Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Judgments of God, Part 10

True Prophecy and Tribulations
Week 47, 2011

As we have covered, “the great time of trouble,” or what many call “the great tribulation,” is basically the result of men trying to run this world without God. The harvest that Jesus said is the end of the age is the reaping of everything that has been sown in man, the good and the evil. Both light and darkness are coming to full maturity.

The rising crises in virtually every field are now beyond human remedy and are continuing to get worse. The result of our experience on earth will be that all creation will know for sure how bad the idea is to try and run this world without the Creator. We also know that if the Lord does not intervene, that “all flesh” will be destroyed from the earth. The good thing is that He is going to intervene. He is going to save us, and He is going to remove all evil and pain from the earth. We are not headed for the end of the world but rather a new beginning.

In Acts 14:22 the Apostle Paul said, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom.” This is true for us as individuals, and it is true for the whole world. The world will enter the kingdom through the great tribulation that comes at the end of the age. We must see every trial, every tribulation, as a doorway to the kingdom because it is. The greater the trial or battle, the greater the victory can be. The ultimate tribulation on earth will be the ultimate doorway to the kingdom.

To prevail in these times we must start obeying the biblical exhortation to “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2). If we have grown to maturity in the faith, we should have a victory mentality so that we embrace every trial as an opportunity for a greater victory. The Lord said that “in the world you have tribulation” (see John 16:33), and that is the state the world is going to be in until the ultimate tribulation is consummated. Jesus also said to “fear not” this tribulation because He has overcome the world. In Him we can have perfect peace and perfect joy even when the world is going through the worst troubles. When we abide in Him we are abiding in His kingdom, and the kingdom is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (see Romans 14:17).

Just as true warriors run to the sound of battle and not away from it, the true champions of the faith will always run to the battle with great confidence in the victory. Because we are promised that all things will work together for our good, and that the Lord will always lead us in His triumph, we cannot lose.

Every challenge to our faith will only make our faith to grow if we remain faithful, or full of faith. This does not mean that we do not at times feel fear or doubt, but we have resolved that these will not control us—we will be controlled only by the love of Christ and faith in Him. Many things may happen that we do not understand, but our faith in God must be greater than our own understanding. If we still have dread when we face trials, then we have not yet developed the “victory mentality” that we must have.

If the span of our life is but “a vapor,” then the span of the great tribulation is not even a wisp. It will no doubt be intense, but it will not last long. If we are going to understand these times, we need to spend far more time studying the great things Christ is doing to prepare for His kingdom than we do studying the antichrist. We do need to know the schemes of the devil, but this is not what we should be majoring on. Likewise, we need to understand and be prepared for troubles, but these are not what we need to be majoring on, but rather the kingdom that we are here to prepare the way for.

Much of what is being passed as prophecy today is really flattery that feeds people’s illusions of grandeur. I have visited far too many cities, or churches, who claim they have prophecies that they will be used to start the revival that saves the nation or will do something else spectacular that dozens of others are claiming to also be appointed to do. I’ve met people who were appointed to be apostles over nations that I would not let run a home group. In fact, there are now so many apostles that you can throw a rock into virtually any crowd and you will hit one.

Have you ever met a satanic worshipper who was not a high priest? I’ve never met one who was just a priest, but they are all “high” priests. Don’t they have any ushers? No, because the devil builds on pride. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to find a church that was called to be a loyal, faithful servant to the other churches in their area instead of the one appointed to bring the kingdom in?

When I was a young Christian, the Lord would often open my eyes so I could see other people’s callings and ministries. I remember one lady who I discerned had a truly extraordinary calling as an evangelist. When I asked her if she knew her calling, her response was “yes,” and she was very excited about it. When I asked her to share it, I expected her to say that she was called as an evangelist who would lead multitudes to Christ. Instead she completely stunned me when she said she was called to take up her cross daily and be a servant to everyone she could. I then heard the Lord say that she was on the path to fulfilling the high calling.

I love prophecy, and we are in increasingly desperate need of true prophets and those with trustworthy prophetic gifts. This need will increase until the end of this age. The prophetic in the last days will be more spectacular than ever, testifying of the glory and power of the New Covenant and the kingdom that is to come. However, we need to love the real too much to allow our spiritual currency to continue to be devalued as it has been with pseudo prophets and flatterers.

Where are the prophets who rightly foretell the persecutions and disasters that the people will need to be prepared for before they come? They are out there doing their job, but not many recognize them or listen to them. Some who are being condemned or discounted as “doom and gloom prophets,” may be the ones telling us the truth. Of course, some go into extremes with this too, and cloud the waters for those who have a true message. However, those who discount any who have “negative prophecies” are going to be both surprised and unprepared for what is coming. The doom and gloom that is coming will not be doom and gloom for the prepared, but it will be their finest hour. Even so, we should not want to be a doom and gloom prophet or a fair-weather prophet, but rather a true prophet.

Not one good thing is written about flattery in the Bible, but there is a whole lot of bad. Search the Scriptures and see that those who have conditioned themselves to only listen to flattery or good things are in fact deceived and are themselves under judgment. Even so, let us also keep in mind that being under judgment does not necessarily mean under condemnation but rather under discipline. These too can wake up, and be even stronger when they realize how they have been fooled.

We are in increasingly desperate need of those who can discern the truth simply because they know the Lord’s voice. They are not looking for the doom, or just perpetual sunshine, but rather His word. This is a rare maturity to be found today, but we will have it.

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