Great article from Bill Salus! Keep looking up!
on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 by Bill Salus
The following teaching is taken from Revelation Road, Hope Beyond the Horizon.
The historical accounts of the twelve spies contained in Numbers 13-14 point out that there were two types of Hebrews at the time of Moses. Courageous Joshua and Caleb represented those who had faith to die for. They realized the power God possessed, and relied entirely on Him to get through the giant obstacles— literally—that stood between them, and the Promised Land. They understood the signs of their times, and the significance of the days they were appointed to. They must have realized the Genesis 15:12-16 prophecy given to Abraham, predicting 400 years of Egyptian servitude had ended. Thus, they recognized the time had come to enter into the Promised Land in fulfillment of part-two of the prophecy.
(Part-one) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land [Egypt] that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict [enslave] them four hundred years. (Gen. 15:12-13)
(Part-two) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out [the Hebrew Exodus] with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, [the Promised Land of Canaan] for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. (Gen. 15:14-16)
Joshua and Caleb realized they were part of the fourth generation, the one destined to return and possess the Promised Land. Realizing they existed in fulfillment of this Bible prophecy, they exhibited the faith necessary to rely whole-heartedly on the Lord to deliver upon His prophetic promise made to the patriarch Abraham. They trusted the Lord would perform and safely deliver their generation home to the Promised Land. In Numbers 14:9 the two are quoted as saying, “Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
Conversely, their ten counterparts were spineless. When they spied out the land promised to them, they were intimidated by the enemies and were unwilling to war against them. Even though they probably understood the above prophecy, and even saw the Red Sea swallow up Pharaoh’s army, they still underestimated God’s power. In so doing they undermined his glory. For their lack of faith and courage, they were severely chastised and wandered in the wilderness, where all but Caleb, Joshua, and those under the tender age of twenty, died over the next forty years.(i)
Both groups were appointed to those hard times. They were all forced to live under the last, harshest days of the Egyptian bondage. Subsequent to their exodus, they were all expecting to enter into the Promised Land in fulfillment of Abraham’s prophecy. But only one group possessed the faith required to stand up to the challenges. One group represented survivors and the other deniers.
What is your condition in comparison? Do you possess the unshakable faith of Caleb? Are you willing to acknowledge the end of time draws near? Can you muster up the courage of Joshua, required to face the challenges appointed to the final generation? In the book of Joshua the word courage or courageous appears seven times, illustrating the importance of possessing a fearless faith. Or, are you destined to wander aimlessly in the wilderness of denial, anger, and depression, while your unbelieving loved ones face the real threat of missing the rapture and being plunged into the tribulation period? Are you a Christian survivor or denier?
End-Time’s Christian Survival
Since powerful prophecies are forthcoming, it’s prudent to prepare for them in advance. There is biblical precedent for prophetic preparedness. It’s smart to fill the storehouses with food in advance of a pending famine— that’s what Joseph did in the Genesis 41 historic account. Joseph possessed invaluable insights into the future, and took the necessary measures to provide for the Egyptians. In the process, his Hebrew posterity was also preserved. Joseph’s actions were blessed, because they glorified God, and were in alignment with the Lord’s plan for that time.
If a Christian exemplifies the lessons of Joseph by preparing for prophetic events, his or her actions, if rightly motivated and appropriately understood, can serve as a testimony to an unbelieving spectator. The goal is to temper the survival efforts with a clear demonstration of whole-hearted faith in Christ, and a wholesome understanding of Bible prophecy.
The believer’s behavior should resemble that of Noah’s. While his ark was being constructed, he used the opportunity to preach to those curious about his foreknowledge of the flood.(ii) Although only his immediate family heeded his warnings, the inaction of those in denial did not deter him from taking the necessary survival measures. In the process, his posterity was also preserved. Noah’s actions were also blessed because they glorified God, and were in alignment with the Lord’s plan for that time.
Additionally, stockpiling some cash, gas, and goods, in advance of the fulfillment of a Bible prophecy can insulate the believer from the predictable panic and hysteria that could follow. Long gas lines, food shortages, and inaccessible ATM machines for instance, can be temporarily avoided. This buys time for some resemblance of normalcy to resume. In the process, the believer’s posterity can also be preserved.
END-TIME’S CHRISTIAN DENIAL
Surprisingly, even though the end-time signs are plentiful and abundantly clear, many Christians don’t believe they live in the last days. The fact that the eschatological message is not being taught from many pulpits has a lot to do with this. Ignorance about the end times keeps many from realizing they live within them.
However, these next few paragraphs are intentionally written for those Christians falling into a different category. There are those who believe, or at least think it possible, that there is such a thing as an end time, but they shudder at the possibility that those trying times have officially been ushered in. In essence, they choose the path of denial. Rather than prepare for the end, they opt to ignore it.
One of the reasons for this is that they are young, and seek to live long, healthy, and happy lives. Or, they’re older and have children or grandchildren growing up that they want to send to college, or marry off. To them, the end times just doesn’t fit into their lifelong plan. In fact, some in this category even hope the blessed rapture gets postponed way off into the distant future.
Even though times are worsening, rather than accept and address them, they cling to the hope that world economies and geo-political events are going to get better. Unfortunately, if there is an end times, and if they are upon us, this mentality of denial can be downright dangerous because in the end analysis it parallels that of the ten-spineless-spies.
Certainly pursuing a noble aspiration, like sending a child through college, is a good thing, but if mankind has been plunged into a perilous period of time whereby hunting and fishing for survival is more essential than getting a four-year business degree, then what’s in the best interest of the child? Should he or she be taught to fish, or how to sell Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) when gas is priced at an unprecedented premium?
This example may sound facetious, but it speaks directly to the point. For instance, Christ says,
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21)
This passage predicts a time is coming, which will be characterized by great worldwide tribulation. It implies that earning a college degree, or getting married and having a baby, is illogical. This coming “great tribulation” will necessitate survival, and eradicate denial. Everyone alive at the time will be forced to realize that the world is about to end! Christ is referring here to the final years of the biblical “tribulation period,” but some generation will experience this great tribulation first-hand!
This isn’t about minimizing the importance of a good education, which is scarcely affordable these days; rather it’s about being aware of the signs of the times. The fact many pastors avoid teaching about these last days, does not negate the fact that these last days need to be taught about. According to Acts 20:26-28, pastoral responsibilities require that the full counsel of God be taught from the pulpit. The full counsel includes Bible prophecy. Below is a quote that puts this into perspective.
“J. Barton Payne, the author of the Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, lists 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament, and 578 prophecies in the New Testament. That works out to a total of 1,817, by his count. And prophecies involve 8,352 of the Bible’s verses. And because there are 31,124 verses in the Bible, this works out to be about 27 percent of the total, meaning one-fourth of the Bible is prophecy.”(iii)
Picking and choosing what preaching is more conducive to filling the pews is not an option for an end-time pastor. Presenting about sixty-three percent of the Bible to a congregation, does not fulfill the requirements of Acts 20:26-28. Additionally, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all 31,124 Bible verses are divinely inspired, including the 8,352 regarding prophecy. These two passages teach that even the prophetic Scriptures equip the man of God for service.
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 Timothy 3:16-17).
It’s time for Christians to get right with the Lord, get ready for turbulent times, and get raptured, before the tribulation-period gets going!