The Time Has Come. How do we prepare for the end of the end-times we are living in?
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THE EXACT HOUR NO ONE KNOWS. BUT PRACTICALLY, HOW DO WE LIVE THROUGH THESE DAYS JUST BEFORE JESUS RETURNS? (2 Pt. 3:10-14.)
The ‘rapture-rescue’ plan is a lie because it is certain that we are already going through the “Great Tribulation,” which is going viral right now. Jesus Himself emphatically stated that He will return only once, and as the whole context of His return in Matthew, Mark, and Luke confirms, that will be “AFTER the great tribulation;” not secretly but as unexpectedly as a lightning flash that is seen globally. Lightning never flashes in ‘secret,’ (Mt. 24:27-31; Mark 13:20-27; Lu. 17:20-25; 21:24-28.) Meanwhile, many believers think we must follow “doomsday preppers;” hide in fortified bunkers, and stock up water, food, and medicine (oxygen too!) until the apocalypse is past. Well, the apocalypse will not ‘pass,’ but be swallowed up with fire when Jesus returns, (2 Pt. 3:10-14; 2 Ths. 1:6-12.)
So, should we use our brains and flee if we can? Yes – but only in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, while we must realize that physically, there is really nowhere to flee to because the apocalypse is global, (Mt. 24:1-31.) The only flight left is spiritual and emotional - as in fleeing to higher emotional ground through faith in Jesus, knowledge of, and obedience to the truth of His Word, (Rom. 2:1-3.) Working on our personal relationship with God and sorting out our lives on a multilevel, (with other people too as far as possible,) is most important, (Jam. 5:15-18: Mt. 5:23-26.)
So, is it unbelief to hoard up water and food? It is true that believers must not hoard up provisions in unbelief, fear, and desperation. Yet, to store necessary supplies within reasonable amounts is logic and thus a good idea while living under communist and other threats. We must take care of our physical needs while we can and as we can; trusting God to take care of the impossible.
Proverbs 6:6-11 commands, “Go to the [hard-working] ant, you sluggard, and... be wise. Having no captain, overseer, or ruler, [with foresight and planning,] she provides her supplies in summer and gathers her food in the harvest.” Wow, this is truly amazing! A little “mindless” insect takes better care of herself and her offspring as billions of people across the globe, who, with intelligence that surpasses every living thing on earth, lacks the vital wisdom of an ant.
Must we defend ourselves when attacked? Of course, as far as humanly possible and in God’s leading, we must defend ourselves on a multilevel: spiritually, emotionally, and physically, (Ex. 22:2-3; Mt. 22:33-40.) Jesus continually commanded us to “withstand” the devil with His Word and in God’s whole integrity or “armor,” (Rev. 12:11; Eph. 6:11-18.) Though we primarily “wrestle” against demons, (not war because Jesus triumphantly won the war) at the cross, Satan’s human agents must also be “withstood” when they come to deceive, sinfully control, and harm us, (Col. 2:9-15; Luke 17:1-3; Mt. 18:15-20.) As far as possible, we must “flee” from them if they refuse to repent from abusing us, (1 Tim. 3:1-9.) Our physical lives are also precious gifts from God. As for the rest, we must trust Jesus to take care of us and our loved ones as He Alone can do the impossible.
Key to overcoming these times is the surety that in all things, our Father in heaven will always remain our Protector and Provider. He multiplied bread and fish for the multitudes and gave water from the rock in the desert. He is not a man that He can lie. He meant it when He commanded, “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat, drink, or wear?’ For after all these things the [unbelievers so desperately] seek. Your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these [vital] things [to live.] But [make as your highest priority] the Kingdom of God and [obedience to] His [inward, Moral-law] righteousness, [and just because you are His children,] these things, [needs not greeds,] shall be added unto you,” (Mt. 6:26-34.)
