James McLeod - Strathalbyn, South Australia Convention - 1950

We left in your mind the last day we spoke, that the Lord said to His children, after He had shown to them their condition, He used this expression, "Fear not. I have redeemed you, I have called you, and you are Mine. You are My witnesses, you are My servants. Your sins I have blotted out, everything is forgiven, your slate is clean you are unmarred, you are Mine."

In preparing for the meeting, my mind tried to turn in many directions, but every avenue closed but one. Though I preached that one subject in each of the past conventions, I will preach it again, and will continue to preach it, for we do not have very long. There is not much time left to make preparation for what is sweeping down over the world. Some of us have been a long time in the way, but these many years have gone like a flash. These things sweeping down over the world are running on the world with the wings of the wind. God's children are probably quite unconscious of it.

Peter wrote, "These things I have written that I might stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, that you might be mindful of the words which were before spoken by the holy prophets." Knowing this, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after there 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." Scoffers shall arise. This was written to God's children. There is a very solemn warning in it. Those who will not, can not be awakened to these facts, they will get nowhere. Our great High Priest has called us to be kings and priests and now we are sitting at His feet and He has a lot to say to us if we are only willing to listen. I want to speak lovingly and tenderly to you, for the Lord has tamed and broken my spirit, and brought me where I am. Many of the experiences He has brought me through have not been pleasant and I have come through a lot of trouble. But during the past 43 years, God has been wonderfully kind and patient with me and has built into my life things that I hope can be used to help others. God loves to see His children encouraged and filled with hope. He is the God of hope and as we abide in Him, joy will abound and His Way will team with hope.

Sometimes we look to the future and are filled with dread but "I know in whom I have believed, I am persuaded God will keep; deep hidden in the heart of God, His tender lambs, His chosen sheep." God's message to our hearts is "Fear not. Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests unto God His Father. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever."

Revelations 1:5, it is four-fold work. God has loved us, washed us blotted out the past and made us kings and priests. Two of those points are concerning our past. He has washed us from it and blotted it out forever. It will never be raised again. If God will not bring it up against us again, no one else would dare to raise from burial that which God has buried. Are we conscious that the past is blotted out and buried and that God will never refer to it again? It is His purpose that we should be rulers over these lives of ours, instead of being contaminated by things outside. (Kings to rule)

It is true that Christ loved us when we were sinners, but how much more must He love us now when we are sons and daughters and are made kings and priests? God gives us power to rule over all that is within ourselves and over the desires of our hearts. If we are wrong in the desires of our hearts, there will be a wrong effect on our lives.

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." That mind was that He made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. That is a sample of what God wants, not what we think.

The thoughts of men, by nature tend only to things of time and sense. If the mind of Christ is in us, we will rule over our own thoughts and they will be brought into subjection to the mind and will of Christ. God wants us to know what the outcome will be, if any wrong thoughts are harboured in our lives - any wrong desires - He wants us to put away wrong. God has made us kings to rule and reign. He has also made us priests. The priest has access to God's presence. The priest’s office was to offer the sacrifices. I beseech thee brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Let us present ourselves daily to God, because when we do it daily, He can take us up and shape us and transform us and fit us to be in His Kingdom eternally. Then if you daily present your bodies on His alter, when you lay them down for the last time, you will find that God will give back to you the life you gave to Him.

Peter gave the warning, "In the last days shall come scoffers," and he gave it to God's own children. We need to let all the sayings of Jesus and the sayings of this Book sink down into our hearts so that in time of need, they may be recalled, and by them we may understand and make preparation for what is coming. Turn to II Thessalonians, and there you will find written, some of these things that you need let sink deeply into your heart. Second chapter, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together unto Him." These people were not yet one year in God's way and Paul was endeavouring to establish them and put them on their guard. The thought was in their minds, "We are going to be gathered together unto Him, when He comes," but Paul knew the enemy that would do all in his power to prevent them from being gathered unto the Lord. So he writes, "I beseech you that you be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, neither by letter as from me, as that the day of Christ is at hand." That has a peculiar ring, hasn't it? The revised version puts it, "The day of the Lord is now."

There are some people professing to be in this way of God, yet there are no depths to which they will not go. Paul found it necessary to warn those new converts of such and he was implying, "They will even forge a name to my letter." (Write a letter and forge Paul's name on it.) "That ye be not shaken in mind by letter as from us."

Some said, "The Lord is now present; the day of the Lord is now." As Paul wrote to them, he had it in his mind that some would be telling them that the Lord has come. The Lord hasn't come; there are yet things that must be fulfilled before He comes. I will speak to you of certain things that will show you where we are and what is awaiting us, so that we might be prepared.

Paul wrote to a young worker, "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron."

I Timothy 4:1, we cannot shut our eyes to this: if God's word says that it will happen, we know that it will. In the last times, some who have been in the faith, will depart from it and will work harm and evil.

What I have seen in God's children in the last 3 conventions has appealed to my heart and I have looked into your faces and seen the fruit of the Spirit. But we cannot shut our eyes to this fact, "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith." There are those who have fully yielded, and Christ is in their hearts, reigning there. We don't fear for them but the Spirit speaketh expressly, "that some shall depart from the faith." You know, no one outside, no hireling could effect God's children, for they know not the voice of a hireling, and he shall flee when the wolf cometh to destroy the flock, but if some were to rise amongst us to work havoc, what then?

