People of The Living God

Hebrews 11

 

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January 2014



 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

SOUND ADVICE TO THE ELDERS IN ISRAEL

Harry Miller

            Knowledge is not gained through counseling with those who merely confirm our beliefs; and any system of government, whether religious or political, that demands every man be a “yes-man” will make little progress.  In the totalitarian state the dictator states the laws and the puppets bow to his precepts.  No matter how stupid or ridiculous such precepts may be, no man dare say ought against them.

            Most religious organizations of this latter day are totalitarian in their form of government, and woe to the man who would dare to question the ruling authority.  The reason for the decadence of many of the old-line churches is that spiritual growth and development have been strangled by the unmovable doctrinal position of those in authority.  Many honest pastors must sweat out their ministry trying to feed their flocks only that which will confirm the denominational beliefs.

            It is a narrow mind that is positive on its every viewpoint; and any man who cannot be taught is past the place of learning.  A wise man will study the viewpoints of men who differ with him, for he has learned that those who agree with him are of little help in the penetration into greater knowledge.

            It has been the writer’s experience that those who oppose and contradict us are often most beneficial in spurring us on to seek diligently a firmer foundation.  No man can know that he has a true foundation until it has been “weathered” by much opposition, contradiction, and attack. When a man at last finds his armor impregnable, he can laugh at the assumptions of the attacker; but he who mistrusts his foundation and tries to dodge and avoid opposition is very foolish, for, by this, such an individual demonstrates his own secret fear of the weakness of his position.  One’s faith is like a sea-going vessel; it must be put into the sea, and the action of the water does not tear up the planking; it merely swells the seams, and makes the vessel stronger.

            Never lower a standard in order to please men; neither be found compromising any part of your faith in order to keep peace.  The word of God is not a peace-maker to many, and never will be.  We are the “salt of the earth,” and are as “a city set upon a hill.”  The Lord did not call us to moderate His commands, or His demands, nor are His ministers called to hide those portions of His Word that do not please people.

            Call things by their correct names, and let the chips fall where they may.  Men will cast out your name as evil, but if you find yourself “without the camp,” you will discover that the Lord Jesus is waiting for you there.

 

 

BEWARE OF SCOFIELD

George Scullin

            In 1909 a book was printed that has proven to be a greater influence on the Protestant Christian world than any other book.  That book was the SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE.  The scriptural text that was used was acceptable, for it was the Authorized Text, better known as the King James Text.  The trouble is that Scofield presumptuously added footnotes containing his own doctrines and interpretation of scripture.  These have been accepted as truth by most Protestant believers, and some even accept his notes as part of the scriptures themselves.  However, the footnotes are filled with untruths and many deadly anti-Christ teachings that have led men astray from the message of Jesus Christ.

            When referring to Paul’s epistles, Mr. Scofield said in his notes found under Ephesians the third chapter, “In his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Church.”  This is not true.  It supplants Jesus as head of the church, giving Paul that esteemed position and relegating the teachings of Jesus to be of no value.  Of course, Scofield had already done this when he wrote under Matthew the fifth chapter, “The Sermon on the Mount in its primary applications gives neither the privilege, nor the duty of the Church.  These are found in the Epistles.”  This makes null and void the teachings of Jesus from being applicable to the Church today.

            Under Galatians, the first chapter, Scofield stated, “The test of the Gospel is grace.”  The truth of the matter is that Jesus came preaching THE Gospel, and it was not “grace.”  It was the Gospel of the Kingdom, and it is interesting to note that NOT ONCE did Jesus mention “grace” in His message.  Jesus did not say we are saved by grace, but He did say, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).  What commandments?  The Ten Commandments and the more than one hundred and fifty commandments that Jesus gave.  “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).

            Scofield taught such fairy tales as the Rapture.  This may be where Tim LeHaye got his ideas for his best seller “Left Behind.”  Scofield also taught the thousand year earthly reign, the first day Sabbath, and other false doctrines.  He would have us believe that Jesus changed His message, for under Matt. 11:28, he said, “the new message of Jesus.  The rejected king now turns from the rejecting nation and offers not the kingdom, but rest and service to such in the nation as are conscious of need.  It is a pivotal point in the ministry of Jesus.”  That is a lie.  Jesus did not change His message.  Like the Jews, Scofield looked for an earthly kingdom like David had.  Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).  In Luke 17:20,21, Jesus told the Jews His kingdom was not visible to the eye, nor was it geographically located, for, said He, “the kingdom of God is within you.”  The Greek word translated within means inside, not in the midst as Scofield claims.  It is inside of you.  Paul said in Rom. 14:17, “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  It is a spiritual state of being that exists within the child of God.  Beware of the Scofield doctrines which have become the basis for all present day Protestant denominations, using statements from Paul’s writings to lead men astray.  The apostle Peter warned us of those that wrest the scripture, II Peter 3:15,16.

            Let everyone take notice:

1 – God gave us a special message through His Son, (Heb. 1:1,2).

2 – God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Hear ye Him

(Matt. 17:5).

