Something Wicked This Way Comes - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8210
When I was younger, we used to live out in the country. We had 24 acres I could roam around on. Our property backed into a much larger property that was several thousand acres. Needless to say, I had plenty of backwoods to explore.
There were many a time when I would arrive home from school before anyone else and I would go wandering in the woods with my dogs looking for snakes and lizards and the like. I often times would be so consumed with exploring or day dreaming, that I let the time slip away from me and the first thing I would notice was that the shadows from the trees began to grow a lot longer. In those moments, a slight panic would come over me as I realized that I was a lot further out than I intended on being, and making it back before dark was now in question. Prophetically speaking, that is where I think we are today. It is the end of the day, and the shadows have grown long indeed.
For those of us who have awakened from this daydream we call life...we have awoken only to realize that there is another, more permanent reality to our existence beyond that which our five senses can perceive. We have taken notice and sense an evil creeping over this land like the onset of twilight.
The sad truth is that this twilight's last gleaming, which lay before all of mankind, will be the last many will ever see. Perhaps that evil was always there but as of late, it seems more intense and more foreboding than it ever was before. It is what I liken unto a 'thinning' between the realms, similar to where man was before the great deluge of Noah's day. A day when boundaries are being crossed in which, once broached cannot be undone. A day when man is trying to play God and is opening portals and unleashing things that he doesn't understand, and cannot be closed.
You might be wondering, who has 'awakened' and how do I do that? Well, the only ones who can be wakened physically are those who have been born-again spiritually. Man is body, soul, and spirit, and if one is lacking they cannot function in the way God intended us to be. Like a transistor radio, we can only pick up the 'radio waves' if first there is a message to receive, then one must be on the right frequency, and last, have the mechanism (the body) by which the message is broadcast. All three must be operational. Those who still sleep, have the body and the soul (the mental cognizance), yet, don't have that spiritual nature reborn, (i.e....lack the correct frequency) to which the message of salvation might be received and believed.
In order to receive this new birth, one must first realize that they are incapable of saving themselves. The only means by which salvation is possible to mankind is by accepting the free gift of pardon which is done by placing our hope and trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9-13)
That it is by God's grace through our faith (to which He gives us), that we have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us and now have been given eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. The Spirit confirms what Christ proclaimed to those who are born-again, who are cognizant of the times in which they live and are grieved at the growing darkness and oppression that we need not lose heart...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. (Rev. 3:10-11)
I believe that the Holy Spirit then moves amongst the Church according to the times in which men find themselves in. Unfortunately, for many within greater Christendom in these last days the Holy Spirit's message of warning has fallen on deaf ears, who either don't think or don't believe Christ will ever return, and thus have received a warning beforehand, that should they slumber, they will be in for a rude awakening...Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. (Rev. 3:3) Clearly Scripture teaches that the only prerequisite for our 'catching up' is being born-again but by not watching and not understanding the times we live in, we not only fail to warn those around us so they too might find salvation but we ourselves are caught unawares.
At that moment of the Rapture event we will all be thrust upwards into our new and final reality, in which the first event we undergo is the Bema Judgment. Here, believers are judged, not for sin (as that was paid for at the Cross) but are judged for the things we did or did not do for Christ in the time that was allotted us. We will be judged on the stewardship of the gifts, talents, and opportunities we did (or did not) make full use of in our lives. Many will state emphatically that one's eschatological leanings does not impact one's salvation...to which I would agree. Yet, not having the correct one often means you're working towards' the wrong end-state. The Amillennial and Post-Millennial views for example, being the two largest within greater Christendom, views the Kingdom as not some future reality that Christ must usher in, but as a current, spiritual kingdom that we have to build in the here and now either in lieu of Christ or for Him so that He can return. But if the Bible teaches that the next kingdom coming is that of the Antichrist, who then are they really helping?
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
As believers in this final stage of the Church age we have been blessed with a complete set of Scripture, expanded doctrines of Soteriology (of Salvation), Ecclesiology (the Church), Eschatology (the last days), and pretty much every other 'ology' that could be defined within Christian academia. Since the Reformation, there has been an ever-increasing accumulation of knowledge and clarification about our faith since men were unleashed to begin using Scripture alone as a guide to understanding our belief system. [This being opposed to 1,000 years of Roman Catholic dogma, tradition, creeds, and papal bulls which stifled and hindered Christendom's ability to mature spiritually.]
We don't really have any excuse to discount what the Bible has to say about what is coming and not being prepared to that end. We have been blessed with great thinkers, scientist, theologians, and preachers who have propelled our understanding by leap-frogging us theologically speaking, to about the greatest understanding of any generation since the first century. Yet many (dare I say most?) of Christendom slumbers apathetically.
