What Is Going On, And Why?
If the world seems to be following an apocalyptic film script, and a number of people professing to be “radical” Christians have disappeared, I think it is fairly safe to say you should probably read this with an open mind.
Whether you like it or not, you have found yourself in the midst of an interdimensional battle between good and evil. As in all battles, there will be casualties. In this war, humans are the weakest players. Amidst all the things you are able to see and sense, there is even more going on in the spiritual realm! Angels, demons, God, Jesus Christ, Anti-Christ, true and false prophets – all real. This isn’t going to stop until it all plays out exactly as the Bible has said it will. Things will not go “back to normal”!
God tells us that cataclysmic effects will be felt on the earth:
- global earthquakes
- volcanic eruptions
- asteroid / meteorite collisions
- economic collapse
- infectious disease outbreaks
It also appears that God’s adversary (Satan, the devil, the dragon) will attempt to deceive mankind with some excuse of what is happening on the world. Many speculate that “aliens” will appear to bring humanity to a new “evolutionary plane”. They may claim to have “seeded humanity” in the past. These “aliens”, if they are part of satan’s deceptive plan, are interdimensional, fallen angelic beings. “Aliens” are not from other planets. They have indeed interacted with humanity in the past, before the Flood of Noah. It was through their tampering with human knowledge and DNA that the Flood of Noah was necessary, so that God could preserve a bloodline to Jesus so that He could become the Savior of the world.
The person/being that satan rises to power will possibly appear to be a “savior” for Israel and possibly all humanity. He may claim to be the “Jewish Messiah”, or even the messiah for other religions as well. Don’t be deceived – he’s not a savior and he’s not from God. The Bible has foretold this for thousands of years. This “antichrist” will claim to be “god” in about 3-4 years from now. In the Bible he is called the “Beast”, but he will portray himself to be “good”. Bible prophecy centers in Israel, as that is God’s chosen patch of land on earth. Satan is focused on that patch of land solely because God has claimed it. It will appear that Satan, through the “antichrist” will be “winning the battle” for about 7 years.
Meanwhile, God’s judgment on earth will start to be poured out over a period of approximately 7 years (listed in order). God’s judgment is because people will be actively rejecting His Truth and choosing to side with Satan and his lies:
- The “antichrist” will be allowed to rise up to political and religious power, and will gradually establish a worldwide rule
- Wars will be allowed to occur, likely centered in the middle east / around Israel
- Famine, economic controls, and deaths will ensue, likely as a result of wars and the natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, infectious disease)
- There may be asteroid and meteorite collisions on or near earth
- 1/3 of trees will be burned up, all green grass will be killed
- 1/3 of the sea will “become like blood”
- 1/3 of fresh water will be made bitter
- 1/3 of the light from the sun, moon, and stars will be dimmed
- supernatural creatures (fallen angelic beings) will torture humanity for 5 months with stings; death will be suspended
- after that, a 200,000,000 strong fallen supernatural angelic army will kill 1/3 of humanity
- lightnings, thunderings, earthquakes, great hail
- in order to be able to buy or sell, some type of mark will be required to display allegiance to the “antichrist”. This might involve DNA manipulation.
- painful sores appear on humanity who take a mark of loyalty to buy and sell in the new world system
- all the seas turn to blood
- all fresh water turns to blood
- sun becomes scorching hot for a time
- the world will be plunged into darkness
- the world will be gathered for battle
- huge worldwide earthquake will flatten the mountains and make the islands disappear
- 100 pound hailstones will fall
At the completion of these judgments, God will destroy all those who have freely chosen to oppose Him. It won’t be a battle. Jesus will just speak a word and those who oppose Him will be killed. The “antichrist” and his “false prophet” will be tossed in the “lake of fire” – a place of eternal torment. Satan and his fallen angels will be easily bound and chained in hell (the “abyss” or “pit”).
The eternal destiny of those in God’s family is a place of comfort and indescribable joy. This is where God wants you, because He truly loves you. The eternal destiny of those who reject God is a place of loneliness and indescribable suffering.
