GOD'S WARNING MESSAGE
Christians in the End Times
By James Duffee
From the beginning of the book of Genesis through the final pages of Revelation, the Bible is replete with messages of warning from God. He warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge, He warned Lot to leave Sodom, He warned Noah that there would be a great flood. Usually these warnings were heeded by God's people, and they were saved from disaster and destruction. Occasionally the warnings were ignored, and God's people suffered tremendously because of it. God has issued warnings to His people in this last age, telling them of the tribulations to come. Christ gave us two historical examples to learn from.
Matthew 24:29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36) But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37) But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
As shown previously, the signs in the heavens have already been seen. The sun has darkened, the moon turned to blood, and the stars have fallen. Just as we can look at a tree budding and know that summer is near, we should know now that the end is near, "even at the doors". Our first example to learn from is that of Noah. Looking to the Old Testament, we see the warning message God gave before the flood.
Genesis 6:13) And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
God told Noah that He was going to destroy the earth because of the sin and violence of the people. He has also told us that He is going to destroy the earth because of the ungodliness that abounds. After giving the warning, God gave Noah instructions for surviving this disaster.
Genesis 6:14) Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15) And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16) A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it. 17) And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.
God gave Noah precise instructions to follow in order to save his family and the creatures of the earth from destruction. Then He repeated the warning, but followed this with a message of hope and promise:
Genesis 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
God promised Noah that He would establish His covenant with him. Likewise, He has promised us that those who "endure till the end" and overcome the tribulations of the last age will receive salvation and everlasting life. The second example Christ gave us is that of Lot and his family.
Luke 17:28) Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all. 30) Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
The story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are an invaluable lesson for Christians today, the events being very similar to what God has foretold for the end of this earth. God looked down on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and saw that they were filled with evil, just as the entire world is today. But God knew that there was one man, one family living in the midst of this evil that was righteous. So God sent two angels in the form of men to give a warning message to Lot.
Genesis 19:12) And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring [them] out of this place: 13) For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.
The angels told Lot quite plainly that they were going to destroy the city, and to bring his entire family and all of his possessions with him when he escaped.
Genesis 19:14) And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
Lot's sons in law didn't believe him, so they rejected his warning as though he were a fool for believing such a thing. These men compare quite nicely to those of this age who feel the final warning message is a joke or fable, so they live their lives with no concern for the tribulations.
Genesis 19:15) And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
This warning is very similar to the one which God has proclaimed for His people in the end times:
Revelation 18:2) And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3) For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
God has warned us to leave the symbolic city of Babylon so that we will not be destroyed when He pours out His wrath, just as He warned Lot.
Genesis 19:24) Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25) And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
As soon as Lot and his family were safe, God destroyed the entire area surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities were toppled, the grass and trees were burnt, and every inhabitant was killed. Among those inhabitants were Lot's sons in law, because they failed to heed the warning God had given. The same fate awaits those who fail to heed God's warning of the end times.
God has proclaimed a warning for us, telling us what will happen and what we should do. In most instances, these warnings and instructions are hidden in parables and prophetic symbolism, so that only those who study the Word of God earnestly will learn the truth. We are told that in the last days, there will be great tribulations for those who remain true to the Word of God. Christians will be imprisoned and executed for refusing to pay homage to the ungodly empire that will come. They will be unable to buy food, clothing and other necessities. A promise of reward is given to those who overcome these hardships. But how are Christians to overcome such things and endure till the end?
Matthew 25:1) Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2) And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish. 3) They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8) And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9) But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12) But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
This is a well known parable, yet much of the meaning remains hidden from most. There is the obvious teaching that if we are wise, we will prepare as the wise virgins did. They took not only lamps to light their way in darkness, but oil also, in case their wait was longer than expected. The foolish virgins, expecting their bridegroom to come before a refill was necessary, took no extra oil. These foolish women can be likened to those who are expecting Christ to return before the hardships and tribulations affect them. When the cry went out that the bridegroom was coming, the foolish virgins had no oil left. This relates to the time in the future when those awaiting a rapture will suddenly realize that the darkness (tribulation) has come before Christ's return, and they have no supplies left.
Then they will say to those who were prepared, "Share with us". Like the oil, there will not be enough supplies to go around. During the time of tribulation, the only way to buy supplies will be to accept the mark of the beast. Like the foolish virgins, those who did not prepare will go and buy supplies, accepting the mark in order to avoid starving to death. When the bridegroom comes, they will cry for Him to open the doors for them. But He will simply say, "I know you not", for the promise of reward is to those who overcome, and do not take the mark of the beast.
So the first instruction that God has given in order for us to overcome the tribulations is to prepare. We must store up food, clothing, medical supplies, tools and every other item that we have grown accustomed to buying at the local supermarket or hardware store. These supplies will have to last a long time, because the bridegroom will tarry - He will wait until the time appointed for His return. We do not and can not know when this time will be, so we must be prepared to survive for many years outside of the "system". The second instruction is rather simple:
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
When the worldly system, portrayed symbolically as the city of Babylon, takes over, we must come out of it. We have to live completely separate from the world in order to avoid suffering through the plagues that will surely come. This means fleeing to the wilderness where we can grow and hunt food, develop our own water supply, make our own clothing, and live independently, rejecting what the world has to offer. If we rely on utility companies, gas stations and grocery stores for our continued survival, we will suffer the consequences of not heeding God's warning, just as Lot's sons in law did. The third instruction from God is not as simple, and is something that many Christians have trouble accepting.
Psalms 137:8) O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy [shall he be], that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9) Happy [shall he be], that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Jeremiah 50:13) Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. 14) Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD. 15) Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it [is] the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
Revelation 18:4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5) For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6) Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7) How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
God has called His people to battle against symbolic Babylon. We are not told to gently and meekly surrender to those who will seek to imprison and execute us. We are told to fight, to shoot arrows, to inflict torment and sorrow. This is the scene that will play out in the final days. The people of God, having prepared themselves for the time of tribulation, will live in the wilderness, providing for their own needs, and waging war against the ungodly. So not only must we store up food and other supplies, but weapons and ammunition as well, while preparing ourselves for battle.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Once again the promise of reward is given to those who overcome. But here God has equated the fearful (cowardly) with murderers and other sinners. Those who are spiritual Israel, the soldiers of God, are to be brave and endure till the end, whether that end be death at the hands of the ungodly or the return of Christ. Their reward will be to live and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4). Those who are too timid to fight in God's army will receive a different reward. During the final days, there will be a few people willing to die for Christ, but even fewer who are willing to fight for Him. Some Christians will be imprisoned and executed for their testimony, others will die on the battlefield. Yet some will live to see the dead raised at the coming of the King. But the cowardly, like the murderers, adulterers and idolaters will receive their part in the second death.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Next in this series: "Come Out of Her My People"