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Jesus is coming indeed!
It may sound as if I am expecting a little Scott Joplin ragtime to background the story of a small time grifter, planning the biggest con of his life so he can make enough dough before fading into obscurity with a new life in a new town. But that is not the kind of score I am speaking of. And no, this isn’t about a baseball game which has gone deep into extra innings, thinning out the crowd who looking at their watches realize that the alarm clock goes off pretty early in the morning. They will just have to get the final score in tomorrow’s news.
No, this is a different type of score all together, one never used in our day and age and yet one which is or at least should be familiar to most Americans.
“Four score and seven years ago,” the President began with his preamble to one of the greatest speeches every given, “our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
A great deal of time has passed by since the day Lincoln gave his speech—more than seven scores of years, carrying with them marvelous achievements and monstrous failings—a snapshot of the up and down nature of the human condition. And now, it appears the world is headlong into the last score of human history, at least in terms of what could be considered normative history. For the times are a-changin as Dylan wrote (long before becoming a Nobel laureate) and they are changing at breakneck speed.
Soon, the hidden will be made manifest—the veil will be pulled back allowing the world to finally see what has been hidden from view for all of human history. Sight and experience will never supplant faith, but they will stand alongside, locked arm in arm as the world will act, as did doubting Thomas when he pressed his fingers into the scars of sacrifice. But even as the world comes face to face with this next and most defining chapter in history, it will not be enough for so many, who while recoiling in horror to their revealed condition and hopeless situation, defiantly gnash their teeth instead of repentantly falling to their knees.
The strength of the storm is dramatically increasing, and its violent effect can be felt and witnessed all around us. Ahead, the eye of the storm, obscured by the spinning destructive force which surrounds it is heading straight toward us. While visible only from above in the heavenly throne room, we know it is there—an uncomparably powerful convergence of events which no power on earth can stop apart from a global repentance to God and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). This insanely intensifying storm of evil is setting the stage for the judgment of God—a great and terrible divine winepress which will crush every creature who would dare to stand against heaven and Jesus, the Son of God.
It isn’t however the first time such judgment fell to mankind by the hand of God.
Despite the efforts of a socially deceived movement of people, the sign of the rainbow was never given to celebrate and recognize the sinfulness of people but was instead stolen—absconded and distorted by those who live in opposition both to the framework and decrees of Almighty God, and by virtue of their shameful fearlessness to his name, in opposition to God himself. Dead unto God, their lives ebb and flow in the ethereal darkness of the spirit of antichrist, mocking God who created them.
The rainbow belongs to God, who offered it to us all as a visible reminder of his promise that he would never again destroy the world by flood waters. It is also a memorial to the judgment that God meted out on a world where every imagination of the thoughts of people was only evil continually. The days of Noah were very much like our world today—upside down and described best by the ancient prophet Isaiah who wrote woe to them that call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).
Let Isaiah’s warning ring true to today and everyday. Woe to each and every one of us who live in moral relativism and call evil good and good evil. For judgment is at our very doorstep. And this time, it will not come like rising flood waters, but is will come furiously like a tempest slamming itself again and again against the seawall of the world’s crumbling defenses and withering achievements. It will come not as water, but as a calamitous riot of overlapping and overwhelming suffering, pain and death.
There is nothing you can do to stop the unfolding plan of God.
But there is something you can do to keep you from it.
Looking far back into history we have the opportunity to gain insight—hopeful insight and by means of that insight, the opportunity of divine deliverance from the wrath to come. God’s Word links the world’s coming judgment with the judgments of the ancient flood of Noah and the destruction of the cities of the plains in Lot’s days. In Peter’s second epistle we read about God preserving Noah, called a herald of righteousness and seven others as well as God’s rescuing of righteous Lot (and his family) out of divine judgment—snatched away from the very jaws of destruction. For the Lord knows how to deliver the godly from tribulation, for they were not appointed unto wrath.
You too can be snatched away from the terrible judgment coming upon this earth.
All it takes is for you to be counted righteous as both Noah and Lot were counted righteous.
But make no mistake, the righteousness you need and the deliverance you seek comes only by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ and by no other means. And the time needed to make that decision is rapidly drawing to a close, for we are living in the days of the last score.
Jesus said that the days in which we are living are like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37). And we can see that our world stumbles right along in its everyday activities oblivious to the peril which is coming, just as the people of Noah’s day, who mocked the warnings Noah preached and who watched the construction of that massive ark. Think of that. The God of all grace, who could have by mere thought wiped out the world’s wicked population, instead set up this elaborate theatrical and evangelistic display, with the righteous preacher Noah giving warning to the people day in and day out. For 120 years, or can I say it another way—six score of years, the crowds gathered and mocked as the faithful witness of Noah and his family pressed on building the vessel, hewn from the surrounding trees of Calvary and lined by the pitch of Christ’s blood atonement.
The final days before destruction were 120 days in length or six scores of years.
It is interesting that the specifics of that time was recorded for us in the Bible, don’t you think?
Certainly, God could have conveyed the truth of the Genesis flood without that little detail.
Why would God want to include this six scores of years for us—today, living in such a time as Noah lived?
We live in days, not only reflecting the days of Noah, but we also those often referred to as the Laodicean era—that tepid final period of Church history when the salt’s savor is slipping away amidst the damnable heresies and increasing apostasy we have been long warned about. They are the days in which every conceivable means of reaching the world are in place and the preacher’s of righteousness give their warnings night and day to an ever-increasing resistant and mocking world.
It was during the age of Philadelphia when nations such as England and the United States were the hubs of evangelistic outreach—walking through God’s open door, reaching millions for Christ. That was the age when the inerrancy and the authority of God’s Word was still held high, the banner which to follow into the unseen battle against principalities and powers. Those were the days of God’s invisible hand sweeping across the lands, into homes and taverns with the unmistakable power of God, awakening people to their spiritual plight and to the savior which bid them, come. Great universities were built for the training of preachers and missionaries, and God raised up men and women to go forth into all the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ—preachers and missionaries like John Wesley, William Carey, Mary Slessor and J Hudson Taylor.
So when did Philadelphia end and when did Laodicea and the final six scores of years begin?
That information we haven’t been given, and rightly so, for no man knows the exact day in which our Lord returns to snatch away the righteous from the wrath to come. But we can look back and witness the dramatic changes which have occurred in the past hundred years or so in the Church and see, anecdotally, that we passed into the age of Laodicea sometime around the end of the nineteenth century which happens to correspond to the death of the greatest evangelist of that era, Dwight L. Moody.
So what does this mean to you and to me?
The final stage of evangelistic efforts are being played out right now, and the ark of our day is nearly completed. The world watches in mocking contempt as we labor in our efforts to bring one more person into the vessel of deliverance. But rest assured, one day the work will be complete—that last soul will be added to the bride of Christ—and the first drop of destruction will fall, for the final age before judgment—the Laodicean age of 120 years or six scores is nearly complete.
We are living in the last score.