3 – The Son said, “The Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment what I

should say and what I should speak” (John 12:49).

4 – The Son said the words which He spoke would judge us (John 12:48).

5 – The Son declared His words are the foundation to build on (Matt. 7:24-27).

6 – The Son commanded His disciples to teach all nations to “observe all things

whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20).

7 – The Son said His words would never pass away (Matt. 24:35).

8 – The Son said His words, “are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63).

            In all of the above scriptures concerning the message of the Son, Scofield has nothing to say; he ignores them.

            The apostle Paul said, in I Tim. 6:3-5, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

            Scofield has nothing to say about this scripture either.  Beware of the anti-Christ teachings of the Scofield Reference Bible.

 

 

 “WE HAVE AN ALTAR”

Tom Scullin

            Heb.13:12:  “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.”

            The knowledge given to man concerning the need and use of the altar is one of the most important revelations given to man; for it was, from the very beginning of earth’s history to its ultimate end, the only way fallen and sinful man could approach, communicate with and be accepted by the God of all consuming fire and holiness.

            Man’s choice of self-will over God’s will, which was Adam’s sin and the essence of all subsequent sin, created an impassable chasm of separation between himself and God.  Adam, by the exercise of his own free will, willfully, deliberately and intentionally rejected God’s will and aligned his will with the Serpent’s will, thus becoming an enemy, hostile to God.  Man’s rebellion created this enmity to and separation from God and none of his subsequent actions were able to undo the damage and ruin in which he now found himself.  But God, in His infinite mercy and grace, provided the altar as the only way man could be returned to fellowship and union with God.

            The altar in Old Testament times with the various sacrifices, offerings and priestly ministries associated with it were types or symbols that prefigured the true altar that God would supply at Calvary.  Thus a prayerful and detailed study of that old altar and the sacrifices thereon will shine great light upon and reveal the crucial and indispensable work that God would accomplish for man by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross and without which there could be no restoration of man.  In other words, understanding the minute details God required in the types of the various sacrifices on that altar dissects, breaks open and exposes the totality of the work that was accomplished on the altar God provided at Calvary.

            We are instructed in the word that God’s dealings with Israel were “ensamples” or types and were specifically written down and passed on for the admonition of those in the New Covenant age (1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4), because the Gospel was preached unto them as well as unto us, but it did not profit them because they didn’t believe it or take hold of it (Heb. 4:2); thus the admonition unto us is to believe, act upon and enter into the rest of the Gospel that they missed out on (Heb. 4:1,6,11).  Where do you hear that being taught today?  You don’t!!  The popular teaching is that all of the Old Testament Scripture is done away and is of no value to those in the new covenant, when, in fact, those Old Testament Scriptures were what Jesus and the early Church preached and taught (Acts 26:22-23; Acts 28:23; Acts 3:24).  Their understanding of the Old Testament prophecies and promises of Christ, and their thorough understanding of the Spiritual truths that the Tabernacle and its sacrifices taught, were the basis for the revolutionary truths of the New Covenant that they inaugurated, truths that brought believers into the spiritual reality and possession of what before had only been in type or shadow.  Since it was the source, the origin, from which they were authorized to introduce, explain and experience the spiritual life and reality of the New Testament teachings, then it still contains anointed, God given knowledge, where we are authorized to search for clearer light and understanding of the mighty work that Christ accomplished on the cross in our behalf.

     One of the clearest and easiest examples to understand of the Old Covenant type or shadow being transformed and then exploding into spiritual truth and life in the New Covenant is Jesus’ teaching in John chapter six that He is the true bread from God which believers must eat to have eternal life.  In this chapter, He is teaching and showing that it is He, Himself, and His death on the cross that fulfills the Old Covenant shadow of the priest eating of the sacrifices at the altar.

            Here are the Old Testament scriptures that He used as the basis for this teaching in John six.

            First, the brazen altar where the sacrifices were made was called “the table of the Lord” (Mal. 1:7, 12).  Secondly, the sacrifices offered upon that altar were called “the bread of God” (Lev. 21:6,8,17,21-22).  Lastly, the priests who offered the sacrifices were given portions of the sacrifices, which were called “the bread of God,” as their daily food and inheritance (Lev. 21:21-22; Deut. 18:1; Josh. 13:14).

            Jesus makes it unmistakably clear that he is that bread of God (Jn. 6:32-35), which we as the priests (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:5-6; Rev. 5:9-10) under the New Covenant must eat (Jn. 6:48-58) in order to have eternal life.  In verse 51, He shows that it was the sacrifice of Himself upon the cross (“the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world”) that constituted “the bread of God” which we as priests must eat.  So, from His teaching in John six, taken from the Old Covenant shadows referred to, we see that we must come to the altar, the cross (the table of the Lord), and eat of the sacrifice offered there (the bread of God) which is God’s daily bread for the believer.

