THE TIME IS AT HAND

THE TIME IS AT HAND Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Christian Church has been in existence for two thousand years. Much good has been accomplished during this period. Some outstanding saints have been produced. Overall, however, the testimony has been weak. The believers by and large do not reveal Christ in their personalities.

An age of moral horrors is upon us. The Christian people are not ready for such spiritual darkness and are seeking escape in a flight to Heaven. But God has a better idea.

Table of Contents

Fruit Versus Religion The Time Is At Hand Conclusion

THE TIME IS AT HAND

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. (Micah 5:3—NIV)

The Christian Church has been in existence for two thousand years. Much good has been accomplished during this period. Some outstanding saints have been produced. Overall, however, the testimony has been weak. The believers by and large do not reveal Christ in their personalities.

As we approach a new millennium we see many people accepting Christ as their Savior, but the moral testimony, at least in America, is not clear and strong. Oftentimes there is a cynical attitude toward the Christian ministry. The churches sometimes are viewed as consisting of hypocrites or else irrelevant as far as the needs of contemporary society are concerned.

An age of moral horrors is upon us. The Christian people are not ready for such spiritual darkness and are seeking escape in a flight to Heaven. But God has a better idea.

Fruit Versus Religion

The emphasis of the New Testament is on bearing the fruit of the Spirit, on becoming a new creation, on being transformed into the moral image of Christ. We have changed the goal of becoming a new creation to obtaining eternal residence in Heaven—a change of environment having little or nothing to do with personal moral transformation. We have created a religion far removed from the Divine salvation.

We are not bent on achieving righteousness of behavior, an attitude of mercy, and a willingness to walk humbly with God. We want to escape Hell and go to Heaven by the quickest, cheapest means. There is no love for God in this, only love for self.

Because we have departed from the written Word we do not have good success; our way has not been made prosperous.

Because we are ignoring what the New Testament declares concerning the new creation, and have concentrated on giving people their ticket to Heaven, the believers are not growing in Christ. They are not coming to the stature of the fullness of Christ. Consequently the testimony has been destroyed. In addition, the believers are not prepared for the various roles and tasks of the Kingdom of God, commencing with the descent of Christ and His army to install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

For two thousand years the fruit that God is looking for has been missing. This is because we have changed the Divine salvation into a religious system.

A religious system, whether it is Jewish, or Catholic, or Protestant, or Muslim, is a murderer of God. Religious systems are described in the Book of Revelation as follows:

This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:5—NIV)

Babylon always murders God’s apostles and prophets. Jesus mentioned that the Jews always murdered their prophets. They finally murdered their Christ. However it was not the common people or the Romans that murdered Christ, it was the religious system.

How many people has the Catholic Church murdered through the centuries? And they think they are of Christ when they are doing this.

As for the Protestants: Germany is filled with Lutheran people. These same Lutherans tried to annihilate the Jewish race. And these are Christians? These are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ who are murdering the Lord’s chosen people?

There are many wonderful Muslim people, kind, generous, gentle human beings. But their religious system murders people they regard as infidels.

There is very little relationship between membership in a Christian church and the Divine salvation.

Neither Judaism nor Christianity is designed to be a religion. Both are revelations of the God of Heaven. God creates salvation. Men create religion.

The Christian religion stresses accepting Christ so we can go to Heaven. The Muslim religion, I understand, sometimes stresses murdering infidels in order to get to Heaven. I do not know how the Jews get to Heaven because there is no emphasis in the Old Testament about going to Heaven.

One thing I do know: the New Testament does not emphasize going to Heaven. The emphasis is on bearing fruit, the fruit which is the moral image of Jesus Christ: righteous behavior, holiness of personality, and stern obedience to God. This is what God is looking for and usually doesn’t get. He doesn’t get it because the New Testament is not being preached. What is preached is our traditions about mansions in Heaven.

If we do not bear the fruit of Christ’s likeness we stand in scriptural danger of being cut from the Vine, from Christ. If the tree does not bear fruit the Farmer will dig it out of the orchard. Without the fruit of the Spirit there is no salvation, no eternal life, no Kingdom of God.

All our religious activities profit us absolutely nothing if we do not become a new moral creation in Christ, a new creation that is being demonstrated in our thoughts, our words, and our behavior.

Obviously the record of the two thousand years of the Christian Era has been one of religion, not usually of transformed people who revealed Christ in their personalities. There have been, as we know, notable exceptions to this.

Today the Christian emphasis is on "church growth." By "church growth" we mean growth in the numbers in attendance or the numbers who "make a decision for Christ."

