Phoenix Bird


Responding to God's Warning Message

By James Duffee

God has warned His people in the final days to come out of the symbolic city of Babylon, to avoid taking part in the sins of the world and receiving of the plagues that He has proclaimed would come. He has told us quite plainly that the only way for Christians to be safe from these things is to be separate from the worldly system. This is certainly not the first time God has given this message to those He loved. Beginning with Noah, He has often warned His people to separate themselves from worldly people in order to avoid the punishments that would be placed upon sinners.

Noah was told to take his family, the animals and a tremendous supply of provisions into the ark, so all would be saved from the destruction of the flood. Lot was told to take his family and all of his possessions and flee from the city before it was destroyed. The Israelites were told to take provisions of food, as well as jewelry, cattle and other possessions from Egypt and flee into the wilderness. Every time God has told His people to flee and warned them of impending disaster, He has made a way for them to survive the tribulations and hardships they would face. God's love for His people can be seen in the many examples of the way He provided for them in times of need.

Knowing that a drought was soon to come, God sent Joseph to Egypt to prepare a means of survival for the family of Jacob, the house of Israel. Having been sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph must have thought the worst thing in the world had happened to him. But God used the Pharaoh of Egypt to send a message of warning to His people; a dream which only Joseph could interpret, foretelling the seven year drought. Joseph's solution to this coming problem was to have the Egyptians store up vast quantities of food during the good years, and save it for the seven bad years. When the drought came, there was enough stored up to feed not only the Egyptians, but the family of Jacob also.

Knowing that King Herod would seek to kill Christ as an infant, God sent wise men from Asia with gifts for the newborn King. From the story of Christ's birth, it is evident that these wise men had been traveling for two years, following the sign of the star. God warned Joseph in a dream to flee into Egypt. But Joseph was a poor carpenter, having no possessions other than what the little donkey could carry, and had no money to make such a drastic move. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, three of the most valuable commodities of the time, enabled Joseph to take his family to Egypt as God commanded.

In each instance of warning, we can see the divine planning of events - God working in many ways to ensure the safety of His people. In this final age, not only has the warning been given, but the plans have been made and set in motion as well. God has virtually given us a schedule of events that will come, and has promised to keep us safe if we follow His plan. God's blueprint is laid out for us in the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The parallels are far too precise to be coincidence.

This is the message God told Moses to give to the Israelites. He told them that because of the hardships in Egypt, a land of idolatry and wickedness, He would lead them into the wilderness and bring them to "a land flowing with milk and honey". Similarly, He has told us to flee from Babylon - to go into the wilderness - and He will lead us to New Jerusalem.

For hundreds of years, God has spoken to the governments of this earth through preachers, prophets and the Bible. He has told them in many ways to leave His people in peace to worship Him. In almost every instance, the response has been the same; "I know not the Lord".

As the time of the Exodus drew near, the Pharaoh made conditions even worse for the Israelites, forcing them to do more and more work. Current world events make it clear that as the time of our Exodus draws near, conditions for us are made worse by the governments. Our freedoms are being stripped away one by one, in an attempt to eliminate God and faith from the equation. "Christianity" is becoming an evil word in the politically correct mainstream world, and Christians are beginning to face tribulations at the hands of the government and liberal, ungodly organizations.

Just as God promised the Israelites He would lead them out from under the burdens of Egypt, He has promised to lead us out from under the burdens of this world. He has proclaimed that He would redeem us with a mighty hand and great judgments, as He did for the Israelites.

The people and governments of this world continue their evil ways, despite the repeated warnings from God. Pharaoh refused to listen, so God sent plagues upon Egypt. In the same manner, He will send plagues upon symbolic Babylon, as judgment and punishment for their sins.

The final plague to strike Egypt was the destruction of the first born of every family. Only the Israelites, whose houses were covered by the blood, were spared. Under the final plague of the end times, destruction will once again come to the wicked, and only those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb will be spared.

Here begins our Biblical lesson on how to survive in the wilderness. The Israelites gathered up food, clothing, precious metals (money), flocks and herds, and took them with them into the wilderness. Likewise, we are to store up food, clothes and other supplies for our time in the wilderness. Preparing for our life apart from Babylon means ensuring that we have sufficient stores of the necessities. We must be ready to live in an environment where there are no groceries stores, no corner drug stores, no gas stations. Everything that is needed must be brought with us, for there will be no way to obtain these things once we are forced to leave Babylon.

God led the Israelites with fire and a cloud through their journey, and never took these things away until they were safe. Likewise, He has promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. He will lead us day and night, and never remove His guiding hand until we are safe.

God has promised to work the same miracle for us that He did for the Israelites. He will lead us in the wilderness with a cloud by day and fire by night, and there will be shelter (a tabernacle) from the heat and from storms. There will be a place of refuge for us, a place where we will be safe from pursuit by worldly people and from the plagues of God's wrath. God promises to provide us with food, pure water, shelter and protection from enemies. This is what He will do. The example of Israel's Exodus from Egypt tells us what we should do.

