However, there is a God in the heavens, a revealer of secrets, and He hath made known to king Nebuchadnezzar that which is to be in the latter end of the days. `Thy dream and the visions of thy head on thy bed are these:
`Thou, O king, wast looking, and lo, a certain great image. This image is mighty, and its brightness excellent; it is standing over-against thee and its appearance is terrible. This image! Its head is of good gold, its breasts and… its feet, part of them of iron, and part of them of clay. …Thou wast looking until that a stone hath been cut out without hands, and it hath smitten the image on its feet, which are of iron and of clay, and it hath broken them small…
“This is the dream and its interpretation… `Thou, O king, art a king of kings… Because thou hast seen iron mixed with miry clay, they are mixing themselves with the seed of men: and they are not adhering one with another, even as iron is not mixed with clay… At the time of those kings, the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed. No other people will be permitted to rule it. It will smash all the other kingdoms and put an end to them. But it will be established forever,” Dan 2:-28-.
Jesus, whilst sitting on Mount Olive, told his disciples, Mat 24:6-, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Don’t be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don’t mean that the end has come. Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are only the beginning pains of the end.
“Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to Me. Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. And because there will be more and more lawlessness, most people’s love will grow cold. But the person who endures to the end will be saved. “This Good News about the kingdom will be spread…”
Just a few words of encouragement taken from Paul’s writing the Thessalonians, 2Th 1:5-, “Your suffering proves that God’s judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom. Certainly, it is right for God to give suffering to those who cause you to suffer. It is also right for God to give all of us relief from our suffering. He will do this when the Lord Jesus is revealed, coming from heaven with his mighty angels in a blazing fire.
“He will take revenge on those who refuse to acknowledge God and on those who refuse to respond to the Good News about our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty by being destroyed forever, by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power. This will happen on that day when He comes to be honoured among all his holy people and admired by all who have believed in Him. This includes you because you believed the testimony we gave you. God chose you, and we keep praying that God will make you worthy of being his people. We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things that you hope to do and, that your faith, makes you want to do.”
As much as one would like to pray that things could change back to ‘normal’, whatever that my mean, I’m afraid it won’t not until such time as that someone will come on the scene and bring about ‘peace’. When that day happens ‘we’, the ‘Christians’, can prepare ourselves for persecutions and afflictions this world has never experienced. However, ‘we’ will then know that ‘our salvation’ is not far off.
Soon God’s anger, his wrath, will be poured out without measure, Rev 15:1-, “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and wonderful: seven angels having the seven last plagues. For in them is filled up the wrath of God…” First, will be ‘our salvation’—the rapture, Rev 14:14-, “And I saw: and behold a white cloud and upon the cloud one sitting like to the Son of man, having on his head a crown of gold and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice to Hm that sat upon the cloud: Thrust in Thy sickle and reap, because the hour is come to reap. For the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust his sickle into the earth: and the earth was reaped.”
Jesus said the ‘end will come’ when ‘This Good News, about the kingdom will be spread…’ If ‘we’ are around then, look out for, Rev 14:6-, “And I saw another angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel, to preach unto them that sit upon the earth and over every nation and tribe and tongue and people. Saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear the Lord and give Him honour, because the hour of his judgment is come’…”
Concerning the apparent peace Paul writes, 1Th 5:3-, “For when they shall say: Peace and security; then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief. For all you are the children of light and children of the day: we are neither of the night nor of darkness.
“Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do: but let us watch, and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunk, are drunk in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, having on the breastplate of faith and charity and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.
“For God hath not appointed us unto wrath: but unto the purchasing of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us: that, whether we watch or sleep, we may live together with Him. For which reason comfort one another and edify one another, as you also do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.”
Know your leaders for there will be many false prophets who will mislead many, was Jesus’ warning, Mat 24:23-, “Then if any man shall say to you, ‘Lo here is Christ’, or ‘there’: do not believe him. For then there shall appear false Christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.”
The best we can now do is to see that ‘our’ men have ‘holy hands’. Then, at least, ‘we’ can pray for a quiet and tranquil life, 1Ti 2:1- “I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men. For kings and all that are in dignity, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all piety and gravity. For this is good and acceptable before our Saviour God, who desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
“For God is one, and the mediator of God and men the other, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, the testimony to be rendered in its own times; to which I have been appointed a herald and apostle, (I speak the truth, I do not lie,) a teacher of the nations in faith and truth. I will therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up pious hands, without wrath or reasoning.”
