Conditions similar to the present spiritual darkness existed in Noah’s day. The great majority of mankind had spiritually reached the point of no return. God was not a factor in their lives. They did as they pleased, their minds and consciences hardened against any influence God might have had to turn them around. The only thing left to do was for God to preserve the righteous and to destroy the wicked.
His message for that generation was not revealed directly to any and everybody: God chose Noah. People either hearkened to Noah or they perished.
Seven people listened to God through Noah and shared in the building of an ark — of God’s specific design — capable of preserving them and representatives of all the animals through a great flood that destroyed the rest.
Today the world faces destruction by fire. II Peter 3. We are rapidly approaching the same condition experienced in Noah’s day, when those who are unjust and filthy and those who are righteous and holy will each, by the decree of God, remain in that condition. Rev. 22:11-12. Already, most men are untouchable by the gospel, their hearts and minds blind to its light. II Cor. 4:3-4.
Great winds of spiritual deception of every kind are blowing and will increase. Those who venture outside their prison house of tradition face a bewildering array of voices each crying, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Not only are there false doctrines, but false experiences, feelings, manifestations, in short, great lying signs and wonders.
Jesus warned of these days in Matt. 24:24: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
The Lord showed us years ago that Satan is loose in this hour like never before. He has great wrath because he knows his time is short. (Rev. 12:12)
It has never been God’s plan for His children to try to live independently of one another down here. Especially is this so today.
Heb. 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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.”
Only God knew what Noah and his family needed to do. They labored together to fulfill God’s specific instructions. Suppose one of them had said, “I don’t need the rest of you; I can serve God perfectly well elsewhere by myself,” or, “I’m tired of listening to Noah; I’ll build my own boat.”
Suppose Shem had risen up to challenge Noah, God’s choice, as Korah, Dathan, Abiram and 250 princes of Israel challenged Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16.
God alone knows what we need to do and how and when. We will prosper only as we proceed His way and under His active leadership. Most religion seems to operate on the idea that they have God’s plan all worked out and written down in simple black and white like a guide book or an operating manual.
If you have a journey to make through extremely dangerous territory, there is quite a difference in trying to follow someone’s guide book or map and in having Christ walk with you as your present and active leader! This time is unique. No one has been this way before. How can we hope to walk alone with only the confusing voices of religion to guide us?
What should you do? What can you expect? As we have indicated previously, God desires a people separated unto Himself who turn to Him with all their heart seeking His will and leadership. Be forewarned, however, that when you in your heart take such a stand and set yourself to seek the Lord, come what may, you’d better be prepared to withstand as well.
The devil will never let any move toward the Lord go unchallenged. Is God’s Kingdom worth fighting for? If you don’t think so, you’d better quit now.
In Luke 16:16, Jesus said, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” In Matt. 11:12 we find, “… the violent take it by force.”
Paul said, “I press toward the mark …” Phil. 3:14. In I Tim. 6:12, he exhorted, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life ….” Also read Eph. 6:10-18.
All of these scriptures and many others remind us that we live in enemy territory and can expect a fight if we serve God. However, as Paul said in I Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus said, “… In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Simply put, tribulation is “pressure.” This pressure could be outward persecution and trouble; it could be a direct spiritual oppression coming against your mind; it could arise from the opposition of friends and loved ones; it could come from former religious associates.
If you want to stir up the devil, just dare to come to Christ “without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Heb. 13:13. Don’t be surprised or dismayed when opposition arises from those you thought loved God and were your friends.
Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matt. 10:34-37.
Jesus spoke in Matt. 13 of several types of hearers of the word. One type received the word quickly with joy yet when tribulation came they were offended and “withered away.” Matt. 13:5-6, 20-21. I’ve seen many come in among us over the years. A few have stuck, but most have gone their way. It seems that those who come quickly with great enthusiasm leave just as quickly when things don’t suit them or measure up to their expectations.
Those who stick invariably have much to overcome and their coming requires much patience both to overcome obstacles that arise and at the same time to wait on God and to act according to His schedule.
We are creatures of impatience. When we determine that we ought to move in a certain direction we are most anxious to get on with it. We are prone to acting in haste and to being very impatient with obstacles and with those who don’t see and understand the things that we ourselves have only recently embraced.
Haste, anxiety and panic are not attributes of faith! God is not in a hurry. He knows exactly what He is doing. We can rest our case in His faithful hands and know that He will lead and provide for us according to our need and His plan.
It is very much in order to pray, letting the Lord know daily that we desire to do His will, don’t know what to do and that we are dependent on Him to help us. We can remind Him daily of His promises such as Prov. 3:5-6, Psalm 37:5, James 1:5-8.
The devil will do everything in his power to turn you aside from truly praying and waiting on God. If he cannot discourage you when God’s answer is delayed then he will send you all kinds of false answers. He may give you “revelations,” even backed up by “feelings,” or he may send you someone he controls with seeming answers.
If you are slow to move and cautious, distrusting yourself and daily trusting in and looking to the Lord, He will be faithful to steer you safely through Satan’s spiritual “minefields.” If the answer is delayed do not be anxious (Phil. 4:6-7). God is on time. He knows all about you and will not be a minute late.
One thing He is doing is working in you that great spiritual quality called patience. James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Patience is that expression of faith that enables us to wait on God, to endure in the face of adversity designed by Satan to get us to give up, to quit. The more we develop patience, the less Satan will be able to hinder us in serving God.
There is much false doctrine, (Matt 24:4) widely taught in our today concerning the end time in general and tribulation in particular. Every seeker of truth should prayerfully read the book, Lying Signs and Wonders, which deals with end time deception.
As a result of popular teaching, most people think of tribulation as something future, after the church is removed from the earth. They are told of an evil world dictator who will specially focus his wrath on the natural Jew. Of course, we don’t have to worry since we won’t be here! So they say.
Apparently Jesus was mistaken when He said in Luke 17:28-30, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
The picture here is of life going on normally, people totally unprepared, God removing His own (Lot) and total destruction immediately following. See I Thess. 5:2-3.
The Lord has shown us that the tribulation Jesus warned of is here now and we need to recognize it for what it is. No doubt it will get worse the closer we get to the end. As a result of the loosing of Satan and his increasing stranglehold on the world of lost mankind, serving God is like living in a spiritual “pressure cooker.”
We need all the resources of heaven to stand. We need the living word of God that is given by the anointing; we need the fellowship of the body of Christ; and we need the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18).