Christian Churches of God
The Warning of the Last Days
(Edition 2.0 19940730-19990724-20070602)
God does not destroy a people without first warning them. This warning is executed through His servants the prophets. The warning of the Last Days is executed through a process which is itself set in prophecy. This process is examined.
The Warning of the Last Days
It is necessary that God does not destroy a people unless they know what they are doing wrong. Therefore, it is necessary to warn those people of the danger that threatens them. God chooses to do this through His servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (RSV)
Sometimes this warning is short as with the prophet Jonah, in that the warning was over three days and the period given to Nineveh to repent was forty days, and they did repent. The whole process of this prophecy and the significance of the Sign of Jonah is given in the paper The Sign of Jonah and The History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13). Sometimes the process was over a long period of time in patient long suffering, as related in Nehemiah 9:30.
Nehemiah 9:30 Many years thou didst bear with them, and didst warn them by thy Spirit through thy prophets; yet they would not give ear. (RSV)
God will not institute the process of the Last Days until He warns those nations involved. Sometimes this will be by bringing to the attention of those nations the meaning of prophecy given long ago and which has not been understood until the time.
The responsibility for the warning does not rest on God alone to appear in visions to His servants. It is for this reason that the elect were made stewards of the mysteries of God (1Cor. 4:1-2). He reveals the intent of the prophecies to them through the Holy Spirit, as we see above.
The process of warning was revealed to His servants through the passages in Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33. Ezekiel was sent to the House of Israel. He was in fact sent to the River Chebar or Khabour (Ezek. 3:15) which differs from the Chebar in 1:3 where he revealed the vision. He was sent to a tributary of the Euphrates some 45 miles from Babylon. From this text it might be assumed that he was sent to the House of Israel that was among the Babylonians at the time of the captivity. Such is the claim of modern Judaism. However, Ezekiel's mission was to the whole House of Israel and there is no doubt that the Book of Ezekiel has an end-time application to the House of Israel, which includes the elect of all nations but, more particularly, physical Israel. The responsibilities of the servants of God are to know the will of God, which is the Law, and the consequences that flow from the breach of that Law (see Ezek. 3:17-27).
Ezekiel 3:17-27 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. 22 And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. 24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. 25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: 26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house. (KJV)
The process of the Book of Ezekiel is to develop from the responsibility of the days of the Babylonian system up until the destruction of the world system at the end of the period known as the Time of the Gentiles. This sequence develops to the time of the watchmen in Chapter 33. The period immediately before that is the period covered by the prophecies concerning the fall of Egypt. This period is the subject of the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36) The Prophecy of Pharaoh's Broken Arms.
Reference was made in this paper to the passage in Jeremiah 4:15ff. Jeremiah 4:15-16 contains a rather enigmatic statement.
Jeremiah 4:15-16 For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims evil from Mount E'phraim. 16 Warn the nations that he is coming; announce to Jerusalem, "Besiegers (watchers) come from a distant land; they shout against the cities of Judah. (RSV)
The footnote to the New Oxford Annotated Bible says of this and the subsequent passages:
13-18: Swiftly, like the eagle and the stormwind, the chariotry and cavalry of the enemy approach. Communiques trace this advance from Dan (8.16), through Mount Ephraim (central Palestine), Benjamin (6.1) into Judah's heartland.
19-22: Though the people are foolish and stupid (5.2-3), the prophet laments the sudden disaster which has destroyed his beloved land like the striking of a tent (10.19-21).
23-28: In a vision, the prophet sees the terrifying results of God's irrevocable judgement (7.16; 15.1-4). As if struck by a mighty nuclear bomb, the earth has been returned to its primeval state: waste and void (Gen 1.2).
29-31: Like a rejected prostitute (3.2-3), like a woman in the anguish of childbirth, like a victim helpless before her murderer, Jerusalem, the daughter of Zion, stretches out her hands in futile appeal and suffers her death throes- alone.
The references to nuclear weapons are not accidental slips of the pen.
The commentators know that Jerusalem was alone at this time because Israel had gone into captivity in 722 BCE. Dan and Ephraim were occupied by foreign vassal peoples who would not, and did not, support or warn Judah of anything. These people were enemies of Judah and remained enemies of Judah after the exile, during the Temple reconstruction mentioned in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah. This prophecy has a dual application.
The significance of Jeremiah is that it relates to the lead-up to the destruction of the Temple, which has its end-time application in the destruction of the Temple that is the elect. The elect cannot be destroyed as such, they are figuratively scattered, many being killed. This is the activity that Ezekiel takes up from Chapter 34 after the process of the watchmen in Chapter 33. The sequence should then be able to be seen from the end of the Time of the Gentiles, with the last fall of Egypt, to the concentration of Middle East powers we now see coming together as fundamentalist Islam. These are gathered for the release of the four great Angels at the Euphrates River (Rev. 9:15) for the Wars of the Last Days, so that they will kill a third of mankind. This process is explained in the papers The Fall of Egypt (No. 36) The Prophecy of Pharaoh's Broken Arms.
