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Vision of End Times

 

By Dr. Richard Ing

November 15, 2008

 

OUR VISION FOR THE END TIMES

 

Lately, I’ve received a number of e-mails asking a variety of questions ranging from UFOs, fallen angels, the book of Enoch, one-world government, the failing economy, etc.  One can spend a lifetime researching various topics.  There simply is not enough time to study everything.  Our end-time priority is to line up with the will of God and pursue His plans and goals for the end times.  We cannot afford to be distracted.

 

So what is the will of God for all saints?  What is God after?  Surely, He is in control and all the events about to happen are part of His plan for us.  Why did He create Adam and Eve in the first place? 

 

GOD’S DESIRES

 

From the beginning, God desired deep in His heart to have children in the image of His Son, Jesus.  Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of Lord.”  Our destiny and purpose is to be perfect like Him.

 

God gave us the fivefold ministry to perfect the saints.  Ephesians 4:11-15 states:

 

And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

 

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, a carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

 

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.  (Underlining added) 

 

In the next verse, Paul speaks about the church: “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

 

Thus, he recognized that the second thing God desires is a perfect church that will become the Bride of Christ.

 

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  Eph. 5:25-27.

 

The Bride is mentioned in Revelation 21:2:  “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,”  Again, in Revelation 22:17, the Scriptures say, “And the Spirit and the bride say, come . . . .” 

 

Revelation 19:9 declares: “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

 

A perfect church must have mature saints.  However, mature saints alone do not make a perfect church.  The saints must learn how to love one another and work together to accomplish God’s will.  Every part of the body must work in unity and learn love, loyalty, diligence, faith and obedience to spiritual authority.  We are to be one with each other and with the Father and Son through the Holy Ghost.  There are to be no divisions and renegades.  Each must walk in his own path and not break ranks.  Joel 2:7, 8. 

 

THE RACE TO PERFECTION

 

The apostle Paul spoke often about the race to perfection in Jesus.  1 Co. 9:24-27.  He considered all things of the world to be no more than dung.  Phil 3:4-17.  He even states that those that do not pursue perfection are the enemies of the cross of Christ.  “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”)  Phil. 3:18-19.  Those Christians that do not walk after the Spirit are enemies of the cross of Christ.  The Lord Jesus died on the cross so that we could fulfill God’s plan and purpose for mankind.

 

Jesus did not die on the cross to merely make it possible for us to live a wonderful life on earth and then die and go to heaven.  He died to fulfill the Father’s will and desire: so that we can walk into spiritual perfection and come together as a perfect church.  The highest calling of all is to be perfect in Christ.  Phil. 3:14.

 

GOD’S DESIRES MUST BE FULFILLED FIRST

 

Before God brings about the end of the world, He must first have His perfect sons and daughters and His perfect bride.  That’s why He started the whole creation.   It doesn’t mean that they must be perfect before He starts anything.  It means that He will have a people well on the way to perfection, who will attain full maturity when Jesus returns.  Since revival will bring persecution, tribulation and the end of the world as we know it, God will not start revival until He has His perfect ones well on the way.

 

GOD IS RAISING UP HIS ARMY AND TRUE CHURCH

 

Revelation 12 speaks of three classes of Christians: (1) the woman in the wilderness (the true church); (2) the army of God (man child); and (3) the martyrs.  All three groups are very mature in Christ.  They are called the “overcomers.”  In all probability, the rest of Christendom will fall to the devices of Satan.  2 Th. 2:3.

 

Warring against the demonic kingdom is a process by which the saints will mature in power and faith.  It is not the entire process, but an important part of growing up.  As we learn to depend upon God and as we obey Him, we will grow.  We are given the privilege and honor of being His true sons and daughters in the battle against Satan’s kingdom.  “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged word in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all His saints.”  Ps. 149:6-9.

