THE CLOCK OF GOD, Part 8, CLOUDS OF APOCALYPSE

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"Come near and listen, all you races, pay attention all you nations, listen, earth and all that you hold, world and all that comes from you. God is angry with all the nations, enraged with all their hordes. He has vowed them to destruction, and marked them down for slaughter." ---Isaiah 34:1-2

CHAPTER 31

At Harvest's End

"As it was in Noah's day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes.
For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark,
and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away.
It will be like this when the Son of Man comes."
Matthew 24:37-40

_____________

"The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up." (2 Peter 3:10).

"So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house." (Mt.24:42-44).

It is written in the Book of Revelation that God's Day will be preceded by seven trumpet blasts. (Rv. 8-11).

Between the sixth and seventh of these trumpets one of heaven's most powerful angels will come down onto the earth and read from a scroll in words so loud that the sound of his voice will be like a lion roaring. (Rv.10:1-3).

Immediately after this happens, a divine thunder will peal across the earth seven times, foretelling all that is to come.

This symbolic imagery, inspired by the Holy Spirit, comes to us through visions of the Apostle John.

While he was in prison on the Isle of Patmos, John was briefly lifted up by the Spirit into heaven to see the events of the Christian future. Just as the End was about to occur in his vision, there came the blare of six horns and then, a mysterious thunder;
of this, John wrote:

"At this, seven claps of thunder made themselves heard and when the seven thunderclaps had spoken, I was preparing to write, when I heard a voice from heaven say to me, 'Keep the words of the seven thunderclaps secret and do not write them down"
(Rev.10:4).

These words were not made secret forever, the Father sealed them until their own time.

Since God always reveals His plans in advance through His prophets, these seven rolls of heavenly thunder echoing across the land must be seen as the warning voices of those who are destined to announce to the people of the world the events of the tribulation just before they happen.

The seven thunderclaps are the words of the seven prophets assigned to reveal on earth the last secrets hidden in the scriptures.

Associated with the fire and brimstone of the last days, these are messages no one wants to hear, but which will rumble across the earth at God's command -- presaging the troubles to come, like the peals of thunder which announce the coming of a great storm. These thunderclaps will sound the final warnings concerning heaven's approaching fury.

Each clap of thunder will grow louder than its predecessor, signalling the steady advance of the divine tempest.

Standing amid the trumpeters, and echoing the thunder of heaven, will appear those God has selected to broadcast doom's approach. One will sound like Billy Sunday and another like Billy Graham. One by one they will come, not in a finite set (not seven, per se) but in the symbolism of the number seven: completion and fulfillment.

Hal Lindsay will be there too, and so will numerous priests and deacons and all the others God has appointed to stand guard at the wall and herald the coming Dawn.

Most of the warnings from God's last-day sentinel's will be ignored, and all will be ridiculed.

Immediately after the seven prophets have concluded their messages, the final trumpet will sound and the world will be destroyed. (Rv.10:7, 11:14-19).

In John's vision, right after the seventh and last thunder sounded, the voice of the angel boomed out, "The time of waiting is over..." (Rv.10:7). Abruptly God's secret intention was fulfilled and the Son of Man came to His coronation.

Seven, as we have described above, is a symbolic number in the Bible -- a number which stands for fulfillment and completion. In this respect, the seven thunderclaps relate specifically to the final completion of Christian prophecy on earth.

More than seven will appear -- and many will be false. But the faithful, having been forewarned, will know the difference between them. Fulfilling the vision of Daniel, the disclosures of those that are true will "set the seal on vision and prophecy". (Dn.9:24).

Fraying the nerves of many, their announcements have already begun to reverberate across the earth.

It is not to terrify mankind that God wants these messages broadcast, but so that those who are asleep might awaken and repent.

Since this century's cannonade of doomsaying has coincided with an amplified understanding of the divinely sealed Book of Daniel, we must conclude that the moment of God's return is not far away.

As we have seen, the Holy Spirit personally sealed Daniel's words, and ordered that their meaning be revealed only when the End itself had arrived, so their abrupt clarity in our time is a clear indication that the days surrounding God's Judgment are looming on a very near horizon.

Jerusalem has been rebuilt; the Jews have returned to Palestine and the Gospel now covers the earth by satellite. There are wars and rumors of wars and cosmic signs of disaster in the heavens. The Middle East is stirring. Everything is coalescing now to show that the ominous sounds surrounding the circumstances of the last hundred years are real.