            “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.  53 – I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.  54 – Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.  55 – My flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed.  56 – He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him.” (John 6:51, 53-56)

            Jesus is using a metaphor about eating to teach the absolute necessity of daily taking into our being that which strengthens and sustains life, for the failure to do so will inevitably result in weakness, sickness and even death.  Since a metaphor is an implicit comparison, and since this metaphor is about eating, then let’s compare the natural ingestion of food to its counterpart in the Spiritual.

            In the natural realm we must eat regularly to sustain strength and life.  It is not something we do once and that takes care of it from then on; no, we must daily have an intake of food.  Whatever we eat, the body synthesizes and transforms, by the metabolic processes, into living tissue.  Thus, we are what we eat and what we eat is that which sustains our life.  If we eat improperly, that is, if we eat foods that have little or no nutritional value, if we eat only those foods that we naturally crave such as sweets and snacks, if our diet is not well rounded to include the vitamins and minerals that the body requires, then we should expect the inevitable consequences of our malnutrition, that is to be weak and to be sickly or even to be dead, because we have defied the laws of our being.  It is really that simple and that inevitable!  Yet, how many ever give this important truth much thought — that you have to eat the proper foods to maintain a healthy and vigorous life, both physically and spiritually?

            Spiritual life is sustained in the exact same way as in the physical; the same law and process operates here also –  we are what we eat and what we eat is that which sustains our spiritual life!  This law of being cannot be abrogated or abridged in either the natural or the Spiritual realm without dire and devastating consequences.  It is appropriate to note that we are seeing the calamitous results in both the natural and spiritual lives of people because of the choices that they are making about what they eat, choices that are in absolute defiance and contradiction to this inexorable law.  “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30).

            The Father chose this particular metaphor to establish in stark clarity, and without any ambiguity, the Spiritual truth that all Christ Jesus accomplished in His body of flesh, that is, His teachings which came directly from the Father, and all His accomplishments on the cross which ratified His teachings, are THE SPIRITUAL FOOD, “the bread of God,” that He has given for us to eat, ingest or take into our being to sustain and maintain Spiritual life and strength (Jn. 6:32,33,35,48,50,51), and that we must eat this “bread of life” if we are to have Spiritual life (Jn. 6:53).  So very clearly in this context, His flesh and His blood are the vital and essential “LIVING BREAD” which we must eat, consume or take into our being daily in order to sustain spiritual life and without which we will inevitably be weak and sickly and many will die!

            How is it that we actually eat His flesh and drink His blood and thus partake of His life?  The Lord, Himself answers this question in the following scriptures.

            “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst(John 6:35).

        “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  38 – He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  39 –  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39).

            10 – “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  14. – But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10,14).

            Clearly, from these scriptures, we see that believing in Jesus, and coming to receive from Jesus all that He has taught and all that He has done for us on the cross constitutes eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  This is exactly what any and everyone who has been saved has done.  We heard the Gospel in some form or fashion and it showed us our lost condition and God’s gift of His Son who paid the penalty for our sin that we could not pay.  We believed God’s report of His Son and came to receive from Him the forgiveness of our sin.  This was our first experience of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, simply believing His word and coming to Him for our need, but it set the pattern and established the manner of how we eat His flesh and drink His blood and shows how we are to continue to walk and live by Him, through Him and in Him.  Just as we rested in Him by faith to be our Savior at the time of our new birth, so also are we to rest in Him every day for the out-working of everything else He is to us and for everything He accomplished for us by the giving of His flesh as our meat and the shedding of His blood as our drink.  This daily eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood, that is, coming to Him, trusting in Him, receiving from Him all that He has supplied for us at Calvary, is the only source of true spiritual food to sustain and strengthen us in spiritual life and growth.

            One of the most important and fundamental, if not the most important and fundamental, Spiritual law is that all life, development, growth and attainment in the New Covenant man is only accomplished by this abiding in Jesus (Jn. 15:1-7). This is called “THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS” (Rom. 8:2); for Jesus said “without Me, ye can do nothing.”  This seems so obvious that no born again believer should ever have a problem with it.  But, at times we all are guilty of totally ignoring and disregarding this, the fountain of living water, in favor of our little cistern of dead works; but the futility, the fruitlessness and the lifelessness of its failure is loud testimony that Jesus alone is “THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE” (Jn. 14:6).

            This rest of faith that we all have experienced in Christ Jesus at the time of our New Birth, this eating of His flesh and this drinking of His blood, is God’s plan and purpose for our whole Christian life and walk.  Colossians 2:6 declares, “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him”.  This is God’s provision for attainment and advancement in our Christian life and walk.  The eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood is the rest of faith in Christ Jesus that lays hold of and enters into His perfect, complete and finished work on the cross.

            Heb. 3:14 says, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”  This confirms what we just read in Colossians 2:6; that is, we must hold steadfast in eating His flesh and drinking His blood, that beginning of our confidence, if we are to continue to be made partakers of Him and of His finished work.  That is, any further partaking of Christ after our salvation experience, any advancement, any development in our Christian walk, will come the same way that we received Him in the beginning, by that rest of faith in Him that believes and receives from Him, not only as Savior but as Lord, Deliverer, Healer, our Keeper, Leader, Commander, King and everything else He has taught and provided for us at Calvary.