Paul in Thessalonians 2 said, "Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come except there be a falling away first and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." There will be a falling away. There is something ahead that we have to meet and when we meet it, we can be fortified. God's Word is able to warn us and prepare us; reading the Bible can fortify and arm us. You were brought into God's Way for God's Truth to guide you and preserve you to the end. The Word says that that day will not come except there come a falling away first. How vital that we begin to examine ourselves. We spoke in previous meeting about the Great Physician and the operations He preforms. We need to come into His presence where He can look into the inmost recesses of our mind and heart and deal with what He sees there. It is as we do this and open our hearts before Him and apply his word to our hearts, that the wrong may be removed and we can have spiritual health and be preserved to the end.

Mathew 24:12, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold, but he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." Do we love Jesus? In John 17:24, Jesus prayed, "Father, I will that they all, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the world." Jesus prayed that at the end, those who had come to love Him, would be with Him where He was, but because iniquity shall abound, "the love of many shall wax cold." This is Iniquity. Some have begun to take their own way and go astray. That is iniquity. But the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. That iniquity was laid on Jesus. Sometimes God's children begin to take their own way and go astray. Others see it and are hindered and their faith is shaken as they see its results. The feeling "What’s the use?" is begotten in their bosom; then others are discouraged by those who take their own way and let iniquity grow in their lives. "The love of many shall wax cold, but he who endures to the end, the same shall be saved." It doesn't matter whose love lessens or who goes astray, your love doesn't need to wane. Hold fast and stand fast and don't let your love grow cold.

Revelations 1:3, "Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep the things which are written therein, for the time is at hand." It is a three-fold proposition. If you read these things, the blessing has begun; if you hear God's voice in what you read, it will open your heart and your eyes and change your vision. But blessing increases as you are willing to add to this, the doing. I want you to take particular notice of the 19th verse. Let it impress itself on your mind, for it is the key to the book. "Write the things which thou hast seen and the things which are and the things which shall be hereafter." That includes the past, present and future tense doesn't it? "The things which thou hast seen, (past tense). The things which are, (present tense). The things which shall be hereafter, (future tense).

Verses 5-6, He loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests.

John wrote, " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day; I heard a voice; I turned and saw seven golden candlesticks." All this is in the past tense. Then in chapters 2-3, there is a picture of the things that are - the present condition of the churches.

There is a message given to each of the seven churches, and to God's people who were to come after. In the 4th chapter, there is given a picture of the things that are to be.

John saw a door open in Heaven, and heard a voice saying, "Come up hither and I will show thee things that must be hereafter." He was shown things which are ready to be revealed. He saw a throne set in Heaven and one sat on the throne. He saw the four and twenty elders, the four beasts, and the sea of glass before the throne. In the 5th chapter, he saw the Lamb in the midst of the throne.

There was one that sat upon the throne, and in His hand was a book sealed with seven seals. John wept because there was none found worthy to break those seals and open and read the book, nor to look upon it. One of the elders said to him, "Weep not. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals." There were four and twenty elders before the throne and they fell down before the Lamb, and they sang a new song saying, "Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof, for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth."

The four and twenty elders sang the song of redemption. They represent the redeemed. There were also the four beasts before the throne - one being like a lion, another like a calf, and the third with a face of a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle. All the different sides of the character of God's children. They represent God's finished work in humanity. We shall reign on the earth. We are brought into something better than anything that is human. All that pertains to the human life will end at the grave but the new life birth gives us an expectation beyond the grave.

God promised eternal life. Can we compare the human life with this? To reign with Him on this earth is only part of the reward that He has promised to those who love Him. The human family will still be going on even in Christ's reign but in those days, the earth shall be filled with the knowledge and glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

There is a promised reward for God's children and it is assured. What God has promised is bound to be fulfilled. Are we qualifying to have a part in it and to reign with Him? Are we giving Him control of our lives and allowing Him to guide us, so that we might be sealed by God's spirit and comforted by God's spirit? You laid your life down at His feet when you made the choice to live to glorify Jesus. You are not your own, but God's, you have given yourself to Him. As you continue to present your body a living sacrifice. He says, "I am going to transform you, fit you, and prepare you for something in the future. But I will give you joy while I am doing it. I will give you a hope for a wonderful reward in the future - a living hope, and I will make you fit to reign with Me."

If you are dead at the time of His coming, you will come back with Him, and you will live and reign a thousand years. If you are not dead, now listen to this, "I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope." Those who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. We which are alive and remain, unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in air; so shall we be ever with the Lord. Paul would not have them sorrow as they who were without hope, for the dead in Christ are going to be raised with a new body to meet Him in the air.

The first dead child of God was Abel. His brother slew him because, when they both brought offerings to the Lord, Abel’s was accepted and Cains was rejected. Abel brought the firstlings of his flock. Notice it doesn't say firstling but it is in the plural. There was at least two, weren’t there? The first was the Lamb of God. He brought the Lamb nature to God first of all and then He added other offerings.

We have all come short of the glory of God and been disobedient to the word of God. God clothed Adam with the skin of the Lamb slain. Abel saw this, and when he understood that it was a type of the atonement of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth, he also understood that God wanted a life. When he came to God, he brought himself. Cain brought an offering of his substance. Many will bring their substance, their money and this and that, but they won't offer themselves. Cain brought of the fruits of the earth.

Abel brought the living offering - the lamb life. You give yourself and God is well pleased. Bring everything else and it profits nothing.