This is no easy task, under present conditions, where strikes and disorders have become the norm. ‘Our’ instructions are:
For employees—servants, Eph 6:5-, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ. Do it not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”
“Servants,” 1Pe 2:18-, “take orders from your masters with all respect; not only if they are good and gentle, but even if they are bad-humoured. For it is a sign of grace if a man, desiring to do right in the eyes of God, undergoes pain as punishment for something that he has not done. What credit is it if, when you have done evil, you take your punishment quietly? But if you are given punishment for doing right, and take it quietly, this is pleasing to God.
“This is God’s purpose for you: because Jesus himself underwent punishment for you, giving you an example, so that you might go in his footsteps. Who did no evil, and there was no deceit in his mouth. To sharp words He gave no sharp answer; when He was undergoing pain, no angry word came from his lips; but He put Himself into the hands of the Judge of righteousness.”
For employers, take note, Jas 5:1-, “Come now, rich ones, weep, howling over your hardships coming on. Your riches have rotted, and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted over, and their poison will be a testimony to you, and will eat your flesh as fire. You heaped treasure in the last days. Behold the hire of the labourers who mowed your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth out. And the cries of the ones who have reaped have entered into the ears Lord of the Heavenly Armies,” (Isa. 5:1-, “Let me sing a love song to my Beloved about his vineyard: My Beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug it up, removed its stones, planted it with the choicest vines, built a watchtower in it, and made a winepress in it. Then He waited for it to produce good grapes, but it produced only sour, wild grapes.
“Now then, you inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, judge between Me and my vineyard! What more could have been done for my vineyard than what I have already done for it? When I waited for it to produce good grapes, why did it produce only sour, wild grapes? Now then, let Me tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will tear away its hedge so that it can be devoured and tear down its wall so that it can be trampled. I will make it a wasteland. It will never be pruned or hoed. Thorns and weeds will grow in it, and I will command the clouds not to rain on it.
“The vineyard of the LORD of Armies is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the garden of his delight. He hoped for justice but saw only slaughter, for righteousness but heard only cries of distress. How horrible it will be for you who acquire house after house and buy field after field until there’s nothing left and you have to live by yourself in the land.
“With my own ears I heard the LORD of Armies say, ’Many houses will become empty. Large, beautiful houses will be without people to live in them. A ten-acre vineyard will produce only six gallons of wine, and two quarts of seed will produce only four quarts of grain.’ How horrible it will be for those who get up early to look for a drink, who sit up late until they are drunk from wine.
“At their feasts there are lyres and harps, tambourines and flutes, and wine. Yet, they don’t pay attention to what the LORD is doing or see what his hands have done. My people will go into exile because they don’t understand what I’m doing. Honoured men will starve, and common people will be parched with thirst. That is why the grave’s appetite increases. It opens its mouth very wide so that honoured people and common people will go down into it. Those who are noisy and joyous will go down into it.
“People will be brought down. Everyone will be humbled. And the eyes of arrogant people will be humbled. The LORD of Armies will be honoured when He judges. The holy God will show Himself to be holy when He does what is right. Then lambs will graze as if they were in their own pasture, and foreigners will eat among the ruins of the rich. How horrible it will be for those who string people along with lies and empty promises, whose lives are sinful”).
James 5:6-, “While here on earth, you have thought only of filling your own stomachs and having a good time. But now you are like fat cattle on their way to be butchered. You showed no mercy to good people. They were not against you, but you killed them.”
Yes, I know the ‘love song’ above concerns Israel of old. However, how much more did God not do for ‘us’. He gave his only begotten Son. Concerning this vineyard Jesus had this to say, Luk 20:9-, “Then, using this illustration, Jesus spoke to the people: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to vineyard workers, and went on a long trip. At the right time, he sent a servant to the workers to obtain from them a share of the grapes from the vineyard. But the workers beat the servant and sent him back with nothing. So he sent a different servant. The workers beat him, treated him shamefully, and sent him back with nothing.
