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FACING The Tribulation

5. Be Prepared To Listen To The Spirit

The soft Western Church, with its grace-oriented, feel-good ‘Christianity’, is ill-prepared for what it is about to face – the Great Tribulation!

When Jesus prepared His disciples, a major emphasis in His teaching was to prepare them to die for the faith. He told them:

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues [places of organised, humanly-controlled ‘worship’]; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service (Jn 16:1,2).

Misguided religious people in the Dark Ages thought that they did a service to God by killing infidels. Either it was Muslims who killed non-Muslims, or so-called ‘Christians’ slaughtering Muslims.

Today, the West faces a resurgence of Muslim ‘fanaticism’, and western society has no effective counter to it. Why? Because its ethos is to conserve or protect its own physical life at all costs.

That’s the opposite of Jesus’ teaching.

The one thing that Jesus never compromised was the truth. He didn’t mollycoddle people with soft or sentimental teaching. He gave it to them straight! And He told us to expect to die for His truth, and to prepare for such an eventuality. Notice what He said:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.

You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt 10:16-22).

This prophecy has been fulfilled countless times down through history. It occurs daily in Muslim nations today. And it awaits its climax in the horrors that begin even now to escalate into the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7), when ethnic English nations face downfall.

But Jesus says, “Don’t worry for yourself. Don’t be fearful of death, for I am with you.”

Each day believers in Jesus are arrested and tortured for His name, or are put to death. We do not hear their names – only a few. These martyrs are in Islamic countries or live under totalitarian regimes. They do not fear to suffer for His name.

They suffer, willingly accepting reproach for the name of Christ, as Jesus said we should.

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master... If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them... (Matt 10:24-26).

Do Not Fear

Jesus promised that if we trust Him, we do not need to fear for our time of trial and crisis.

If you have fears, that is natural. Don’t worry about that. Set your will to endure what He allows you to face; don’t try and get out of it; be prepared to go through it, and the natural fears will subside as you go through your ordeal.

No temptation [or trial] has overtaken you [taken or received you, i.e. claimed you, overcome you] except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear [endure] it (1 Cor 10:13).

Notice that, in order to overcome and not be overcome by any trial, you must be prepared to endure it, not try to get out of it if there is no way out. God will see you through it, minute by minute, day by day. We are to fear God, not man:

...do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul [life, being]. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Ge’enna, the unquenchable fire] (Matt 10:28).

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. [In other words, although these lovely little harmless creatures seem insignificant, God is completely in control of their lives. If He lets one fall in death, it is part of what He allows for an overall reason, just as it also is with you and me, His loveliest of creatures.] But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matt 10:29-31).

5. Be Prepared To Hear The Spirit

Persecution is going to erupt like a whirlwind. Things happen suddenly.

Paul was caught in a commotion or uproar that the opposition generated (Acts 19:23-41). His life was threatened from then on (Acts 20:3,19). He knew he would die for Christ:

And see, now I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me (Acts 20:22-23).

But because he listened to the Spirit, and lived for Truth’s sake, not for himself, he was not perturbed:

...I do not count my life of any value or dear to myself (Acts 20:24).

He only had one purpose in life. It was not self. It was to finish the Commission God had given him in service to Jesus, to proclaim the truths of God (ibid.).

For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

His total commitment to God’s purpose in his life was what allowed the Spirit to tell Paul what he needed to know, so he could endure what awaited him. Jesus adjures us to have that total commitment:

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops (Matt 10:27).

The key to your survival – spiritual survival, NOT physical survival, unless God has a purpose in that for His kingdom’s sake – the key to your survival depends upon you being receptive to His Spirit:

...what you hear in the ear... [that the Spirit implants into your spirit] (Matt 10:27).

For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you... (Matt 10:19,20).

Jesus’ kingdom is not of this age (Jn 18:36), so what He inspires you to say in your hour of sacrifice is probably not to convert the hearers. God’s main purpose in this age is to bring authorities under His judgement. Your testimony will more likely be a witness against them for defying and rejecting Him.

Your duty in hearing Jesus is to be led by Him (Rom 8:14). Listening to Him starts with fundamental spiritual loyalty to Him. The world will be loyal to the civil power, the Beast, and will accept the spiritual marks of mental and physical compliance (Rev 13:16; 14:9). But for us, who do not fear man, we are willing to pay with our lives for loyalty to Jesus instead.

He [the Beast] was granted power to... cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev 13:15).

The image of the beast is an authority ‘thing’. It tests and separates those who will obey man rather than God. When man blasphemously stands in the place of Christ and forbids you to worship God in the way He says, that’s when you refuse to comply, regardless of the cost to yourself, even death.

God is able to deliver you. Remember how He delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? (Dan 3:17-25.) That’s how He works today. They declared:

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king... (Dan 3:17).

They were given those words to say in that hour; they received them from the Spirit. They thought they were going to die, and thus be delivered from the oppression of that God-defying Babylonian king (3:18). They chose death over life, yet God had a purpose for them to live.

When today’s Babylon rises up against God’s Church, as an abomination that causes desolation of God’s people, in Satan’s last ditch effort to annihilate God’s truth, you can likewise declare by the Spirit:

Let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up (Dan 3:18).

Remember, each of us must:

  • Be prepared to die.

  • Be prepared to suffer.

  • Be prepared for hardship.

  • Be prepared to love.

  • Be prepared to hear the Spirit.

Then you will be counted in that number; as one of that great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1), who:

...were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not [yet] receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (Heb 11:35-40).

Jesus listened to the Father’s Spirit and obeyed implicitly, even though it took Him to the dreadful ordeal of the cross. We are called to trust and obey likewise, following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Paul died a martyr; the twelve apostles likewise witnessed for Christ through their lives and deaths.

...they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives to the death (Rev 12:11).

So can you, too.

Malcolm B Heap, March 2008

Further Reading:
Listening To God (£2); Help In Trials (£1)
God's Church – Whose Authority? (£3)
Understanding The Book of Revelation (£7)

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK