Prophecy is a very great part of Holy Scripture. This wonderful communication of God to His people Israel was to be taken seriously as warning and admonition regarding their behavior and its consequences. They were privy to the mind of their Creator through His laws, and therefore were forbidden to seek or consult other sources of predictions such as the “witch of Endor” (I Samuel 28:7).
God intended His people to read His Word and learn from His priests and Levites who were designated to guide and lead His flock. He was their shepherd from the beginning, as the great patriarchs wended their way through the Holy lands always led and guided by Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Nissi, their provider and banner. One of King Saul’s sins was his instructions to his servant, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” When told of the witch at Endor, he disguised himself and consulted her about his fear of the Philistine army. She brought up the spirit of Samuel, thereby seeing through his disguise, and Samuel said “Why have you disturbed me?”.
Upon Saul’s complaint that God had refused to answer him, Samuel replied that the predicted events had occurred, and the Kingdom had been given to David. This whole scenario reveals God’s purpose in not allowing divination or necromancy. His people Israel were to trust in no other sources of wisdom and knowledge than the Holy Scripture, given for their benefit and well-being. God knew how easily they could be misled and deceived by Satanic forces even as was Eve in the garden of Eden, and Aaron at the foot of Mount Sinai. Saul’s impatience with God led him to disobey and thereby suffer the consequences as surely as we all do when fear and greed drive us to pagan practices. These examples are given to increase that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding so highly prized by David and Solomon in the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. However, we can also have great joy in anticipation of the glories of the future.
What a tremendous incentive to reap the promised rewards of a virtuous life with eternal benefits! What a grand insurance policy God has given us if we will only believe His Word and do His Will. Beginning in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, God outlines the blessings for obeying His Law. All Christians should realize that the consequences of disobedience are still in effect, even though the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God has atoned for our sins, and assured us of eternal salvation. There is a great difference between immediate results of foolish and disobedient action, and eternal damnation for rebellious disbelief and rejection. We are all still sinners and must needs reap the painful harvest of those seeds we have sown. But our faith in Israel’s Messiah, our trust and reliance on Him assures us of an eternal dwelling place, our life in His earthly kingdom, and at last our Heavenly Home in the New Jerusalem. You will be comforted by the promises of blissful rewards in Isaiah 60, 61 and 62. In Isaiah 65:17-25, we find a parallel to Revelation 21 in describing the New Heaven and the New Earth. It is so delightful to contemplate that we should be praying always for that beautiful fulfillment.
Let us explore the conditions necessary to fulfill these promised blessings in the beautiful place that God has prepared for those that truly love Him.
IF we love Him, we must believe His Word. Without His Word we would still have the evidences of His Creation.
BECAUSE of His Word, we are able to know His Plans and His Will and are therefore enabled to conform to them as much as possible.
IF we read, mark and learn in the days of our youth, we may avoid many of the snares and wiles of our enemy Satan, whose purpose is to separate us from God’s Word, His Will, and His everlasting Love.
IF we follow the instructions of Peter, Paul, James and the other epistle and gospel writers, we can be assured of the constant presence and assistance of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ.
IF we are constant in prayer, we know that the Holy Spirit is nearby to guide, guard and bless us and our loved ones. Jesus promised this wonderful Presence as “He gave up the ghost” on the cross of shame, the shame that should be ours for our sinful nature and actions.
The great confirmation of this gift came at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was manifested as tongues of fire upon the heads of that crowd! What an outpouring of God’s Love and Blessing was clearly seen by all persons of every tribe and language, so that they could carry the message of Redemption and Salvation to all the families of the earth!
What next? By means of prophecy, we can see what has already come to pass, and by means of television, we can see what is occurring almost instantaneously, therefore we can expect Matthew 24, and Mark 13 to be fulfilled as the time proceeds on its path, known to God alone as to WHEN the end will come.
There are three unknown factors in God’s time line. Bishop Ussher was able to determine the Earth-time of 6000 years plus Kingdom-time of 1000 years, before we enter into eternity. This was taking the Genesis account of 6 days of God’s work of Creation, one day of God’s Sabbath rest, and Peter’s measure of “…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” He adds to the importance of this information, “be NOT ignorant of this one thing.” Only by combining these factors can we estimate God’s timeline. Look back over the millennia and see the soon approaching end of 6 days, 6000 years. Look forward to the Revelation given to dear John on the island of Patmos for knowledge of that one day of bliss, when Satan is chained in the pit, Babylon’s hold is broken and that Beast is in the Lake of Fire (for destruction, not purification), and the False Prophet is also doomed to that fate. What a gorgeous description of LIFE IN THE KINGDOM follows, searing our hearts with longing for the fulfillment of God’s promises and prophecies.
The other unknown times are the “tarrying time of the bridegroom” as Peter tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but is longsuffering toward us, hoping until the last moment that we will yield our stubborn wills and “COME UNTO ME.” He is delaying His coming as long as He has hope for every last one to be saved by His wondrous grace and mercy. And thirdly in Matthew 24 we find “…and except those days be shortened, there should be NO flesh saved, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Those who contend that there are no “elect” or that election does not matter, had better think again of the serious predictions surrounding these words.
So we do not know when the Bridegroom (Christ) will come, nor do we know how long the terrible tribulation will last or end. We have two injunctions to which we must pay close attention. 1. Watch and Pray! 2. Trust and Obey! Our Loving Father has given us all we need, to know Him, love Him, believe Him, worship and adore Him. Let us not be found wanting as we await His glorious appearing. Amen.