Do you know what time it is?
I know many God-fearing gospel-preaching pastors and individuals whose passion is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But for some reason, while they are passionate about the gospel message, they are at the very same time … “asleep” regarding the present hour. We can ask ourselves, “how can this be possible?” It is possible for a couple of reasons. One reason is they are only concerned with the gospel message and therefore are not paying attention to the passages of scripture in the New Testament that deal with any other subject. Another reason can be that they are following Bible scholars and Bible teachers, even extremely popular ones, who themselves have either rejected the subject of prophecy in the Bible or have re-interpreted the prophetic passages to fit a different worldview than the authors of scripture originally intended. So, a person can have the Holy Spirit and love Jesus, while at the same time being “asleep” regarding what is going on all around them prophetically and which Jesus and the Apostles warned us about.
Allow me to ask you just a few questions to make my point: Do you believe the government has been “intentionally” working to silence Bible-believing Christians, that Satan is controlling them, and that they are “intentionally” creating a chasm between Christians and themselves? Also, are you aware of what Covid-19 was all about, beginning with the government’s intention to create panic along with an intended response, including the vaccines, and what has surfaced over the months surrounding the lies and deception of it all, causing multiple deaths and disabilities which could have easily been avoided? Are you aware we are living under a one-world order “already,” due to the internet? And how we watched that one-world order begin to take shape over a matter of weeks back in early 2020? And how the “final” anti-Christ of Revelation will come out of this “one-world” system? Also, are you aware of the hostility in the United States towards the gospel, and not only here but increasingly over the entire globe? And are you aware that many, if not most, Bible scholars and teachers who were preaching and teaching and authoring books about end times prophecy before the year 1948 only hinder your view of current events in light of the last days? It is because many back then thought Israel as a nation, and people, had been “replaced” by the Church regarding Her (Israel’s) promises and covenant agreements that Yahweh had made between Himself and Her through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And they believed that since She had not returned to Her land of Israel (Palestine) for approximately 2000 yrs. they assumed that the Church was the “new” Israel. But they were very wrong. For according to many prophetic passages about the last of the last days and of the “coming of the LORD” in the Old Testament it is clear that the greatest “sign” of the end times is that Israel as a Nation would return to Her land. And in 1948 this prophecy was fulfilled in a supernatural way, a way that only Yahweh could perform! Plus, if they had studied Romans chapter 11, they would have known that this was a major sign of the last days! Not only that, but Jesus points to this in the gospels in the passage talking about the “Fig Tree” which is always an allusion to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. So, as Jesus notes, the generation that sees the “Fig Tree” turn green (or come back to life, return after Her exile) after being dead for so many generations will be the generation who sees the return of the LORD. And any Bible teacher who has rejected God’s Word pertaining His covenant promises for Israel will naturally be blind concerning the “signs of the times.”
So, were you awoken from sleep in early 2020, or had you already been watching the times and you knew what was going on? If you were already awake, “praying and watching” as Jesus said to do, then you knew what time it was. But if you thought that the “only” important subject in the New Testament was the gospel, then most likely you were asleep. I see in the New Testament two equally important subjects. One is the salvation of the lost and the other is the purity of the Bride of Christ, being set apart from the world, ready and waiting for Her Lover to return to rapture/resurrect her unto Himself. But many pastors and Christians today only focus on the first subject and neglect the second, the spiritual condition and sanctification of the Body-of-Christ.
Personally, I am still waiting for some of those pastors to come to me who I confronted back in 2014 regarding the spiritual condition within their/our own church, along with the American Church as a whole, and who in early 2020 I came to with a message from the Lord concerning the times and how we were to respond, or should I say “not” respond, to Covid. These folks, if they are willing to acknowledge it, may someday come and recognize that I was no “false prophet.” They scoffed at me, they removed me from my ministry at the homeless shelter, and some blocked me on social media, staff blocked me from the Church’s web page, and many just made me feel like I was crazy. And this all took a great toll on me emotionally, together with impacting my ministry and relationships with the homeless community to whom I had been ministering for three years.