All around us have appeared the darkening clouds of a world in desperate trouble -- this century's unmistakable signs of planetary disaster -- signs which have given us certain warning that the final trumpet of God is now about to blare in the cosmos.

Again, the key to all the signs is warfare. Satan is a being of violence and the seven plagues will all come wrapped in his image. Having tumbled the Church from its exhalted post, a commanding position it has held on earth for almost 1700 years, the devils troops are now poised to assault the people inside.

Daniel and John have both warned that the last days will be sandwiched in armies -- armies full of destruction and spreading across the entire earth. The Bible clearly defines the days immediately adjacent to Christ's return as a time of global ruin -- a time of havoc unlike anything that the world has ever witnessed before.

While Armageddon itself localizes on the mountains and plains of Israel, the warfare preceding this gathering -- the warfare precipitating this gathering -- will sweep across all lands and involve every person on earth.

"When that time comes no grown man will know peace, for many troubles will inflict all the inhabitants of the country." (2 Chron.15:5).

The prophet Joel said that the forces of brutality in the last days will involve a "vast and mighty host, such as there never has been before, such as will never be again."

He added, "The country is like a garden of Eden ahead of them and a desert waste behind them...a mighty army dressed in battle array." (Joel 2:2-4).

Scripture terms this horde of desolaters the instruments of God's wrath. In their march across the world they will bring human civilization on earth to a bloody and fiery end.

All this terror has been held back by the treaty of peace which Jesus made with the world at the hill of Calvary. All these armies lie in wait just outside the wall of Christ's protection.

As the people abandon that protection, they tear down the barrier that blocks the wrath. "The gates of your country stand wide open to the foe." (Nahum 3:13).

Having rejected the inner power of the Gospel, the people of our world have rent gaping holes in God's protective screen. That is why the current century has come to us wrapped in so much violence and bloodshed.

The first four trumpet blasts have already occurred. (Rv.8:6-13). So, too, apparently, has the fifth (Rv.9:1-3). And now the kings of the East are stirring -- a sure sign that the sixth is about to be blown as well. (Rv.9:13-15).

The fire and blood of world warfare, the wormwood of false prophecy and the darkness associated with the Gospel's rejection in the east have initiated processes on earth that are leading us to the very doors of Armageddon.

Accompanying these processes, and driving them is Satan's return from the Abyss.

The seven voices then, each in their own way, are rising up to proclaim the coming of war -- the last war. There is little else on the horizon for those who have forsaken the ways of God.

The world has left the path of Christ and has begun to spin out of control. Soon all the signs of nature will mirror this change of direction and the consequences it promises.

Ezekiel warned that the false prophets would proclaim peace, but there would be no peace. (Ez.13:16). And there has been none. Nor will there ever be again.

World War I ended only to bring the madness of Adolph Hitler. World War II ended only to bring the Soviets and the specter of nuclear holocaust. Now the Soviets are gone and the next terror has already started forming in their vacuum -- an angry and violent Middle East -- the people of the sixth trumpet.

Caught in the middle of all this chaos will be the final remnant of God's people on earth.

So where in all this, one might ask, is the rapture? If this century has begun the tribulation, who are all these that are left?

This is the rapture. This is the way it will come. At the hands of the violent. Just as it always has. "Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm...and by violence is everyone getting in." (Mt.11:12, Lk.16:16). That is why the good will all end up in hiding. "Go into your rooms, my people, shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves a little while until the wrath has passed." (Is.26:20).

Like a drumroll beating out in the background a counterpoint to the world's current affairs, the voices of those assigned to proclaim the final warnings of God are sounding now all across the land.

Augmenting their voices, the signs of heaven continue to grow larger and more ominous. Because Jesus promised that all these portents and signs would occur, almost every Christian watches for them, some filled with anticipation and others with foreboding as they occur.

"Think of the fig tree and indeed every tree. As soon as you see them bud, you know that summer is now near. So with you when you see these signs happening: know that the kingdom of God is near. "

"Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth."
(Lk.21:29-36).

One part of this prophecy relates to the shortness of our own personal life, while the other points to the end of the planet. Not only are we living in a doomed body, but in a doomed land as well.

In both cases, the Babylon we have been called to leave behind us is in its last days and exists now only so that God can rescue the hidden House of Israel out of it. As soon as this rescue has been completed, Babylon will pass away in a shower of fire and be replaced by God's new creation.

"...in those days, after that time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory..." (Mark 13:24-26).

This is the future -- a future that the Bible has clearly announced in advance. Yet that announcement continues to be clouded by false expectation.

