WHAT TIME IS IT NOW?
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We’ve been through the Protestant Reformation. We’ve been through the Pentecostal outpouring of the twentieth century. Just where are we in the Book of Revelation?
I would submit we are in the tenth chapter, although the events described in Revelation are not necessarily in a specific chronological order.
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. (Revelation 10:1)
Strength is portrayed here: “a mighty angel”; “legs were like fiery pillars.” The fire stands for judgment.
He comes down from Heaven “with a rainbow above his head.” The “rainbow” represents the Throne of God Almighty. The “cloud signifies the coming of the Lord.” His face like the “sun” symbolizes “righteousness.”
Such is the angel, the messenger to us in the closing days of time, prior to the mightiest revival of all—that of the two witnesses (Christ and the members of His godly remnant empowered with a double portion of God’s Spirit).
Strength; Divine judgment; God’s Throne; the coming of the Lord; righteousness. These are today’s issues. They are of the utmost importance.
Divine judgment: We now have entered the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation. We Christians must confess and turn away from our sins as the Spirit of God leads us.
God’s Throne: We have known (to a limited extent) the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are acquainted with the Holy Spirit as He helps us get rid of our sins, and also empowers us to bear a true witness of God and Christ. Now it is time to learn about our Father. The prime consideration is stern obedience in all matters to Him who sits on the Rainbow Throne.
The coming of the Lord Jesus to gather His holy ones and with them to install the Kingdom of God on the earth. The issue at this point is doing God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.
Righteousness: The most woeful corruption of God’s Word has to do with righteousness. Because of false teaching the majority of God’s people, it appears, have come to believe that the only righteousness Christians are to have is that which is ascribed to us upon a profession of belief in Christ as God’s Son and eternal atonement for our sin.
What a gross, unbelievable, monstrous corruption such a viewpoint is! It has wrecked the moral witness of the Christian churches. As a result our government, which looks to the Christian churches for moral guidance, is becoming increasingly corrupt. The result will be a visitation of Divine judgment upon us.
When the Bible, Old and New Testaments, speaks of righteousness, it is referring to honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness, moral cleanliness, kindness, fairness, patience, and so forth. Ascribed righteousness is given to us at the beginning of our salvation so we may leave the Law of Moses and follow the Spirit of God into righteousness of behavior.
The messenger’s face is like the “sun,” denoting righteousness. How do you think God feels when He sees His Christian children yielding to their sinful nature while exclaiming, “I am perfectly righteous because God sees me through Christ.”
Let me say, in the name of Jesus our Lord, that each of us Christians is going to reap what he or she sows. Each of us Christians is going to receive back, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, what we have done on the earth, whether good or evil.
After the ministry of the two witnesses has been concluded, Antichrist will vaunt himself for a season. Then, when the world is crying “peace and safety,” our Lord Jesus will appear; call up His godly remnant to Himself; and then descend with them to establish justice and the doing of God’s will on the earth.
At that time, where will those “Christians” be who follow their sinful nature while crying “Grace”? I will tell you one thing: they will not be among the godly remnant, God’s army of judges, who are raised from the dead and called up to meet Christ in the air!
Such lies are being preached today! And the conduct of the Christian people, and the secular Americans, is the result. There is no fear of God in the land!
He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, (Revelation 10:2)
A little scroll. We Americans lay emphasis on “big” things, big churches, big meetings, thousands of people, and so forth. We are apt to miss the God who was born in a barn. We are apt to be deaf to the still, small voice of the Spirit. We go where the crowds are, as though numbers of people were a sign of God’s blessing.
What is written in the little scroll? The testimony of God that the “two witnesses” will preach to the world: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Believe the good news. Turn the hearts of the children to their parents and the parents to their children. Exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.”
The messenger’s right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land speaks of his enormous size; and also of the fact that God is preparing to bear witness of Himself to the entire earth.
And he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. (Revelation 10:3)
Did you ever hear a lion roar? It is somewhat intimidating. We are so accustomed to our churches being “nice,” and usually quiet, that the idea of a lion roaring doesn’t seem appropriate. But our day is one in which the Divine intervention is coming as a “loud shout.”
