Love, Lust, and Abraham Lincoln By Pete Garcia Author's note: Originally written and published in…
The Lonely Road to the Blessed Hope
By Pete Garcia
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door and, no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” – Revelation 3:8
The watchman on the western wall cried with a loud voice to the crowds thronging below him, Behold, the end of all things is at hand!
No head turned towards him. No ear bent upwards to better hear.
After a moment, he cried out again, Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!
Again, no acknowledgment. Just heads turned downward, eyes peeled to their smartphones, trudging along like mindless zombies unaware of the danger that lay ahead.
In his heart, the watchman knows that this generation will not heed the warning. They are full of eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. They have hearts hardened by the widespread cynicism of the age. Unlike any other generation before it, prophetic warnings these days are simply white noise in a flood of information bombarding the masses. Warnings, prophetic or otherwise, often go unheeded unless the threat is immediate and obvious. Indifference has become the normal state of affairs.
The watchman laments the state of the obstinate crowds addicted to their devices. Like lemmings marching to the cliff edge, each passing day presses this world ever forward into the unforgiving wine press of the wrath of God.
A time of unspeakable horror is coming upon the world. The 70th Week of Daniel, often commonly referred to as The Tribulation, will be a foretaste of hell on earth during the final seven years of mankind. It is this approaching storm the watchman on the wall warns of…a storm that will engulf the whole world into a tempest of tyranny, lawlessness, wickedness, and both natural and supernatural judgment.
Knowing the perilous times ahead and the seeming utter disregard by most in the world today, the watchman walks a lonely road.
The watchman’s calling is not glamorous. Nor is it without cost.
Friendly acquaintances have abandoned him. Co-workers have begun to shun him. Even loved ones give wide berth eventually avoiding him altogether. He has had long-term relationships severed by friends and close family. His calling has cost him his livelihood by passed-over promotions, missed positions, and any semblance of upward mobility seems to have now eluded him.
Perhaps even his beloved spouse believes he has finally lost his mind and has taken to mocking and scoffing at him at every opportune time. One day, should the Lord tarry, she will leave him for another like herself. Someone equally distracted with the here and now, where an endless consumption of material things fills the time, yet never manages to satiate the appetite of the soul.
Vacuous and tone-deaf church pulpits increasingly ignore the return of Christ. With heads firmly planted in the ground, so-called “learn-ed” clergy increasingly ignore the compounding signs that the end is racing towards them. Sadly, even the watchman’s own church has begun to close ranks against him. No longer allowed to teach or serve in any meaningful way, he walks out of the hollow building to the sounds of those speaking just above a whisper saying things like “he’s crazy,” “a prophecy nut,” and “he has lost his mind.”
With little strength, he turns to the shrinking remnant community of fellow watchmen of those like-minded watchers for encouragement. These are those who also willingly challenge the ‘willful ignorance’ of this age. But why then is he (and others like him) becoming shunned like lepers at every step?
He knows why. He might not bear the ugly sores of leprosy, however, he bears the ugly truth no one wants to hear…the truth that this world is coming to its inevitable end…and quickly.
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” – James 5:7-8
But there is something else.
Something that is even more troubling to those who only profess Christ with their mouths, but not their hearts. Perhaps this division between professing and believing, is what really causes them to reject the watchman’s warning, especially in the ‘civilized’ world. This love for the return of Christ exposes the hollowness of the modern-day church with all its trappings of seeker-friendly messages and kingdom-building platforms.
The truth is, the watchman is ruined by the love of Christ.
For when one tastes of that glory so divine that only Christ offers, nothing else on earth will satisfy.
The watchman becomes consumed by investing in the world to come, and not this present one which is quickly fading away.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 5:19-21
Nothing else on earth will quench the hunger for the true believer. Nothing else will quench the thirst. Christ has ruined his appetite for the things of this world, and he knows he is all the better for it.
Spiritually awakened, the watchman’s inner man has become quickened and reconnected back to his Creator. Understanding what he was saved from, he is compelled to share this good news with others before time runs out.
The watchman sees the complete picture. He is not only thankful for what Christ has already done at the Cross but is thankful for what Christ will do in the future. Thus, our blessed hope is bifurcated by the knowledge the Scripture imparts to the discerning believer.
“…Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – Rev. 19:10
This blessed hope is that Christ comes first for His bride to meet Him in the air (lifted up) as an act of endearment. We purify ourselves by holding to this expectation of our blessed hope. It is also a warning to those who are left behind for if our removal is a blessing then what should those who remain expect?
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:11-14
And then He returns to the earth a second time with His bride in judgment, to vanquish His enemies once and for all.
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” – Revelation 1:7
In the meantime, the watchman often wanders this world alone like a nomad; a stranger in a strange land alienated by his new nature and his desire to be pleasing to God. He knows that nothing in this world will satisfy him. Nothing will satiate his desire to be reconnected to his Creator. Spurred on by the boundless revelation in Scripture, he pours over every detail, every jot and tittle allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate his understanding of things past, present, and to come.
He knows this world is coming to an end. The signs Jesus gave us are not just happening, but are being stored up like blast wave awaiting the right moment to explode forth. He knows that the complex schemes of wicked men and angels are coming to nothing because they do not/can not control the future.
Even the normal tasks of work, play, and life, without Christ, are empty and meaningless.
The present world powers in business, academia, culture, and government, are attempting to create a world devoid of God (as if God doesn’t exist), and yet, are fulfilling the Scripture exactly as it was written because it has already been foretold.
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.” – James 5:1-3
They act as if this world and reality are without an author or creator. They act as if this world and all therein, is accidental. They’ve convinced themselves that they determine the future, and can control its outcomes. They have successfully exorcised God from almost every facet of the public square, acting as if they don’t talk about Him, He doesn’t exist.
“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” – 2 Peter 3:3-7
They, like the empty-suited religious leaders of our day, have substituted transformative faith with absolute spiritual regeneration (i.e., being born again), for empty platitudes for how to live peaceably.
Coexistence doesn’t bring peace.
Religion does not bring true life.
Morality does not bring sanctification.
Piety does not bring redemption.
Only believing and trusting in the finished work of Christ’s death on the cross to pay for our transgressions, can bring true life. As Scripture says,
“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” – Hebrews 9:28
But Christ did not come simply to die and be seemingly defeated by the powers of this world. For His sacrifice is intricately connected to His return.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For Christ must return to the same battlefield where He was seemingly defeated, and conquer His enemies, and lay claim to the victory promised to Him from before the foundation of the world.
“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” – Psalm 2:7-9
So if you are a watchman, and you are feeling despondent, alone, weak, neglected, shunned, and ignored, know that you are not alone. Christ knows your struggles and your walk. He is there with us through every step of the path He gave us to walk. Knowing that we are not alone and that this journey we are on is at its end, and the finish line is in sight, Rejoice!
Rejoice for having the perseverance to endure this race until the end of all things.
Rejoice for knowing that as bad as this life is, it is the closest to hell you will ever be.
Rejoice for the things Christ has in store for those who love Him.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-7 (my emphasis)
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!