. KJV
Now we get to the current rage and teaching about what happens to those “Left Behind.” We believe that we shall be gone in the Rapture before the Wicked one is revealed. Note that God will send a strong delusion to the people that did not believe the truth and be saved. There is no mention of a second chance here. I would not be upset if God had allowed such a chance but it is wrong to teach that He will when it is clear that He will not. I don’t care how renowned the teacher is when he is wrong he is wrong. Paul had to withstand Peter to his face and there needs to be a Paul or an Amos to tell the superstars when they blew it.
Only time and eternity will tell us how many who are reading these books will be lost because they wanted to hedge their bets and wait until the Rapture to get saved only to find that they can’t because they will believe the lie. What will be that lie? I suspect at some point during the Great White Throne judgment we will hear the announcement that will be made by the media when a multitude disappears on that day.
My hunch is that it will be a massive alien abduction. The governments of the world may blame each other for having knowledge of alien visitations and failed to prepare for this day. Many people think Area 51 has alien corpses and even live aliens from the Roswell incident. Star Trek, Star Wars, SG-1 and all the offshoots of those shows have millions of fans around the globe. Evolutionists believe that there are many Class M planets out there and life forms that may spring from a different environment. The populace is primed to believe such a story. No matter, whatever the Anti-Christ comes up with these people will believe because God will allow them to be deceived. The door to the Age of Grace has slammed shut and they are doomed without a second chance. The heresy of a second chance after the Rapture has all but condemned many because they already believe a lie.
8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. KJV
As we can see there will be a time when Christ says it is finished in a different context. The time of striving with Pre-Millennial Kingdom man will over. Whatever state a person is in at that time will be their eternal state. The time of chances will be over.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 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. KJV
Many people reading this will not have to worry about a second chance after the Rapture or the day that God will say let each stay what they are. Many will reach the time of no second chance by dying. Contrary to Mormon doctrine there is no second chance if someone is baptized for you here so that faithful Mormons can cross over and preach to you. There is no purging of sins for millennia and then entering into Heaven as say the Catholics. The rich man died and lifted up his eyes in Hell and Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom. Now that Christ has set captivity free and given gifts unto men to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. You die and then the judgment but whatever state you die in be it saved or lost that is what you will be for eternity.
Friends, are you saved? I once heard a Methodist evangelist say that it was old-fashioned to be asked but needed to be asked. More Methodists, Baptists and others need to be asked because Hell is old fashioned as well but as sure as death if you aren’t saved. Make you decision today because there may not be a tomorrow or at least not one for you. Now is the accepted time and now is the day of salvation!
Brothers and Sisters are you living up to your calling? Are you living like there may be no second chance for you to serve Him? What if there is no second chance for you loved one, neighbor or co-worker? Some days there are no second chances. Will this be your day? I pray not!