Now I want us to ask: what did Jesus really mean by saying “stay awake” anyway? Well, simply put we could say He meant we were to “watch and pray.” He said this so that we might not end up “lulled asleep” by the distractions and temptations of this world, leading us to compromise our faith and end up as “lukewarm” Christians. Also, so that we might not become hardened by the deceitfulness of money, pleasure, and all kinds of sin, and one day awaken suddenly to the trumpet of the Lord, being caught off guard when the Lord returns. I think I could sum up what I mean with a parable. It’s the “Frogs in the Pot.” This is how it goes: Satan is compared to a chef making frog stew. He puts two frogs into a cooking pot filled with cool water and brings it ever so slowly to a boil. The frog who is “asleep” will never wake to the rising temperature and so he will eventually boil to death. But the frog who is “alert and watchful” will discern the slightest temperature change and in wisdom will know that down the line, if he stays here, this will eventually lead to his destruction, and will jump out immediately and escape unharmed. Now, the frog who fell asleep and perished was not damned to hell due to his “sleepiness”, but he was caught off guard and paid a great price for falling asleep. Now, this is like those Christians who are not paying attention to the times, who have not been watchful and alert, they will be the ones who “un-intentionally” join themselves with the agenda of the world, thinking that the world is either really trying to help Christians, or is wide open to the gospel message and is “on their side,” therefore seeking to do good and wants to aid the church in “LOVING others,” and acting like we can “work together as one.” Or these Christians in their zeal to preach the good news of Jesus will water down the gospel so that the world will “like” the message of Jesus and accept it easily. Now hear this warning from the writer of Hebrews who is addressing this exact problem: “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb 5:11-14). Now, the title of this chapter of Hebrews says, “Warning Against Apostasy.” So, I do want to add that “falling asleep,” according to Jesus’ teaching on the subject, does include Apostasy. But I also recognize that there are plenty of well-meaning, godly Christians who simply are not discerning the times because they were “wrongly” taught by a pastor or Bible teacher how to understand the last days and how to interpret prophecy. But the main thing we should recognize in Hebrews is their “lack of” discernment between what is good and what is evil, or I could put it as, “what is truth and what is error.” And it is because they had neglected to stay “awake, alert, prayerfully watching” being trained by constant practice. The passage also says they lacked “solid food,” so they never matured spiritually but were instead dull of hearing and could only digest milk, although they “should have been” teachers by then. Therefore, we must add that in order to discern the times, we must eat the meat of the Word. And so, regarding this, the apostle Paul, right before leaving the elders of the Ephesian Church in Acts, leaves them with this exhortation: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, … I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert,” (Acts 20:26-31). Right here Paul connects knowing the “entire truth, counsel, or wisdom of God’s Word” with the discernment necessary to avoid false teachers coming in and drawing new converts away from the truth, along with any false doctrine arising among themselves in the Ephesian church, adding that they must “stay alert”. Paul directly and intentionally “links” the knowledge of God’s Word with discernment and with staying awake. And so, it is the individual who knows God’s counsel, who rightly understands and discerns God’s Word (2 Tim 2:15) that is like the frog who “stayed awake” and who knew what was coming. With that, I must make my point that those pastors and Christians who have rejected eschatology (the study of the end times), prophecy, and Jesus’ and the Apostles’ teachings on these subjects, or who have removed the interpretation of them out of their context and therefore are “re-interpreting” them with a false hermeneutic (or an unfaithful interpretation not based on the context of the passage) fall into the category of “sleepy Christians” who lack discernment, unable to know what to watch for and how to pray regarding the times, and many times also end up compromising the gospel.
Finally, this is much longer than I intended it to be (which usually happens to me) and so I will leave it here. My purpose here is to exhort Christians to be the “wise” frog; to study the “whole” counsel of God, interpreting it according to its natural, original, historical context, just as it was written. And to consider the times, stopping to notice, to pray and consider, seeking wisdom from above. Also my desire is to challenge other Christians to “wake up” if they have been sleeping! And my desire is to affirm others, who have for many years now been watching and praying and speaking out!