CHAPTER XII

PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
(written September, 1961)

WITHOUT doubt the times in which we are living are most ominous. Everyone who is keeping abreast with current events realizes that conditions cannot continue much longer as they are. Practically all the leaders of thought in the free world are frantic lest some sudden turn of events may plunge the world into a holocaust of World War III.

The statesmen and the scientists are convinced that an all-out atomic war would practically blot out our present civilization in a few minutes of time. Our culture and civilization will be all but blotted out, not by man's doings, but by the direct judgments of Almighty God. The writings of Moses and the Prophets and of the Book of Revelation show conclusively that God will send one judgment after another which will wreck and ruin the entire present order. The sequence of events of the day of wrath of Almighty God is set forth in the Book of Revelation, chapters 6, 8 and 9, and 16, under the symbolism of the seal, the trumpet, and the bowl judgments.

The present writer shows in his volume,
Messiah: His Glorious Appearance Imminent, that the world has already had what Jesus called the sign of His Second Coming and of the end of the world (age). Moreover, in the same volume there is a discussion of "The Signs of the Times." An honest and sincere search for truth and facts will convince anyone of the correctness of this interpretation of the prophetic word.

Those who wish to make a further study of the Day of Jehovah (the Great Tribulation) will do well to study Isaiah 2:12-22; 13:1-16; 24:1-23; Jeremiah 30:4-9; Ezekiel 7:1-27; Joel 1:15-2:11; 3:1-17; Zephaniah 1:14-2:3; Zechariah 14:1-11; and Matthew 24:1-31. All these passages mean exactly what they say and should be interpreted in the light of the Golden Rule of Interpretation which is: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. Therefore take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise."

The one who studies the prophetic word must be careful lest he unconsciously begins to play the role of a prophet by making out a timetable of events, both present and future, and assures the people that the Lord is going to carry out his schedule.

In view of the facts thus presented in this Chapter, it behooves everyone to prepare for the immediate ominous crisis and for the life beyond this one. God created man innocent and perfect, endowing him with a free will and the power of choice, as set forth in Genesis, chapters 1, 2, and 3. Satan, the arch enemy of God and man, with his suave words and deceitful connivings, led man to pit his will against God's will. When man thus sinned, his nature became corrupt. Moses, the great law-giver, speaks concerning the fallen nature of man: "These are the words of the covenant which Jehovah commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.

"2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that Jehovah did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 the great trials which thine eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders: 4 but Jehovah hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day" (Deut. 29:1-4). Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, speaks of man's fallen sinful nature: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it ?" (Jer. 17:9). King Solomon declares: "Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccl. 7:29). The inspired Apostle Paul sounds the same note as Moses and the Prophets: "But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not" (Rom. 7:16-18). These verses explain man's true nature--having a desire to do good, but being driven by an irresistible force (sin), causing him to do evil.

Is there any hope for man under these conditions? Yes. The Apostle Paul declares: "Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 7:24-8:1).

A Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night for a personal interview. In the Gospel of John 3:1-6 is an account of this historic interview: "Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

In order to be born anew, one must receive the Lord Jesus Christ, the Hebrew Messiah, as the sin-bearer and redeemer of the world. When a person receives Christ into his heart, the miracle of regeneration occurs: "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). "For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10). Everywhere the Apostle Paul, in proclaiming Christ, testified "both to Jews and to Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).

How can one be born again? The first step is for one to realize that he is a sinner and that he needs a Saviour. The next step is for one to open his heart and invite the Saviour to come in. "Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom 10:9,10).

In Acts, chapters 2 and 3, are recorded two gospel sermons preached by the inspired Apostle Peter to Jewish audiences in Jerusalem. As the result of this first sermon, three thousand Jewish people accepted Christ as Lord, Saviour, and Messiah. As the result of the second sermon, the number of disciples increased to five thousand. In Acts, chapter 10, one finds a message, with attending circumstances, preached by the same Apostle to a Gentile audience, all of whom accepted Christ as personal Saviour and were baptized in His name.

All who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour are exhorted to turn in the opposite direction with respect to their former lives and conduct--right-about-face. The Apostle Peter writes to young believers in Christ, saying: "Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation; 3 if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious: 4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious, 5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:1-5).

Every believer should grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever" (II Pet. 3:18). The Apostle Paul urges the young man Timothy to "give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). The Apostle Paul pleads with the Christians in Rome, saying "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:1,2).

Satan, the arch enemy of God and man, will take advantage of everyone who serves the Lord, especially attacking the young Christian; but he is a conquered foe and must get permission from the Lord before he strikes any of God's people: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it" (I Cor. 10:13). James exhorts Christians to "be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall exalt you" (James 4:7-10). God gives victory over self and sin to those who yield their will to Him: "I write unto you, fathers, because ye know him who is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the evil one. I have written unto you, little children, because ye know the Father. 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye know him who is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the evil one. 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain-glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:13-17).

Some think there is a contradiction between Romans 7:7-25 and I John 2:13-17. There is no contradiction between these passages. There is, however, a contradiction between a false interpretation of Romans, chapter 7, and I John 2:13-17. According to this theory, the experience mentioned in Romans, chapter 7, was Paul's own personal experience. The reason for thus interpreting the passage is Paul's use of the personal pronouns--
I, me, and my. Was Paul living in spiritual defeat all the time? No. For in Galatians 2:20 which he wrote at the same time that he wrote the Roman Letter, he claims to be living a victorious life. He would not write to one group that he was living a defeated life and to another group that he was living a victorious life. Moreover, in Romans 7:9 Paul speaks of himself as though he were alive when the law was given at Sinai: "And I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died; and the commandment, which was unto life, this I found to be unto death" (Rom. 7:9,10). The law was given at Sinai approximately fifteen hundred years before Paul was born. He, therefore, was not giving his own personal daily experience; but some insist that he was, because he declares, "For that which I do I know not: for not what I would do, that do I practice; but what I hate, that I do. But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good" (Rom. 7:15,16). His making this statement, that he was alive when the law was given, cannot be taken literally; neither can his saying that he lived a defeated life be taken literally, because he plainly declares that he was living in victory. These facts demand an interpretation of his statements in accordance with the facts of the context. In Romans, chapter 7, he was therefore in a figure transferring to himself the universal experience of all men who have never been delivered from the power of sin--through the blood of Christ.

May the writer call attention to the following note of warning by Jeremiah the prophet: "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud; for Jehovah hath spoken. 16 Give glory to Jehovah your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. 17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because Jehovah's flock is taken captive" (Jer. 13:15-17).

Wisdom says to the one who realizes his lost condition and yearns for salvation to lift his heart to God, saying "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." He who comes to the Lord in genuine repentance and in real faith will be accepted of Him. For He says "... him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6-37).

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).

As stated before, everything points in the direction of the possibility of the world crisis occurring in our day, with little or no warning. The world seems ripe for judgment, and the Great Tribulation which will be world-wide will purge the earth of sin, lawlessness, and unrighteousness.

Those who are living at that time will either be translated (the Rapture of the saints) as were Enoch and Elijah or will enter the Great Tribulation and will have to endure untold suffering.

Those who are saved--born again--will be caught up out of the earth in a moment of time. Many of the good moral people and the truth seekers will during the Tribulation turn to the Lord and be saved--but at what a cost of suffering and distress! The only wise thing for a person to do now is to accept Jesus of Nazareth, the God-man and Saviour of the world, and thus make his calling and election sure. "But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep [physical death]; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; 17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thess. 4:13-18).