“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days,” Genesis 49:1.
The preacher is meant to be an ‘explainer’ of God’s will and purpose amongst men, Revelation 1:1-3.
Mankind is at war with God. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Romans 8:7. It is a war which can only have one outcome – VICTORY for the Lord. I believe that the final stages of that conflict are very near.
This is a truth which amazingly man is in ignorance of!
This world is a war zone and all the prophets of the Bible are ‘war correspondents’ giving us reports of the ongoing conflict.
It is a war that mankind cannot and will not win. There may be occasions when it might appear that man is winning and that the Lord is on the retreat but that is to totally misread what is actually taking place. God has been pleased throughout the ages to sovereignly advance His cause and purpose by the actions of the devil and wicked men. This is aptly stated for us in Acts 2:23, 36 and 4:10, 28. Calvary, as ever, proves to be the display upon which God sets forth His eternal truth. Nothing the devil and evil man has done has hindered God’s purpose, rather it has ever advanced it! Rom 8:28. See Romans 9:17.
The Lord could have destroyed man and his rebellion at any time. As Jeremiah said, after the overthrow of Jerusalem and the scattering of the nation of Judah by the forces of Babylon, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:22-23.
God’s mercy spares this world from immediate destruction! Why?
Well, the Lord is gathering out a people in mercy and love and saving them for His own glory. As James says in Acts 15:14: “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” While that ‘gathering’ is going on, the Lord withholds judgement. It is as it was in Sodom. There was no fire fell until Lot, the righteous man, had left the city. Here is what Peter says – 2 Peter 3:8-9
This is a much misunderstood statement. It is read by many as a revelation that ‘God is not willing that any sinner perish.’ That, very obviously, is not the case. The Lord is never frustrated in His will and if it was His purpose that none should perish, then hell would be empty. But it is not so. Therefore that is not what the verse says. What it does say is that the Lord is “longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ The ‘us-ward’ is the key. He is not willing that any of His elect ‘should perish’ whom He has loved with an ‘everlasting love’ and whom he “hath chosen —-before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,” Ephesians 1:4-6.
It is His purpose to call out this beloved elect and until the last one is gathered in the Lord will not end the war that is being waged against Him by sinful mankind.
I. THERE IS MUCH REVEALED IN THE BIBLE OF THAT DAY WHEN THE LORD WILL TAKE THE FIELD AGAINST HIS ENEMIES.
1. The Bible is a book of WARNINGS! We are warned of sin and its consequences. We are warned of the activities of the devil and his agents. We are warned of the approach of eternal wrath that will overtake the ungodly. God has placed these warning signs in plain view and in great numbers. With regards the TROUBLE about which I wish to speak this morning, we are told to watch out for its approach and take avoiding action!
2. One reference will illustrate this for us. “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation (nation) shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled,” Matthew 24:33-34. An elementary Bible truth is here stated! The Bible contains advance warnings of the approach of the evil times to come at the end of this age and the Saviour expects believers to take note of the warnings. Genesis 49:1 is the first reference to the ‘last days’. They are especially significant times. The Lord has indicated that throughout the Bible. “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days,” Genesis 49:1. Likewise, Abraham was warned of the evil times that would come on his descendants, Gen 15:13.
3. In recent days, we have seen events that have burst upon the world like the eruption of a volcano. I believe what we are seeing is the beginning of that FORESHADOWED, FORETOLD and now FORETASTED!
The Coronavirus has brought widespread physical, financial, political and spiritual confusion! Governments are bankrupting themselves to prop up their citizens in the face of the financial disaster that has followed the restrictions imposed as a means of deterring the spread of the virus. That has never happened before. Up until recent times, the citizen was left to his own devices as to how to avoid death.
But in order to avoid civil disorder, which would have further spread the disease with even more disastrous results, governments have initiated various social/financial schemes to support people in the face of the difficulties which are costing £billions and which will take many years to recover from, if ever.
4. What we have seen is a foretaste of even greater disasters! A large portion of the book of the Revelation is taken up with a revealing of the troubles that the Lord will send upon those nations engaged in rebellion against Him. From chapter 5 through until chapter 19, where is revealed the return of Christ, there are revelations of the impact of the seven seals being opened and the seven trumpets being blown and the seven plagues poured out. The catastrophes catalogued are chiefly within the territories of the Antichrist’s kingdom and Babylon, the seat of the ‘Beast’ in particular, Revelation 16:10-11.
The sudden, universal and catastrophic impact of the coronavirus illustrates just how God can overturn the affairs of man in a short time and He will do so, in keeping with what the Bible says is coming in the days before Christ’s return!