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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 10

Man’s Final Rebellion

If there is one central theme to “sudden death overtime” it is that it is the time of man’s final rebellion against his Maker. Arrayed on one side are the kingdoms of this world and on the other, God’s kingdom ruled over by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. This rebellion is specifically against Jesus and against the gospel ultimatum. It’s end is certain.

As we have noted before, this period at the end of time is referred to in Rev. 20:3 as “a little season.” Verses 7-10 describe what happens during the little season. With the former restraint gone Satan immediately goes to work to deceive and gather the nations together for battle. It is a last desperate effort on Satan’s part to prevail against the God of heaven, to fulfill his rebellious dream of being like the Most High. Isaiah 14:12-15.

The growing darkness we are witnessing in this hour is the fruit of this behind-the-scenes activity of Satan to prepare for the great final battle ahead. That darkness is rapidly swallowing up the world of unbelieving men, leading them down the road to certain destruction. At this point this deceiving and gathering is an ongoing process. No matter how and for how long it is permitted to unfold there will come a day when God says, “Enough!”

At issue is the great plan of God, conceived before the world was, to bring forth a perfect and eternal creation peopled with a great company of His sons and daughters. They are His sons and daughters not because they have been born merely of flesh and blood but because they have been born of His Spirit. His firstborn Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, has been given all authority in heaven and earth for the express purpose of establishing this kingdom and putting an end to Satan’s rebellion.

Yet the world, blinded by sin and by Satan’s wicked deceit, remains in rebellion against God and, more specifically, against His Son. Jesus referred to this in Luke 19. He told a parable about a nobleman who travelled to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom. He gave his servants responsibilities, telling them to “occupy till I come.” Of course, he was speaking of himself and the time when he would return to heaven to assume his place of exaltation and authority.

Then verse 14 says, “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us.” That declaration captures the essence of the world’s response to God’s plan. “God, we won’t bow to Your King. We reject Your plan.” See also Psalm 2.

The Gospel Ultimatum

As I indicated above, the gospel of Jesus Christ is an ultimatum. It challenges men to choose sides ... once and for all. Which will it be? The world, or heaven? God, or the devil? There is no such thing as “accepting Jesus” as Savior, but refusing Him as Lord. Salvation ... the forgiveness of sins, deliverance from Satan’s power, the hope of heaven ... is but one benefit of heavenly citizenship. It is given freely to all who finally and completely cast their lot with heaven’s King. Anything less is fatal.

Throughout the age the gospel has been the sword of heaven’s army, wielded through the lips of God’s servants, chosen from among men to proclaim the heavenly message. Wherever it has gone men and women have been called out from Satan’s dominion and made citizens of heaven. Today, a great company of the redeemed line heaven’s shores watching, and waiting, as the last chapter unfolds.

But the gospel is a two-edged sword. Wherever the gospel goes men become responsible before God. It exposes the true nature of their sin and rebellion. Without its light men just do what it is their nature to do ... and die. But when the light of God’s Word shines upon them, their sinful and rebellious nature finds its true Adversary and they must choose. To continue in sin then is to choose damnation. It is to spit on the love of God and to defy His Son.

We have already referred earlier to Paul’s writings in II Thess. 2. His general subject was the coming of Christ. He, by revelation, foresaw many things that were to happen prior to Christ’s coming. One of these things (verse 3) is variously translated as, “a falling away” (KJV), “the rebellion” (NIV), “the apostasy” (NASU), “a time of great rebellion against God” (TLB).

Each of these translations says the same thing in slightly different words. And all convey the revelation of God that enabled Paul to look down the stream of time and foresee a time of great rebellion shortly before the coming of the Lord. There has, of course, been much rebellion against God in the world but Paul isn’t speaking in generalities. He saw a very specific time of rebellion.

The Mystery of Iniquity

This is evident from what he says in verse 7. There he refers to the “mystery of iniquity” which was already at work in his own day. A “mystery” in the Bible is something that natural man is incapable of understanding. It is something that God must reveal, even to His own, if they are to understand. The word “iniquity” means “lawlessness.” A “lawless” man is someone who will not be ruled over. Particularly it refers to a man who will not be ruled over by Christ. Remember the words from Christ’s parable, “We will not have this man to rule over us.”

