Days of Preparation

By John Thiel

Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and [if] in the land of peace, [wherein] thou trustedst, [they wearied thee], then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous [art] thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of [thy] judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? [wherefore] are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

 12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou [art] near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

 12:3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.

 12:4 How long shall the land mourn and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.

When the day of slaughter comes, which will happen to those people who come near to God with their mouth and are far, what does that mean? Far from their heart. They give Him lip service but there heart is far away from Him. These people are happy. These people walk a path of joy and they don’t consider that they are not walking in the joy of the Lord. For those people who make profession of Christianity when the going gets hard, how will they survive? These Scriptures are very relevant for our time. We need to understand them. It is the day of slaughter, the last end. How long shall the land mourn?

The last end, that’s what we need to be prepared for – earth’s final scenes. What will the last end of this planet be like? They will be the days of plagues. The last plagues of earths sufferings. What will they be like?

A Day of Slaughter

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

What will be the last end? A time of trouble such as never was before. If you can think of all the terrible troubles on earth, this is much worse than what ever has been.

Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

The people who live at such a time shall run to and fro. How true that is today? When I was a youth they were already running to and fro by ship. Now it’s by aeroplane. Everything is fast paced and knowledge is increased. To where we are today, much more advanced when I was a youth. In such a time that is leading up to the most terrible time that has ever struck, the angel says:

Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

In this time, at the time of the end, what has to take place? Many are to be purified. This is the concept of our study, days of preparation. In this time in days of preparation, the wicked shall do wickedly. We often call these people wicked, the people who don’t have the knowledge of Jesus Christ. But what did we read in Jeremiah? It included the people with their mouth who are praising God but their heart is far from Him.

They will not understand. Could this mean some of us? I hope in this study this will rule us all out because we are here to contemplate how to be the wise who understand. It is the wise and the foolish virgin’s picture that Jesus portrayed. The foolish virgins missed out because when they bridegroom came they didn’t have enough oil. What was the necessity of the oil? So they could join the bridal party in the final scenes and be taken home. Do I desire to be among the wise? This study, if you desire to be among the wise, is for you. This is why I encourage all being where God is. Be on time to absorb the messages that will make you wise unto salvation.

This study is an overview in which we want to go into the details of later. There is something to ponder regarding our Scripture reading. What is the wisdom that we need for these last days?

Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with the footmen and they have wearied thee.

Here is a symbolic picture of those who are the footmen, who are running by foot, and you’re running with them and you can hardly keep up and they are leaving you behind. Are you experiencing that sometimes that there are people who are so spiritually ahead? Those people that are running have just as many problems as you but they are always at the meetings, they won’t stop. We want to understand the wisdom of being able to keep up with the pressure as it comes to the final scenes of this earth’s history. That’s the wisdom we are looking for. There is something to do with stamina to keep up with the stress. A stamina spiritually to keep up with the horsemen ultimately to be in a circumstance when the filling of Jordan takes place. No more cushy lifestyle that we are accustomed to. Winning a race, when you are winning a race, and you know you have not met the goal of your speed, what do you do? You’re trying to excel.

The people in the world are wiser in their generation than the children of God. They can really excel and develop their stamina until finally they can conquer everybody that is their aim. Was this kind of preparation for the kingdom of heaven identified in the Scriptures? Is that what we should be thinking about, this kind of training? Here it is written what we are meant to be doing like a person who is trying to win a race.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

I’ve done a bit of sport in my time, and I got sick of it. All you have at the end of the tournament is the praise you’ve won. I was a good sportsman I won a lot of things. The only satisfaction I got was a trophy, praise, a pat on the back. There was nothing to really fulfil my inmost yearning. Here is a race that is an incorruptible result. I determined in my youth it is all trash, it’s all rubbish compared to what I can do to gain an incorruptible crown. I was going to do my utmost to reach my victory. I hope and pray you can be inspired as I was inspired. Here I am still running and the youth can hardly keep up with me. Why? This study is going to give us the answer.

