Sometimes it’s hard to keep the vision of the last days. The enemy of our souls wants to exhaust you with distractions, vanities, “rabbit trails” and meaninglessness. Without God, you ultimately crumble, surrender to the fog and become numb within the mists you’ve come to live in. Certainly, this is not the will of God.
But then tonight, it was like a fresh wind from God that blew through the house. We watched the movie about the “Free Burma Rangers”. It’s the story of a man from Texas who was raised on the mission field of Thailand but then felt led to become a soldier. After having become an elite “Rangers” member of the US military, he felt the call of God to use his training and Christian/military background to help the marginalized peoples of Burma.
I realized, watching it, that this documentary/movie about real people in these times could be a glimpse of how reality will be for some Christians in the very final years, during the time of Antichrist rule. Some parts of the world are experiencing extreme “great tribulation” right now and God’s presence is being strongly seen and felt by those who continue to serve Him in those times and places.
It specially spoke to me as this man, with his wife and 3 children beside him, has lived a life of zealous Christian discipleship which has been similar to what I’ve experienced at times in my life on the mission field. What this couple has been doing in the last few years is very much like what I believe Christians, some at least, will be experiencing in the final 42 months of Great Tribulation before the return of the Lord.
The three and a half years before the return of Jesus is a period of time that is amazingly shown repeatedly in Scripture. I certainly can’t in this article get into all the aspects of it. But if you’re interested in the subject, here is a link to an article I did when I was in a remote part of Bulgaria some years ago, where I was struck by how that area could be like what it says about the Christians of the last days that they “flee into the wilderness” where they are protected during that time. It’s called “Fleeing into the Wilderness… in Bulgaria”.
I firmly believe there is no “pre-tribulation” rapture or gathering of the saved, before the coming of the Lord. In fact, I believe there are several verses that clearly tell what Christians will be doing during that time. Two from Daniel chapter 11 are “The people who do know their God will be strong and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many.”
This movie touched me on so many levels. While I‘ve not had exactly the same life as this man and his family, I could very much relate to their commitment to the Lord and their willingness to put their lives on the line for Him in very extreme situations in the hinterland of Myanmar (Burma) for years and then in northern Iraq at the height of the ISIS threat there.
This dedicated family at the front of Christian discipleship in Burma and Iraq helped remind me to not “sit at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1), as is so normal and acceptable to do here in Christian circles in America. It was a reminded to me of my calling and background, my experience and all that the Lord has invested in me and all I can still be used by Him to do, if I will be cautious to not get comfortable and settled in this present situation I’m in.
Desperation often brings on a clarity that comfort and ease really doesn’t. There’s so much confusion and vanity that every person here in my country is mightily assailed by every day. It’s like living in mists that effectively obscure spiritual realties. So we can end up quibbling about trifles while the starkest realities of the spiritual world mostly escape us in all the Babylonian chatter of our daily lives.
But watching these dear ones who were going all out for the Lord at the forefront of some of the worst conflicts in the world of our times reminded me of how it is going to be in the future where Christians are going to be laying down their lives, utterly involved with humanity around them and being burning and shining lights to multitudes of the lost and oppressed. This was all a bit of a shakeup and a reminder for me of my calling and life up to this time.
One of the greatest dangers to Christians in my country is the incredible surge of sickening swill and sludge that flows at us night and day through every organ of the media. It’s virtually all tainted, brackish and deeply polluted by any number of agendas and outlets, trying to sell you their viewpoint or product.
Strange as it may seem, counter-intuitive as you might think it to be, those dear people in the jungles of Burma or the poor souls who were assailed for years by ISIS in Iraq and Syria had a leg up on many of us here. Because they didn’t have to try to sort out reality from fiction. The enemy was right there, real and clear and in their faces, ready to literally kill them physically right then.
We don’t hear much about Christian activists at the forefront of the worst conflicts of our time. But for them, it’s like they are already living in conditions much like the final last days will be. So this movie was very much like a look into the future for dedicated Christians. And although it was totally and utterly real and true, not a bit of fiction to it, it also had an element of Biblical futurism to it to see how these horrific conditions brought out the very best of Christian character and love for others in this dear man and his wife and kids.
It wonderfully concentrates the mind in situations like that. I haven’t experienced it a lot but I definitely have from time to time in my encounters on some far flung mission fields. It quickens you, clears your mind and mostly gets you very desperate as you are face to face with forces greater than you. And you realize perhaps as much as ever before how very much you desperately need at that moment the presence and power of God. Or you may die in the next minute. [Here’s an article I wrote about when I was about to venture into a city on the Syrian border when ISIS was at its peak and how desperate prayer was a life or death matter.]
If you want to see what the final days before the Lord may be like and how you and yours can be victors and “more than conquers”, even during the time that “the woman fled into the wilderness”, then I suggest you watch “Free Burma Rangers”. “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
It came to me yesterday night that God would not have given us Endtime prophecies as in Daniel, Revelation, Matthew 24 and more if God was just going to remove Christians at any moment before the rise of the final Anti Christ and the great tribulation. We wouldn’t have needed to know any of that.
Then it came to me that all those churchy “Christians” who seem so afraid of those prophecies not to even study or to preach them are probably more likely to be the very ones to be deceived into accepting the anti Christ as God and saviour and they will worship him in order not to be killed, Rev. 13.15, and then take his mark for the material benefits Rev.13.16-18. They will believe that heaven just landed on earth in a very modern worldwide technological internet connected paradise city system, but not New Jerusalem, rather Babylon the great city whore of Rev.17-18.
True Christians do need to know those prophecies to “be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life”. We are no longer in bondage through fear of death.
Dr. Nicolas Rao says
Well explained Mark. There are so many living in the false truth that they are going to be taken away before the tribulation. We as watchmen,must warn them that it will not be so.
They need to know their God so they can be strong and do exploits and encourage others not to lose faith or heart. Thanks again Mark. I will never tire of this subject. It’s so much a part of our lives. Praise God.