There is very little that scares me anymore these days. I do however have things come to mind, quite often in the middle of the night that not only wake me up, but cause me to go into a cold sweat. What comes to me again and again is the horrible thought of multitudes of people caught totally off guard! The vast majority of Christian people in America have no clue that we are now on the very threshold of the final events of this age. This is based on a number of Scriptures which warn of the suddenness of events that will unleash the final chapter of man’s history just before the return of the Messiah. The obvious question is: Are we there? I believe we most certainly are and the evidence is mounting higher every day. What bothers me is that most people are going about life as if all is going to be just as it is, next week, next month, next year, and the year after…
Jesus purposely gave us a description of what the world would be like, including the “birth pangs” at the time when “sudden” destruction comes, a time worse than any other time in man’s history including the Great Flood of Noah. This is the first time in the last 2,000 years that all of the things that Jesus described are happening at the very same time. One of the things that He said was that the condition in the world just prior to His second coming would be as they were just before the Great Flood and also as they were in the days of Lot. Scripture tells us that when we begin to see the events Jesus described, we should look up and prepare ourselves for His sudden return. So, you ask, “How do you know these are those days?” I would like to show how I get to my conclusion in this series of articles.
Why would Jesus compare His second coming to the days of Noah and Lot? There are numerous similarities but one of the most obvious is that they chose to ignore the warnings and carried on with life as if they were normal times, when, as we know now, they were not. They were swept away in judgment. It is no different today! The folks that have an idea of where we are on God’s prophetic time line seem few and far between. Few people today even have any interest in knowing, it seems! Even fewer recognize the warnings in the Word of God, even though they are screaming for us to listen and beware! Of all the people in the world that should be aware of where we are at, it is the Church, yet most of the Church is asleep, at least in the west, and it does not want to be woken out of its slumber.
In 1969, the year I graduated from college, American songwriter John Fogerty wrote a song, performed by the band, “Creedence Clearwater Revival”, called “Bad Moon Rising.” The words were prophetic and went like this:
I see a bad moon arising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today
Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.
I hear hurricanes a-blowing
I know the end is coming soon
I fear rivers overflowing
I hear the voice of rage and ruin
Don’t go around tonight,
Well it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.
Hope you got your things together
Hope you are quite prepared to die
Looks like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye…
Our generation has known for more than sixty years that the end of the age is near. The sad thing is that the Church is less aware of what is ahead than most people who live in our neighborhoods; people we see in the grocery store; people we work with, whether in an office or on a construction site! Something is wrong with this picture! We are the ones that are supposed to be providing the answers. Jesus commanded us to “WATCH”. It is not only for our personal benefit to know where we are at on God’s timeline, it is also proving to be the greatest evangelistic tool in our day, to be able to provide some answers for those around us! Yet, most Christians today treat Bible prophecy as if it were just another “conspiracy theory!” That’s a colossal mistake! God purposely gave us fore-warnings in the Bible and He intended us to pay attention!
In one of my favorite reference books, G.H. Pember’s masterpiece, “Earth’s Earliest Ages”, published in 1876, I found some comments that fit in with our subject. The heading given for the paragraph below says: “The objection of a believer to the study of prophecy is unreasonable.” This is what Pember had to say:
“…there lingers in the minds of many Christians a strong objection to prophetic study, though surely a little honest consideration would convince them of their error. For more than a fourth of the Bible is prophetic: and if God chooses to say so much, dare we refuse to listen? If He has bidden us attend to these truths, shall we turn away almost contemptuously, and say, ‘It profiteth not’? Certainly, if this be our course, we are setting up our own will in opposition to His, and would do well to inquire whether we really be in the faith or not. For “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” If, then, the Spirit loves to dwell on the future purposes of God, will not also the mind of every one that has that Spirit exhibit a similar desire? Must there not be identity of feeling, ‘If the Spirit of God be really influencing us, should He not be accompanied in His testimony by our spirit?”
The book of the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” is not the easiest book to decipher, for sure. But, there is a unique promise given for the person that decides to “read” the book. God does not require that a person immediately understand all the symbology and “types” found. God promises that the person that dares to just “read” the book will receive a special blessing! How can one lose?
