Friday, June 21, 2013
Find Shelter before the Storm
I read somber words in the book of Zephaniah today during my time with the Lord. He was the prophet in the time of Josiah, King of Judah, before Judah was destroyed by Babylon in 586 B.C. Although he spoke to the Southern Kingdom of Israel, who carried on David's royal line, he also was speaking to the whole world. He not only spoke of Judah's destruction but of the "Day of the Lord."
To those of us who study Bible prophecy we believe this day will come in the time called the Tribulation Period, a time that will come after the true Church has been removed from this planet. This will be a time of sorrow and destruction like no other, a time that no man on earth would ever want to be here to experience. Jesus informed us that when the antichrist, a man who pretends that he in fact, is God, sacrifices a pig in the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem, that that would be the sign that would kick off the great tribulation. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 24: 21-4.
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here [is] the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe [it]. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
In Zephaniah today, correlating with the Matthew passage, Josiah's prophet sorrowfully foretold what would happen to Judah, and the earth in the last times. This agrees with what Jesus said.
Zephaniah 1: 14-18
"The great day of the LORD [is] near; [It is] near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. That day [is] a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the LORD; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse. Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the LORD's wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land."
Don't you see the symptoms already? People are distressed because silver and gold are failing them, the lands are being devoured before our eyes. It is just the thunder rumbling in the distance yet. It is warning ...find shelter. Are you on the outside?
There is a place of safety...You don't have to stay and face this storm here.
Did you notice in the above passage it says that God pours out wrath because men have sinned? Today, since the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God there remains only one sin left that will not be atoned for. Do you know what that one sin is? Simple childlike faith in the Son of God.
Jesus gave us the answer in the book of John. He said to the Pharisees in John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am [He], you will die in your sins."
Wouldn't it be nice to know that as the headlines get more frightening each and every day, you do not have to vainly hope that things will somehow get better? Do you really think they will? As David wrote so long ago:
Psa 20:7 Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
King Josiah the king was spared being carried into captivity. Though his father Manasseh was an evil king, Josiah restored temple worship as a boy king and is remembered for being one of the godly kings of Judah. Zephaniah, after writing of gloom and despair for Judah, went on to speak of the love of God with some of the most tender words in all Scripture, in my opinion.
Zephaniah 3: 14-17
Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all [your] heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, [is] in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet [you] with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
To anyone who has not come into the Place of Shelter yet, that is what the Lord of Love wants to do. He wants to quiet you with His Love, He wants to rejoice over you with singing! "How could He do that?" you might ask. You might think that your sins are too great for Him to forgive, too great for Him to endure.
But God's shoulders are/were strong enough! When He carried the cross up Golgotha hill for us all 2,000 years ago, He had you personally in His mind. His body and soul were strong enough to include the heinous wickedness of all of our sins. In His first Advent, He dealt sin the death blow. In His second Advent, He will vanquish evil forever. Through Hosea the prophet God says:
I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely
for my anger has turned from them.
Why did God say that? Because His Son satisfied His justice on the cross forever, once for all time.
II Cor. 5: 14-5: For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
So now, whoever you are, whatever you've done, can come inside for shelter from the storm. I hear the thunder...see the flashes...hurry, come on in now.