Welcome to The Hidden Chalkboard Ministry, a personal mission to reveal the final lessons to the final generation. I pray that this will be one of many audio messages that will encourage you to study the Scriptures so you can be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus. That day is coming soon and we have to get ready for it.
My name is Earl Benjamin Finley. You can call me Earl or Ben. I renewed my commitment to the Lord in 2008 and have been studying the Scriptures ever since. I can honestly say that studying them over the past seven years has changed my life.
My temperament, my diet, and my goals in life are among many of the things have not been the same since Jesus came into my heart. It was as if I became more aware that a hole was in my heart and I was filling it with the Word of God.
Eventually, the Scriptures became the standard for how I live my life. But the one lesson I never forgot from those days was that studying the prophecies of the Bible gave my dead faith new life.
It was by attending a series of prophecy seminars that I got to learn more about how God is always in control of things, in good times and in bad. The testimony that God gave through His prophets affirms that He is an all-knowing God and an all-loving God. He loves us so much, He gave the world these testimonies so that we all can be ready. Ready for the trials to come and ready for the day Jesus returns.
Based on my studies of the biblical prophecies and of current events, I believe that day is getting closer than we think. Jesus saw that there would be calamities of all kinds in the last days, according to Matt. 24:4-8. The 2015 Global Terrorism Index found that 93 countries experienced a terrorism incident in 2014.
As of mid-January of this year, there have been over 21,000 confirmed cases of the Ebola Virus Disease around the world since its outbreak. In South Carolina, nineteen people died as a result of the eleven trillion gallons of water that flooded their state in October. The flood closed hundreds of roads and the state’s water supply was adversely affected.
Calamities and crises like these all point to the prophecy Jesus gave on Mt. Olivet. He also prophesied that we would be delivered up and killed, hated of all nations for His name’s sake (Mt. 24:9).
According to Open Doors, a website tracking Christian persecution worldwide, North Korea is the top persecutor of Christians of the 50 countries on its World Watch List. Anyone caught engaging in “unauthorized religious activity is subject to arrest, arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture and/or execution.” Approximately 50-70,000 Christians are being held in their prison camps.
This is only one of 50 countries actively persecuting Christians right now. How many more are enduring persecution like this, even as we speak, in the 49 other countries on that list? In the countries not on that list? The true number may never be known. Surely we are living in the days Jesus told us of.
As I was diligently studying the prophecies of Scriptures to understand these things, I realized something. Many of God’s people are completely unaware of what’s about to happen to the world. After the past three years alone of asking for the Holy Spirit and the wisdom to help me study the Scriptures, of dying to self for the sake of doing so, I realized that I was doing nothing to warn them.
When this was revealed to me, I purposed in my heart to share my work with as many people as I could. After weighing my options, I was convicted that this would be the quickest way to do it.
And in this conviction, I begin now. Let’s study the Scriptures together and look for the hidden truths that we need to know before the greatest test of all time.The title of this first message is “The Hidden Chalkboard.” But before we begin, let us pray.
Heavenly Father, please help those listening to this message of the need to study Your Word in these times. You gave us your Holy Scriptures to prepare us for these final days, but we have not yet done so. With Thy Holy Spirit and Thy wisdom, please use me to help others to understand what you want them to know, that we may prepare our hearts and our minds for Thy soon coming. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As an adjective, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a secret as something “kept hidden from others: known to only a few people.” The prophecies of the Scriptures, once well-known by the people of God, eventually became a secret.
They were gradually hidden from God’s people and known only by the few who continued to faithfully study them. Though Satan and his agents tried, they learned that they could not destroy the Word of God. They could not erase His divine law or the testimony He gave us through His prophets. But he can hide them from you if you’re not careful.
He will instigate wars, disasters, famines, and persecutions just to keep the Scriptures hidden from you. He will use his many agents to busy you, to distract you, or to convince you to forget their life-changing lessons. He will deceive you into looking to other texts, people, traditions, or philosophies as a vital complement to the Scriptures or the sole means to make you “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
It was by cherishing sin and iniquity that man severed himself from the divine relationship he once enjoyed in Edenic times. The word of the Lord to Isaiah confirms this, for He says that “…your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).
But Jesus provided the means to restore this cherished communion. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus reopened the channel of communication that sin once closed. But many people choose not to return to Him.
Even among God’s people, many believe that what they have now is all they need to stand in the last days. True to the form of the Laodicean church, many of them believe themselves rich and in need of nothing. They do not comprehend the wretchedness of their spiritual condition. They do not understand their need for the gold, the white rainment, and the eye salve that Christ alone can provide for them (Rev. 3:17, 18).
The means by which the servants of God can truly understand their spiritual poverty has been kept secret from them by the devil, who is determined to keep prophetic messages like these hidden from their eyes and their ears.
Did you know that Satan will continue to do this until the Lord returns? The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that “the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).
Thus, by application, we see that Satan has always worked to conceal the way of the Lord from us. He has always labored to deceive us into serving him, directly or indirectly; and he will keep doing it until Jesus returns. We can see this throughout the history of God’s people.
Take the Egyptian captivity of Israel, for example. Four hundred years of slavery and exposure to idolatry did its work upon the Israelites. When Israel left Egypt, “… a mixed multitude went up also with them…” (Exod. 12:38).They intermarried with the Egyptians and consequently mingled their faith with the idolatry of Egypt. The fruit of this unholy union of faiths manifested itself in their rebellion at Mt. Sinai.
Satan also excited rebellion against God from within Israel. Throughout the history of the book of Judges, one particular phrase is repeated with little variation seven times (though they rebelled more than seven times). “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.” You can find this phrase in Jdg. 2:11, 3:7, 12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, and 13:1. They forsook the worship of the Lord and served the gods of Canaan off and on for 450 years, according to Acts 13:20. The Israelites hid from themselves and from the people of Canaan the way of the Lord, which God designed to be a divine testimony to them.
“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deut. 4:5,6).
Even in the days of the prophets and the kings of Israel and Judah, God’s people rebelled against Him. The leaders of His people were determined to get rid of the prophets, whom God sent to bring His people out of apostasy. King Ahab of Israel persecuted Elijah and imprisoned Micaiah for standing against his system of idol worship and for warning the rebellious ruler of his imminent downfall (1 Kings 17-19, 22:1-28).
The once-faithful king Joash of Judah turned from the counsel of God’s prophets and facilitated the stoning of Zechariah, the son of the faithful priest who raised Joash in the temple and placed him on the throne (2 Chron. 22:11, 12; 23:1-11; 24:19-22). In the reign of King Zedekiah, the nobles of Judah cast Jeremiah into prison for warning the people of the judgment to come upon Jerusalem (Jer. 38:1-6).
The leaders of Judea, at the time of their Roman occupation, continued in the same spirit of revolt by melding Scripture-based teachings with the traditions of the elders. Consequently, the Jewish people knew more about the traditional teachings of the Messiah than the Scriptures that testify of Him. Jesus highlighted the end result of this tradition-based faith in Luke 19:41, 42. The traditions of men hid the Word of God from the Jews, which would have given them peace.
One of those traditional teachings was that the Messiah would restore the earthly dominion of Israel and overthrow their Roman rulers. Jesus’ disciples acted on this belief throughout His entire ministry.
At the feeding of the five thousand, they were among those who sought to make Him a king (Jn. 6:14, 15). James and John requested that Jesus grant them the honor of sitting on His left and right side in this supposed earthly kingdom (Mk. 10:35-37). The disciples also celebrated the coming of this proposed earthly kingdom at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, despite being told beforehand that He was going to suffer and die at the hands of the Jews and Gentiles (Mk. 10:32-34; 11:1-10).
Even before His ascension to heaven, some of His followers still thought that Jesus was going to restore the earthly dominion of Israel (Acts 1:6-9). It was through this distorted system and the influence it gave them over the people that the Jewish leaders facilitated the murder of Jesus and instigated their own people to curse themselves for bringing about His death. Turn to Matthew 27:24, 25 and let’s see this for ourselves.
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”
But did you know that Satan, in moving the Jewish authorities to carry out this plot, was working to destroy Jesus, His followers, and the Jewish people? While the plot of these leaders did result in the death of Jesus and the persecution of the Christian church, it eventually led to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the persecution of the Jewish people, the very fate the Jewish leaders allegedly sought to avoid (Jn. 11:47-53). Satan truly is the master of deceptions.
Christians in the first century dealt with rebellion in their churches as well. In his letters to the Corinthian and Galatian churches, Paul rebuked the believers for their toleration of open sin in the church, their participation in pagan rituals, and their backsliding into the belief of salvation by works (1 Cor. 5; 10:16-22; Gal. 2:15-21; 3).
In His letters to the seven churches, Jesus rebuked the churches of Smyrna and Thyatira for their toleration of false doctrines (Rev. 2:14, 15, 20-23). This mixing of truth and error throughout the early centuries culminated into an era of religious persecution where millions of people were killed.
Our generation has also rebelled against the Lord, just as our Jewish and Christian ancestors have done. We allow the wicked one to divide us by cherishing sin and absorb ourselves in the troubles and pleasures of the world. We have developed worldly-inspired worship services and assimilated pagan festivals such as Halloween, Easter, and Christmas into our churches, deceiving many into believing that they were always a part of the Christian faith.