In like manner, every act of life is great for good or evil; and it is only by acting upon principle in the tests of daily life, that we acquire power to stand firm and faithful in the most dangerous and most difficult positions. {HR, May 1, 1878 par. 11}

At the moment when we are living in the land of plenty and comfort like we do, it’s the daily things in your life that you must act upon principle and every act of life needs to be geared. Just like someone training for a sports tournament. Every one act of life is great for good or for evil. We must acquire power to stand firm and faithful in the most dangerous and difficult positions when the tests really come.

The time of trouble is before us, and if there is lack of courage and ambition now, how will they pass the fearful scenes of that trying hour? {15MR 331.1}

Ambition – some people think that word ambition is a dirty word. We must be ambitious even in spiritual things. If I do not now learn to be able to focus and exercise and reach and excel spiritually, I’ll be just like the disciples, they failed didn’t they. They went to sleep instead of being awake in Gethsemane. Look how they failed. I used to go asleep in sermons in earlier years. It got a bit too long for me and I nodded off and I wasn’t quite so much with it. Then when all of this hit home, you could never see me asleep any more. I became so alert, I hung on every word and I trained myself. You can’t get me to sleep any more no matter how tired I am. I’m really focusing. I need every ounce of Gods support. In other words, if you can’t keep up with the wise virgins now, what is it when they will stand the final test? When you have to join the wise virgins to join the bridal party and run off.

Those who delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain in the time of trouble or at any subsequent time. The case of all such is hopeless. GC 620.

It makes sense doesn’t it in sports tournament? Have you got any hope of winning a tournament if you’ve not prepared for it? Your case is hopeless at the end. Any sports person will say, well I’m going to make sure I’m going to get there and I’m going to get charged up. Most people when I read these statements say, you’re preaching a message of doom. What a negative response to such a positive challenge. The sports person says I’m going to run and get there and win this thing. Then some Christians say, don’t be so negative. I’m going to get there, when the test comes, I’ll prepare myself then. No you won’t just like you can’t win a tournament unless you’ve trained yourself. This is the message. Our message is not a discouraging one. It’s designed to tantalise us into action. It’s a message to fill you with determination – I’m going to get there no matter what. I hope you will see it that way, a tantalisation to secure a brilliant victory at the very final scenes. Here is a most encouraging thing in this whole effort, to try and be victorious at the end. To understand that although there will be many people who will not make it, and their case will be hopeless at the end, we who are listening can take courage.

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Isn’t that a comfort? In this study we are considering these Scriptures to encourage ourselves that in our tournament training we are learning to understand the strength of God that we have to be able to stand at the last day. God says I can do this for you, but you have to learn to walk with me. Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow, with his hand to lead me, I will never, never fear. If there is something in this message that fills you with fear, learn to look to Jesus through it. There’ll be fearful circumstances, but the point is, this encouraging comfort in those words, are mere words unless we are being coached and making intelligent application to the instructions that is here.

What is needed for a sports team to win besides all the exercise? Who do you need? A coach, someone who works with you and tells you to train. The ability of a good coach will be the success of the team. That’s what we need.

How many times have you read those words and you didn’t get any inspiration from them but because someone coached you and you did? We do need coaches in the kingdom of heaven. By God’s grace I’m here to help. If you will have it, these studies are compared with a team of sportsmen devoting themselves to training exercise to gain a world championship. Isn’t that what we’re on about? A world championship not an Australian championship. The whole world is going to go through tournament exercises that the majority are going to lose. God’s faithful people must be champions. This conference is a get together for the team to be coached for that final world championship. It’s getting very close. How close is it? As we go through the prophecies, we’ll see.

If we think we will make it and just keep on coasting along in the world at the present time there will be no hope at the end. What is the particular item that we are seeking to exercise for future victory? What is it that we are actually exercising in the coaching work to reach the closing scenes?

