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Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians reminding them of what the Lord had said earlier to the eleven about the end times—when wars, earthquakes and famines would increase. And Jesus said, “These are the beginning of birth pains.”

If these things are the beginning, what then is the end of the birth pains? If wars and rumours of wars, nations and kingdoms rising against nations and kingdoms, earthquakes and famines, are the beginning… then what are the signs of the end of the birth pains? Surely it will be more of these, but is that all? Jesus said, “…those will be days of distress unequalled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equalled again.” As in childbirth, the final fifteen minutes are the most painful, even distressing, of the entire nine months, and certainly women know nothing can equal it. So the appearance of the days of distress herald the final moments of this age—when the word of God through Jesus Christ implanted something into this world that would cause it to convulse as it were, with wars, earthquakes and famines, to finally give birth to His arrival with His saints for the millennial reign. And this is now increasing to such a point that the inevitable is near.

Many have come and gone prophesying the day of His return to their harm, for they have ignored the word of the Lord, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” And since no one is to know, then why would the Lord say, “Be on guard! Be alert! … Keep watch … What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”? For, Paul assures the brothers that they are not in darkness, so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

As such, there is something that we can watch, we can see, if we are indeed disciples, servants and brothers of Jesus… that is, those who hold onto His teachings, who do what He commands and are also His brothers (and sisters) because they obey the command of God to do His will, hear God’s word and put it into practice. However… when Jesus first invited those who were supposed to be His brothers, He invited them to go to Galilee to meet Him. So then, it is to those who can see the truth that we should have gone to Galilee that morning but did not, and repent of it, that the secrets of His arrival are revealed.

It is to brothers that this day does not come as a thief. This day when destruction comes in such a way that Jesus describes its prelude as, “…days of distress unequalled since the beginning of the world…” a day of wrath, which has not been appointed for those who are His brothers. Therein lays your assurance… if you can test yourself to see whether you are truly a brother or sister of Him who is returning.

A single test now is this: You are a believer? Good… but remember even demons believe and shudder. Do you say you believe and not shudder?

You are a disciple? Good… but remember most of His disciples left Him when the teachings got hard and those who remained often did not listen to Him to do as He said.

You are a servant? Good… just ensure you are not lazy and have not buried what God has given you and that you do not think ill of Him.

And you say you are a brother or sister. Good… but remember, even James and Joses did not believe Him. And those who were meant to be His brothers did not put God’s word of listening to Him into practice, for they did not go to Bethsaida immediately or to Galilee as they were told. If you are truly listening to someone, you will do what he says. When you do not do what he says, then you have only listened like a person listens to a song that has been sung. Now… as you have tested yourself… are you a brother?

If you are, then that day will not come upon you like a thief, but rather… like a man who is awake and watching, you will know the approach of the thief even as you hear his footsteps and the scraping on your window sills as he attempts to break in. A shout and a light switched on will repel him back into the night. Likewise, the fear of the day of the Lord coming will be repelled from you by the light of His word, which allows you to watch as He commanded.

But… what? Are we watching for the wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes, and famines? Or was there something else that is given to us to watch that we may know that which the world does not know… and even the church cannot see? Is it a sign that we will see… when He has said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” So then, why did He say, “Watch”?

So then… what do brothers (and sisters) watch that the rest of the world does not understand to watch, that believers who do not want to be disciples, that disciples who do not listen, that servants who do not do what they are told, and that brothers who do not believe Him… do not know to watch for? When a person watches… he watches not for the sake of watching, but for the sake of seeing. When Jesus asked us to “Watch,” it meant that we would see something that no one else can see but which would tell us precisely… yes, precisely, when that day will be, and before that… how quickly that day will approach.

The final few days are easy for everyone who has been watching to know the exact time… for it will be announced by a few very visible, very obvious signs, and by then it will be too late for most who have not made themselves ready.

Jesus said, “But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the Heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ ” Thus there is a short period of time when the days of distress will stop… and the sun, moon and stars will behave strangely. However, the world will be ignorant of it, for they will be too busy celebrating the death of the two men in Jerusalem who had kept the skies shut up all the days they have been prophesying and striking the Earth with plagues.

There will be a brief interlude, a breather… as if the days of distress are finally ended as the skies fill with clouds and rain falls again and the pandemic of plagues that have been hitting the cities suddenly seem to stop. The world will celebrate, but you who know will know that in three and a half days, “…men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the Earth to the ends of the Heavens.”

We are not yet even nearly there… so what do we watch for now? Jesus said to John’s disciples, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Good News is preached to the poor.”

Have you not seen a blind man see, the lame walk and the deaf hear? So, there will be a wave of these ‘miracles’ and a preaching of the Gospel to the poor once more. The sight of the resurrection of this phenomenon en masse throughout the world is the sign of the beginning of the days of distress… miracles that cause those who do not know to say, “Peace and safety,” but for those who are His brothers (and sisters) to realise… the days of distress are closing in.

The wave of miracles, signs and wonders, with multitudes healed, saved and delivered… with multitudes entering the Kingdom of Heaven is… the phoney war. It is not the real purpose of these end days. The revival is not the end all and be all, but rather, it is the herald of the days of distress, the days of the real war of God when the Earth will groan no more, but will burst forth and renew itself, swallowing the oceans to replenish the springs of the deep, lifting up every valley and bringing down every high mountain, and collapsing every city… when the skies will shut and no rain will fall except for hailstones of a hundred weight, when men who seem more like devils than christs roam the Earth and strike the cities with plagues… as those who consider themselves to be good run here and there to rally mankind against such disasters and men of destruction.

So, see what you are called to watch for… that this phoney war does not deceive you like the rest, for the real war is yet to come… when God Himself will arrive to fight against men with the sword that comes out of His mouth. Amen.

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