REMEMBER: This is a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the OUTLINE to help you to STUDY your BIBLE. The one textbook of this course is YOUR BIBLE! Always have your Bible open before you when you sit down to STUDY with this course.
Bible Study Course Lesson 44
Countdown on Civilization has Begun!
An open letter from THE EDITOR
THE LIVING Head of this Work has commanded us to WATCH and PRAY ALWAYS that we may be accounted worthy to escape all the terrifying conditions now quickly coming on this world (Luke 21:36).
He was talking about WORLD CONDITIONS -- world HAPPENINGS -- world NEWS (Luke 21; Matthew 24; Mark 13). He was talking about the VERY soon-coming Great Tribulation. He offered us a chance to ESCAPE IT -- not have to go through it. To take advantage of this ESCAPE-opportunity, He said we must "WATCH" as well as pray always. He meant watch the world happenings He was foretelling -- events leading quickly right up to this Great Tribulation.
For almost forty years I have been very mindful of this warning, and more and more so, as I have SEEN world happenings fulfilling the prophecies. We can't ALL travel to all parts of the world TO WATCH world affairs. Through the prophecy of Ezekiel, God explains that WHEN this time was to come, God would call and choose a man to be the WATCHMAN to WATCH these world events -- UNDERSTAND them -- and WARN His people today identified as the United States and the British Commonwealth nations.
Did you ever NOTICE and UNDERSTAND this striking prophecy? "Son of man," says God, "I have made thee a watchman unto the House of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth and GIVE THEM WARNING FROM ME" (Ezek. 3:17). Most of you students already understand that our English-speaking peoples ARE "the House of Israel" of the 21st century. If you do not fully understand this vital truth, then visit the Chuch of God Faithful Flock website immediately to view the free online book, "The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy".
The twelve tribes of Israel divided into TWO nations. One was the House of JUDAH -- the Jewish people. The other was the House of Israel. They were NOT Jews. Their capital was Samaria. The Jews' capital was Jerusalem. The first place where the word "Jews" is used in the Bible is II Kings 16:6, where it describes the Jews being AT WAR AGAINST Israel, allied with Syria.
The House of ISRAEL was taken captive by Assyria more than 100 years BEFORE the Jews' captivity. They were taken to Assyria. When the Assyrians migrated northwest, these Israelites, their slaves, were taken with them. The Assyrians stopped in the land we call Germany today. The Israelites journeyed on into western Europe, and the British Isles. Ephraim-Manasseh settled in Britain. The name "ISRAEL" was to be named on THEM (Gen. 48:10-16).
Now the man Ezekiel was a PROPHET. He wrote down the prophecy. But HE was not the "WATCHMAN" -- and HE never delivered that warning. Notice, Ezekiel 3:1, 4-5. His message and warning was to the House of ISRAEL -- NOT Judah. But Ezekiel never went to or saw the House of Israel. He lived more than a hundred years AFTER their captivity. He was among the JEWISH captives, in Babylon. The House of ISRAEL had migrated northwest toward the British Isles before he wrote. He merely WROTE the prophecy.
The prophecy was not for HIS day. Prophecy is a history of FUTURE events -- to happen AFTER it is written. God was to raise up a 20th-Century "Ezekiel" -- a different person -- NOT a prophet writing FUTURE events to occur, but a SPEAKER to SPEAK and PROCLAIM this warning, AT THE TIME when the event prophesied is about to happen. God is using THIS WORK to PROCLAIM this vital warning.
GOD IS USING THIS WORK AS HIS INSTRUMENT!
This internet and publishing work has become a very large worldwide operation. At Modesto Headquarters we receive the regular news continually via the AP and other sources, the same as newspapers and radio stations do. But that is not enough.
Yes, God has set us as His WATCHMEN. We DO watch world events!
COUNTDOWN ON CIVILIZATION HAS BEGUN!
WHAT FEW seem to realize is that we are now in the last half of THIS WORLD'S last generation!
Do you know what this means?
The final, IRREVOCABLE "countdown" on human society -- on THIS world's systems -- has already begun! Time is fast running out!
Man Is Upsetting Natural Law
Look about you. What do you see in nature? Upset weather conditions, increasing earthquakes, tornadoes, typhoons, unpredictable hurricanes, rampant disease!
Man, the rebel, is depleting earth's natural resources, and POLLUTING the land, sea, air -- even space!
By upsetting the balance in nature, humanity is triggering worldwide DESTRUCTION. Your Bible foretold it centuries ago: "Your crimes have upset this order, and your sins have withheld the blessing from you" (Jer. 5:25, Goodspeed Trans.).
Now combine this with one other inescapable fact. A burgeoning, mushrooming, uncontrolled POPULATION EXPLOSION is ALREADY OUTSTRIPPING THE FOOD supply. The result is the emerging shape of total DISASTER.
God says, "Hear, O EARTH; for behold, I am bringing TROUBLE upon this people, the FRUIT OF THEIR OWN DEVICES" (Jer. 6:19, Goodspeed Trans.). But no "fruit" to stave off starvation!
World population used to increase at the rate of one percent or less per year. Now it is increasing two and a half to three percent annually! Man is literally reproducing himself toward oblivion!
World Losing Race with Famine
A sobering address was given recently at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Gen. William H. Draper declared that "in most underdeveloped countries the lot of the average individual has worsened appreciably during the last half century. People have become more poorly fed. There are FEWER goods per person. And practically every attempt to improve the situation has been nullified by the relentless pressure of continued population growth."
Now hear this:
"MORE THAN HALF THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ARE HUNGRY TODAY," Gen. Draper said, "AND CONTINUOUSLY LIVE ON THE VERGE OF STARVATION ....
"Let us ... see where we stand today: The world now has over 6 billion inhabitants. Even at present growth rates, the world population in the year 2030 would be around 9 billion people!
"About three fourths of this increase of 3 1/2 billion people would take place in the poorer underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. THIS MEANS THAT TWO THIRDS OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION ARE IN A RACE BETWEEN POPULATION CONTROL AND FAMINE, AND THAT THEY MAY LOSE THE RACE ... The world is on a collision course and our people have suddenly come to realize it."
Man has no solution to this problem. There is no more new land to be opened up!
Furthermore, the battle to increase per acre yields by scientific methods has been LOST. Worldwide food production per acre is going DOWN -- not up!
Listen to this ominous prediction:
"A leading Swedish economist predicts 'a world food catastrophe' within a few years. 'Even now,' Professor Gunnar Myrdal says, 'there would be great hunger in India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Egypt and many other countries ... if the United States had not an agricultural surplus to give away"' (quoted from the Los Angeles Times).