I Corinthians 13 says, "Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am as a sounding brass or a tinkling symbol. Though I have the gift of prophesy and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

Going back to I Thessalonians 4, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also, which sleep in Jesus, He shall bring with Him." Abel is the first human who ever died. He fell asleep, killed by his brother. They who sleep have gone to be with God, which is far better. The dead in Christ shall rise first, and in their resurrection bodies shall rise to meet Him in the air. Then those who are still alive will be caught up into the clouds to meet Him in the air also, and also shall be ever more with God. This is the first phase of his coming.

Christ died more than 1900 years ago. We believe that He died and rose again, and we know He is coming back in the air - not on the earth at this stage, but in the air. Even as He died and rose again, we know that we shall do the same. It is only the body that is dead; the spirit does not die, but is alive. The dead body is in the grave. The spirit of the departed dead shall come back with Him, and then the graves will be opened and their bodies will be raised, resurrected, and they will be given new bodies that will never die. But when they first come back with Him, they will be bodiless, only in spirit form for their bodies are yet in the grave.

Those who have given their lives to the control of God's spirit, will be guided by it in the path of life, and will live forever. Hebrews 12 says, "We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?" If our spirits are in subjection to the Father of spirits we shall live forever. God shall bring the dead with Him and they shall take possession of their resurrection bodies, when the trump of God sounds. Corinthians 1-15, 52-53, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and they shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality."

So in Revelation 5, the Lion of the tribe of Judah prevailed to open the seven seals of the book. These seven seals, as they were broken, brought a revelation (of the things which shall be hereafter) that which was classed in the future tense. When the Lamb (who was also the Lion of the tribe of Judah) opened he first seal, Revelations 6:1. John heard the voice of thunder, and one of the four beasts, saying, "Come and see." "And, behold, a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown given unto him, and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." Then the Lamb broke another seal, and there came forth a red horse; and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they would kill one another, and there was given to him a great sword. This was war. Then the 3rd seal was broken and, John beheld a black horse. This is very suggestive. He that sat on the black horse had a pair balances in his hand. John heard a voice saying, "A measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." All this is pointing to the coming of the Lord. Before His coming there was war. With war comes famine, and the measuring out and rationing of food. It is followed by death. After the opening of the fourth seal, John saw a pale horse, and the name of him that sat on him was death, and Hell followed with him.

The passengers in ships on the sea shall hold their noses because of the dead on the land. (See Ezekiel 39: 11) This is death. and Hell comes with it. This is all in the future and it must come to pass. It is ready to break loose over the world, and we need to watch and pray lest it takes us unawares, and we are as ones taken in a snare. It is coming on the wings of the wind: it is so close at hand. When the fifth seal was opened, John saw under the alter the souls of the departed - those who were slain for the word of God and the testimony which they held. White robes were given to them, and it was said to them, "Now you rest just a little while, until the time is fulfilled when your fellowservants and brethren will be slain, even as you were."

The sixth seal was opened, and the sun and the moon were blackened, the stars fell from Heaven, there was a great earthquake etc. and the kings of the earth, and the mighty men, and the bondman and every free man hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wroth of the Lamb, for the great day of His wrath is come."

There are 6 seals. There is a 7th. There is something between the 6th and the 7th seal which is vital for us to know today. The 6th Chapter speaks of what happened when the great day His wrath had come - at the time of the opening of the 6th Seal. Then follows this 7th Chapter. Then in the 8th Chapter, the 7th Seal is opened, and the first verse says, "There was silence in Heaven for about the space of half an hour." But before this takes place, we read in the 7th chapter of the angels who had power to hurt the earth and the sea, standing on the four corners of the earth, and holding the four winds of the earth. Another angel having the seal of the living God came and cried to the four angels. "Hurt not the earth, neither the earth nor the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." John heard the number of them that were sealed, and it was 144,000 out of all the tribes of Israel, 12000 out of each tribe. These were the Jews.

After this, John saw a great multitude that no man could number, of all nations and kindreds and tongues standing before the throne, clothed in white robes and with palms in their hands. Then we are given the conversation that took place between John and the angel. The angel said, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence they come?" John said, "Sir, thou knoweth." (I don't know where these come in.)

In passing, I would like to mention that there are people in the world talking about this passage, and this unnumbered multitude, and speaking of them as being out of the tribes of Israel. But these are not out of the tribes of Israel; these are out of the Gentiles. Paul in writing to the Gentile saints in Rome, said, "I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits;" that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so shall all Israel be saved as it is written, "There shall come out of Zion the deliverer and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Paul said, "As concerning the Gospel, the Jews are enemies for our sakes but as touching the election, they are loved for the Father's sakes. The Jews are the chosen people of God, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's sake, they are beloved. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." God never changes. Read the 12th and 14th chapters of Zechariah 13, 6, "What are these wounds in Thine hands?" Then He shall answer, "These with which I was wounded in the house of My friends." Jesus was taking them back to the time of His rejection.

The Chapter 11, 11-14 verses tells of the day coming when all Israel will mourn for the past, when they realise how they rejected and crucified the Christ. "In that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem - the land shall mourn and every family shall mourn apart." After they believe and accept Christ, the Jews will mourn for what their forefathers have done. In spite of all, the Jews are still the election. They rejected and persecuted and crucified Christ - they have done it all, for their eyes are blinded, but when the Deliverer shall come they will believe, and they will be gathered in again.

