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“The Darkness of This Present Hour”
by Art Sadlier   
April 1st, 2009

In speaking of His coming to take the Church home to be with Him, Jesus said, "but of that day and hour knoweth no man..."  Three verses earlier He said, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors", Matt. 24: 33.  It is clear that Jesus was teaching that there would come a generation of believers that would recognize that His coming was very near. They would not know the day or hour, but they would know that it was very near. That is our generation!

The writer to the Hebrews taught the same thing, he said, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but so much the more as ye see the day approaching". That is unmistakably teaching that there would someday come a generation of believers who would see the signs and understand that the Lord was soon to come for the Church.

Paul taught the very same thing in 1 Thess. 5:4, "But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." Paul is teaching that there will come a generation of believers who will see the days darkening and see the signs of His coming multiplying and realize that the Day of the Lord is at hand. They will realize of course, that the rapture is about to occur.  Paul went further in saying that some would not recognize the signs because they themselves would be in darkness, the darkness of unbelief and unregeneracy.

Today, Paul's words are being fulfilled.  First, there are believers today who can see that the signs of our Lord's coming are everywhere. They can see that He is near, even at the doors. Secondly, there are multitudes of men and women who are blind to what is happening around them. The amazing and unusual events taking place all around are a mystery to them. It is amazing that men and women cannot see the fulfillment of prophecy happening before their very eyes. The spiritual darkness of this present hour is incredibly intense. Jesus said that that is exactly how it would be just prior to His coming, Matthew 24:4; 5; 11; 24; 25. The days before His coming will be days of great religious deception, days of spiritual darkness.

I am thinking of just five of the many signs that are today warning of the nearness of Christ's return.

FIRST:  We have the revival of the Roman Empire. The EU, have boasted that they are the return of the Roman Empire.  Daniel taught that in the last days ten horns would arise out of the head of the Roman Empire. Today the EU is made up of some 27 countries, however the EU has laid plans to divide the Union into economic zones, (They haven't mentioned the number ten but that is what has been foretold).  Daniel said that out of this union a great leader would arise and ultimately rule over the entire world. Today the EU is preparing to elect a permanent president to whom they will give great power. That office will no doubt be the office which the antichrist will ultimately occupy. The end time scenario is unfolding just as God's Word said it would, and yet the overwhelming majority of men and women cannot grasp what is going on.

SECOND: We have watched in our lifetime as the amazing fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Israel's restoration and return to her land have unfolded. We have seen the incredible prosperity that she has enjoyed, all a direct fulfillment of promises made thousands of years ago. We have seen how God has preserved her against the onslaughts of the nations around her.  We have watched as the peace treaty has failed to materialize, because the scriptures have stated that the treaty will be signed by the antichrist and not until he appears on the scene. We have watched as the nations have vowed to destroy Israel and are laying plans to do it, all a fulfillment of prophecy. The world gropes in darkness not aware that God is unfolding His long promised restoration of Israel to Her land. The plan is laid out in scripture with a thousand clear references.

THIRD:  We are watching as Russia is actively building the alliance of nations that will come against Israel in the tribulation period (Ezekiel 38-39). This alliance is identified in scripture, it involves Russia with Iran and other Muslim neighbours that surround Israel, nations which are now boasting that they will destroy Israel, and are feverishly preparing to do so. The nations are without excuse, their rebellion against God and His plan and the awful consequences are crystal clear in scripture.

FOURTH: We are watching as the prophesied World Government is even now being prepared for. A new world order is being designed and is evidently soon to be realized. The upcoming G20 summit will have as its main objective the organization of a new world financial organization which will lay the groundwork for the new world order, a code word for World Government. All of this is preparation for the coming kingdom of antichrist. Men and women watch it all unfold with no recognition of what is happening.

FIFTH: We are watching the decline of America.  America has no place in the end time scenario of biblical prophecy. The power of America actually stands in the way of the unfolding of prophecy and must be neutralized. There are many disastrous scenarios looming on the horizon, scenarios that are of relatively recent origin, scenarios that could reduce America to third world status very suddenly. The warnings to America have been multiplying all around her, yet almost no one seems to comprehend what is happening. Blindness is caused by hardness of heart.

One of the fulfillments of bible prophecy is the blindness of men and women to the signs of Christ's coming that are all around, yet they cannot see them.

Perhaps the most troublesome thing is the blindness that has come over much of the evangelical church. In the very hour that the Lord's coming is so obviously about to happen, many who profess to be followers of Christ seem to have little or no interest in the nearness of the rapture. The truth is that even that situation is a fulfillment of prophecy.

In the book of Revelation, in the letters to the seven churches, John speaks to the last church of the church era. He says to Laodicea, the evangelical church of the present hour, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods,... (this applies to no other time than this very hour)...and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, (spiritually) and blind, (cannot discern the hour in which we live) and naked: (implying they are not saved).

The condition of the evangelical church at this time is exactly what the end time prophecies foretell for the days immediately prior to the rapture. My brother and sister, you may not be able to change your church, but I urge you not to let a dead church or dead Christians change you. Be salt and light by your life and lip, there will be a price to pay!  Pay it cheerfully and graciously.  

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