These are exactly the same things that the early churches did in the days of the apostles. But rather than cast off these non-Christians institutions as Jesus and Paul once counseled the church to do, many Christians staunchly defend their observing them. Like Israel resisted the prophets in their time, many Christians actively resist the calls of their own brethren to understand the truth of these things. They unknowingly choose to stay in the darkness of men.
But with every rebellion Satan encouraged, God always brought about a reformation to bring the truth back into the light. After He brought Israel out of Egypt, God brought them to Mt. Sinai and gave them the Ten Commandments, the divinely written means to cleanse their faith from idolatry.
But did you know that Moses tried to do this before they left Egypt? Moses tried to free his people from the pagan influence of Egypt by reinstituting the observance of the Sabbath among them, a day of rest God Himself created, blessed, and hallowed to remind man that He made the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:1-3).
Even Abraham kept the Sabbath, for God told Issac He would keep the oath He made with Abraham his father “because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen. 26:3-5).
But when the Pharaoh discovered that Moses was doing this, he was very angry.
“And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens” (Exod. 5:4, 5).
The Pharaoh knew, as Satan did, that an Israelite nation renewed in faith and observant to the law of God would be a threat to him. Consequently, the Pharaoh tried to stop this early reformation by adding to their burdens (Exod. 5:6-21). But in the end, history still testifies of a king who struggled in vain to keep the Israelite nation in captivity.
When Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord in the days of the judges, He raised up those judges to deliver them from their rebellion and their enemies (Jdg. 2:16-18). He brought up kings that sought the Lord with all their heart, such as Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. The Lord also sent them prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Huldah the prophetess to help them bring the people back to Him.
Even the ministry of Jesus and the apostles was a reformation. The author of the book of Hebrews clearly states that the first tabernacle, along with its services and ordinances, were “imposed on them until the time of reformation” (Heb. 9:10).
In a time of where the law of the Lord was hidden by popular tradition and a largely corrupted leadership, Jesus revealed the Word of God in its fullness through His perfect life of obedience to His Father, His ignominious death, and now, His ministry in heaven. Through this ministry, Jesus set up the new covenant for Jews and Gentiles alike, as foretold by the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34)
These reformations in the history of God’s people could not have happened without the Lord and those faithful few who were willing to stand for what’s right. They courageously delivered a faithful warning to save their people from the judgment that came upon the rebellious.
Now let’s highlight this pattern so you can see why it is important for us to know it now. Through the several cases we reviewed, we can see that there was a time when we acted in harmony with the will of God and His truth was well understood. In other words, God’s people had a good start.
Eventually, the people rebelled against God and the truth was hidden. God sent His prophets to faithfully warn the people of the danger of rebelling against Him. He did this by revealing the truth of their present doings and called for them to return to Him and to turn from their rebellion.
The people, now with a clear understanding of the situation, made the choice whether to a) return to the Lord and be delivered or b) continue to rebel and be judged.
Thus, the pattern among man has always been:
good start -> eventual rebellion -> faithful warning -> the choice to return or rebel
To make this pattern even simpler, we can phrase it in the following rhyme. In our relation to the truth;
Rebellion conceals, the faithful warning reveals, and by our decision, our fate is sealed.
This recurring pattern of rebellion and reformation has happened throughout human history, from the days of Adam to now. According to this pattern, we are now in the rebellious phase, the time where the truth has been hidden from the servants of God. This pattern is important for us to know now because it is repeating itself once again on a global scale.
The next phase in this pattern will come during this global rebellion. Before man makes his final choice to return to or rebel against the Lord, there will be a faithful warning given throughout the entire world. Jesus said that “…this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Mt. 24:14).
This means that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the faithful warning that will be given to the entire world before His coming! Praise God! But how will this come to pass? The same way it did before.
When John the Baptist began his ministry, his simple message was, “…Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt.3:2). Early in His ministry, Jesus’ message was the same. “…Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17). Peter also gave a similar message in the early days of the church. Remember it. We’ll be coming back to it later.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
Each of these heralds did not give this message in their own power, for by themselves they could do nothing. They were given divine power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. John was filled with the Spirit while he was in his mother’s womb (Lk. 1:13-15).
Jesus, as our Example, received this diving filling shortly after His baptism, and the early church was filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Lk. 3:21, 22; Acts 2:1-4). Through the Holy Spirit, these heralds counselled their listeners to repent of their sins and to prepare themselves for the kingdom of heaven.
In like manner, the servants of God today shall soon call for the entire world to repent of their sins before the coming of the kingdom of heaven. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). This is what it means to repent and in looking at the events happening in the world now, we must do it sooner rather than later.
