Alone in the Wilderness :: by Dan Payne

There are way too many signs happening in the world today at a far greater pace than any of us could have ever imagined. The writing on the wall is now so obvious, it’s like dreadful graffiti is being splashed on the face of every world wonder and monument.

If you believe that there are prophecies contained within the Bible that also have a future fulfillment, then you are likely looking forward to the return of the righteous King, to avenge His people and to rule over the nations.

“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land” (Joel 3:1-2).

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10).

You may also be someone who believes that the Lord Jesus will not return until the closing moments of the Tribulation in order to tread the wine-press of the great wrath of Almighty God and bind Satan for a thousand years.

“Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow— for their wickedness is great” (Joel 3:12-13).

“And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:3).

I have a question for those of you who disagree with those of us who are looking forward to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church:

If you believe the way you do now and you end up living in the Tribulation, will you be consumed with continuing the debate of the timing of the Rapture with whacky Pre-Tribbers, or would you be more consumed with looking for your King to deliver you from your time of trouble?

The debate about the timing of our King’s return would be superseded by the promise of His return. If we were all in the Time of Jacob’s Trouble together, it would be obvious that we Pre-Tribbers were wrong about the timing of the Rapture of the Church; at that point it would be a moot point.

We would all be far more concerned with our deliverance from the terrible violence of the Great Tribulation than continuing the debate of timing. Likewise, in these very troubling times before the Day of the Lord, we should all be more consumed with lifting up our heads rather than fighting amongst ourselves.

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

Of course, as a “whacky” Pre-Tribber, I believe it is a very relevant point to maintain the hope of the coming of the Lord to catch His Bride up to heaven before He unleashes His wrath upon the earth during the day of His wrath:

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16b-17).

I like to maintain my hope in the mercy, grace, and compassion that the Lord has on those of us who continue to trust in His salvation. Yes, He is the mighty King who will tread the winepress of His great wrath but He is also our Good Shepherd.

I would rather take comfort in His compassion and call out for His mercy before He unleashes His wrath upon this planet, than to strive with servants of the Lord. I trust in His righteous judgment but I also trust in His desire to keep His Bride from the harm of His righteous judgment:

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Another question for all of us who believe in the future fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies: What could Jesus have meant by comparing the days of Noah and the days of Lot with the days of the Son of Man?

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot:

They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).

When considering the Lord’s description of parties, marriages, shopping sprees, and construction projects, I believe that Jesus may have, among other things, been referring to the warnings given by Noah and Lot while their neighbors continued to engage in “business as usual” without any fear of impending judgment.

Most people agree that Noah was a preacher of righteousness and repentance:

“And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5).

The following verses make a strong case that Lot was also a preacher of righteousness (although obviously not as strong as Noah):

“And they said, ‘Stand back!’ Then they said, ‘This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.’ So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men [angels] reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door” (Genesis 19:9-10) [emphasis added].

Many obvious signs are present yet the world condemns the very few preachers left that yield their tongues to the message of righteousness. It may be that Jesus was drawing a comparison of the “quiet” before the storm that took place before the widespread judgments of the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah.

That is not to say that the time period leading up to these judgments was void of powerful messages given to the people of the earth warning them of God’s impending judgment upon its cities. It’s that the loud and thunderous voice of the preachers of righteousness from generations past had fallen silent, save one or two.

Fast-forward to today and what little voice is left also seems as if it’s preaching righteousness and repentance alone in the wilderness. Its message is falling on increasingly deaf ears.

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’” (Isaiah 40:3).

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).