During this last week, I have found myself doing a lot of thinking about the chaotic situation in our world today. Part of the world is in the throes of great evil with unspeakable atrocities being committed against the human race–things that are so horrific it is difficult to accept the fact that human beings could stoop so low as to actually participate in incredibly barbaric practices, especially in the name of “religion.” It is nothing less than pure evil!
In contrast to this, a large part of the world is wasting precious resources and an enormous amount of God-given time chasing after, and participating in things that have absolutely no value; in fact, they become a false god in people’s lives.
While much of the true Church is being viciously beaten, shot to death, beheaded, buried alive, burned, or crucified, much of the rest of the church world prefers to stay insulated and detached. Who wants to think about atrocities that are happening to others when it’s possible to enjoy non-ending entertainment and pamper oneself with every form of materialism imaginable! I suppose this might sound like a rant but it’s really a call to wake up and recognize a great judgment which is already on its way.
Our world today is facing catastrophic events, such as our generation–in fact, no generation has experienced going back all the way to Noah’s day and the Great Flood. The events in our immediate future will be orchestrated by Jehovah God and they are designed as a preamble to the “Great and Dreadful Day of the LORD.” God’s modern day prophets have joined in a chorus with the Old Testament prophets nearly 3,000 years ago who warned of this very time, a time of great birth pangs. The ancient prophet Enoch who was the seventh from Adam and great-grandfather of Noah, even wrote about our generation somewhere around 5,000 years ago! We are warned of major wars including world war; we will have multiple high-casualty terrorist attacks in the West, economic collapse, great famines, deadly pestilences, disastrous weather chaos, and earth-shattering geological cataclysm brought about by objects from the cosmos interrupting the natural order of things upon our planet, including planet shaking impacts. God chose to show me by vision over 20 years ago that a storm from hell was coming and was only held back by the mighty hand of God. When it is released, it will cripple the Western world. We are now on the precipice of this happening before our very eyes. Is this the Great Tribulation? No, it is not, but the “Great and Terrible Day of the LORD” is right behind it. The world will have an opportunity to respond by humbling itself before the Great Jehovah. Most nations will not do so, but millions of individual people will choose to submit to Him, accept God’s free gift of forgiveness through genuine repentance, and ensure a glorious eternity with their Creator. Those who do not accept God’s terms will face the Apocalypse with God’s supernatural wrath poured out on a wicked and rebellious planet.
The world will recognize the time on God’s prophetic clock whether they are religious or not! It will especially be an effective wake-up call for those who conveniently ignore what is happening in other parts of the world today.
Jesus commanded us to Watch, Pray, and Prepare for His appearing. In fact, there is a special blessing promised in 2 Timothy 4:8 to those who have loved the thought of His appearing. Unfortunately, much of the Church has fallen in love with the world and all that it has to offer. So called “Christians” are today too occupied with career building, retirement portfolios, clawing their way to a job promotion, spending enormous hours watching sports events, TV reality shows, soap operas, or wasting untold hours playing video games—not realizing that God is about to require an accounting of what we individually have done with our allotment of time while on this earth. Building a career and making sure that one is being practical and wise with our money is not a sin, nor is enjoying the good things God has provided for us, but none of it should take precedence over our walk with God and how we live out that walk in this world. Our number one priority must be God’s will in our lives.
I was thinking of Jesus’ disciples this week, especially the two Jesus named the “Sons of Thunder”, James and John. Jesus named them this because they were so quick to want judgment called down upon those who would not hear their message. These two men were also anxious early on to have seats reserved for themselves on each side of Jesus when He came to set up His Millennial Kingdom! Jesus asked them a pointed question: “Are you ready to drink from the cup that I am going to drink from?” This is a question for you and me as well. As Christ-followers, are we really ready to drink from the cup that Jesus drank? He warned that because the world hated Him, they would hate us as well. They would kill Him, and many of His followers would pay the same price. All of His disciples were martyred with the exception of the Apostle John, and tradition says that he was put into a vat of boiling oil by the Roman Emperor, forced to drink poison as well as other things, but to no avail. They finally resorted to confining John on the penal isle of Patmos. This is what God had in mind so that He could show him a vision of the apocalypse. At the command of the risen Jesus, John wrote it down and delivered it to the early church. Form then on, in many parts of the world, this persecution was and is being lived out as a reality, one brutal day after another!
I have had believers argue with me many times, saying that, by claiming the promises of God’s provision, protection, and Holy Spirit power, we can live a life of total victory–even to the point of being able to be spared any significant persecution and tribulation. I am a firm believer in God’s promise to remove the true Church out of the way and off this earth when the actual Day of the Lord arrives, but Scripture does not promise that we can “faith-believe” our way out of all troubles on this earth. In fact, Jesus promised just the opposite! He said, “you will have trouble; you will be persecuted; you will have tribulation; and you will be killed for My Name’s sake…” A good question we should be asking is, “how do I prepare to be able to drink from that cup Jesus drank, if it is required of me?” .
As I was reading in Jeremiah 12 recently, I ran across a verse that I have read many times over the years. As I thought about this verse again, it came alive once more; so much so that we spent some time discussing it at our weekly home Bible study. Verse 5 reads like this:
If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain (or the thickets) of the Jordan?
Without going into an extended study of the passage, I would just like to make a few comments on it because there is an application for all of us.
Jeremiah showed some frustration in the verses prior to the one above. He expressed exasperation with the fact that so much evil continues around us all without any visible recompense to the perpetrators. Evil men not only seem to escape any consequence or judgment for their actions, they even seem to prosper at it! After Jeremiah expressed his consternation, he humbly reminded God of who he was and the life of integrity he had lived before His God. God then responded to him with the passage above. So, what does that have to do with any of us today?