We ought to be emphasizing the growth of Christ in the people. We take it for granted that once people make a decision for Christ they will grow. But they usually do not. They do not grow because we do not emphasize growth. We don’t even know what growth is, in many instances. The idea is more people, more people, more people.

If all the people on earth were to "accept Christ" and go to Heaven it would not solve God’s problem (nor would it solve ours, although we do not realize this). God’s problem is that people are not righteous, holy, or obedient to God.

The only time God’s problem is solved is when an individual abandons himself or herself to the Holy Spirit and begins to serve God with a pure heart. I know no true Christian would disagree with this. But the mad rush for more members continues, and so the churches are filled with spiritual babies.

If the pastors were to tell their congregations that no person can be a Christian until he or she denies himself, takes up his cross, and sets out after Jesus; that no person can be a Christian until he or she presents his body a living sacrifice; and then the pastors were to show by their attitude and behavior that they mean what they are stating; the result would be a mass exodus of the "believers" from the assemblies. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I believe this is what would happen in America.

How about your church? Are you being told that unless the fruit of the Spirit is coming forth in your life you are not being saved? You are not entering eternal life? You are not going to inherit the Kingdom of God? You will reap corruption in the day of resurrection? Are you being told this? Well, this is exactly what the Bible teaches.

For two thousand years, with notable exceptions, the Glory of Christ has not been revealed in the Lord’s people, and it is not being revealed today. The believers are being taught they can have everything they want by faith and that they are just about to be caught up in their carnality to Heaven so they will not have to face suffering. What a monstrous distortion of the Divine salvation!

But better things are on the way.

It is apparent that we are entering an age of moral horrors. Satan worship and the channeling of fallen angels are on the rise. The spiritual environment is thick with demons. The spiritual oppression is evidenced by the trouble spots around the world—wars and rumors of wars.

The Christian people do not have enough of God to stand in victory in the midst of such spiritual darkness. The Lord has a further experience in Himself, more of Christ in us, that will enable us to be more than conquerors throughout all that is ahead. Just accepting Christ is not enough. Being filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues are not enough. The Bible shows us that more grace is on the way.

The Lord is standing at the door of each Christian personality. We are to allow Him to enter us, to dine with us, and to establish His throne in us. Only then will we be able to stand in the dark hour that is at hand.

If you will remember, the wheat and the tares are to come to maturity side by side. This means righteousness will greatly increase and wickedness will greatly increase.

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. (Matthew 13:30—NIV)

The righteous will receive much more of Christ. The wicked will receive much more of Satan. In the days ahead God and Satan will be facing each other in the ultimate confrontation.

Because of the enormity of this confrontation our babylonish religious systems will avail nothing. In fact, they will hinder us.

In the days ahead, in God’s time, the Spirit and the Bride will come out of the religious systems. The godly remnant, along with the elect Jews, will be forced into the wilderness areas of the earth.

The Christian churches will continue with their traditional activities, hymns, programs, and so forth, not realizing the Spirit has left. Antichrist will subsidize the churches until they think they are rich and have need of nothing.

Many churches are in deception today, or void of the Spirit. Yet they go on with their programs. So it will be in the days of Antichrist.

Finally Antichrist will invade the land of Israel and establish himself between the wings of the cherubim in a restored temple. This action will cause the great tribulation to commence. Then the elect Jews are to flee to the wilderness where they will be protected by the Lord Jesus Christ in His remnant of saints, thus fulfilling the type of Joseph and his family during the famine.

Then the secular nations will burn the religious systems with fire. Babylon will be destroyed.

Because of the ability of Antichrist to penetrate the spiritual heavens it no longer will be possible for the babylonian Christians, so to speak, to pray. It no longer will be possible to receive Christ and the Holy Spirit in the major cities of the earth. Antichrist will have control over the spirit realm.

Only in the wilderness, in the remnant, will there be salvation.

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:32—NIV)

These horrors lie just ahead of us. They will come into being immediately following the worldwide harvest revival that is beginning now.

Meanwhile, you and I are to open our heart to the Lord Jesus so He may enter us and make us new moral creations that reveal the fruit of the Spirit.

To continue in the business as usual church routines without making a desperate attempt to press into Christ is to prepare an exceedingly grim future for ourselves.

The Lord Jesus Christ is ready right now to go all the way with you. Are you willing to go all the way with Him?

The Time Is At HandI

It is my point of view that we are in a period of forward movement in the Kingdom of God, a greater dispensation of Divine grace than we have known.

If we consider the record of the Bible we can see there are specific events that took place with specific people at specific times. No matter how much we wish we could have been there to participate in that event, it was limited to a chosen population.