Choose a Side
I gently suggest to you that your odds of physical survival are not that great. Instead of focusing purely on surviving, I would encourage you to focus on what will happen if and when you don’t survive.
My friend, you are not reading this by accident. What matters FAR MORE than the length of your physical survival is who you will choose to follow for the remainder of your days. This will determine what happens when your life ends. Both sides of this battle will be calling themselves “good”. Your job is to discern which side is telling the truth.
On one hand, you have the God of the Bible. Thousands of years ago, He revealed to humanity what will unfold upon the earth in the upcoming years. This fore-telling will verify that He is outside of time and knows the end from the beginning. I hope you will recognize their truth in light of what has already occurred, and what will continue to occur. God communicated these messages to us, because He loves us. He loves YOU. He has His arms open wide to rescue whoever will believe in Him.
On the other hand, you have God’s enemy – commonly referred to as satan. God has handed satan the reins of the earth temporarily, as the ultimate test for humankind. Satan has been permitted to use whatever means he desires to destroy as many human lives as he is able. This destruction is not just physical, but even more so in the spiritual, eternal sense. Make no mistake, he has been planning this for thousands of years and it’s going to be quite the show! But satan is evil to the core – he is the father of lies. He hates you. He knows he will lose this battle, and he wants to drag you down with him. He wants nothing more than to see your eternal torment. Satan’s supernatural followers spy on you, and they know your weaknesses. They will stop at NOTHING to lead you away from God. Not because they love you, but because they hate God. For you see, even if you manage to survive this apocalyptic period, you will face judgement by God at its’ end.
God has given you free will, and you must choose which side you are on. If you don’t actively choose God’s side, Satan claims you as his own.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12)
My friend, don’t let satan control your eternal destiny.
There is only one “good” way out of this, dead or alive. And that is to find the Truth in Jesus Christ, and to follow Him. He is a gentleman – He won’t force you to follow Him. It’s completely your choice. But Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
The Purpose Of This Life Is Knowing God
I understand that your thoughts are likely centered around survival. How will you make it through this day? Will you have enough food and clean water for yourself? For your family? What about medications and healthcare? Will you be safe? Will you all come through this time of chaos alive?
My friend, even if you can meet your basic needs for today, you will not be satisfied. Why?
Without a deeper understanding of the war that is going on for your soul, you will continue to feel fear and panic. You see, God made humanity for his pleasure, and it was always supposed to be a mutual relationship. We messed it up, on our end. And ever since, God’s been reaching out to us with His solution. Perhaps He has reached out to you before this. Perhaps many times? He still is reaching out – right now.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13)
There is an appointed time for humanity’s reign over the earth to be complete, and that time is almost up. You live in a very unique time period – the very final warning of God before the “end of this age” closes. The world isn’t going to end, at least not yet, but the world as you knew it has, and will. There is a purpose for you in this big overarching story – this purpose is wrapped up in your being reconciled to God. If you miss this, you miss the entire point of your existence. Your primary purpose isn’t survival, it is finding God.
We were meant to live in harmony with God, our Father. His Spirit is meant to comfort us, to guide us, to bring us love, joy, peace, and hope. Apart from Him, everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
We are born into this world as spiritual orphans. We remain that way unless we listen to God’s call and find our way home. God wants to restore relationship with you. But you have to want to restore the relationship too. Relationships go both ways!
If you do not know Him personally, then right now, God is calling you. He has chosen you for this time, and for this purpose. Your soul is never going to die. While your body lives, you have the free will to choose your eternal destiny. If you follow Jesus, He will help you and direct you through the rest of your days. When you die, you will go to an eternal place called “heaven” and be with Him forever. No one can truly comprehend how wonderful heaven is!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:3-5)
If you choose not to follow Jesus, you will go to an eternal place called “the lake of fire” and live in suffering and loneliness forever. No one can truly comprehend how horrible this will be.
…their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur… (Revelation 21:8)
God is offering you salvation by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. The price has already been paid; the gift has been purchased. God is offering it to you – will you take it?
