Doesn’t it seem as if we’re living right in the middle of the “valley of the shadow of death”? If it feels that way to you, it’s because, in a very real sense, we are. I dare say that none of us ever thought we would be living through the death throes of the once-great-soon-to-be-late United States, watching in horror and sorrow as our once beloved nation lies mortally wounded, gasping her agonal breaths.
We are living in unprecedented times. We are living through the death of a nation as well as the end of a dispensation. We are living at the very end of the Dispensation of Grace – the Church Age, that began at Pentecost 2,000 years ago. Just as the early Church was birthed in persecution (see Acts), so too will the last days Church exit this world through waves of rising persecution. The closer we draw to the time of the rapture, the more dangerous and precarious our tenuous sojourn through the dying world system will become.
Jesus Himself likened the coming Tribulation to be like birth pains. As every woman who has ever given birth knows, once real labor begins, there’s no going back; a delivery must happen. Every contraction gets stronger and closer together to the point that the contractions are almost one on top of the other. That’s when we know the birth is imminent.
The time we are living in is a paradox. On one hand, we are living through the death agonies of this fallen world system ruled by the usurper Satan — the six-thousand-year degradation and systematic destruction of God’s perfect order by Satan’s successful ruination of Paradise and fall of mankind.
When Eve allowed herself to be deceived and Adam chose to rebel, Satan’s usurpation was complete. Adam and Eve’s fatal choice plunged all future humanity into spiritual ruin and doomed everyone conceived from them to an eternal Hell. Mankind’s rescue was made possible only when God the Son wrapped Himself in human skin, and by His great unfathomable love, chose to suffer, die, and be bodily resurrected, thus paying in full the infinite penalty that fallen, sin-infected mankind could never have paid – the infinite penalty for sin that condemns to an eternal Hell every person on earth whose sins are not cleansed by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
All who refuse God’s great salvation, like Adam before them, choose to rebel and remain eternally doomed. All who reject God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, reject the only One who can save their eternal souls (Acts 4:12). This precious gift of pardon, offered freely to “whosoever” is willing to believe and accept it, is man’s only hope of redemption. There is no salvation outside of or in addition to that paid for by Jesus, God in the flesh, and by Him ALONE.
The six-millennia destruction, Paradise lost, is now coming to an end. The defeat of Satan and his final destruction is closer than just “at hand.” Right up until the nanosecond we followers of Christ are raptured out of here, we are caught in the death agonies of a depraved, reprobate, and demonically charged world that is heading inexorably into the seven-year Tribulation and Satan’s final defeat.
However, on the other hand, we who are the bride of our Lord Jesus know that what is also on the cusp, the event that is coming BEFORE those last seven years, is the birth of our new bodies – the culmination of the instant justification of our immortal spirits – justified completely and eternally the very instant we believed and accepted Jesus’ gift of eternal salvation, when we believed on Christ as our Savior and Redeemer – all through the lifelong struggle of being sanctified – changed to be transformed into His image, right up to the instant that we are caught up to meet Him in the clouds. In that instant, we will be birthed into our glorious new bodies – immortal, incorruptible, and as eternal as are our already justified, sanctified souls are eternal!
Yes, the times we are living through ARE perilous. There is no denying that fact. We are witnessing on an hourly basis now, absolutely horrific things being done. We are watching, not just our own beloved nation crumbling under the weight of rampant sin, but the entire world plunging inexorably into the abyss of the coming Tribulation.
There is great evil afoot, with even more to come. Yet we KNOW that regardless of what Satan may hurl at us, he can do NOTHING to our immortal souls. Our spirits which are already “seated in heavenly places” with our Lord are eternally beyond Satan’s grasp. That’s one reason he hates the Remnant Church so much. (Ephesians 2:6-9). Our God has promised that He WILL deliver His bride BEFORE He roars forth from His emerald-encircled throne in blinding fury to utterly lay waste to this Christ-hating world in righteous vengeance and holy justice (Revelation 3:10).
In these darkening days of the gathering storm, we must keep this truth ever before us, fellow believers. That truth is this: our Deliverer is coming! He IS coming. Until the instant when that trumpet blasts (sooner than we may dare to hope!), we must face the truth that things are not going to improve – not in our nation and not in the world.
The Antichrist system is, for all intents and purposes, complete. It only awaits the arrival of Satan’s “Man of Sin” whom The Holy Spirit, dwelling within the corporate body of the Remnant Church, is restraining. Acting in His function as the Restrainer of the Antichrist and Satan’s final assault, the Holy Spirit, through the members of Christ’s body, the believing Remnant Church, is yet restraining, hindering the Antichrist’s arrival on the global public stage. Until the Church is removed, the Antichrist cannot reveal himself and begin his reign of terror.
The global infrastructure of the beast system is already set and is ready to go the instant the Church is removed so that the man who will be the Antichrist can be revealed. The end-time players in the Middle East – Israel, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Libya, et al, are in place, politically poised, ready to fulfill their destined end-times roles. Europe is rising, as the prophesied 10 kingdoms of the last days are already coalescing, maneuvering into position. In our own nation, America MUST and WILL Fall. There is no escaping this fact. We need to understand and accept that truth. America plays NO PART in end-times eschatology. We either will not be able to assist Israel, or we will have those in power who will choose NOT to defend Israel.
In truth, we have already betrayed Israel and incurred the wrath of God by our national leaders’ blatant and purposeful decision to defy God’s covenant and divide God’s land of Israel. Like it or not, accept it or not, America is already under God’s judgment for our arrogance in trifling with the land of Israel upon which real estate God has placed His own name and ownership.
Whether God will allow the Remnant Church to remain here to witness the full collapse of this nation before we are raptured out, or whether God snatches the remnant up at the penultimate moment just before America falls or is taken out completely as THE colossus of world power she has been since WWII, we cannot know. Only God knows.
What we do know is this: the world is already neck deep in the valley of the shadow of death. In America, our culture is already flatlining. We are witnessing day by day and hour by hour the death of our culture, the death of our constitution, the death of our liberties, the death of our peace, the death of our security, the death of all we in America have ever known and once cherished. Still, as always, God Himself has already told us in His Word what is coming so that we will be prepared as we await our rescue (John 16:33). He has also given us His great assurance that even in the depths of the valley of the shadow of death, HE is right there with us.
In fact, unlike King David who had God the Holy Spirit WITH him, alongside him, we in this dispensation have the Holy Spirit actually abiding WITHIN us! So buck up, weary warrior. We may be living through the valley of the shadow that is leading inexorably to the Tribulation, but those last seven years WILL NOT BE our destination! Not at all! We are waiting for our bodies to be reborn – waiting for the redemption of our bodies; the changing of these sin-wrecked bodies into glorified ones where our already redeemed spirits will reside, fit to dwell forever in the presence of our God!
Even now in these vile bodies of flesh, God the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Even now our redeemed spirits are eternally sealed. We only await our glorified bodies (Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:53-55). We may be living in the valley of the shadow of death right now; but at any moment, in “the twinkling of an eye,” what we WILL be is reborn – changed into glorified bodies, seated around the throne of God!!
Hold on and hold tight to God’s immutable Word, family of God! We are almost home! Keep looking up!
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4, KJV).