“Then he sent a third servant. But they injured this one and threw him out of the vineyard. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I’ll send my son, whom I love. They’ll probably respect him.’ When the workers saw him, they talked it over among themselves. They said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, ‘He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’
“Then Jesus looked straight at them and asked, ‘What, then, does this Scripture verse mean, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone? Everyone who falls on that Stone will be broken. If that Stone falls on anyone, it will crush that person.’ The scribes and the chief priests wanted to arrest Him right there, but they were afraid of the people. They knew that He had directed this illustration at them.”
That vineyard has been given to ‘us’; the same terms and conditions apply, Mat 13:24-, “Jesus used another illustration. He said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good seed in his field. But while people were asleep, his enemy planted weeds in the wheat field and went away.
“When the wheat came up and formed kernels, weeds appeared. The owner’s workers came to him and asked, ‘Sir, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’ He told them, ‘An enemy did this.’ His workers asked him, ‘Do you want us to pull out the weeds?’ He replied, ‘No. If you pull out the weeds, you may pull out the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. When the grain is cut, I will tell the workers to gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned. But I’ll have them bring the wheat into my barn’.”
Therefore, heed the command, ‘Know them who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you; know your leaders for there will be many false prophets who will mislead many.’ Concerning the ‘weeds’, ‘we’ have access to the last page, Rev 17:-15-, “The angel also said to me, ‘The waters you saw, on which the prostitute is sitting, are people, crowds, nations, and languages. The ten horns and the beast you saw will hate the prostitute. They will leave her abandoned and naked. They will eat her flesh and burn her up in a fire. God has made them do what He wants them to do. So they will give their kingdom to the beast until God’s words are carried out. The woman you saw is the important city which dominates the kings of the earth.” First, the falling away… 2Thess 2:3.
What have ‘we’ to do to overcome? If one of ‘us’ is an employer the short answer is, do unto your employees what you would like Jesus do unto you and your business will prosper. If one of ‘us’ is an employee the way of conquest is, first be concerned about His kingdom and what has His approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.
The second is like it, set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side. Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth. You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God. Christ gives meaning to your life, and when He appears, you will also appear with Him in glory.
Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols. First, conquer all evil in oneself, then one’s home, then in all around one and be an activist against evil. Such a one will become a force that is needed, and must be employed. Unemployment will cease if men realise this.
Sad to say my writing is mainly based on Paul, Peter and James’ teachings. In many circles James’ teachings are written off as ‘straw’ with reference to Paul’s, 1Co 3:11-, “The foundation that has already been built is Jesus Christ, and no one can build any other foundation. People can build on that foundation using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw. But the work that each person does will be clearly seen, because the Day will make it plain. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work.
“If the building they put on the foundation still stands, they will get their reward. But if their building is burned up, they will suffer loss. They will be saved, but it will be like someone escaping from a fire.”
Peter, on the other hand, is written off because of both Jesus and Paul’s sayings. Jesus said, Luk 22:31-, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not. And when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.’”
Paul took Peter to task for his ill behaviour in Antioch, Gal 2:11, “But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be condemned.” Moreover, he gave stronger instructions in 2Th 3:6, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us.”
Allow me to add Gal 1:6-, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Be it as it may I have been persuaded ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander’. What was good for the ‘Olive Tree’ is good for the ‘Wild Olive Tree’ (Rom 11:17). I look around and see, what happened to ‘The Olive Tree’ is happening to The Wild Olive’ too, Isa 3:1-, “Note this! The Lord GOD of the Heavenly Armies is taking away from Jerusalem and Judah everything that your society needs—all food supplies and all water supplies, the mighty man and the warrior, the judge and the prophet… I will make boys their princes, and infants will rule over them…
“People will oppress one another… The young will be disrespectful to the old, and the worthless to the honourable… They parade their sin around like Sodom; they don’t even try to hide it… As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. My people, your leaders are misleading you—they’re giving you confusing directions… They’re the ones who have been devouring the vineyard, the plunder of the poor is in their own houses!” and I read the signs of our time.
These signs were predicted in Rom 1:18-, “For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth. For this reason, God delivered them to degrading passions as their females exchanged their natural sexual function for one that is unnatural. In the same way, their males also abandoned their natural sexual function toward females and burned with lust toward one another. Males committed indecent acts with males, and received within themselves the appropriate penalty for their perversion.”
The cry comes ever so loud and clear, “Come out of her, My people, that you may not become partakers in her sins, nor receive a share of her plagues,” Rev 18:4b.
Know your leaders.