In Revelations 6, the wrath of God was ready, but not poured out upon humanity. The 7th chapter tells of all God's people being sealed in the forehead before the opening of the 7th Seal, when the vials of God's wrath should be opened out on all the world. There had been war, hunger, thirst etc. before, but there was to follow something far worse than the world had ever known. The 8th chapter begins, "And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in Heaven for about the space of half an hour." Why? This is ominous. The clouds have gathered - the wrath of God is at hand. It is ready to be poured out and all Heaven waiting in this silence and suspense. Then John saw the seven angels with seven trumpets. As each angel sounded his trumpet, the plagues of God were poured out upon the earth, and the sun, moon, and stars etc. Chapters 8 and 9 tell of six of the seven plagues following the sounding of the trumpets.

The 10th,chapter comes between the sounding of the 6th and 7th trumpets. In it, a mighty angel came down from Heaven and stood with one foot on the earth and one foot on the sea and he lifted up his hand to Heaven and swore by Him who liveth forever, that time should be no longer. The decree was passed, "Delay no longer." God has delayed: He has waited. He has said that He will bring these things on the earth, and He has delayed in fulfilling them, the time will come when he will delay no longer. God won't go back on His word. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

God has waited in the hope of getting men out of the world for Himself and delivering them from the tribulation and wrath that is to come upon the earth. Perhaps there is a soul in this meeting for whom He has been waiting. Perhaps He has been watching over your life, dealing with it, and waiting until there is no resistance left, no mental reservation left and waiting until you are willing to lay yourself unreservedly at His feet.

After the waiting period, the word was proclaimed, "Time shall be no longer." The mystery is finished, it is wound up now; it is the end.

In 11:15, the seventh angel sounded the seventh trumpet and there were great voices in Heaven saying, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. At this stage, every part of the world has been taken under His control. By the end of the 8th Chapter, four of the angels had sealed their trumpets, then John heard an angel flying through the midst of Heaven saying, 'Woe. Woe, Woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other trumpets of the three angels which are yet to sound; three woes.'"

The 9th chapter tell of the time of the 1st woe when men should seek death and not find it. Verse 12, "One woe is past and behold there come, two more woes hereafter." Then at the sounding of the 6th angel, the 2nd woe began. The four angels which were bound in the great river Euphrates, were loosed, and they went forth to slay the third part of mankind with a great army of horsemen having breastplates of fire, etc. Yet those who escaped still did not repent of their evil works. Meanwhile, those who were sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads were not touched by these things.

During the period of the 2nd woe, came the two witnesses, the Beast's persecution of them, their death, their resurrection and ascension.

Then followed a great earthquake, the 2nd woe was past. Then came the sounding of the 7th Angel, and the proclamation, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord."

There is a space between this and the third woe. 15th chapter, John saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels, having the last seven plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God. Then it speaks of them who had gotten the victory over the Beast. Then the tabernacle of the testimony was opened in Heaven, and the seven angels came out, having the seven plagues. One of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels, seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

In the 12th Chapter, we read of there being war in Heaven and the Devil being cast out unto the earth. 12:12 verse, "Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth and the sea; for the Devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he has but a short time."

Chapter 13 tells of the rise of the beast. In the 12th chapter, it tells us that the dragon was Satan, the Devil. Now the dragon gives his power to the beast and the beast opened his mouth in blasphemy, against God.

Paul in II Thessalonians 2:3 says, "Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth in the temple as God, showing himself that he is God." Chapter 13:4, they worshiped the beast. The 3rd verse tells of the beast having a deadly wound in one of his heads, and being healed. All the world wondered after the beast. All the world came under the influence of the Beast. Some were exempted - those with the seal of God in their foreheads but they were not of the world. This world will become devil worshipers, for the dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, Satan, deceiveth the whole world. (see 12:9) 13th:11, tells of another beast rising out of the earth (from amongst men).

The first beast rose out of the sea. The 2nd beast had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like the dragon. And he exercised all the power of the first beast, and caused all the earth to worship the first Beast. And he did great wonders so that he made fire to come down from Heaven, and he deceived them that dwelt on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do. This was the rise of the false prophet.

You will notice that in connection with the first beast, the false prophet is mentioned - not the false prophets. He had the appearance of a lamb but he spoke like the Devil, and he worked by the power of the Devil. (You will find that altogether in the 13th and 14th verses.) In verses 16 and 17, he caused all men to receive the mark of the Beast in their right hand and in their forehead; any man who did not have this mark could neither buy nor sell. It shows us that there were still some on the earth who refused to worship the beast or to receive his mark but they had to endure hardships and persecution because of it.

The 7th verse makes reference to those who were excluded from the worshipers of the Beast. They were the saints of God. "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all nations." These saints are the ones, who won't submit to the Beast, and therefore he makes war with them and they have to pass through great tribulation, and many are slain by him.

There is something else that we should look at. The first beast rose out of the sea, not the earth. All the world wondered after the Beast. Satan gave him power, and his seat, and great authority. All this is concentrated in one man. All the world worshiped the Beast and the Devil. He blasphemed against God, and all that was God, and substituted devil worship. You'll see that kind of thing in Russia and the satellite countries. The nature of the beast will be manifested in a man. The idea is to wipe out worship for they believe that worship is only an opiate to the people. They know nothing of the true worship, and they think of the false worship as only something that drugs the masses, therefore they want to wipe it out. This is a power that will rise up against all religion, not just against the truth. It will be opposed to all that bears the name of God and all religion. The 5th Verse tells of the 3 and half years when the Beast would reign in dreadful savagery. Daniel had a vision of him (see chapters 7 and 11, Daniel) this trinity of evil had risen to rule the world - the Dragon (or Devil) the Beast, and the false prophet.

