THE CLOCK OF GOD, Part 8, CLOUDS OF APOCALYPSE

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"Come near and listen, all you races, pay attention all you nations, listen, earth and all that you hold, world and all that comes from you. God is angry with all the nations, enraged with all their hordes. He has vowed them to destruction, and marked them down for slaughter." ---Isaiah 34:1-2

CHAPTER 30

A Destruction Has Been Decreed

"A destruction has been decreed that will bring everlasting integrity."
Is.10:22-23

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When Jesus sounded God's message on earth he trumpeted an alarm from heaven that proclaimed a terminal destiny for this world in fire. Scientists have concluded a similar fate. But the inferno, according to Christ will come much sooner than any of the scientists believe.

God sent Jesus to warn us of it's immediacy, and to provide an escape from its consequences. His message was urgent and clear -- God had opened, for a brief time, a small window of escape from the fiery end promised by scripture. That path to safety is the word He spoke. Without this small aperture of divine rescue, there would be only one fate for everyone -- global conflagration followed by eternal death.

Perhaps the least understood part of the scriptures is God's decree concerning this annihilation -- His decree that our planet be destroyed because of sin.

Every bookstore is filled with pictures equating God with scenes of this world -- with mountains, oceans, rivers and meadows filled with birds and butterflies -- calendar type images portraying God in the serenity and sunshine of nature.

Because of this, the goodness of God and the grandeur of this world seem to be inseparably joined, a fact which makes God's termination of it all virtually incomprehensible.

Yet a closer look at the meadows and rivers and oceans shows us a nature not so serene. Birds are eating the butterflies, spiders lie in wait beneath the poppies, sharks fill the seas and disease and decay are universal. The entire world is tainted with dragon seed.

Satan's corruption of this creation is everywhere, and it cuts to its very core. According to Jesus, the serenity we see on the surface here is only a fragmentary glimpse of a God-world that lies somewhere else.

Reaching that new world is imperative because scripture is clear, nothing can survive here long. God has set aside a day for universal destruction. Brought on by wickedness, it is a wrath that has already begun to strike, and which will end in a cosmic holocaust greater than anything this universe has ever known.

Foretelling this cataclysmic End, Jesus came as God's messenger to warn us of its imminent approach, and as God's salvation to show us how to avoid its impact.

The presence of Christ in this world, then, is an ultimate act of mercy on the part of God. Jesus, the Royal Son gave up the glory He shared with his Father and came down to the world as a mortal man in order to offer his life to save mankind from a sentence of certain death.

The magnitude of His sacrifice defies comprehension, but instead of welcoming him with praise and veneration for bringing God's salvation to earth, He was mocked and scorned by the people He warned, and subjected to a miserable death

Even so, his mission of mercy and his offer of reconciliation have remained ever since, unchanged. But his message is clear. There is little time left."Work while you still have the day, night is coming when no one can work". (Jn.9:4).

"The world with all it craves for is coming to an end..." (1 Jn.2:17). We can see indications of this end almost anywhere we look now -- the signs of it have grown increasingly severe. And there is more to this divine wrath than simply the end of human life on earth.

We do not have to dig very deep into scripture's prophecies to discover that not just the earth is coming to an end, but a part of heaven as well. "I looked to the earth, to see a formless waste; to the heavens, and their light had gone." (Jer.4:23-24). The destruction Jesus warned us about is far more grave than any event that has ever occurred in the past.

The destruction will include all the stars in the sky -- everything that we can see, even with telescopes. "The heavens will vanish. You will roll them up like a cloak" (Heb.1:11-12). "The heavens are rolled up like a scroll and their armies all drop like leaves -- like falling fig leaves...for my sword has drunk deep into the heavens..." (Is.34:4-5).

The destruction of the world is not new. The flood is proof of that. But the time coming will be infinitely worse. It will not only destroy the world and the universe, it will be irrevocable -- when it happens there will be no coming back to this world as Noah did.

Even more important, Jesus warned that it will be spiritual as well as physical, so that not just the body, but our soul, too, will be destroyed if we do not act according to His directions.

The spiritual destruction of the soul did not happen in the past. As we saw in Chapter 3, the souls of those whose bodies perished in the destruction of Eden did not die in the flood, but remain alive to this very day. (1 Peter 3:18-20).

All that is destined to change. When Paul described the man who had been caught up in vision into the highest heaven (2 Cor.12:2), he revealed that there are heavens which we can see and heavens that we cannot see.

