Perilous Times Primer #19

The Hour Is Upon Us!

“That very hour the word was fulfilled …” Dan 4:33
“… but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And
those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword, and flame,
by captivity and plundering.” Dan 11:32b–33
“Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial
which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Rev 3:10
There are three main points from the above passages that will become, to many, frighteningly obvious in coming days.
First, when the “hour” for fulfillment comes, it comes suddenly and without chance for change or alteration of God’s spoken Word in any way. We all know that God is able to deliver men and nations, and alter the course of history, if they turn to Him. However, there is a “Rubicon,”—a point of no return, beyond which all chance for change is forfeit.
Second, the chief determining factor for individuals, in time of historical crisis, is whether they truly “know their God.” In other words, they will have used their time wisely, focused on the chief priority of earthly existence, which is expressed in five words, “that I may know Him” (Phi 3:10a). Such men and women are not spared the trials and afflictions of the hour of divine reckoning, for they will also fall in many ways. The great difference is that, having trained themselves into the discipline and selflessness of keeping their eyes on Christ the Lord, they will use whatever time they have to minister to the terrified souls around them the one thing they can grasp—faith in Jesus Christ.
Third, the deliverance promised and given by the Lord is not escape from the impending woes falling on a spiritually bankrupt world. It is rather the spiritual poise and confidence in the faithfulness of God, which they have proved in their daily lives to face and overcome the flood of changing circumstances with their spiritual integrity intact.
The very phrase “keep you from” has the same preposition Paul uses in 2Ti 3:11 when he says God delivered him out of all his trials. A careful reading of the book of Acts makes it clear he was delivered through not “out of” those persecutions.
It is also worth pointing out that the real testing is directed toward those “who dwell on the earth.” This is a key phrase in the book of Revelation, occurring some 10 times. The verb is an intensified form of oikeo, “to dwell or reside.” the preposition kata being added, meaning “to settle down, to be at home.” The form of the verb speaks of a willful and habitual lifestyle. These are the vast majority who—by rejecting Christ—have chosen the here-and-now over eternity. Tragically, it will also include many believers, who have lost sight of their heavenly homeland and their pilgrim status (Heb 11:13–16).
Furthermore, this is not a Rapture passage. In Rev 3:10, we see the promise of deliverance to a specific group of believers—those of the “Philadelphian” model—who both love and live God’s Word, “persevere” in faith, and are devoted to missionary endeavor. On the contrary, the Rapture is not “partial,” taking only “faithful” believers. It applies to all who are “in Christ” (1Th 4:16–17)—both living and dead. It includes both those who are “awake” (spiritually alert) and “asleep” (apathetic, carnal) (1Th 5:6, 1Th 5:10 with Eph 5:14). It should be noted that the words “sleep” in 1Th 4:14 and 1Th 5:6, 1Th 5:10 are two completely different words with entirely different connotations.
The Hour of Trial
It is my firm conviction that the world has entered the final “hour of trial” leading up to the Tribulation. Just how long the “hour” is to last is nowhere defined. I believe it will roughly coincide with the one-and-a-half year “blood moon” phenomenon, which began this past April 15. I believe we are seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joe 2:31:
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
The primary focus in the prophets regarding the “day of the Lord” is what we, in light of New Testament revelation, call “the Tribulation.” Since “signs” relate primarily to Israel (1Co 1:22), and those signs are preprogrammed into the sun, moon, and stars (Gen 1:14), it stands to reason that a series of four “blood moons,” with a solar eclipse in the middle, all falling on Jewish feast days, is not arbitrary nor accidental.
Further, not only do they fall on Jewish feast days, but twice on Pentecost—the feast of the coming of the Spirit and the formation of the church—and twice on the Feast of Tabernacles—the feast that commemorated Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt, and looked forward to the coming of the Great Deliverer and the inauguration of Christ’s millennial reign. The dominant symbols of this last feast were water and light, both of which Jesus adopted in proximity to this feast (Joh 7:37–39, Joh 8:12).
If these “signs” are the ones anticipated by Joel, and I believe they are, then they would most likely also encompass “the hour of trial”—the pre-Tribulational tribulation, so to speak.
Historical Implications
In times of historical and universal crisis, events develop too quickly to comprehend. When Paul said “the time is short” (1Co 7:29), he used a word that means “to be compressed, to draw together.” Living in an age of historical crisis, which he called “present distress” (1Co 7: 26), he was indicating conditions of rapidly changing circumstances that left no time to adjust to one, before another developed. We are in such a time.