When Jesus warned his disciples to "watch yourselves or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery, drunkenness and the cares of life..." (Lk.21:35), he knew that the magnetism of this world was so corrupting that it would deceive many people and cause them to stray from the truth of God which He had come to proclaim.

That corruption is in the process of corroding everything around us. As the people of Christ have become more and more comfortable in this world, there has been a growing pressure in the Church to try to downplay these warnings.

So despite all the signs and prophecies, the idea that the entire architecture of human civilization might suddenly be terminated in a catastrophic blast of judgement and fire is not popular today and the concept is strongly rejected by many Christians.

Those who are comfortable in this world argue that its destruction in fire implies a hopelessness to life, as if all the secular things that we are building on earth and working for here have some kind of lasting meaning.

There is a certain kind of comfort in the idea that the world itself continues to live even though each of us dies along the way. But this kind of thinking gives the world a greater value than the people. Just the opposite of what Christ taught.

We can pretend in our own deaths that all the material things we have been toiling for are for the benefit of our children. But when the earth itself burns up, who is the heir, and what value is the inheritance?

"Lord, you yourself have proclaimed that this place will be destroyed, that no one will live here ever again, neither man nor beast, but that it will remain desolate forever." (Jer.51:62).

By seeing a world that is perpetually renewed rather than one that is about to die, mankind views contribution as the thing that counts, not conversion. We can see this most clearly in the way the world approaches art.

The world says that pornography is acceptable if it serves the cause of art -- as if art itself were on a higher order than the commandments of God.

Thinking in this vein, the world cannot conceive of a God who would allow all this 'art treasure' to be burned up as if it were simply trash. Perhaps nothing illustrates the difference between man and God as much as this. All of our contributions to this world are simply pieces added to the bonfire.

The only thing that can last is our conversion into the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We must change the direction of our life, giving up all those pursuits that have taken us nowhere and replacing them with a lifelong journey in the footsteps of Christ.

Jesus has offered us something far better than the vanishing things we treasured before we knew Him. For many, this concept is difficult to comprehend because it is so sweeping and so foreign to those who love this world.

We are like the poor man who has suddenly been offered the keys to a mansion. We want to drag the cardboard box we have been living in into the mansion with us, not realizing what has happened.

This is true of the body we inhabit and of the world that we now live in.

True hopelessness, then, is in rejecting Christ and building up the world. The world and all of its works are coming to an end but those who follow Christ will live forever. So the only hope is that we escape, because the world itself cannot escape.

This is why Isaiah described Christ's first appearance with these words: "A voice commands: 'Cry!' and I answered, 'What shall I cry?' -- 'All flesh is grass and its beauty like the wildflower's...The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God remains forever." (Is.40:6-8).

As the time draws near, the Bible has attested that the warning signs of destruction's final approach will increase. God intends there to be nothing vague about the 'handwriting on the wall'. He wants it to scream it's message in headlines.

The closer the storm comes, the louder will be the sound of those assigned to proclaim it. Those who understand God will need no translator. The message will be clear, and, for those who choose the world over Christ, chilling.

"God... rains coals of fire and brimstone on the wicked, he serves them a scorching wind to swallow down." (Ps.11:5-6).

"The Lord God says this: the wide ramparts of Babylon will be razed to the ground, and her high gates will be burnt down. Thus the laboring of the peoples comes to nothing, the toiling of the nations ends in fire." (Jer.51:58).

God had Jeremiah throw these words into the Euphrates river as a forewarning of the end. (Jer.51:63). The final End begins at this prophetic river -- at the very same place where the handwriting appeared on the wall the night before ancient Babylon was destroyed.

This is where the forces of the east are being held back by God's hand, awaiting that fateful day and hour when they will be unleashed from their bounds and allowed to inflict on Babylon all the devastation scripture has decreed. (Rev.9:15).

This is where civilized history began, and this is where the End will begin as well. At the Euphrates river -- at the very waters of Babylon where long ago the Jews sat and wept at the memory of their lost Zion. (Ps.137:1-3).

Once flowing out of the Garden of Eden, this river is the site of the tower of Babel where the first scattering began, and it is the precise location of the Jewish exile on which all the symbolism of the dispersion rests.

Babylon is the birthplace of Abraham, and, in the distant past, the birthplace of civilization itself. God has manifested all of these major events in a single place on earth in the Middle East -- in the precise location where the name 'Babylon' was first born.

There are many reasons why most Christians are unsettled by the developments that are now taking place in this area. This is the gateway of Gog, the Bible's acme of pagan terrorism and violence -- the man of Evil who is to come and declare open war on the Church.