While it is certain that all which we can see will perish with the earth, a part of the invisible world will also succumb to the wrath that is coming -- a part that has never been destroyed in the past -- the spiritual side of the lower creation.

This does not mean that all of heaven will be involved in the catastrophe, of course. But it does mean that the holocaust of the last days will destroy any soul that is not wrapped in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

God created everything to live. "To be -- for this he created all. Death was not God's doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. It was the devil's envy that brought death into the world." (Ws.1:12-15, 2:24). That is why Jesus sent his Spirit into this world.

The Holy Spirit is God's divine water from the third heaven. Because this spiritual 'Living Water' is eternally alive, when we allow it to flow into our own soul through faith, we clothe ourselves in a grace that makes death impossible.

If we follow Christ's path to its end (to the end of our earthly lives), we will escape the searing catastrophe of this world's death and live forever.

Those who look at this earth and universe, thinking that it all began over 15 billion years ago, and decide from this that the End which Christ predicted must still be a long way off, are being deceived. They forget to remember that God made this entire creation with a single word from His mouth: "By the word of God the heavens were made, their whole array by the breath of his mouth...He spoke and it was created; he commanded, and there it stood." (Ps.33:6-9).

If what God created was made so instaneously by a word from His mouth, it seems clear that He can speak another word and undo it all just as quickly. "...when he shouts, the world disintegrates." (Ps.46:6).

Like the long predicted earthquake that never comes; suddenly it happens. The harvest stops abruptly, the gates bang shut and then it is too late to repent. "The harvest is over, summer at an end, and we have not been saved!" (Jer.8:20)."...the grape harvest is over, gathering will not come again." (Is.32:10).

Jesus said that at the very end of the destruction, after the Wrath had come and gone, God would appear with all the angels of heaven to judge everyone on earth according to their deeds. (Mt.16:27).

The only ones who will survive, Jesus said, are those who hear the commandments of God and are faithful to them. (Jn.12:47-48). "The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life." (Jn.10:27-28). This is the only path God has provided that will skirt the catastrophe that is coming.

No one has to die in the blazing catastrophe soon about to unfold. The whole power of escape is in Christ's words. (Mt.7:21-27). Through repentance and conversion into these words, God can use them to save us completely from everything that is predicted, and give us everlasting life.

From the very first moment that Adam and Eve fell under the corrupting influence of Satan, all mankind has existed in a state of separation from God. This separation is the basic implication of the exile's of scripture.

The word 'religion' itself bears witness to this separation. 'Religion' (a word whose origin predates Jesus himself) comes from the root 're-ligare' -- 'to bind back' -- indicating that religion is mankind's attempt to reunite itself with God.

Scripture teaches that we were being held prisoner in Satan's dungeon of darkness, originally formed by God, but trapped in a prison of sin by Satan's strength (Jer.51:44).

Jesus came to rescue us from this jail of darkness by first bringing us to life on this earth in a temporary body so that we might witness His life and Gospel and then, by copying it, escape the imprisonment and death sentence that has ensnared us. "He has pulled me out of the horrible pit, out of the slough of the marsh, has settled my feet on a rock and steadied my steps." (Ps.40:2).

That is why each of us is born on earth -- so that we might see the escape that Christ has offered us. Our soul has been called out of one prison -- the darkness of Satan's dungeon -- and placed in another -- this world (Babylon) -- so that we can see the pathway of escape and take it while there is still time. "Sending his word and curing them, he snatched them from the Pit." (Ps.107:20).

Babylon, then, is like a way-station, intermediate between the dungeon of Satan and the kingdom of God. All the talk in scripture about the destruction of this planet is God's way of warning us that even though He has lifted us out of the darkness of Satan's dungeon into life here, this world is not our escape.

That is why God insists that we understand this world as a place called Babylon. Jesus Christ is our escape. God has sent Jesus to "mark a cross on the good" (Ez.9:7), beginning at God's own sanctuary -- Jerusalem (Ez.9:6), and proceeding from there to the farthest ends of the planet. (Jer.25:15).

Coming right behind Christ is mass destruction -- the end of the world.

Before that destruction comes, the entire earth will have been offered repentance and forgiveness in the mercy of Jesus Christ: "Wait before you do any damage...until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." (Rv.7:3).

That is why, if we do not take the escape Jesus has offered us, we will be lost. We cannot go back to where we were before. Not just this world, but Hades, too, is being committed to the flames. (Rv.20:14).

For this reason, we only have two choices; To follow Jesus or to end up in the burning lake. "This burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake." (Rv.20:15).

When we were lifted up to life on this earth we found ourselves born on a battlefield. There is a huge war going on here and we are caught right in the middle of it. On one side are the armies of God and on the other, the forces of Satan.

This extraordinary war is being fought inside our own bodies. It is a war for our souls. This is why the scriptures are filled with terms of combat. According to the Bible, those who choose for Christ join the war against Babylon and become soldiers for the good, fighting side by side with the angels of God.

Our sword in this battle against wickedness is the word of God. The martyrs are those who have fallen. Though wounded in the flesh, they have all been raised to eternal life in the spirit because they obeyed God. Daniel has termed these fallen Christians 'saints' because they have held onto their sanctification all the way to the end of their flesh. (Dn.7:18-22).

Opposing these saints are the people who choose to join the battle on the side of Satan -- i.e., all those who select to remain in sin.

The Church has selected days which fall on the first and second of November to honor these saints. These special days come in the winter months, an allegorical time in scripture that involves the dying months of creation.

Throughout history, God has consistently combined momentous circumstances in Christ with the celebrations in the Old Testament which have commemorated or predicted them. In the case of the days that honor the saints (days which are mocked by Halloween), however, no old covenant correlations exist.

For this reason, we cannot use scripture to unveil any end-time model, except to document the possibility that the Holy Spirit had a particular pattern in mind when instructing the leaders of the Church to define the celebrations on the days that they did, especially since one of these days seems to have been relocated to November from a date first set in the springtime.

The Old Testament model that does relate comes a few weeks earlier and commemorates the end of the harvest. It is called the 'Feast of the Tabernacles' and includes the last day of the year. Also celebrated during this important feast, is the Hebrew New Year, and finally, Yom Kippur -- the highest holy day in the House of Israel's calendar -- the Day of God.

We know with certainty that this celebration correlates with the end of the world.

It commemorates the end of the harvest and it's inclusion of Yom Kippur completes the trilogy of days commemorating the three parts of the Godhead: Easter for the Son; Pentecost for the Holy Spirit; and the Day of God for the Father.

These are the three great feast days of the Hebrew calendar locked in place by the Torah of Moses, long before Jesus was ever born. Christians celebrate two of these days, but the third -- that which comes during the Feast of the Tabernacles -- is not celebrated because the momentous Day of God has not yet arrived.

It is the day described in the Book of Daniel (Dn.7:9-14), when God takes His place on a throne above the city of Jerusalem and the Judgment of the world begins.

One thing is certain. The 'October 31 - November 1' model now in place shows that an intensely pagan 'night' with all its revelry and death, and greater participation, will be immediately followed by a 'daylight' filled with rich reward for the saints of God in their ultimate victory over Satan.

This 'time of tribulation' (night of Satan) followed by victory will occur in the 'winter' of creation - during its dying hours.

All the darkness, mayhem and mass death that Satan's night is able to produce on this earth will be followed by glorious resurrection for those who remain true to the holiness of their new lives in Christ.

Marking a cross on the good, Jesus brought his sword to Babylon, slicing the community of man into two parts. "Did you not split Rahab in two, and pierce the Dragon through?" (Is.51:9). Isaiah's reference to Rahab concerns the prostitute -- Babylon. The name plays on the harlot in Jericho who hid the messengers of the Lord at the time of Joshua. (Josh. 2:1-24).

With his word, Jesus not only killed Satan, the dragon of Babylon, but he split Rahab (Babylon itself) into two parts with his Gospel (Is.51:9) -- drawing the Church out of it and leaving what remains behind.

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother..." so that "a man's enemies will be those of his own household." (Mt.10:34-36).

The Jerusalem that was rescued is that part of Babylon which hid the messengers of God in their heart -- and thus imitated the action of Rahab at the time of Joshua. Scripture says that because Rahab did this -- because she took the messengers of God into her house -- her life and the lives of all those in her house were spared. (Joshua 6:17-25).

It is the same with Babylon.

Those in Babylon who take the true messengers of God -- the Holy Spirit and the word of Jesus Christ -- into their hearts and make a home for them there will be rescued from the disaster that lies ahead.

NEXT
The Clock of God, Chapter 31,
"At Harvest's End"

The Clock of God - Contents





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