The Christian And Evil Days by Wm. Doyal Thomas - Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist Pastor

The Christian And Evil Days
 Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama
    As I sit in my study on this cold, overcast and dreary day I meditate upon the conditions that mortal man faces each day. All around is the visual and the sensory perceptions of darkness and dread. There is the apparent evidence that the day holds many forebodings and anxious moments as one must face unpleasant conditions and circumstances. Just to go outside into such an environment as winter presents requires one to seek to muster up an extra measure of courage and strength. And I do not enjoy this set of circumstances, for I do not like the dark and dreary.
    Why, do you suppose, do I and others have this particular feeling toward our lot and portion during the winter? Is there something that is inherently bad about winter? Surely, God has wisely appointed the seasons and the associated weather patterns for good and beneficial reason. He tells us, specifically, that seasons are in our best interest, and they produce much good, and that there is a time for all things. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:" (Eccle. 3:1)
    I think, as others must surely think, of the ever present desires and choices of the flesh as it seeks to find gratification for itself with seldom a thought past immediacy. I want to face, or otherwise be confronted with the warm, the pleasant, the easy, and the enjoyable. I want everything to bring me into, and then to sustain me in a state of human pleasure. I want life to be everything that causes the flesh to find contentment in the world, as if one can stay in the world forever; as if there were no hereafter. I want what I want, and I want it now. I, being mortal, am sinfully fallible, and being such, am depraved and self-centered. I am a sinner.
    Yes, even in normally warm south Texas, there are times when cold, somber dreariness sets upon us as a blanket of gloom and uneasiness. There are some days when life has some difficulties, and some unpleasantness with which the natural man must contend. There are plenty of reminders that we are mortal, and that as such, we must be required to bow ourselves before our Mighty Sovereign and confess our weakness and our propensities to murmur and complain at the situations we face.
    Could this rather simple illustration of the condition of the natural man be of great and wonderful instruction for us; for we who claim eternal standing before God in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? Could this also be a reminder that even though this particular day is cold, dark and dreary, there is another day coming in which none of these present factors will be our portion?
    There is another simple fact that I want to share with you as well. As I sit here in my study and look outward to my surroundings, to those conditions outside my home, I see the darkness and dreariness that I have described. But here, inside, I am pleasantly warm, and there is the feeling of comfort and security that all is well. In spite of what goes on around me, all is well. My God is in control. All is well.
    One of the problems that we as Christians face is the simple truth that  everything is not always as it at first appears to be. Sometimes the only real problem that we have is one of perception, rather than one of reality. Sometimes all we can see is what we can see. Sometimes we are looking, and then walking by sight and not by faith. Is this the case with me? With you also perhaps, at some time or times in your life? Is it the case with all of us much more often than we admit or perhaps even realize?
    Recently, I wrote on the subject of "Perilous Times." In that message, I sought to point out that we are living in times that are fraught with evil, and with the peril that is associated with evil times. I made an effort to describe just a few of the types of evils that all men are confronted with in these last days, for truly the evil is present in the world, and we, as do other men still live in the world.
    In that writing I sought to alert God's people to the awful and fearful conditions around us, beginning with the human governments that God has appointed to rule over us, and then cascading down through all strata of human society to the individual; to alert us all to the conditions as they are in the natural realm, and as they appear to be in all realms of life. That was, and is my intent, for I believe that we must be brought to the point of recognizing that ". . . all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (I John 2:16)
    Dear reader, I want all to see that the world is rushing head long to a collision with the just, proper, and promised condemnation as God deals in judgment against Satan, fallen angels, and all unrepentant men. This is sure judgment, for God has also said, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:... "(I John 2:17a)
    So, we may properly conclude that all the dark, dreary, troublesome times that are associated with these "evil days" in which we all live prior to the dawning of the new day that God has promised are but a temporary thing, for ". . . the world passeth away, and the lust thereof." We may properly conclude that the Lord is coming, and ". . . he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (I John 2:17b)
    Yes, beyond this promised day there will be for the believer all joy, bliss, contentment, and eternal blessing. Eternity will provide all that brings those who dwell with God the unending privilege of worshipping, praising, and serving Him. In eternity, there will never be the slightest hint of unpleasantness. There will be no element allowed to enter in to cause any anxiety to the children of God. There will be no pain, nor anguish, nor sorrow, nor doubt. All will know that to be with the Lord is the epitome of life that is ordered, structured, and good. We will be forever happy, and we will know that nothing could be an improvement of this eternal state.
