By Pastor Mike Taylor – http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-cry-of-watchman.html
Many people see the signs of the times and wonder when will the Tribulation be beginning in earnest. Many see the economic problems of this age, and the lawlessness unfolding at greater depths of sinfulness than in any previous years. Many of them are old timers like me, who remembers a more peaceful time, but note that that peace is slowly being taken away. Young people who have not been taught by their parents who were, in return, not taught by their parents, have come to see what is happening with blindfolds on their eyes. They haven’t got their eyes open to what is actually happening and will be prime candidates for the coming One World religion and the “mark of the beast”.
Folks see the cashless society that is being pushed in foreign countries like Sweden, and worry about having to take an implant or a tattoo on their bodies, especially with RFID chip that some businesses are offering their employees. With this going on even in the USA, some wonder can the mark be taken without repercussions to their spiritual lives. They ask, “so what do we do?”
We know that this world we live in, is one step away from this NWO and the Anti-Christ is standing just off stage right waiting for the right crisis to reveal himself. Many people email me with questions that only show that they are frightened with what is coming at them at near “warp speed” and their anxiety grows even more prevalent in their everyday lives.
CAN I TAKE THE MARK UNWITTINGLY?
I had a person ask me, as I have explored the possibility that we are in the Tribulation already (which we are not) but she asked me, which I expand this to all who may have the same question “Can a person take the Mark of the Beast without meaning to?” The short answer is “NO” you cannot. Reason being that the coming Mark of the Beast is not only designed as an economic mode of exchange like we see with chips on credit and debit cards used on the world market that will soon be under control of one central authority, but it is also a “worship system” that you have agreed to be a member of the Church of the Anti-Christ/Satan. If it were just an economic mode of being a part of the buy/sell of this coming end time world, then it wouldn’t be as dangerous to one’s spiritual health, but you have embraced the Anti-Christ as a god on earth.
The penalty of refusing the coming Mark of the Beast is a refusal to worship the abomination of a beast called the Anti-Christ, and no one will escape the attention of the false prophet who will be able to monitor every person on the planet for compliance or their refusal which will lead to the ultimate penalty of death by whatever means available, but the the bible speaks of being “beheaded” as the most severe form of this punishment.
14 “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:14-17)
WHO WILL YOU FOLLOW?
But the bible makes it perfectly clear that you cannot serve two masters:
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
You can’t serve in the Church of the Anti-Christ and claim to love God or serve Him. Being a symbol of membership in the “beast” end time one world religion, it gives the person a few short years of privileges under its rule to life, liberty and the right to pursue some form of economic happiness, but it is a lie of Satan and the ruling authorities. It will end in eternal doom.
But in order to accept this Mark, there must be a false prophet that demands worship of the Beast. The demand to worship rewards the person with this Mark that they have agreed to worship at the altar of a false god on earth who elevates himself, proclaiming himself to be God.
Those who refuse to accept this mark will be rounded up like so much cattle and marked for extermination. This was unheard of 50 years ago, but with the advancement in computer technology, everyone in this planet is being monitored even now, even if you don’t know it. So no one can take the mark “by accident”. It will be a conscious decision that will be imposed on everyone, and even if they take the mark under duress or fear for their family, the Mark will be their doom to destruction in the Lake of Fire.
WHAT HOLDS THIS EVIL BACK?
But to Christians in this Age of Grace, the revealing of the Anti-Christ cannot be revealed as long as the Holy Spirit is upon the earth as a restraining force against evil.
6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-10)
The He is a personal pronoun in verse 7. It is not a thing, or something on earth in the physical realm, but can only be God’s Holy Spirit that is withholding evil at bay, until He allows Satan to have full sway over all the inhabitants that are still living on this planet, or as the bible calls, the nations, or “earth dwellers”. It is designed by God to bring judgment by using Satan to do his dead level best to pervert mankind and bring them to destruction. And Satan will be very successful in deceiving those who only want to continue in the evil lifestyle and continue to enjoy their unrighteous acts of lawlessness.
But concerning the coming Mark of the Beast, the bible is very specific of what the penalty will be for taking this mark, for whatever reason:
9 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:9-11)
Some Christians find it difficult to reconcile the grace of God with such a harsh penalty – something I’ve always found baffling, since those same Christians have no problem with the concept of eternal damnation.
But what about salvation by grace through faith? Who are the Tribulation Saints? And if the Holy Spirit has been withdrawn, how did they get saved?
