A Time to Prepare
To the naked eye, it appears as though situations throughout the world are spiraling out of control. However, to the one with spiritual vision, it is becoming more evident that the prophecies spoken thousands of years ago about the times of the end are coming to life. In this time of wars and rumors of wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and natural disasters, and mass deception we must be keenly aware that nothing is taking place that is outside of God’s sovereign power. The Creator of the heavens and earth is still firmly in control.
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. Luke 21:9-11
According to Solomon, the wise king who penned the insightful book of Ecclesiastes, “there is a time for everything under the sun.” Right now, for those who know God, it is a time for preparedness. The prophecies of the book of Revelation are coming to life and we must have our eyes and hearts fixed on our soon coming King if we are to be overcomers in this forthcoming time of great tribulation. We must make sure that we are focused on becoming the bride that is without wrinkle or blemish in order to enter the wedding feast when the bridegroom returns. It is the time of separating the wise from the foolish. Our lamps need to be full of oil to be able to navigate through the gross darkness that is engulfing the earth. We must spend our time wisely, that we might not stumble in the dusk, but complete the journey through this hour of chaos and confusion. Sadly, the scriptures give many indications that not all of God’s people will do this.
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Matthew 25:1-4
Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. Jeremiah 13:16
Jesus said the days preceding his second coming would be like the days of Noah and Lot. The wise will understand what this means and be able to discern where we are on the prophetic clock of history. The world was in a unique state during Noah’s lifetime. God looked upon the lives of men and could only find wickedness and that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually evil. The Most High, determined to preserve a righteous lineage for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, executed judgment upon sinful man through the great flood. Because Noah walked with God, he and his family found favor. It was God’s will all along to preserve a remnant of faithful believers through this time of judgment and tribulation just as it will be his will to do so at the end of the age (which is approaching quickly).
The earth was depraved and putrid in God’s sight, and the land was filled with violence (desecration, infringement, outrage, assault, and lust for power). And God looked upon the world and saw how degenerate, debased, and vicious it was, for all humanity had corrupted their way upon the earth and lost their true direction. Genesis 6:11-12 (Amplified)
During Noah’s time, the earth was filled with violence. Do you see any parallels to the state of the world in late 2011? Thousands have died in Mexico as a result of the ruthless drug trade of militarized cartels which the United States has armed to the teeth. We are living in the time of endless warfare with threats of new wars being propagated almost daily. The nations are at each other’s throats over the supposed possession of nuclear weapons in Iran, territorial disputes in the South China sea, the Israeli/Palestine conflict, and many others. The threat of worldwide warfare is looming. What will be the spark to set it off?
We are truly living in a time that is on par with what Noah was experiencing. There is a constant barrage of desecration, infringement, outrage, assault and lust for power in today’s supposedly civilized world. Corruption and debasement are a normal way of life. The world at large and America in particular, is degenerating rapidly and has lost its true direction. Humanity has become more vicious and bloodthirsty despite what secularists like Steven Pinker may believe. However, man’s sin problem is still evident and we must believe the testimony of God over men.
The Deception of Enlightenment and the Cares of this Life
Mankind is not ascending to become godlike because we are more “enlightened.” This is a clever satanic deception that originated in the garden of Eden. The proponents of Secular Humanism have bought the lie. They, along with many in the occult have formed a synagogue of Satan looking forward to a new age where God is dethroned and man is exalted. It is one of the principal reasons why men have rejected God and desire a “New World Order.” It is why there is a secret cabal who have plotted behind the scenes for centuries to take over the world through the powers of darkness. The Bible does not say man would be more enlightened and become more like God in the last days. In fact, a very different picture is painted in the scriptures. Whose report will you believe?
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-6
Business as Usual
There are people that deplore violence and are still holding onto some moral fiber who face another stumbling block: the cares of this world. Again, we can see that this was also a subtle form of deception that chipped away at the spiritual awareness of the people in Noah’s day.
