There are diverse views on the end times, including at least three different historical theological views concerning eschatology. Major different voices contend for our attention today, everything from escapism to run and hide, to replacement theology concerning Israel and the church, to ultimate reconciliation, to the absurdity that there is no literal hell, and on and on it goes. In this age of false acceptance, just about anything goes. After all, God is a God of Grace and Love, right? Yes, but He is also the God of Justice and Truth.
Let's make sure we keep certain basic truths in place in the swirl of many opinions. I often find myself in the role of taking complex things and deciphering them into foundational simple and understandable truths. But for now let's push a pause button on that subject, and let me give you a partial biblical perspective I hold. Yes—the glory and the shaking come together! That's clearly what the Word of God says.
From Haggai 2:2-9
"Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, saying: Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not, in your eyes, as nothing in comparison? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord, and be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong all you people of the land, says the Lord. Work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Hosts. According to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear. For thus says the Lord of Hosts: Once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and earth, the sea and dry land. And I will shake all the nations, and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of Hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lordof Hosts. The glory of this latter house will be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of Hosts."
Layers of Scriptural Interpretation
There are often layers to scriptural interpretation and application: the context of the historic setting, the prophetic perspective for both then and later on, the personal application for our own lives, and much more. Another principle in interpreting Scripture is: first in the natural and second in the spiritual.
Here in Haggai 2 we have the historic recordings concerning the first and the second temples. The first was grand in external splendor, an architectural wonder of all the ages. After the desolation and then a time of despair, a second temple was built—but it did not compare to the earlier grandeur. But the Word of the Lord came forth in that situation declaring that the latter glory of this house will be greater than the former. Bottom line:
- The first temple was built in grandeur
- The first temple was destroyed
- The second temple was built—appearing in the natural as "nothing in comparison"
- A prophetic declaration was released in the midst of disillusionment, "The glory will be greater!"
Likewise, the early church saw great glory followed by a great decline. Five hundred-plus years ago we stepped into a new era called the Great Reformation with such truths as "the just shall live by faith." Now we are stepping into the Convergence of the Ages with accelerated movements and motion of the current-day operation of the Holy Spirit.
The pattern is similar in the natural and in the spiritual. Bottom line:
- The first apostolic church was birthed in glory
- The church went into a great decline
- The second apostolic age appears on the scene in infancy and controversy
- A prophetic declaration is released in the midst of uncertain times: "The glory will be greater!"
It is my belief that in modern church history, we have crossed the threshold from the Third to the beginning of the Fourth Great Wave. (See my article on "The Beginning of the Fourth Wave." For more on this subject, please see the new book by Julia Loren, The Future of Us, with my chapter concerning these issues—available in our EN Resource Center.
From James 5:7-11
"Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Notice how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until he receives the early and late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is drawing near. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, lest you be condemned. Look, the Judge is standing at the door. My brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them happy who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the purpose of the Lord, that the Lord is very gracious and merciful."
As I have read this passage over and over for years, there are at least seven things to glean in parallel understandings from these writings of James 5.
- Be wise
- Be patient
- Strengthen yourself
- Do not complain
- Look to the model of Job
- Know that the Lord's dealings ultimately result in compassion and mercy!
The Early and Latter Rain
In the natural, in the Middle East, the early rain falls from mid-October to mid-December. The purpose of the early rains is to soften the ground for plowing, and it waters the freshly seeded fields so the seeds can germinate. The latter rain falls from late February to early April. The purpose of the latter rains is to cause the grain to come into full growth and maturity and thus preparing for a harvest.
Jeremiah 5:24 proclaims, "They do not say in their heart, 'Let us now fear the Lord our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.'"
So which is it? Shaking or glory? Darkness or light? Fear or faith? Fatalism or furious love? Stagnation or progressive revelation? Lukewarm Churchianity or passionate believers with hearts on fire? Tribulation generation or hope ambassadors generation? Desolation or restoration?
Oh my beloved, the Scriptures in the New Testament say that in the Last Days difficult times will come. But that is not the end of the story!
Yes, the shaking and the glory are on a collision course. But guess which force wins? Or maybe it should be stated, 'But guess WHO wins?"
Isaiah 60:1-3 says it really well. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising."
I see a glorious eschatology where light exposes darkness—and the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters covers the seas. Amen and Amen!
Dr. James Goll is the founder of Encounters Network, Prayer Storm and helps carry on the work of Compassion Acts. For information on his online school visit: geteschool.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.
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