If I am not mistaken, there is coming a revelation of Christ in and with His people that has not occurred previously.

The latter-rain revival, which is upon us even now, will grow until many—perhaps a majority—of earth's people will make a profession of Jesus Christ. This harvest revival will be that of the outpouring of God's Spirit on believers, as has been true of revivals of the past, so they may bear witness of Christ to earth's multitudes.

In addition to the latter-rain revival there will be the issuing of Divine power from within the saints. This revelation of Christ, which is being formed in us now, may occur just prior to and in conjunction with the appearing of Christ. This is the revealing of the sons of God. The Lord Jesus will descend with His saints, release the creation from the bondage of evil, and install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The coming of the Lord with His victorious saints will overcome the forces of Hell on the earth.

Maybe Audrey and I will be privileged to participate in this unprecedented outpouring of Divine grace. Perhaps not because of our age at this time. But we will continue to lay as much groundwork of the Word and of faith as we can so when the generation does appear that God has assigned to this massive expression of Christ in His people there will be a background of faith and teaching ready for them.

Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD: (Psalms 102:18—NIV)

Specific events; specific time periods; specific people.

How would you like to have been one of the elders who went up on the mountain with Moses and saw the God of Israel?

This experience was limited to a chosen few.

What about being in the house of Mary and Martha when Jesus was there?

I would like to have heard the Apostle Paul teach. Wouldn’t you?

The names of the Apostles of the Lamb are forever engraved in the foundation of the wall of the new Jerusalem, and the names of the twelve sons of Jacob are forever inscribed on the gates of the new Jerusalem.

How would you like to have been with Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration?

What if you were one of those entrusted to write holy Scripture?

We see therefore that in the Kingdom of God there are specific events that take place during specific time periods and that include specific people. Those events will never be repeated. Those chosen to participate will always be the only ones so blessed.

I believe this will be true when Christ suddenly comes to maturity in His people in the days just prior to His return in the clouds of glory. I would like to be among those who will be so filled with God. Probably not, but I can make every effort to provide the teaching such warriors will need if they are to become strong in the Lord.

There is a part for you to play also.

Now let’s consider some of the passages that point toward a specific time when God will move in an unprecedented manner in the earth.

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. (Micah 5:3—NIV)

Can you see from the above that there will be a time when a "woman" will be in labor and give birth—a specific event occurring at a specific time involving specific people?

The meaning of the passage is, according to my understanding, that just before the return of the Lord, the Church will travail through the ministries and Christ will come to full stature in His people. When this takes place the brothers of Christ will become one stick in God’s hand along with the elect Jews. Then the Lord will return.

Notice:

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19—NIV)

The Galatians saints were saved and filled with the Spirit, according to the text of the Book of Galatians. But their willingness to return to the teachings of Judaism showed Paul that while the Galatian believers were part of the Christian religion they did not have enough of Christ formed in them to protect them against the teachings of another religion.

One passage I enjoy is as follows:

Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. (Isaiah 66:6-9—NIV)

The "temple" is the Body of Christ. The Lord will attack His enemies from within His Church. This already is taking place on a small scale as Christ is coming to us through the Holy Spirit and requiring that we confess and turn away from our sins.

"Before she goes into labor, she gives birth" means the Lord Jesus Christ was born apart from any travail on the part of the Church.

But today the Church is entering a travail of Spirit that Christ might be formed in the members of the Body of Christ.

The royal priesthood of God, the holy nation, will be born suddenly in the last days, in the time that is near at hand. Then all we have hoped for in terms of a glorious testimony will be here in the earth.

The Lord God will bring to the point of birth, and then Christ shall be revealed in His people. This will mark the beginning of the end of Satan’s control over the earth. Multitudes of earth’s people will come to the Glory of Christ then being brought forth through the Christians.

The travail and the bringing forth announced in Micah and Isaiah are repeated in the Book of Revelation.

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. (Revelation 12:1,2—NIV)

According to my understanding, the woman is the Church. The sun is Jesus Christ. The moon is the created realm. The crown of twelve stars represent the outstanding patriarchs, prophets, and apostles of the Church.

I think the travail to bring forth Christ is commencing now in some assemblies.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so he might devour her child the moment it was born. (Revelation 12:3,4—NIV)

The stars that are flung to the earth may refer to the angels who took Satan’s side in the great rebellion. However, it does not make a great deal of sense that Satan would hurl members of his own army to the earth. Perhaps this is referring to the Lord’s people who have sin and rebellion in them, which gives Satan a hold on them.

Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth is thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:12—NIV)

In our day we have seen prominent ministers, who at one time by faith had been crucified and raised with the Lord to the right hand of God, cast down to the earth because of immorality or covetousness. Perhaps the above passage means in the last days Satan will be able to reach into the very heavens and tear down those who have not surrendered completely to the Lord.

Satan stands before the Church. Satan is not concerned about the religious programs of the churches. His fear is that Christ will be born in the Christians. Satan will do everything in his power to keep God’s people involved in their religious practices—anything to keep them from focusing on the growth of Christ in them.

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child is snatched up to God and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5—NIV)

It is the Ruler of the nations who is being formed in us. As soon as we travail in birth and Christ is formed in us He is caught up to the Throne of God. He will not come forth in His people until just prior to His appearing in the clouds.

We see this in the following:

The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. (Joel 3:15,16—NIV)

The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars are the budding of the fig tree that Jesus mentioned. These are the great signs that will tell us the coming of the Lord will take place within one generation.

It is at that time, the time when the world is crying "peace and safety," that the Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem. These mighty occurrences will mark the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The witnesses of Christ of all ages will be raised from the dead and terror will fall on the onlookers.

The special generation we have mentioned, who will be alive at the coming of the Lord, will never experience physical death. Christ will enter them in such power just prior to His appearing, and then at His appearing, that the ends of the earth will come to the Glory revealed in them. This sudden revelation of the Lord of Hosts through His people will take place when spiritual oppression and darkness blanket the earth.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:1-3—NIV)

Just think of the marvels that lie ahead for those who give themselves wholly to the Lord Jesus!

Conclusion

We understand therefore that the climax of the ages is upon us. Our God is a God of preparation. He is telling us now—today—that we must begin to enter His tabernacle, to abide in His Presence. It soon will be too late.

Right now the Lord is knocking on the door of the personality of each believer. It is the Lord of Hosts who is knocking, the Lord strong and mighty in battle. He is ready now to wage war against His enemies, beginning with His enemies that reside in His own people.

This is an hour to seek God as never before. As we do the Spirit reveals to us the worldliness, lust, and self-will that are in us. All of the spiritual darkness that is in us must be confessed as the Spirit reveals the various sins to us. We must confess, denounce, renounce, and resolutely turn away from all of the death that is in us as it is brought to our attention.

We must show no mercy to the enemy in our personality. He must be totally destroyed, not a hair or claw left. Total, total, total destruction of the enemy. Only then will we be able to participate in the majestic revelation of Christ in His Church that is at hand.

The full maturing of righteousness and the full maturing of wickedness will be awesome. God is ready to bind the wickedness and throw it all into the fire. But because there is so much wickedness in His own people His hands are tied.

Now is the time for all that offends God to be removed from His Kingdom. If we are willing and obedient, Satan will be driven from us and we will shine forth in the righteousness wrought in us by Christ.

But if we do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the present hour, then we ourselves will be driven from the Kingdom. It does not matter if we make a profession of faith in Christ. If we do not obey the Spirit of God in the present hour we will be driven from the Kingdom of God! There shall be no sin whatever in the Kingdom of God!

The feast of Tabernacles follows the feast of Pentecost. We have been at Pentecost throughout the twentieth century. Now God has a great new dispensation of grace ready for us in the present evil hour. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

Two aspects of redemption will take place in us as we press past Pentecost into the feast of Tabernacles. First, Christ will be formed in us. Then, the Father and the Son will enter that which has been formed in us. Now we have become the Throne of God and of the Lamb. Now we can triumph over all wickedness because the Presence of God in us will overcome the wickedness that comes from Satan.

If you look around you will notice that the moral darkness is increasing. It appears people are becoming ever more wicked. We do well if we take heed to what is occurring and go to Jesus to find out what He is saying.

When you go to Jesus He will tell you to seek His face constantly that you might be purified from sin; that you might have Him created in you; that you might become the dwelling place of the Father and the Son. This is the "Tabernacles" experience.

Salvation and Pentecost have brought us to where we are now. They have sufficed for the present. They will not suffice in the future. We absolutely must have much more of God if we are to survive and help others to survive.

God is not going to remove His Church from the battleground. How would our evacuation help the peoples of the earth who are groaning in their spiritual chains?

Rather, God is going to fill us with His Presence so the greatest witness of all time can shine forth. Then the nations will come to the Glory of Christ in His saints.

This is what you and I desire—that the Christ we serve will be exalted in the earth. Be encouraged! This is precisely what God is going to do, and you can be a participant if this is what you desire with all your heart.

Jesus has kept the good wine until now.

Hallelujah!