Chapter 14 speaks of the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion with the 144,000 who had His Father's name, written in their foreheads. This was the Lamb. The false prophet had the appearance of a lamb, but spoke like the Devil.

Those with the Lamb were those who had been redeemed from the earth.

Verse 6, Babylon goes down, and her fall is declared.

15th chapter, the seven angels having the seven last plagues and the vials of the wrath of God.

16:17 tells of the last of those vials being poured out on the earth, "And the seven angels poured out His vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, 'It is done.'"

Chapter 17 shows Babylon going down. The 18th speaks of all the world crying out because of it and lamenting for her when they saw the smoke of her burning. "In one hour. she is made desolate."

In the latter part of the 19th chapter, we have record of the Beast and the false prophet. The 1st part of the 19th chapter speaks of the marriage of the Lamb.

Immediately after the marriage of the Lamb, the second phase of His coming begins. The tribulation takes place during the time of the first phase.

Revelations 19:11-21 (immediately after the tribulation of those days) tells of the 2nd phase of His coming. "I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat on him was called, Faithful and True and in righteousness, He doth judge and make war. And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon the white horse, that with it He should smite the nations and He shall rule them with a rod of iron - He hath on His vesture a name written, 'LORD OF LORD AND KING OF KINGS.'"

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. He is now coming with His army to take over. The beast and the false prophet are taken and cast alive into the lake of fire, burning with brimstone.

In the 20th chapter, an angel came down from Heaven, having the keys of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold on the dragon, or Satan, and bound him a thousand years and cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled.

After the thousand years of Christ's reign on the earth, the Devil must be loosed again for a little season and he is coming out of the pit to deceive the nations again. "Satan will be loosed out of his prison and shall go out to deceive the nations, and to gather them again to battle; the number of whom is as the sands of the sea." The number of those who fell away to the Devil shall be as the sands of the sea. While he was in the bottomless pit for the thousand years, there was none to deceive the nations. It was the unchallenged reign of Christ.

But when he was again at large, so many who had lived in that reign of peace and righteousness fell away to the Devil. Listen, if the man of God says the human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, he means it. Even after experiencing the reign of Christ, it was in the human heart to go over to the enemy, the Devil. The nations will fall away to the Devil as the sands of the sea.

There is that wonderful prospect of reigning with Him on this earth for a thousand years. My brother, my sister, are you going to lay that life of yours down at His feet, and so reign with Him, or are you going to use it just for yourselves, and so lose all? That short life of yours can be spent to reign with Him; or can be spent just to end at the grave. Let him work His will in you, do His will in you, live His will in you and so you will be prepared to reign with Him through those thousand years. Or you can keep your life and live your life for yourself and lose it all. There is not much mentality needed to see which the best course to take is. This is the fulfilment of that passage when the four and twenty elders fell down before Him who sat on the throne, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive honour and power, etc."

After the thousand years had expired, the Devil gathered the nations together to war against the saints of God, and fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them. And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the false prophets are and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

After this comes the Judgment scene, when the dead small and great shall stand before God and the books shall be opened. All were judged out of their records written in these books. Another book, the book of life, was opened, and all who were not found written in it were cast into the lake of fire.

Chapter 21 tells of the new heaven and new earth, and the holy city - New Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of Heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband. Further on in the chapter, it speaks of the nations of them which are saved, walking in the light of the glory of God in that city. Every child of God you have ever loved will be there; all those who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb will be there.

When there comes the new heaven and the new earth, all of the people there will be God's people. It will be a totally different world from the one we now know. In Luke 21:33-36, Jesus spoke of this time. "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away," and take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be over charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth? "Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man." I said before that in the 1st phase of His coming, the graves would be open, and those who had died in Christ would be raised with new bodies to meet Him in the air. There is no need to sorrow for those who have died in Him for they are asleep in Jesus.

When in the grave, it is only the body there, for the spirit has gone to be with God, and will return with Him, when He comes in His glory, and will take possession of their resurrection bodies - new bodies, glorious bodies. The body we dwell in here is only the tabernacle for the spirit, and we put it off when the spirit returns to God who gave it.

It is the tabernacle or tent in which we live our human lives in order to be fitted for our eternal home. Then the tabernacle is left behind, and we go to be with God, which is far better. Then when the departed dead return in spirit form with Him in the air, the graves will be opened, and their bodies will be raised in glorious form to dwell in again. When Steven was stoned, he called on God, saying, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." His body went to the grave, but his spirit went to God. God is the father of Spirits. We are not called into anything foolish, but into the precious, abounding promises of what God has for His people. These promises apply not only to life, but to life beyond the grave.

We have the comparison between Lazarus and the rich man in this life, and also their condition after death. In this life, Lazarus was a poor beggar, lying at the rich man's gate, but he was a child of God. When Lazarus died, he was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom, but in Hell, the rich man lifted up his eyes and saw Lazarus. Being in torment he cried, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." Abraham said, "Son, remember, that thou in thy lifetime receivest good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." Friend, don't forget that we will carry memories into Eternity. In Hell, the rich man had a tongue and eyes too, as well as memories. He saw the blessed state of Lazarus, the child of God, whom he had despised in life. He remembered how he had treated him. Perhaps, he remembered many things that he had said, and his tongue burned. But Lazarus could not cross the great gulf that was fixed between them, to so much as dip his finger in water to cool the burning of the rich man's tongue.