            2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.”  We would be wise to do that because Jesus plainly stated “except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” (Jn .6:53).

            The Scriptures have left no doubt as to how we received Him, ate His flesh and drank of His blood.  The problem has been how we have walked with Him since that time.  If we will simply hear and do as the Scriptures have instructed, there will be no problem, because it has left no room for doubt as to how we received Him.  So, there is no room left for doubt as to how we are to continue to walk the remainder of our Christian life; that is, in the exact same way that we originally came to Him by faith, that is by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, believing and resting in Him as our only means of everything that God seeks for in us; yoked, united, joined to Him and His mighty finished work by this act of faith.

            Many assume that they are holding fast to this beginning of their confidence and rest in Christ Jesus, when in fact they are not!  Somewhere along the way they ceased to rest in Christ and, instead of eating His flesh and drinking His blood as the means of Spiritual life and walk, they began to perform their Christian duties in their own efforts and strength.  When there is no Spiritual life or victory, when praises to God are silent, and when the fruits of the Spirit are missing, so also is the rest of faith in Christ Jesus; it's just dead works!  They may be saying the right things and doing what appears to be the thing to do, but if these fruits which are by Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:11) are not there, then neither is Christ Jesus; because He said in Jn. 15:5, He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit,” and in John 15:2, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away.”

            Jesus taught in John 15:5 that only as we abide in Him, as the branch is inseparably joined to the vine, would we bring forth fruit; for He said in verse 4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me,” and in verse 5, “For without Me ye can do nothing.”  That language is certainly plain enough and removes any doubt how we are to grow and be fruitful.  It confirms Jn. 6:53-56 and Col.2:6 and makes this union with Him by faith an absolute must!  He said that this abiding in Him would, without exception, bring forth fruit, “much fruit,” because any branch that does not bear fruit, “He taketh away.”  This rest in Christ, this abiding in Christ, which is accomplished by the act of the faith of eating His flesh and the drinking of His blood as the means of experiencing and taking hold of what He accomplished for us on the cross.  This act of faith can be nothing but fruitful, because it is His life and His power that is in us as our power and strength to accomplish it (2 Cor. 4:7). Yes, both to will and to do are of Him (Phil. 2:13) in the same way that the branch only bears the fruit, it does not produce it; that is the product of the life force flowing from the vineto the branch.  All that is required of the branch is to abide in the vine, that is it’s work - rest in the vine; as it does, it will both grow and will bring forth fruit because the vine will sustain it, nourish it, support it and strengthen it to do so, for that is the work and power ofthe vine.  Philippians 1:11 confirms this, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.

            Some will think this is promoting a state or attitude of passivity where we simply do nothing.  That is a totally false assumption, because this is “THE WAY,” “THE TRUTH” and “THE LIFE” that is active, productive and fruitful and is the only way that the perfect righteousness and the exacting demands of the law will be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:1-4).

            To suggest that abiding in Christ by this act of faith is a state of inactivity or passivity reveals a state of carnal reasoning that does not understand the ways of God.  We were born into Christ by this faith; we partake of what He accomplished by the giving of His flesh and blood through this faith; and by our obedience to this faith continue to partake of His flesh and drink His blood as the source of life and strength.  Only such a response to Him will permit us to continue to rest in Him for the completion of His great work in bringing His Church into the glorious state that Ephesians 5:25-27 declares He died to produce.

            This is the mystery among the Gentiles of which Paul wrote.  The rest of faith in Christ as our all in all and the labor to which we are called is incomprehensible to the carnal mind.  Nevertheless, it is the mystery that God is revealing and calling us unto.  This mystery of God (Rev. 10:7)– “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:26-27) – is to be finished; that is, brought to its fullness or completion.  That means that at this time it is an on-going work, or work in progress; in other words, it is that which God is in the process of developing orbringing to completeness in us, and the process which God is using is by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus(Rom .8:1-4).

            Ancient Israel had an altar called “the table of the Lord.”  The sacrifices upon that altar were called “the bread of God” because God gave portions of those sacrifices to the priests as their food.  We have seen how perfectly the sacrifice of “the Lamb of God” upon the cross was the fulfilling of those Old Testament shadows, but now it is no longer in types and shadows.  Now we are partakers with Christ and in Christ of their Divine Reality and Spiritual life.

            “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle” (Heb 13:10).

            “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.  See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.  For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Heb 12:22-25).

            Now, God requires that we serve Him “In Spirit and in Truth” (Jn 4:23-23), for He “hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6).For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:2-4).

            What remains is for the priests of the New Covenant to be awakened to “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14) and enter into the true Spiritual understanding, implementation and operation of the Divine reality, Spiritual life and power that is ours, by the eating of His Flesh and the drinking of His blood, that is, by faith; take hold of, live and function in the full and complete victory He won on Calvary; for it is our right and inheritance to now “walk in newness of life” (Rom .6:3) and then to “serve Him in newness of Spirit” (Rom. 7:6)!

            We are what we eat, and what we eat is what sustains our life!