A lion roars in order to terrify his enemies. In our day the nations of the earth appear to be acting arrogantly, seldom mentioning God, seldom asking His assistance, seldom giving Him credit for anything. It is time for God to explain who is controlling all these “ants” on the ground who tell us if we all pull together peace and prosperity will be the outcome.
It is time for the lion to roar!
The voices of the seven thunders are the proclamations of the fullness of the power of God Almighty. As far as I know, the fullness of God’s power has never been revealed in the earth. I believe it will be before Jesus returns, to show that the earth and they who dwell therein belong to God and not to ambitious earthly rulers.
And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” (Revelation 10:4)
The seven thunders are the fullness of God’s power. They have been withheld from us. Why is this? It is because, although we love the Lord, we still are controlled by our self-will. In order to have the seven thunders bear witness along with us we have to obey God as He sets about to destroy our self-will.
We have to deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred gratification, and remain as cheerfully as we can in the “prison” where God permits Satan to place us.
Our prison may consist of the deferral of our most intense desires. It may consist of miserable situations in which we are to labor year after year. It may consist of our good being evil spoken of, and yet we do not justify ourselves. All of these devices and more are employed by the Lord to bring us to the place where we can say truly: “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, but it is not I but Christ who is living in me.”
When every one of the godly remnant whom Christ chooses to work with Him in the last great witness has died to self-will, then the power of the seven thunders can be unleashed, as we read in Chapter Eleven of Revelation.
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:5-7)
“But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet.” It is my opinion that we are living in the days when the last angel is about to sound his trumpet. The seventh, or last, trumpet will announce the conclusion of the Church Age. The Lord will appear. The godly remnant living on the earth at the time, plus those whom Christ brings with Him, will be resurrected and caught up to meet Christ in the air. The kingdom of the world will become the Kingdom of God and of His Christ.
What the messenger shall say is so utterly important it must be confirmed with an oath. He swears there shall be no more delay, but “the mystery of God will be accomplished.”
What is the “mystery of God”?
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
One might exclaim, “What is the mystery? We have known all our lives about Christ being in us.” Have we? Did you ever hear anyone preach about Christ being in us? To my knowledge, this fact has not been emphasized in the two thousand years of the Christian era.
It is my opinion that there has been a delay in the forming of Christ in us, or at least in our understanding of it. We read in the twelfth chapter of Revelation about the travail of the Church as she is bringing forth Christ in the saints. This is taking place today.
Today is the hour for us to become conscious that a new Life has been born in us. The ministries of the Christian church are laboring to bring forth Christ in us.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
This is the “mystery of the Gospel”—that Christ may be formed in us. To produce such formation is the reason for the ministries given to the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God.
All we hear about, it seems, is “Get souls saved. Get souls saved. Get souls saved.” There is a time for getting souls saved. But the end of Satan’s rule in the earth will come only when Christ is formed in us.
The Father and the Son will not take up Their residence in us until Christ is formed in us. The Godhead will never dwell in Adam, only in the new Nature that has been created in us.
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
God and Christ will make Their home only in the born-again Divine Nature that has been formed in us through the ministries given to the members of the Body of Christ.
Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
Each one of us it to learn to live by the Life of Jesus. We do this by inviting Him into every area of our life; asking Him about everything we do; and remembering to give thanks for every answered prayer.
The world, including our nation, is facing moral chaos and the resulting corruption in all other areas of our life. The only manner in which we are going to survive, and help others to survive, is by living by Christ’s Life.
The Christian churches that are hearing from the Lord are entering the travail now that will bring forth people in whom Christ is formed. No person living by mere human life will be able to do much in the coming days, because the war is between Christ and Antichrist; God and Satan; the Spirit of God and the False Prophet. We humans are so much dust compared with the titans who represent good and evil.
There shall be delay no longer. It is time now for Christ to come to maturity in His people.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” (Revelation 10:8)
Notice how specific the directions were to John. Notice also that the scroll was not handed to John. John had to go and take the scroll.