That faith which will live through the time of trouble must be in daily exercise now. Those who do not make strong efforts now to exercise persevering faith will be wholly unprepared to exercise that faith which will enable them to stand in the day of trouble. {3SG 135.1}

Daily exercise. When you are trying to win a tournament, you’re exercising every day a living faith that will live through the time of trouble. When God asks something of you, do you say, no it’s too hard? You’ve not got any spiritual muscle. This is what people are doing. They are hanging their arms. Why; because they haven’t got a muscle. Faith isn’t there to strengthen up. When I see the men flexing their muscles wow. Some people will as it says in Romans, to will is present with me. How to perform some don’t know. They have a will but they can’t. They’ve not got the muscle. What do you do if you don’t have muscle? Exercise. That is what we have to do with the word of God to exercise our faith. If you want to stand at the grand final you must exercising persevering faith. Those who do not make strong efforts now to exercise persevering faith will be wholly unprepared. Isn’t it simple plain cause to effect? We don’t have to hang down our arms and say I can’t. It says lift up your arms and those feeble knees.

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger–a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God–how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God. {GC 621.2}

What is our time now? The period of probation to prepare for that time. You can see the analogy is perfect, the training, the coaching and exercise. Is that which we need to do to survive by faith then? We must learn to develop the muscle of faith relevant to its application to the realities at this present time. As sports teams are primed by ultimate glory by frequent trial tournaments, so must we have frequent trial tournaments. Here is an opportunity to say right instead of running away doing my own thing. Or I’m too tired because I’ve been spending my time doing other things. I’m not going to have to be called, I’m going to come spontaneously. We’re not here for social situations. We love each other’s company, but come prepared to go through the tournaments. Come prepared to listen to a long sermon.

The whole world will follow after the beast. How do you feel when the whole world is against you? You know what it’s like. Everybody thinks you’re crazy. We try to palliate them so they don’t regard it as too stupid. In the ranks of Christian churches today, they are crumbling under society. The world will regard you as fanatics. How are you coping now to stand singly and alone when the rest of the world is going the other way? How are you coping with social pressure, your friends that aren’t coming with you if you don’t follow the Lord? You dilly dally along the way. I’ll do this and I’ll do that because I want to stay friends with you.

Jeremiah 12:6 For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.

When the family have dealt treacherously with you, they have called a multitude after thee, this is something to think about. When the grand finale takes place, can I stand firm for God and His truth even though my family doesn’t follow along with me? Satan is doing what today? Stay with the family. One minister said to a woman, you married your husband, stay with him and go along to his parties. A Seventh Day Adventist minister very well-known and highly honoured.

Many are the ways by which Satan works through human influence, to bind his captives. He secures in this time, multitudes to himself by attaching them to himself by the silken cords of affection. GC page 597

Conjugal – man and wife bound together. You know what a strong human bind marriage is. Satan will use that to bind us to those that are not soldiers of the cross who are not in this tournament training. Family comes first some say. Satan is at work now when we are supposed to be training.

He secures multitudes to himself by attaching them by the silken cords of affection to those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whatever this attachment may be, parental, filial, conjugal, or social, the effect is the same; the opposers of truth exert their power to control the conscience, and the souls held under their sway have not sufficient courage or independence to obey their own convictions of duty. {GC88 597.1}

Do you know the feeling? I know I should be doing this, this is my duty – but.  I’m expressing the feelings I’ve been through and I still sometimes I go through. My heart strings are pulling this way by those ties when I should be concentrating on what Jesus tells me my duty is now.

Revelation 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

What’s it going to be like? When you will not be able to buy or sell? Have you considered what you have to be prepared for? Are you a person who is reliant on medication? You will not be able to buy or sell. When you need medication, when you need health support, like you’re a bit of an invalid now, you can’t work anymore, notice what Satan has done. He has made people very dependent on support of the world around you. If you have little children and they are on a support system. When the time comes that you can’t buy or sell, it will be of that nature, if you don’t do what we say sorry. How do you cope now? Are you preparing yourself in that respect? Do you learn to trust God instead of depending on the social support system? I’m getting older now, one day I want to retire unless Jesus comes first which I’m sure will be. I’m never going to retire I’m going to keep on working. I’m not going to rely on the government. When I didn’t have a job, I was tempted to go on the dole. I’m going to rely on the government? No, I’m going to rely on my God. I’ll earn my money the other way. I went through a whole years test. It’s not easy to get a job when you’re my age. The Lord helped me, I trusted him. At the last moment I needed $500 a week. There was a job, $500 a week. It took a long time. This is the preparation time because then you won’t be able to rely on the government.

