"Where can we go?" That's the question that Mark and I get from a lot of our Christian friends who are struggling with how to respond to the chaos and breakdown in our country. Our answer is always the same ... "There's nowhere you can move to escape what the Enemy is sowing in the hearts of men."
These are good Christian men and women who believe in Jesus. But what does that statement really mean? I can say for sure that they're not fence-sitters -- they have clearly chosen to pursue faith in Jesus, and sincerely want to know how to respond in these desperate times. But have they truly been equipped to see beyond this natural realm into the spiritual? Are they mature enough in their faith to endure the fundamental changes that might soon take place in our homeland?
I will tell you that there are those who are still counting on the Rapture to catapult them off the earth before things "get too bad". And when I tell them that the Bible never promises us that; only that we are not appointed to God's wrath, and His wrath comes right before the "terrible day of the Lord", which is the judgment of the earth. That interpretation is usually met with a period of prolonged silence. And I then explain that as I read the Bible it is clear to me that we will experience the Tribulation, and then I tell them why .... First, Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that we will recognize the "birth pangs" of the coming Tribulation by the signs (wars and rumors of wars; nations against nations; kingdoms against kingdoms; famines and earthquakes); in other words, general upheaval across the globe. And then, comes the specific warning for us Christians: "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." There is nothing in that passage that hints we will be delivered out of those adversities.
I then explain that, to my sorrow, I discern that there will be many Christians who "fall away" from their faith; with their love of Jesus [and their faith] growing cold because their expectations of "deliverance from the hard times" has not been met. They will falter and lose their hope and strength in the Lord, and there will need to be at least a remnant on the earth who can speak God's truth into their hearts and help them to endure and be overcomers.
Secondly, there is still work to be done for the Kingdom during the Tribulation! There are still people being born; people who need to receive Salvation and enter into their Kingdom citizenship to battle alongside us in the Spirit until Jesus returns to wipe out the evil on the earth. God wishes no one to perish and we will still be able to have an impact on people's lives during those harrowing times.
Then once Christians get over the shock that they might actually have to experience the Tribulation, then we have to have the talk that all their worldly goods will not be able to save them from the great trouble or suffering that is prophesied in the Book of Revelation. You see, this nation has a history and legacy of prosperity. Even our poorest citizens are richer than many in Third World countries. True, our distribution of wealth is unequal, and the span between the rich and poor is getting even wider. So, let's just agree that we in America are pretty comfortable by the world's standards.
I often hear from Christians who, until now, have clung to the belief that the power of the United States of America would be everlasting; that it is iindestructible. But now that foundation is beginning to crumble, and they want to know how to preserve their wealth; their money, their 401(k)'s; their houses and property if "things go south", and the unimaginable happens .. the ruination of the US economy. They want to know where they can go [on earth] to maintain the lifestyle that they've worked so hard to achieve and protect. I tell them that the world as they know it will no longer exist. And then I tell them it's time to open their Bibles and read. Their answers are in that book which God gave to us to reveal His heart and His plan of redemption. If we come to that point, it's time to flip to the Book of Revelation.
When Jesus opens the Scrolls in Heaven, it begins an unprecedented chain of events upon the earth, in which Death and Famine and Disease preside, along with earthquakes and devastation of the seas and the first heaven; and the martyrdom of the Saints during the great Tribulation. With each successive seal that is opened, and trumpet that is sounded, the battle between God and Satan for the peoples and the earth increases with intensity. I try to explain to my friends who are comfortable in their faith and their possessions, that when that time comes, they will have no concern for 401(k)s or big houses and fancy cars. It will be a matter of survival in the Lord.
But all will not be hopeless! Those of us who are enduring for the Lord will see 144,000 of the lost sheep of Israel come to faith in Jesus Christ, their Messiah! They will resume their intended purpose: to lead all nations of the earth to faith in YHWH. Those of us who endure will hear of the testimony of God's two witnesses in Jerusalem for the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation. We will hear of the joyous celebration by God's enemies when the witnesses are killed and their bodies lay in the street for 3.5 days. But the faithful of YHWH will themselves rejoice when "the breath of life from God enters the witnesses, and they will stand up on their feet" and respond to the shout from Heaven to "Come up here!" We will pray for the 7000 souls lost in the subsequent earthquake, but praise the Lord for "the rest [who] are terrified and give glory to the God of Heaven"!
I know that to some of you I may sound like a Doomsday sayer. I don't sound like some of the prophets of today who are speaking of a great and imminent revival that is set to sweep the globe in the near future. They predict that this unprecedented and unparalleled revival is in answer to our prayers to heal this world, and it will precede the final lawlessness of the Enemy and the Coming of the Lord. I'm sorry, but I don't see any indication anywhere in the Bible of such a tremendous and multitudinous renewal across the globe in the last days. However, I do believe that there will be huge spiritual return to God, as He draws forth His Remnant; Believers who will walk in such supernatural power and authority that they will resist the Enemy's numerous forces and stand on the earth in mighty opposition to the Man of Lawlessness and his Beast System. People will be drawn to their message and souls will be won for the Kingdom. And I praise the Lord for that!
In the final analysis, there is one thing I know for sure ... God has not given up on America, even though we have slowly, through the last 50-60 years, seem to have given up on Him. I believe that He could decide to pour out His Spirit upon our land, and we still have time to turn this ship around. But we need to be asking different questions. Instead of, "When is the Rapture coming?", we need to be asking ourselves if we are prepared to endure and overcome what might be the darkest hour in our nation's history. Instead of asking, "Where can we go if the US economy collapses?", we need to take a measurement of our faith. Are we secure in Jesus, or do we find our security in our position and possessions? And finally, instead of looking and waiting for the fourth great awakening in America, perhaps we should invite the Spirit to breath new life into us, as individuals, and re-commit ourselves to our Lord's command to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to our fellow man. So, where can we go? Anywhere the Lord sends us, and to the ends of the earth, if necessary.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.