Lazarus and all the others who died in Christ, will return with Jesus, in spirit form - bodiless - to receive their resurrection bodies, and we who remain alive, shall be caught up with Him, and our present bodies will be changed, in a moment of time. "We shall all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of time, at the last trump." At the same time the dead shall be raised incorruptible, with a never dying body. But we shall be changed, for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal, must put on immortality." Then shall the saying be fulfilled, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" But there is also the other side of it. "The sting of death is sin." Where sin has not been dealt with, there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

God would impress on our hearts, the need of letting His Word search us and try us, and deal with what is in our hearts. "The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper that any two-edged sword, piercing even the dividing asunder of soul and spirit - and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Philemon 3:2-21, our citizenship is not of the earth, but of Heaven. "God hath prepared for them, a city." Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. For our conversation is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. Are we holding back? Are we rebellious against His Word and His dealings? Do we resist Him? But we will only be changed as we let Him subdue all things unto Himself.

Matthew 24, there three questions asked here, in the third verse, "When shall these things be?" What shall be the sign of His coming? When shall the end of the world be? In the preceding chapter, Jesus wept over Jerusalem, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." In this 24th chapter, as Jesus was leaving the temple, His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple. Jesus said to them, "There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down." Then Matthew tells us, as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, asking these three questions.

Matthew just says, "The disciples came," but Mark 13 says, four of the disciples came and He gives their names - Peter, James, John, and Andrew. Where were the other eight? This bears a little message to my own heart. Among the followers of Christ, there are some more eager than others to learn some are more anxious to learn all the mind and will of God, and to understand the things that pertain to God and His kingdom. Then these four disciples asked this three-fold question, "What will be the sign of Thy coming? How will we know when the time comes? When will the end of the world be?"

Matthew 24:4-14, Jesus gives a little summary to these three questions, the destruction of the temple, the coming of the Lord, and the end of the world. This is needed today. In the 15th verse, He refers again to the destruction of Jerusalem, and says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. Then let them which are in Judea flee into the mountains."

Daniel 12:11 says, "From the time that the daily sacrifice be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there will be a thousand, 2 hundred and 90 days." So Jesus said, "When ye see the abomination of desolation set up, and the daily sacrifice taken away, you will know that the time is near."

Thirty seven years after Jesus said this, the Roman soldiers came and besieged Jerusalem. They surrounded the city, but couldn't get in. They became enraged when they were kept at bay and then followed the terrible siege. The people within the walls of the city were reduced to starvation. Mothers even devoured their own children. The Roman finally broke into the city and plundered it. One million, one hundred thousand dead bodies were taken out of Jerusalem.

The Romans did crucify Jews in great numbers, and ninety -six thousand were sold as slaves. But God's children had escaped in time, and so they didn't have to go through this terrible tribulation when Jerusalem ran with blood. Jesus had said, "There shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except the days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." What Jesus said did take place.

The 24th and 25th verses, Jesus deals with the 2nd question, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming?" His coming is imminent, near. Jesus gave the warning that there would be false reports of His coming and that false Christs would arise. He said, "Behold I have told you before. If they say, 'He has come,' believe it not, for as the lightening cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." Where does the lightening appear? In the sky, it flashes across the sky. So shall His coming be?

The first phase of His coming is in the sky, nowhere else. His saints shall be caught up to Him in the sky. When He comes, He comes in the air, not on the earth. He will come, bringing the spirits of the dead in Christ with Him - in the air and the living will be caught up with Him and thus be ever with the Lord. As the lightning’s flash from one part of heaven to the other part of heaven is unmistakeable, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be unmistakable.

Verse 28, "For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." Jesus is still speaking on the second question. What about the eagle? Do you remember Ezekiel 1:10, where it tells of the four living creatures who each had four faces? One was the face of a man, another face of a lion, of an ox, and of an eagle. The eagle is used by God as a symbol. In Revelations 1:7, there were the four beasts before the throne again and the fourth was like a flying eagle.

Job 39:27, "Doth the eagle mount up at Thy command and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and on the strong place. From thence she seeketh her prey, and her eyes behold afar off." She is looking into the distance, and sees afar off. What does it mean?

In Hebrews 11, we see what it means. Verse 10, Abraham looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God. He and those who came after him all died in faith (verse 13) not having received the promises but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They saw it afar off. God's people today, with the eye of faith, behold that which is afar off. Isn't it like the eagle, beholding afar off. God's people are farsighted like the eagle. God who cannot lie has promised, and they see those promises and believe.

Psalm 103:5, "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." The child of God grows younger and younger, and with the passing of the years, the spirit remains youthful and fresh. Don't talk about getting old: He renews your youth like the eagles. Think of Simeon, coming into the temple when Jesus was brought in, in the arms of His mother. This old man was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was upon him this day in the temple. He took the babe up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord now letteth Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation - a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel." This old man rejoiced in spirit.

