Today, I want us to think about the importance of faith despite being on the bring of complete chaos and destruction.
We are on the verge of finding out a number of things. We know that the subject of "the Escape" (also known as "the Rapture") is quite contentious.
There are advocates, teachers, and "experts" on every side of the issue. Soon - - I think very soon - - we will not have to guess anymore. I have been convinced for some time now that the days of debating and arguing are over. For this reason, I've scaled back my participation a bit in the Comments Section of this blog. No, it's not because I don't want to engage in lively discussions with all of you who are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, but only because I don't want to spend too much time debating and refuting the same points over and over and over again, that I have no time left to write the things the Holy Spirit has impressed upon my heart to write about at this time.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a prophesy "expert" to look around today and see that this world is on the brink of something major. Heck, for that matter, you don't even have to be a Christian, let alone "religious" at all!
Israel's about to attack Iran. The global economic crisis is getting worse. The environment is always acting up bringing death and destruction to everyone in her ferocious wake. The "news" tells us that guns and survival stuff are selling like hotcakes (do you wonder why?). Gay marriage is being legalized in many more places by the week. The signs are all around us!
You don't have to be a history expert to understand that a government like the one in "Mystery, Babylon The Great" (the United States of America) is corrupt and rotten from its foundations to its top. At one time, America had an inspiring foundation called the Constitution, but that foundation has been gutted, shredded, and removed to the dustbin of history. If anyone in "CONgress" today even mentions the Constitution, you can hear the snide remarks and contemptuous laughter from the "servants of iniquity" (the politicians of Mystery, Babylon The Great). The reconvene tomorrow. Oh joy!
America has become a "den of vipers," the home to every unclean thing. America is the major exporter of war, pornography, financial slavery, and every other form of vice and degradation known to man. Do you think this has gone unnoticed by the our Lord? Do you think the stench of America's sins has not reached into Heaven, just as the sins of Sodom did in Lot's days? The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Lot, and the days of Noah. The Lord gave us specific clues to this "coming of the Son of Man."
There are no idle words in the Bible. Read Matthew 24 and Luke 17 again. This is highly significant - - the link between us "going somewhere" likened to Lot leaving Sodom and Noah going into the Ark - - because it's tied to the coming of the Son of Man. Where is it that we believers are going? Where will we "escape" to? For some, that's still open for debate.
Let's recall the warning that David Wilkerson posted on his blog relating to the coming fires in New York City and across America. After reading his blog, then seeing a 10 minute or so video of him on YouTube relating to these days, almost all of what he said resonated with what the Lord is saying to my heart. He says to have about 30 days of food on hand, which is probably not a bad idea. He says there will be an initial flash of fear for even the most godly among us. I think he could be right. What he says resonates. Yes, I know there are still others out there who think that Wilkerson is a "false prophet" (not THE False Prophet of the end times, but someone who hasn't been right 100% of the time, which is the measure of a true prophet of God).
Even so, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a mind picture of us with our faces pressed against a thin pane of glass that separates us by a razor thin margin from Daniel's 70th Week (also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble). Today, and in the days to come, it will take faith to stand. If you do not stand on your faith, you will not stand at all. We live by faith, not by sight. Not everyone will be counted worthy of the escape from all that's coming.
What if Noah told the Lord, "Uh, sorry Lord, people around here told me I have to swim through half or more of the Flood before I get to crawl into the Ark, so I'm just going to scrap the whole Ark idea for now..." instead of simply believing and trusting? What if Lot told the angels, "Hey guys, I appreciate the escort and everything, but I really think I need to stay and eat some fire and brimstone before I'll feel worthy of walking out of here..." instead of simply believing and trusting? Can you imagine!?! Well, that's what I believe we are being told today.
You can be sure that many people will enter into the Tribulation and die in it. Many will profess to be Christians. That's a cold, hard fact. The Fifth Seal of Revelation 6 shows us people slain for their testimony, and for staying true to the Word of God. With that said, we must ask ourselves if the souls we see slain for the Word of God, under the altar in Heaven, has any relevance to the stories of Noah and Lot. Does dieing in the Tribulation have ANY RELEVANCE to stories of Noah or Lot? It's a simple question I think. Yes or no?
The "escape" that's coming isn't for everyone just like the Ark was only for animals and one family (Noah's), and just like one family (Lot's) was counted worthy to escape from Sodom before it was destroyed. I am already feeling and seeing the capitulation in many people who have resigned themselves to dieing out in the Tribulation, and the Tribulation hasn't even started yet!
If the 7 years of Hell on Earth are about to start (ok, only 3.5 years of "Hell on Earth" for you "hair-splitters"), and I believe they are, then we should be looking for the Noah and Lot experience that accompanies the coming of the Son of Man, right?
At this point in time, based on what I believe today, I don't think that someday I'll be talking to the Lord and I'll say, "Hey Lord! Remember that 'escape from all' thing you wrote in Luke? What happened there? I mean, most believers escaped only from less than half of all you unleashed on the Earth - - not 'from all' so what gives? Why did you say 'escape from all' if your children escaped from nothing really, and instead died out during the Tribulation instead? Lord, where was the Noah and Lot bit too? Noah didn't swim the flood waters and Lot didn't do a fire dance trying to escape the fire and brimstone You sent, so, again, what happened?"