Please note especially that, although this secret principle of lawlessness was at work in Paul’s day, there was a restraint in place. “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.” NIV. This is a clear reference to the fact that God has restrained the power of darkness during the gospel age, allowing it to be expressed only so much. The full expression of man’s wickedness has been reserved for the end of the age. The ending of this restraint corresponds to the “great rebellion.”

Religious Rebellion

When we hear words like “rebellion” and “lawlessness” we are inclined to associate them with things that are outwardly and obviously wicked and against Christ such as sin and perversion, war and violence, secularism, paganism, new age teachings, atheism, humanism, and so forth. Of course these things do indeed flow forth from the spirit of antichrist but the most subtle and dangerous expression of the spirit of antichrist is not in overt wickedness: it is in religion. And I don’t just mean “heathen” religion. I mean most of what goes by the name “Christian.” Christianity has been largely hijacked by the kingdom of darkness to the point that it has become one of Satan’s greatest tools for sealing people in their sins and preparing them for the lake of fire.

Jesus spoke of such in Matt. 7:15-23. After warning of false prophets who would come dressed in sheep’s clothes he declared in verse 21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” He then revealed the fact that MANY ... not a few! ... on the day of judgment would call him “Lord” and point out all they had done in his name but would be rejected as those who “work iniquity.” Sobering words, those, words that ought to make us seriously consider.

Remember that the word “iniquity” means “lawlessness.” This indicates that although these people had done many impressive religious things so far as they were concerned, they were actually rebels at heart. They had never truly bowed to Jesus Christ as Lord and submitted themselves to His Headship. Jesus was not the author of what they did. Other spirits were at work.

How Many Denominations?

Consider the beginning of the church. Christ ascended to the throne and at the appointed time sent forth the Spirit upon the apostles, His chosen vessels. They proclaimed the gospel message and some 3000 people believed, were baptized, and then continued in fellowship together. How many denominations were there? Of course there were none! There is no such thing in God’s kingdom! There were only two kinds of people: those who believed in Christ and those who didn’t. And I don’t mean a superficial “belief.” I mean the kind that caused people to wholly cast their lot with Jesus Christ for time and eternity, that caused them to remain steadfast even when it cost them their lives.

The lines were clear. At the center of things was Jesus Christ, God’s Son. People were either with Him or they were against Him. And things stayed that way for a time. But “fast forward” a few years and you can see the “mystery of iniquity” at work ... in the Name of Christ! The New Testament is full of warnings about this corruption of Christ’s Church that showed itself in such things as strife and division, false doctrine, false ministries, and sin and rebellion of every kind. One church leader named Diotrephes (3 John 9-10) wouldn’t even receive John the Apostle himself, and if anyone was in fellowship with John, Diotrephes threw him out of his church! I wonder what kind of a spirit was behind that!

This same “mystery of iniquity” has continued at work in Christianity down through the centuries, corrupting and dividing, using and abusing everyone it could. The miracle is that God has carried out His plan in spite of Christianity! I’m glad! But what has this to do with our subject? Everything! The great rebellion unfolding in our day is not limited to the secular arena. It is evident everywhere in churches. God’s remnant needs to be aware of the fact that very little that goes by the name “Christian” actually operates under the headship of Christ. Some other spirit is in control.

I believe that anyone with any spiritual discernment is aware of this. In one sense you could say that we don’t need a vision or an angel to make us aware of spiritual conditions in churches, yet during the visitation we experienced in the late 1960s the Lord didn’t leave this subject out. We were repeatedly shown the awful apostate conditions that prevail in most places. Visions would be given that showed a few scattered points of light in what was otherwise great darkness. This lent special emphasis to the ministry of the Word on the subject as well as confirmation of what we knew as a matter of spiritual discernment.

The Same Religious Spirits

The rebellion against the Lordship of Christ is just as great in Christendom as a whole in our day as it was against Jesus Christ when He was on earth. The same religious spirits are at work. Real Christian believers, as they become aware of this, really need to seek God from their hearts for His leading and provision. There is a great famine in the land. It makes no sense for believers to continue to pour time and money into religion that honors Christ in name only. It greatly saddens me as people write to us telling how they’ve gone here and there to church and been abused, intimidated, brought into great bondage, and spiritually starved. That is all there is in many places yet God does have a people in the earth! We need Him to lead us.