G.H. Pember, who wrote as a man 130 years ahead of his time, commented on this very thing. Because of the depth of insight in his comments, I have included an extended passage directly from the book. He was of course a theologian, and a great thinker, so it sometimes takes more than just a cursory “fast read” of what he had to say.
“In the commencement of the last of the sacred books we find a special blessing promised to him that readeth, and to them that hear the words of the prophecy. This promise is not merely for him that readeth and is able to explain, nor only for them that hear and fully understand; but for all who read or hear with earnest attention, whether they be able to penetrate into the depths of the meaning or not. Nor is it difficult to see some of the channels through which the blessing flows. We will mention three of them. First, then, the study of prophecy is commanded, and we know generally that the grace of God follows every act of direct obedience on our part. If we search out even the most minute commands of His law, and do them; if we show that we testify both to ourselves and to others that we do in very deed, the Rightful Disposer of our every thought, word, and action.
Nor will He on His part be slow in acknowledging us as His subjects, as those who have a claim upon His aid and protection, He will give us grace to help in every time of need; His covering shield will be quickly interposed when the black air begins to hurtle with the darts of the enemy; His strength, by which the worlds are sustained, will uphold us when our flesh and our heart are failing; His Almighty hand will clasp and guide us when the last impenetrable gloom begins to thicken around us, and a darkness that can indeed be felt veils the place on which we next must set our foot. Nor will His grasp slacken till He has drawn us through the night, and our eyes are dazzled as we behold that for which he had caused us to hope, the golden gates of the Paradise of God.
Secondly; if a man read and believe prophecy, though he may not altogether understand it, he cannot at least avoid a strong conviction of the transitoriness of the present order of things, and is thus mightily helped in his efforts to look beyond it. We are by nature inclined to Positivism, and for the most part act practically, if we do not theoretically, upon the hypothesis that things always have been and always will be as they are, that no changes will ever take place, except such as may be brought about. And the fact that prophecy instantly dispels this false security is the secret reason why when God draws back the curtain of the future, men either shudder and turn sullenly away, or else explain what they see as no literal picture of that which must shortly come to pass, but as figurative foreshadowing of something which they are careful to show is by no means alarming, and indeed nothing more than a natural result of existing influences. For they find it difficult to conceive a violent change such as they themselves have never experienced.. they are quite willing to talk of development: they love to speak of the time when preachers will be more successful, and somehow contrive to persuade the whole human race out of its price, its selfishness, and its general ungodliness; they delight to increase the influence of their own particular sect–though in doing this they frequently confuse political power with the power of the Spirit and are apt to forget who is the reigning Prince of this World and present dispenser of its brief glory.
Or, perhaps, they are cosmopolitan in their views, and affect to despise the narrow-minded restrictions of sect; while they altogether ignore the fact that they hold sufficiently defined opinions of their own, and are unyieldingly tenacious of them. And so, floating with the stream of a torrent which is now daily increasing in volume and impetuously they preach peace and goodwill towards all men from a beneficent God who has no idea of ever troubling us about sin, and predict a golden age of liberty, equality, and fraternity. And yet if you test in their case the first absolutely indispensable condition of their Millennium, they will probably fail, in worse fashion than did the young lawyer, to prove that they love their neighbours as themselves, be going away not merely in sorrow but in wrath.
Such ideas, then, man will readily adopt; for they are all consistent with a continuance of the present order of things they can all come to their perfection–so he imagines–without a violent shock, without any supernatural interference.
But he who with earnestness and faith looks down the great vista of futurity which God has opened is quickly penetrated by very different thoughts. He beholds the conflict between good and evil intensifying, until that which is good seems overcome and well nigh annihilated: then he feels the firm ground shaking and giving way beneath him: he looks, and lo, all the cities of the nations are tottering in ruins upon the trembling earth: the sun is withdrawing its wonted light, the moon becomes as blood: the once solid objects around him wave and reel in confusion, like the breaking up and evanescence of a vivid dream. A sudden flash speeds through the gloom, and he sees the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven: he starts with affright as the red lightnings strike the earth: he gazes with awe upon the many slain of the Lord. And then at length a change passes over the scene: the thunders crease to roll, the flashing of the lightning is stayed; and forth from smoke and ruin comes the earth purified and fair as the garden of Eden; the towers and pinnacles of a noble city appear at the foot of Mount Zion, and from the summit of the mountain rises majestically the wondrous temple described by Ezekiel, before which all flesh shall come to worship the Lord!