But what will this warning be based on? What it has always been based on. John the Baptist stated to the Pharisees that his ministry was a fulfillment of the prophecy given to Isaiah (Jn. 1:19-23). Jesus explained His ministry to the Jewish people as a fulfillment of prophecy (Lk.4:16-21; 24:36-44).
Peter explained to the thousands of Jews on Pentecost that the 120 believers speaking in their respective languages was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:4-21). Philip taught the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus through the book of Isaiah the prophet (Acts 8:26-38).
Paul also used his knowledge of the prophecies to reach out to Jews and Gentiles alike (Acts 13:32-43; 17:2-4). Thus we see that the final, faithful warning will be based on the prophecies of the Scriptures.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28, 29).
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7)
Understanding the messages of the prophets and teaching them to Jew and Gentile alike brought reformation, even in the face of persecution. Through the power of Holy Spirit, we will soon do in our time what they did in theirs.
But before this happens, we have to practice what we’re about to preach. We must also confess our sins to God and put them away from us. We have to study the Scriptures like the prophets, Jesus Christ, and the early church did in their time. Only then can we faithfully warn the world.
But why must we take up this work? Why must we learn these secreted lessons before the final reformation? Three reasons.
1. Because understanding the prophecies will help us warn others of the coming crisis. There are many people who are unaware of the events to come upon the world. They do not understand the absolute need for God’s people to prepare for this crucial time.
Because Lot’s wife and his sons-in-law were blinded by the sins of their lives, they were not prepared to receive the faithful warning of God and chose to remain in their comfort zone of Sodom (Gen. 19:12-15, 26).
We may very well be the final means of saving our loved ones from making the same fateful mistake. Remember that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to show us the things to come (Jn. 16:13). Studying biblical prophecy will give us a clearer understanding of the things that are about to happen. It will enable us to carry out the work of the coming reformation.
2. Because this will be the last reformation before the coming of Jesus. This global reformation will be the last time God’s people will be filled with the Holy Spirit. His indwelling presence is the only way we will stand in the coming crisis.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who serves the Lord must prepare for this time as the apostles did, to have that same upper room experience through reconciliation with one another, through studying the Scriptures, and through prayer (Acts 1:12-14, 2:1).
3. Because there will also be a counterfeit reformation among us at the same time. Remember that Satan is a master of deceptions. He wrought counterreformations in the days of Moses through apostasy and rebellion (Exod. 32; Num. 16). He corrupted Israel through apostasy and false prophets (1 Kings 12:25-33; Jer. 28; 29:8, 9). He even tried to stop the early church through false prophets and evil spirits (Acts 13:6-8, 16:16-18).
To stem the influence of the true reformation, Satan will introduce a reformation of his own.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:13, 14).
Every evil spirit, every evil practice, and every false doctrine will be used to deceive everyone that will not heed the faithful warning given through the Spirit of the Lord. Preparing ourselves now will protect us from these seducing spirits and their demonic doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1).
Even though God sent prophets to His people for hundreds of years, even though Jesus and the early church prophesied and studied the books of the prophets, the call to study Bible prophecy has always been met with opposition by God’s people for a number of reasons.
“No one can know the day or the hour when Jesus will return”, they say. Indeed, no one can, according to Mt. 24:36. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
But we can know what signs to look for before He does return. Through prayer and studying His Word, we can know the true signs from the false ones. The very fact that He has given us signs to look for should be one reason among many why His people should be actively preparing for that day.
But men still use this teaching to continue in their sins. They live like He isn’t coming. But Jesus sternly warned His people not to do this, for it is written,
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 24:48-51).
“Prophecy cannot be understood”, they say. But what saith the Scriptures of this? “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29)
There are things that are kept secret from us, things that the Lord doesn’t want us to know. Understandably so. After all, how can man desire to know these things when he will not seek to comprehend the things He has revealed to us already?
We are responsible for knowing what God has revealed and through His prophets, He revealed the Scriptures to us. He even provided a number of ways to determine whether or not our interpretations of His prophecies are valid. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).
“…, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him” (Jer. 28:9). We should also remember that it is not through the intellect of men that prophecies are written and understood. The prophecies were written by men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1: 20, 21). What He guided them to write He will guide us to understand if we ask Him.
Remember also the promised blessing to those who study the book of Revelation. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:3).
If Bible prophecy cannot be understood, why did Jesus reveal it to John by His angel for us to understand? (Rev. 1:1). Why is there a blessing given to those who read it, who hear it, and who keep the things written within its pages? Why are an overwhelming majority of the Scriptures written by prophets? Why do most of the books of the Bible contain prophetic messages? Because the Lord wants His people to understand prophecy. He wants us to study them so we can be prepared for these days.