    But, what about the day that follows the present time of man's day? Before the eternal state, but following the day in which man presently finds himself is another day. This anticipated day is spoken of as the Lord's day. It is the predicted and promised day of the millennium. It is the time in which the Lord Jesus Christ will rule and reign in perfect righteousness upon the earth from His father David's throne in Jerusalem.
    I am well aware that there are many who will and do deny that such a day will come. There have long been those, some who even profess to be, and call themselves 'Baptists', who deny the millennium. There are even some who identify themselves as sovereign grace 'Baptists' who are of this persuasion, and who have convinced themselves of this terrible error by their "spiritualizations" of the literal Scriptures. And error, when imbibed, taught, and practiced becomes heresy. There are others who shun to contend for this precious truth, and in so doing, bring great shame and reproach upon the Lord and upon His true churches as they, under His command go forth proclaiming this wonderful approaching day. But, we must be true to Him who has called us to witness the truth, and announce to each of you who read these words that there is a millennium coming, and that Christ will usher in that great day at the conclusion of the time of great tribulation.
    Let us now take a look at this coming day, as we seek A GLIMPSE OF MILLENNIUM.
    "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan; and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
(Rev. 20:1-6)
    Dear reader, some will reign with Christ for a thousand years. And that is a literal thousand years, rather than a "spiritualized", imagined undetermined time. And that reign will be upon this earth. I know, Christ presently reigns in the heart of His people. But, this prophesy is literal as to the reign of Christ, and as to when, where, and over whom this reign is to be. It is dishonest to seek to make a part of this prophesy "figurative" while holding other parts of it literal. It is either literal, or it isn't! I emphatically declare, "It is literal."
    When? Following the tribulation time, which is Daniel's seventieth week. The millennium will follow the great tribulation time. Where? Upon the earth, for that is where David's throne is, and it is upon David's throne that Christ will reign, as the rightful heir to that throne. And God has promised that there will never cease to be a true and legitimate claimant to the throne of David.
    I recently (within the past two weeks) heard a heretic, posing as a true sovereign grace Baptist declare in his message that was broadcast over the radio airwaves in this area that Christ entered into heaven at the conclusion of His earthly ministry and claimed and occupied "His father David's throne in heaven." Can you believe such heresy? Can you believe that some imagine that David's throne is in heaven? And in order to believe such foolishness requires a most vivid imagination. Surely, no such teaching can be found in the Bible.
    Who will reign with Christ during this literal thousand years upon the earth? Verses 4 and 5 of this passage tells us. It is those who are made to be partakers of the first resurrection. It is those who are redeemed. Specifically, verse 4 tells us that among those who will reign with Christ are those who were slain by the beast during the tribulation, and that because of their witness of Jesus and for the word of God. These had been enabled to refuse to worship the beast, the image of the beast, or to receive the mark of the beast during the tribulation. And this DOES NOT teach the great error of the post-tribulation theorist. These are tribulation saints to be sure, but they are NOT saints who composed the Lord's true churches prior to the opening of the great tribulation week of years. These are those who were saved during the tribulation, but were never a part of the Lord's true churches. The saints of the church age were gathered out prior to the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week, which time is also known as "the time of Jacob's trouble."
    Remember also that all that are made to be partakers of the first resurrection are the saved of God. This innumerable host which no man can know or number, but whom God knows, every one, reaches all the way back to the first redeemed soul and includes those who are redeemed, even during and out of this great tribulation.
    What is the day of the Lord, the span of which will constitute the reign of Christ upon the earth, commonly called the millennium? It is the manifested kingdom of Christ that John the Baptist announced as being "at hand", in Matthew 3:2 John the Baptist said, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
    Literally, it is "of the heavens", signifying the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It is the kingdom covenanted to David's seed in II Samuel 7:4-17; described in the prophets in Zechariah 12:8, and confirmed to Jesus Christ the Son of Mary as announced by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:30-33.
    In Zechariah's prophesy, the Lord is seen as He delivers His people, particularly Judah as He defends the inhabitants of Jerusalem, putting down all opposition as He prepares to take the throne according to the Davidic covenant. It is the ushering in of the day of the Lord.
