Do you ever browse the internet and discover various sites that talk of all the fearful end-times stuff that is happening in the world today? You know, the one-world government, the beast-system, the signs and symbols that the wicked rich and famous are using, and what the United Nations Agendas may be steering the world towards. I certainly have read and listened to some of this type of stuff. Sometimes I learn something new that gives me a heads-up in a certain situation but at other times, if I am honest, it has made me feel rather fearful and unsettled. What about you?
I have read many times what the Lord Jesus Christ taught would be the signs of the end times, as recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, as well as the Book of Revelation and the various Old Testament prophecies also. We are told of some terrible events and tribulations that are to come upon the world, but Jesus told the believers not to be terrified when we see them happening, but to watch the signs as they occur and also to pray.
“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.
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
In this short post I hope to encourage you with a few characters from the Bible that God used in difficult days past. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is seeking men, women and children who will watch and pray, read and listen and then obey Him in an increasing fashion.
Recently, this being late October, the time of year when we are continually surrounded by images of evil, death and wickedness with Halloween, I have encouraged myself with a simple verse from the Psalms.
“The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.”
So, with that as our starting point I hope to give you further encouragement by what the Bible has to say about how the Lord can keep His people alive through trials, tribulations, wars and famines, should He wish to.
It is God’s will that shall be accomplished with this earth and its people, regardless of how the adversary, or enemy of our souls, behaves. So here goes, a quick sprint through a few Old Testament scriptures to encourage you.
- Elijah was led by God to hide by a stream and be fed by ravens and then go to a foreign widow where a miracle occurred with her flour and oil during a famine, in a time of exceedingly wicked rulers (Ahab and Jezebel). Having been kept alive by these miracles he then went to single-handedly challenge the wicked false prophets and the wavering people on Mount Carmel to follow the true God.
- Obadiah meanwhile, kept on working for the wicked king Ahab, whilst hiding and feeding 100 of God’s prophets in some caves.
- Joseph was imprisoned but then released as God gave him understanding of a king’s dreams about a time of famine to come. He was used as a super “prepper” of food for the nations at that time.
- Esther was used to overturn the wicked Haman’s plans to destroy all of God’s people. Haman ended up being killed by the very device he’d made to kill the man of God, Mordecai.
- The Israelites were brought out of slavery to Egypt, way back in Moses’ time, by the world’s most amazing plagues and miracles. Remember the manna provided by “The Bread from Heaven,” and the water provided by “The Rock that was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Now a couple of New Testament situations to further encourage you.
- John, the Beloved disciple who wrote John’s Gospel and letters, was kept alive in dark times of persecution on an island, where he was able to write the words of the Lord Jesus down for us in the book of the Bible called Revelation.
- Peter was thrown into jail a few times but then God miraculously sprung him from such imprisonment and sent him right into the centre of the opposition in the temple to preach the Gospel, on one occasion. Marvellous! God can put His people anywhere that He wants them. Be encouraged. (Acts 5:17-42 & Acts 12:1-19)
However, we are also aware that John the Baptist was beheaded and James the brother of John was killed with a sword (Mt 14:10 & Acts 12:1Acts 12:1). Many Christians throughout history have also lost their lives for their love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God’s choice how long we live to bear witness for Him before we go to be with Him for eternity. We have to grow in our faith so that we can stand in the evil day and do as John wrote in Revelation 12:11.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
We need to realise that the purpose of our lives is for a time of testing and refining for our faith. We will face differing people and situations that the Lord will use to cause the dross of our selfishness and worldliness to be revealed, so that we can repent, be changed and strengthened in our faith.
As physical exercise strengthens our physical muscles, so too does the interaction with the world and its wickedness strengthen our faith muscles. This refining process is the Christian life; dying to self and living for Christ more in an ongoing fashion. Reading the Bible prayerfully so that the Lord will increasingly conform us into His likeness. Then, as we do the watching, reading and listening to what is happening in the world we will grow in our abilities to weed out the liars, charlatans and deceivers. We need to remember to keep praying though, as Jesus told us clearly to both watch and pray.
I am aware that some of us might be like Peter or Job, of whom it is written that Satan asked to test greatly.
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32 (& Job 1)
But even so, take courage that the Lord Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail, and that God set the parameters around the testing of Job also. You are not on your own in your distress. You may at times think that you are alone, as did Elijah when he told the Lord that he was the only one left, but God let him know that He had reserved seven thousand who were still faithful to Him.
Be encouraged to know that Jesus ever lives to pray for His beloved followers.
“Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
“It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Romans 8:34
Although you may work for a wicked employer or live in a land with wicked rulers or governments, and although you may be living with wicked family members and rub shoulders with wicked neighbours, God is still in control. If “His will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” is truly the prayer of your heart and your increasing desire, then you can be encouraged to know that His love will not fail you ever.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I do hope this has encouraged you to keep on going in being yoked to the Lord Jesus Christ through the tests and trials that He is allowing in your life. Some of us may be called upon to stand and give testimony to kings and rulers and others may be preserved hidden in caves. Some may be called to be wise preppers of stores and others may be led and fed by miracles. We only know that the time of His return is growing closer, that the buds are on the trees.
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28
Amen, come Lord Jesus.
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