Modern secular scholarship attempts to reduce the power and scope of biblical prophecy by isolating the application of the references to fulfilment in the initial Babylonian invasions. The traditional argument is that the northern tribal area of Dan was first to be invaded and then Ephraim, and so on. The problem with this scenario is that when the prophecies were written, the northern tribes had already gone into captivity and were beyond the Araxes, having been taken there by the Assyrians. Shalmaneser (724-721 BCE) conquered the northern tribes in 722 BCE and relocated settlers from Cutha, Babylon, Hamath and other areas (e.g. Medes) (see Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4, p. 191). Shalmaneser conquered Israel in 722 BCE.
But the major deportations occurred under Sargon II (McEvedy, The Century World History Factfinder, 1984, p. 20). Dan and Ephraim were gone by the time of the Babylonian invasion. Moreover, it is incorrect to say that the areas were reoccupied with Israelites in Dan and Ephraim -- they were not. The Samaritan view was that they were resettled in 722 BCE but they, as legitimate Israelites, were repatriated after 55 years, that is, in 667 BCE.
The Samaritans thus claimed to be descendants of the native Israelites mixed with the tribes put there as a deliberate process of political resettlement. The Samaritans claim to be the legitimate representatives, interpreting the texts of Deuteronomy 12:5 to make it appear as if God has chosen Mt. Gerizim, and altering Deuteronomy 27:4 with the curse from Mt. Ebal and the blessings from Mt. Gerizim. The Samaritan texts of the Ten Commandments enter a text, composed synthetically from Deuteronomy 27:2-8 and 11:30, to show that sacrifice is to occur on that mountain. Thus the Samaritan view has it that they had repatriated by 667 BCE and were in occupation of Israel at that time. The Jewish view is that they emphatically were not and that they are not Israelite. Judah cannot have it both ways. Israel was either not there and the prophecy relates to the Last Days or they were there and the Samaritans are Israelites with the true blessings.
There is no evidence that the Samaritans inherited the blessings of Ephraim and Manasseh. Indeed, the actions of Christ speak volumes in that He did not regard them as Israelite. Moreover, the interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls shows that the Jewish Community at the time of Christ held Ephraim and Manasseh to be separate and powerful nations in the Last Days. The Samaritans emphatically are not. The lost ten tribes were taken north of the Araxes and there is no biblical evidence that they were present in the time of Jeremiah and the Babylonian exile. Indeed, Jeremiah says that they were not. He says that God would cast Judah out as all the offspring of Ephraim had been cast out (Jer. 7:15). Moreover, Jeremiah 4:23ff. deals specifically with the Last Days and the desolation of the Earth and its cities. This prophecy forms a pivotal base for the Seventh-Day Adventist view of the heavenly rapture and the desolate Earth theory of the thousand years. They are wrong, in that they ignore the comment in verse 27 that the Lord will not make a full end. There is no dispute however that Jeremiah 4 has an apocalyptic application. Jeremiah develops a framework and then shows its progressive application from the fall of Judah under the Babylonians to the re-establishment in the Last Days. The prophecies therefore relate to another time which we will extract from the prophecies of the Bible. The intent of the message of Jeremiah 4:15 is that God speaks through Ephraim and not Judah in the Last Days, thus removing the priesthood. It is a fact of life that Christ removed the priesthood and placed it with a nation showing the fruits.
Jeremiah goes on to look at the failure of Israel to heed the warnings of His servants. The end-time example of this process is the symbolism of the Laodicean Church, which does not listen and also is so arrogant and self-righteous that it is spewed out of God's mouth (Rev. 3:14-22). Note the comments to the Laodiceans. Christ stands at the door and knocks. The advent of the Messiah over the last four Churches is progressively more imminent. With the Laodicean he is at the door. However, all four are present at his return. He sends his servants to the Laodiceans and they do not listen. Not only does the leadership fail among the Laodiceans, but also the elect at every level fail to act in accordance with the responsibilities laid down in Ezekiel 3 and 33. They are in such respect of persons and so materialistic, that they simply do not understand their nakedness. Think of how the elect will be judged for their respect of persons over the last fifty years.
Jeremiah looks at the process of warning the congregation in a number of significant passages. Jeremiah 7:25-28 says:
Jeremiah 7:25-28 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: 26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. 27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. 28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth. (KJV)
Thus the final casualty of the arrogant disobedience of Israel was truth. This situation is present in the Last Days with the Laodicean Church. That Church is not convicted by truth, neither in its ministry nor generally among the brethren.
The message of Jeremiah is first to Jerusalem, to Judah and then to Israel generally. The message is again taken up in Jeremiah 25:4-6.
Jeremiah 25:4-6 And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: 6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. (KJV)
This message is repeated in Jeremiah 35:15. But the difference there is that there is a small remnant, the Rechabites, who followed the commandments of their father and of God. These were rewarded. This concept is also repeated in the Sons of Zadok who approximate the loyal minority of the elect in the Last Days. This concept formed the basis of the Qumran community and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The comment that the Lord has sent His prophets rising early does not mean that the Lord gets up early. It means that the Lord sends His servants with sufficient time to do the job and repent. But they did not listen then (Jer. 25:7 ff.) and they will not listen now (Isa. 26:15-18).
