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Friday, January 5, 2007

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT...END TIME WARNINGS?

 

by Betty Miller

We are hearing warnings from all sectors of our society. There are health warnings, terrorist warnings, economic warnings, weather warnings, and end-of-the-world warnings.  Some warnings are valid, others are simply the fears of certain people, and have no basis of accuracy. Governments issue warnings when they feel they are being threatened by invasion or aggression from other powers.   Health agencies warn of contagious diseases that could be spread unless precautions are taken.  We hear of economic warnings when certain indicators in the markets warrant caution.  And of course, our weather agencies monitor the threat of storms, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and other weather related dangers. 

I want to address a particular kind of warning in this article, what is popularly known as an "end time" warning. These voices range from "end-of-the-world" scenarios to end time prophecies depicting all kinds of foreboding happenings that could threaten our world.  Some of these warnings are valid and credible, while others are just people who want to be seen and heard. Most of these warnings are coming from the church.  However, secular movies and videos have also been depicting "end time" themes with warnings that the end of the world could be near.

Should we heed these warnings?   How do we know they are credible?  The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."21: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."  We are not supposed to believe every warning we hear, but rather we are to "prove all things."  How do we do this?  First, we must check out spiritual warnings to see if they are Bible-based. The next thing we need to do is ask the Lord if the motives of the ones who are sounding the warnings are pure, and directed out of concern for the people. Some people prey on people's fears to sell them something, while others like the attention they receive because of their inflated egos. 

BIBLE WARNINGS

The Bible records many warnings throughout its pages.  Those who heeded true warnings from God were spared the predicted consequences.  Before we look at some of these, let us look at the primary dictionary definition of the word "warn": to tell (a person) of a danger, coming evil, misfortune, etc.; put on guard, caution.

Throughout the history of the world, God has always made known to his people impending times of trouble, and given them time to prepare (or escape):

He warned Noah and his family of the coming flood and directed them how to prepare to survive it.

Hebrews 11:7: "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."

He warned Lot and his family of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and told them to flee.

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."

He warned the Pharaoh of Egypt, through Joseph, of the coming famine and used Joseph to prepare stores of grain during the seven years of plenty, which saved Egypt and Joseph's family when a seven year famine followed the times of plenty.

Genesis 41:30-31: "And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous."

He warned the Israelites living under Egyptian slavery that the "angel of death" would kill all the first-born of every family and that they must protect themselves and their families by placing the blood of a lamb over the door posts, so the angel would "pass over" them.

Exodus 12:23: "For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you."

He warned the wicked people of Ninevah, the capital city of Assyria, of God's coming destruction through Jonah. When they repented, the judgment was averted and did not come for a number of years.

Jonah 3:4-5: "And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

THE Y2K WARNINGS

Some of the past Y2K warnings could be comparable to the warnings given Ninevah.  Warnings were coming  from the government, from the technology field and also from church leaders. Most of the warnings stressed that unless the problems were corrected before January 1, 2000, we could face major breakdowns in all spheres of our society. We were warned that we should believe for the best, but prepare for the worst. Although many of the warnings were extreme, they did accomplish one major purpose -- they ignited the leaders of the world to begin doing something about the problem.  Because the church prayed and the warnings were heeded, the Y2K disaster was averted.

Now the question arises, "What about all those preparations that took our time, energy and money?"  Were they in vain?  I don't think the people living in the Southeastern part of the USA thought so. Right after the first of the year, one of the worst ice storms to hit the South occurred, resulting in broken electric lines that took weeks to repair in some areas.  If those people prepared for the Y2K disaster they had an alternate source of light, heat, and food reserves until things were restored to normal.  Although their preparations were not used for Y2K, this disaster was faced more comfortably because they had made emergency preparations.

What about those people who still have their supplies?  Should they give them away or keep them?  The answer to this question is that you must hear what the Lord is telling you to do.  Wisdom dictates that having some emergency supplies is just a prudent thing to do.  However, if you have large stores of food, you should ask the Lord if He has need of it, to give to others now, or if you are to keep it for some future need.  Because the Bible refers to the "last days" as a time when great tribulation will precede the return of Christ, it would be wisdom to make some sort of physical preparations.   However, the greatest preparation that we all need to make is spiritual preparation. The true prophets of God are still warning of troublous and perilous times coming to this earth that will include persecution of the saints.