Know How God Sees You
God loves you, and has known you from before the creation of the world. He knew there would be a “you”. You were created specifically to be in His family. So, what’s wrong? Why does it feel like God doesn’t care – that He is absent? Or even worse, why does it feel like He is allowing – or even causing – misery and suffering?
The answer is sin. Sin separates us from God. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that goes against God’s laws. This world is broken because people are trapped in sin. Our sinful choices affect ourselves, each other, and even entire generations and societies. God has given us free will to choose to do as we please, and many times, people choose sin.
What are the laws of God? In the Bible, God has given many instructions for living right before Him. These include the 10 Commandments among others. But apart from the Bible, God has written His commands on human hearts, which we refer to as “conscience”. Our conscience is what tells us that murder is wrong. It is what makes us angry at injustices, abuses, and crime. We know we violate our consciences. The telltale signs are lying about it, hiding it (doing it in secret), or covering it up. This is how God can hold us as being without excuse (Romans 2:14-16).
Above all, God tells us to love Him with all our soul, heart, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you love anything in your life more than you love God (or a fellow human being), you have broken this command. Whenever you do anything you know you shouldn’t (lying, gossiping, pornography, stealing, cheating, sleeping around, saying “Oh my God”, disobeying your parents, etc), it is “sin”. We hold ourselves up to God’s standards and see that we fall hopelessly short. We’ve blown it, many times, and we know it.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
You may ask – “What if people choose to be good?” There are many non-religious and religious people who are “good” and kind, by human standards. But no matter how “good” we are, we aren’t perfect. God’s holiness requires us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48).
God’s laws are a mirror, to reflect back to us where we have failed.
Know Where You’re Headed
You know you’ve sinned, you’ve broken God’s laws. So what does that mean?
Our physical bodies die someday. However, God created humans to be eternal. That means the part of you that’s “you” – your spirit – is going to live on forever. God says that He has “placed eternity in the hearts of men” – deep down, we know that physical death is not the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11). When you die, you will stand before God and give an account of EVERYTHING you have done while alive (2 Corinthians 5:10). Everything done in the darkness and secret will be brought to light before Him (and perhaps before the angels and the rest of humanity as well – Luke 8:17).
According to God, breaking even one of His laws, once, results in the death penalty.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)
Death?? Isn’t that extreme? God, as a supreme holy and righteous being, cannot tolerate any sin (breaking of the law) in His presence. God sees one sin as the same as being guilty of all sins. That’s how high His standard is. Unless we repair our relationship with God we will “die” for eternity. Eternal “death” is eternal separation from God and others, in “hell” and then the “lake of fire” – places of torment and suffering.
While your physical body is alive, you can choose the eternal destiny of your spirit. Once your physical body dies, there are no second chances (Hebrews 9:27).
There’s Only One Way Out
A change of heart, seeing ourselves as utterly lost/sinful and wanting to do something about it, is called repentance. Just recognizing that we do bad things (as defined by God), but not having a desire to stop, is not true repentance. We must truly want to be changed, to be restored to right relationship with God, to be saved. Are you wanting to go to heaven, are you wanting to be spared from suffering, or are you wanting to be saved from your sins?
Following Jesus isn’t about religion. Being a true Christian comes down to a heart transformation. We can never be worthy of a “heart transplant” from God. In fact, all our works are as “filthy rags” in trying to earn it. Going to church, reading through the Bible, acting morally, these count as nothing – even worse, they are as soiled menstrual garments (what filthy rags means) towards salvation.
There is nothing *we* can do to fix our “wrongness” – no good work, no sacrament, no penance. But because God our Father loves us, He has provided a way to restore the relationship.
Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)
God does not want you to be separated from Him for eternity. He created hell and the eternal Lake of Fire for satan and the fallen angels, NOT for humans (Matthew 25:41). But you will go there if you reject God’s rescue plan. He wants you to come back to His family. So He sent a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to die for you. The Bible makes it clear that every sin has to be punished by death and paid with innocent blood. Jesus lived a perfect life on Earth – though He lived as a man under God’s Law, He never broke the Law. This qualified Him to take our sins upon Himself to become a perfect sacrifice. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us. His blood paid the price required by God for our sins.
But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
It doesn’t end there, though. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life, to a new eternal body. When we join God’s spiritual family, we, too, will get a new eternal body someday.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
“the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 3:23)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
Turn From Yourself Towards God and Believe
We chose to sin and Jesus chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us. God offers an all-inclusive “forgiveness slip” to every human on earth. If we believe what God has said about us (we are totally lost and have no hope of saving ourselves), and what He has done to fix it (Jesus is the only way as a Savior), we can obtain this “forgiveness slip”. We can ask God for Jesus’ payment to be applied to our account. This allows us to be declared innocent and sin-free in God’s eyes – the debt we owed for our crimes is paid. Salvation is a change in legal standing before God – from “guilty” to “not guilty”. Jesus didn’t just pay PART of our debt, or even MOST of it, leaving some on the tab for us. He paid our ENTIRE debt.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
When you say Jesus is Lord, this means you believe He is God and He deserves to be Lord of your life. When you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you accept that what the Bible teaches about Jesus is true and that His death paid the price for your wrongdoings.
For many years I didn’t “get” the simplicity of salvation and tried to “earn” it, be “worthy of it”, and “prove it to myself” by repeating the sinner’s prayer, trying to live morally, reading the Bible, and doing other good works. My dear ones, salvation is not about anything we DO, but about what Jesus has already DONE. We must truly rest in faith. Faith in Jesus’ provision. Faith in His completed work for us on the cross. That’s the beauty of God’s grace – “It is finished”.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Asking for Jesus’ sacrifice in our stead results in immediate salvation. That’s what being “Born Again” means (1 Peter 1:23). We are forgiven (1 John 1:9).
Repeating certain words or saying a specific prayer won’t save you. There is no formula for salvation – it’s a heart change! You don’t even need to say any words at all! Maybe you have reached this point and your heart’s desire is truly in agreement that you want to fully surrender your life to Christ. Maybe you’ve never heard anyone pray (talk to God) before. If this is you, here is an example of what you can say to God in your own words:
“God, as I am reading this through I know it to be true. Open my mind and my heart fully to your Truth today! I realize that I have broken your rules and I’m so, so sorry. Please forgive me. Apply the blood of Jesus to my heart, and wash away my sins. Grant me saving faith, change me, and make me new! Help me to walk with You until my very last breath. I understand that I may well lose my life for You. Give me boldness and courage to walk out my faith in You. Strengthen me by Your Spirit. Give me the words to say. May I bring You glory for the rest of my days and even in my death, if it comes to that.
In Jesus Name I pray,
Allow your heart to open towards God, mentally and emotionally releasing all that you are to Him. I really want to emphasize that it’s the desire and authenticity of your heart that matters, far more than any specific words you use. Jesus tells a story about that here:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Take My Life and Let It Be
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
If you asked God to forgive you, and have truly chosen to follow Him, you are now part of His family. It’s time to learn more about Him, grow your relationship with Him, and choose to obey Him. It’s like any relationship – it takes time and dedication!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
First, talk to God. This can seem awkward at first, but talk to Him as you would to a best friend. Nothing fancy, no complicated words or phrases, just talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel, what you’re doing, what questions you have, what you need. God’s not a magic genie – he doesn’t give us things for our selfish purposes. He wants you to see yourself in His bigger picture. He wants you to grow in holiness, to become more like Him. If you ask God to help you know Him better, to help you understand His word and how He wants you to live, he always answers those prayers!
Second, read the Bible. The Bible is more precious than gold – find one and keep it safe! Try hard to read it every day. A suggestion might be to start in the book of John, then Romans, and then read the rest of the New Testament. The prophetic sections that pertain to the time in which you are living include Revelation, Daniel, Matthew chapter 24-25, Zechariah, and portions of other books. Each time you read, ask God to help you understand.
