Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36 NKJV
I want you to seriously think with me just what our Lord could possibly mean for us, who are watching and seeing “these things” actually begin to take their seat on earth’s stage. Is He telling us that we are to pray that we might be made worthy to be caught up in the Rapture, which accompanies His appearing? Or is He telling us something which seems to be more about ourselves? His emphasis for our prayer is on two things. One: that we be worthy, and two that we escape. I want us to look closely at both concepts.
What does He mean to be worthy? This is not the first time Jesus uses the concept of being worthy. For in a conversation with some Sadducees He says in Luke 20:35 something that would cause us to believe, that when the resurrection to life into the next world or age comes, that to be raised from among the dead, one must be judged to be worthy to attain to this resurrection of which He speaks. And we know that that worthiness comes only from being found in Christ.
Paul also speaks of our being worthy. He says this:
2 Thessalonians 1:5 [This is] a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. (NASB1995)
So what is this that he says “is” this indication? In verse 4, he says that it is their endurance in persecution. Enduring even in persecution Paul says makes us worthy.
So going back to What Jesus was telling us when He used the “worthy to escape” concept. Was He meaning to offer an escape from these things that we see are even now coming upon the earth? Can that even be possible when He had also said that “he who endures to the end shall be saved”?
Again I believe Paul helps us with the understanding of this in 2. Thessalonians 1:7-12
In verse 11, Paul prays that we be counted worthy that we may fulfill our desire for goodness and our work of faith with power.
In verse 7&8, he tells us when we will receive our rest from this work which brings us this persecution.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)
Therefore the time for all believers to rest from persecutions is specific in Paul’s mind.
So the second part of what Jesus tells us to pray for is the concept of “escaping these things”. What then, is to be our expectation? When we escape from something does that mean that we have not experienced it? If we escape from a life of sin, does it mean that we never experienced sin? When Daniel escaped the Lions den unscathed, does it mean that he never experienced the Lions den? When lot escaped the city of Sodom, does it mean that he never experienced it? When Jesus tells us that he who endures until the end shall be saved does He not mean that we are to pray that we be worthy to escape all these things that are coming upon the earth and to be among those who endure until the end and are saved, thus escaping what we have experienced?
It IS NOT persecution and suffering that will destroy our faith. It IS false expectation that will cause us to question God. Jesus tells us to not let ourselves be deceived. We are to beware of false prophets.
Isaiah 44:25 I cause the signs of false prophets to fail and make fools of fortunetellers. I make wise men retreat and turn their knowledge into foolishness. (GOD’S WORD)
It is only when we allow God’s knowledge to become our own; that we are beyond deception. When we make the word of God say what we want to hear; we are on dangerous ground.