Throughout the church history, a period of almost 2000 years, the Lord has given advanced warnings of the coming persecutions to His followers, so that they might flee, prepare for the trials spiritually or physically, or go underground. In almost every one of those situations, it was primarily the God-fearing remnant who had the discernment to understand the times, to see the destruction or suffering that was coming, and to prepare (physically and spiritually). The Lord has always warned and prepared His people for coming catastrophes, danger, upheaval, persecution or suffering.

One common denominator is, that in almost all of those times of trouble down through the ages, the great majority of people could not see the judgments coming. They refused to believe it anything could happen to them. They were enjoying the good life (eating, drinking and partying) right up until the disaster overtook them.

As Jesus said regarding the people of Noah's day in Matthew 24:38, 39: "For as in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day Noah entered the Ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away."

A WORD FROM THE LORD

Recently the Lord awakened me in the early morning with a word to warn His people to prepare for the judgements that are just ahead. He spoke to my heart that the most important preparation was spiritual preparation. He said that He was continuing to use his prophets and preachers to warn people of the coming troubles, but most of their warnings were general warnings.  He also said that He would give individual warnings of what to do, and when to do it, to all that were totally committed to His will, and that they would be protected in the coming days. Those who are committed and obedient to God will hear specific instructions, not only pertaining to their safety, but will be given assignments from the Lord with His empowerment to perform them.  These assignments will be His plans for sharing the gospel with the world. He is going to use a company of believers that will do mighty exploits in this hour. If you desire to be among these overcomers you must begin your spiritual preparation now, before it is too late. The devil is deceiving and destroying people daily but the Lord desires for us to overcome him.

Daniel 11:32: "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

2 Timothy 1:7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

SPIRITUAL PREPARATION

  • Pray: Spend time daily in prayer seeking God as to what you are to do personally in the way of physical preparation. This could be in areas of moving to a different locale or simply storing some extra food and emergency supplies. If you have no money to make preparation, ask the Lord in faith to supply for you. He will make a way when there is no way! Pray daily with your family and attend the prayer meetings at your church. (If your church does not have prayer meetings you should consider seeking another church or talking to your pastor about establishing one). Jesus said in Luke 19:46: "Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves."
  • Study the Bible: Turn off the T.V. and spend time studying the Word of God. Bible.com has Bible studies available to help you grow in God. A systematic study of the Word will equip you with the knowledge you need so that you can overcome the destruction facing us in the days ahead and to be able to hear the voice of God. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." The Lord will reveal many things that you need to know about how to overcome. You can gain direction for your life, principles to live by, and most of all, you will strengthen your faith in God. We will all need faith to be able to prevail and help others in the future. Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
  • Assemble with like Believers: As believers we need each other. There is strength and protection as we stand together in unity. Strong relationships will be important in the days ahead as we will need to help each other. The Bible also tells us we should be submitted to church leadership as God equips His five fold ministry to lead the church. Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
  • Reach out with the Gospel: As Christians we have been commissioned to take the good news of the gospel to the whole world. We must reach out to our family, friends, neighbors and others that have not heard and or need to be reminded of our Lord's message to the lost and backslidden. We must share the gospel with those who will be seeking answers as troubles multiply in the world. Mark 16:15: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
  • Readjust Your Priorities: Seek God first and His righteousness. Place the importance on the above things, plus work on establishing good relationships with your family, friends, work mates and neighbors. Cut out worldly entertainment. It will take both spiritual and physical readjustments if we are to be ready for the tribulation, persecution and other judgements that the whole world faces at this time. These times are predicted to happened just prior to the coming of the Lord.

Matthew 24:42-51: "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Warnings are given so that we can take action and either prevent, prepare for, or flee the danger or suffering that is sure to come without a change in the course of affairs.   Let us heed the warnings of the Bible and God's prophets so we will be able to escape all of these things and stand before our Lord when He comes.

Luke 21:36:  "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

 
 
May the Lord bless and keep you, and may you always know the joy of the Lord.
 
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