The Great Time of Trouble
Considering the fact that we now live in a time in which not only do “strange children” (Hosea 5:7) i.e. the tares outnumber the wheat, the true children of God, but likewise the great company outnumbers the “little flock” it is not hard to see why there are so many brethren who have returned to slumbering once again (Matt 25:5), content with the knowledge of the Lord’s Parousia. Such have put far from their minds any study and preparation for the events soon to come as they imagine them still far off, imagining we suspect that the harvest will cease prior to the beginning of these events and that should it come in their life time they will receive some kind of a warning from the Lord so that they can then prepare. The truth is there will be a warning but only perceivable to those who are fully awake and watching for it. Imagining that the harvest must completely end prior to the beginning of these final events is a fallacy which many have fallen prey, the Scriptures seem to indicate otherwise, viz.
“Behold the days are coming says the LORD, when the plowman shall overtake (follow close after) the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed” (Amos 9:13)
The work of “reaping” the Gospel harvest progresses, but even now the plowman (the great time of trouble, which began in 1914) is beginning to overtaking the reapers, and the trader of grapes (the various sides being mustered for this final conflict) and, those who are sowing seed for the next age, shortly this will bring about the closing of the reaping work, for “the night comes when no man can work” (John 9:4).
“The closing in on this night will evidently put a stop to any further labor to disseminate the truth, which, misunderstood by the public generally, will probably be accused of being the cause of much of the anarchy and confusion then prevailing. Nor should we expect that the coming of night and the closing of the door will be sudden, but rather that it will be a gradual obstructing and closing down of the Harvest work.
“Observe that, when this night comes, when the reapers must cease their labors, it will prove (i.e. serve as a warning) that this final work of the Gospel Age is accomplished; that the elect number of the Bride of Christ have all been ‘sealed‘ and ‘gathered‘ into a condition of separateness from the worldly-into the barn condition (Matt 13:30); for God will not permit anything to put an end to his work until it is finished. Then, all the true and faithful servants of God will have been sealed in their foreheads; and, the work of the Gospel Age being finished, no more can enter into that work or reap its rich reward, foretold as the reward of the faithful who enter while the ‘door‘ is open.” —2 Pet 1:4 (Volume III, Pages 210, 211, 212)
“God’s time table is not altered nor changed! “[The vision] speaks of the end, and it will not deceive: though it [seem to] tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not be delayed.” (Hab 2:3)
Of special note in Habakkuk’s prophecy is the reference to an apparent time delay with respect to the fulfillment of the vision: “Though it tarries, wait for it.” Hence, there seemed to be an advance indication that the full establishment of the Kingdom as well as of events immediately preceding it, viz. the end of the harvest, the destruction of Babylon, the completion of the Church and etc., would not be as smooth and as rapid as had been originally thought and that there would be the appearance of a delay in its implementation. As such, the prophecy offered a message of assurance and a gentle word of advice: The vision is certain, it will yet be fulfilled in due time; therefore, wait (watch) for it patiently.”
“Whatever the character of the watching, and whatever the thing to be looked for, there can be no question that the exhortation to watch for an event whose precise time is not stated implies that the watching ones will know when the event does take place. Watch, because ye know not, in order that at the proper time ye may know, is the thought; and the intimation clearly is, that those who do not watch will not know: that is the events which are to be known in due time to the Watchers will be recognized by them, and not recognized by others, at the time of accomplishment.” (R2359)
If one takes the time to examine the facts for themselves it’s easy to see how quickly things could likely play out, the fact is the events on our list (See “A Great Storm Approaches”, Part 6) could all transpire within a very short period of time say within about two to three years possibly less, likewise they could begin tomorrow or perhaps even today.
“Remember the Lord has told us that He will “make a short work of it.” Just how short the work will be would be conjectural. Every one may have his own opinion. At one time the Lord speaks of it as being “in one hour;” another time, as “in one day;” and the Apostle speaks of it as coming like travail upon a woman with child–suddenly.” (R5567)
One day you went to work concerned about your job, your employer was cutting your hours and you were wondering how you were going to pay your bills and provide for your family, or perhaps you were planning to take that long awaited vacation or possibly planning to buy a new car, may perhaps you were about to get married, and the next day you woke to find that it had begun, the world as you once knew it was changed forever, nothing that you had thought about previously meant anything to you anymore, the end of the present order was now upon us.
Lately I have come to see more and more signs that point to the fact that the end is near, even at the doorsteps, that it merely awaits the right spark (the first event) or catalyst to set it off, in fact the world seems to be in anticipation of this, however ignorantly.
“Watching carefully respecting our whereabouts, hopeful and solicitous respecting the gracious things which God has promised, none of the Watchers are indifferent to these fulfillment’s of prophecy, which are to be seen on every hand to-day. All men discern these things, but not all alike: the faithful, the Watchers, discern them not only as facts, but also as fulfillment’s of prophecy; as proofs that we are already in the period termed “the end of the age.”