             “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me” (John 6:57).

            May the Spirit of the Lord help us to have the Spiritual understanding of this glorious and powerful truth and then enable us to daily come to the table of the Lord” and there eat “the bread of God”!

            Therefore we will begin a series of studies searching for and examining the truths contained in the Tabernacle and the sacrifices upon the altar in an effort to begin a return unto the faith once believed, practiced and proclaimed by Jesus and the early Church that had the power to turn the world upside down.

 

 

ARE WE READY?

Charles Woodard

            “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10).

            The parable of the ten virgins is prophetic.  Jesus Christ is the bridegroom who will return for His own.

            Notice that “they that were ready” went in with the bridegroom.  All of the virgins were not ready.  Only five had oil in their lamps.

            There are several requirements to being ready:

            1.  We must have the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14).

            If you are in a church that does not preach the blood of Jesus for forgiveness of sins, I suggest you leave immediately!  Only the blood of the Son of God can make atonement for sin.  Are you covered by that blood?

            2.  We must be filled with the Spirit of God.  The command of Ephesians 5:18 is “be filled with the Spirit.”

            3.  Not only do we need the Holy Ghost to come upon us (Acts 1:8), but we must continue to “walk in the Spirit.”  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

            4.  Another requirement to be ready to meet the Lord is obedience.  “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5:32).

            When we are obedient to our Lord and His Word, we will know in our hearts we are ready.  Church membership, church attendance, working for God, praising Him, and all of the outward show of devotion are good; they cannot and must not be a substitute for being filled with the Holy Ghost and being obedient to the Lord and His word.

            5.  The last key in the lock of salvation and readiness is doing the will of God.  “Behold my mother and my brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt. 12:49,50).

            It is God’s will that we worship His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Him only.  Praying to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, or the “saints” is false worship.  Recognizing an elevated priesthood of men is likewise false worship.  There is no vicar of Christ on earth.  Jesus is our high priest: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for this he did once, when he offered up himself” (Heb. 8:26,27).

            The apostle Paul addressed believers as “saints” (Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2), and Peter says we are a “royal priesthood” (I Pet. 2:9).

            Many religions recognize a Supreme Being.  Many people say, “We’re all trying to get to the same place, but we’re just taking different roads.”  The Word lets it be known that Jesus is the only way to eternal life: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

            Christianity is the only true religion, and only those who have gone this way are ready to meet the Lord.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

            Now is the time to be ready.  No one knows the time for each one of us to depart this earth.  Likewise, we do not know when Jesus will return.  “Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:40).

            How do we know we are ready?  Being covered by the blood of Jesus, filled with His Holy Spirit, walking in the Spirit, walking in obedience to the Lord and His Word, doing His will – these are the signs of readiness.

            Are you ready?

 

 

WHAT IS UNBELIEF?

Kenneth Fountain

            “A lack of faith” would likely be the most commonly recognized response to the above question.  But what constitutes a lack of faith?  Is it merely not believing (assent with the mind), or does it go deeper than that?  In Hebrews 3:12, we are warned, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”  We see that unbelief stems from an evil heart, may cause departure from God, and this is addressed to brethren, not heathen!  We know that, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17), so not spending personal time in The Word will result in weakened faith.  (This applies to much more than one’s prayer life.)  While this is a major contributor to unbelief, it is not the only one; listening to and entertaining thoughts of skepticism toward anything relative to God promotes unbelief as well.  The serpent used this ploy against Eve in the Garden of Eden when he queried, “hath God said?” (Gen. 3:1)

            According to James, a person who has faith (the opposite of unbelief) demonstrates that faith through response in positive actions toward God and His Word.  “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18).  It would therefore hold true that a lack of positive response to God and His Word would constitute unbelief.  We find that unbelief was the greatest deterrent to ancient Israel’s entering the Promise Land when God intended.  “They entered not in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19; 4:6).  Their entire journey from Egypt to Canaan was marked by their unbelief.  This was plainly demonstrated through their disobedience.  God’s command was to go in and possess the land, but they looked at the obstacles instead of the promise of victory.  Later we find that only Joshua and Caleb fulfilled God’s command to annihilate the Canaanites in their inherited lands.  These two men were noted for their faith in God and they honored God through their obedience.  This, in turn, brought stability in their territories that other Israelites did not enjoy, because the rest allowed some enemies to remain in their lands.

            Disregarding God’s commands is one of the greatest forms of unbelief!  Faith in God and obedience to God are very closely related.  Any who excuse themselves from adhering to the Lord’s holy commands declare their lack of faith in the fact that the sovereign, omnipotent God issued them! This constitutes departing from God.  What He said to do or not do is deemed unimportant and inapplicable to man because man does not consider His commands binding or necessary – instead, God’s love and grace are touted as a banner of freedom from any restraints.  Satan, therein, continues to win out in the battle over the souls of men with his successful ploy using “hath God said?”  Unbelief is a sin, and disobedience is also a sin.  Either one or both require repentance and God’s forgiveness for one to continue to walk with God.  To dogmatically justify unbelief or disobedience is to walk in error away from the Lord.  This is the wide gate that leads to destruction.  As Jesus proclaimed in Matt 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Lest some think that only the unregenerate individual is described here, consider II Peter 2:19-21.  “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.  (20) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  (21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”  These become as Samson of old who “wist not that the Lord was departed from him” (Judges 16:20).  “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).  In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus put strong emphasis upon obedience when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  (22 ) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  The remainder of that chapter (verses 24-27) concludes with a parable picturing the difference between exercising faith through obeying, and choosing to foolishly disregard His sayings through unbelief.

