Pastor’s Column

Signs of the Times

Posted Feb. 28, 2014

 

By Pastor Allen Wickstrom

Hettinger Assembly of God

There is a sense in the air that change is coming. A foreboding that life as we know it cannot continue the way it is. We would like to think that life will always be as it is, maybe with the hope that it will get better, and that our lot in life, as well as our children’s, will always be improving.

Some say that mankind is destined to solve their own problems and literally evolve out of our human weaknesses, whether they are physical, mental, financial, or evil, and that our “inherent” bent toward hatred, greed, selfishness, etc. can all be eliminated, by human effort and control.

But how many movies have been made in the last 20 years, with the theme of global destruction? Of asteroids, alien attacks, virus outbreaks that turn everyone into mindless zombies.

What is going to happen? This is an age-old question, because in the soul of man is a knowledge that there will be an end to life as we know it. There is a nagging sense that eternity is waiting and of a coming judgment.

Jesus was asked of His disciples shortly before His crucifixion, a very important question;

Matthew 24:3-8 (NKJV)

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Jesus gave us signs that are meant to warn us of the coming of the beginning of sorrows, or what is known as the 7-year Tribulation period. Wars are increasing. It seems like a new outbreak happens every week, as in the Ukraine. The weather seems to be out of control all over the world, and man in his foolish thinking seems to believe that he can fix it. Jesus also said in verse 11 that false prophets would rise up and deceive many, and in verse 12 that lawlessness (or sin) would increase and that the love of many would grow cold. Our own government is showing a total disregard for the very laws they enact, let alone the Constitution that they swore an oath to uphold. The signs that Jesus predicted are all around us. Persecution of Christianity is rampant. Christianity is blamed for being intolerant and evil. What is evil is declared to be good, and what is good is declared to be evil.

But there is one thing that is standing in the way of the total collapse and beginning of the Tribulation period. And that event is called the Rapture of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV)

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

These verses are usually read at funerals as a sign of hope for our loved ones who have died. But is also a sign of hope for deliverance from the wrath of God that will be coming upon the earth during the Tribulation. The hope is only extended to those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and are waiting and watching for His return. The question is: “Have you done that? It is really quite simple. Romans 10:9-10 tells us what to do: 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Salvation is a matter of faith. It really does matter what you believe and if you are prepared for the days to come. We will be showing the movie, “FINAL: The Rapture” at a date and place to be announced. You will be seeing ads telling you when and where. Please come and be our guest when we present this life-changing movie. If you have any questions about what I have written, of about attending this movie, call me at (701) 567-2747 or at (701) 440-8899. I look forward to hearing from you.