Do you understand what this means? Without the United States' food give-away program, many thousands would have already starved. The world depends heavily on food from the United States and a few other nations where God's people, Israel, are still enjoying blessings because Abraham obeyed God.
Meanwhile, former United States Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall warned that "the press of population is on a headlong collision course with our resources.
"'If the present rate of population increase continues indefinitely,' he predicts, 'MOST OF THE CRUCIAL PROBLEMS THAT NOW CONFRONT THE HUMAN RACE WILL SIMPLY BECOME INSOLUBLE'" (Los Angeles Times). He means the need for food will soon be beyond the capability of the United States to supply!
America has less than one day of food surplus
The vaunted American stored food surplus is a thing of the past. The FORMER HUGE SUPPLY OF stored farm surpluses has vanished -- been given away. In 2003, the U. S. D. A. stopped measuring for "days in reserve" of food for every man, woman, and child in the United States because the amount of food in storage in the United States dropped under a 1 day food supply for every man, woman, and child in the United States. Today the U.S. has a reserve food supply capable of feeding this country for LESS THAN ONE DAY!
"Food for 'have not' nations will have to be provided in other ways or they will face hunger to the point of starvation," said R. W. Reuter, the Director of Food for Peace.
"'There is no longer a burdensome surplus'," he pointed out (Rocky Mountain News).
The official United States policy is to avoid creating any NEW "burdensome surplus." No longer are we to be prepared for lean years.
Meanwhile, as long as good years of food production continue, the world as a whole gets along with only enough food to meet present needs, facing the certainty that EVEN IN THE NORMAL COURSE of events, crop failures here and there WILL OCCUR!
America's thinking has been based on the assumption that at least as much food could be produced each year as the last, and even MORE and MORE in the future. That is a mighty dangerous assumption! One year of serious drought in North America (God Almighty PROMISES it will come) and starvation can stalk this "land of plenty" -- yes, even the United States of America!
Worldwide Calamity SOON
"Few people outside government, and not many in government, have any realization of the acute problem which is rapidly rising from THE IMPENDING WORLDWIDE ERA OF FAMINE.
The U. S. D. A. Crop Production Report per September 12, 2005, contained said information, and this information was brought forth by Alan Guebert of the Farm & Food Report. Mr. Guebert also stated, that one more disaster as the likes of the hurricanes Katrina or Rita against the United States, or anything to compare to such in whatever way, would create such a food panic, it would make the New Orleans rioting look like the Mardi Gras.
Admittedly, "every vestige of optimism has (now) vanished"! Yet mankind still thinks of BEGINNING "preventive action."
Every 7 years, the rising birthrate in India and China adds to their population the equivalent of the population of the United States of America. With worsening weather, drought and flood will ultimately combine with overpopulation to produce the worst famine ever known!
"Such a famine in Asia, Africa and South America IN THE NEAR FUTURE seems almost inevitable as expanding population outstrips food production," said Dr. Raymond Ewell, president of research at State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Ewell also said the only immediate step open to avert it is for the United States and Europe to make outright good samaritan gifts of millions of tons of fertilizer to increase local food yields. "THE DEADLINE EVEN FOR SUCCEEDING THIS WAY IS ONLY A FEW YEARS AWAY," he emphasized.
THAT DEADLINE WAS NOT MET!
"Birth control is the ultimate answer, Dr. Ewell said, but its effects on the food-population problem WILL BE SLOW." Yes -- far, far TOO slow! (Los Angeles Times)
What about it? Can birth control reverse the trend? CAN limitation of families save the world? NO! It is now TOO LATE to change the outcome. Every known means of nationally applied birth control has ALREADY FAILED in illiterate nations.
AUTHORITIES ADMIT IT IS TOO LATE TO STOP IMPENDING WORLDWIDE CATASTROPHE!
Only One Answer!
Are these just our ideas? Absolutely NOT. These are not our words. The quotations you have just read are the words of leading authorities, reported in leading newspapers and periodicals. This is what THEY say. But will you heed their warnings?
What these men foresee is no less than the prophesied "Great Tribulation." Men who know nothing of Bible prophecy -- many of whom even reject the Bible -- see the imminent future YOUR BIBLE predicted long ago. It is that near!
These things are real. Your Bible reveals they are TRUE. AND THEY ARE IMMINENT!
William L. Ryan, Associated Press Special Correspondent who wrote a series of articles on the population explosion, said, "frightening specters haunt ... the world today. These are the specters of WIDESPREAD FAMINE, pestilence, violence and ultimately WAR, LESS THAN A GENERATION FROM NOW!"
UNLESS God intervenes -- and soon -- man will finally destroy himself and God's purpose for human life.
Enough super-weapons to annihilate mankind are already at hand. Madmen are waiting to fill seats of power at the head of nations -- men who would like to rain nuclear destruction on all nations and utterly incinerate the earth!
Jesus Christ warned: "TAKE YE HEED, WATCH and pray: for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33). He meant watch WORLD EVENTS. WATCH, SO YOU WILL know that time when it comes.
Now let's see WHAT we are to WATCH FOR. And WHY.
This Is the Time of Mockers
Our day is the day of so-called "Christian Atheism." (What's Christian about it?) A day when even great theologians scoff at the idea of Christ's intervention.
"Christ is NO LONGER EXPECTED to come back," says John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, England, in his book "The New Reformation". "I believe that we must designate ours a post-Christian era, in the sense that a Christ is no longer expected," he says.
"THE PRESENT GENERATION is unable to recognize Jesus as the Christ. They ask why should we see in THIS HISTORICAL CHARACTER the focus of all our hopes or the answer to all our problems?"
Dr. Robinson -- and others -- subscribe to the "God is dead" theory. But the day is soon coming when all will know just WHO IS dead! It won't be God!
This present time of mockers WAS PROPHESIED!
1. What did the Apostle Peter say would signal the "last days"? II Pet. 3:3, 4. The Moffatt version translates "scoffers" as "mockers."
2. Is this a particularly Israelitish way of looking at Bible prophecy? Ezek. 12:22. Remember this prophecy refers to modern-day descendants of Israel as well as the ancient Israelites. Does God say that when they begin to talk that way, the time is very near for every vision to be fulfilled? Verses 23, 25. What is the dual, once-fulfilled prophecy Israel does not want to believe? Verse 20.
