Friday, September 6, 2019
Do you hear the voice of “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4)? He wants to lead “whosoever will” (Rev. 22:17 KJV) unto eternal life, those who “overcame him [Satan, his Antichrist and his false prophet] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11). Are you prepared to not love your life to the death as Christ’s end-time promise now increasingly sweeps over the entire world?
In these perilous end-times many spirits contend for our attention; spirits of deception; spirits of unbelievers and deceivers. And true Christians must discern them from the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Chief Shepherd. We must discern every spirit for whether it’s of Christ or of an unbelieving and deceiving spirit. Being Spirit-led knows the Spirit of Christ will always affirm the written Word of God, and never oppose it. This is how we discern the truth from lies and deception.
Jesus Christ said “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and have pasture…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:7–9, 27). This truly narrows the gate.
Spiritual discernment means being able to confidently say “That’s from God!” or “That’s not from God!” The discerning know the Chief Shepherd’s voice, because His voice prepares us to “endure to the end” (Matt. 24:13). And “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). Otherwise “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). But in these end-times, there’s a problem.
Many Christians are led to exchange truth for emotionally charged experiences. But experience does not mean that what one heard or saw was from God. Experiences, emotions, happiness and tears are not the litmus test as to whether or not something is of God. Only God’s Word and His Spirit bearing witness to that Word confirm what’s from God. Experience deceives, for lying spirits can elicit strong emotional responses. Deceiving spirits can evidence “all power, signs, and lying wonders…with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:9–10).
This is why spiritual discernment is critically important. True Christians don’t have the freedom to change God’s Word, but more importantly, true Christians, in love and honor to Christ do not even desire changing God’s Word! But today many professing Christians have no qualms doing so to accommodate experience, desire, and men’s empires. In that process many are unprepared for the end-time events set to devastate this present world with what Jesus called the tribulation, consisting of seven years, the latter 3 1/2 years being what Jesus called the great tribulation.
The church has largely been deceived by deceiving spirits in leaders who have exchanged Jesus’ promise to gather His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) to traditions of men that say Christ gathers His elect before the tribulation. But Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice…and they follow Me”. Broadly speaking, men and women who teach the pre-tribulation rapture are themselves deceived. They are indeed the blind leading the blind, see Luke 6:39.
Not one verse of Scripture speaks of a pre-tribulation rapture, yet false teachers who tickle itching ears spread that deceptive lie, as millions of professing Christians believe them rather than the Son of God. Their lie will enlarge “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) as “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10), as Jesus promised. But who do you believe and how have you prepared for what is now the end of this present age with its increasing tribulations and apocalyptic events “coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26)?
Have you noticed the unrestrained rage in both nature and humanity? The now-frequent mass murders; the exploding LGBTQ+ agenda; the Antifa protests and riots; the raging vitriol against conservatives and true Christians; the hatred toward the U.S. President; the global persecution of Christians; the raging wildfires in the Amazon, in Siberia, in the UK, in California, the Arctic, in Canada, and Alaska, and many other places? The world appears to be on fire! It’s very likely that we’re seeing the start of the First Trumpet Judgment of Rev. 8:7. All this will get much worse.
When Noah preached of the soon-coming destruction of his day, most of the people mocked. And when the few Spirit-led and discerning end-time ministers today preach of the soon-coming destruction, again, many mock their warnings. Today’s turning aside from warning is a prophetic repeat of Noah’s day because “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done…It has already been in ancient times before us” (Eccl. 1:9–10).
Using an example from nature, Hurricane Dorian was a horrifyingly destructive storm that killed many people and destroyed much in the Bahama Islands. It was physically foreseen which gave many thousands of people time and opportunity to prepare. But the storm now approaching this world is unseen – it’s spiritually foreseen and discerned, but only those trained by the Word of God and having discernment in the Holy Spirit are preparing themselves and their families.
In the church today many mock the few of us who preach an end-time warning, claiming that a few nut-jobs from every generation in history have made such claims. I can only pray for them, because that’s exactly how the people of Noah’s day responded to his judgment-day preaching which endured 150 years. Then suddenly God’s judgment came “and took them all away” (Matt. 24:39). The signs our Chief Shepherd gave of the end-times fill the earth, the first and most prominent of which is the rebirth of the Nation State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
Whose sheep are you – the Chief Shepherd’s or the traditions of men? Do you hear the Chief Shepherd’s voice; do you know Him, and does He know you? Have you repented of your sins and unbelief, and confessed Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? When was the last time you read Matthew 24 and 25 and all intimately related end-time Scripture? Do you discern the nearness of the end-time horrors when “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9)?
These questions and their answers are very important because the Chief Shepherd has invited all people from all nations to His Wedding Banquet, but only those prepared will be given entrance “to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (Rev. 19:9), as “His wife has made herself ready” (19:7).
Marlin J. Yoder