Preparing for the Last Days
Sane and Sensible Perspectives on the Last Days
Jesus talked a lot about watching and being prepared for the events of the Last Days. Ok, so how do you do that? First of all, if we are going to be raptured out of here, then there is no need to either watch or be prepared for anything. It’s only if we are going to have to go through the tremendous time of trial coming on the earth that we need to be concerned.
Those trials, and the temptations that accompany them, will touch every aspect of our lives. Our need for insight and understanding about what to do will go through the roof! With that in mind, it turns out that there are many facets to being watchful and prepared. Here is a “check list” of the basics.
List of Articles
Prepare to Go through It If you have ever seen someone experience the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, then you know that there is a lot to being mentally and emotionally prepared. You can brace yourself. That’s why it is usually such a mercy to the ones left behind, if there was the sort of illness that prepared them for the inevitable letting go. Going through grief is hard, but if it catches you suddenly and unprepared it can sweep you off your feet. Surely, this is a major reason why the Lord has given us so much advance warning about the times to come.
Prepare to Meet Him This could be easily overlooked, especially if we don’t stop to examine what may be hidden away in the depths of our heart. Do we really want His Kingdom to reign directly over us? Are we truly ready to meet Him face to face? There is quite a distance in the Bible between Adam and Eve who hid from God and those whom Paul says, “love His appearing.” Part of being prepared, therefore, is making sure that there is nothing left in our hearts that would secretly want Jesus not to come!
Prepare to Join the Rescue Possibly, everyone’s first thought about the Last Days is how to either avoid or survive the Tribulation. Then, we may shift our focus to the lovely reality of Jesus being down here with us. Concern for the Great Harvest at the end of the age might be low on a lot of lists. We can be sure, however, that it’s high on the Lord’s. In fact, we’re told that the Lord is delaying His Return into order to save as many as possible before things come to a screeching halt. No one will make it through the Tribulation by trying to save themselves alone. Heartily joining this colossal, divine effort to save others is the way forward. Get ready for that now.
Prepare by Prayer and Fasting From the teaching of Jesus about casting out spirits, we know that prayer and fasting are at times essential elements of spiritual power. We see this same dynamic combination taking place in the Early Church when they needed clear direction from the Lord. We will need both supernatural power and divine guidance, perhaps like never before, as we seek to navigate the treacherous currents of the dark days ahead. Indeed, from a certain perspective the Last Days are an impassioned prayer movement (“Come, Lord Jesus”) fueled by the power of an imposed fast—as famines sweep the earth. Practice now for what will be perfected later.
Prepare by Discerning the Times The gospels reveal that Jesus fully expected people to discern the times they were living in. He royally dressed down the Pharisees for not doing so. If this applied to the relatively peaceable events surrounding Jesus first coming, how much more must it apply to His second? From today, all the way through to His Return, we will need to have a “weather eye” for shifts and changes in the spiritual atmosphere surrounding us. How can you seek shelter from a storm, if you don’t know one is coming your way? How can we learn to discern the times we will be going through?
Prepare for Judging Prophecies Scripture is our unfailing guide, but it doesn’t cover all the details of upcoming events. Fortunately for us, the Lord is already raising up prophets with visions, dreams and even direct encounters with Jesus and the righteous angels so that we can have prophetic guidance in the days ahead. Unfortunately, the enemy is doing the same! All manner of misinformation, demonically inspired visions, rumors, and lies are being spread abroad in the land—just as Jesus foretold. We must never be discouraged that there are so many false prophets, but keep seeking out the true ones. Here are guidelines for better listening.
Prepare by Studying the Scriptures As always the written Word is our anchor and our rock-solid source of revelation. Since over 100 chapters in the Bible carry messages about the Last Days, we would be wise to study them. Those passages are there for a reason. Apparently, Jesus believes that His Church will need to know with an absolute assurance many vital things about the days ahead. Much has already been gathered by others and we can learn from them, but as we know, nothing takes the place of hearing for yourself “what the Spirit says to the churches.” There is so much that is still “hidden in plain sight” that will need study, unfolding events and revelation by the Holy Spirit to make known.
Prepare with Strong Fellowship The picture Paul gives in Ephesians of Christian maturity is of believers who have united together, finding their place and purpose within the Body of Christ as a whole. Not a fractured Body, but a living, loving whole, undivided by bitterness, jealousy and suspicion. To survive the troubled times ahead, we will need to be in close, committed fellowship with other believers. That means we will need to trust each other and sacrificially serve one another at more than superficial levels. If we can’t do that now, how can we expect to be a part of the “spotless” Bride for whom the Lord is returning?
Prepare by Casting off Fear The scriptures say that in the Last Days people’s hearts will fail them for fear of the things coming on the earth. That doesn’t have to be us! We have been forewarned both about the perilous times that are coming and of the danger that fear itself will hold for any who have not learned to vanquish this formidable temptation. With all of the other troubles surrounding us, the one thing we won’t need to add is fear. That only makes every problem worse! Worse than that, it can even lead a frightened person to abandon the faith, rather than stay faithful in the face of persecution. Martyrs’ of the past may not have always been entirely fearless, but they stood firm. We would do well to gain victories over fear now, so it won’t gain victory over us later.
Prepare by Taking on Humility It is well known that pride goes before a fall. None of us want to fall during the days ahead. We want to walk faithfully, lovingly and bravely through them. That won’t happen if pride gets its way! And pride can be very difficult to see in ourselves. It’s the impulse to put our own needs ahead of others; to trust ourselves, rather than the Lord; and to draw confidence from our own knowledge and strength. This just won’t work in the days ahead. Yielding to the Lord, extending ourselves for others, and a healthy recognition of how little we can do without Him—these are the “secret weapons” of humility. Fortunately, there are ways we can grow it while there’s still time.
Prepare by Learning Guidance Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice. They not only know the scriptures, but they are able to listen for direction, encouragement and correction coming directly from Him. In the days ahead, it won’t be enough to know His Word. It’s won’t be enough to hear from His prophets. It’s highly likely that we will all need to listen directly to Him in one situation of danger or hardship after another. The truth is that we should all be doing this now! If we aren’t, there is still time to learn, but guidance isn’t a science that can be taught in a classroom. It’s an art that is best learned by daily practice. Here’s how.
Prepare for Calamities Unquestionably, there will be all manner of natural disasters, civil crises and other dangers that we should prepare to face. Not everything has a purely spiritual answer. During World War II, they sang, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” That got the balance right! If you can see a storm coming, don’t expect the Lord to close the windows for you. Making plans and being prepared is a part of being faithful. However, if practical preparation is impossible for you to do given your circumstances, then be assured that the Lord knows this and has made other plans. On the other hand, if the Lord has us placed in such a way that we can set things aside, then very likely His plans include us being prepared. Here ae some things to take into consideration.