“If my people…” :: By Terry James

This week I received a thought-provoking email and sense I should explore its contents with you.

We continue, of course, in the midst of this Covid-19 or coronavirus, or whatever you want to call it. That is literally all we can find in terms of news. If news providers or pundits move away from the topic at all, it is only for a brief moment. They are then right back to giving all the statistics and feared statistics. The pandemic’s effect on both the health of the populations of the world and the economies of the world are news-fodder 24/7.

For the prophecy student of the pre-Trib sort, many questions arise. Why was the economy moving upward as if it had JATO (forgive my old US Air Force term, for “Jet Assist Take Off”)?Then, why did that booming economy descend so dramatically as to make many believe a catastrophic crash is surely coming?

The depictions by even many of the prophecy prognosticators are so dire as to put forward that we are now into the Tribulation—the time of Daniel’s seventieth week.

And why should this not be the fear? The abject fear-mongering by mainstream news is at a near bloodcurdling level in some instances.

Here is a brief excerpt from a writer who analyzes and points to things posited by two major newspapers that can be designed to do nothing less than engender trepidation.

The New York Times claims that “the specter of death speeds across the globe, ‘Appointment in Samara’-style, ever faster, culling the most vulnerable.” Others are claiming Trump will cancel the election to rule as a Jim Jones. “Every viewer who trusts the words of Earhardt or Hannity or Regan could well become a walking, breathing, droplet-spewing threat to the public,” opined the Washington Post. (“Wake Up! Your fears are being manipulated,” by Peter Van Buren, AmericanConservative.com, Rapture Ready News, March 27, 2020)

This writer has received a number of emails expressing fear that all of this means the Rapture of the Church has somehow now been pushed back. Since I have written on numerous occasions that Jesus said that it will be like the days of Noah and days of Lot when He next catastrophically Intervenes in the affairs of mankind, the plunging economy and pandemic conditions around the world must mean the Rapture cannot be imminent.

Jesus prophesied that people will be buying, selling, building, planting, marrying, etc., when He next breaks in on this rebellious world. Just like in the days of Lot in Sodom, God’s judgment will begin falling the very day the people of the Age of Grace are called by Christ into His Presence (Revelation 4: 1).

Well, folks, guess what? People are still buying, selling, building, and marrying. The farmers will be planting this spring. While it is true that all of these things are on a frightening, downward trajectory, they are still taking place. This is not the time of Armageddon when none of these things will come close to being done as they are currently. The great Rapture event can literally happen at any moment. And it is my opinion that, despite the pandemic and the subsequent plunge of economy, the Rapture is more likely than ever to be at any moment.

The Rapture is still imminent!

My own view is that this economy will move back into the upward trajectory. But whether it does or not, we will still be buying, selling, and all of the other things mentioned by the Lord Jesus. His Words, like God, Himself, do not change. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever.

So we get back to the purpose of the thinking we are doing based upon the email I received. It was a missive that was meant to salve some of the hurting from the abrasiveness of the fear-mongering we’ve all been subjected to.

Like the Matthew 24:36–42 and Luke 17:26–30 passages about the days of Noah and days of Lot, the 2 Chronicles 7: 14 passage is declared by seminaries and their graduates’ scholarly commentaries to be for the Jews only, and for the time of Tribulation only. These, the “experts”—many of which are my good friends—say we must accept that these portions of God’s prophetic Word don’t apply to the Church. Nor are they for the Church Age, the Age of Grace.

I do not accept these interpretations. I believe these words of Christ in the Olivet Discourse are for the whole world, in every age, but particularly for the end of this present dispensation, in regard to the days of Noah and of Lot prophecy. The 2 Chronicles 7:14 directive from Heaven was indeed for the Jews, the emailer was pointing out. However, it is not exclusively to the Jews.

The Heavenly Father gives the prescription for how to deal with problems of a sin-nature that bring God’s correction and judgment on His people.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) 

Murray Lorance, the emailer, wrote in part:

While some still argue this is a message directed at only the wayward Jewish people of the Old Testament times, that same theme is introduced from the start of the Christian era in Acts 2.

Verse 38 says, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 3 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

I interject here: The words of this Scripture about being baptized for your sins, remember, is preached to the new believers in Christ before Paul’s teachings of belief only in the death, burial, and resurrection for salvation (Romans 10:9–10).

Murray continues:

This heart of this initial message is carried consistently through the gospels and the epistles, as well as the final Revelation Word from Christ Himself.

But, to completely appreciate the application of the Second Chronicles passage we have become familiar with, let’s reconnect the prior verse to suddenly see its application to today’s pandemic crisis.

II Chronicles 7:13–14 “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, of if I send the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Now, just to understand how earnest God is, back up to Chapter 6:28–31 for Solomon’s prayer of request to God.

“If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, if there is locust or grasshopper, if their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities, whatever plague or whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or all of Your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own pain, and spreading his hands toward this house, then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the son of man that they may fear You, to walk in your ways as long as they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.”

This prayer brought the response of Chapter 7:12 “Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, I have heard your prayer…”

So, will we repent to seek God’s relief, or will just a remnant plead for mercy? Could it be He is stirring hearts everywhere to seek Him? Will you be the watchman on the wall to guide that one back to truth, repentance and His righteousness? [I was delighted when I saw Franklin Graham on an advert on Fox Channel—a one-minute plea, and leading the audience in the sinner’s prayer! How bold! How badly needed in this secular culture.] “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest….! Be that faithful laborer!

If you know the Lord Jesus, you are His person. We are His People.

Let us pray the prayer of 2 Chronicles 7:14 as we look for the any-moment intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).