We see an Islamic Caliphate developing in the Middle East before our eyes (something many have warned of in past years, only to be laughed at). Christians in the Middle East are being openly crucified, and our leaders yawn. We see Israel, for the first time in her history, without the backing of the United States—to our shame. Yet, it will be when she is forsaken by the whole world that she will again look up to Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of armies. Our southern borders are being overrun by hordes of illegals, including drug gangs, terrorists, and people infected with the most fearful diseases. All pretense of obedience to the rule of law has been cast off by this godless and criminal administration. Both Russia and China—sensing America’s weakness—are beginning to grow bold and make strategic moves. Those who were once allies with the U.S. consider such alliances now to be worthless. The unintended consequences of the frivolous and subjective policies of world leaders are about to create the perfect historical storm!
What does this mean for us? I am reminded of a scene from the latest version of The Alamo, in which Col. Travis and Col. Bowie are talking quietly—shortly before being overrun. They had been bitter enemies for some time, but had finally become reconciled. Col. Bowie says to Col. Travis, “If you keep this up, you are going to become a great man.” To which Col. Travis said, “I think I am going to have to be content with the man that I am.” For them, time had run out. There was no time for future improvement. That is where we are! Those who have planned to “get serious” someday will soon find there is no someday coming. We are about to be swept up in world events over which we have no control, and which, to us, will be demanding in the extreme. Any time for preparation is nearly gone; the test is upon us.
The Rest That Remains
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Heb 4:9
In spite of the grim conditions around us, which worsen day-by-day, there is great promise and potential for those who will claim it. The author of Hebrews knew that the world of the Hebrews was about to be changed forever by 70 A.D. Though they were running out of time, he urged them to “lay hold of the hope set before us … [which] we have as an anchor of the soul …” (Heb 6:18–19).
As the prophecy of Daniel (cited at the beginning) makes clear, though time is short and severe persecution may come, there will be those all around us who—in the closing moments of their lives—will finally be open to hearing the truth of the Bible. Those who have understanding “shall instruct many” (Dan 11:33).
We enter into His rest when we let go of all earthly plans, and live for His plan alone. It is from the rest of complete surrender that we can face the future with undiminished hope, and offer the world around us the life eternal for which Christ died. Peace for the Christian is not created by comfortable circumstances, but is rather the product of confidence in the faithful care of our Almighty Heavenly Father, who sees even the sparrows fall.
Independence Day, July 4, 2014
I would urge each and every one of us to make this Independence Day the first one that is wholly spiritual in nature. This independence does not rest on a subverted Constitution, nor in a written but forgotten Declaration of Independence—great as those documents are. Even those documents reminded us, not only as Americans but as men, that true liberty is not bestowed by any government, but is the gift of God to every soul.
The only way to be truly independent is to be wholly dependent upon the peace and freedom which can only be found in Christ Jesus—the Savior of men (Rom 5:1; Gal 5:1). This God-given independence can never be usurped nor legislated away. It is what gave our forefathers the courage to take their stand against the greatest army in the world and scream defiance into the face of the tyrant. For in reality, all true liberty, all genuine independence, begins with a willingness to die rather than live as a slave.
And, if we are to claim that rest, freedom, and independence from earthly rulers, it is time we begin to live it out, as the early disciples did. From the start, the apostles set the standard of bold resistance to arrogant leaders who presumed god-like powers (Act 4:19, Act 5:29). It is time for a holy courage to speak the truth without fear, to live by faith without apology, and to [do] great exploits” for the cause of Christ without intimidation.
Our time to stand up and be counted has come! We are always thankful for the courageous members of our military—those who have served and sacrificed, and many of whom have died on foreign fields that we might remain free. But now the fight has come home, the enemy is among us, and it is “we the people” who must be willing to lift up the torch of liberty, lest it be quenched in our generation! History has proven that it is impossible to enslave a truly free people.
As always, the real battle begins in the heart and in the home. We are commanded to “seek peace and pursue it” if the eyes of the Lord are to be upon us, and His ears open to our prayers (1Pe 3:10–12). Strive to be reconciled to those with whom you differ. Seek forgiveness from those to whom you have done harm. Speak words of love, or forgiveness, or reconciliation to those from whom you have withheld. Hold close—and tightly—those who are dear to you. Stoop to lift up the weak. Show compassion to those who have fallen. Refrain from retaliation toward those who treat you with contempt. Be strong in the faith.
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” 1Co 16:13–14
Our time to do these things is almost gone!
Looking to His coming,

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