    What conditions will exist during the reign of Christ upon the earth, during the millennium? Can we know about these matters? Does the Bible declare the state of the earth during this glorious day of the Lord? Does the Bible describe the six days that constitute "man's day" so graphically, and then totally ignore the day of Christ? Remember, we are still living in "man's day", but soon, the day of Christ will dawn and all will be such as was not since sin entered and man fell.
    The Scriptures clearly teach that when Christ shall come He will set up a perfect reign of righteousness over all the earth. Man will be governed by a Perfect King and even though many will occupy the earth during this glorious span who are unregenerate, their lives will be regulated by the perfect law of God. Children will be born, life will go on, business and commerce will continue, and men will die.
    The land will bring forth in abundance and men everywhere will be supplied all that is needful, of course being required to utilize lawful means to obtain what is needed (No well-fare state then). The crop land will flourish and the herds and flocks will be fruitful. World order (a true New World Order) will be maintained so that every one may dwell in safety and peace, and when men violate God's law they will be swiftly and properly judged and punished. Law will prevail at all times and under every circumstance. (I wonder why some who claim to be Bible believers will acknowledge that God of old required men to live under law, and will do so again in the millennium, and then imagine that He does not require that His people live under His law today. Are there more antinomians than we imagine?)
    Even among the beasts of the field and the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea there shall be compatibility and harmony. The bear shall feed along side the cattle and the lion shall lay down with the kid or the lamb. The adder shall not harm, nor shall the scorpion sting. The young child will be able to play with what they will without danger of hurt.
    What a day the day of Christ shall be! And listen, dear child of God, we will reign with Christ during this time. I don't pretend to fully know of this great time in completeness, but the Scriptures clearly teach that the saints of God will reign with Him. He being the Absolute Monarch will rule, and we shall reign with Him.
    I don't know of the form of governmental activity that we will be involved in, but I truly believe that what ever human instrumentality of government He is pleased to employ will be manned by His saints. If there is such office as mayor, or sheriff, or judge, or whatever, those offices will, I believe be filled by men of the Lord's appointment from among His redeemed and glorified saints.
    What a day the day of Christ shall be!
    But what of the Christian and Evil Days?
    Surely the millennium that we have been speaking of can not be described as being even slightly tainted with evil. The millennium is not the evil days, alluded to in the title of this message. NO, the evil days are the days in which we presently live while we await the catching away of the saints at the rapture, then the tribulation, and THEN the millennium.
    How should the Christian be conducting himself now, while we still live among men, being used of God to witness to them of their sin and of the only Saviour, the Blessed Lord Jesus Christ? What should we be doing? What should we be saying? How should we be living in these "EVIL DAYS"? I am persuaded that God's children should be living as children of God, and that we should be expecting Him to return at any moment. How should we be living? As if He would come at any moment! Do you think that He will be pleased to find His children living as though they did not expect Him to come at any moment?
    "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all. these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons OUGHT YE TO BE IN ALL HOLY CONVERSATION AND GODLINESS, LOOKING FOR AND HASTING UNTO THE COMING OF THE DAY OF GOD, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (II Pet. 3:10-12).
    "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (men of all sorts, WDT) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." (Titus 2:11-15)
    What about The Christian and Evil Days?
    The Christian should be Christ-like. The Christian should know that we will not change the depravity that lurks in the hearts of men, even ourselves, but that does not mean that we should not earnestly contend for the faith. That does not mean that we should surrender and stop all efforts to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. That does not mean that we should be reticent when it comes to our opportunity to tell others of Christ and of His righteousness demands on us and upon them as well.
    I believe that one of the major failures of Christian people today is twofold. First, hesitancy to tell sinners of their sins and of the Saviour. Second, reluctance to insist to ourselves and to other Christians that God requires faithful stewards to be about His business, which is, to tell sinners of their need AND to tell Christians that they should conduct themselves in a manner that honors and glorifies the Lord in all that we say, in all that we do, and in all that we are.
    In these evil days, Christian, fortify yourself with the Word of God, and seek His face in all that you attempt to do, and then do what He demands of us. Nothing less is acceptable in order to hear Him say one day soon, "Well done, thou good and faithful servants."

(The Baptist Herald - January , 1996)

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