January 2005 Reflections
It certainly appears to me that we are close to the Day of the Lord. - A 'Day' that is described in scripture as a time of gross darkness in the world about us...yet holds forth the promise of a glorious Light that will shine upon His people. The prophets spoke much of this "Great" yet "Terrible" Day - when great darkness shall engulf the earth, while His people walk in the Light of the Lord Jesus. God wants us to "walk in the Light" now lest we presumptuously think all is well because we have good doctrine, and attend a good church. We must have true faith, lest in our presumption we find that Day to be one of darkness...and we "stumble on the dark mountains", and look for the light that is not there. No matter how dark the night may be surrounding us, "the children of the Light" will walk in the Light of God. When gross darkness covered the whole land of Egypt...there was "Light" in the homes of the people of God.
As God's wrath is poured out on a world of iniquity, God has made every provision for the children of Light - and that provision is nothing less than the "whole Armor of God". (Eph. 6), described in Romans as "the Armor of Light" (Rom.13:12). The climactic battle of the ages is closing in upon us, and God will have a Gideon army whose only weapons were - a trumpet and a pitcher...with a lamp inside the pitcher. Right now they seem to be doing nothing for God -- as they sit in the darkness on the hillside. But in that Day they will break their pitchers and hold their lamps high; and with trumpet blast (a sure, clear voice from God) they will declare their victory - with no other weapons than the Armor of God. Gideon's army shouted aloud, "The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon...!" -- and panic and fear gripped the hearts of the enemy until they fled in terror. There were many volunteers in Gideon's army at first...32,000 of them...But God sent most of them home, choosing to use only 300, whom He knew would give Him all the glory.
I emphasize these things because it seems to me that God's people for the most part do not care to become involved with God's battle plan...but choosing to be mobilized by some outstanding church leader rather than knowing the voice of the Lord God for themselves. Some do not even want to be around on the Day of the Lord...because they read of the terror of that Day...and fail to see the Light that will engulf the darkness. They talk about God 'sparing' them from His wrath - yet fail to understand that God "spares" His people, by clothing them with "the whole Armor of God".
We have ample teaching from the Lord Jesus and His apostles, admonishing us concerning that Day. Be alert! Be awake! "Let us not sleep"...said the apostle, but "Let us watch and be sober" ... Put on the whole Armor! This is God's provision for us in that Day: "The breastplate of faith and love." ... "and for an helmet the hope of salvation, for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (See 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8)
Many just brush aside this teaching of the Day of the Lord, or view it as something too controversial to meddle with. Then there are many who remember the stories they heard from their parents or grandparents of how they anticipated the 'end-times'...60 - 70 or 80 years ago. "But we're still here!" they say. True enough, but we are 60 - 70 - 80 years closer to it now than we were then.
Let's consider a possible scenario in the days of Noah. Here's a group of people taunting Noah for his folly. "Noah, you have been talking about God's judgments for 119 years. When are you going to forget that wild dream you had?" But the next year it happened! We are farther along in God's program than we were 80 years ago...and as Jesus predicted because of this lapse of time, there is now a generation in the "church"...that has become careless, indifferent, insensitive to the times...and are saying (not verbally but with their actions), "My Lord delayed His coming".
The apostle Peter said 'scoffers' would arise in the last days, saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since our fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation" (2 Pet. 3:4). Some of us recall that kind of scoffing, many decades ago. But we are farther along now than the time Peter spoke about.
I recall an engineer who worked in a place where I once worked, who would use the expression, "He's slower than the second coming!" (referring to a slothful man on the job). We know all about the scoffers! Yet none of them are saying, "All things continue as they were..." We have moved beyond the point Peter referred to -- in just the last two or three decades. Nobody is saying it now! Scientists are not saying it. Environmentalists are not saying it. Educators are not saying it. Politicians are not saying it. The "Press" is not saying it. Even ordinary scoffers are not saying it! There are frequent references in the news about "Armageddon"...as one catastrophe follows another. Planet earth has become a worrisome topic by men in high places.
A year ago I heard a panel of eminent scientists declare that the ocean would be 'fished out' within 10 years if the nations don't get together and make enforceable conservation laws to save our fish...endangered as they are by pollution, as well as by high tech ocean farming. Our beautiful pine forest in British Columbia could be wiped out, if we cannot control the beetle! Men of science and knowledge fear that Planet Earth's oxygen supply is in serious danger of being depleted. Peter spoke about end time scoffers who say, "All things continue as they were since the beginning." We are far beyond that time now. Still many of God's people, who have lost the vision of His Appearing continue to think like the crazy world in which we live - "There's nothing we can do about it; so let's live it up!"
I say it's time we think about God's holy Armor!...time to polish it up and put it on!
This holy Armor of Light will be our victory in this awesome Night that is closing in upon us. Can we not hear Him knocking at the door? "Please let Me in...Please open the door and invite Me to come in. I want to sit at your table and eat with you, and you with Me." Yet, we are saying by our nonchalant actions..."O, He can come in if He wants to...Surely He knows we love Him, and we are working hard to see the promotion of His Gospel in the earth."
I am not a pessimist by any means...except when it concerns the purposes of men. Was it pessimism when word got around on the Titanic, that this unsinkable vessel had struck an iceberg and was sinking? Some thought so, and carried on with their music, dancing and games. They simply believed the engineers were right: they were on a boat that was unsinkable. The captain himself turned a deaf ear to the news that icebergs were near at hand. He must have this wonderful legacy of steering the most beautiful, unsinkable Queen of the Seas to America in record time, before he retired. When reality struck home the optimism vanished, the wild and happy music and laughter subsided -- and the orchestra began to play; "Nearer my God to Thee".
When will God's people learn that Titanic earth has struck a 'berg' and is sinking?
Were Jeremiah, Isaiah and Joel pessimists because they saw the people of God doing their own thing, with no fear of God in their hearts, heedless of the One who had separated them unto Himself to be a Holy Nation? I know God will continue to reach out to His people. But it seems there are very few in our land or in the U.S., who are earnestly calling upon God, confessing their sin and making Him Lord of their lives. Instead they think their outreaches and works will be accounted unto them as righteousness. The music says it all, "We are a happy, jovial, people praising the Lord." Away with solemn songs bidding the Lord of Glory to come to His holy Temple; to cleanse us, purge us, and make us to be totally separated unto Him. For the most part we hear these words, spoken or implied: "We are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing." How does the Lord of the Church respond to that? He looks upon us and says, "Thou art wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked"...and we simply will not accept that verdict. He offers to us the true riches; Gold, tried in the fire...Eyesalve to anoint our eyes that we might see...White raiment to clothe ourselves with His own garments of holiness, purity and grace. We just go our way, choosing to clothe ourselves with the filthy garments of our good works, works of our own choosing.
In the midst of the dearth, we know our God is preparing a "willing People" for the Day of His Power. He is preparing a Joseph in a prison-house for the Day of Famine; a Moses in the wilderness of Midian, who will go forth with no weapon but a stick in his hand to deliver a whole nation of slaves; an Elijah people who will "stand before God" and hear words from His mouth, and effectively call a people to repentance; a John the Baptist arising in the midst of a stream-lined and proud religious order, calling men to repentance, be they religious or profane. And in the outcome of it all, God will have a "glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing"...A HOLY Bride that will cry out, in union with the Spirit of God, to the poor, wretched and needy of the earth: "Come! Come!. Whosoever will, let him take of the Water of Life freely". May the Lord help us all in these awesome times, to draw closer and closer to our Lord Jesus. For only in union with Him will we have unfailing supply of "oil" to keep our lamps burning in the midnight hour that is closing upon us.
George H. Warnock