The Mark of the Beast

What is that? If you don’t receive the mark, Sunday keeping, the Sabbath is the seal of God. No dole, no family care, no welfare, no old age pension. How are you going to stand? When the Sabbath is the all you need to do to get back into that situation, just give up the Sabbath, you don’t need to give it up you’ll still be able to come to church on Sabbath. The real problem is to truly keep the Sabbath that is the real problem. True Sabbath keeping is being undermined.

Isaiah 13:16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

Where will you be living? Among the mountains and the rocks. What will you be eating? Bread and water. We have beautiful food at church don’t we? Are you capable of living a year on bread and water? Or are you tempted to think like the children of Israel, I’m sick of this bread and water. Are you prepared to rough it? No more air conditioners and when you get out it the heat of the day, you shrivel. Or roughing it out in the bush. Have you stopped to think about it for a year, lying on hard earth? You can’t take your mattress with you. Have you thought about the hygiene side of it? Where is going to be water to wash yourself? You’ll be high up on mountain. You’ll stink. What is the mind condition we need to prepare for? No showers, power or toilets. As I drive along from West to East there are people who come along to say I’m not prepared to go to the toilet in the bush. I say, I’m sorry it’s another 200kms to go to the toilet. In the time of trouble, you’re going to have to go in the bush. This is what is going to happen. If we are a cushy minded people, we will not survive. You’re going to have to survive.

Bread and Water

You don’t have to eat bread and water now, but prepare your mind.

Isaiah 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

Can you cope with seeing that? I’ve made an experience with the Lord. When I saw some of the glories that the Lord showed me, I nearly fell to pieces. My brain couldn’t keep up with it. It took some training to be able to cope with the amazing glories the Lord was showing me. My brain was under a terrible strain. In some of my preaching I’ve bowled people over. They can hardly digest it. One day we’re going to see the Lord in His glory and purity. Do you become uncomfortable in the presence of brethren and sisters who advanced in their spiritual experience and are running with the horsemen already? Living up to a standard of purity that you say, come on, that’s too extreme. When you get to heaven, it’s extreme. It’s extremely pure. It’s going to be extremely holy. Do you have to learn to cope with that now?

“Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless?” Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke: “Those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall be able to stand. {EW 15.2}

Have you ever had someone look in your eyes and they have a very powerful nature and you shrivel because they look at you and it feels like they can see exactly what you’re thinking? Jesus is like that. He will search you through and through. What will you feel like then? All faces gathered paleness. When you go pale, what do you go through inside? When you’re going through terrible embarrassment, some people go red, but these people go pale. It feels like your heart is about to stop. Some faces gather blackness. That’s a heart attack. You will see yourself even though perfect, you will go pale as you’re not sure. What must we have? Clean hands and pure hearts. What goes on inside of me? If I regard purity the beauty of holiness as extremism, then be assured those words won’t be a comfort to you. You need to understand now the instructions of Jesus Christ what are clean hands and what is the beauty of holiness. That is part of the training.

Few believe that humanity has sunk so low as it has or that it is so thoroughly bad, so desperately opposed to God, as it is. . . . When the mind is not under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, Satan can mold it as he chooses. All the rational powers which he controls he will carnalize. He is directly opposed to God in his tastes, views, preferences, likes and dislikes, choice of things and pursuits; there is no relish for what God loves or approves, but a delight in those things which He despises. . . . {HP 163.4}

Amen.


Posted on January 29, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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