The message is repeated in Jeremiah 26:3-6.
Jeremiah 26:3-6 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4 And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5 To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6 Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. (KJV)
Shiloh (or Seilun) was where the Lord set His name at first (see Deut. 12:5,11 etc.; cf. 1Sam. 4:4) and which the Lord destroyed because of its wickedness (Jer. 7:12). The message here is to the elect also in that if the Lord would not spare His house what is the end of the nation itself. Note also the concept of being spared by repentance from early warning. This emphasises the importance of timely work by God's servants. Jeremiah 29:18-19 also notes the concept of warning the nation.
Jeremiah 29:18-19 And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them: 19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Note the fact that the punishments here are the same as the second, third and fourth seals of Revelation 6. Thus the end-time duality of application is also evident.
The comments also appear in Jeremiah 44:4-5.
Jeremiah 44:4-5 Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate. 5 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods. (KJV)
The Law is the binding statute that the Lord uses to deal with the elect as well as the nation. This theme is taken up also in Zechariah 1:4-6.
Zechariah 1:4-6 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. (KJV)
The end result is that there is a general failure to repent. But the Lord will spare our people if we do the work diligently and they repent. Much of the onus is on us. The Lord must not lay this charge at our door.
And I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury it upheld Me.
This text is from Isaiah 63:1-8 and it is plainly Messianic. This text refers to the salvation of Israel because they would not lie. The love for the truth will again be restored in them.
However, when the Messiah comes, it will not be through the actions of the Church that the world is saved or even vaguely successful. They will preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Then the end will come. However, Isaiah 26:15-21 shows the actions of physical and spiritual Israel.
Isaiah 26:15-21 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. 16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. 17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. 18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. 19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (KJV)
This text is examined in greater detail in the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36) The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms.
The matter of interest here is that the text is plainly Messianic and relates to the Last Days and the separation of the elect during the tribulation. This passage relates to the harming of the Earth after the servants of the Lord were sealed (Rev. 7:3).
Firstly the elect have to be brought out, called and developed in the Spirit.
Then, after the persecution of the Last Days, they are set aside at the coming of Messiah so that the world might be brought to repentance.
The significance of the process is that we are expected to do all that we can yet it will still not bring the world to repentance. However, whether the nation is dealt with severely or whether one nation alone or Israel alone is brought to repentance and is spared is perhaps dependent upon what we do. It is not by the success of our activities that we are finally judged. It is by our spiritual state. There is, however, no doubt that we have a job to do, and a big one at that.
It is absolutely unacceptable to attempt to write these prophecies off as not applying to the Last Days when they so plainly fit into patterns that lead up to the Millennium. The entire Bible can be written off as having happened centuries ago and as being irrelevant to the end times if the approach of applying secular commentaries is taken. The Bible interprets itself and there is a responsibility on us to be diligent stewards of the mysteries of God.
The gospel of the Kingdom of God is taught by example in daily living and by direct prophecy. They go hand in hand and cannot be separated in the execution of our duties. To attempt to do so is to attempt to avoid our duties in harsh situations. If we wish to preach smooth things now, when there is no threat or persecution, how will we stand when the Jordan is in flood? If we cannot contend with footmen, how can we run with horses in time of trial?
Jeremiah 12:5 "If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you do in the jungle of the Jordan? (RSV)
The elect are now in the safest time, relatively speaking, within the English-speaking world. Yet we do nothing and fail. We are discouraged by trifles in some instances and burden each other with weights we need not bear. Remember that the text in Jeremiah 12:6 goes on to say:
Jeremiah 12:6 For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; believe them not, though they speak fair words to you." (RSV)
Speaking smooth things is easy. Going to our brother is harder. Going to someone else's brother might get us killed. We must learn to run with horses when the Jordan is in flood.
The maxim of the soldier is, as you train so you fight. There is no difference between the rigours of the battle. Satan will fight with every weapon in his armoury. We have the Spirit of Truth and the word of God. We must now prepare to understand the mysteries of God as though our life depends upon it. Ours might very well, and many of the people of our nation need to know the mysteries of God as they are brought to repentance.
An officer of another Church said recently that The Christian Churches of God was the place where the word of God was being preached –the only glimmer of light in a sea of darkness. He said that God's word would not come back empty (Isa. 55:11). Keep up the good work and support each other. Do not be discouraged because that is the major weapon of the adversary.
The next task is to proceed to the explanation of the end of the Times of the Gentiles and the preparation for the wars that are about to descend upon us. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Our preparation is not in the sense of laying aside physical provisions. We must lay up understanding. Israel was kept from defeat all the days of the wandering in the wilderness. When it came time to enter Israel, the enemy was given into their hands. So to it will be with us.
Until that time we will be kept by the Lord. Not in cotton wool, but as soldiers of the living God.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369 Woden, ACT 2606 Australia
E-mail: CCG Secretary
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