People will still be getting saved, but the Age of Grace with the sealing of those who accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior will be withdrawn, and it will be much as it was in Old Testament times. This Age of Grace end with the rapture of the Church to proceed with Daniel’s 70th week, or the final week of the Age of the Law which was cut off when Jesus was crucified.
Many come to repentance, but are not sealed save the 144,000 Jewish Evangelist from the 12 tribes of Israel. It is so important that Jesus devotes an entire chapter that John writes down to make clear this special sealing of the “servants of God in their foreheads”
2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:2-4)
BEING SEALED IN THE TRIBULATION
The Greek word translated in Revelation 7:3 as “sealed” is sphragizo meaning, “to stamp for security or preservation.”
This is the same seal that is given those of us who believe in the Church Age and are sealed, but this seal is given to them only (the 144,ooo Jewish Evangelist), and no one else received this “deposit” of God’s Holy Spirit, so each man and woman must guard their repentance and accepting Jesus as Savior to the very end. It is why it is written:
21 “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” (Matthew 10:21-23)
That enduring to the end, are those who guard their salvation and DO NOT give into the deception of the Anti-Christ, his false prophets, or end time goons that work for them, even under duress and fear for their lives, or loved ones lives.
Note that the message of Matthew 24 is directed to the nation of Israel, or the Jews at the time of Jesus? The Church had not been formed yet, and the focus of the ministry of Jesus was the Lost Sheep of Israel. Not until the day of Pentecost, did the ministry of the apostles, especially Paul focus on the Gentiles.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER LEAVE US.
God told us that He would send us a Comforter that would abide with us forever, and would NEVER leave us alone.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
So the obvious interpretation in the verses I have quoted in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 and the one just above, if the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, so will those who He indwells, as He will never leave us. A clear sign of the rapture of the Church.
TWO PURPOSES OF THE TRIBULATION
There is a prevailing conceit without warrant, that God loves the Gentiles more than He loves Israel and therefore His attention will be focused on the Gentiles after the Church is gone from this earth which concludes at the rapture of the Bride of Christ.
But the Bible paints an entirely different portrait. The purpose for the Tribulation is two-fold. As I have spoken of many times in the past, the coming Tribulation is designed for two objectives in God’s plan. First, God will try Israel proper as silver is refined in the fire through much persecution that will remove the “dross” from their hearts.
2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:2-4)
Second, the tribulation and the Great Tribulation is designed to destroy all rebellion upon this earth, as God sets out to nearly wipe this planet clean of all human life. Jesus told us that unless those days were shortened:
21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
Again, this is from Matthew 24, the chapter that speaks directly to the nation of Israel and God will shorten the days of total destruction of all mankind, save for their survival of the Jewish people into the coming Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ.
The time of the Tribulation is for JUDGMENT on all mankind. I had a lady that was emailing a brother in Christ of mine on the internet, that proclaims a Post-Tribulation rapture of the church and is adamant that the Church will endure the same persecution as everyone else. But I had to point out to her, these two reasons. I will call her name “Mary”. She could not see that the Church is being judged now. We have been washed in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and clothed with His righteousness and that not of our own. The bible clearly tells us:
17” For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1st Peter 4:17-19)
If the two reasons I have given are for the refinement of Israel and destroy all rebellion, then what purpose does the church have in this horrific time? To purge those who have already been forgiven, and subject the Bride of Christ to the same persecution of the rest of the Gentiles on earth, to me, smacks of Catholic purgatory, which I categorically deny. We have been washed and made white by the blood of Jesus from the time of Calvary. There is no purpose for the Church to endure the two reasons I have given. Especially, my reader, when there is amble proof that God’s wrath is reserved for the unrighteous, not those who have been forgiven.
Paul makes it pretty plain in his epistles that we are not the focus of the wrath of God during this seven years of Age of the Law, but it is reserved for the two groups mentioned
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)
Is not that pretty clear to you who just read that verse. That speaks of the Gentile Church who have come into a relationship with Jesus Christ…which also covers believing Messianic Jews and anyone else that believes, Jew or Gentile.
