It seems obvious that the parable of the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) rules out "imminence"--that is, the idea that "Jesus could return at any moment". God will not intervene until His people cry out day and night--and then He will indeed "avenge them speedily". But, since many are already crying out, and He has not yet come in judgement, then it must be that a much larger number of His people must come to repentance and faith, before the crying out will be responded to. We are not told just how large that number must be, but, obviously, it must be larger than the number that exists at this moment.
HOWEVER...the final verse (18:8) makes it seem as though, when He returns, Christ will find very little of the true faith on the earth. He will find plenty of worthless "faith"--in humanistic self-help solutions, in finding direction from one's own inner being, in the Dalai Lama, in Islam, in Hindu gurus, in evolutionary atheism, etc.. But the way the question is posed, it almost requires the negative answer: i.e., that He will find very little of the only faith that counts.
But...if this is so...how will the crying out bring a response? As you point out, things are getting worse, many are falling away from the truth into traps of the enemy, and others are coming to the end of their lives, and will not be on earth for the time of the successful crying out.
I hope I have made my question clear. This has puzzled me for a long time. It is clear that Jesus will not return so long as the church is in such terrible disobedience. But, since there will be so little faith left when he finally DOES come, then how will the crying out bring a positive response?
Thank you for clearing up the confusion!
(I am assuming that you will be led to do this!)
God is separating the wheat from the chaff. The crying out of those who are not truly repentant (and certainly of those who are not even His, not of the elect, merely crying out to any god whom they hope will listen, along with their crying out at the same time to various gods) are not heard.
Christ cannot return until the 'man of sin' be revealed. Obviously, he has not yet been revealed.
Christ cannot return except there be a falling away first.
Again, separating the chaff from the wheat.
Understand also in farming... it takes time for the wheat to grow to maturity--and even after maturity, it has to dry out, cure, before it is threshed, winnowed, and sifted.
Will Christ find faith...? Since faith is a fruit of the Spirit, it is only evident in the lives of true believers, and those true believers who are actually walking in the spirit. Thus, by implication, "will He find faith...?" means, "will there be any of the elect who walk in faith".
I seriously doubt that everyone who died during Noah's flood died without faith. Those who are of the elect are sealed by God, even if they defect in their walk. Noah was the only one who was pure in his generations and who walked in holiness without compromise. The majority were no doubt of the non-elect; but no doubt many of those died in the flood of were of the elect, who had apostatized: whom God deemed unworthy of preserving. So it will be in the end times. Will Christ find faith refers to those of the elect who still hold fast to the testimony / faith (once delivered) of Christ (not watered-down, paganized, compromising denominations of man) and keep the Commandments of God (not the commandments of men).
It does not refer to those who follow the traditions of men, being deluded into thinking that they are following what God and Christ commanded; and such will be rejected and have no excuse, because any time they wanted to compare what their church teaches to what the Bible says, how they are living their life compared to how the Bible says we should live... all they have to do is turn off the tv and open the Bible.
The word "faith" does not refer to false , so-called faiths of Hindoos and Muslims and such, for they have no faith, but superstition. Scripture tells us there is but ONE faith. God does not share His Throne with other fake gods (cardboard props) and play the charade of "equality."
Christ's delay in return is a two-edged sword... by His delay the elect continue to suffer and the wicked continue to blaspheme God. However, Christ's delay is also merciful, in that it gives the elect opportunity to repent. That is the main reason Christ has not returned. The Bride is yet unwilling to submit herself to her groom... still chasing off after other lovers; while deluding herself into thinking she is still faithful. God is not fooled.
The Prodigal in the pig style is self-deluded like the deceiver Obamajama-yo-mama tries to seduce fools into believing his infantile mumbo-jumbo, seditious double-speak, and mindless anti-intellectual prattle; face down in the pig feces, the average "Christian," as the Prodigal is still rebellious and thinks, "this ain't so bad." Repentance is last on the "bucket(-o-slop) list."
Thus, again, God is separating the wheat from the chaff.
There will be a general, massive, falling away of the nonelect and the barely elect--but at the same time, there will be a consolidation and strengthening of the very elect who move closer to God.
Further involved is the principle of time, which SOOOOOOO many forget, in SOOOOO many areas. Stubborn, delusional people who find themselves with cancer or some other illness--which they have CULTIVATED over a lifetime, delusionally think that some doctor has a magic bullet or that some magic operation will fix the problem overnight. If you don't kill the spider, cleaning out the cobwebs is busywork and delusion if you think it solves the problem. It does not solve the problem; it is a temporary band aid; a coat of paint over the termite damage.
