Among them were William Carey, Hudson Taylor, Robert Moffat, Lottie Moon, David Livingstone, C.T. Studd, Adoniram Judson and Nathan Saint. Many whose names are not as well known were also sent out across the world and to some degree are still being commissioned to go out today.
Many missionaries gave up everything to do their work including their lives. Powerful stories of sacrifice and perseverance came from this noble group of selfless servants that serve to inspire others until this day.
Examples like that of Adoniram Judson who spent nearly a decade in the jungles of Burma (Myanmar) just to translate the gospel into the native language. He lost several wives to jungle fever (malaria) and didn’t see his first convert for eight years after his work began. Others like Nathan Saint paid the ultimate price but even after their lives were snuffed out by those they tried to reach, their work went on until each place where their colleagues carried on in their purpose, eventually met with great success.
The main thrust of the missionary movement phased into the great evangelistic movement of the modern era as the world shrunk due to worldwide transportation and communications improved. The promise of Christ included both, a picture of worldwide evangelism and a promise that at the end, another phase would begin, a last phase in God’s plan for the ages. Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mt 24: 14)
Names like Oral Roberts, Rex Humbard and Billy Graham along with others became household words during the mid and late nineteenth century and untold millions around the world answered the call to salvation by casting themselves on the cross of Christ.
But the softer and more beseeching part of God’s message to the world has obviously phased into the harder and more serious call of prophecy. The line is drawn as the end approaches. It is both in the last book of the Bible and in the last days of time that the message of “take it or leave it” comes to the fore. Christ said it this way, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev 3: 15, 16)
At some point very close to the return of the Lord the message deepens because time is virtually running down so fast that most people alive will already be positioned on one side of the line or the other. Speaking of those last few days of time Christ said, “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.” (Rev 22: 11)
Concomitant to the “end times” God brings back a piece of the old for a short season. The necessity of bringing prophets back in is predicated on another promise God has made concerning any and every phase of his unfolding plan for mankind. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3: 7)
That God sends prophets prior to the return of the Lord into the history of man is clearly a manifestation of his enduring love. No one has to be lost and anyone who has ears to hear may come into his fold. In fact the theme of openness to all is carried throughout the biblical message right up to the very last chapter of the last book in the Bible. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev 22: 17)
The age old question of who is a false prophet versus who is a true prophet continues but another question gets less attention. The question of why people listen to or seek out a prophet in the first place may be far more important. Quite simply no one wants to fail, whether on an individual or collective basis most sane people don’t want to be found on a path to their own demise. But who knows the future for sure?
In a society based on freedom of choice like America the question of the future finds most people only seeking out the prognostications that bolster the choices they have already made. While the birds of a feather are flocking together they don’t go to the other flock’s leaders to get advice and confirmation about their choices for the future. Hollywood will not be asking the conservative Christian preachers for advice. Legislators will not be digging into eschatological doctrine to guide them in fiscal matters. College students will not be perusing through the major or minor biblical prophets in sociology, political science or philosophy 101 classes.
What they will do is what they have always done which is to seek out the voices that confirm what they already have perceived to be the right course of action; even if it is a path to their own destruction. No one said it more eloquently than the Apostle Paul. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2Tim 4: 3)
Predicting the fall of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is not on the level of biblical prophecy. In fact anyone with a passing grade at economics 101 could have made that prediction. Forecasting the rise in the value of precious metals takes no genius but only an understanding of stock market and bond fluctuations, since the price fluctuations between metals and the markets has always been connected. Is this prophecy?
This is prophecy: no amount of financial finagling or purchases of bulk gold and silver will assure our future solvency. Our future as individuals and as a nation is based on our connection to the living God and nothing else. Break that connection and the entire house comes down fiscal well being and all.
Literally anyone with enough experience and ability to see clearly can make market predictions but knowing the direction that an entire nation or the world itself is taking, requires revelation. Some things are obvious because they are covered in biblical prophecy. Other matters require only simple observation such as noticing that while our head of homeland security scoffs at the idea of a coming “New World Order,” we have a Commander in Chief who wouldn’t lift a finger to save lives in Libya until the “International Community” made a final decision to set up a no fly zone over that nation. America’s sovereignty is already becoming the victim of a major policy shift that our Homeland Chief says is a putative that does not exist.
Someone is always trying to get me to tell them if Barack Obama could be the false prophet or the antichrist. At other times they pick some member of Congress or the entire body in both houses to pin our troubles on. Rarely does anyone ask if it could be the general population that is in a slide. Here is where the worn out cliché about not seeing the forest for the trees gets a new lease.
Writer Monty Pelerin quoted an excerpt from a Reuter’s news release found in a Czech newspaper in a great article entitled “The Problem is brainlock, not gridlock,” American Thinker, March 12, 2010. The quote may be the best way to answer most people.
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.”
In my latest year by year recap of prophecy for America, in an article entitled “Prophecy 2011 – Is America Dancing with Devils,” I said “2011 will be the year of the catastrophe, the earthquake and the rising of many enemies some we have never known as enemies before. Some extreme weather will blast our cities and one will be left nearly in ruins.” Only a few months after predicting this, the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan shook the world. Yet, it is not over, there is more to come. No one can cash in on such a prediction, no products can be offered for sale as a result of these calamities; so what is the point?
Real prophecies don’t wait for men to confirm them and care little for who denies their veracity. They are signposts that if taken for what they are worth will serve to call us forward to a better path or back to a former path that was in sync with the will of Almighty God. False prophecies and innocuous prophecy will always be popular prophecy. The real stuff is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. But even if all it does is to incite a bit of fear, even that can be counted for good if it saves a great nation from crashing into the result of its own misapplied self confidence.
Gold and silver are not what holds us up but it is the very will of the living God and no more. It cannot be overemphasized that to the degree we distance ourselves from God we will distance ourselves from the best of our own future. “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2Chron 20: 20b)