No Other Name

God never called anyone to gather people under the name “Baptist,” or “Methodist,” or “Pentecostal,” or any other name other than Jesus Christ. His is the only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12. In spite of the fact that there have been some real believers who have worn these “brands” such names are devices of Lucifer to divide and hinder the work of Christ in the earth.

We have a name. It is Midnight Cry Ministries. But we have no interest whatsoever in promoting, or in bringing people under that name. It is simply a legal entity so that we can own property and enter into agreements with broadcast outlets and so forth. But the only Name that is to be lifted up is the Name of Jesus!

No More Baptists!

Spurgeon was a great preacher who happened to be Baptist. But I like what he said about that: “I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s name last forever. I look forward with pleasure, to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone. I hope the Baptist name will soon perish, but let Christ’s name endure forever.” I wonder how that would go over in most Baptist churches today! Yet, could not the same be said of any denomination?

One vision I particularly remember regarding churches depicted a large church full of people. Then a giant fist began to beat on the roof of the church and to cause it to crumble. The people, of course, came running out. But the interesting thing was that dark figures took most of them by the left hand and led them off in one direction while bright figures took a very few by the right hand and led them off in the other! Most of those church members belonged to the devil!

No one is more aware of the apostate condition of churches than God Himself and He was letting us know that He would be bringing about conditions that would uproot His elect and separate them from religious houses of darkness and slumber. Drastic measures are sometimes needed to awaken His children to the great need of the hour.

A Time for Separation

In fact, separation was a great theme of the visitation. Over and over we were shown through vision and in the scriptures both light and darkness each gathered to its own kind. The true gospel of Jesus Christ has always brought about separation ... oftentimes within families.

We have witnessed this in a number of ways. Some will go along for awhile and then at some point rebel against the light and go out. I John 2:19 is fulfilled which says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

Other times we have seen the Lord reach out to bring someone into the light, into the fellowship of the body of Christ, yet their earthly family remain in darkness ... sometimes religious darkness. Remember the words of Jesus (Matt 10:34-37): “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.”

These things have always occurred wherever Christ has established His church, gathering people in His Name. Yet the conditions to be expected as the darkness intensifies mean we will see more and more separation take place. I believe that before the end the line between those who serve Christ and those who remain in the enemy’s camp will become far more clear than it is now. Things were pretty clear in Noah’s day. They were likewise clear in Jerusalem in the days before judgment fell in 70 A.D.

The gathering darkness will make it more and more necessary for true believers to seek out fellowship with their own kind. God Himself will dry up the “pools” and do whatever is necessary to bring His children out of religious prison houses. Isaiah 42.

Desolate!

Even as God would not forever strive with men in Noah’s day, so it is today. There is a line men cross where they are abandoned to the darkness they have chosen. Jesus gave a scathing indictment in Matt. 23 of the religion of the scribes and Pharisees. Verse 38 sums up God’s response to their persistent unbelief and wickedness: “Behold your house is left unto you desolate.”

Desolate! What a sobering word. I wonder how many places are in that condition today. I fully believe that people cannot even be saved in many churches. God has abandoned them. People must leave if they are to get help and find God.

We can see this in the ministry of Jesus. Over the course of his ministry Jesus travelled the cities and villages of Israel preaching God’s word and performing mighty miracles. Yet over and over he was met with a deeply entrenched religious unbelief. What it really was was demon power. Satan had clothed himself in a religion that outwardly honored God and Moses. But Jesus knew their hearts. That’s why he said, “Ye are of your father, the devil.” John 8:44. In His own hometown of Nazareth the good folks of the synagogue tried to kill him on one occasion! Luke 4:16-30.

Worse Than Sodom!

On another occasion Jesus pronounced woe on several cities by name ... Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (Matt. 11:20-24). They were specially guilty because God had given them so much light. In fact Jesus said that Sodom would fare better on the judgment day than they would! Think about that! Bible-believing, synagogue-attending Israelites ranked lower on God’s scale than did the wicked sinners of Sodom! Is it really so different in the Christendom of our day?

