The Prophetic Hour Of Testing – Are We There?
During these past few years, the Lord had sent me through a time of spiritual shake-out (for lack of a better description) which I didn’t think I was going to survive. After several years in God’s School of Hard Knocks and Tears, something happened to me that I experienced as the final straw. I was ready to quit – in fact, I wanted to die. I could not believe that my loving Lord and Father would allow this to happen in my life. A spiritual battle raged within my soul as never before in my more than thirty years in the Lord’s service. It felt to me as if the promises of God’s Word were not valid anymore. Although I didn’t ‘deconstruct’ my faith, at times I felt as if I was drowning spiritually and that my faith was built on sand.
I clung to the Lord with whatever little faith I still had, and God in His great mercy didn’t let go of me. I trusted Him for a spiritual breakthrough – or to take me home. It was a matter of life or death. Although I was familiar with the Bible’s teaching on suffering, having written several articles on the subject myself, none of these spoke to my need at this time. I needed new answers, but there seemed none. What I have experienced now fell into a much higher degree of testing than I have ever experienced before in my life. Like Job I reasoned with, and cried to God, but He was dead silent.
After a time of spiritual darkness, the light of God began shining into my broken spirit. The Lord started revealing to me through His Word why He allowed these trials in my life – and eventually everything began making sense spiritually. The Lord revealed to me five truths from His Word which adequately explained God’s dealing in my life. This revelation placed my faith back onto a solid foundation and I want to share these truths with you with the prayer that it will have the same result in your life.
The Lord revealed to me that He had sent me through this school of tribulation for the following five reasons. Although these are familiar truths that God applies to our Christian lives on a continuous basis, they take on a whole new meaning when considered in the light of the first.
1. We are currently living in a unique time on God’s prophetic calendar
In Rev 3:10,11 the Lord said to the Church in Philadelphia: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
The Lord revealed to me that my personal experiences can be attributed to the fact that God is dealing with His children in a unique way because of the unique prophetic time we are living in. God works in abnormal ways during abnormal times. God works in unique ways during different times in history. We see this fact throughout the Bible as well as Church history.
It cannot be denied that Christianity today is experiencing unique times in more than one way, marked by many Christians falling into spiritual despondency, despair, desperation and depression. Many Christians are going through deep waters spiritually while looking for answers to life-or-death questions. I am one of them.
It is my conviction that we are living in a unique time on God’s prophetic end-time calendar, and that we are very close to the return of Jesus Christ. Things are going to get worse, not better. Time is short. Could it be that we are entering, or have already entered the time of testing that is to come upon the whole world of which Rev 3:10,11 is speaking? Whatever your eschatological views, it is fair to say that we are living in a unique time, during which the faith of many Christians is tested to breaking point.
Our understanding of the time we are living in, and whether we believe things are going to become better or worse, make a huge difference in how we read and understand certain portions and promises of the Bible. It further makes a huge difference to how and what we are praying for; and what we believe and expect God to do in this world, in the lives of His children and the Church – and in our own lives.
If I did not recognise the urgency and relevance of the unique time we’re living in, I would probably have lost my faith in the Bible as the Word of God and subsequently in the God of the Bible after my ‘final straw’ experience. The prophetic time we’re living in made all the difference to me. The prophetic time we’re living in makes all the difference to the way God deals with us and His Church in these last days.
The question we must answer is, what is God pre-occupied with in His Church at this time? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, God is removing us from our comfort zone, or should we rather say, removing our comfort zone from us. God is preparing us spiritually for the hour of testing. Or, are we already in the hour of testing? I believe the latter is true. Secondly, God is re-aligning the Church’s focus from inward to outward. God is re-aligning our focus from our ourselves to the nations -- to finish the task of the Great Commission. God is once again implementing an Acts 1:8 to Acts 8:1 migration – from a concentration of the Gospel tot a dispersal of the Gospel to the ends of the world.
Understanding ‘what’ God is busy doing, we can now better understand ‘how’ He is doing this.
2. God is submitting our faith to the fire-test for this prophetic time
In 1 Cor 3:12,13 we read: “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.”