Likewise, years of sinfulness, tolerance, compromise, transgression, perversion, unfaithfulness, apostacy, heresy, worldiness, dishonesty, delusion, false doctrine, rebellion will not be cured over night by 1 or 2 people praying. In fact, the praying may actually be answered by more judgment because the judgment is God's discipline to bring His people to repentance. In context, "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4) is the spanking itself... "the judgment of God [that] is according to truth against them which commit such things" (Romans 2:2)—the spanking or discipline that draws us to repentance.
In fact, the violent and frenzied increase in the deterioration, degeneration, and perversion of society is itself hope. Christ told us in Luke 21:28 concerning all these evils, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." I am reminded of the following story, humorous, touching, but profound:
In his, The Radical Christian (1987), Arthur Wallis relates the story of a father with two young children who misbehaved. The father informed the two that he was about to spank them, and why. The father then asked the children if either had anything to say. One of the two, in reply, bowed his head and expressed, “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful !” (p.34)
So it is with the evil in society. It actually seems to be (as incomprehensible as it sounds) an answer to prayer...! One the one hand, it is an abomination; on the other a blessing. The only difference lies in WHICH side of Christ's Sword you will be on when He returns—the deliverance side or the Judgment side.
Deliverance will only come upon TRUE repentance; repentance will only come from the majority of God's stiff-necked people by God increasing the burden imposed upon them by their enemies / taskmasters —those to whom they yielded themselves to obey, rather than their only rightful master, God Almighty.
God is not merely waiting, but sifting.
Moses FASTED and PRAYED 40 days and 40 nights (without even water; and thus He had to have been Divinely upheld) after having just come off a previous 40 day and night fast (again with no water) during which he was receiving the Law from God. He so fasted and prayed the second time, interceding for his brother and the children of Israel who had sinned in all the abominations of the golden calf.
As I wrote earlier today: When God's people get serious about repentance and crying out for deliverance, God will get serious about hearing their prayers and delivering them. Until then, the prayers are merely words which bounce off the ceiling, since there is no true repentance. The average Christian, if he ever even thinks about praying for deliverance, does so only once during a 30-second commercial during the Superbowl (that is, if he has seen the commercial before and if he doesn't like it enough to watch it again; though with one eye open just in case the game comes back on from commercial early).
God has long and longsufferingly declared, "This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:8)
As I have long written: Why should God deliver us from that which we are willing to tolerate? Tolerance is the buzz word and submission to the god of this world. If Christ did return today to deliver us, the majority of "Christians" would crucify Him again and want to go back to Egypt.
Thus, God is sifting. The chaff will be canon fodder; the wheat will be refined.
Christ said, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. " (Matthew 24:22)
God decreed numerous times the extent to which He was going to judge His people, but when true repentance was made, even by sole intercessors (such as David, or Moses and Aaron), God drew short the punishment and did not inflict all that He had planned.
In one way of looking out it, no amount of crying out will change anything: for God has already determined the events that need to transpire before deliverance can happen. However, it is sort of circular in a time-warp sort of way in which our behaviour, can, in a sense, change things; similarly, in a figurative way, as a few popular t.v. shows or movies, often showed that the future could be changed by those who went back into the past and altered events that upset the flow of time. Now, I am not saying we can go back and change reality; but we are given the opportunity to be part of the problem or part of the solution. God determined He would send a drought--but He gave Elijah the privilege of praying that God would stop the rain for 3.5 years; likewise, when God determined to end the drought, He told Elijah to pray for rain--and so Elijah was used in God's Plan. Likewise with Jonah. Jonah rebelled. God gave Jonah opportunity to think it over. Jonah repented half-way, at least to the point that God could use him, carnal vessel though he was. Had Elijah or Jonah refused, God would have used someone else. God's Will would have still been accomplished, but someone else would have been a part of it to receive the blessing.
Similarly, God has already determined who the elect and non-elect are. Some, spiritually dead or dull of mind may then quip: Then why should we even witness...? WHY...? BECAUSE GOD COMMANDED US TO. If we are truly of God, we will do the works of God; we will be obedient, we will care about our lost and dying brethren. If we don't, we are not truly His; we have just deluded ourselves into following the traditions of men, with a thin candy-coating of spirituality, but His Words are not in us because we are not really in Him. Such who are not grafted into the True Vine bear false fruit. But God, the Husbandman is not fooled. He knows the difference between wax fruit and the real fruit He ordained that we should bring forth to His Glory. If we don't care to be obedient in what He commanded (not merely doing what we feel like doing, deluding ourselves into thinking we are obeying and serving and pleasing God) and if we don't care about our family members who are on the road to perdition, then clearly, our spirits have never been quickened by His and we are dead in our trespasses and sin and are only self-deluded. You can cut down a tree and make a fence post out of a section of the old trunk or boughs... and they will often sprout new, tender, green shoots. However, it is false life. It is the death rattle mistaken for true life. It will not last. It is not real. It is an illusion. Real fruit remains and brings forth more fruit.
