Phoenix Bird


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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

This warning is very similar to the one which God has proclaimed for His people in the end times:

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.

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?

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:

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.

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.

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.

Next in this series: "Come Out of Her My People"