3. If they should admit the FACT that this calamity WILL come to pass, what rationalization does human nature supply? Verse 27. Does God answer there will be no reprieve from this sentence? Verse 28, and COMMENT.
COMMENT: The Hebrew word translated "prolonged" in verses 25 and 28 is different from that in verse 22. THE PEOPLE say time is stretched out to interminable length. THEY think delay will go on forever -- that the vision will NEVER come to pass. God's answer is there shall be NO MORE REPRIEVE OR DEFERMENT. EVERYTHING prophesied will happen right on schedule.
4. Isn't Ezekiel 12:25 actually prophesying a Work that will be broadcasting and publishing a warning in Israel to the end-time generation?
COMMENT: This is that Work which is now warning you! God works through human instruments.
5. Hosea 5:9 calls the end-time the "day of rebuke." Does this verse also prophesy an end-time warning ministry to the nations of Israel? Also compare Hosea 7:12.
6. For what age was Isaiah's prophecy put in writing? Isa. 30:8. The better rendering in the margin of many Bibles is "the latter day." What does he say will be the character of people in "the latter day." Verses 9-11. Then will their destruction come SUDDENLY, though obvious signs had previously been visible? Verse 13.
7. Does God's one true Church know that one of the signs of the imminence of the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord is the world's tendency to ignore and deny them? I Thes. 5:3.
8. What message does Isaiah give the mockers? Isa. 28:22. Does he warn them of Great Tribulation upon the whole earth? Same verse. Is it linked with the Day of the Lord and Jesus Christ's intervention? Verse 21.
9. Notice the parable in Isaiah 28, verses 23 to 29. Doesn't this show that God's plan will not stall on one phase forever? -- that it will move on to the next part as soon as one part is complete? Do verses 27 to 29 show He will allow just the right amount of chastisement or tribulation to fall on every type of person to bring each to salvation in His harvest?
Prophecy Has NOT Failed!
Let's make it clear once and for all that prophecy has not failed. Let's understand that every prophecy has a definite time setting, a time usually not in the prophet's own day. Most prophecies are for OUR day -- today!
You need to know -- and know that you know -- that applying prophecy to the end-time is not a device of weak-kneed apologists for God. It is not a "loophole" or a "legal technicality" for people who secretly know the Word of God has failed. The Bible cannot fail. Its prophecies stand firm. Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
Let's understand the Scriptures in their ORIGINAL INTENT.
1. Was Joel's prophecy for the far future or for his own day? Joel 1:2, 3. So when the prophet says the Day of the Lord is "at hand," he means he himself in vision has been thrust forward thousands of years in time for the purpose of beholding it, doesn't he? Verse 15. Compare Rev. 1:9, 10. Was the Apostle John likewise thrust forward nearly 2000 years into the Day of the Lord?
COMMENT: We will find this to be a major key not only in the Old Testament, but to MUCH of the New Testament. The Gospels and the Epistles were likewise written and preserved MAINLY for OUR benefit. Although they served a useful temporary purpose for the Christians alive as the Apostles wrote, God's Spirit had a broader purpose in inspiring it. God was preparing a message directly and personally for us down in our day.
2. Did the Apostle John think the "last time" was 1900 years ago? I John 2:18 and COMMENT.
COMMENT: John wrote at the very end of his life, shortly before 100 A.D. He was not, except incidentally, writing to his own generation. For the True Church WAS ALREADY SCATTERED and then in a state of decline. Satan's false church, the "antichrists" of which he wrote, already dominated the scene.
John's purpose was to record for us the distinction between the great false church and the True Church, that we, so much later, might know today's professing Christian churches are not and never were Christ's Church! It was for us he wrote that the prevalence of false teachers (claiming to be "Christian," of course) is a sign of the end-time. To help us understand, he wrote that (to a limited extent) the church had then entered the CONDITION of "A (not THE) last time," because antichrists, the sign by which to recognize the last days, had already appeared.
3. Did Jude also write to us concerning this sign for our day? Jude 3-4, 18.
4. Some will cite I Corinthians 10:11 to prove the Apostle Paul thought he was living in the very last days. Is that really what he said? See COMMENT.
COMMENT: The word "ends" here does not refer to a time period at all. The Greek word should be translated "destinations," "goals," or "purposes." Paul says the Old Testament examples were written down for those to whom the PURPOSES of the created universe's existence have been fully revealed -- for the first time in all history (Col. 1:26-27; Rom. 16:25-26).
5. Did Paul teach that all prophecy would not be fulfilled? I Cor. 13:8 and COMMENT.
COMMENT: NO! On the contrary, this verse actually teaches there will come a time when all prophecy HAS BEEN completely fulfilled. It will "NO LONGER BE USED" -- not "fail." The SAME GREEK expression is used in verses 10 and 11. In each verse the idea is of building upon, and above, a temporary level once it has been reached.
Could Jesus Come Tonight?
Perhaps you have heard preachers try to stampede their hearers into "being saved." They declare: "The Lord may come TONIGHT." The implied threat is: "If you don't come down to the altar RIGHT NOW, BROTHER, YOU might roast and writhe for all eternity IN HELL!" But, is it true the Second Coming of Jesus Christ could occur at any minute? What did He Himself say?
1. Jesus said: "Take heed that ye be not deceived!" What did He prophesy concerning the self-appointed preachers who say He might come any minute? Luke 21:8.
COMMENT: They come saying He is Christ, preaching "Christ." But is that ALL? Notice the second part of their message. This second part is not clearly translated in most versions because the translators themselves have not recognized God's timetable. It should read: "The time HAS drawn near." The message the false ministers are preaching is: "The time has already arrived." In other words, "The Lord may come tonight, brother."
What about it, then? CAN the Lord come tonight? He said: "Go ye NOT THEREFORE (because they preach that) AFTER THEM." YOU can KNOW THEY are false teachers.
But what do WE teach? We teach, as Jesus did, that there is a TIMETABLE of prophecy. That certain definite THINGS HAVE TO OCCUR BEFORE He will return.
2. Are we then "delaying the Lord's coming," as we have been accused? Mat. 24:36. Ridiculous! How could mere men delay the Lord's coming? God the Father sets the time of Christ's return.
3. When there are wars and commotions worldwide, is that the end? Luke 21:9. Note that the old English of 1611 is not clear today. Instead of "by and by," translate "immediately." Parallel accounts in Matthew 24:6 and Mark 13:7 correctly answer "the end is NOT YET."
4. But there is an "end" somewhere right?
When once these terrible events finally start to occur, will not all be complete in the lifetime of ONE generation? Mat. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32.