That conversation will NEVER happen because His Word will come to pass just as He said it would. THERE WILL BE AN ESCAPE FROM ALL! The things that are coming will be bad, but some people can expect the worst they will experience will be from inside an "Ark," or from inside a safe city as in Lot's case. What I personally believe at this moment is that their "escape" to an "Ark" can be so much more than either of those two options! I may have written this already, but my thinking is that Jesus Christ is our "Ark" (an archetype - - "ark-type" [pun intended] - - of Noah's Ark). So, if that's the case, then wouldn't we need to go to Him, go to our "Ark," when it's time for our escape? That's one reason why I believe in a literal Rapture event.
According to the Word of the Lord, as you believe, so will things be done unto you, which is why your faith is important (Mark 11:23; Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21; Mark 9:23; Luke 17:6; John 11:40; 1 Corinthians 13:2). What do you believe, and why do you believe it? If there is an escape from all as the Lord has said, and you miss it because you do not believe there is an escape from all, will you be a bit upset on the day when it comes, and you are not part of it because someone told you not to bother doing what Luke 21:36 specifically tells you to do, which is to pray to be counted worthy of the escape from all that's coming?
Luke 21 is the Lord telling the apostles of what's going to happen during the Tribulation period. Then, at the very end of His reply to them He says we are to pray that we can escape all of it. All of it.
Time is short. I agree with Wilkerson that something is about to happen that will test the faith of everyone - - BEFORE THE ESCAPE SHOWS UP. For all we know, it could be an event or a war so awful that the rest of the world will think that it was Armageddon. How easy would it be at that point for the Antichrist to rise from the ashes to deliver us from that nightmare, and to see us through? Here's another thought. If I stood you on some train tracks and tied you to the tracks as a train was coming right at you, and I didn't cut the ties and pull you out of harm's way till the last second, would you have a flash of fear just before the train threatened to hit you? Of course you would!
What if there was no "escape from all" that's about to happen? What would believers do then? The SAME THING they have always done - - put their trust and faith in the Lord day-by-day. "Give us this day our daily bread..." is what the Lord's prayer tells us, right? The requirements for living in the Time of Jacob's Trouble will be COMPLETE RELIANCE ON THE LORD for everything. Some people live like that today already without needing to be put into a furnace to learn the lesson of complete reliance.
All believers today are not in the same place. One shoe will not fit all in the days that are coming. The woman with the issue of blood touched the Lord's garment and He felt power leave Him because she believed. Her faith was great enough to draw on His power. The Lord marvelled at the faith of the centurion, telling the apostles that He had not seen such faith in all Israel (and that centurion was a non-religious type). And so it's the same today, isn't it? Those invited to the Wedding Feast will be cast out, and the servants of the Lord will be out on the streets looking for those who will take a place at the Feast. Maybe this is EXACTLY why Wilkerson's warning message makes sense to us, and why many of us feel the same about how we'll be "pressed up against" the very start of the Tribulation, only to escape right before it actually and officially begins.
Matthew 22:2-10 - - "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests." (emphasis mine)
Out on the streets, not in this world's religious buildings, is where the tax collector, the centurion, the woman with the issue of blood, the people who believe what Jesus has said - - that's where they are found. The people who "play religion" are the ones who cried "crucify him" to Pilate. The corrupt Jews of that day are no different to the so-called "Christian" leaders today. Has human nature changed? No. Has the religious spirit that leads men down the broad path that leads to destruction changed? No. Men are still building empires to themselves in the name of God, and they dare any man to touch their empires. Let Jesus Christ tell these men to sell their empires, to hate their lives here, so they may gain a life that is truly life, and those men would probably cry "crucify him" instead.
The time that is coming will be a good time for one reason alone. Some serious sorting of wheat and chaff will occur. The fire that is coming will refine that which is truly gold and the impurities will be burned away. We are told to build on a firm foundation so that when the wind and the waves rise, what we have built will not be destroyed, for the fire will test every man's work. Come to think of it, President Obama's Georgetown speech this past week (you know, the one where he covered up Jesus?) had a VERY SIMILAR message, which is strange (or prophetic).
The work of God is belief in the One that was sent, which is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Believing in Christ is more than a 2 second event that allows you to get back to your life of sin. Belief takes faith, and it is grace plus faith combined that leads to salvation (by grace through faith you are saved). You must know Him, and if you say that you know Him but do not obey his commands, you are a liar. I didn't say that. He did:
1 John 2:4 - - "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
You and I have been warned. If you are not working to remove everything from your life that is a snare to your walk with Jesus, you will probably suffer for it. What that means literally, only the Lord knows. We know what it is we must be doing today, so let's do it. Many will not be counted worthy of the coming escape, but there is still time for you to be counted worthy of it.
One last thing that I agree with Wilkerson on. He said that each person needs their own personal word from God that they will only get from God alone.
(RESEARCH: Christian Apostasy / March 2009)
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