“The Watchers look not merely at the outward signs, as seen in the world. They scrutinize carefully and repeatedly their “chart,” the Bible’s prophetic outline of the world’s history, furnished by the King himself. It is because they see the time of trouble outlined in the prophetic chart that they know that it is sure to come, and are able in advance of others to “discern the signs of the times,” and not to be in darkness respecting “things to come” as do the majority of the nominal church who slumber. It was in respect to this that the Lord promised the watchers that the holy spirit should guide them into all truth, as each feature (or event) becomes due, and would show them things to come–future things–in advance of the world’s knowledge, and in advance of the facts (the outward evidences) themselves.” (John 16:13) R2359
Have you taken noticed that there are more and more commercials, shows and documentaries of late on preparation and readiness for some type of perceived future catastrophe? There is this push to place ones assets into more stable commodities such as gold and silver as the speculation is that paper currency will soon be worthless as the debt crisis continues to loom; there is a push toward more home gardening and self-sufficiency, the acquisition of sufficient stores in order for an emergency, possibly a pandemic or some other such catastrophe. I saw a commercial on TV the other day where some company was selling pre-packaged stores for long term emergencies; this was something which previously was generally confined to extremist and to survivalist magazines, no longer now it’s becoming an acceptable necessity. They suggest a minimum six months to one year store obviously they anticipate some type of long term event which would necessitate such a store.
There was even a show on this very same thought the other day on the History Channel I believe it had something to do with the aftermath of Armageddon and how to survive I think. It was rather interesting barring the typical dramatics of a Hollywood production; I think possibly that this was what made it even more compelling. However we ourselves know full well that immediately following the Great Storm, i.e. Armageddon the Lord’s kingdom will be established in all the earth, the struggle for survival which they imagine will not come after Armageddon, but rather during Armageddon.
Another issue which was not addressed in the documentary was that they were simply imagining a scenario involving man-made catastrophes possibly some type of nuclear fall-out, a pandemic, disease, pestilence, famine, anarchy, but in truth these will not be the only dangers to be faced at this time not only will there be man-made catastrophes to be faced, but likewise natural disasters (enormous earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, storms and etc., as the planet (both the surface and the atmosphere) readies itself for the incoming kingdom, a kingdom paradise, a kingdom in which we are assured that nothing shall hurt (cause injury) or harm to any man whilst he is traversing the highway that leads to holiness, for the former things (pain, suffering, sorrows and death as well as natural disasters, calamities and etc.) will have passed away. The scriptures speak of a “Great” earthquake yet to come (Rev 16:18; Ezek 38:19, 20), and although this is SYMBOLIC of the “great time of trouble” soon approaching, with its eruption (earthquake) of revolution and turmoil leading to anarchy, wherein every man’s hand shall be turned against his neighbor (Zech 14:13) it may well also have a LITERAL application. The earth’s mantle has yet to have ceased its movements, and come to a complete (calm) settlement, even now one layer of the earth’s crust (tectonic plate) rides upon another, just like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, which although it’s just about in its proper place, has not yet to be firmly pressed down flat into its place (because of underlying pressures). Even the groaning creation itself still waits for the word of the Lord, “Peace, be still” (Psa 46:10; Mark 4:39).
And yet there is still another difficulty here too which they have overlooked and that is that they are only thinking in two dimensions when in fact they better be prepared to think in three dimension, or should we say “outside the box” of human mindedness, because there is yet another element here which is going to come into play during this crisis, and that is Satan and the demonic host, the fallen spirits free from their chains. All of these elements working together are what will comprise the “four winds” of destruction.
Nevertheless it is important to remember that God is at the helm, and that all things are working according to the counsel of his will, that is to say that every prophetic utterance spoken by Himself and his prophets is assured of fulfillment and nothing, no power in heaven or earth, could possibly alter his purposes. In the end he will cause the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of man’s wrath (which would not praise him) he will restrain.
“Then I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” (Rev 14:14)
“In the scriptures “clouds” especially dark clouds, storm clouds typically represent “trouble”, but this cloud is white, righteous trouble. It is righteous because it is the Lord’s wrath undoing the unrighteousness of the age. Jesus has returned; and as is the tendency of Revelation, he is not called Jesus, but rather the Son of Man. It is interesting to note that he sits on the cloud. To “sit” upon something is to be in a position of control over what is sat upon. Thus this impending trouble is not random trouble; this is controlled trouble. No matter how severe the time of trouble may become, we may rest assured by this verse that it never will be let out of control. On his head is a golden crown, divine authority. In his hand a sharp sickle, the device for harvesting. This verse shows so clearly that when the king returns it is not for the peaceful kingdom immediately; it is to control the trouble which will destroy Babylon, and to harvest the wheat.” (N.A.N.O.R. Page 179)
In conclusion let us note the admonishment of the Pastor:
“Dear brethren, in these coming days of trouble, which may be very near, the opportunity may come to you and to me to be either strife-breeders or peace-makers. Let us see the will of the Lord in this matter, that we are called to peace, and that the declaration of the Master is, ‘Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God.’
“Let us seek rather to subdue and calm the passions of men in the coming strife, and to do nothing to augment them or to kindle the fires of passion which we know are about to consume the present social fabric. Let us point out to those with whom we have any influence that the worst form of government in the whole world is better than no government—better than anarchy, a thousand times. Let us remind them of the fact that in God’s providence we have the best of all earthly governments.
“Let us remind them, too, that the Lord has told us to wait for Him and not to take matters into our own hands (something which many in the professing Church have disregarded). His words are, ‘Wait ye upon Me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language (message), that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent.’—Zeph 3:8, 9.”