The REAL "Signs of the Times"
Jesus originated the expression "signs of the times" (Mat. 16:3). He said the signs of the times ought to have been proof enough to the Pharisees that He was the Christ. For Old Testament prophecies predicted the exact time and manner of His appearance.
When His disciples asked for the SIGNS OF HIS SECOND COMING, Jesus gave them (Mat. 24:3-41). By the exact sequence of events He foretold, we can learn to judge the signs of OUR times.
1. Did Jesus give His disciples a COUNTDOWN of prophecy for the END-TIME? Mat. 24:6-8.
COMMENT: World War commenced in 1914. Ever since, nation has continued to rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Right now we are merely in a lull between round two and round three of WORLD WAR.
2. What next would be the sign of His Coming -- famine? Verse 7, and Joel 1:15-20.
COMMENT: Famine includes more than overpopulation. Overpopulation merely sets the stage for famine. But famine means CROP FAILURE -- a DECREASE in the amount of food harvested.
Consider how this is coming to pass.
Worldwide, thousands of acres annually are lost to agriculture. Cities, airports, and other man-made structures take some land. Erosion -- wind and water -- has ruined and is ruining millions of acres. When topsoil is gone, man is "finished."
And deserts -- most of them man-caused -- are encroaching on farmland at an alarming rate!
All irrigation projects, now or in prospect, are only a drop in the bucket. And irrigation brings its own special curse. Take Pakistan, for instance. In west Pakistan, salinity of soil -- caused by natural salts in the irrigation water -- is taking out of production 2 ACRES EVERY 5 minutes. And every 5 minutes there are 10 MORE MOUTHS TO FEED!
Take another example. Egypt thinks the Aswan High Dam can nullify the possibility of crop failure and even increase the output of the land. The completed dam is expected to increase Egypt's annual agricultural output 45 percent. BUT, by the time the dam is completed, Egypt's population will also have grown by 45 percent, and Egypt will only have held exactly even.
In the meantime and after -- population goes RIGHT ON INCREASING. Then soon, Egypt's food production must inevitably go DOWN. Why? Because Egypt depends on mud washed down the Nile River from the highlands of Ethiopia to fertilize and maintain her fields during overflow time. When the normal overflow is penned up behind the dam, the mud will settle instead on the bottom of the man-made lake, gradually filling it and destroying its usefulness, while the land's fertility declines. The dam will prove to be a CURSE, not a blessing.
But, overall, WEATHER is the most spectacular of the causes of famine.
Already the weather has gone berserk over much of the world. Where it used to rain, now there is no rain at all. Where it does rain, there is too much. Frosts and freezes come out of season, destroying entire crops. Tornadoes, hail, and floods in lowlands ruin crops just before harvesting.
Yes, there HAVE always been the scourges of bad weather, but they are drastically increasing and will continue to increase soon to reach catastrophic proportions! It is prophesied!
Scientists do not know WHY the weather is upset. They only know nothing can be depended on any more. But you can depend on this. A year will come suddenly when almost nothing will be produced. Then there WILL BE famine!
Remember, the world would need twice as much food in 1980 as today, triple in 2000. Could this "cosmos" -- man's "system" -- go on that long? What does reason tell you? OF COURSE IT CAN'T!
3. What next was prophesied? Mat. 24:7. Isn't pestilence, in part, a natural result of the shortage of food?
COMMENT: The way is already prepared for a revival of pestilence -- even diseases most people think are conquered. Huge concentrations of population are ready-made tinder boxes of potential disease. Under crowded conditions, an epidemic can spread from person to person like wildfire. All the great pestilences of the past were just such contagious diseases.
Modern man lives in an environment of poisons. He inhales poisonous smoke, smog, mineral dust; ingests poisons in food and in water; deliberately assimilates other poisons in the name of medicine. The result is that the heart, lungs, and all parts of the body are weakened. Disease and malnutrition strike first at the weakest.
Meanwhile, disease-causing germs, bacteria, and viruses have shown astonishing resistance to the "wonder drugs" of a few years ago. Through mutation and adaptation, their toleration -- and even enjoyment -- of man's drugs and vaccines continually increases. But for MAN, the drugs and vaccines are not at all safe. Did you know that in the 15 years after 1948, there were no deaths from ordinary contact with smallpox in the United States? But there were 200 to 300 deaths as a direct result of smallpox VACCINATION during the same period!
Drugs have repeatedly been shown to bring on worse troubles than the ones they were supposed to cure or prevent. Remember the so-called "thalidomide babies" of a few years ago? Born without arms and/or legs, or with only stumps for limbs -- all because their mothers took tranquilizers!
But those were only the more dramatic cases. Doctors ADMIT "THE CONCEPT OF ABSOLUTE SAFETY FOR A DRUG IS A MYTH." They also tell us "we would have no DRUGS LEFT if all that causes birth defects in rats and rabbits were banned" (by Harry Nelson in the Los Angeles Times).
4. What else must happen increasingly? Mat. 24:7. When this sign -- increasing earthquakes -- has reached a peak, will men at last recognize that it is GOD INDEED intervening? Isa. 2:19-21. Is this the Day of the Lord? Rev. 6:12-17.
5. Is the Day of the Lord called the day of God's wrath? Rev. 6:17. Then whose wrath is the Great Tribulation that precedes it? Understand! Does Matthew 24:29 say the heavenly signs come AFTER the tribulation? And does Joel 2:31 say the Day of the Lord comes after the heavenly signs? Then the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are not the same!
6. God is not responsible for the misery and suffering that will exist during the Great Tribulation. Is that clear? Then who IS? Whose wrath is the Great Tribulation? It must be Satan's! Notice Rev. 12:12.
The Great Tribulation Is SATAN'S Wrath.
Satan is angry with God and angry with man for having been made in God's image! (Briefly review Lesson 29). As the end of Satan's 6000 years approaches, he has deceived the human race to the very brink of self-destruction.
1. What did Jesus say in summary of the preceding "sorrows?" Mat. 24:8. Why? Is it because Satan inspires a great persecution of God's people just before the Day of the Lord? Mat. 24:9; Luke 21:12; Mark 13:9.
2. If you would escape both the wrath of God and the wrath of Satan, what is your only hope? Mark 13:10. God has a Work to be done in this end-time! If you are an active part of it, you will be spared. Does Mat. 24:13-14 show that those who remain faithful in warning the world will be saved? Does this include being saved from the Tribulation? Luke 21:15, 17-18.