            In Saint John’s Revelation (21:8), he lists some qualities of those sent to the lake of fire:  “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”  From Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary, we read the following: “The sins of those who perish, among which are first mentioned their cowardliness and unbelief.  The fearful lead the van in this black list.  They durst not encounter the difficulties of religion, and their slavish fear proceeded from their unbelief; but those who were so dastardly as not to dare to take up the cross of Christ, and discharge their duty to Him, were yet so desperate as to run into all manner of abominable wickedness – murder, adultery, sorcery, idolatry, and lying.”

            The Greek word apeitheo is translated unbelieving in some verses, but in others the same word reads disobedient or do not obey.  “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.” (Romans 2:8), and I Peter 2:7-8: “Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”  Many feel that unbelief and disobedience are (at worst) minor offenses which God overlooks as common to man.  Paul had a different understanding of God’s viewpoint regarding both ancient Israel, and modern man.  “Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.  Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:19-23).

            There are some whose unbelief in the seriousness of the words of Christ have emboldened them to teach others their evil-inspired views.  Jesus addressed this in Matthew 5:17-19.  I would like to again refer to excerpts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary about these verses.  “Let not carnal libertines imagine that the Messiah is come to discharge them from the obligation of divine precepts and yet to secure to them divine promises, to make them happy and yet to give them leave to live as they list.  (18) It is a dangerous thing in doctrine or practice, to disannul the least of God's commands; to break them, contract the extent, or weaken the obligations of them; who ever does so, will find it is at his peril.  (19) It is impudence enough to break the command, but it is a greater degree of it to teach men so.”

            We read commands such as “be ye holy for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16) and “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12) with a measure of incredulity and skepticism instead of receiving them as assignments to be completed, because we look at our own human frailty and call it impossible, instead of looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith who can and will see to it that the goal is achieved IF we simply trust and obey Him.  Where are those who can affirm as Paul who said, “For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (II Timothy 1:12)?  When we allow unbelief to take root in our hearts in even the smallest capacity, regarding any type of need – spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, conflicts and challenges of life, et cetera – we are actually telling God that He is not capable of taking care of us even though He has proclaimed and proven that He is fully able.  We call God a liar through these thoughts, words and actions.  However, “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

            Let our belief in God be demonstrated in our lives through humble obedience and consistent, faithful service to God, fellow believers, and lost humanity as well.  “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14).  Let us be as those for whom David prayed in Psalms 78:7, “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.”  Brethren, do not succumb to unbelief, but instead, have faith in God and His Word.

 

 

ARMAGEDDON

Alfred King

            “Behold, I come as a thief.  Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”  This verse from Revelation 16:15 is not only a warning but also an invitation to be a partaker with those who have entered the strait gate and walked the narrow path.  They have applied God’s word to their lives, turned away from the world and that path that leads so many to destruction.  “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).  It is these who, in the last days, will find themselves prepared for that great battle of God Almighty, the battle of Armageddon.

            How close are we to that great day?  What is involved in this battle and how does it affect men and women on earth?  And more importantly: What is its impact upon the church of Jesus Christ?  How is the church to prepare herself for this great day?  These are questions which every Christian needs to seriously consider and weigh carefully before God as we see this day nearing.  To hide our heads in the sand is to be among those foolish virgins who not only slept but when the Bridegroom came, they had no oil in their vessels.  It’s not only time to awaken out of sleep but past time.  Let us contemplate carefully the times in which we live by looking into the questions posed above.

How Close Are We To The Day Of The Lord?

            There are many signs in our world today which send a strong message to those who are watching and praying.  One such sign is that of national Israel.  There were at least two times in scripture when God forsook Israel.  One is found in II Chronicles 36:14-16: “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.  And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”  It was God Who said, “There was no remedy”.  That is an indictment as fearful and condemning as can be heard.

            The second great indictment to Israel came from Jesus Christ and is recorded in Luke 13:34-35: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”  How are we today to take these condemning words of our Lord?  While it is not the conviction of this author that Israel is an exclusive people in God’s eyes or under some special and different covenant or has a distinctive place in God’s divine plan, modern events in relation to national Israel are Biblical signs of the day of the Lord.  When Israel became a nation in 1948, it was one of the great indications that the great day of the Lord was not too far off.  From that date Christians are to begin looking for the handwriting on the wall and recognize the time is near.  In AD 70, Titus and his armies (God’s tool in the judgment of Jerusalem) leveled the city, including the temple, thus fulfilling Christ’s words in Matthew 24:2, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”  However, there was the promise that God would bring Israel again into their land.  The return of the Jews to the land of Palestine was one of the signs of the eminent return of Christ.

