Preparing For The Soon Coming KING, Part 6
A few days ago I felt a strong urge to spend some time in the Book of Lamentations located in the Old Testament. It is a book that not many spend much time reading because most find it too depressing. As a matter of fact, I suspect that the prophet Jeremiah himself was quite depressed when he penned the words we find in this inspired book. As best I have been able to determine, the book was written about 616 BC. This would have been right after the fall of Israel including Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians. The book is a series of five poems of lament describing the complete misery and horror that he had seen his nation go through.
I know many Christian people that, without so much as saying so, would rather avoid reading any scripture like Lamentations because it suits us more to keep ourselves in a positive and happy attitude. How do you do that when you read something like the Book of Lamentations? I do believe that as Christians we can live a positive and happy life, but not everything in real life necessarily all that positive and happy. The Bible teaches us we are able to be thankful in all things, but that does not mean there are not tough times to deal with. We don’t just experience birth, but also death. There is health, but then we also get hit with sickness and disease. We find good times to build, but then there are times of destruction as well. There is good and there is evil. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 puts it well:
- “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
I’m afraid that in western society, we have been spoiled. We have become so increased with “things” that we live to move from one entertainment to another—because that way we may be able to stay oblivious to the miserable, desperate lives that most others have to live. It is way too easy to turn on the TV, or any number of other distractions available to us and lose ourselves in a virtual world that has little or nothing to do with the reality of our world today. There is nothing in the Bible that condemns entertainment; nothing in the Bible condemns us participating in a clean form of enjoyment, but I do believe that way too many people have lost the balance that God laid out in the Word of God—especially at this critical time. With all the things that we can fill our days with, it is no wonder so many people who claim to be Christ-followers are Biblically illiterate. It is no surprise that few really know how to pray. Making study of the Bible and real prayer is time consuming. God has not provided a short-cut for either. You may say that you don’t have the time. MAKE TIME!
Most people in western society who claim to be “Christ-followers” would rather not even think of what is really happening in our world. There is a great deal of disturbing news today no matter whether you watch the mainstream news or cable news channels like CNN or FOX news channel. Our world is beginning to be tossed back and forth today. Uncontrollable and chaotic things are happening all around us. We have huge political problems, looming world-wide economic collapse, mystifying out of control climate change, dramatic earth changes, famine, impending civil wars, thermonuclear was, power struggles, ethnic cleansings, religious and terrorist extremism and mass murder, frightening cosmic threats, and so much more. Should I go on? These things are only escalating. It will never go back to normal in our time. Many scoff at this, but it is set in Biblical prophetic stone. We are on a track that was foretold thousands of years ago and it has now passed the red line. I have said it often, but will say it again. We truly are the terminal generation– meaning the one that is on earth at the time of the fulfillment of last day’s Biblical prophecies.
If this is it, do you think we should adjust how we approach every single day that we are gifted to live? Should we really treat each day we are gifted with as if things will continue on as they have been indefinitely as secular philosophers have taught for centuries? Do we really think the events we are witnessing every day now are just part of the many, many cycles world history must pass through? Not so! The call from the Throne of GOD today that is requiring our genuine, humble, contrite repentance before our GOD. We MUST do this before we stand before Him, in fact we must do this before we can even think that we can expect to be worthy of “escaping all these things” as Scripture has promised for the true remnant here when the Great Day of the LORD arrives. This is what GOD has labeled “The Great Tribulation”.
Preparation? For what, you may ask? Preparation to stand before our KING! If any of us were offered the opportunity to meet a very famous person face to face, we certainly wouldn’t meet them in the clothing we would wear to cut firewood with chainsaw and ax! We wouldn’t show up in our underwear! In fact, we’d visit the barber and make sure we are showered and make our appearance in the best we have. The same principle applies in our expectation of meeting the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords. Any less would not only not be acceptable, but would be an absolute insult.
Any encouragement to “repentance” does not make for a popular message, for sure-especially here in America. Most would rather hear “feel-good” sermons that don’t make us uncomfortable—especially those that touch on things that are hidden from others. We would rather hear that God is going to raise America back up to its lofty height once more. Many are saying that America’s best days are still ahead. I wish that were true because I love this nation, but it is no longer true. America has passed the point of no return and God has made this clear to a great many of His own. This happened before the 21st century began.
