As world events continue to build toward their prophesied end-time climax, we who await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ may sometimes find our patience tried and tested. Daily, we cry out, “Thy Kingdom come!” in anticipation of our Savior’s much-needed return, when He will rule this world with a “rod of iron” and also with the true love and compassion that will heal the present sin-sick society.
We are certainly drawing close to the very end of this age. Yet we do seem to be in a sort of “transition period” before things speed up to the grand-smash climax of world events. At this point Satan will sometimes try to intervene and test the faith and stability of many of us. He will even try to get us doubting and questioning God, His laws, His promises and many of the basic premises we have understood.
So, how do we know that we can have absolute faith in God? There are many factors involved here. God’s way of life “works”—as thousands of you know. God does intervene and heal His people supernaturally—again, as thousands of you know. But one of the obvious ways we can and should know is that the “big picture” events of prophecy have been, or are now being, fulfilled even as I write!
The nations of the modern ten-tribed “house of Israel”—especially Ephraim and Manasseh, the “house of Joseph”—are definitely going down as God prophesied. The British Empire is no more! The power and prestige of the United States is quickly diminishing. The vitally important sea-gates which God gave Britain and America have mainly been taken away already—and a few others will probably be taken away soon! Suez is gone. The Simonstown base controlling the tip of South Africa is gone from British control. The Bab-el-Mandeb—the southern entrance to the Red Sea—is also gone from British control. Singapore and the Malacca Straits are gone from British control. America’s greatest sea-gate—the Panama Canal—is gone from American control. Two of the other major sea-gates on earth—still critical to world trade and wartime supplies and troop shipments—Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, are even now subjects of controversy and agitation to remove them from British control. How long until they, too, are gone?
As Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was virtually alone in predicting, the nations of Eastern Europe broke away from Soviet control. This dramatic upheaval back in 1988–89 was sudden and totally unexpected by the so-called “experts”! Yet God made it clear to Mr. Armstrong that this had to happen to lay the groundwork for the complete ten-nation European Union that would follow. Remember, no one else taught this as he did!
Now, as Mr. Armstrong had long understood would happen, a German-dominated European Empire is definitely taking shape! Also, as very few if any others have understood, Britain will not be part of this final union of European nations! Why? Because Britain is “Ephraim” and is prophesied to be the target of devastation by this very union in years to come! The so-called “Bible scholars” of this world simply do not understand this vital key to Bible prophecy. We do.
Although we cannot be sure that we are at the very end, at least the beginning stages of the horrifying droughts, fires, floods and eventual famines and disease epidemics do seem to be slowly getting under way around vast portions of the earth. As I write this, much of the western United States is now experiencing terrible drought—in some cases, the worst in more than 100 years. When rains come, they are causing terrible floods and mudslides on the formerly parched land. And the fire season is just beginning. We are going to have a lot of “worsts” over the next several years in fires, drought alternating with floods, earthquakes and other “natural” catastrophes. Get ready! We in God’s Church are virtually alone in understanding the details of these major world events!
God Himself gives the answer in Psalm 111:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” Although we certainly need to draw even closer to God and be more diligent in our commandment-keeping—through Christ living within us—we nevertheless have been given wonderful understanding of world events and of the very purpose of human existence.
We Need More Faith!
But, brethren, as we see the Great God whom we serve intervening in world events, it should inspire us more than ever to trust Him to back up His inspired Word in every area of life. If we want to have greater power in the Work, we need more faith! If we wish to have more healings and miracles in the Church, we need more faith!
In Hebrews 11:6, God tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Certainly the attitude of absolutely trusting and believing in God, in His word, in His way and in His promises—is the basic foundation for real Christianity—the kind of Christianity preparing us to live for eternity in the Kingdom of God. As I have said so many times, we must “walk with God” in this attitude of faith and certainty. And to build this kind of faith, we must “feed” on God’s word as Jesus indicates in John 6:56–57: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”
Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8). As these verses clearly indicate, we have to keep coming to God in faith in order to get the answers to our prayers. We do not merely just “ask” one time. We cry out to God and keep coming back over and over again as the importunate widow did as described by Jesus Christ in Luke 18:1–5. And in verses 6–8, notice what Jesus tells us: “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” In Mark 11:21–24, we read of Peter’s surprise when a fig tree that Jesus had cursed had withered away very quickly. Jesus answers, “Have faith in God!” Then He instructs the disciples (and us today), “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Exercise Real Faith!
Through constant study, fervent prayer and consciously directing our minds to trust in God, we must, as Jesus said, “believe” that we have received what we ask for, and then we shall receive it! It is true that you cannot just “work up” faith. But it is equally true, my dear brethren, that by doing your part as I have just described—fervently studying for faith, praying for faith and then doing your best—with God’s Spirit—to exercise faith in all types of daily situations both great and small, greater faith will be manifested in your life! That is what I mean by telling you from time to time, “We must build an atmosphere of faith within the Living Church of God!” Yet, as the Apostle Paul explained, “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure!” (Philippians 2:13).
Jesus again emphasized the vital key of “drinking in” of the Word of God in regard to faith when He instructed us, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). For Jesus’ words to “abide in us” we certainly do have to study them over and over, drink in of them, meditate on them and put them to work in our lives. Then we will literally think like Jesus thinks. We will, more and more, have the mind of Jesus Christ and the mind of God. Then, as Jesus said, “You will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.” And then Jesus continued to say, “By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples” (v. 8). So the faith we receive and the answers to our prayers should all have a part in accomplishing the very Work of Christ which He is doing through us as His human instruments today!
One major obstacle to faith is the attitude of “guilt.” A very helpful biblical passage regarding what we might call this “guilt syndrome” is found in 1 John 3:18–22: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Never Let Down!
Through the help of Christ living within us, each of us must “grow in grace and knowledge” (2 Peter 3:18). We must, year by year, overcome and begin to reflect Jesus Christ more and more in obedience to God’s law, in the attitude of love and outflowing concern to God and to neighbor, and in literal service to God and to others in the things we do. Lacking this, of course we will realize that we have “let down” and this will hurt our feeling of closeness to God. We must understand, however, that God does not require us to achieve perfection in this life, but simply to be “growing” to the best of our ability. Therefore, we read in the above passage in 1 John 3, “God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” But we should be growing toward the state described in verse 22 wherein we receive from God powerful answers to prayer—“whatever we ask”—“because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Since so many of us are getting older in the faith, we should, dear brethren, truly be drawing closer and closer to God in everything we think, say and do. If we, through God’s Spirit, so discipline ourselves to do this, and specifically cry out to God for more faith, He will certainly give us that faith!
Then, those of us who do this will have a profound peace of mind, a sense of confidence and assuredness in God and in His will for us and we will know that God will do what He says—in His time and His way. This living faith will enable us to become far more powerful instruments of God and to be truly “ready” to be His instruments when it is His time to pour out the spiritual power and the gifts of His Spirit on His church at the very end of this age. May God help all of us catch this vision and learn to walk with our Father—in faith —in the way I have tried to describe to all of you. May God be with you and help each of you to build this profound relationship with God and with Jesus Christ in your daily lives.