And [just] as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the time of the Son of Man. [People] ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, right up to the day when Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. So also [it was the same] as it was in the days of Lot. [People] ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; But on the [very] day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed [them] all. That is the way it will be on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day let him who is on the housetop, with his belongings in the house, not come down [and go inside] to carry them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve and quicken it. Luke 17:36-33 (Amplified)
Here we see a picture of business as usual. Though there will be plenty of alarming signs of the approaching tribulation and establishment of a worldwide Antichrist government, on the other side of the coin, life will seem pretty normal for many people. Right now, despite the turmoil that is going on in the world, people are still planning their next vacation, children are still being born, stocks are being bought and sold, marriages are still taking place and people are going about their daily routines. It was the same in the days of Noah. As a faithful witness to his generation, his building of the ark was a sign that judgment was to come. Noah is described in 2 Peter 2:5 as a preacher of righteousness. The building of the ark was a prophetic sign to his generation that judgment was to come. I am sure he was mocked and ridiculed by the wicked men of his era who chose to ignore the warnings. But imagine the fear that came upon people as the heavens opened up and the rains began to fall and would not relent as Noah and his family were shut in the ark. Although the execution of judgment will be more varied, Jesus said it would be like this again.
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:25-27
Perhaps the cares of this life are a more dangerous deception than any false doctrine or Satanic conspiracy?
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Luke 21:34-35
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21
“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
Properly Escaping Tribulation
If you are a faithful believer, then watching and praying should be the normal course of business during this troublesome time, for it will only get worse. There will be no rapture before the great tribulation spoken of throughout the scriptures. This false doctrine has lulled many foolish virgins to sleep. When the time for watching, waiting and hearing from God reaches its zenith, the foolish will be expecting to fly away while the world goes into a tailspin. But as Noah and Lot were preserved from destruction during the judgment of God on the world, so it will be for those who are watching and waiting faithfully during the tribulation of the end of the age. We must pay attention to what the scriptures teach, not the winds of doctrine that make us comfortable.
The scriptures continually warn us of tribulation, suffering and persecution. Did Jesus escape the tribulation of death on the cross? Did Paul escape the tribulation of shipwreck and imprisonment? Did Daniel escape being thrown in the lion’s den? Did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego escape being placed in the fiery furnace? Did David escape being hunted down by Saul and his army? How about the other Apostles who were eventually martyred for their faith? The scriptures are filled with examples of God preserving his people through suffering and tribulation. Some were delivered from their circumstances through faith and obedience, while others did not survive but knew they would receive God’s promises after death.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. Hebrews 11:30-40
The just will live by faith. That faith is confidence that God can deliver us from any trial, tribulation or adversity. If God chooses not to deliver us, then we have assurance that we will receive His promises on the other side of the resurrection. We must not fear. We must not look for a way out. The cowardly will not inherit the kingdom of God. We must embrace the trials set before us and be willing to endure hardships as good soldiers in the army of the Lord. We must look to the example of God’s deliverance in the book of Exodus as to how God can preserve his people in the face of impossible situations. Though the tribulation will cover the face of the whole earth, we can be preserved if our lamps are full of the oil of the Lord. This is our time to shine forth the amazing light of Christ in the midst of an earth steeped in darkness.
Great Darkness Precedes Marvelous Light
Increased violence worldwide and moral degeneration are the reasons God destroyed the world with a flood ages ago. Though he promised never to do it again, there is another time of worldwide judgment that will soon take place.
That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. Zephaniah 1:15
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12
Despite the failed warnings of the end of the world by false prophets such as Harold Camping, we are at the precipice of the most anticipated time in all of human history. It will be the darkest days the world has ever seen followed by the brightness of the coming of King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The entire creation is awaiting this unprecedented event. Regarding the fearful signs of tribulation and judgment, Jesus told his disciples, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
The seals of knowledge and wisdom have been opened for all that have their spiritual vision and hearing attuned. Though the details are still emerging, a clear picture is being painted that the arrival of our Lord and Savior is coming sooner than later. Are you taking the time now to prepare for the days ahead? Or are you weighed down by the cares of this life? Are you watching for the signs and praying that you would be worthy to escape all the horrible events that will soon take place? Or are you being foolish thinking that you will be raptured away from it all just in the nick of time? Are you going through life like it is business as usual, or are you being careful to make sure you have extra oil in your lamps to light the way for the dark days ahead?
I encourage you to search the scriptures and see if these things are true. The Spirit of God is urgently testifying to believers everywhere that the days of peace and safety are almost over. There are wonderful promises to those who sacrifice all to follow Jesus and practice wisdom in the time of the end. John penned some of Jesus’ faithful sayings in the book of Revelation. Please read them and be encouraged!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:11
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.” Revelation 2:26
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3:5
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” Revelation 3:12
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” Revelation 21:7