Be Careful-COVID19: Watchers through a Glass, Darkly :: By Joe Southerland

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

We are living in uncharted times. For the first time in a generation, things throughout the entire world are in turmoil. Because of the corona virus, COVID19, things have suddenly become unpredictable and uncertain…and a little scary. Things seem out of control. Does anyone know what is going on? Does anyone know what will happen tomorrow? Our once fairly predictable future has now become blurred as if a veil has been placed before us, clouded with uncertainty.

We are in a time of pestilence and sorrow…

As a lifetime student of prophecy, I can say with certainty we are, at a minimum, within the following passage of scripture:

Matthew 24:3-8 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Notice the word pestilence; the Greek word is loimosa plague (literally, the disease, or figuratively, a pest):–pestilence(-t).

Notice also the word sorrows; the Greek word is odin – a pang or throe, especially of childbirth – pain, sorrow, travail.

There is no doubt, in the light of these scriptures, we are in a pestilence/plague of global proportions, so we are indeed residing in the sorrows prophesied by Jesus Christ. Whether we are at the beginning or end of the sorrows is up for debate, and that is what the focus of this article is upon. What is happening next? What does the world look like after COVID19 passes?

How do we discern the truth from all the hype and speculation running rampant in the secular world, as well as in the prophetic circles? Well, the first place we should look to for wisdom and perspective is our Bible, the Word of God.

Lessons from the greatest prophetic event of all time…

Concerning the future in hindsight, as we look upon the numerous Old Testament scriptures that predicted Christ’s first advent, it is fascinating that nearly no one foresaw the timing of the Messiah’s birth.

Here is the Lord God’s greatest focal point in mankind’s history; and despite the hundreds of verses pointing to the Messiah’s coming, even the imminent scholars and holy men who dedicated their lives to studying the scriptures failed to recognize Jesus Christ’s first advent.

To our knowledge, no one living at that time fully perceived His arrival time, let alone the wondrous, miraculous nature of God’s redemptive plan for Mankind through our Savior Jesus Christ.

Even Satan, the most perfect and intelligent of God’s creations, despite all his unearthly powers and his centuries-long vigilant watching over Israel so he could crush the seed of Eve, failed to see Christ’s long- predicted birth (Ezekiel 28:12, Revelation 12:4).

Had any of us lived during that time, would our watching have yielded anything different? No.

Were these people’s inability to see the Messiah’s coming because the Old Testament Bible believers prior to Christ were less intelligent or devoted than believers today? No.

Why? What was the reason no one saw it coming?

The reason for the world’s complete blindness was because God willed it to be so!

The entire world failed to see the Messiah’s first coming because God wanted his arrival to be accomplished in humble glory, veiled in mystery; sealed in a time and space known only by the Lord God himself.

It was only after God lifted the veil could a Spirit-filled man look upon the scriptures and fully know how God wondrously and miraculously fulfilled the prophecies concerning the birth, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:7).

Today, we set upon another threshold…

But before I continue, let me firmly state I believe that the most solid scripturally and spiritually-based understanding of God’s Word and plan for mankind is the Dispensationalist, Futurist, Pre-tribulation Rapture, Millennialist interpretation. It is that Biblical lens with which I view this fallen world, and it is from that perspective I teach.

As I was saying… today we are in the midst of a COVID19 pandemic, as we sit upon another threshold in the Lord God’s unfolding plan. As Christians with God’s Holy Word in our hands, we await the Blessed Hope, the Rapture, and watch for additional signs of the pending Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But today we are doubly blessed because we not only have the Bible; we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

However, even with that, as with the First Advent, the exact timing and sequencing of events preceding the Second Advent (the Rapture, Psalm 83 Battle, Isaiah 17 Oracle, the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel’s Seventieth Week), though they are in the scriptures right before our eyes, the details and timing of these events remain intentionally, partially veiled from us by our Lord God.

The unfolding will remain partially veiled

I believe it is the Lord God’s will that the fullness of these events, like COVID19, are sealed in time and space known by him alone, and their exact unfolding will remain unknowable to both mankind and Satan’s kind.  We watchers will watch only through a glass, darkly, because that is God’s intent.