Does this mean we must give away everything and live like vagabonds to focus on heaven? No, we must always give as the Holy Spirit leads us; remembering, ‘That Day’ when Jesus returns is Judgment Day as well. That Day, He will also ask an account of everything He had entrusted to us, as explained in the parables of the talents, (2 Cor. 9:5,7; Mt. 25:14-29.) To heed Jesus’ Scriptural directives is the rule of thumb to live on the earth while “heaping up treasures in heaven.” Hard times do not diminish our accountability before God in any way. So, “What your hand finds to do, do it with diligence [without fanaticism about earthly things…]” and God will take care of everything that is beyond your control, (Eccl. 9:10.)
Now you might say, “Good, but how do we practically achieve this?”
1. We begin and endure in our walk with the almighty God by progressively understanding the truth of Scripture, and the truth about what is going on in our own lives and in the world. In the process, we will learn to trust God and have empathy with others who suffer. This is how we will find inner peace and have a burden for the lost and lonely. As always under all circumstances, “the truth [about everything] will set us free.” Spiritually first, and if not physically right now, then emotionally. Last mentioned is one of the most important parts of our growth in Jesus, (Rom. 12:1-2.)
2. Above all, we must understand that Jesus is God Himself; the Beginning and the End; Who Is, Was, and Is to Come, [our “blessed hope is on His appearing” on the clouds or when He calls us through death.] He is the Lord God Almighty; Creator God and Keeper of His entire Universe, (Rev. 4:8; 1:8; Heb. 1:1-14.) Jesus will carry all those who truly belong to Him through the water, fire, mayhem, oppression, and murder, which are rampant on the earth. The fact that each one of us is here right now on this troubled, sin-destroyed planet, is no coincidence. Jesus is the One Who oversees it all. Isaiah 30:15-17 gave the following answer, “Thus says the Lord God… ‘In returning [wholeheartedly to Jesus] and rest [in His full provision and guidance,] you shall be saved. In quietness [calmness,] and confidence shall be your strength…” So, “return in complete transformation of your heart and soul, (your human spirit and ‘mind,) and rest in complete submission to Christ, (1 Ths. 5:23.) Be complacent in God. Keep your spirit and mind calm by a continual dependence upon Him and rest in His sovereignty over you. Suppress all turbulent passions, [control your emotions,] and keep the peace in your own mind. This is how we are saved from the evil and calamity in the world.” [Spirit Filled Bible 1991 footnote.]
3. So, it is most important to be certain that we are right with God. We must whole-heartedly accept Jesus and His full atonement in our place, (Jn. 1:12-12; 3:3-5.) To achieve this, we must decidedly “die” emotionally to anything and everyone that can keep us from living in Jesus, and from following Him according to the truth of His Word, (Lu. 16:26-33.) We must sincerely confess all sin on an ongoing basis to God and to those whom we have wronged to ask their forgiveness, (Mt. 5:22-24; Jam. 5:15-18.) Repentance from all moral sin such as deception, oppression, lies, adultery, abuse of others, unforgiveness, etcetera, must be an integral part of our lives in Christ. We must know that only the blood of Jesus [or His complete atonement on the cross,] “cleanses us from all unrighteousness,” if we strive to obey His Moral Law, which is “written on our hearts and minds,” (Jam. 5:16; 1 Jn. 1:8-10; Heb. 10:16.)
4. Then, we must follow Jesus through the water baptism of disciples as an open declaration and symbol of the spiritual rebirth of our ‘hearts;’ to bury the old man of sin and to show we have risen in a new life in Christ, (Col. 2:9-15; Rom. chapter 6; Mt. 28:18-20.) Rejecting and forsaking all false doctrine, church systems, (Rev. 18:4,) man-made interpretations of the Word, those who block our lives in Christ, and those who make us stumble, are necessary to glorify God above all else, (2 Cor. 6:12-18.) On a daily basis, we must submit and dedicate ourselves spirit, soul, and body, (1 Ths. 5:23;) our whole lives, everything and everyone God had entrusted to us; our time, finances, and talents to our Father Who is in heaven. While there is still time, we must diligently seek the entire truth of the Scriptures. Let us make it ours. Live in it. Obey the Moral Law commandments of the New Covenant as far as humanly possible to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and be quick to repent when we stumble, (Jam. 3:2.)
