"Steps Toward the Mark of the Beast"

Chapter 14

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Preparing for the End Times

 

Chapter 14

Preparation

Knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ has warned us about these and other things that are going to happen, we ought to begin to prepare ourselves for the days that lay ahead. Since what is happening in the world has its root causes in the spiritual realm, most of the preparations we need to make are spiritual in nature.

While I cannot specifically recommend preparations that should be made for physical survival, because every person’s natural situation is different, I do hope to provide guidance for spiritual well being. If we will seek the Lord’s will for our lives and then wholly submit ourselves to Him, we will be led by the Spirit in all things, spiritual and natural, and our Lord will provide. I cannot emphasize too strongly the necessity and urgency of spiritual preparation.

The Lord Jesus, who loves us more than any of us can comprehend, has revealed to us certain things that are going to take place in the future. We have been given these Divine revelations so that when these events begin to take place we will not be taken by surprise and also that we won‘t be fearful as we see these things taking place. The unbelievers will be surprised and terrified as these prophecies are fulfilled and when Jesus returns.

We know that these are some of the reasons that God has revealed these things to us because of what is written in the Word of God.

 

But of the times and the seasons, Brethren,

children of the day: we are not of the night,

nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep,

as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and

they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober,

putting on the breastplate of faith and love;

and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath,

but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus

Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we

wake, or sleep, we should live together with

him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together,

and edify one another, even as also ye do.

(1 Thessalonians 5:1--11)

The prophecies that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us in his Word must, and certainly will, come to pass. Knowing this, we should prepare for that which we know is coming.

 

I. Be SURE You Are Saved

The most essential preparation that every person needs to make is to be saved. Unless we are saved from the sins that we have committed, we will be deceived and face the wrath of God. To be saved we must be saved God’s way. To be saved God’s way means that we must be saved by God. Jesus is God’s way to be saved. The Bible has been given to us by God so that we might know these things and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Bible also assures us that once we have believed on Jesus Christ, we are saved and we have eternal life.

 

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the

presence of his disciples, which are not written

in this book: But these are written, that ye might

that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that

believing ye might have life through his name.

(John 20:30--31)

 

These things have I written unto you that

believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye

may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye

may believe on the name of the Son of God.

(1 John 5:13)

 

The Bible also tells us that Jesus is the only way we can come to God.

 

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not

wither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth,

and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by

me.

(John 14:5--6)

 

If you have not believed on Jesus Christ and asked him to save you, no other preparations you make will matter.

 

II. Be Careful, Do Not Be Deceived

Every false religion in the world teaches that we must do something to make ourselves deserving of salvation. These religions teach that to come to God or to achieve some state of blessedness, we must do good works to become worthy of God’s acceptance. These beliefs base our reconciliation to God, either completely or in part, on the works that we do.

God has revealed to us in His Word that we must look to him, and him alone, in order to be saved. The Bible tells us that while we may and should do the works that the Lord commands us to do, salvation does not come as a result of our works. Salvation cannot be earned by trying to keep God’s law, but is the gift of God.

Then what is the purpose of God’s law?

 

Now we know that what things soever the law

saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that

every mouth may be stopped, and all the world

may become guilty before God. Therefore by the

deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified

in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

(Romans 3:19--20)

 

We learn that the law is not the way of salvation, but that it is to teach us that we all have sinned and need to be saved by God. If the law is not the way of salvation, how then can we be saved and be made righteous before God?

 

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to

bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by

faith.

(Galatians 3:24)

 

The Bible tells us that while we cannot make ourselves righteous, God will make us righteous if we believe on Jesus Christ.

 

But now the righteousness of God without the

law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and

the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which

is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them

that believe: for there is no difference: For all have

sinned and come short of the glory of God: Being

justified freely by his grace through the redemption

that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to

be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare

his righteousness for the remission of sins that are

past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I

say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be

just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

(Romans 3:21--26)

 

Study God’s Word daily and, with God’s help, your faith will be increased and you will have a greater assurance of salvation. Since Jesus has done everything necessary for you to be saved, you can be certain that you are saved if you have asked Him to save you. God has provided salvation for us in Jesus Christ not because we are good, but because He is good.

 

III. Receive Peace and Strength for the Difficult Times Ahead

When we study and meditate upon the Word of God (the Bible likens this to feeding our souls), our faith is increased and we have a clearer understanding of who Jesus is and His plan. We also find necessary peace and strength from God for each day and for the days to come.

In the Old Testament book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel was allowed by God to see events that will take place immediately before the return of Jesus Christ. These visions were so overwhelming that they sapped Daniel’s physical strength and left him unable to speak.

 

Now I am come to make thee understand what

shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the

vision is for many days. And when he had spoken

such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground,

and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude

of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my

mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before

me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon

me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the

servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? For as for

me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither

is there breath left in me. Then there came again and

touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he

strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear

not: peace be unto thee; be strong, yea, be strong. And

when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and

said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

(Daniel 10:14--19)

 

Daniel needed peace for his heart and soul after seeing the vision of the events that will take place in the latter days. Daniel also needed physical strength after beholding these things. God provided the peace and strength Daniel needed by speaking to him.