            If we begin examining events in our modern world since Israel became a nation, we find many signs of Christ’s coming being unveiled before us.  Jesus gave us an important message in His famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:13-14.  “ Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  He immediately follows this warning with these words, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  This warning strongly indicates that many of those on the “broad way” are those deceived by false prophets.  They are men who propose to know the way but lead lazy, worldly and sleeping congregants down a path which they believe to be right but leads to eternal death.  These people are deceived.  That means they think they are on the path that leads to life but are misled by smooth-talking false prophets who teach that one can have the world and God, that promote carnality as much as spirituality, and that keep their hearers on milk, always dependent upon their false shepherds to keep them satisfied with guilt-erasing preaching so they can comfortably retain their sinful lusts.  The modern Christian mega churches are filled with such worldly-minded people who are taught greasy grace that requires nothing of a strait gate or a narrow way.

            For briefness of this article I will only list a few things that are scriptural signs of the nearness of the battle of Armageddon.  In the nineteen fifties, rock music entered our society.  Although shocking and repulsive to most Christian people at the time, today we find this sensual and provocative music in many of our larger churches.  A pertinent question must be asked here: Is the church changing the world or is the world changing the church?  Contemporary music has encouraged sinful lifestyles and been extremely instrumental in bringing adultery, divorce and sensuality into the church.  One is reminded of the days of Israel when Moab came up to fight against Israel and they recognized that Israel was unconquerable because Israel’s God was superior to Moab’s gods.  They called on Balaam to curse Israel.  Balaam attempted three times to curse Israel but God forbad him and instead he blessed Israel.  It was then that Balaam gave devilish advice to Barak, advice that would bring God’s judgment upon His people.  They introduced into the camp, a temptation that many in Israel did not resist, fornication (You can read the account in Numbers, chapters 22 through 25).  Satan’s tactics have not changed over the centuries.  He still slips into our churches those little things that seem so harmless but lead to sin, which then increases with time, and brings God’s judgment upon those who indulge themselves.

            Another lie sown in many churches today is that doctrine is not important; it’s all about love.  It is obvious that love is the most important attribute of God that man could attain, but divine love is not void of doctrine.  Doctrine is nothing more than teaching.  The idea today is that doctrine has been the great divider of the church and, while that is true to a large degree, to forsake doctrine for the sake of unity is only another lie, a doctrine in itself, and one that will cause those adherents to build their houses upon sand, houses that will collapse when the storms come.  True doctrine is teaching that leads to life and false doctrines are those teachings that lead to destruction.  While God desires His people to live in unity and harmony, He never advocates unity at the expense of truth.  The “doctrine is not important” idea is Satan’s lie promoting his agenda in dumbing down the church.  “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

            Consider briefly some other signs of the times: Legalized abortion, divorce, adultery, alternative lifestyles (those in contradiction to God’s word), pushing God and His word out of our society, evil men in places of government (God said He would raise up men who would be instrumental in the destruction of a nation if that nation rejects God.  He sets up whomsoever He will.).  There are wars and rumors of war, earthquakes and disasters throughout the world with increasing frequency.  Some would blame global warming or climate change, but scripture bears out these are signs of Christ’s judgment and of His soon return.  These judgments will increase with time unless man turns back to God (This is more true to those of us who live in America because we were once called a “nation under God.”  We proudly proclaimed it on our currency and on and in our federal buildings.).  The flood of filth from Hollywood and the music industry is an abomination to any decent society, but the church folds her hands in defeat, sitting by with little opposition and many who sit in the pews on Sunday sit before Hollywood’s filth on Monday.  The need for the virgins to awake is never more crucial than the present hour.  This list could go on, but to get to the purpose of this article, I leave the readers to search the scripture for themselves and allow God to awaken those whose hearts are tender toward Him.

What Is Involved In The Battle Of Armageddon?

            Those who are informed about all that Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection, know full well that Jesus bound the devil and gave to His followers power over all the power of the enemy (Lk. 10:19-20).  If He did not first defeat the devil, then He had no authority to give power to His disciples.  Learning to use this God-given authority and power over evil forces and over personal sin is crucial if we expect to stand in the evil day, the day of God Almighty.  The battle of Armageddon is not a battle of flesh and blood but one of spirit activity.  In Revelation 9, we find that the pit in which Satan is bound is opened.  Out from this pit exudes smoke and locusts, locust which are given power like scorpions.  The smoke has two effects upon men: it blinds and it suffocates.  The deception of false prophets, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, blinds the sheep and then snuffs out its life.  The locusts are evil spirits and they are sent to those who have not the seal of God in their foreheads.  Who are these who have not the seal?  The forehead speaks of our thoughts, our minds.  Scripture speaks of those who have the mind of Christ.  Paul mentions this on several occasions.  “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).  “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5).  In I Cor. 2:16 Paul say, “But we have the mind of Christ”.  Those who don’t allow God’s word to saturate their thoughts and change their lives are leaving themselves open for these evil spirits to control and possess, and these spirits are soon to be loosed from the pit.  Today is the day of salvation and the day when every Christian must hide God’s word away in his heart so that he can cultivate, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ and turn from any and all sin in his life.  The battle of Armageddon is a spiritual battle in which evil spirits will work through unconverted men and back-slidden “Christians” to accomplish Satan’s agenda.  If a man has eyes to see, this is vividly clear with the political leaders of our modern world.  Where is one man in any major position of leadership today who is truly a man of God?  These men are prime vessels for evil spirit occupancy.  They have not only succumbed to evil but contributed to and supported abominable sins in many cases.  And while it’s sad to see this among our nations’ leaders it is even more reprehensible to find many of our church leaders in league with them.  More and more of our church leaders are condoning and supporting the demands of our worldly society.  They fear men more than God and fear losing their members more than the judgment of Almighty God.  “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom: and knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Prov. 9:10), but little attention is paid to what God thinks about these things.