 

In the process of warring against the demonic kingdom, we will be transformed. Our faith will increase, we will know the resurrection power of the Lord, we will learn to rely solely on Him, and we will know Him better.  Phil. 3:9-11.

 

In Revelation 12:7-10, the following is recorded:

 

And there was a war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 

As we bind up Satan and his strong men, God will send His warring angels, even Michael the archangel to bind up Satan’s strong men.  Columns and columns of angels on chariots and white horses will do battle on our behalf.  Heb. 1:14.  They will know who are praying and fighting against Satan and his angels.  It is important that all of us engage the enemy and grow into spiritual maturity.  Time is short.

 

HOW TO PREPARE

 

Notwithstanding, deliverance and spiritual warfare are only a means to an end and not the end itself.  They are only part of the total picture.  There are other important clues to perfection.  Remember, none of the apostles and Jesus ever spoke of saving money or storing food or buying weapons to protect our family in the end times.  They spoke of spiritual perfection in Christ and trusting God.

 

TRIALS AND SUFFERINGS

 

They knew that persecution, tribulation and suffering must come in order to perfect the saints.  Without trials, chastening and sufferings, we cannot be perfected.  Jesus learned obedience through the sufferings He endured.  Heb. 5:8, 9.  We too are perfected by chastening and even scourging.  Heb. 12:6-12. 

 

Paul mentioned that he strived to know “the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”  He endured many things for the Lord and served as an example to us.  He describes some of his sufferings:

 

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  2 Co. 4:8-12.

 

See also 2 Co. 11:23-30.  It is the path to perfection.  I’m sorry that I cannot tell you that the path is nice, easy and comfortable.  It is not.

 

Paul went on to say, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Co. 4:17-18.  There is a plan and purpose for all the sufferings.  It leads to perfection in Christ.

 

All the things that Paul mentioned are going to happen to each one of us, like it or not.  Persecutions and tribulation will come.  We will either fall away from the faith or rejoice in the privilege God is giving us to join the Lord Jesus in suffering unto perfection.  Most Christians, however, avoid sufferings and trials.  They mistakenly see sufferings and trials as every day problems common to man such as earning a living, buying a house or car, handling their families and having a good life. 

 

According to Paul, the trials and sufferings that change us come from preaching the gospel to every creature and serving and obeying God with all our heart.  Sufferings and trials come with feeding the poor, passing out tracts, preaching the Word, going on the mission field, fasting and praying constantly, evangelizing, healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead and doing the will of God.  Our faith and trust in God grow as we overcome.

 

Most saints will come to church and give of their time and money only as much as they can “afford.”  If it touches their comfort zone, they will pull back to avoid trials, tests and suffering.  They can never be perfected in Jesus Christ.  Their faith is never tested and they never “seek ye first the kingdom of God.”  They do not want to be tested or suffer for Christ’s sake.  They only want to suffer if it is necessary to benefit themselves.  They will remain baby Christians.

 

THE KEY TO PERFECTION

 

The apostle Peter spoke of the end times.  He said, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s suffering: that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”  1 Pet. 4:12.  He knew that sufferings were coming in the end times.  Expect them.  We are to embrace challenges and difficulties in serving God. 

 

Once again, the apostle Peter spoke of the end of the world.  He said, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.”  (Underlining mine)  The most important thing is to love one another. 

 

Deliverance, spiritual warfare and evangelism are important, but no matter how many demons we cast out, how many we heal and how many we convert, God will look to the heart.  Jer. 17:9-10; Rev. 2:23.  Every man’s work will be tried by fire and only those works that were performed out of perfect love and according to the will of God will stand.  1 Co. 3:13-15; Mt. 7:21.

 

Jesus said, “… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Mt. 6:33.  Trusting God, believing and having faith in Him is the bridge every true Christian must cross to get to the mountain of God.  You can’t learn to trust God without being put to the test.  Trust God to take care of your children, your livelihood and your future.  Submit to His chastening and tests.  Love the brethren.  That’s God’s way.


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