Moses stretching forth his rod did not part the Red Sea. God parted it. God commanded Moses to stretch it forth so that Moses could play a role in God's Deliverance. So it is with us and praying for the repentance of His people, and the resultant deliverance. If we don't pray, not only will we not play a role in His Work, but we show that He is not in us.
Martin Luther declared concerning prayer:
“The hardest work of all—a labour above all labours, since he who prays must wage almighty warfare against the doubt and murmuring excited by the faint-heartedness and unworthiness we feel within us… that unutterable and powerful groaning with which the godly rouse themselves against despair, the struggle in which they call mightily upon their faith. .... Audacious prayer, which perseveres unflinchingly and ceases not through fear, is well pleasing unto God. .... As a shoe maker makes a shoe, or a tailor makes a coat, so ought a Christian to pray. Prayer is the daily business of a Christian.”
Christ said, "I must be about My Father's Business." Those who are not about the Father's business, may be demonstrating the fact that they are not the Father's children. Every tree is known by its fruit. "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling" is greatly misunderstood. It is not suggesting a "works oriented" salvation; but a works-recognition. An apple tree bears apples because it is an apple tree, being designed by the Creator to bear apples. Christ cursed a fig tree that was spiritually dead, so it shriveled up and died physically too; which was only fitting. God prunes the dead wood from the family tree, that it produce better. Work out your salvation in fear and trembling is a parallel to being about our Father's business and bearing the fruit we were ordained to bear, lest we be pruned away as dead useless wood that is merely draining the vitality from the tree and bringing disgrace to the orchard owner / husbandman.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear....
Revelation 22:11: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
Added thought from another email:
This would make a lovely television commercial for that credit card, "Cost of airfare, $2,000; cost of hotel room $200; front-row seats for seeing all your enemies destroyed in the blink of an eye... priceless." Maranatha. Even so come Lord Jesus. What is keeping Him from returning? God's people not turning off the tv and superbowl and getting on their knees and truly repenting and praying for their kinsmen to repent, and not stopping praying until it comes. Do you want to see more of the picture on the left or the right? You reap what you sow. Sow Righteousness. Of course, it would take about 10,000 such craters (tel aviv, Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, LA, Chicago, DC, Miami, the Vatican, Mexico City, Cairo, Bombay, etc.) and reduce the earth to looking like a moon... but God's going reform the entire earth anyway; so bring it on. Just one small hint: better carefully choose where you are living before God starts hurling His thunderbolts / asteroids / brimstone. The righteous will die with the wicked if the righteous have not obeyed and separated themselves. Holiness requires separation. That which does not separate itself is not holy. Do you love righteousness? Do you hate evil?
"Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: He preserveth the souls of His saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 97:10)
--in context, God preserves the souls of His saints--and His saints are those who truly love Him and those who truly love Him will hate evil.
Proverbs 8:13 re-iterates: "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil."
--the clear implication: those who do not hate evil do not fear the Lord.
[Note, hating evil is not a substitute for loving God. Also, the converse of the passage does not say, "those who hate evil love the Lord." That would make God the by-product. God is Good. God has declared what is good and what is evil. Knowing what is evil requires first knowing God. Hating evil for the wrong reason does not count. The universe is not a cosmic electrical field in which binary negative or positive charges weigh in regardless of a myriad of factors. God's Word never teaches "my enemy's enemy is my friend." That is pagan immorality. All roads do not lead to Rome. There are not many ways to God. As I explain in my books, if a wife's beloved husband gives her flowers, she is delighted; if a perverted stalker sent her the same bunch of flowers, it would not be received except with horror and revulsion. A Christian donating $1 million to a worthwhile Christian ministry, God views as a pleasing and acceptable sacrifice. A mobster giving $1 million to the catholic church (giving just a small portion of all the money he acquired through destroying other people's lives), God will certainly reject even as He rejected Cain and his worthless sacrifice. It was not merely the sacrifice that was rejected, but the evil heart which offered it.]
As David, can you say,
"21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139)
Only those who can and do, will also be able to claim:
"7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." (Psalm 91)
One more added thought. The same person who emailed the question at the top of this page, also expressed that he was a bit shocked by my answer that more judgment may actually be the answer to his prayers for our national deliverance; but upon reflection, he realized that my answer rang true. However, he then thought that the notion of believers of the truth 100 years ago, thinking their dissemination of the truth would save the nations, must have been wrong; but I explained:
I believe maybe you misperceive the believers of the former century thinking that they could change the nations with the dissemination of information. They could have. We were at a crossroads. The potential was there.
