Friday, December 15, 2017
God exhorts us to “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psa. 34:8–10). But note, however, that this promise is exclusively conditional to the one “who trusts in Him!”
What’s more is that “all the promises of God in Him [in Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). God’s promises are important and we do very well to know and heed them. By the Holy Spirit the psalmist said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Psa. 37:25).
God’s promises were not only true in King David’s time, but they are yet true today and remain true into the eternal future. But the question is, do we, now, believe them by faith, for, “without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). It’s exclusively conditional.
Many promises of God reveal that we’re in the end-times, but few Christians discern it. First among these promises is the prophesied rebirth of Israel as a nation which occurred in May 1948, identifying the last generation of this present age as promised by Christ in His parable of “the fig tree” (Matt. 24:32–35). But many are too busy merchandizing the gospel to take serious notice.
When God revealed the apocalyptic end-times to His prophet, the prophet said, “Although I heard, I did not understand….what shall be the end of these things?” (Dan. 12:8). And God said, “Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Dan. 12:4). Today, let’s consider the unprecedented reality and truth that “knowledge shall increase”, for this too is a highly visible identifier of the end-times.
I’ve used this example before because it drives home an important truth in understanding that we are living in what the Bible calls “the time of the end” (Dan. 8:17; 11:35; 11:40; 12:4 and 12:9). When my grandfather, born in 1899, was a young child, there were no televisions, computers, automobiles, farm tractors, airplanes, internet, organ transplants, artificial intelligence, metro trains, cell phones, space travel and so much more that we today consider normal to our lives.
But these modern technologies are by no means the norm, but are the result of a sudden increase of knowledge which occurred in just the last century. That knowledge is the direct fulfillment of God’s prophetic Word marking out “the time of the end”. In my grandfather’s youth he farmed, traveled and preserved foods much the same way people have done for thousands of years.
This God-given marker of “the time of the end” is a gift from God to those who know, love and discern truth by His Word. It’s part of God’s abundant grace. It’s God’s shout from heaven that the time is near for Him to wrap up this present age and call His saints to Himself and begin the millennial reign of Christ which is the next age to come. Do you hear God’s announcement?
But before God calls His saints to Himself in the rapture, the church will undergo purification by tribulation and fire to separate the sheep from the goats, the wise from the foolish, the lovers of money from the lovers of God, the wheat from the chaff, the faithful from the unfaithful, and the repentant from the unrepentant. And the seven-year tribulation is God’s prophesied provision that will accomplish it. Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Seven days before Jesus suffered the cross, He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and literally purged the Temple using a whip on those who merchandized God’s truths. And the seven-year tribulation will again be Jesus’ whip to purge the church of those who merchandize the gospel rather than teaching God’s unchanging truths. Remember, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Let this image settle deep in your heart: “And He [Jesus] found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, [sacrificial items] and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables” (John 2:14–15). Yet, many churches today display cases and racks of salable religious books and stuff that distract from God’s truths.
In this regard it’s very fitting to again quote God’s wisdom through King Solomon: “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’?” (Eccl. 1:9–10).
Truly, this final generation church has largely merchandized God’s truths just as many did in Jesus’ day 2,000 years ago. But God will purge and drive out from His church by tribulation and trial by fire those who would buy and sell the holy oracles of God, exchanging God’s truths for ear-tickling falsehoods, popularity and profit.
The increase of knowledge has led much of the church to become business-styled as many sell for profit the gospel according to false traditions of men rather than the truths and teachings of God in Christ. But the coming seven-year tribulation will purge that from the church, causing “offense and hatred” (Matt. 24:10), and will suddenly cause “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).
Note the true profitability of God’s Word: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Not one mention of God’s Word being profitable for money, yet that’s the goal of many today.
But God said, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:6–11).
Marlin J. Yoder
Marlin, may I highly suggest your readers re-reading the first four paragraphs of your last week post dated 12/8/17, and entitled, “This Is Eternal Life.” The season of Christmas, the closing of another year, and this article, “Knowledge Shall Increase”, are so equally fitting to be considered together. And yes, indeed the Lord is good and His goodness should lead us to repentance as convicted by God’s Holy Spirit as often as is needed! And yes, many if not most of God’s promises are conditional and usually the two together are not taught as conditional from most pulpits today.
I love and easily relate to your grandfather object lesson as it pertains to the almost unbelievable so-called advances that have presented themselves in the 20th century and that continue in this end times 21st century. My wife, son, and I attended a college graduation ceremony last night for a family member. I was not at all astonished at the preliminary speakers and the key note speaker strongly suggesting as if their grand analysis and importance of obtaining a higher education was the main goal in life; as if more education, more secular knowledge, and more worldly wisdom would automatically cure all of the earth’s problems and man’s deepest seeded needs. But, when the final speaker asked the most recent college graduates who it was that they thanked most for their help with this latest accomplishment in their lives, a young man in the back unashamedly cried out at the top of his lungs, “JESUS”! Immediately 1/3 of the audience, us included, clapped louder than ever before that night. Out of the mouth of freshly graduated babes came the real reason for the Christmas season and the revelation of the true giver of all biblical end time knowledge that Daniel was told to shut up until the time of the end. Oh that more of the world’s population were willing to understand!
Thank you also Marlin, for your calling our attention to the biblical record and truth of the Word of God as it pertains to one of the almost unspoken biblical reasons for the tribulation. The so-called church of Christ or those proclaiming to be of Christ, truly is in need of purification! In Jesus’ message to the 1st century church of Sardis, recorded for us by John in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation, Jesus pointed out the church of Sardis’ spiritual condition of that of cardiac arrest. As so many churches today, Sardis had a name that it was alive, busy with religious church appearing works, activities, programs, and agendas for every day of the week. Jesus’ estimation of the Sardis church of this 21st century would be the same; “But you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that bare ready to die [spiritually die].”
Keep up the good work Marlin! And may we, true enduring to the end present tense believers in Jesus be content with pursuing godliness and biblical contentment as displayed by Jesus, our faithful great exceeding reward.
In Him Always, Brother Mike…