Watch and pray
Hebrew Meaning: 1) to watch 2) metaphor. give strict attention to, be cautious, active 2a) to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtakes one.
As the Church regains its footing after one of its greatest tests, things should fair better in this 4th quarter of the game. Although many believers are discouraged and feeling battle fatigued, churches are closing their doors, and pastors are leaving their ministries, it may seem that the Body of Christ is losing their spiritual battles, and yet we know that the war is not over yet. When we explore the Bible, we discover numerous instances of God delivering His people out of tests and trials, then re-instating them back into a greater purpose. He has not forsaken us. As a matter of fact, He is raising up an army of believers who “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called” (Eph. 4:1, KJV).
Future events in the earth will require a church with a mind ready to be led into spiritual warfare like never before. Nevertheless, today is an exciting time for the believer because many prophetic indicators are showing up worldwide. The Good News is that our Lord is gracious, beyond measure – so much so that signs indicate His return is soon. The Bible tells us that we must watch and pray.
Just before the Messiah returns to judge the world, angels with a special assignment to take peace from the earth by global calamity will be held back. Even though the land will not resemble its original glory, God is still working out His best plan to redeem all things from satan’s kingdom of darkness. Here is the most important part of Yeshua’s end-time plan.
The pan is that the angels will be stopped from their assignments to harm the earth because He must first place a divine seal upon the foreheads of His servants. We could be in the midst of this sealing process right now. God knows those who belong to Him. Individuals who are watching and praying, while surrendered under the control of the Holy Spirit, are eternally sealed by Jesus Christ.
By the mercies of God, Christ warned His disciples to take notice of uncommon natural disasters and divisions within the Body. When you see certain things happening in the world, make ready for judgment.
In the book of Matthew, we read that Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to Jesus privately and asked Him how they would know when the end was near. No one knows the exact time, but Jesus did warn us about the following signs:
5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.
7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.
8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.
10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.
11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.
12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.
13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. (Mat 24:5-14 NLT)
Today, there is a combination of signs that are obviously out of the ordinary. We will go into more detail about the “falling away” of the church later. But, there are also unusual weather events, sea phenomenon, increased sexual immorality, and horrific reports regarding the persecution of believers occurring all over the world. Jesus told us to watch and pray.
We are experiencing for the first time:
I. Unusual weather events
Scientists are comparing today’s stormy weather with storms of the past, and the verdict is that today’s weather is off the charts. Some thunderstorms are developing up to thirty percent more moisture, resulting in more frequent flood risk worldwide. Water falling from the sky in the form of microbursts are caught on camera more frequently than in the past.
Likewise, with increased storms, we see greater incidents of lightning. In the following link, CNN news team talk about this first-time event in 2016, where lightning killed 323 deer, at the same time.
II. Unusual sea phenomena
Scientists have discovered an unprecedented die-off in the world’s largest reef, the Great Barrier Reef, prompting the Australian government to issue its highest response level.
Diver surveys based off Cape York, Australia’s northeastern tip, found up to 50 percent mortality in the reef from coral bleaching. Death among the organisms that build the reef’s structure is most likely linked to rising temperatures in the ocean, the government announced.
III. Increased sexual immorality
Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. This increase is because more people at a younger age (including believers) are involved in premarital sexual activities. Sin enslaves a person to satan’s control. What transforms individuals from living under the control of sin is when the Holy Spirit gives them a new life, that is when they become truly born again.
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Meaning: 1) in, by, with, etc.
Origin: a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state).
The preposition “in” becomes clearer after reading the rest of the verses Romans 8:2-5.
The Complete Jewish Bible says:
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the Messiah Yeshua.
2 Why? Because the Torah of the Spirit, which produces this life in union with Messiah Yeshua, has set me free from the “Torah” of sin and death.
3 For what the Torah could not do by itself, because it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate, God did by sending his own Son as a human being with a nature like our own sinful one [but without sin]. God did this in order to deal with sin, and in so doing he executed the punishment against sin in human nature,
4 so that the just requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not run our lives according to what our old nature wants but according to what the Spirit wants.
5 For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on the things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Rom 8:1-5 CJB)
Historically, there have always been a group of people who heard the Word, believed the Word, and their attitude was “that settles it!”
NLT Isaiah 66:5 Hear this message from the LORD, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the LORD be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. (Isa 66:5 NLT)
NLT 1 Peter 4:2-3
2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.
3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy– their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols (1Pe 4:1-3 NLT)
IV. Unusual persecution
Jesus told the community of believers that they (we) would encounter hatred and persecution.
12 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.
13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mar 13:12-13 NLT)
The end is not yet though because before the angels carry out their destruction on earth; the faithful must be sealed representing that they are in God’s eternal Kingdom.
2 And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea,
3 “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.”
4 And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God– 144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel:
9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.
10 And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
(Rev 7:2-10 NLT)
So, as we watch for the signs, we must also watch with our lives. It is clear that the Lord wants believers to be aware of world events. We must know the time and season that we are currently experiencing. More importantly, we must gird ourselves up with the Word of God. The Lord has already foretold us to watch, pray, and endure to the end.
Let us encourage one another, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25 KJV)