"We Are Closer Than We Think"

Paul gives strong admonitions to those “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). He warns them not to “lust after evil things,” not “to become idolaters,” not “to commit sexual immorality,” not “to tempt Christ,” “nor to complain.” (vv. 6-10). We need to understand that Paul is primarily talking to us today. It is we “upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
The prophet Daniel received revelations from God, which he wrote down, without understanding them. His writings were to be sealed “until the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4, 8-10). The “end,” referred to in those passages, is the time of Christ’s return and of the first resurrection (Daniel 12:13).
Likewise, the information which John received, was also related to the very end of our age — it pertained to events leading up to and occurring at a time, called the “day of the Lord.” Christ had received this information from God the Father, and He passed it on to John through an angel. We read in Revelation 1:1-3, that the message pertains to events which will “shortly come to pass,” and that those who hear the message should not forget it, “as the time is near.”
But, how can we be sure that these scriptures are really primarily directed at us today? The answer is — a passage in Revelation 17:10 gives us a time perspective. This passage talks about the seven last resurrections of the “Holy Roman Empire.” It reads, “There are also seven kings [or kingdoms]. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” This “short time” is described in verse 12 as “one hour,” and in Daniel 7:25 as “3 1/2 years.”
God revealed the meaning of this passage in Revelation 17:10 to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong precisely at the time — in the late 30’s and early 40’s of the 20th century — when the first five of the seven last resurrections of the “Holy Roman Empire” had come and gone, and when the sixth resurrection was in power. It was the resurrection brought about by Hitler and Mussolini. At that time, the last and final resurrection had not occurred yet — but when it would occur, it would only continue for a short time. We see right now before our very eyes that last and final resurrection forming in Europe. That is one of the reasons why we KNOW that the time is short.
When John wrote the book of Revelation, the end-time events, described therein, would not happen for more than 1900 years. But they are happening now. The message contained in the book of Revelation is primarily for us today.
Notice Christ’s warning to the remnant church in Philadelphia, “‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown'” (Rev. 3:11). He states in Rev. 22:7, 12, and 20: “‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book… And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work…’ He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.'”
Again, we see whom Christ is primarily talking to — it is His church at the very last days, prior to His return. Notice, too, Paul’s comment in Philippians 4:5:
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand!”
And James adds, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord… You also be patient, Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand… Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:7-9).
Although judgment had begun at the house of God, the Church  (1 Peter 4:17) — technically, the Judge was not standing at the door, when James wrote down these words. But notice, what Christ tells the very last era of God’s church — the era in which we live today:
“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.'” (Rev. 3:20).
Now, Christ DOES stand at the door. His return IS at hand! Christ IS coming quickly. Let’s make sure that we are getting ready for His return — and that we are not keeping our individual doors locked. If we were to prevent Jesus Christ from entering our lives today, we might find ourselves in the situation that He may not open to us His door to the Kingdom, when He returns.
Do you remember what will happen to the five foolish virgins, when the bridegroom returns and finds them unprepared? When the return of the bridegroom was delayed, all the virgins fell asleep, but the wise ones were able to “make themselves ready” (compare Rev. 19:7) when the cry was heard at midnight that the bridegroom was coming (Matthew 25:5-6). The foolish virgins, however, were unable to get ready “on such short notice.” We read in Matthew 25:10-12, “And while they [the foolish virgins] went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready [the wise virgins] went in with him to the wedding, and the door was shut. Afterward the other [foolish] virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'”
They had not opened the doors of their hearts to Christ — they had not allowed Christ to enter their lives and to direct and lead them. Let us take good note of Christ’s warning to all of us today, in Matthew 24:13, “‘Watch therefore [that is, get ready, because the time is short], for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.'”

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