3. Is Revelation 3:10 a direct promise of protection during the worst of the Tribulation when Satan's "wrath" has increased? Rev. 12:12. Also compare Isaiah 26:20.
4. How will God protect the faithful, active portion of His Church? Will He take them away to a special place of safety? Rev. 12:14. The "wilderness" means a place away from the population centers and away from this world's civilization.
5. Will Satan make one last effort to destroy this "Philadelphia" church? Verse 15. Will he fail? Verse 16.
6. Then is Satan FILLED WITH WRATH? What will he do? Verse 17. This succeeding era of God's Church would have to be the "Laodicea" church, wouldn't it? Rev. 3:14. What do its members lack since they do not receive the same protection the "Philadelphia" church receives? Verses 15, 17.
COMMENT: The Laodiceans are LUKEWARM. They ARE God's Church, but their hearts are not in the Work the zealous "Philadelphians" carry on. Instead, their minds are occupied with themselves (verse 17). They lack real outgoing LOVE -- love for other people, for God's truth, and for God!
7. Does Joel call for a warning message just before the Day of the Lord? Joel 2:1, 2. "Blow the trumpet in Zion (among the people of Israel)." We are blowing that WARNING trumpet!
8. Because of this warning MESSAGE, will many become offended? Mat. 24:10; Mark 13:12-13. And further Satan's purpose by persecuting? Same verses.
9. Will many false teachers then arise to attempt to misguide the remnant of God's Church (Laodicea)? Mat. 24:11. Will their wickedness and the wickedness of the world on all sides cause many even of those not deceived -- to lose their love? Verse 12. Love is the first and greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
10. What will happen to those who turn away, having once known the truth? Heb. 10:26, 27. This is the extreme danger the members of the "Laodicean" church will face after the "Philadelphia" church has been taken to a place of safety. Better draw near to God NOW, and He will draw near to you! Become zealous, active -- FILLED with the Holy Spirit.
11. But is it possible, ALTHOUGH THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION, for the "Laodicean" members to receive salvation -- plus a very high reward? Rev. 3:18-19, 21.
12. Does Luke 21:36 show you have to become WORTHY to escape the Tribulation? WHAT can anyone do -- even those isolated or shut in -- to have a direct and IMPORTANT part in completing God's commission to the Philadelphia church? Same verse.
COMMENT: Some people neglect PRAYER -- especially prayer for God's Work. They think their prayers would not be important. As a result, they themselves do not grow (II Pet. 3:18), and they may not be ready to go to a place of safety.
13. How EFFECTIVE can prayer be in accomplishing the commission entrusted to God's Church? James 5:16-18.
Messiah's First Coming Was On Time.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they had not profited by the information available to them, for Daniel had foretold the exact time of His First Coming. In a unique prophecy dated to the year, he foretold the Messiah's ministry on earth -- 27 to 31 A.D. (Dan. 9:25).
But do you know Daniel also foretold, by another specific prophecy, the end of Babylonish domination IN OUR DAY? Will you PROFIT by this information, unlike the Pharisees who rejected knowledge and fell under condemnation?
To understand this greatly misunderstood prophecy and its relation to the Second Coming, we need to go back and learn a few principles from the same passages the Pharisees failed to heed.
1. Was Daniel himself especially interested in chronology? Dan. 9:2. What did he do to obtain more detailed and specific information than any other prophet? Verses 2-3, etc.
2. Did God respond to Daniel's prayer and fasting? Verses 20-23. What was the subject of the revelation -- the coming of the Messiah? Verse 24 and to the end of the chapter.
3. What was the specific event from which the chronology was to count? Verse 25.
COMMENT: This decree was proclaimed in Jerusalem in the summer of 457 B.C., as many Biblical scholars and commentators understand (Ezra 7:8). For instance, this date may be found in the "Critical and Experimental Commentary", written by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.
Some religious sects would incorrectly put this decree as late as 455 B.C. to make the crucifixion fall on Friday in 33 A.D. Such a date is totally rejected by all historians today. The true date -- 457 B.C. -- is absolutely fixed by the most accurate records of history written at that very time. And it completely matches other evidences that prove the crucifixion was in 31 A.D.
If you do not understand this matter, you should write for our free booklet, "The Crucifixion Was Not on Friday", for proof of the exact day and date of Christ's death.
4. How many WEEKS were to pass until the Messiah was anointed -- 69? Dan. 9:25. Isn't that 483 days? Now what is the principle by which God fulfills prophetic "days" -- a day for a year? Num 14:34. We will come to a number of examples and proofs of this principle as we proceed in our study of prophecy.
COMMENT: Then Jesus was to be anointed after 483 years, or in 27 A.D. (remember there is no year 0), which indeed He was (Dan. 9:24 and Mark 1:10).
King Nebuchadnezzar's Punishment
1. Was the 70th week actually to reach right down past our day to the Second Coming? Dan. 9:24. But was it interrupted in the middle of the week -- that is, in 31 A.D., when Jesus was crucified? Verse 27. Now let's understand why there had to be this long gap, and how the 70 weeks correspond to another prophesied period.
2. Again we go to the Book of Daniel, to understand an event in the life of ancient King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Was King Nebuchadnezzar -- proud ruler of a mighty world empire warned in a dream that like a giant tree, he was to be "cut down"? Dan. 4:20-22. What personal lesson had Nebuchadnezzar to learn? Verse 17.
COMMENT: After God had put away His people Israel, He had placed world government in Nebuchadnezzar's hands. But Nebuchadnezzar had refused to rule according to God's precepts, although they were revealed to him. Scan through Daniel, chapters 2 and 3.
Nebuchadnezzar had to be taught that the Eternal God rules in the realm of men, whether they like it or not. Men He allows in high office are NOT, as they often think, the greatest of mankind, but sometimes the basest.
3. Since Nebuchadnezzar had refused to rule rightly, was he sentenced to become insane to think and act like a wild animal? Verse 16, also verses 25-26. How long was this punishment to last? Same verses. If you turn to Dan. 7:25, and compare it with Revelation 13:5, you will see that the word "time" in prophecy simply means a YEAR.
4. What did Daniel advise Nebuchadnezzar? Dan. 4:27. Did Nebuchadnezzar heed? Verses 28-34.
COMMENT: God was dealing with the Gentiles in Daniel's day. The Gentile king Nebuchadnezzar had been sinning -- living contrary to God's law. He had been taking his people on the road to world conquest and the enslavement of other nations and peoples. He had been traveling the way of war, not of peace.