Third, try to obey God. Ask Him to help you. As you read the Bible, He will teach you what He wants you to do. Deliberately choose to stop doing things He doesn’t like and commands against. Deliberately choose to allow Him to help you be more like Him – patient, kind, forgiving, joyful, serving, gentle, self-controlled, honest. You will still struggle with doing what you don’t want to do, and not doing what you want to do. When you sin, ask God to forgive you, then don’t dwell on it. Get right back up and keep on going. Jesus wants you to keep your eyes on HIM, not on yourself (neither your failures nor your successes!).
Fourth, be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This can be done in any body of water and can be performed by any true follower of Jesus Christ. It should be done by full immersion (under the water) if possible. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, but it is an important act of faith and obedience. If you have an opportunity to do so, you should take it. Through baptism, you symbolize your spiritual death and resurrection, and publicly declare your decision to follow Christ.
Fifth, find other Christians to spend your time with. Our friends can influence our attitudes and behaviors. Find other people who are willing to forsake all for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will need the support of other believers, and they will need you. This truly will be a time that hearkens back to the days of the “Acts 2” church. The book of Acts in the Bible can tell you about the early days of the first believers.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
Sixth, teach others what you know. As a follower of Christ, your eyes are opened and you can see! You are on God’s side now, and are actively battling a very ferocious enemy. Tell others of the spiritual battle that is going on and help deliver them from deception. In this way you will literally pull them out of the flames of eternal fire! While the enemy’s side is larger, yours is the one with Truth. And God’s side will win in the end. So encourage others in the faith! All you can do is plant seeds of the gospel and water sprouts of growth in other believers – God gives all the increase. Never stop planting, watering, and praying!
Seventh, pray specifically. God’s Spirit works where the gospel of Jesus is being preached and where people are desperately seeking Him. He WANTS to help you. Pray for healing, protection, and deliverance. With that said, trials of faith will most certainly be on your path. Trust God in both the little and the big things in life. Put your faith in Him.
Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword. This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful. (Revelation 13:10)
Eighth, read up! Apart from the Bible, there are books and articles and sermons online you can learn from. I’m not sure what access you will have though – it’s entirely possible that technology and even electricity will be disrupted. Print articles out if possible.
I do not wish to paint a false rosy picture for you. Jesus Himself called this time period in human history the time of “greatest tribulation”. Synonyms include persecution, affliction, anguish, and distress.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:21-22)
In this time of global disaster, over half the population will die within a few years’ time from famine, disease, war, natural disasters, and various other causes. So no one’s prognosis is good. Following Jesus Christ will put a supernatural target on your back, and you can be sure that satan and his horde will go after you with all their vicious might.
Is it worth it? Well, of what value to you is absolute truth? Of what value to you is your purpose and your destiny?
Holding Fast to Faith
Now that you have entered into this time of trouble, it seems from a few passages in the Bible that you may possibly be able to lose your salvation. There are different interpretations on this point, so I do not know for sure. God may provide further instructions through His two Witnesses, or Prophets, who are to come. What I do know is that you will be responsible for remaining faithful to Jesus in the face of severe deprivation and persecution. You will have to choose faith, even when everything around you is falling apart and looks for all intents and purposes that the enemy is winning.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:9-13)
Plead with God not to take His Holy Spirit from you.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Mark of the Beast
Also [the “false prophet”] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18)
At some point you will be required to take a certain mark on your right hand or forehead to be able to buy or sell. It might be a microchip, a tattoo, a vaccine, or it could be none of these. It may be something that affects DNA. It will be tied to allegiance to someone who sits in the Jewish temple and claims to be “god”. In the Bible, this person is called the anti-Christ, the beast, or the lawless one. This person will be indwelled (possessed) by satan himself. If you take this mark, you will be eternally lost to God. Your soul will be tortured forever in the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 14:9-11). You must surrender your life if necessary rather than take the mark.
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:9-13)
Act on Your Faith
You are required to act on your faith. Anything you do for other believers is done for Jesus Himself. Anything you don’t do for other believers you are withholding from Jesus Himself. You will be held accountable for what you do, or what you do not do (Matthew 25).