The righteous Hezekiah repented, sought the Lord, and was given more time; as did his evil grandson Manasseh. Jeroboam was given the opportunity for a perpetual throne greater than David's; Jeroboam took the wrong road. Josiah, was so godly (though not sinless) that God prevented the fall of the nation for as long as he lived.
The potential was there... obviously, the end result would have eventually been defection and apostatizing, but that doesn't mean there could not have been a great period of revival and 100 years of more golden years before the funeral.
Even now, people will only wake up--after God gets their attention with the Judgment--by the dissemination of information. The mainstream churches don't have the answer, they are part of the beast system; the harlot church.
If one is spiritually dead or blind, reading the Bible will help only if the Holy Spirit turns the lights on. I believe in most cases, they will first need books like I write and offer, which act as the decipher code to unlock the cryptic message so they can understand the Bible.
Ignorant (stiff-necked, proud) Christians will think, "No. God's Word is simple; anyone can just pick it up and read it and understand."
Well, that is not true.
Christ purposely spoke in parables so that only the elect of His people would understand. The rest were not meant to know. Scripture is clear on this. Many such things in Christ's teachings, such as parables, or the deep doctrines (which most ignorant Christians misunderstand, not knowing how to interpret the Bible, thinking some laws or principles cancel out or contradict others), and of course prophecy, are not things that just anyone can understand.
The Bible is a spiritual book and must be discerned spiritually. Those who are not converted through Christ, having their mind regenerated, cannot understand anything but the most basic level of some teachings: we are sinners, Christ died, God be merciful to me a sinner and save me.
However, being a Christian is not enough to understand God's Word competently; one must also be walking in the Spirit with the Mind of Christ, not living carnally after the lusts of the flesh. Further, the deepest treasures of God's Word are alone reserved for those who invest all, as searching for and giving all to purchase when found, the pearl of Great Price.
Further still, God said because of the sin of His people, He sent spiritual blindness upon them. This spiritual blindness had not been lifted from the majority, because the majority prefer darkness to light.
God tells us, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." (Proverbs 25:2) The word king is used, because, like the funding of Columbus' expedition to the New World, it takes a Regal pocketbook to search such mighty things. However, the implication is spiritual; those who fulfill their Divine Role with honor, act nobly and sacrifice for the truth (not merely for self-enrichment).
The apostle Philip was sent to the Ethiopian eunuch (who was a Hebrew, captured or sold and neutered and rose to a high rank of service) who was reading a scroll of Isaiah and Philip asked him if he understood what it meant; he did not.
If the Bible was simple to understand on every level, on every topic, there would be no need for ministers. There are many levels of truth in the Word of God. Its depths are unplummable.
While the average Christian can understand a lot of truth, if he is truly converted, if his mind has truly been renewed, if he is walking in the spirit, in obedience to God, pleasing God, and actually investing time, of course, he can understand a lot of truth.
However, as in any discipline, a part-time hobbyist will rarely rise to the level of an Olympic champion or a professional, because of lack of training, dedication, and not merely full-time, but double-full-time investment.
Thus, God's Judgment, the proliferation of evil in society, God uses to polarize society; to separate the chaff from the wheat. The wheat will move closer to God and seek Him (while the chaff will unwittingly move closer to the furnace).
As God's people begin to wake up, they will seek out shepherds to lead them in the truth; to help them understand what they are reading. If God's people have been brainwashed thinking God abolished His Law then there is no way God's people can repent and seek God. They will still be groping in the darkness. If they don't recognize the difference between who God's people are and who God's enemies are, they will not be admitted by God into His Pleasure.
Those who read God's Word and then look at the world, if they are not utterly brainwashed, will begin to realize that things are just not right. As they desire to learn more, the Holy Spirit will lead them to clearer, pure waters where they can see and have their minds cleansed.
As I write in my books and articles:
When everything goes wrong just right, for the enemy, every single time, it cannot be a mere co-incidence. If an army loses every single battle, if a football team loses every single play—as if someone is anticipating their every move—it is no co-incidence; it is no mystery; it is a conspiracy: Someone sold / stole the playbook. A recent reader, who compared by book, Uncovering the Mysteries of Your Hidden Inheritance to the movie "The Matrix," in which all society is really virtual reality and everything that people see and think is real, is actually a computer code injected into their brain as they are held prisoner by drugs and restraints. Many people, during "the show" (which they think is reality) notice glitches in the computer code (ever so quick and brief), but most people just shrug their shoulders and ignore them; not caring, not thinking it significant, not wondering, thinking they just imagined it, etc. Those who start paying attention and refuse to ignore those things are left with a choice. This reader wrote to me: “In 2005 I read your monumental book, Uncovering.... It was like the movie "The Matrix" for me. Do I take the green pill and stay asleep or the red one and see the truth knowing things can never be the same again.”