Be Encouraged

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Three times in Jesus� recorded teaching, He uses the expression, �the end of the age.� All three of these are in the Matthew 13-recorded parable of the wheat and the weeds. This parable specifically refers to the end of this age, when both wickedness and righteousness have ripened and are ready for the harvest. �The harvest is the end of the age,� he explained to his listeners. Both will grow together until the harvest.
The apostle John was obviously present when Jesus taught that parable, and was one of the ones who asked for an explanation. He is also the one who, as an old man caught up in the spirit of the Lord, saw a vision of the harvest. He describes it in some detail in Revelation 14:14 and following. One �like a son man� has a gold crown on His head and a sickle in his hand. Another angel comes out of the heavenly temple and calls for this gold-crowned One to reap the earth, for �the harvest is ripe. So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.�
Then John sees two more angels, one with a sickle and with who in charge of the fire. Both come from the altar of God, this time for the harvesting of the wicked who are thrown �into the great winepress of God�s wrath.�
This parable is essential to understand two things that are going on side by side in our day. The first is the increase of wickedness, the maturing of evil. In Jesus Mount of Olives discourse he refers to this �increase of wickedness� when �the love of most will grow cold� (Matthew 24:12).
Paul picks up that theme in his 2nd letter to Timothy (3:1-) where he describes conditions �in the last days.� People are out of control, they invent ways to do evil, lovers of pleasure, without love, unforgiving, and a whole host of other frightening predictions.
When the prophet Daniel speaks of �the time of the end,� he sees that �there will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of the nations until then� (12:1).
Thus what are we to expect as we move forward in these days? We are to expect the increase of evil and terror to a point never before experienced upon the earth.
That�s bad news! And it is the kind of news that largely occupies the time of every newscast over the whole world.
But there is good news! And it is very rarely reported on the evening news. Daniel also reports on this news in words quoted by Jesus in His parable of the wheat and weeds. �Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever,� Daniel reports (v. 3).
Have you anything else to say about that future time, Daniel?
Oh, yes. It will be the most traveled period in history. Million will be in the air flying from city to city and continent to continent. Other hundreds of millions will be speeding across major highways at and above the legal speed limits. And, oh yes, it will be a computer and communication age when knowledge is increasing so rapidly that no one can keep up.
Now, lest you think the prophet Daniel did not really say that, look at verse 4 of Daniel 12. And he adds the note to Daniel, �But� close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.� In other words, it has something to do with an age far distant from Daniel�our age.
In order to get this news, we must read the Word and we must be in touch with fellow believers who are experiencing an all-time elevation in evangelism, strength and power in the Name of Jesus�even as hundreds are also dying because of their faith.
Look in the Don�s Den section of our website to get the names of several books that report the good news. There is huge revival in China and parts of Asia, massive meetings accompanied by all sort of signs and wonders in Africa. People are coming to faith through dreams and visions in the Middle East. Jewish people are turning to faith in Israel in greater numbers (though not yet massive) that ever. Why now more than ever? Because righteousness is increasing and will be ripe before the end of the age. Only then will the Lord send forth the reapers.
Now this is where I choose to turn bad news into good news. Since I know this is happening, when I hear bad news�bombs in London, terror in the Middle East, even floods and hurricanes and forest fires, I know that somewhere there is even better news�people coming to the Lord, others being healed, raised from the dead, lives being transformed. The bad news will never overcome the good news. That�s another reason why Paul, from the Roman jail, could say, �Rejoice!�
Have a good day! You have every reason in the world to be an unrealistic optimist.

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