You and I need peace and strength from God every day. God gives us all that we need for life in this world, including that which we need for our spirit and soul. Life can be hard, even tough at times, and like Daniel, sometimes we are overwhelmed. The God who has created us knows this. One great token of His love for us is that He has provided an inexhaustible supply of peace and strength for us in His Word. Just as God spoke to Daniel to give him peace and strength, God speaks to us. God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. God’s Word is powerful (see Hebrews chapter 4 verse 12) and, like God Himself, it is spirit and life.

 

It is the spirit that quickened; the flesh profitith

nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are

spirit, and they are life.

(John 6:--63)

 

The Bible speaks to our hearts and is the wellspring of all wisdom because its author is God.

 

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and

is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,

for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God

may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

(2 Timothy 3:16--17)

 

We receive peace and strength from God as we study. Meditate upon the Word, and begin by faith to live as God wants you to.

Now, if Daniel needed peace and strength from God as he was overwhelmed by the vision of the last days, how much more will we need God’s peace and strength if Daniel’s visions come to pass in our day? And if these things that were seen by Daniel are not fulfilled in our day, will we not be much better off as we face life’s trials by feeding upon the Word and receiving a greater revelation of Jesus Christ?

IV. Act

While we are not saved by the works that we do, once we are saved we are given opportunities to serve in the Kingdom of God. If we prepare ourselves spiritually, by studying the Word, applying it to our hearts and the way that we live, we can recognize and make the most of those opportunities.

All of the commands that our Lord has given us that are essential for our spiritual growth and happiness. One such command that is often ignored by Christians to their own hurt is that we should meet together.

 

And let us consider one another to provoke unto

love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling

of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but

exhorting one another: and so much more, as ye see

the day approaching.

(Hebrews 10:24--25)

 

The spiritual growth of many Christians has been stunted, and even stopped altogether, because they have failed to faithfully keep this particular command of God.

As a pastor I have heard many say, “I don’t believe that you have to go to Church to go to Heaven.” O Christian, do you not know that your happiness is directly proportional to your trust in our Lord and obedience to His Word? How can you receive the manifold blessings of God that are bestowed through the gifts of the Spirit, if you do not meet and fellowship with those upon whom these gifts are bestowed? These gifts have been given to your brothers and sisters for your benefit. How can you use the gifts of the Spirit, which God has given you for the edification and blessing of His Church, if you do not meet with your brothers and sisters in Christ? We need to carefully consider the effect of our words and deeds upon our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must ensure that we use every opportunity that our Lord Jesus Christ gives us to provoke one another unto love and good works. We must meet with others who are part of the body of Christ. It is necessary that we exhort one another to be faithful to our Lord.

As we look at world events in the light of God’s Word, we see that the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is getting closer every day. This reminds us that the Word says, “so much more as ye see the day approaching.” This means that we ought to be increasing in love and good works, assembling ourselves together and exhorting one another.

The Lord Jesus Christ is 100 percent faithful and will do everything he has said. As we read the Word, we will find that our fears are diminished, and our confidence in our Lord increases. When we put into practice the teachings of our Lord, we become more than hearers of the Word, we become doers also. It is then that we experience an exponential increase in understanding and in opportunities to serve our Lord.

The most important and immediate need that you and every other person has is to be saved. Once we have believed on Jesus Christ, being born again, we need to grow spiritually. The spiritual preparations for life today and the days that lie ahead are the most important preparations we must make. Spiritual growth can only take place if we study God’s Word, apply His teachings to our hearts, and then put them into practice in our daily lives.

But what about preparing for our physical needs? What about food and shelter? What about all of the other physical needs that I have?

 

V. God, not the World, Will Supply Physical Needs

Remember the words of our Lord Jesus,

 

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for

your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;

nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not

the life more than meat, and the body than

raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow

not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;

yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not

much better than they? Which of you by taking

thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And

why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies

of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do

they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even

Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of

these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the

field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into

the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O

ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying,

What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,

Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these

things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly

Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his

righteousness; and all these things shall be added

unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow:

for the morrow shall take thought for the things of

itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

(Matthew 6:25--34)

 

 

In these verses Jesus promises to supply our physical needs if we seek “first the kingdom of God.” In other words, Jesus is telling us that our first priority ought to be the spiritual rather than the natural, or physical. If we seek Jesus first, and submit ourselves to Him in all things, He will provide that which we need.

We must also remember, though, that He promises to supply all our needs, not all our desires.

 

And having food and raiment let us be therewith

content.

(1 Timothy 6:8)

 

One of our greatest problems in our hearts is that we sometimes desire things that we either don’t need, or that God knows would be harmful to us. This is why God doesn’t always say “yes” to our requests.