I do however believe that there is still going to be a very fast ingathering of people that are hearing God’s voice and waking up in our day. It will be in some form of the 3’rd awakening that many speak of. Here’s a problem though. So many are not in tune to GOD’s voice and so don’t hear what He is now shouting, that He is going to His law of “reaping what you sow” in order to accomplish His perfect purpose. This is now bringing disaster with increasing severity—just as Old Testament examples show ancient Israel experiencing. Jeremiah the prophet was a witness of these things first-hand and the Book of Lamentations records his mourning as well as depression due to what he saw transpire.
History proves that disasters like these too often is required in order to rattle someone to the core before they see reality for what it really is. These events are in process like soldiers on a march. This will jerk many out of their slumber; others will ignore or rebel. Currently, I am afraid most who claim Christianity as their lifestyle are completely oblivious; not having a clue what is about to be unleashed, either because they are submerged in a spiritual coma, or because they rarely poke their head out of the virtual world of entertainment or whatever other self-absorption has them oblivious to the real world.
I am a firm believer in the fact that if we don’t hear that small still voice inside our spirit, God will resort to allowing something that gets thrown in our way which causes us to catch a real dose of reality—not as we’ve become accustomed to, but as it really is. It truly is sad that a high percentage of churches in America avoid the whole subject of current events and how Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled today. We have an avalanche of Biblical prophecies being fulfilled and most of Christ’s followers have no idea! Where are those that are responsible to shepherd God’s people? Where is the leadership? Are they the hirelings Jesus spoke of? It seems so because God’s command for us to watch and for God’s leaders to warn is being ignored, and in many cases rebelled against. God have mercy on us! God will call us all to record for not following through on the commands of scripture! If there has ever been a time for us to be aware, it is today. We need to be knowledgeable of how the sovereign God is fulfilling what He foretold long ago! The command is: “When you see these things coming to pass, look up for your redemption draws near.” Yet, most church goers have no idea “what things”! There is something very wrong with this picture.
It surprises me very little, but I have found that most secular people have a much better grip on what seems to be coming down the pike than the majority of the professing Christians. Isn’t that strange? So here are all these people looking for answers and those that claim to be “Christ-followers” are lost in their own personal agendas, consequently having nothing to offer those that are desperate for answers. This is totally opposite of what Jesus’ intended when He ascended and left the population in the hands of His followers. This shows a failing of many in the call of God on their lives. If we don’t have answers to give them, WHERE are they going to get them?? It is OUR job.
There is another problem which I’ll mention in passing. Many good Christian people are spiritually handcuffed. A great many have been either burned in church, or have for one reason or another become so dissatisfied with what they found that they have totally separated themselves and really have little connection at all. I pastored for many years and have filled numerous other staff positions in several organizations, but I have some understanding of what happens when people get burned. Yet, God’s Spirit is still moving on. Believe me, I had enough “rebel” in me for myself and a handful of others, but I have found that my God is a VERY BIG God and if I don’t keep myself within a body of some type, I will likely wither on the vine and not even know it. How many are there that have become like the servant in the New Testament that Jesus mentioned who took the talent (or task/calling) that God gave him and buried it, possibly even subconsciously. God will not overlook it because we know better.
There is also a great danger in becoming so cynical and or critical of each and every fellowship we get involved in that we never allow ourselves the pleasure of being part of what God is doing. This doesn’t mean that any church is the answer. God is the only answer, and the only way we can tap into Him and what He has for us is through our own personal intimate walk with Him. Yet, we really do need fellowship with other believers. Even if we feel like “bench-warmers”, it is a great blessing to be able to worship God along with others who only desire to worship Him for Who He is. Too often we can be sidelined by the very enemy of God Himself. If the devil can find a way to get us sidelined, you can bet that this will be his agenda! I write this as one that understands how this happens. We as God’s representatives in this fallen world should be a real threat to the kingdom of Satan. How is your threat level to the kingdom of the fallen one? Way too many Christians are of no concern to the devil at all. We need to be fulfilling the Great Commission, even if it is in a seemingly insignificant role. Who cares what people see? It is our great KING that we are serving and He doesn’t miss a thing. This is not done as a legalistic action, but as an act of love for our God, and love for the people that could miss an eternity in the Presence of their Creator—because they never followed through on God’s generous offer.
I opened this writing saying that I have been driven to the Book of Lamentations lately, and I will come back to it as this subject unfolds, but we first need to take a look at a passage in the Book of Revelation, chapter 3: 7-22. In order not to lengthen the first part of this article more than necessary, I will not type it all out, but it is well worth getting a Bible in front of you and reading this whole passage for yourself so that you can get the full effect of all the things being said by Jesus to the Apostle John.