Paul states here that the events of the Exodus are examples for us, so that we will not do the same things the Israelites did. We cannot avoid repeating the mistakes of history unless we learn what those mistakes were.

The Israelites in the wilderness, though they had seen the awesome display of God's power in Egypt, tested Him ten times. Because of this, they were not permitted to see the promised land. We can see this as a warning, that if we test God in the same ways, we will not be entering into the new promised land. In New Testament terms, Christ promised the reward of living forever with Him for those who overcome the tribulations (Rev. 2:7), while the "fearful and unbelieving" will not enter His Kingdom (Rev. 21:8). Certainly none of us wants to be among the fearful and unbelieving, so we must learn how Israel tested God.

These two verses contain the first two tests. The first is a test of God's wisdom in bringing them out of Egypt. They claimed that it would have been better to remain in Egypt than to obey God's voice. When they reached the Red Sea, with the Egyptian army pursuing, the Israelites lost all faith in God's ability to protect them from harm. This is the second test. Though they had just witnessed the miracles of the plagues and seen the mighty hand of God at work, they suddenly doubted that He was able to save them. At this point in the journey, they did not fear the wilderness or the Red Sea, they feared the Egyptians.

When the tribulations begin and we are forced to flee to the wilderness, will we repeat these tests, or will we trust that God will fight for us? Will we complain to our leaders that it would be better to live as slaves in "Babylon" than to die in the wilderness? Or will we stand on God's certain promise that He will protect us?

Test number three. After watching God turn water into blood in Egypt, then seeing the Red Sea parted at His command, the Israelites doubted God could give them water to drink. Under the second and third plagues of God's wrath, all water will become like the blood of a dead man - poisonous. Will we also doubt that God will supply us with pure water, or will we rely on His sure promise?

Once again the Israelites doubted God's ability to provide them with water to drink, though He had already proven that He could and would do so. Test number four.

Here the Israelites complained that they had no food and would die of hunger. They said they would have preferred if God had killed them in Egypt where they at least had food to eat. To them it was more important for their bellies to be full than to follow the will and Word of God. This was the fifth test. It is the same with many Christians today. Having the comforts of the world is more important than obeying God's voice. But in the final days, those comforts will come at the cost of their eternal life.

In response to these complaints from Israel, God poured down manna from heaven and specifically told them to gather each day only what they could eat that day, and not try to save any for the next day (Exodus 16:18-20). Even after watching God provide the Manna, seemingly from nowhere, the Israelites still did not have faith that He would do the same the next day, so they tried to gather extra and save it. Test number six.

God also told them not to try to gather the Manna on the Sabbath, since He would not provide it on the Sabbath. Instead they were instructed to gather enough on the sixth morning to eat on the sixth day and on the seventh. But many of the Israelites went out on the Sabbath looking for Manna (Exodus 16:27). Test number seven. Will we also be looking for God to provide what He has said He won't? God tells us to prepare, to endure, to overcome the tribulations, and to war against Babylon. Will we obey, or will we expect God to come and swoop us away?

Talk about ungrateful! God provided the Israelites with food from heaven, yet this wasn't good enough for them - they demanded meat also. By this time, God was quite weary of the whining and complaints, so in response to this eighth test He gave them what they asked for, and then some.

Will we also demand a different or "better" solution from God, or will we be content with what He provides for us?

At Mount Sinai, the Israelites were too impatient to wait for Moses to come down. Though they had seen the mighty ways in which God had worked on their behalf, they were tired of waiting to hear His words. So they made a golden calf and proclaimed it to be the god which had brought them out of Egypt. This was the ninth test, and it greatly angered God. When the tribulations come, will we wait on God, or will we be so afraid and so impatient that we try to create our own solutions?

Moses sent out twelve spies to search the land and bring back a report. Ten of the spies claimed that Israel could not defeat the people of the land because their cities were fortified too well and the people were giants, much stronger than the Israelites. These ten spies knew only what their eyes saw. They saw giants inhabiting walled cities that looked impenetrable.

The Israelites listened to the ten spies and believed that they could not defeat the people of the land. This was the tenth test of God. Will we also listen to those who see only physical limitations, or will we believe God when He has promised to protect us and give us the victory?

In every conflict of God's people against the people of Satan, God will always provide a few leaders who will remain true to His Word. Like Joshua and Caleb, these leaders will not see giants and fortified cities, they will simply see opportunities for God to show His power, mercy and love to His people. Their instructions to us will be simple; "the Lord is with us, fear them not". Will we fear the people of Babylon during the tribulations, or will we behave valiantly, as men and women of God should?

Next in this series: "Life After the Beast"