Then an old lady came into the temple - Anna the prophetess. She had been married seven years, and then she had been eighty four years a widow. That makes 91 years, doesn't it? 91 years since she was married. So how old was she? She would have been at least 10 years old when she was married, wouldn't she? The dear old soul went into the temple to see the Babe Jesus. How good to see the old ones in the meeting who have withstood the tempest of life, The weather and the storms have raged around them, the circumstances over which they had no control, have come upon them but they have stood their ground. Their testimony is valued. To all Israel who looked for redemption, this dear old lady spoke of Christ. Thy youth is renewed like the eagles. Each year, the eagle sheds it coat of feathers, and it is then an object of misery. But then it gets a new coat of feathers, and its wings are stronger and it can rise higher and stay up higher in the air. This suggests the thought of the child of God growing stronger through each experience of life and rising higher and nearer to God. From that height our eyes behold afar off and see the prize as we look to the future.

Isaiah 40:31, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Here is the Christ. The eagles gather from all points of the compass to one central place, where their prize is found. By instinct they gather from far and near to where the carcass is. God's people are likened to them. When Christ comes, the Christians will meet him in the air, and gather to Him as their prize. Christ's nature dwelling in them, guides them safely through life, and when He comes, it will lead them to where He is. Then the bodies of the dead will come forth from the grave, raised in incorruption, eternal immortal. Those of His children, who are still alive, will be caught up into the air. He doesn't come to earth, and where He is, there they will be until the time of tribulation that follows, will be over. He doesn't come to earth until He comes as a conqueror or subduing all things under Him, and as a king to reign one thousand years.

Following the gathering of the saints to Him in the air, calamity of calamities takes place. This is still the first phase of his coming. There is the times of great tribulation which we have already read about in Revelation. during this period the holy city shall be trodden under foot for forty and two months, ( 3 & a half years ) and power shall be given to the Beast to continue forty and two months. (See Revelations 11:2 and 13:5) Great tribulation such as has never been known, will take place.

Immediately after this tribulation comes the second phase of His coming (See Revelations 19: 11-21 and Matthew 24:29), "Then the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from Heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn."

Verse 34, "This generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled." But aren’t all these people to whom Jesus was speaking that day, now dead? Generation is used in the sense of "a race " or " a tribe." The race of the Jews has been scattered and persecuted ever since, but the Jews still exist as a race.

Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word will not pass away." All that Jesus has said is being fulfilled and will go on being fulfilled until heaven and earth passes away and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth. But He says, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of Heaven, but My Father only."

This is His answer to their third question, "When shall the end of the world be?" 37th verse, here we are told that all is not as it seems to be. "As in the days of Noah, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, etc. People think that all seems secure and that the tragedy could not be repeated. "They knew not, until the flood came and took them all away." There is nothing wrong with them eating, marrying, buying and selling, and so on but the thing that is wrong was that they were not preparing. Verse 40, "Then shall there be two in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left." The field is the world.

Luke, 17:36, "Two men shall be in the field: the one shall be taken and the other left." That may speak of two brother workers out in the Harvest Field. At the time of the Lord's return, one might be prepared and the other not. So one would be taken and the other left when He gathers His own to Himself. "Two women shall be grinding in the mill, the one shall be taken and the other left." That would speak of two saints. The two women would be grinding corn in order to prepare a meal. That is necessary and quite alright but one of the two was not preparing for the vital thing. It is possible for the saints to get taken up with the things of everyday life, and neglect to be daily preparing for the Lord's return. Two servants in the field - one taken and the other left. Why does God talk like this? Because he sees the end from the beginning. He sees that in this meeting, there are some who, if they don't wake up, will be taken unawares. Two women shall be grinding at the mill. That would speak to me of two preparing for the Sunday morning meeting. The meetings are vital and necessary for God's children, and this preparation is necessary in order to have bread. One of these two women was prepared for His coming, and the other was not prepared, so when He came unexpectedly, the one was taken and the other left.

The 42nd verse was spoken to all God's children, "Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Then Jesus said, "If the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."

This is still not very clear. So turn to the next chapter, which gives the parable of the ten virgins. This is an earthly story with a spiritual meaning. We will keep the earthly story for awhile. The ten virgins took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise and five were foolish, the five wise had filled their lamps, and also taken a reserve of oil in their vessels with their lamps. The five foolish took no reserve of oil. They evidently lit their lamps and then slept as they waited for the coming of the bridegroom. The cry was made, "Behold the bridegroom cometh," they rose and trimmed their lamps, then the five foolish said to the wise, "Give us of your oil, for our lamps (as the revised version puts it) are going out." There has been oil in them, and they have been alight, but they are going out. The wise said, "There may not be enough in our vessels for ourselves and you, too. Go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." That shows they knew there was a place where they could go to buy.

My brother, my sister, you have a lamp, and you have oil in it, but have you a vessel with a reserve supply of oil? Have you been buying the oil and paying the price to obtain it? If so, as you go through experiences, you will obtain the oil to replenish your lamp, so that it does not go out before His coming. You may have had the oil alright and your lamp may have been burning, but just when the day of the Lord is nigh, and you need it most, you have ceased to gain it, have ceased to be willing to pay the price.

While the foolish virgins went to the place where they could buy, the bridegroom came and the others went in with him. When they came back from buying, the door was shut, and they could not get in. They were left outside. They had not been prepared. Will you be caught unprepared? Will that day come on you unawares, and your lamp be gone out? This is iniquity. (Not equity - not equal.) "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." When love waxes cold, there is not willingness to continue to pay the price.

