Friday, October 20, 2017
In context to the end-times, two-thousand years ago the Holy Spirit said, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers…If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:7, 11), meaning that one’s teaching of the times of the end must agree with God’s prophetic Word and not man’s self-conceived desires of the same.
A few years ago I watched a theologian preaching the false pre-trib rapture at a large Christian university, who, voicing unbelief of the post-trib rapture Jesus and His apostles taught, declared the typical statement, “I cannot conceive of a God who would drag His Bride through the mud of the tribulation, and then marry her!” He thus planted seeds of unbelief in the minds of thousands of students, while reinforcing his own unbelief of the Bible’s clear teachings of the end-times.
Mega-church pastor, Phil Hotsenpillar, of Influence Church in Anaheim Hills, California, in a 10/12/2017 Charisma News article, reflecting upon the horrific California wildfires destroying many hundreds of homes and businesses, and being ordered to evacuate his own home, had this to say regarding this and many other devastating calamities now befalling humanity: “Thinking about all of this, I found myself asking, ‘Where is God?’ As a nation, we are facing an increase in lawlessness and what appears to me, an unusual number of natural disasters.
He continued: “It’s a natural human response to ask questions for things we can’t understand or process. I get it: moral evil can be explained by the free will of man but much of the things we face (cancer, death, hurricanes and fires) are not a result of our free will. So where do I go from here? Either God or nature (which He created) must cause these physical evils. But these things seem incompatible with an all-loving, all-powerful God.”
The theologian’s assertion, “I cannot conceive of a God…” and the pastor’s conclusion that, “these things seem incompatible with an all-loving, all-powerful God”, is often the basis for many, who, without allowing the authority of God’s Word, form their own beliefs of who, or what, God is, does, or doesn’t do. It’s the well-traveled “wide gate” (Matt. 7:13) of unbelief.
Due to false teachings and the thought that, “I cannot conceive of a God who would…” and then fill in the blank, many are left to create their own unbiblical belief about God. Many view God as “all-loving, all-powerful” but to the exclusion of His “judgment” unto sickness and even death for not discerning the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor. 11:27–32); and for His “chastisement” and “rebuke” for waywardness (Heb. 12:5–8); and His abiding “wrath” for unbelief (John 3:36).
We are seeing many horrific scenes of death and destruction unfolding across the world. And the killer wild fires of California, the killer floods of Houston, and the fury of killer hurricanes, make God’s activity real to Americans, many of whom simply reject that this could be God’s doing in fulfillment of the end-times wherein “a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up” (Rev. 8:7); with “the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). But worse is to come.
Because the God of the Bible is a God of love, judgment, chastisement, rebuke, and wrath, we have the certainty of His Word made all the more poignant saying, “That they [you and I] may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and bring calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isa. 45:6–7). The question is: “Do we actually believe God?”
The next time you hear someone declare what God does or doesn’t do, please tell them to read all of His Word before asserting their own wishful thinking, for we need truth to guide us in the way everlasting. Begin with Job 38 to 41 and confess, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:2–6).
Precious time is being squandered by many pastors and teachers in not teaching their people the end-time oracles of God according to “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). This will prove disastrous for many in the time of tribulation trouble, for they will not have been prepared or equipped according to the oracles and will of God in Christ for things yet to come.
Jesus said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:32–35). Do you discern Jesus’ teaching?
“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psa. 27:11–14).
Marlin J. Yoder