While the world is crumbling around us, a growing majority of Christendom doesn't know, doesn't care, or is too busy building their own little denominational empires to address the crux of the problem. The crux is that this is the exact place the Bible said we would be in regards to socially, culturally, economically, geopolitically, and theologically in the final moments of human history.
Many church leaders are more preoccupied with turning their churches into efficient business models and leadership factories, rather than focusing on the gospel of Christ crucified. Most churches today are functioning in a society that is preoccupied with committing cultural suicide, and yet aren't reaching out to the dying masses in any real meaningful way. They are accommodating destructive lifestyles by undervaluing the gravity and seriousness of sin. They ignore the prophetic writing on the wall by redecorating the wall around it so that it doesn't offend anyone. They are more preoccupied about the physical structure of a church building then they are about being the Church. If they would only recognize how late we were into this then they would know that now is not the time to be accommodating a people so fascinated by their own demise, but by warning, pleading, and praying for the salvation of those around us...because there is coming a time so horrific, that if God doesn't intervene directly no flesh will be saved.
Skeptics, scoffers, the theologically lazy and ignorant Christians often view the study of Prophecy as a distraction and/or as only sensational mumbo jumbo with no theological meat behind it. Admittedly, there has been much abuse in these regards but to be fair every major doctrine has been abused and/or sensationalized to one degree or another. As Christians, we have the ONLY document on the planet that has and will tell the future about what is coming to mankind and the earth. No other system, religion, "holy book", technology, government, or philosophy can predict what is going to happen before it does. We are the only ones who have this truth. We have been afforded this burden to bear as a testimony to the supernatural and divine nature of our Bible. Think about that for a moment. Being a 'watchman on the wall' as it were, has been a term used so loosely that I think the weight of that burden gets lost in the frequency of its usage. Let me put this in a more practical scenario regarding that.
Let's say that you lived in a small community on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In this community, you are the only one with communications with a functioning radio that can receive broadcasts from the mainland. One day you begin hearing that due to the wind and ocean currents, the conditions were ripe for a hurricane (typhoon) size storm to begin brewing. Messages then began to broadcasts that the storm they feared was in the process of coalescing. The intermittent broadcasts weren't specific to the size, direction, and scope of the storm because the storm itself had not yet coalesced into anything significant but the threat was growing. As the days went on, the broadcasts then become more specific in regards to the size, direction, and potential intensity of the storm that was forming.
As it draws closer to forming an eye, the wind speed intensifies greatly and the urgency of the warning over the radio becomes dire as the storm's size and strength catapults itself into a Category 5 typhoon which has begun to follow a particular path. The radio broadcast then names the storm "Apocalypse" because of the destructive potential it has. The path that is being forecasted is now one which puts your island (and your community) in a direct-hit scenario. And you, with the only functioning radio on the island, refuse to tell anyone of what's coming because you're not sure you trust the radio station you're listening too. Maybe you don't say anything because you don't want to sound "sensational". Perhaps you don't say anything because you don't want sound "controversial". All the while, this massive storm is barreling towards your community and they have no idea it's coming.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. Matt. 24:21-22
This example being the equivalent of the island 'Christian' today with a complete Bible and enhanced understanding of the biblical prophetic events which have played out in real time in our lifetimes...yet refuse to speak out about what is coming, is likened to the man with the radio on the tiny island who refuses to warn about the storm heading their way. We exist on an island planet, in an ocean of space, we call earth. The Bible says that there is a storm coming to earth, filled with violence, murder, natural and supernatural disaster, and wickedness on such a grand scale, the likes of which this world has never seen...and yet, so many preachers, teachers, pastors, priests, theologians, and so called learned spiritual leaders, refuse to even mention the possibility that Christ could return. In a bit of friendly encouragement, I will conclude, that if you've been regularly attending a church for more than six months in which the pastor/preacher has yet to utter the words, "Christ will come again soon", you're probably in the wrong church.
The born-again believer has an unbelievable future in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes...eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Cor. 2:9) The Pre-Tribulation Rapture (catching up) of the Church then, will instantaneously remove us from this island before that dreaded storm makes landfall. Yet, our means of salvation still has lots of open seats available. We, in this age with Israel restored to the table of nations after 1,900 years as was foretold (Ezekiel 37, Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25), bear the responsibility in our own spheres of influence to warn those around us who have no idea what is coming upon the earth, that salvation is found only through Jesus Christ.
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:34-36