What day is this a reference to? Is it judgement day? Or is it the hour of testing Rev 3:10 is speaking about? Is it the Great Tribulation? Or could it be any day? Whichever day you believe this verse is referring to, the fact of the matter is that it points to the time of the end for the Church and very believer. The day is revealed by ‘fire’, which a reference to tribulation!
The Lord revealed to me that He has subjected my faith to a special test of fire to prepare me for the unique time at hand. It is my humble opinion that He is currently doing the same for His Church universal. I believe this is the reason why we are seeing so many spiritual leaders failing God’s test of faith while some are losing their faith.
Theological qualifications, titles or status will provide no insurance against God’s test of fire. Have you failed God’s fire-test? Thank God we are still living in the time of grace – but grace time may be shorter than we think! Come back to the Cross immediately while there is still time.
3. God is leading us to total submission, full commitment, and unconditional obedience for this prophetic time
Rom 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
My final straw experience tested my submission, commitment and obedience to God and His Word to breaking point. My faith in God and His Word was shaken to its very foundation. I had to make a wilful decision to continue trusting God and His Word for my whole life and my future.
Nobody will pass God’s fire-test unless we come to a place of full submission and absolute surrender to the authority of God and His Word. During this time of testing every half-hearted and superficial submission and commitment to God and His Word will go up in smoke and ashes. If I had failed God’s fire-test during my ‘final straw’ experience, it would have been a reflection on the quality of my commitment and surrender to God.
What will be the evidence of a renewed commitment and obedience in the Church? I believe it will manifest primarily in two ways, a renewed commitment to holiness, and secondly, an urgency and commitment to finish the task of the Great Commission.
4. God wants to deliver us from every love of the world for this prophetic time
In 1 Joh 2:15 we read: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Most of us think we know what this verse means and have formulated our definitions of what “the world” refers to in terms of our theology. However, do we really understand what “the world” means from God’s viewpoint? God is in the process of purifying His people from every worldly affection in preparation for the time at hand!
During my “final straw” experience the Lord took away ‘something’ that was very important to me at a most vulnerable time in my life. I had never associated this ‘something’ with ‘the world’ before, but when the Lord revealed these truths to me, I realised for the first time that the time was approaching fast where I may have had to make a radical choice between this ‘something’ and remaining faithful to God.
What happened to me was simply a dress rehearsal of what may be coming soon and will bring every living Christian before a choice between love for the world and remaining faithful to God unto death! What is there in your life that will cause you to deny the Lord when you are forced to make a choice? We who are living in the Christian world have a very limited understanding of what it means to be persecuted for our faith. This may change sooner than we expect.
Are you going through a difficult time in your life, work, marriage, or ministry? Have you perhaps lost a loved one, your job, home, your financial security, or something very precious or important? Are you going through a ‘final-straw’ experience? God may be weaning you from a reliance upon, or love for the world you have not recognised before – in preparation for what’s coming. I believe God is preparing His Church for the time of testing that is to come upon the whole world by weaning us from every worldly affection.
What will be the evidence of a stripping of our worldliness in the Church? Once again, a renewed commitment to holiness, and secondly, an urgency and commitment to finish the task of the Great Commission.
5. God is teaching us overcoming faith for this prophetic time
Overcoming faith is faith that will stand the test of fire – and this faith is acquired in the crucible – not the classroom. Overcoming faith is not learned through signs and wonders – it is learned in the absence thereof. Overcoming faith is not acquired through a breakthrough, but through a breakdown. Overcoming faith is not acquired through answered prayer, but despite unanswered prayer. Overcoming faith is not learned at Fort Knox, but at Fort Knocks.
My prayer is that your faith will stand the test of fire and will be victorious during the time of testing that is to come upon the whole world.
I have written a book with the title, Seven Reasons Why Every Christian Must Prepare Spiritually For The Antichrist And Great Tribulation. Whether you believe the Church will be here when the Antichrist is revealed or not, this is a must-read for every Christian. It is my humble but persuaded view that to be prepared for Jesus Christ’s return, every believer will have to be prepared spiritually for the revelation of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. This is the link to the website.
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