“We are saved by grace through faith”, they say. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). This undisputed truth is being used to disregard the end-time warnings the Lord gave us.
Did you know that this dangerous misunderstanding came up among God’s people before? In the days before the destruction of Jerusalem, the prevailing responses to the cries of the prophets for reform were “…The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these” and “We are delivered to do all these abominations” (Jer. 7:4, 10).
The people believed that they would be delivered from the Babylonian invasion simply because the Lord’s dwelling place was among them. They believed they could cherish both God and sin.
In the days of John the Baptist and Jesus, the Pharisees and Sadducees answered the call for repentance with “We have Abraham to our father” (Mt. 3:9; Jn. 8:30-40). The character of their noble father, they felt, would be credited to them and they could continue in their sins. Even after the ascension of Christ, this erroneous belief arose amongst the Christians of Rome. Paul rightfully counseled against this error, saying, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom 6:1, 2)
Did you know that Jesus studied the prophecies of Daniel? That He gave His warning for the disciples to flee Jerusalem based on those prophecies?
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:” (Mt. 24:15, 16).
Had they not studied the book of Daniel as Jesus did, had they not taught their fellow believers throughout the years to look for that sign, the Christians in Jerusalem would have perished in the destruction of their city in 70 A.D.
The disciples knew that the grace of their Savior did not permit them to ignore His prophetic warnings. They studied the prophecies of Daniel for 40 years and they were ready.
Even Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, did not ignore the Lord’s instruction to build the ark (Gen. 6:8, 14). He faithfully built it and he faithfully warned the people for 120 years (Gen. 6:3; 2 Pet. 2:5). When the time came to board the ark, Noah was ready. Had Noah cherished the error many of us do now, he and his family would have been destroyed in the Flood.
In like manner, we are called to do what Noah and the disciples did before us. Not only must we cultivate Christ-like character, we must also study the prophecies as they did so we can faithfully warn others. We, too, must get ready.
“God’s going to win, so why should I bother?”, they ask. There are those who feel that since God will ultimately be the Victor in this spiritual war, they need not involve themselves in the duties of their high calling.
Even after learning that the end of the Jewish exile was near, Daniel did not cease to pray for the return of His people to Jerusalem (Dan. 9:1-19). The fact that God will triumph over evil does not permit His people, who are called by His name, to sit on the sidelines until the war is won.
The course of such thinking is made plain in the teachings of Jesus. They are among the class who call Him Lord, but do not do what He says (Lk. 6:46, 49). They are like the son who says to their father that they will go work in the vineyard but do not (Mt. 21:28-32). They are like the servant who hid their talent in the earth, making no use of their given ability to bring greater glory to their Master (Mt. 25:24-27).
May those who cherish this imperiling view prayerfully read the parable of the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-32). There is still time for them to return to their Father and to use their gifts for His will. He will gladly welcome their service.
“We’ll all be sinners until He comes, so why should I have anything to do with this?”, they ask. Many of us believe that we will be instantly fitted with Christ-like characters at the Second Coming of Jesus. They will continue in sin, even to the last day, and expect to receive the reward of the faithful.
This is one of the worst deceptions to plague God’s people. It encourages God’s people to continue in their sins and discourages their need to develop godly character. God’s people must grow in their love for Him. They must let Him write His law upon their hearts. This is the essence of the new covenant, as we read in Jeremiah earlier.
As they grow to love Him more, they will love sin less. It was sin that separated us from God in the first place. We would not have to deal with the evils of this world if we didn’t sin. They must grow so close to Him that they would rather die than sin. The testimony of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, forced to choose between death and dishonoring God through sin, aptly illustrates the faith of the ideal servant of God.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:16-18).
We must take the same stand against every sin in our own lives, for God will not allow one sinner to enter the heavenly courts, for it is written,
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie…” (Rev. 21:27)
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev. 22:14, 15).
The last sinner in heaven facilitated an all-out war, according to Revelation 12:7. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels…”
Angels, who never before knew battle, are now fighting against their former friends. All because of sin. Would the Lord have them repeat this experience in heaven through a race of persons who still cherish sin at their Lord’s coming? Absolutely not!
Only those who overcome sin will find a place in His kingdom, for it is written,“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21).
Read the letters Jesus sent to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. At the end of every one of them, Jesus promised to reward the churches that overcame their sins. Were these promises given in vain? No! What did He tell the man He healed at the pool of Bethesda and the woman caught in adultery? “Sin no more” (Jn.5:14; 8:11). Was this command to them given in vain? No!
