What a difference a day makes. A few days, a week or two and the world is vastly different from how it was. Rationing, national lockdowns, schools closed, air travel curtailed and most nations utterly changed from a few weeks ago. For the people of faith, especially those who look to the prophetic future that’s foretold, this is a lot easier to take and to have been prepared for than perhaps for many others.
Recently I wrote an article called “Are we there yet?” which talked about what Scripture says about the times before the return of Jesus. There I went over some of the “signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3) that Jesus Himself mentioned would be apparent before His return.
But even in the short time between when I wrote that and now, things have been changing very fast. Today where I live some major grocery stores have started restricting how many people can be inside the store at one time. There are rationings for many basic staples and the cash register will not allow purchases over a certain amount. This is unprecedented in my lifetime. I think you’d have to go back to World War II in the States to find anything remotely similar to how things are at the moment.
This reminds me of what a friend years ago told me about what he had thought about the Bible, before he got saved. “Just a book for old ladies to cry in,” was his opinion of Scripture. But we know it is so very much more than this. So much more that it has many specific, exact conditions that it predicts will be a part of the world at the end of this age. And that includes economic conditions.
For example, more and more people around the world have become familiar in recent years with the prediction in the book of Revelation that focuses precisely on how shopping for groceries will be in the last years of this age. Speaking of a final demonic world government that will arise at that time, it says that it “causes all, both small and great, rich and poor to receive a mark in their hand or forehead. And that no man will buy or sell unless they have the mark.” (Revelation 13:16 & 17)
Cryptic but clear. Are we there yet? No, not quite. But the technology is already here. I don’t have to tell you how close something like this is now in our times. How simple it will be to implement a cashless society, all connected online and thus able to be controlled in a way unimaginable only a few decades ago. There just has to be an atmosphere, perhaps some international crisis like the present one, to make it easily accepted by the masses.
For the people of faith, this is going to be a major moment of crisis and decision. Because the Bible warns that this “mark of the beast” to come will be utterly Satanic and that the people of God are warned in no uncertain terms not to receive this coming mark that will be enforced in order to buy and sell.
So what will we do? How will we get food and survive? Wonderfully, the same book in the Bible also answers this question, in a somewhat amazing way. I’ll add in the verse, Revelation 12:6, that explains God’s plan and provision for His people in the final days and then examine its meaning. “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”
That phrase “the woman” is speaking of the saved of God in the final days, the body of Christ out of every nation. The “1260 days” mentioned there equals 3½ years, the period of time of the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) that is referred to in so many places both in the Old and New Testament of the final time before the return of Jesus.
And when something is really important, sometimes God will “sprinkle a little dust on it” to make it have a special shine. That verse, talking about 1260 days, is Revelation 12:6. When originally written in Greek, the verses were not separated like they are now. So this was just one of God’s “little coincidences” that the length of time and the Bible reference were almost identical.
There’s more. Since this provision of our physical welfare that God will have for His people in the final days is so important for us to know about, the Lord even went ahead and said it twice in the same chapter. Here’s where it’s virtually repeated again, in Revelation 12:14: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
I like to try to limit these articles to not be too long but there’s a whole lot more to all this. So if you want to know more about “the woman in the wilderness” and how this will play out in the not-too-distant end time, I’ll refer you to an article I wrote almost exactly 5 years ago called “Fleeing into the wilderness… in Bulgaria.” I’d been visiting dear friends in a remote part of Bulgaria and was struck by how it felt like a place that could be a refugee for believers in the future. In that article I go into the particulars of “the woman in the wilderness” and God’s world-wide provision for His people in the final days.
And you might also wonder what this thing is about “3½ years” of “Great Tribulation”; where in the world do I get that from? I’ve made a video on this, based on what Jesus of Nazareth said in Matthew 24, as well as the last verse in Daniel chapter 9. That video, called “The Last 7 Years”, can be seen here.
I heard somewhere long ago that there is a Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, here we are. I hope you are praying, staying close to the Lord, loving your neighbor and staying in God’s Word. Those things are our only hope in times like these.