It’s going to be extremely difficult, but you need to admit to your faith in Jesus before others, even if it means physical death.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
God may have called you exactly for this purpose, and the witness of your death may plant the seeds of salvation in others.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35)
…when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. (Acts 5:40-42)
Remember that God’s viewpoint is one of eternity. Our viewpoint is often limited to the here & now. Be encouraged:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)
Do not give up! Do not despair! Cling to God with all your might, no matter how things look, no matter what others are believing, no matter how you feel. There is a very high possibility that you will lose your life for Jesus Christ. Remember that He gave His for you, first. Here is His promise to you:
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
Alive or dead, Jesus will raise you up to reign with Him when this time of trial is complete.
What if I Still Struggle With Sin?
Of course you will still struggle with sin. Even the godliest people struggle with sin – doing what we don’t want to do, or not doing what we want to do (Romans 7:15-20). However, our hearts and minds are freed from being enslaved to it. If we call for help, God will provide a way out – even if it’s hard. The trick is identifying temptation early, and halting it before we are sucked into full blown sin.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
You can be sure you will be tempted – often!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Predators look for weakness. Our enemy looks for ANY opening he can find to pull us away from God. He tells us there are “little sins” that are “no big deal”. He tempts us, saying “surely this one time won’t make a difference”. And if we fall, he hisses in our ears that we are guilty, shameful. We are “too bad” for God to save. He tells us the Bible is “boring” and that it “doesn’t matter if we miss one day”. He says God doesn’t care and doesn’t answer. My friend, what makes you question your faith? What makes you turn away from Jesus and towards the world? You can be sure that the enemy will sink his teeth into those specific weaknesses. Have you already been targeted? Think again if you have put something down to “chance”, “bad luck”, or “accidents”.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Coming to Christ, and abiding in Christ, puts a huge spiritual target on your back. God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but He certainly allows us to be tempted. While no weapon formed against us will succeed, weapons will most certainly be formed against us (Isaiah 54:17)!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
While you will still do wrong things, you should have a desire to get back on track. If you don’t, examine your heart as to why. Are you desiring to hold back a part of your life from God? Have you surrendered to Jesus fully, or only partly? Is there anything in your life that is worth more to you than God? Remember that Jesus frequently turned half-hearted followers away and finds lukewarmness repulsive (John 6:53-66, Revelation 3:16). That is incredibly sobering! If you can continue in habitual sin without feeling remorse and guilt then you should be very concerned and take up the matter before God.
When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, it is your job to listen to Him and follow His lead. Apologize to God with a sincere heart, and determine to practice taking sinful thoughts captive before they bloom into action.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Maintaining a pure heart before God will cause you to progress in holiness (sanctification), and become more like Jesus. It will also ripen His fruit in your life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – Galatians 5:22-23).
What if I STILL Don’t “Feel” Saved?
Let’s say you’ve gone through the steps to salvation above. You agree with them all. You’re not holding back from God, and you truly desire to follow Him with all your heart. It’s not about heaven for you – it’s about Jesus. You’ve examined yourself, have found that you have faith, but you still doubt. Listen, there’s a difference between being plagued by doubts and never having had assurance of faith at all. Do you find you sometimes have assurance, and sometimes not? Have you ever had a moment where you KNOW you’ve turned your life over to God? If you’ve had a “light bulb moment”, where everything has clicked, and you surrendered your heart to Jesus, it’s time to consider that the enemy is attacking you through fear and confusion.
Far be it from me to give anyone false assurance in this ear-tickling generation – that’s why this section is at the bottom. However, there is biblical precedence that there are some who are truly in the faith, who doubt.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
My dear ones, Jesus wants you to have faith and not doubt. For you, we are going to prescribe several exercises:
- Stand on the Promises of God
- Take Thoughts Captive
- Put on the Armor of God
Stand on the Promises of God
I want you to memorize these verses. Read and repeat them over and over, whenever you doubt your salvation.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29)
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
True assurance of salvation comes from the objective truth of God’s word, not from our subjective experiences. God promises that we will find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts. He promises that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. He promises that ALL who receive Him will become His children. He promises to reward those who seek Him (I would suggest the greatest reward is Himself). He promises that NO ONE can snatch us out of His hand. ALL who come to Jesus, He will never cast out. Jesus will come in to ALL who open the door of their hearts to Him. These are promises God has made and He MUST honor them, for He is Truth.