God had sent His warning. The king did not heed. So God punished King Nebuchadnezzar seven years (569 to 562 B.C.) by cursing him with madness -- till he thought and acted like a beast of the forest.
No punishment like that had ever come on any king before!
After these seven years Nebuchadnezzar's mind resumed to sanity. He now repented, admitted that his ways were wrong, and actually wrote a great public document admitting before all nations what had happened to him and to his people! (Daniel, chapter four.)
The "Times of the Gentiles"
1. Did Jesus mention the "Times of the Gentiles"? Luke 21:24. At that point in history, were these "times" yet unfinished? Same verse. Then this "7 times" prophecy is DUAL, is it not? See Comment.
COMMENT: Here is one of the lost keys of prophecy, unknown to most of the world! Duality of nearly all prophecy is the key that unlocks the future in passages the expositors overlook.
2. Though King Nebuchadnezzar had learned his lesson, had the Babylonish system -- perpetuated to this day in a series of WILD-ANIMAL MINDED empires -- learned? Read Daniel 5 noting especially verses 21 and 22.
COMMENT: People and leaders continued in selfish ways until, at the end of seventy years of Chaldean world rule, God intervened (Jer. 25:11). Terrible punishment came on Babylon and its King Belshazzar.
The Bible and ancient secular historians tell us the frightful story of the fall of Babylon. They reveal a vivid picture of terrible slaughter that the Medes and Persians under Cyrus imposed on Babylon on the night of a pagan feast when Belshazzar was slain.
The facts, exactly as they occurred, are preserved in the writings of Xenophon.
Xenophon, a Greek historian who wrote the Cyropaedia in the fourth century B.C., says: "when Cyrus (nephew, general and successor to Darius) reached Babylon" in 539 B.C., he dug channels for the dispersal of the water in the river Euphrates which ran under the gates of Babylon. Then he and the Medo-Persian army secretly entered the river bed, climbed stealthily through the gates along the river and rushed to the palace "when he heard that there was a festival in Babylon, in which all the Babylonians drank and revelled the whole night." It was very likely the night of the new moon in the seventh month of the Babylonian year. Reaching the palace where Belshazzar had seen the handwriting on the wall, they "burst in, and, pursuing those who fled, and dealing blows amongst them, came up to the king, and found him in a standing posture with his sword drawn. (They) mastered him." So Belshazzar the King of Babylon was killed that night exactly as Daniel said.
3. Let us understand! Is the king symbolic of his kingdom? Dan. 7:17. Do we know that Nebuchadnezzar personally is considered synonymous in prophecy with the kingdom? Dan. 2:38, 39. Then the kingdom, too, must be punished 7 times.
4. After the warning, had God given Nebuchadnezzar a period of grace -- a space in which to repent -- just as He did for the kingdom in antitype between 562 and 539 B.C.? Daniel 4:29. Refer to Comment under Question 2.
5. How long, beginning 539 B.C., must the Times of the punishment of the Gentile Nations last? Remember Jesus Christ said they extended long past his human lifetime.
COMMENT: Remember the 'year for a day' principle which we have previously used? If you turn to Revelation 12, and compare verses 6 and 14, you will see that God always uses a year of 360 prophetic days. Thus, seven "times" would be "seven years," each containing twelve 30 day months (12 x 30=360) -- or a total of 2520 days (7 x 360) -- which translates into 2520 years in fulfillment.
Many people ASSUME "The Times of the Gentiles" are a period of blessing of the nations. It is argued that since God took away the blessing from Israel, He then bestowed it on the Gentiles.
Nothing could be further from the truth! God has never taken away the blessings of Abraham from Israel. They had been only TEMPORARILY WITHHELD because of disobedience.
And it is exactly because of disobedience that punishment has been placed on the Gentiles. Being completely cut off from God, disobedient to His laws, they are cut off from the blessings that obedience would bring!
It must continue so until their 2520 years of punishment are up -- now shortly to occur in our generation!
The Abomination of Desolation
Jesus said Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the Times of the Gentiles are finished. So today keep your eye on Jerusalem.
1. What sign did Jesus give to indicate when "the end" would come? Mat. 24:14-16.
2. Did Jesus identify the "abomination of desolation" as that one which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel? Verse 15. Note the words "whoso readeth, let him understand." Is this the same injunction that was given to Daniel? Daniel 9:23. Understand! There are many abominable things in this world. But one specific thing will be an infallible sign that the end has arrived. Notice verse 27. Was Daniel told of a "desolating abomination" of the end-time? See Comment.
COMMENT: This verse in the King James Version is not clear. Reading from the Smith-Goodspeed translation, "... for half of the week sacrifice and offering shall cease, while in their place there shall BE A DESOLATING ABOMINATION, till AT THE END the doom that is determined shall be poured out upon THE DESOLATING THING."
Notice! This "abomination" is to exist at the very end-time! It is something which is to be located in the "holy place" -- in Jerusalem -- where anciently the annual sacrifices were made. Compare also Matthew 24:15!
3. Where else does Daniel mention the "abomination of desolation"? Dan. 11:31.
COMMENT: This verse was fulfilled -- once in ancient history. All concede that the 11th chapter of Daniel was fulfilled in the struggles of the Seleucidae of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt -- kings of the North and the South. If you haven't read it, visit the Church of God Faithful Flock website to view our free online article, "The Middle East in Prophecy," expounding this chapter.
Verse 31 is known to relate the conquest of Jerusalem and the desecration of the Temple of God by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, in 168 B.C. (See Rawlinson's "A Manual of Ancient History".)
4. But Jesus said the "abomination" was still future, didn't He? Mat. 24:15; Mark 13:14. Then at least a part of Daniel II also must be dual! And no wonder, for we find the chapter concludes with "the time of the end" (verse 40) -- just in time for the resurrection of saints in chapter 12:2. There is no chapter break here. That was a man-made invention.
5. What is the "abomination of desolation"? See Comment.
COMMENT: Putting the Bible and historical fulfillment together, we can KNOW what the abomination to "stand in the holy place" (Mat. 24:15) will be. Anciently, the abomination Antiochus placed in the Temple, with the help of his army, was the IMAGE OF JUPITER OLYMPUS, A ROMAN GOD (Rawlinson, page 255).
The "abomination of desolation," therefore, MEANS A FALSE GOD occupying the very THRONE PLACE OF THE TRUE GOD, and supported by armed troops who have been sent to occupy Jerusalem.
At the "Time of the End"
1. Just before the end-time, will some few really understand the true message of the Bible and be teaching many? Dan. 11:33, and last part of verse 32. This is a prophecy about the True Church of God today!