 

And this is the confidence that we have in him,

that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he

heareth us: And if we know that he hear us,

whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the

petitions that we desired of him.

(1 John 5:14--15)

 

 Certainly there is no request too great for our Lord to grant, but he loves us so much that He will not grant our request when we ask amiss. Even when we ask sincerely for something that we believe to be for the best, we must confess that we don’t know all the possible ramifications of our request. We have limited understanding, so God gives us the benefit of His omniscience. This is why we should ask, and sincerely desire that, “Thy will be done” when we pray. What could be better than our Lord’s will being done in all things? After all, his will is perfect.

 Our Lord, Jesus Christ, can provide for us in innumerable ways, even supernaturally, if necessary. Consider how he provided for the prophet Elijah:

 

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the

inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the

Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand,

there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but

according to my word. And the word of the Lord

came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and

turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook

Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that

thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have

commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he

went and did according unto the word of the Lord:

for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is

before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread

and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in

the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it

came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up,

because there had been no rain in the land. And

the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise,

get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon,

and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a

widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose

and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the

gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was

there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and

said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a

vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to

fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me I pray

thee a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said,

As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a

handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse:

and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go

in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it,

and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and

do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little

cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for

thee and thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel,

The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the

cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth

rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to

the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house,

did eat many days.

(1 Kings 17:1--16)

 

God has recorded in this passage how he miraculously provided for his prophet during the three-and-a-half year drought. Our Lord can certainly do the same for His people today, if it is his will. There are many other instances recorded in God’s Word of how He has provided for His people.

God also works through what many consider ordinary ways to provide for us. In fact, all the blessings and provisions we now enjoy come from him come either by miracles or by what we consider ordinary means. These ordinary means which are used by God are really no less miraculous than the miracles that God uses.

God enabled Joseph to interpret dreams that God had given Pharaoh concerning a fourteen year period in which there would be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine.

Behold there come seven years of great

plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: And

there shall arise after them seven years of

famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in

the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume

the land. And the plenty shall not be known in the

land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be

very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled

unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established

by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now

therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise,

and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this,

and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the

fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.

And let them gather all the food of those good years that

come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let

them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for

store to the land against the seven years of famine, which

shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not

through the famine.

(Genesis 41:29--36)

 

We see in God’s dealings with Joseph that He warned Pharaoh of the coming famine and also gave great wisdom to Joseph to lay aside a portion of the food that was produced during the time of great plenty.

In His Word, God has warned me of a time that is coming that is going to be worse than the droughts and famines of the Old Testament. These days could soon be upon us.

Now you might be asking, “Well Pastor, what do I do in my situation? Do I just go from day to day like Elijah, trusting God as He leads me? Or do I lay up provisions during this time of plenty, like Joseph?”

This is why spiritual preparations are essential, and we need to make them first. How can you know what God is saying to you, and what He would have you to do, if you have not studied His Word? If you do not come before God’s throne of grace regularly in prayer, how can you be on speaking terms with Him? If you are not applying God’s word to your heart and the way that you live now, how will you be able to follow His leading in the days that are ahead? Do you expect to hear God’s voice and for Him to reveal His will to you if you do not know what He says in His Word? Should you be surprised if God does not speak to you if you do not speak to Him in prayer? Why should God lead you then, if you do not follow him now?

Let us purpose to seek the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, and then, having prepared spiritually, we will be ready to make preparations for the physical needs that we have. Let us live by faith today and everyday, looking to our Lord Jesus for everything we need, whether spiritual or physical. Remember, if we walk with Jesus today, we won’t have to run to catch up tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

References:

 

1. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project [online], Santa Barbara, CA: University of California (hosted), Gerhard Peters (database). Accessed February 23, 2007

<http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14611&st=&stl=>

2. The United States Mint, U. S. Department of the Treasury, Historian’s Corner, Document type: Press release, Date: May 13, 1968. Accessed February 22, 2007.

<http://www.usmint.gov/historianscorner/index.cfm?action=DocDetail&id=199>

3. James Strong, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, -- charagma, Greek Dictionary 5480

4. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Etching (micro fabrication), Accessed February 26, 2007

<http:www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etching_%28microfabrication%29>

5. Tara Smith, United States Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Library, Food safety Research Information Office, Pathogen Detection and Monitoring, Animal Electronic ID, A Focus on Animal Electronic Identification. Last Updated December 2005. Accessed February 26, 2007

<http://fsrio.nal.usda.gov/document_fsheet.php?product_id=61>

6. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Animal Identification System (NAIS), Last Modified January 24, 2007. Accessed February 26, 2007.

<http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/index.shtml>

7. ibid.

8. Gerda Vandercammen, EU--25 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards EU Traceability Guidelines 2005, January 21, 2005, Accessed February 26, 2007

<http://www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200501/146118543.doc>

9. David Rennie, London Daily Telegraph, EU setting up system of spy satellites, November 16, 2005, Accessed November 17, 2005

 

<http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20051115-104933-9880r.htm>

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