Through His earthly and heavenly ministry, Jesus provided the means for them to do this great thing. Why else would He command His people not to sin anymore? Why else would He promise to reward those who overcame their sins? Because there will be those who do, for it is written,”…And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).
From their sins, not with their sins. Through Jesus’ ministry on earth and in heaven, God’s people will overcome their sins before He returns, not when He returns.
“I didn’t need to know before and I don’t need to know now”, they say. There are those who simply ignore the prophecies of God. They don’t know that the prophecies soon to be fulfilled apply directly to them. Even worse, they don’t know that the consequences of ignoring God’s prophetic warnings have always been dire.
What happened when the antediluvians ignored the warning Noah faithfully preached to them for 120 years? The Flood took them all away. What happened when Egypt ignored the faithful warnings Moses gave to release the Israelite nation from captivity? They and their land were afflicted by the ten plagues and their army was destroyed in the Red Sea.
What happened to Israel and Judah when they persecuted the prophets that warned them to turn from their rebellion against the Lord? Their kings were slain and their people were afflicted by foreign powers. What happened when the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, ignored the faithful warning of the prophet Jeremiah to surrender to Babylon (Jer. 38:14-18)? The city of Jerusalem was destroyed and the people of Judah were taken into Babylonian captivity.
What happened to Jerusalem when the Jewish leaders disregarded the ministry and faithful warnings of Jesus? It was destroyed once again and many of the people of the city were slain, according to the prophecy of Jesus (Lk. 19:41-44). Can we expect anything less if we ignore the last faithful warning that will be given to the entire world?
In these final days, we must look to God and to the Messiah to deliver us from sin as Israel looked to Him and to Moses to deliver them from slavery. By allowing Him to prepare them in the wilderness, the Israelites were able to enter into the Promised Land.
Through obeying His law and His testimonies, God delivered Israel from disaster and from enemies without and within their lands. In like pattern, we can enter the heavenly Promised Land if we allow Him to prepare us on the earth now.
But the typical, natural objection to this message repeatedly arises in the hearts of men. That is, “Why should we look to the Scriptures? Why look to a book that has been largely dismissed by the world as irrelevant and antiquated?”
The learned scholars of worldly knowledge, the renowned experts of various arts and sciences, and the celebrated advocates of the popular philosophies collectively ask, “Is not our wisdom enough for you? Why should you trust in this work of antiquity? Don’t we live in a modern society?” They look to the achievements of men as proof that we are no longer bound to give heed to “ancient fables.”
They do not look at civilization from a prophetic viewpoint as the people of God do, as the people of God should. They do not concern themselves with the rise of immorality, the wickedness, and the suffering among men. To them, and to all who listen to this message, we answer in this wise.
The Scriptures of God were not written simply to fulfill your wants and needs in this life. They were written to prepare you in this life for the life to come. Through obeying the counsel written in the Word, lives have been changed for the better. I, among many others, can testify of the transforming power of the Scriptures of God.
Practicing the principles written in these sacred pages will not only transform the character and lives of its readers; they will also prepare them to enter the kingdom of heaven. Enoch and Elijah were divinely prepared for and translated to heaven without dying (Gen. 5: 21-24; 2 Kings 2:1-11). Their translation to heaven before seeing death utterly refutes the belief that we will be sinners until the coming of the Lord.
Through allowing God to guide them through their entire lives, with its many challenges and trials, Enoch and Elijah were divinely prepared to enter the courts of heaven before Jesus was even born. Through allowing Him to prepare us now, we will be ready before Jesus comes back. The kingdom of heaven awaits those who allow God to prepare them on Earth, whether they are alive or dead at His coming, for it is written:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17)
But how can we know when that time of deliverance is near? Through the testimony of the prophets such as Israel, Moses, David, Isaiah, Micah, Haggai and John the Baptist, the people of God knew the signs to look for before the First Advent of Jesus. How much more then, should a careful study of their testimonies today reveal the signs to look for before His imminent Second Advent! The Holy Spirit that moved upon the prophets will help us if we allow Him to guide our hearts and our study.
The Word of God also clearly identifies our Creator and our Deliverer. The very first verse in the Scriptures plainly declare that God created the heavens and the earth. The first two chapters of Genesis give a full record of how He created an environment suitable for life first and the inhabitants of that environment second.
To this day, those who reject God cannot agree on how the heavens and the earth were created. They formulate theories of creation and are forced to revise them when they are disproven. They sail the ocean with no rudder in the hopes of finding land. To this day, the theory of evolution is the rebel’s strongest fortress in their battle against their Creator; and what a weak defense it is for those who “darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge” (Job 38:2).
A greater wonder even than this exists, for men still dispute the nature and work of their Deliverer! They still dispute what is required of Him, but make no effort to deliver what is required of them!
The Scriptures give plain testimony of His identity, the nature and duration of His work on Earth, and the signs to look for before His second arrival. But like those who dispute the work of Creation, they formulate their own conclusions as to these things rather than submit to the plain counsel given throughout the Bible.
Even worse than this, they spread these erroneous teachings amongst those sincerely looking for the truth! What a protection have those who heed to the teachings of Scripture from godless and flawed conjectures of people who submit to their own will than the will of God! “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Ps. 119:99).
We can also trust the Word of God today because it reveals the truth about the nature of man. From the fall of man in Eden to now, we can see how man has continuously rebelled against God. We not only see this amongst the wicked, but among the servants of God as well. Rather than gloss over their faults and failures, the Scriptures bring them to the forefront so that all may know them.
This is a stark contrast to the works of today, which often cover and dismiss the flaws of the figures they admire. The honesty of the Scriptures is a token of mercy in its own right, for it encourages those in and out of our faith that these people struggled with sin as we do today. No one who reads this holy work is left with a false impression that these people were perfect or that their wrongdoings were covered up.
What else can be said of the veracity of these Scriptures? A thorough search of its passages will yield relevant counsel for the godly and ungodly alike. A detailed review of the Bible, outlined in conjunction with the records of history, will satisfy anyone who can approach them with a heart ready to receive the truth.
The very fact that men cannot fully understand it, apply its lessons in their fullness, withstand its rebukes of their cherished sins, and even read it from cover to cover without being changed for the better or the worse testifies to the divinity of the Word of God. One person can draw counsel from one verse while another person can look at the same verse and draw a different, yet equally truthful message!
No other work can do what this work does upon the heart and mind of man. No other written work can prepare them for the Second Advent as this work of God can.
But how can the Scriptures of God relate to a chalkboard? Why a chalkboard, of all things? Because, like the Scriptures, the chalkboard is a simple and powerful teaching tool that revolutionized the world.
The history of the chalkboard dates back to approximately 1800-1600 B.C., in ancient Babylonia. Under the instructions of their teachers, students wrote their math lessons on clay tablets. Educators used something similar to individual blackboards in 11th century India. Even by the end of the 18th century, children in Europe and America were using these individualized tools, made of slate or wood coated with paint and grit. Teachers in those days had to write their lessons upon the slate of each individual pupil.
But in the beginning of the nineteenth century, James Pillans changed this method for the better. The headmaster of Old High School in Edinburgh, Scotland, Pillans was also a geography teacher. When he taught his class, he linked the slates of these students on the wall to form one giant slate and taught the whole class at the same time.
It was this teaching strategy that led him to invent the blackboard. George Baron, a teacher at West Point in 1801, is credited as the first teacher in America to utilize this innovation. In time, the blackboard spread rapidly across America and the world.
But it was when the color of the blackboard was no longer black that people began to call them chalkboards. The “greenboard” was developed in the 1930s, the dry erase board in the 1980s, and the smartboard in 1991. Pillans revolutionized the entire world of education by inventing a simple teaching tool that enabled educators to teach entire classes at one time.
But the Lord provided us with the greatest teaching tool of all. The Word of God is a collection of teaching tools that God used to teach the world about Himself and His work for and in fallen man.
One of these tools in particular deserves special notice. This one teaching tool is the binding tie between Jews and Christians. Through it, God taught His people about the nature of sin, its consequences, and how He will deliver them from it through their faith in Him. Anyone who studies this one object lesson will not only understand the plan of salvation to a greater extent, they will also see that Israel had the same message to give to the world then as we do now.
After He brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt…”the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering…And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them” (Exod. 25:1, 8).
God wanted them to build Him a home so He could be close to them. From His paradise in Eden to His temples throughout the history of Israel, and even now, God has always provided Himself a dwelling place to be where we are. In this special home, God taught Israel about His eternal plan through the sacrifices and the services conducted in it.
One special service, the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16, should be understood by everyone who seeks to understand how God will do away with sin. Remember Proverbs 28:13? Through this service, held once a year, the confessed and forsaken sins of Israel were atoned for and blotted out from their records. This one service, in its earthly form, reflected the greater glory of the atonement service in heaven to blot out the sins of all of God’s people. Turn to Hebrews 9 and read verses 25 and 26.
“Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Remember the message Peter gave in Acts 3:19-21? He was referring to this heavenly service. Truly, the services of the earthly sanctuary were a “shadow of things to come” (Heb. 10:1).
Jesus used a wide array of teaching tools, too. Through speaking to the people in parables, Jesus effectively taught the Jews the truth concerning the things of heaven by using things familiar to them.