2. Do we find, as we did in the Gospels, Satan persecuting the Church? Verse 33.
3. And as in Revelation, does God provide help for some while others need to be perfected through Tribulation? Verses 34, 35.
COMMENT: These verses in Daniel 11 broadly cover the entire New Testament era of nearly 2000 years. Study this in our article, "The Middle East in Prophecy." But the prophecy also is DUAL, by Jesus Christ's own witness.
Note that "many cleave to them with flatteries," that is, they profess to be converted members of the True Church, but don't really have their hearts in helping others!
You may share in the knowledge of the truth -- yes, even to understanding this very prophecy -- but not qualify to be taken to a place of safety!
4. In final fulfillment of this prophecy, will a mighty king arise who recognizes no God nor any power superior to his own? Dan. 11:36, 37. Does he subscribe to a militaristic axiom that "might makes right"? Verse 38. But will he, for mutual gain, share rule with and load riches and public honor on a new and unusual "god"? Verses 38-39.
COMMENT: These two personages are none other than the "Beast" and the "False Prophet" mentioned in Rev. 19:20!
5. Will this UNHOLY ALLIANCE transfer its headquarters to Palestine? Dan. 11:41, 45. Will it meet its doom there? Verse 45. Note that one of the "strongholds" they shall conquer, and the very "land" they will "divide" (verse 39) is Palestine, God's land, and focal point of all prophecy.
6. Did the Apostle Paul ever speak of such a false "god" who seats himself in the very Temple of God? II Thes. 2:4. Will this "god" be present and be destroyed in Palestine at the return of Christ? Verse 8. Then could this man himself be the "abomination of desolation"? Refer back to the definition of the original "abomination" in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes.
1. What else will be present when the "abomination of desolation" is in Jerusalem -- ARMIES? Luke 21:20. Is this the time of destruction when ALL prophecies the skeptics think have failed will be fulfilled? Verse 22.
COMMENT: Here is DUALITY again. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Roman armies was only a TYPE of what will happen in the coming World War that will climax the "Times of the Gentiles." The Roman legions who conquered Jerusalem then were only a type of modern "Roman" legions soon again to surge through God's Land. Then was not the END. The Day of the Lord did not THEN arrive.
2. Besides the religious persecution phase of the Tribulation, will war cause great suffering in the Jews' land? Verses 23, 24. Can the last-minute desperate attempt to escape the yoke of the Beast and False Prophet succeed? Same verses, and Zech. 14:14.
3. When CAN the city of Jerusalem be rescued from the Gentiles? Luke 21:24 and Zech. 14:1-3.
4. Isn't this World War III -- between Europe and the East? Dan. 11:44. (YOU may need to review parts of Lessons 31, 32 and 36.) Will these two contenders for world dominion center their efforts on Jerusalem? Zech. 14:2. Will half of Jerusalem's population be carried away and the whole city looted? Same verse. Will it be especially hard on the women? Same verse. This is why Jesus warned "WOE" to pregnant and nursing women (Mat. 24:16-20). It will be hard for them to escape.
5. Is this the time Jesus Christ MUST intervene lest hydrogen bombs and other terror-weapons completely wipe out all earthly life? Zech. 14:3; Mat. 24:22.
COMMENT: Some will object, "There have always BEEN PROPHETS OF DOOM -- people THOUGHT the world was coming to an end even in the Middle Ages when the Black Death struck Europe." But these scoffers are willingly ignorant of God's time-table of prophecy. The end of man's rule must come as God has scheduled it. Though some ignorantly supposed so, it was not due in the Middle Ages. God tells us, "And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them" (Ezek. 33:33).
Population Problem Solved.
1. Will all the world be involved in the final WORLD WAR? Jer. 25:30-32. Will God at first allow the nations a free hand in the destruction of human life? Verse 31. Will the number of casualties in all nations be tremendous? Verse 33.
COMMENT: Already the nations have stockpiled the nuclear equivalent of MULTIPLE TONS OF TNT FOR EVERY SINGLE ACRE of the earth's surface.
Nearly 40 nations now have the capability to produce nuclear weapons!
Thousands of gallons of deadly nerve gas -- odorless, tasteless and virtually invisible have already been manufactured and stored. ONE DROP, breathed, or absorbed by the skin, can kill!
2. Does the Bible tell us the number of attackers from the East in this final war? Rev. 9:14-18. How many will they be allowed to kill in the "Beast" empire? Same verses.
COMMENT: One out of three of ALL mankind then living will be killed! Many multiple millions will already have died in war, famine and pestilence.
We are not told how many the first sneak attack (First Woe of Revelation 9) will kill in Russia and Asia. Presumably the toll will be comparable to that in Europe. We do know the United States Department of Defense estimates it could kill 400 million people in China and Russia in less than 30 minutes.
There is no winner and no defense in such a war!
Roughly one half of the human race will die in this war. And remember, this death toll is in addition to others who die of famine and disease!
3. Are other millions to die BEFORE world war strikes? Rev. 6:8.
COMMENT: How many does this leave? About one out of four of the present population! Yet even less will actually remain, for no reduction has been made for India and southeast Asia, which prophecy says will ally with China and share her fate.
4. What about all those in the armies that attack Jerusalem? Zech. 14:12; Rev. 19:19, 21.
5. How many of the Jews in Palestine will make it through alive? Zech. 13:8, 9. Will the trouble they see cause them all to call out to God? Verse 9.
Now, what about the rest of Israel? (If you don't know who these people are, read our book, "The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy". It's online and it's free. Visit the Church of God Faithful Flock website to view it!) Notice Ezekiel 5, speaking of Israel's FUTURE captivity by the "Beast." Remember, Israel -- the ten tribes -- had already gone into her first and only captivity 130 years BEFORE Ezekiel prophesied (Ezek. 1:2).
6. Is Ezekiel a prophet to all the HOUSE OF ISRAEL? Ezek. 2:3. Did he use the name "Jerusalem" as a type or symbol for the whole house? Ezek. 4:1 compared with verses 3, 5 and 6. Have modern Israel's sins multiplied more than those of all other nations? Ezek. 5:7. Isn't this why God will punish Israel today? Verse 8.
7. What part of modern-day Israel will escape death from famine, disease and war when the "Beast" attacks? Ezek. 5:12. But will even they experience additional warfare while in captivity? Same verse. Note the words, "SWORD after them."