I have no idea how many times I’ve read this passage but I am finding it more applicable today than ever. The Book of Revelation is carefully laid out, not necessarily all in chronological order. Chapters two and three contain an evaluation made by Jesus Himself about seven churches listed by name. These two chapters and the things said within their context not only accurately describe seven literal churches that existed in Asia Minor in the early Christian church, but also contain much that needs to be taken as literal for us as believers to take to heart individually. Something else that is rather fascinating is that these seven churches also appear to very accurately describe seven periods of church history since the church was birthed in the first century AD. I happen to see the last two churches in a rather unique way. I am of course not attempting to push my thoughts on this on others; in fact, I am quite sure there will be many that don’t agree, but that’s okay. It is worth considering, regardless because of the principles involved.
The last two churches of the total seven are named “The Church of Philadelphia” and the “Church of Laodicea”. It is my opinion that the Church of Philadelphia is still represented here on earth. Of course many of them have died since it entered history in the 1800’s, but from my own studies and observations, I believe the Church of Philadelphia is still well represented in our world today, but in a way, it lives partly within the Church of Laodicea which began in the latter half of the 20th century and is soon to become the only church represented on this earth. This is not to say that there won’t be believers until the very end, but the Church of Philadelphia will no longer have a representation on planet earth during the Great Tribulation which is just ahead. I will discuss these two “churches” briefly in this article because of the contrast between the two there is much to learn from.
The two chapter description of the seven churches of the Church Age contains positive statements, negative statements, as well as instructions for all. Jesus is the narrator in these two chapters. When reading through all seven, you will find that there were two churches that received no criticism at all from Jesus, although instructions were given to each. The second one of these happens to be the Church of Philadelphia.
The only church that has nothing positive said about it is the very last one, the Church of Laodicea. From the description we read, it seems this church has forgotten that there is a war between good and evil. Jesus faced the maximum evil on this earth, as did every one of his apostles. Yet, in spite of Laodicea being the official representative of a “church”, it does not have enough depth of relationship with the KING of Kings to receive persecution for anything! According to Jesus, Laodicea is lukewarm. Jesus described this lukewarm condition as disgusting. It was bad enough to cause uncontrollable nausea. Here is how the dictionary describes “lukewarm”: lacking ardor, enthusiasm or conviction, moderate, mild, unemotional, half-hearted, hesitant, indecisive, irresolute, uncertain, uncommitted, unresponsive, indifferent, impassive, languid, phlegmatic, apathetic, nonchalant; lackadaisical.
You can pick for yourself the traits described above that are a problem when it comes to a solid belief and the life that goes with it when it comes to our belief in Jesus Christ. We’re either all the way in, or we are not. Trying to be something in between doesn’t cut it with the Master. What I may determine is fair and right does not ultimately matter because He is GOD sees to it that everything is “just”, not necessarily “fair”. He sets the standard and I either live up to it or I don’t. He won’t force me, nor will He force you. But the consequences are real and they are not negotiable.
It’s important to read the description of how Jesus sees this church. He says that Laodicea thinks it is self-sufficient, rich in goods; not in need of anything. That is how much of the western church sees itself today. Repentance is shunned in our sophisticated society. The subject of “holiness” is just as unpopular because it really cramps our style. Yet, Jesus’ estimation of Laodicea is that it is wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. The description of Laodicea makes it quite clear that there is a great contrast between how a great many professing Christians see themselves and how Jesus sees them. Jesus in this passage however reaches out to this church and gives it the answer. Take a good look at the scene of Jesus knocking on the door of the Laodicean church. In other words, Jesus would just as soon bring remedy to each individual that finds themselves lacking according to the viewpoint of the Master. The sad thing is, most do and will refuse to respond.
The final phase of the Church of Laodicea will be found on earth in the Great Tribulation. I do believe that a large multitude of these people will be shocked to find that a segment of the Church has disappeared off the face of the earth during what the Bible calls the “harpazo”, or rapture; snatching away of the bride, etc., and will then search God out. They will make amends, prostrate themselves before Him, and become true followers of Jesus. The tribulation however will bring brutal persecution, and very likely death to most by martyrdom. I can’t even imagine the despondency of finding oneself having been left behind, knowing that the chances of surviving what is coming as pretty slim. The bright side is that these people are the ones being described in Revelation 7: 9-17. These are all martyrs that have come out of the Great Tribulation and join the others who are already in God’s presence from just before the onset of the Great Tribulation.
To Be Continued…
(2/3 of this article already written was lost via a computer issue. In order that the continuity off the thoughts not being lost and misunderstood, the rest will be uploaded as soon as I can humanly get it rewritten. Thanks for reading…….…….. DO KEEP LOOKING UP!!)