Did you know that Jesus taught His people about the end times? That He did not leave this issue unaddressed for them to walk blindly into? Through the parables of the wheat and the tares (Mt. 12:24-30), the sheep and the goats (Mt. 25:31-46) and the sower (Mk. 4:1-20) among many others, we know that there will be a clear distinction between those who serve the Lord and those who serve Him not in the final days.
While many of us cannot discern the wolves among the flock of God now, the day will come where their character will be revealed as the light of day and they will collect the wages of their sins. The faithful servants of God, however, will receive the gift of eternal life He promised to those who held fast till His coming.
Jesus also used the experiences of His servants to teach the Jews and Gentiles what the final days would be like. Contrary to popular belief that He would return in a time of peace, Jesus said that the days before His return would be like the days of Noah and Lot (Mt. 24: 37-39; Lk. 17:28-30). What saith the Scriptures of their times?
In the days of Noah, the Lord said of the generation that He would not strive with them forever. Remember the recurring pattern we highlighted earlier? This was first time it occurred on a global scale. He saw their wickedness, the violence, the corruption of their bodies and the evil of their thoughts.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Everything they imagined in their hearts, everything, was pure evil.
Even after Noah faithfully warned this evil generation for 120 years, they still continued in their wicked course. They ignored the upright character of this man. They ignored the mysterious ark that they knew God commanded him to build. They even ignored the strange way that the animals entered the ark in an order never before seen by mankind. They hid these things in their hearts, even to the time of the flood that took them all away (Gen. 6:3-7, 11-22; 7:1-3, 9, 21-23).
Like the antediluvians of old, the Lord will not bear the wickedness of our generation forever. He gives us plenty of time and plenty of signs, but we still continue to do whatever our heart desires. According to Jeremiah 17:9, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Contrary to popular belief, following your heart is one of the worst things you can do. Look what it did in Noah’s time.
Rather, we must learn to do as Noah did in his days. We must cultivate an uprightness of character and do the work God would have us do, regardless of what people say or think. The work will speak for itself in due time.
The days of Lot were no better. The wickedness of the cities of the plain was so great, the Lord Himself came down to see it before He rendered His judgment (Gen. 18:20, 21). Turn to Ezekiel 16:49, 50 and let’s see what He found there.
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good” (Ezek. 16:49, 50).
The abomination in Sodom He saw was made abundantly clear when all of the men of Sodom attempted to gang rape two of His angels. For these things, the Lord destroyed the cities of the plain (Gen. 19: 1-25).
Do we not see the same wickedness among people today, even among God’s people? Lot sure did, even in his own family. (Gen. 19: 14, 26, 31-36). But yet, they expect to be counted among the faithful at the coming of Jesus. Shall those who profess to serve the Lord do these things and be held guiltless in the final Yom Kippur, the final Day of Atonement? God forbid!
The Scriptures, a teaching tool filled with teaching tools, are like a divine blackboard. The Lord moved upon men to write them and He gathered them together as Pillans gathered the slates of his students. Through linking them together, God created a divine work to teach the entire world as the blackboard enabled Pillans to teach his entire class.
These lessons were not meant to be learned by only one group of people or kept exclusively within one faith. They were meant to be shared with the entire world. It is a revolutionary teaching tool, designed to transform the hearts and minds of those willing to learn the lessons that can never be erased. But through the deceptions of Satan, the lessons were hidden from the eyes of God’s people.
But the Lord is preparing His faithful remnant wherever they are in the world. He is bringing them back to the divine chalkboard, the Scriptures that He used to teach His people long before. They are confessing and forsaking the sins that once separated them from the Lord. They are being readied by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to carry out the last reformation. These humbled teachers will educate the world of the final events soon to come.
He is also working upon the hearts of His fallen students, those who know not the truth or feel themselves lost to sin. They will soon learn that God has not forsaken them as He did not forsake Israel in the days of old. He will reveal to them the lessons that Satan, through his corrupted agents, hid from their eyes.
Through His prophets, God will restore their hope for salvation. They must let the truth work within their hearts as it did in reformations amongst God’s people long ago. Before the coming of the Lord, the teachers of God must once again reveal the final lessons for the final generation. May He find His servants prepared to learn them and a people ready to receive them. Let us pray.
Our Father, who art in heaven, we thank you for teaching us today. Through Your Word, we have a blessed hope in these final days. Our salvation is coming soon. Praise be to You, O God, for You have not forsaken Your people. Please help us learn the lessons that will transform our lives and prepare us to stand in the final days. Deliver us from the deceptions of sin and lead us to Thy Promised Land, that we may dwell with You forever. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.