The musterion that Paul spoke of in his epistles (mystery; previously unrevealed truth) is that God allowed the Jews to reject the Messiah in order to provide a limited opportunity for the Gentiles to be saved. It is limited to that period UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
So after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in..(that would be me, and maybe that would be you), then God turns His full attention back to Israel….it is clear in black and white when Paul wrote in Romans
“26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. (Romans 11:26-28)
REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY A LIE
The Church does not replace Israel, even as Israel has been set aside for the last 2000 years until the Lord takes “ a people who were not His people”…
9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1st Peter 2:9-10)
A person can be blinded by the Satanic doctrine of Replacement Theology, either one believes it or not. The New Covenant is with the Church of the Living God during the Age of Grace, or called also, the Church Age. But this is not directed at all Gentiles of all ages, but for a specific group since Calvary who believe by faith in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and come to repentance and follow Him, much as a docile lamb follows a Shepherd out of love and obedience and knowing that Shepherd has his best interest at heart. The New Covenant will be completed at the Rapture of God’s Church and we join Jesus our Lord at the Marriage supper of the Lamb, after we are adopted into the family of God by being betrothed to our Husband, Jesus the Christ.
ONE WEEK OF DANIEL’S PROPHECY LEFT
God has yet to fulfill the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks of restoring Israel in righteousness. God fulfills His promises, and the last week that was set aside, and the prophetic clocked being stopped when the Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself, but to save the whole world, that clock will begin again at the rapture. To those who trust in Him by faith and accept the mercy and grace afforded by a selfless love that can only be deemed amazing. Amazing that God would love us so much that He would even die for us, though we deserved none of it. The coming Tribulation is God’s plan to do just that. To save Israel as a remnant people unto Himself.
As was said, the Tribulation and especially the Great Tribulation is designed to refine Israel and remove the scales from their eyes and they realize that Jesus was their long sought for Messiah, not some dictator of the end time world who promised them peace and safety. They will cry from their persecutions when they seek Jesus with their whole hearts…Zechariah prophesied they will call out to their Messiah, much as Jesus said they would…
8 “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” (Zechariah 13:8-9)
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 13:34-35)
The persecution will bring all of Israel to their senses and they cry out to God for deliverance. Jesus comes to save the remnant of His people and they are the ones who will enter the Millennial Kingdom alive and mortal. The rest of mankind who have been in rebellion will either be destroyed, or judged at the sheep and goat judgment and cast into the lake of fire.
This is not dual-Covenant theology. There is only one Covenant by which men are saved. They are saved by faith that the shed Blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse them of all sin. That does not change during the Tribulation Period.
But the focus of God’s attention after the conclusion of the Age of Grace turns back to the Jews. During the final Week of the Age of the Law, the universal ministry of the Holy Spirit is withdrawn. (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)
Going back to how I opened this message, there will be believers in the Tribulation who will succumb to the Antichrist’s coercion and accept his mark to save their families. And Scripture is clear that those who do are forever lost.
Tribulation believers will be saved by faith in Christ and enduring until the end, as in the Church Age, but without the guarantee of eternal security or the automatic indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus described the tribulation as, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
It is the job of a watchman who sees the sword coming to provide a warning. I cry the warning to all who will see the light of Truth found in God’s Word.
3 “If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:3-6)
Our blessed hope is found in the Scripture’s promise that Jesus comes for His Church first. But after that, there is no guarantee of a second chance.
Better a blessed hope than a false one.
THE DECISION IS YOURS.
So what about you? Do you have hope in the Savior of this world? Does the Lord Jesus live in your heart, or are you playing Russian Roulette with your immortal soul? Will you be found ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus, as what Paul called the HARPAZO in 1st Thessalonians and 1st Corinthians, or the removal of His Church by force, without warning? If you are not ready for His soon appearing, now is the time to make that decision for the salvation of your immortal soul, that will spend eternity in blessed peace and glory, or spend in eternal torment and separation from God and all that is good, joyful, or Holy.
Let me assure those that scoff at such a destination, thinking Hell is one big party. I even had some deceived individual say that “hell is where all the cool people go”…and one big party. Let me set you straight, the Lake of fire will be no party. It will take all your time for all eternity to just endure the suffering that Jesus said, the flame is not extinguished, or the worm dieth not, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Seek the Lord Jesus in belief and embrace these two passages that are the microcosm of what the whole of the Love Letter to the world from our Savior….
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:15-18)
Seek His face and He will be right there for you when you fall on your knees and proclaim that you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be Lord of your life.
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath 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.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
Know that you may only get one chance this side of the coming Rapture of the Church, as you may or may not get another chance, especially this side of your own death, which in the Tribulation is almost a guaranteed of either subjected to martyrdom, or doomed in the lake of Fire for taking the dreaded Mark of the Beast. Don’t take that chance that you will survive either. Make that confession of faith and cry out to Jesus. He is as close as a prayer…
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying your salvation through the only Way back to God found in my Lord Jesus Christ…If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly listening ear, email me at [email protected] , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all with His love and salvation.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET