When Terry Ratzmann entered the rear of the Church hall at a Living Church of God service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, this past Sabbath and began firing his 9mm handgun, unloading 22 rounds from his weapon directed at his Church brethren, the members of the local congregation were stunned and in dismay, as were all members of the Churches of God when they heard of this horrific story. Ratzmann completed his horrifying deed, after having killed seven of his brethren and injuring another four critically, by turning his weapon upon himself and firing his last shot.
There can be no doubt that the true adversary of all of mankind, and especially of God’s Church at this end time, had inspired Ratzmann to carry through with this heinous attack against God’s people. Of course we understand that Satan may well have begun to increase his evil attacks as his time draws short and we approach the end of the time allotted by God for him to carry through with his evil thoughts to destroy all of mankind. In just a few short years now God will restrain Satan’s activities against mankind for 1,000 years and Satan knows this is certain.
Some have asked why God would allow such a thing to happen, especially in the Church. We do know that we are entering that time period when Satan’s evil tactics will increase considerably, compared to what God has allowed him to do in recent years. We are coming down to the end of this present age and God describes the events to befall mankind in great detail in numerous passages throughout His Word relative to Satan’s wrath. We must not lose sight of the fact that Satan is the present ruler over this world (Luke 4:5-7; John 14:30). However, that rulership is coming to an end, and Jesus Christ will soon replace Satan and will sit on the throne of His forefather, David, which has been reserved for His rulership (Luke 1:32-33), and He will rule with power over this world.
In Zechariah 13:8 we are told that after these things come into full force, two-thirds of the people in all the land will have been cut off (destroyed) and that one-third will have had to go through the fire (face severe trials) in order that they might be refined. Zechariah 14:3-4 tells us that in that day the LORD will be going forth to fight and that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. The second coming of Christ will occur during a time of great turmoil upon the earth, specifics of which are outlined in Revelation 12:9-17.
We, in the meantime, must be preparing our own lives in order to stand in that day. In speaking to the churches in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, it is revealed by Jesus Christ that remnants of four of the Churches of God (Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) may be extant upon the earth during this eventful time revealed as “the time of the end,” as Christ comes to establish rule upon the earth.
Christ’s admonition to three of the groups (Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia) is to “hold fast” to what they have been given. Two of the groups (Sardis and Laodicea) are admonished to repent. Specific promises are given to those who overcome Satan, the flesh, and this present evil world. Christ notes specifically that some, and specifically those of Laodicea, will have to go through further testing and refinement in order to become ready.
In addition to these prophecies, the Scriptures reveal more information relative to Satan’s end-time wrath which is coming to try the whole world, as is noted by Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:10 and in Matthew chapter 24. When we understand all these prophecies as noted here in this Editorial, we realize we all have much work to do in preparation. And added to this is our obligation to get a warning message out to the world and to reveal the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, which will usher in a time of peace and prosperity upon the earth the likes of which no one on earth today has ever seen.
You and I are admonished to be ready, for as Christ reveals in Matthew 24:36, “…of that day and hour no one knows … not even the angels in heaven, but My Father only.”
We must never become discouraged, dear brethren, as these horrific events unfold before us; but let us draw closer to one another and to our God, never letting down our guard. Let us ask our Father for the strength and courage provided to us through His Spirit, and let us do His Will in all things as these times draw to their conclusion. We must never forget Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian Church of his time and to you and me as members of the end-time Church of God:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).