Take Thoughts Captive
In addition to keeping in mind the promises of God, you will need to take every thought captive that opposes these promises. When we focus on our doubts, we have taken our eyes off of Jesus.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Practically speaking, whenever doubts of salvation enter your mind, you are going to acknowledge them and reject them. It’s more effective to do it out loud, even if just a whisper, because then you hear yourself saying it.
“Doubt, I command you to STOP in the Name of Jesus.”
“I will NOT fear. I gave my fear to Jesus.”
“Jesus will NOT lose me. He has promised.”
“I WILL find God, because I’m seeking Him with all my heart.”
“No, I will not entertain doubt. Be gone in Jesus’ Name.”
Once you have commanded the thought to leave, recite the scriptures you have memorized above. Repeat until the thought has left. In my experience, it sometimes takes three or more repetitions.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)
When you take your thoughts captive, you make them submit to God in the Name of Jesus. You use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to do battle. Which brings us to our next exercise – examining the Armor of God.
Put on the Armor of God
If you have a sincere heart that is seeking God, but you continually struggle with assurance of salvation, you need to consider the very real possibility that you are prone to doubts and worries. Satan’s forces recognize this weakness, and will use it to seize your attention – tearing your eyes off of Jesus, and placing them on your own fears and insufficiency. The remedy for this is to stand strong in the armor of God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. (Isaiah 59:17)
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:5)
Helmet of Salvation – When we are sure of our salvation, this belief protects our mind. We use the helmet to keep out ungodly thoughts and lies from the enemy.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Breastplate of Righteousness – When Jesus comes into our hearts, He clothes us with His righteousness. We use the breastplate when we guard our hearts.
Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
Belt of Truth – Wrapping ourselves with the Truth of God’s word enables to spot the enemy’s lies.
We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception. (1 John 4:6)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. (John 16:13)
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Sword of the Spirit – Hiding God’s word in our hearts makes it accessible when we need to wield counter attacks against the enemy. Reciting scripture during an attack is how we use this offensive weapon.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)
Shield of Faith – Holding unswervingly to the hope we profess is how we use the shield to ward off attacks from the enemy. We choose to stubbornly, resolutely cling to faith – no matter what.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Feet of Peace – Staying in a state of attentive readiness is how we use the shoes of the armor. We flee from sin, we are ready to share the gospel, we wait on the Lord actively.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)
Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)
No matter what – do not give up! Do not despair! Cling to God with all your might, no matter how you feel. Hold on firmly and stubbornly to your faith until death. Refuse to allow thoughts of giving up to creep into your mind.
If you are struggling with assurance of salvation, are “losing faith”, or need to come back to God, consider praying along with me, in your own words:
Jesus, I want to love you, more than anyone and anything else!!! I believe I am a sinner and that You are my Savior. Help me in my unbelief! Help me, Holy Spirit! Intercede for me now I pray! I plead with You for the assurance of salvation that I so deeply crave.
I’m struggling to hold firm in my faith. My eyes have been drawn into fear by what is going on in the world. Please direct my mind and my heart upon Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Give me wisdom and understanding of the scriptures! Open my eyes to see you! Open my ears to hear you! Open my heart to receive you.
Flood my heart with Your peace, and confirm in my soul that I am a child of God! From this day forward, I choose to stubbornly cling to faith. When I have doubt, I will choose to stand on the Truth of Your Word.
Give me a burning, passionate love for you! Make me like You, Jesus! Lead me and guide me. Keep me on the narrow path that leads to life, even if it leads to my death. I surrender my heart, my life, my all to you!
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:24-31)
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he [died]. (Acts 7:54-60)
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)