5. Those who do not have true faith in Jesus run and hide in times of trouble without the Holy Spirit leading them to do any such thing. Real believers in Jesus obey Him to stand as calm, truth-speaking, Scripture-obeying, prayer-interceding witnesses to Him as the Living God of the entire universe. The time we are living in right now is crunch-time for those who profess the Name of Jesus. We can only be brave when we have nothing to lose because it all belongs to Jesus!
6. To stand on the Rock of God’s Word means we adhere to the truth that true believers are Jesus’ own, blood-bought, saved, delivered, and blessed ones, who live spiritually inside His Kingdom here in this dark dimension on earth, (Mt. 7:21-25; 1 Pt. 2:9-10.) They were spiritually “called out of darkness” to shine “His marvelous Light.” This means, we must radiate His truth, hope, faith, and practical love in truth and deed under all circumstances to magnify Him.
7. Remember always that Jesus said, “Those who endure [in the truth of My Word] to the end shall be saved,” (Mt. 24:11-13.) We are not here to change this fallen word into a “good” world, but to make disciples for God’s Kingdom in heaven, (2 Pt. 3:10-14; Mt. 18:18-20.) This world is not our home. We are merely Jesus’ “strangers and pilgrims on the earth;” following Him through this world to our “heavenly country… where God has prepared [an eternal] city for us,” (Eph 2:19; Heb. 11:13-16; 12:22-24.) Know that God takes special care of those who follow Him above all else as the Truth and the Light of the world, (read Isaiah 43:1-7.) Accept the truth that as His disciple-followers, we “will never [be alone or] walk in darkness, but have the light of [eternal] life [and His full Holy-Spirit anointing] in us," and so, we will be able to “stand by faith,” (Jn. 8:12; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27; 2 Cor. 1:21-24.)
8. Decidedly stop and refuse all panic, hopelessness, desperation, and the urge to run around, searching for safety, peace, assurance, provision, protection, healing, happiness, outcome through the false ‘Kingdom-Now’ restoration of the country and the earth, or escape through the phoney ‘rapture’ to heaven, (2 Pt. 3:10-14.) Never move without the clear direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commanded, “Be not like the heathen [and disobedient Christians] who run to and fro,” (Dan. 12:4,) ranting and rambling in ritual prayer; turning to false church dogmas, false preachers, church witchcraft, and feverishly following everything that seems like an instant solution, “for your Father knows the things you need even before you ask Him,” (Mt. 7-13.) “Be sober-minded, [logic, calm,] and watchful.” All the answers you need are in the full, contextual truth of Bible Scripture, and in the power of the Holy Spirit Who constantly, “until the end,” indwells all true believers, (Mt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 6:15-20.)
A sure and safe Word, on which Jesus’ true disciples must always immovably stand, is Psalm 28:7, “…The Lord [Jesus Christ] is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me…” (Ps. 28:7.)
Even if we have to lay down our lives, He Is “the Resurrection and the Life, [and because we believe in Him and follow Him as His disciples through the truth of His Word in Holy-Spirit leading wherever He may lead,] though we must die, [for His truth and glory,] we shall live [for all eternity; worshipping at His feet in heaven.]”
Life in Christ is not according to the false money-making prosperity dogma that has polluted nearly all believers. Surrendering to Jesus in totality means that our lives, we ourselves, and everything else, no longer “belong” to us, but to Him. He never promised us the proverbial rose garden, but commanded us to ‘heap up treasures in heaven and not on earth.’ This does not mean we must live as homeless paupers on a physical level. It means our highest priority must be life in heaven with Jesus for all eternity. And we keep that hope by faith and not by focussing on the things on the earth as our priorities. It is as Paul cried out under life-threatening persecution in Romans 8:38-39, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love, [care, and protection] of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, [as long as we remain at His feet.]” Hallelujah!
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