For by the outstretched hand and by the strong arm of the Almighty, and not by preaching, will the world be taught to acknowledge her Creator, and at last find rest from her feverish roil. The preaching of the gospel in this present time is but for the calling out of an election according to the purpose of God, and for a witness to the rest of mankind. It is only, as Isaiah tells us, when the judgments of the Lord are in the earth that the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
These outlines, at least, the devout reader of prophecy will be able to trace; and so, when the close of this present age comes like a snare upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth, it will find him prepared and undismayed.
Lastly, the study of prophecy reveals to us the mind and will of God. Seems this a light thing? Do we indeed desire the confidence of our Almighty Creator? Let us fear lest we so insult Him; lest, like swine, we trample on the pearls offered. And regarding them in this light, how great is the practical value of the prophetic Scriptures! For if we are already justified by Christ, we still have need of daily progress in sanctification, we should be ever becoming more and more transformed to the image of God. And to that end what greater help could we have than a revelation of his mind and purposes in regard to ourselves, our fellow creatures, and the earth in which we dwell; an estimate by Him of all temporal things, of those visible surroundings by which we are continually affected, and His declaration of their speedy judgment and destruction.
Is it not a duty to become minutely acquainted with all this; to meditate on it continually; to shape our wishes, hopes, and aspirations, from it; to bring our whole mind into accordance with it; to use our every endeavour to spread the knowledge of it among men; and so to prepare ourselves and others for that new order of things into which we either must enter individually at the unknown time of death, or may enter simultaneously at any moment by the long-expected return of our Lord and Saviour.”
I found it fascinating to read Pember’s thoughts on the subject because they could very well have been written today and been up to date. If we are facing the culmination of the age, then the thing that we should want to know more than anything, other than making sure we ourselves are prepared to meet God, is what He had to say about the days we are now facing. There has never been such a time as the one we are now in.
In the continuation of this series, I would like to give at least a brief listing of the things that has our world hanging over a precipice, colossal “extinction level events” that are not just threatening, but seem inevitable; looming threats that our civilization will not be able to pull back to safety from. We will take a look at the very things Jesus told us to watch for as well as how current events in our world are showing that Jesus knew exactly how history would unfold. Many of the things you will read in the continuation may be things you may not ever have considered, or even been aware of.
I would like to share one more quote with you by George Pember before beginning part 2 of this series.
“The influences of the Spirit of God are even now in process of withdrawal; as He prepares for that departure from earth which will leave it open for Nephilim, seven-fold worse than those who formerly dwelt in it, to enter, and for a short season to work their will upon the human race…Then will all the Nephilim, who are yet at liberty, be among men, and will quickly make them feel the meaning of that awful utterance, ‘Woe to the inhabitors of the earth and of the sea for the Devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
Many people hear the term “Nephilim” and immediately say, “Okay, I’m out of here! I don’t want to hear another word about this. This is getting into a fringe area I don’t want to hear a thing about!” Yet, the references in Scripture are thunderous in their implications. They are also quite clear and backed by the prophets, not only of the Old Testament but also the New Testament.
It was not until the times of Constantine and the 1,000 years of Dark Ages which came not long after Constantine’s rule, that much of what the early church knew and understood for fact was removed from Biblical instruction and understanding. At our unprecedented time of end-time prophecy being fulfilled, we cannot anymore afford to avoid subjects that are uncomfortable and that spoil our “positive feelings!” We had better understand what God’s Word has made clear long ago and grow up in the faith. God chose to let us know what was coming so that we would not be ignorant and be caught off guard. The thing that might keep us from understanding what He has foretold is our own spiritual immaturity–or what is worse, our refusal to receive the truth that has always been there for us. We are the ones that choose whether we will hear what God has provided long ago or not. It is either to our loss or gain. Your choice!
To be continued:
Part 2 will begin with the first warning Jesus gave: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ’, and will deceive many.”