Remember there are the two phases of His coming. He comes for his own, and then He comes again as a Conqueror, and conquers the whole earth, then reins with His people on the earth for 1,000 years. We are still dealing with what precedes His first coming. Luke 21:24, "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Then shall come the signs in the heavens of the coming of the Son of Man, and men's hearts shall fail them for fear and for looking to those things which shall thereafter come upon the earth," in the tribulation period that Rev. tells us of - the period between the first and the second phase of His coming. But His children, who were prepared when He first came, will be missing that awful time, for they were caught up into the air with Him, and were delivered from it all.

But Jerusalem, the Holy City, shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until - until when? Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. The Jews have not ruled Jerusalem for 1880 years. (They have not occupied and ruled the city.)

Less than two years ago, a handful of wilful men in Jerusalem made things so hot that the British nation - that nation, which for so many years has had such power, and has ruled in such justice - had to give up their mandate. The nations involved were Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Trans Jordan, and Egypt. Britain said that they should not go to war and all these seven nations stood by it. But that band of wilful men disregarded it and started trouble. The United States sent down Con Bernadoto to divide Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs. The Jews shot him dead immediately. The United States then sent Dr. Bunche and overnight, he quietly gave the Jews practically all that they asked for, except Jerusalem. The United Nations then said, "We will internationalise Jerusalem." The Jews reply to this was to move the capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where they have about one third of the city. They won't get full possession of Jerusalem until the word of God is fulfilled, and the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Jews arose, proclaimed themselves a nation, held elections, formed a government, and proclaimed their name Israeli. They have a flag, and they have a seat among the United Nations. It is the first time in 1880 years that they have had a government and an army. But they have only a third of Jerusalem, and they won't get full possession of it until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, and the word of God is fulfilled. Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until God fulfils his purpose in the Gentiles. Read the 12th, 13th, and 14th chapters of Zechariah, which tell of a time in the history of Jerusalem. When you read in the papers that the Jews have taken over the whole of Jerusalem, then you look over these chapters again.

Compare Matthew 14:29 with the opening of the 6th seal in Revelations 6, 12, and 13. The sun and the moon were darkened, and the stars fell from heaven. Distress and perplexity has begun and the greatest minds on earth don't know what to do. Men die of heart failure - fear - for looking on these things which have begun to come to pass. They have begun to come to pass. Jesus said, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up and, lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh." Now don't you see why you should begin to wake up? There is nothing wrong with the common activities of life, such as eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage but these things don't prepare you for His coming.

Jesus said, "Watch therefore and pray that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass." There is an avenue of escape, and it will be open to all those who are prepared at His coming. Jesus also gives a warning.

Luke 21:34, "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, so that the day come upon you unawares." Why sound a warning if there is no danger? And remember, this warning is given to the children of God. Jesus said to Peter, James, John and Andrew, "What I say to you, I say unto all. Watch. Take heed lest at any time you indulge in gluttony of heart, surfeiting, and overcharging and drunkenness." All these things are said of the heart; it does not mean the material things and natural drunkenness, etc.  - so much as a condition. What is it that is filling your heart and taking up your time? Is it caring for the things of this life, and being taken up with the things of time so that, that day will come upon you unawares? He would try to awaken us to anything that is in our hearts that would prevent us from being ready when the Son of Man comes. A drunken man does not talk plainly, but the truth of God is very plain. You are drunk if you think there are two ways to Heaven. A drunk man often sees double. But if you are watching and your heart is prepared and waiting for His coming, you won't be in any confusion. Jesus said, "As a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." The next verse is still being spoken to the children of God, "Watch." There is need for diligence. Solomon said, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." The seeds of all the things mentioned before are in the heart of man - surfeiting, drunkenness, gluttony for the things of earth and flesh. We need to keep our hearts with all diligence. "Watch ye therefore" - and something else - and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things which shall come to pass. Does it make any difference to pray? Yes, prayer changes all things. So Jesus said, "Watch and pray that ye don't have to go through these days of tribulation. But if you don't watch, you may be caught unawares." You may not be able to make the grade today, and you may not be prepared and watching when He returns. After the deliverance, when those who are prepared have been caught up into the air, you may be one of those who are left, on the earth, and you may have another chance in the tribulation period.

I'm not going to say that you will or that you might. But if you can't make the grade today under favourable circumstances, how are you going to make it under unfavourable circumstances, in that time when there will be so much persecution of the saints? I don't want to stake my future on such a hope. When you pray always, you are brought into contact with God, and are drawing strength to preserve you and keep you watchful and prepared.

Isaiah 41:1, "Keep silence before me, O islands, and let the people renew their strength." Get quiet in the presence of God, and there change your strength. Weakness can give way to strength; you can go from strength to strength - change your strength as you wait in quietness in the presence of God. Watch and pray that you may be accounted worthy to escape all there things that are coming on the earth.

You don't have to go through them; there is a way of escape. But if you are a professing child of God, yet are caught unprepared, you will be left when your brother or sister is taken from your side and then you will have to face the tribulation of those times. "Take heed lest at any time your hearts be overcome." You might be quite steady and faithful, but take heed lest at any time things creep into your heart. Be careful, be prepared that you may be preserved, and caught up and linked on the Son of God.

Verse 31, "When ye see these things begin to come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." His coming is drawing near; He is ready to take over. Let us guard our hearts and watch and pray, that we may change our strength for God's strength and so be found enduring to the end, and counted worthy to escape all things that shall come to pass, and to stand on that day.