8. Was Ezekiel instructed to picture a "few" who would be protected by God from these ravages? Verses 3, 4.
COMMENT: This pictures both Philadelphian and Laodicean Christians. While the Philadelphian Christians are in a place of safety, the Laodiceans -- pictured by the hair taken from the small protected bundle -- must suffer the "fire" (Rev. 3:18) of the trials of religious persecution and martyrdom in captivity.
9. What is the ultimate decimation to which Israel will be reduced? Isa. 1:9; 6:11-13 and Amos 5:3.
10. In summary, what does Isaiah prophesy concerning the earth's population when Christ returns? Isa. 24:1, 3. Why? Verses 5-6. What is the number of people still alive compared to? Verse 13; Isa. 17:4-7.
Just As It Was in the Days of Noah
1. Why does the archangel Michael "stand up"? -- to deliver a remnant lest Israel be exterminated? Dan. 12:1.
2. Is this the greatest time of trouble that has ever been, or ever will be? Mat. 24:21-22. Is it the time of "Jacob's trouble"? Jer. 30:7. Will Jacob -- Israel -- be rescued in time? Same verse.
3. What happens when Michael stands up? Rev. 12:7-10.
COMMENT: All nations will hate physical Israel just because they are God's chosen people! They will hate spiritual "Israelites" for the same reason (Mat. 24:9). In New Testament language "you" almost always means true Christians.
4. Will Satan do his best, on finding he cannot so much as touch the Philadelphia Church, to kill or deceive the remaining Christians, as well as the remnant of Israel? Mat. 24:24. Will he try to persuade them by great miracles and false "Christs," that Christ has already returned? Verses 23-27.
5. Will Christ's Second Coming catch most people unawares, their minds completely occupied with their own problems, hopes, fears, and pleasures -- even in the midst of the most terrible times the world has ever known? Mat. 24:37, 39. Will He come SUDDENLY? Luke 17:24-30.
6. Will all who are faithful Christians be changed into spirit-beings at Christ's coming? Luke 17:34-36 and I Thes. 4:16-17. But will some not have GIVEN UP THEMSELVES to do God's Work, while others only seek safety for self? Luke 17:33.
7. Does Jesus warn us straitly not to be of those whose minds are only on personal affairs? What must we do instead? Watch? And pray? Luke 21:34-36.
8. Are we definitely promised Christ WILL arrive when we are NOT expecting it? Mat. 24:44. What happens then to Christians who have drifted away from their former dedication? Verses 48-51.
9. Does verse 44 also mean He will not come when we do expect Him? Knowing the APPROXIMATE time of His return, should we cease to plan further expansion and growth in the Work to which we are called? What is Jesus' order? Verses 44-46. Notice the words "find so doing."
COMMENT: Some have foolishly set dates, sold their houses, closed their businesses and quit work. Others locked themselves in their homes, or waited in caves for the end of the world! Of course, Christ did not come.
Since Christ has ASSURED us we DO NOT KNOW THE EXACT TIME, we must be ready at any moment as the end approaches, and push on with the Work He has given us as if we were expecting another hundred years.
10. Didn't the Apostle Paul command the Thessalonian congregations not to set dates -- not to quit work? II Thes. 2:1-3, 3:6, 10-12.
COMMENT: Some had quit working and were just waiting! Not understanding God's timetable of prophecy, they expected Christ to come at any moment.
Time Cut Short!
But why CAN'T we know the exact time Christ will return? We have an exact figure for the "Times of the Gentiles"! Isn't God always on time, to the split second?
Those are fair questions. They must have answers.
1. Did the early apostles keep asking Jesus "When"? Acts 1:6. And what did He continue to tell them? Verse 7. Wasn't it the same thing He told them before the crucifixion? Mat. 24:36, 42, 44; Mark 13:32-33; Luke 12:40.
2. Did they know of God's 7000-year plan? II Pet. 3:8; Heb. 4:4-5, 9. Were they familiar with the "Times of the Gentiles"? Mat. 24:15.
3. Why then did they wonder and keep asking and asking? Mark 13:20. Note the tense of the verb.
COMMENT: Yes, God will be on time. But He "HAD shortened" those days! Even that shortening He planned. And He has not revealed just HOW MUCH He will cut it short!
We know now we have but a short time. The signs of the times are evident! But let no one set his mind on a definite date, lest he fall under the condemnation warned of in Luke 21:8!
4. Did Christ -- the living Head of God's Church -- appoint every man his work? Mark 13:34. Did He warn against going to sleep on the job? Verse 36.
5. Has the Church been asleep for nearly 1900 years? Mat. 25:5. The 10 virgins represent the Church which is to marry Christ at His Second Coming (Rev. 14:4). Does the parable show a voice was to be raised up to proclaim Christ's imminent return? Verse 6. When the Church is awakened, are half of the members found insufficiently prepared? Verses 8-12. They do not have enough of the Holy Spirit to withstand the temptations of the last days! They are not able to be a light to the world (Mat. 5:14)!
6. What is their mistake? Mark 13:37; Mat. 25:13.
7. Does the parable of the talents show accomplishment is demanded of everyone? Read Mat. 25:14-30. The talents symbolize SPIRITUAL GROWTH, which comes only by serving and working.
8. Does Matthew 25:34-46 show the motive for the works we must perform -- the kind of concern for others we must have?
Your Time Is Short!
There is very little time remaining. You now know only a minority of humanity will remain alive just a few years from now. You have been warned of the terrible physical suffering and mental agony the immediate future will bring.
A place of safety IS promised. BUT it is PROMISED ONLY TO those whose WHOLE HEART AND MIND AND LIFE have been given up -- turned over as a living sacrifice to Christ! Those who can say with the apostle Paul "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
These have "lost" their life by giving it to GOD -- in His ONE true Church -- BUT in so doing have FOUND IT (Luke 17:33)! They are ready to "STEP INTO ETERNITY" to continue their lives of service. They will "shine as the brightness of the firmament ... as the stars FOREVER AND EVER" (Dan. 12:3).
YOU can be one of those who step into eternity. The way is plain. Draw near to God and His Church! Put your heart, your prayers, your life, your all into the Work being done as a witness to a dying world! Be converted, be dedicated.
Only by drawing near to Christ who is the Head of the Philadelphia era Church -- and having continuing contact with God's Headquarters Work -- will you make the spiritual growth required. And having a share in the Work of God's Church you can share in her place of safety.
Very soon, world events will prevent many from being able to have contact with this Church. Don't wait to go through the terrible Tribulation with the sleepy, lukewarm "Laodicean" Church. Act NOW!!