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