No matter where you happen to live on this planet, you will see great evil, and you will not necessarily see evil being judged before your eyes. In many places today, people are being massacred, often by the hundreds at a time. In the Middle East, not only are Christian adults being crucified for their faith, but so are little children. Most of us can’t even imagine such evil. Children are taken and cut in half in front of their parents! There are people who have escaped and given accounts of “meat shops” in which they had been shackled after being captured. These meat shops were full of fresh meat, but the meat was not from butchered animals but rather human beings who had been hung upside down, slaughtered, bled out, cut into pieces, and hung up on the wall for buyers to pick which body part they want to buy, whether an arm, leg, or whatever. In other nations, like North Korea, hundreds of thousands of people are kept in concentration work camps until their bodies give out and they die. They are there from one generation to another without an opportunity to ever get out. Then there is the indescribable evil of women and children being abducted and then bought and sold in the sex slave market. They all live short lives because they are used until they are deemed useless to their owners.
In the western world we don’t see near as much of the brutal barbarism. But we see society taken over by the evil of abortion, homosexuality, and pornography. We are faced with this evil every single day, no matter whether it is on television, in theatres, or just going to the grocery store. The fallen Lucifer has legions of demons who have one main agenda and that is the use of anything and everything possible to drive a wedge between God and mankind, ultimately to destroy him–not just physically, but also eternally.
So, how do we deal with this? We must get our strength to defeat any and all of these things through our intimate walk with God. God was telling Jeremiah that there was worse out there that he would have to deal with. If he found himself worn out while running with footmen, what was he going to do when he had to run against horses? If he was tripping and falling on level ground, what was he going to do when he had to traverse uneven ground or fight his way through thickets? What was God saying here?
God was telling him that he would have to step his spiritual walk up a bit so that he would be able to deal with some greater challenges still to come! In the New Testament we find the answer to this in Ephesians 6:10-13 which tells us:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
If we read the passage all the way through verse 18, the Apostle Paul gives us a list of spiritual weapons that are needed to handle any conflict that we might have as followers of Christ. At the end of verse 13 above, it says it is imperative for us to take up the whole armour of God. Why? So that we can withstand in the evil day. What evil day? Every future day or time in which we are challenged by the enemy of our souls, whether it is by temptation or by persecution. That is the evil day. Some are not so hard to deal with while others might take us to the dark night of the soul. After preparing to deal with whatever might come, it says, “and having done all…stand! It gives us of a fighter that has trained, he has come onto the battlefield equipped with his weapons, he finds his place of no retreat, sets his feet in a stance that is ready for anything thrown at him. That is exactly how we should be! One chapter earlier in the book of Ephesians, we find this said in verses 15-17:
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Paul the apostle here exhorts the believer to walk carefully and with wisdom because it is important that we redeem the time. What time do we need to redeem? Every hour that the Almighty has given us to live. Why is time so important, and do I really have to account for every minute of my life? Do I not get any time of my own? Do I have to “produce” every hour of my day? Did God not put me into a beautiful world He created for me to enjoy? Do I really have to sacrifice my four hour fishing trip in order to get someone saved…?? Fifty more questions could be added to these that question much the same. So?
Yes, God put us on a beautiful planet and He intends us to enjoy it. There is however a nefarious plan in motion to destroy this beautiful unique planet and its inhabitants. All God asks of us is that we allow Him to be LORD in our lives. As we learn to enjoy this wonderworld He uses us to touch the lives of those in our sphere of influence. We are meant to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth! What does this mean? It means we have been given the capacity and ability through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit to influence the world around us. God’s agenda is for us to draw those around us to Him. We do this by what we say, what we do, and how we live. Of course we are allowed to enjoy the planet He has put us on but unfortunately it is in the process of being destroyed even as you read this article! We need to recognize what is really happening and what “time” it really is!
Redeeming the time means that we will make the most of it. As Christ-followers, everything in our lives is choreographed, nothing is by chance or coincidence. God networks everything for the fulfillment of His grand plan! So, we need to make the best of the time we have been allotted. Only God knows the exact time of our leaving this temporal existence for the eternal one. Because of this fact, we should entrust our entire life and existence to the One that can enforce and make the most of the effects of all that we do and say in His Name.
What does it mean that the days are evil? Were these days as evil 1900 years ago when this was written? Actually, the days were quite evil then under the pagan Roman Empire, but there is a special corruption that has entered our modern technological society today. Hollywood has given us ample warning of what is happening to our culture. Everything, from the complete rejection of all that has been considered “holy” to what has been seen and accepted as “normal” for a society on this planet, has not only been questioned, but ultimately trashed as the refuse of an archaic, regressive, throw-back, ultra-religious philosophy that should be buried in a tomb in some location where it can never, ever be found! These are the evil days we have been placed into. We have been warned by God, and even by the pagan society we live in.
This passage of Scripture then says that we should be “wise” so that we can understand what the will of the Lord is. What is God’s will for us? To find this out we need to take more than a couple minutes that we can “spare” during our busy 24 hour day to connect with the Lord of the heavens and earth! He is GOD. Is He our God? Then let us honor Him for Who He really is. He is not at our beck and call! We are at His! Yet, with all of our obvious human flaws He promises to respond to us. Why? Because He loves us so much! This is how we find His will for us. He has promised to watch over us, guide us, teach us, lead us, and has even promised to be our rear guard in Isaiah 58! What a gracious, kind, and loving Father we have!
In Jeremiah 30:21 we find: “I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?” declares the LORD. This Scripture has always intrigued me. The promise is that God will bring anyone close who will devote themselves to get close to the Lord. Is there anything greater than this? Yet, how few will do so. If there has ever been a time for God’s people to do this, it is today!