The gathering of the forces of the east at the banks of this river, then, is a clear part of the handwriting on the wall of the palace of Babylon. In fact, almost everything that has happened in the twentieth century seems to have been a part of this final warning:

The two wars. The shaky time of peace between them. The attack on God's special people by a terrifying world leader. The confrontation between east and west, with the fate of civilization hanging in the balance.

The signs in the sun and moon and stars -- intensified by our growing knowledge of exploding suns and galaxies, black holes, antimatter, dying stars, radiation, cometary debris and asteroids hurtling aimlessly at incomprehensible speeds through space, smashing catastrophically into anything that floats in their way. Even the fire from heaven which terminates the second war.

There is an uncanny similarity between the descriptions of the final days prophesied in scripture and the major events and discoveries of the last hundred years.

This astonishing century began with the kind of signs the Bible has long predicted for the end of the world.

In 1906, the city of San Francisco was jolted and burned to the ground by a monsterous earthquake. Two years later a great comet lit up Europe like daylight as it blasted into oblivion a thousand square miles of forest in Russia.

Two years after that, the world passed through the tail of Halley's comet -- an event which filled many with terror, a terror intensified by countless stories in the world's newspapers proclaiming that the tail of this huge comet was filled with poison gas and would kill everyone on earth.

Preachers rose up everywhere proclaiming the end of the world. With prophetic events cascading around them, and preachers promising the worst, thousands sold their homes and headed for the hills in preparation for their meeting with with Lord.

But the meeting wasn't that soon.

First was to come a kind of allegory of the last days. History has recapitulated prophecy in a thematic way in our time, in events that appear to parallel the descriptions John has given us: The two wars. The shakey time of peace between them. Why?

The intent of the Holy Spirit is to make these themes familiar to us -- to confirm the character of the times we are now entering. God has structured images using historical events that are visible to everyone -- as a symbolic handwriting that the whole world can see and understand.

It is God's way of giving the world advance warning of what is about to follow: the termination of the shakey peace Christ established on earth and the real second war that will bring that peace offer to an end. It is God's way of showing the world that the worst is yet to come.

That is why the entire world in this century has been awakened to the real possibility of a sudden end to planetary life.

God always sends His warnings beforehand. "No more does the Lord Yahweh do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7).

And no one today can deny that these messages have not been heard. Few of the prophecies have come from the lips of obscure and bearded messengers wearing robes and sandals. The most dynamic have appeared in the blaring headlines of the world's newspapers.

The relationship of these events to those of the prophecies brings us to an inevitable conclusion: it not only can happen, it has already started.

We can see the end coming at us now from all sides wherever we look. Even things that once were beautiful have now become instruments of the terror. "They will be struck with fear, where before there was no dread." (Ps.14:5).

The ozone layer which protects us from the radiation of outer space is being dissolved by chemicals in the atmosphere. The gentle rains have turned to acid and are killing the world's forests and vegetation. Even the bees have turned violent.

Global warming is increasing. Radiation and deadly toxins are leaking into the rivers and groundwater. The oceans are dying from pollution and thousands of animal species are disappearing from the continents.

It is in our nature to understand only things that are familiar to us. It is this familiarity -- made manifest by the similarity between this century's events and the descriptions in the ancient prophecies -- that have produced a growing apprehension in Christians all over the world that the promised time is now at hand.

By repeating these themes in a format that can be easily seen and understood by everyone on earth, the Holy Spirit is making familiar what is hidden in the prophecies, helping to bring them into focus, not just in our minds, but in the minds of the whole world as a clear warning that the time is drawing close.

"Babylon, that pearl of kingdoms...shall be overthrown by God...It's time is almost up, its days will not last long." (Is.13:19-22).

"The world with all it craves for is coming to an end; but anyone who does the will of God remains forever." (1-John 2:17).

NEXT
Clock of God, Chapter 32,
"A Last Call to Faith"

The Clock of God - Contents


Goodnews Christian Ministry

History of IsraelGraphs & MapsChronological TableBible Prophecy
Questions From ReadersDead Sea ScrollsRevelation Study Guide


AdobeDownload Free Books, Maps and Documents Here

Goodnews Christian Ministry
Site Index

All books, contents & materials copyright © 1991 to 2009
Goodnews Christian Ministry.
To find out more about Goodnews Christian Ministry,

e-mail address:
askgoodnews@gmail.com



World Wide Web Home Page:
http://goodnewspirit.com
http:goodnewschristianministry.net