Our Lord God alone holds eternity in his hands, and no one in heaven or earth has his full council; no one. Yes, we can know the rough outline of End-Time events by careful study of God’s Word, but no one man, or group, knows all of God’s End of Days’ mysteries. Only when God has executed his plan will all the individual scriptural threads be able to be woven into the unified and radiant tapestry of God’s perfect plan for the final days of the redemption of mankind.

Accordingly, as the End Times draw near, Church Age believers will continue to be mouth agape, awe struck as God continues to pull away the veil leading up to the End of the Church Age at the Rapture.  We will continue to be surprised until, in the blink of an eye, we are taken home.

Likewise, following the Rapture, the entire world will be equally dumbfounded with the gradual unveiling of the seven years of tribulation, a time like no other since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be. With the end result being every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

What God has prepared for the Church and the world will be far more awesome yet tumultuous, wondrous yet devastating, and miraculous yet horrifying, than any created being can envision from the limited glimpses our Lord God has provided us in His scriptures.

Be careful my brothers and sisters…

As time draws closer, we can anticipate increased spiritual activity spilling over into our physical world, and that many of Satan’s spiritual minions and those who fall under influences will present false messages and interpretations. Many of those messengers will claim to be believers in Christ, or they may be just misguided Christians following their own selfish desires versus the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Therefore, we must be very careful, weary in fact, of those who claim to know precisely when, where, how and by whom End-Time events shall occur. We must be on vigilant guard against those who readily provide unique insights into the details of God’s plan.

Paramount is knowing how these individuals view Jesus Christ and God’s Holy Word. For anyone to provide valid insight into God’s planning, they must first openly confess belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and they must revere God’s Word. If these criteria are not met, their words are to be dismissed.

We must know if these people are professing speculation, illumination, inspiration, or revelation; these are very different things.

Speculation, illumination, inspiration, and revelation: know the difference

Speculation is unbridled human thought untethered by the Word of God, the Holy Spirit guidance, and the sounding board of other Bible Believing Christians. Speculation is what the heathens do. As a Child of God, you need to clarify when you are speculating, or others may think you are speaking from a Biblical frame of reference. Also, if you are alone in your speculation and other Believers do not confirm your muses, it likely is nothing more than worldly thoughts.

Illumination occurs to many Believer who study the Word of God, spiritually seeking truth. It occurs when you have read a passage multiple times thinking you fully understand it’s meaning, and then the Holy Spirit sheds light on God’s Word with an interpretive meaning or connective scriptural association you had never considered before. Often times this is very personal as the Holy Spirit comforts you with God’s guiding assurances in your walk. Your illuminations must be confirmed by other Believers to be anything other than a personal gift of comfort from God.

Inspiration is when the Holy Spirit guides Believers in composing songs, writings or oratory expressing, interpreting or applying to life the truths found in God’s Word. For inspiration to be valid, it must be: 1) firmly rooted in and not in conflict with any of God’s Word, and 2) confirmed by the Holy Spirit residing within other Bible-believing Christians – for no scripture inspiration is of private interpretation. The Triune God has built a foundation of truth and prophecy into His Word, and individuals can neither remove the stones, nor expand upon the foundations; we can only explain how things may be built upon the holy truth found in the Bible.

Revelation direct from God is rare. If anyone is declaring a new revelation from the Lord God, Jesus said, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev 22:18-19).

The cannon is closed, and no private revelation apart from the scripture is valid (2 Peter 1:20).

Our key weapon in discerning End-Times truth is the Bible. Many have and will try to pass off their self-derived mere speculation as inspired interpretation, or even revelation. God’s Word cautions us to test the spirits against Holy Scripture (1 John 4:1), for the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). And, It is better to trust in the LORD [and His Word, if I may add] than to put confidence in man (Psalms 118:8).

As we watch, we must constantly check men’s assertions against the Word, be in close fellowship with the Holy Spirit, pray for discernment, and be in concert with others who believe in God’s full scriptural council, but we must remember…

No one has the complete picture of what will unfold in the End Times but our Lord God!

That said, we do have the complete Gospel. COVID19 now has Mankind’s full attention, and has shaken their once predictable, controllable future. It is time to reach out and help move them from the darkness of uncertainty into the light of Jesus Christ.

God bless! Come, Lord Jesus, come!

J&J Ranch Ministries “But as for me and my <ranch>, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15)

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