There is a revealing incident that occurred in Bethsaida, one of the cities censured by Jesus. It is recorded for us in Mark 8:22-26. Jesus came to Bethsaida where some people brought a blind man to him, asking that he be healed. However, instead of just praying for him then and there, Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the town. Now this was unusual!

After they had left the town Jesus prayed for the man ... twice! This is the only recorded incident in all of the ministry of Jesus where it was necessary for him to pray for someone twice. I believe it was a symptom, a symptom of the awful darkness of unbelief in that place.

Don’t Tell Anyone!

But what follows is even more revealing! After the man’s eyes were finally opened Jesus told him not to go into the town and furthermore not even to tell anyone who was going there! What does this mean? Doesn’t God want everyone to know? Hadn’t Jesus himself ministered openly in Bethsaida on other occasions? What was going on?

“My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” Bethsaida had had their opportunity. God had shown a brilliant light in their midst and they had said no. God was through with that place. There was to be no more witness there. People had to leave if they got help ... and not go back!

More and more we are seeing these kinds of conditions in our day and God’s people need to be aware of it. “Churchianity” will not do. Satan has been loosed as never before and some of his cleverest traps are religious. We need God as we’ve never needed Him before to lead us, to open our eyes and to give wisdom and discernment.

One of the things the Word of God specifically warns us of regarding the last days is religious deception ... including lying signs and wonders. Matt. 24:24, II Thess. 2:8-10. Don’t believe everything that looks impressive, feels good, and they say is from God ... even if something truly supernatural is involved. Seek God!

Strong Delusion

One thing God’s people need to understand about some of these things: when people go so far in rejecting truth and rejecting the Spirit of God, God sends them strong delusion. II Thess. 2:11-12. And what’s more He does it for the express purpose that they might believe a lie and be damned!

I am fully persuaded that we are seeing and will continue to see the fruits of this kind of strong delusion. It is nothing less than Divine judgment upon rebellion and unbelief when God steps back and allows the devil to powerfully convince sign-seeking unbelievers of his lie.

God is our only hope in such an hour. Judgment hangs over our world. It draws closer every day. And more and more people every day are being sealed in darkness and unaware of what is coming. If there is any capacity at all for hearing the voice of God it is time to act ... before it is too late. And the lost will not know it is too late until the day of the Lord arrives. They’ll cry; they’ll scream; they’ll pray but it won’t do any good then. It’s “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts....” Heb. 3:7. Today is all we ever have.

The Eleventh Hour

One theme that surfaced during the visitation was “The Eleventh Hour.” There were several visions given that in one way or another showed that we were entering the last hour. One showed a clock at 11 o’clock. Another showed the words, “The Eleventh Hour.” Bro. Thomas was greatly anointed to preach a message with that as the title. He also preached a message about the same time entitled “The Last Hour For Sinners.” He later wrote the recently reprinted article, “God’s Last Call.”

All had the same general theme, that the opportunity to be saved was getting shorter and shorter, that there was one more “hour” in which God would reach out. It was also emphasized ... relating this to the last invitation in the parable of the great supper (Luke 14:22-23) that God’s principal outreach would be to the unreached. He would not necessarily be going back where the message had been rejected but would go beyond the symbolic “streets and lanes of the city” to the “highways and hedges.” I believe that much of what God is doing today is happening in remote corners of the globe among those who have never before heard.

I firmly believe that in the end God’s “house” will be full. Every single man, woman, boy, or girl that the Father has given to His Son will come to Him and not be refused. John 6:37. I cannot tell you who, or how, or where. Only God can show us that. I am convinced, however, that we are in the period of God’s last call to mankind ... and time is getting shorter and shorter.

Another clear emphasis of the Spirit was upon the word “compel” in that parable. It signified the sense of urgency in the message. Time was running out. The Lord emphasized the “short work” that the Lord would do upon the earth from Rom. 9:28. Only the Lord knows how short “short” is. He has His own Divine schedule for things. Everything will happen according to His plan. But we were made to know that it is not a time for “neglecting” so great a salvation. Heb. 2:3.

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