(You can listen to this by audio and pause the audio to follow important page links for greater detail on this teaching; then, resume the audio when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of footnotes and references.)
An Urgent Message of Hope and Encouragement
GIRD UP – (From Strong’s Bible Concordance): encompass, equip, prepare for confrontation or for war, as in to gird oneself “tighten the belt and tuck up loose garments to free the body in preparation for a task or journey.” To jeer at.
Our world is quickly descending into a dark and evil chaos; the call for wars and rumors of wars is escalating and the ability to wage devastating and destructive wars and to end all life on earth has never been greater. There is an increase in earthquakes, famines and diseases. Evil is being called as good, and good evil; We substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; We substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! We have become wise in our own eyes and clever in our own sight! And, it is not just the world-at-large, but the postmodern church has fallen into a great and terrible state of apostasy.
God told Job, in response his lament, “Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me.” (This was God-sized sarcasm at its best.)
Job had begun to listen to his wife and friends assessment of his maladies, diseases and torment. They said his situation was his own fault because of something he had done wrong. They said God was angry with him. They were wrong on so many levels.
Can the same be said about the Christian Church at large? Have we been listening to the “religious-know-it-alls”, and the hirelings, for much too long now, these religious people ‘who tithe mint and dill and cummin but neglect the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness’? Have they influenced our thinking so that we too are complaining, finding our own reasons for suffering under a greater spiritual malaise? Have we allowed ourselves to become self indulgent, self righteous and lazy toward the things of God, taking on a form of Godliness which lacks power?
Job had begun to obsess over the possibility that his children had sinned and cursed God, ‘so Job did continually’! This gave Satan an open door into Job’s life. Have we, like Job, become overly zealous with instructing God, thereby opened a door for Satan into our lives?
Are we living in fear, obsessing and telling God about the sins of others, about what we need to happen rather than humbling ourselves, and praying and seeking God, turning from our wicked ways, so God will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin and heal our land?
Soon after considering his error, Job lamented that “the very thing I have feared has come upon me”. (Job 3:25). Are we so different?
Is it past the time that we should have humbled ourselves and sought the face of God?
The Bible speaks of a remnant of God, being raised up at the right time in the closing days of this age. A foreshadowing of this was Noah and his family when were the remnant saved out of the millions on the earth before the flood (Genesis 6). There was also Lot and his two daughters survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a very small remnant, indeed (Genesis 19). When Elijah despaired that he was the only one left in Israel who had not bowed down to idols, God assured him that He had reserved a remnant of 7,000 “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19).
Is it now time for the remnant of God to arise once again. Is it time for us to gird ourselves for war?
Is God now saying to us, as He told Job, as a response to our lament, “Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me.”
If so, this time it is not sarcasm. It is our time.
HIS GLORIOUS RETURN – THE END OF THIS AGE
Matthew chapter 24 records Jesus telling His disciples then and now, of the sign of His coming, and of the end of the age. Jesus’ narrative throws back to the tribulations of the world between AD 1 and AD 69 and gives a panorama of the coming tribulation, concluding with these verses in Matthew 24:29-31:
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet blast, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
To repeat, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet blast, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
The breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal marks the rapture of the Church, the beginning of the 7 years of the Great Tribulation and the outpouring of the Wrath of the Lamb, at which time our task on earth is completed.
Revelation 7:1-13, says, ”After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, holding the seal of the living God; and he called out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, or the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
“And I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
“from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, and from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.”
A Multitude from the Tribulation
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they *cried out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
“And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying,
“Amen, blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
“Then one of the elders responded, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will no longer hunger nor thirst, nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
A NEW SONG – THE TRIBULATION SCROLLS ARE BROKEN
Revelation 5:9-14, proclaims, ”And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”
“Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.”
“And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying,
“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.”
And the four living creatures were saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.”
THE ARMIES WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN
Revelation 19:11-21, says, ”And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great feast of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slaves, and small and great.”
“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army.”
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
“And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
Take comfort. Be at peace. It is finished.
Your Brother and Friend,
Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”