What Is Its Impact Upon The Church Of Jesus Christ?

            Returning to our text, we find in verse 13 of Revelation 16 that there are three “unclean spirits” likened to frogs, which come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast and false prophet.  False prophets will speak with an anointing, but that anointing will not be the anointing of the Holy Spirit but of evil spirits.  This evil anointing will cater to the flesh, to carnality, and it will deceive every soul who is not endeavoring to put on Christ.  There will be a great separation at this time, for while the pit is open and evil spirits come forth, the Lord of glory will pour out His Spirit upon His people and they will receive the early and the latter rain.  This endowment of power from on high will bring forth the great battle of Armageddon.  The servants of God will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, and when those possessed with spirits from the pit, whose king is Satan, gather together for this great battle, God’s people shall triumph over them, for they will be filled with the power of God and they will be used by God to make His enemies His footstool.  Jesus Christ will remain sitting at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are made His footstool (Matt. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Acts 2:35; Heb. 1:13; 10:13).  Satan once snared man in the garden and death followed.  In the end, God will use a once condemned people, a people whom Satan deceived, to overcome him.  Just as God trumped Satan’s planned triumph in the crucifixion of Jesus with His resurrection, so God will use His people who have put on Christ to triumph, just when Satan thinks he has the victory.  When it is finished, the great adversary the devil will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:10).

            At present, the great mastermind of evil, Satan himself, is marshalling his forces and strategically setting his cohorts to prepare for Armageddon.  Laws are being passed in our nation that are designed to pressure the church to compromise.  Hate crimes are a legislation that can be defined in many ways, but you can be sure it is conjured up in the thinktank of hell, for the law seems so logical and reasonable and only those who have spiritual eyes see how this law will affect the church.  There are movements today such as atheist mega churches.  Can there be such a thing?  The word church used in God’s word comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which means, called out.  Followers of Jesus Christ are those who are called out of the world and all that is unconducive to following the teachings of our Lord.  Satan’s armies are presently setting the stage for the battle, and they are beginning to compass “the camp of the saints about” (Rev. 20:9).  Another movement has recently sprung up calling itself “Reformation Project.”  The following is from their website: “The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.” (emphasis mine) – This statement as well as their goals and the means by which they determine to bring about change can be found at: http://www.reformationproject.org/about#sthash.U9MEEwOe.dpuf   Is doctrine not important?  Will many be deceived by this movement for lack of teaching and knowledge?  You can be assured, many will be.

            They plan to train members to go into their community churches and “reform” the church to accept any alternative lifestyle.  How many unsuspecting, ungrounded, greasy graced, emotionally charged, mushy love, unshepherded congregations will succumb to this anti-Christ lie?  And how will this strategic and carefully orchestrated army affect the true church of Jesus Christ?  Satan’s armies are compassing God’s true church.  It’s time to awaken out of sleep.  The day is far spent.  Isa 52:1-2: “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.  Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”

            God has planned this battle and He is equipping His people for this day.  There are many ways in which God is equipping and making provision for this hour.  The gates of hell shall not prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18).  While a great nation has come against the people of God, they have laid His vine waste and barked His fig tree and made it clean bare (Joel 1:6-7), God is today, building His army, and they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits (Dan. 11:32).  They shall be His battleax and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, they will triumph.  God is also calling His church to come out: Out of the world, out of sin, out of self, out of anything and everything that is a hindrance to walking with God.  He is also calling His church together, in a unity that has evaded and escaped the church for 2000 years.  It is in this unity that God commanded the blessing (Ps. 133:3).  God will gather His people together for this battle and that gathering will be unto Shiloh.  Those who are walking seriously with God will be gathered together for this great battle and will find strength in God and in one another.  Hebrews 10:25 reads, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  God is calling His people into unity to that place in the wilderness where they will be protected from the face of the serpent.  God will provide the way.  Let us arise and walk with God in the narrow way so we will be prepared for this battle which looms on the horizon and is nearer than we may realize, for it will come as a thief in the night, in a moment unexpected.  Today is the day to prepare; tomorrow may be too late.