So it is today. The true witness of God “lies open” in the hand of the angel. But we have to listen to Jesus until He says, “Go take the scroll.”
So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. (Revelation 10:9,10)
So it is with the testimony of the closing days of the Church Age. The good news that Christ is being formed in us and we are entering the Kingdom of God is sweet as honey to the taste.
But as we press further into Christ, into the Kingdom, we find that there are hard, difficult issues with which we are faced. The “nice” Christian religion, the joyous songs sung with others of the faith, seem to be retreating into the background.
Suddenly there are family problems, or money problems, or problems with our health. There may be social conflicts within the assembly. We may discover that we have been in some sort of spiritual deception for many years.
People may lie about us or treat us unjustly. Then the Lord commands us to not seek to justify ourselves. This can be difficult; but slander and perversity are the sufferings of Christ.
Now we know the meaning of “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
In the coming days we may experience vicious persecution from our own government, or even martyrdom in extreme cases.
What will all these sufferings do for us? They will bring us closer to Christ and God. They will turn us away from sin and self-will. We will become more appreciative of the sufferings of the heroes of faith listed in the Bible.
We will escape the silliness and foolishness of the church people. We will find no satisfaction in the parties and “fun” of the baby Christians. What we thought was the joy of the Lord we now can see as nothing more than fleshly comfort and enjoyment. It doesn’t satisfy us any longer. Now we are discovering that the true joy of the Lord is ours even in very difficult circumstances.
The Lord Jesus watches carefully to make certain we are not tested more than we can bear. He wants us to be strong in the Lord, but not destroyed. If we do not flee when the way is not pleasant, we will become a witness of God and Christ.
As the Father and the Son take up Their residence in us, we will find true joy. It will be the joy of bringing forth the water of eternal Life for other people. This is possible only as the Throne of God is formed in us.
Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” (Revelation 10:11)
This is the “again prophecy.” The original prophecy was the outpouring of God’s Spirit described in the Book of Acts.
The soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth must be preached as a witness to all nations.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
Such is the message of the two witnesses, for which the mighty angel, with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land is preparing us today.
Christ and His godly remnant will be bearing witness to all people, nations, languages, and kings. They will be announcing the Person, will, way, and eternal purpose of God in Christ. This will be a true witness, not what we sometimes hear today.
At the time of the first prophecy, the Lord worked with them, confirming the Word with signs following. During the “again prophecy,” the Lord will be in the saints as well as with them.
In the case of Christ and His Father bearing witness in the first century, the Jews could see only one person—the Lord Jesus. But the Father was in Him and with Him, so there actually were two witnesses, making the testimony valid under Jewish Law.
In the case of the “again prophecy,” Christ will be in His victorious saints, the second Lampstand, and also with them. But only the human beings will be seen. This last witness of the Church Age will have a double portion, an “Elisha” portion, of the Spirit of God. Greater works will be performed than were performed by the Lord Jesus at the time of the first prophecy.
The wise believer will recognize we are in unusually significant days. God is moving forward in the spiritual fulfillment of the last three of the Jewish celebrations. The scroll is open, but we have to take it out of the angel’s hand.
It is not going to be easy to press forward in Christ in these closing days of the Christian Era. But, as our Lord said, “Many that are last shall be first.”
The members of the Body of Christ who have died and are in the spirit world are marching with us. They too are confessing and turning away from their sins, although how that takes place we do not know.
But the Bible says we all are going to be made perfect together—a great army of judges, with Christ at the head. There never has been the like before.
The task before us is very great—the complete overthrow of evil in the creation of God. However, God is much, much greater. Our responsibility is to be sternly obedient to God even when we are not “enjoying” ourselves. There is a work of eternal judgment to be performed; and you and I are privileged to be alive when God is making known the mystery of the Gospel.
We—in America, at least—need to be very careful that we do not permit ourselves to be distracted in any manner, but keep listening carefully to the Spirit of God so we always are moving ahead with the Lord.
We have all of eternity to think about how we behaved during the hour of our visitation.
(“What Time Is It Now?”, 3366-1)