A Time For Unity
Going Through The Fire Page 3
Strangers and Pilgrims On The Earth Part III
From The Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
A Need For Unity
It has been said that one of the main reasons why Christians will go through the Tribulation is that they allow so much division to exist with the Church. They know, if they know the Bible at all, that the Lord wants unity (John 17:21). There are several churches today that claim to be trying to restore unity to the Church as a whole. As this page was being written, the writer discovered several Web sites on the Internet that were run by such Churches. The shocking thing was that while each made that claim, each was simultaneously promoting a hard-line doctrinal view that would absolutely cause division. (This writer makes no claim to such a goal. He considers it a lost cause.)
During the Tribulation, Christians must renounce their denominational differences and start agreeing in Christ since they have not done since the early days of the first Church. It has been well said that the word "denomination", as it applies to Christianity, should be spelled "A-B-O-M-I-N-A-T-I-ON"! When the Tribulation begins, Christians must renounce being "Baptists" or "Methodists" or "Presbyterians" or whatever other unscriptural labels (and there are far, far too many), that they use to separate themselves from other saints, and start just thinking of themselves as Christians.
One of the most important things that Christian are going to have to repent of is adhering to and fighting for the doctrines, whether Scripturally permissible or false, that cause needless division in the Church. As stated in the "Church of Laodicea" page, one of the meanings of the word "Laodicea" is "people's opinions". The other is "people judged". During the Tribulation, Christians will be judged, in part, because of their opinions; that is, their focusing on "doctrines" instead of real obedience. When Christians find themselves in the Great Tribulation without being ready, they must accept that many of the disputable doctrines they have been fighting for are really lies of the devil. And their allegiance to these doctrines is the fruit of the flesh, not the Spirit (See Galatians 5:20). As stated in the "What's Worth Arguing About?" page, a heresy is not so much a false doctrine as it is a doctrinal stance that causes division. It must be understood that much of this fighting over doctrines is actually divisive fault-finding. It is an ego trip on the part of those who are doing it. Christians must repent of believing in and/or fighting for any doctrine that needlessly separates Christians. If a person professes to be a Christian, accept him or her as your brother or sister. Don't even ask whether he or she believes in "such and such". Only be concerned that the person believes that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He died for our sins, arose from the dead, and will come again.
Unity among Christians will probably have significant material benefits during the Tribulation. When the False Prophet starts making people take the Mark, unity among Christians may keep many of them from starving to death. Note that, according to the scenario presented here, this will probably not happen until at least a year into the Tribulation. Don't expect it right away. The Beasts must rise to power before it happens, and the Two Witnesses will appear first. For those who survive the asteroid or comet collision, and the "army" (Revelation 8 & 9), there will be time for some material preparation after the Tribulation begins.
Christians will need, and will benefit from, unity such as has not existed in the Church since the days of the first church in Jerusalem following Pentecost (Acts 4:32):
"Now the multitude of those who believed where of one heart and one soul,
neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed where his own,
but they had all things in common."
This is what Christians must do during the Tribulation. they must start doing it as soon as possible after the collision. Don't wait for the followers of the Beasts to come around with the Mark! As soon as the initial catastrophe happens, Christians everywhere must start fulfilling the conditions of love in action in I John 3:17 & 18:
"But whoever has this world's goods,
and sees his brother in need,
and shuts up his heart against him,
how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us love not in word or tongue,
but in deed and truth."
(Special Note: Remember who your "brother" is;
see "The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats".)
During the Tribulation, Christians must organize themselves to share their material resources, and they must not let doctrinal differences keep them from doing so. This is something that we should always have been doing, but Christians in our time rarely do it, and then usually only in small groups. During the Tribulation, it may be necessary for survival. Christians acting in unity will be able to accomplish the meeting of their material needs far more effectively than they could acting individually.
Christians will have to start looking out for each other in any way they can. We as Christians will have to start to really "lay down our lives for our brothers" (I John 3:16). They will even have to lay down the immediate well-being of their immediate families for the good of the Church as a whole. Note that the phrase "lay down...life", as used in the Scriptures, is about being a servant to one's fellow Christians, not about dying for them, though it can mean that. See John 15:14 & 15, and I John 3:16-18. All Christians must, and hopefully will, put this concept into practice during the Tribulation, and the Lord will bless it.
Unity In Prayer
In addition to repenting of their lack of unity, generally, Christians must repent of their lack of unity in prayer (see also "United Prayer and Fasting"). During the Tribulation, Christians must pray in unity as they have not done since Pentecost. Christians must get serious about praying for each other. They must pray for their leaders. Strange as this may sound, yet most important, they must pray for the actual Second Coming of Christ. As has been stated elsewhere in this site, almost everything that happened of major significance in the Bible was an answer to prayer. The First Coming of Christ was an answer to prayer. The Bible identifies two specific people who were praying for His Coming, the Prophet Simeon and the Prophetess Anna (Luke 2:24-38). What is said about them implies that they were engaging in persistent, prevailing prayer and fasting for His Coming. They were rewarded by being allowed to live to see their prayers answered in the person of the Baby Jesus.
These two people had been fighting this "Prayer War", as this writer calls it, for most of their lives. The Christians during the Tribulation won't have to pray for the Second Coming for anywhere near that long, about seven years at most, but there will have to be many more of them doing it. They will have to fight the greatest "Prayer War" in history. This "Prayer War" will, for them, be the Final Battle.
Believe it or not, even the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was an answer to prayer - His own! As it says of Jesus in Hebrews 5:7;
"Who, (Jesus) in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications,
with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death,
and was heard because of His godly fear."
In other words, the Father's answer to Jesus' prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane was not "No!", as some Christians erroneously think. Rather, it was, "I've got a better idea", as is often the case with His answers to our prayers (see Ephesians 3:20 & 21). Prayer brought about the First Coming of Christ. Prayer brought about the Resurrection of Christ. Prayer brought about Pentecost. And prayer will bring about the Second Coming of Christ. But not until Christians really unite in praying for it. It is almost certain that hardly any Christians really pray for it now. Once the Tribulation has started, they must, and they almost certainly will. Especially during the Third Woe.
A Biblical Example:
There is a miniature example of what will happen in Acts 12. The wicked king Herod had killed the Apostle James, and had imprisoned Peter, planning to kill him, too. The Church in Jerusalem held a marathon prayer meeting in response to this. The context suggests that they also fasted, such was their concentration on prayer. God answered first by sending an angel to release Peter from prison, and then with the horrible death of Herod.
"Prayer! You're Dead!":
The Power of Imprecatory Prayer
Herein is a serious but little known spiritual truth: the united prayers of Christians will not only bring blessings to believers; they will also bring Gods wrath on evil doers. This writer has seen this happen, more than once. See the "United in Prayer And Fasting" page. During the late seventies, having seen the two incidents mentioned in that page, and having read the book by Derek Prince mentioned there, took it upon himself to organize a small anti-cult ministry that was based on the principle of united prayer combined with evangelism. One of the campaigns was against a parade that was held by the Hare Krishna cult that was called "The Festival of the Chariots". The central event that highlighted the festival was a parade of "chariots" carrying idols - yes, real idols! - up 5th Avenue one day, and back down the next. Taking a cue from the book of Exodus, chapter 14, he got Christians to pray that God would break the wheels of those chariots. Now, he didnt know that those chariots would also be carrying people. They were like huge hay wagons, and there were over 20 people on each "chariot", and if the wheels had collapsed while they were moving (which is what he had wanted), many of the people could have gotten hurt. He wouldnt have prayed for that.
He also organized a street evangelism effort at the parade, using tracts that gave the testimony of a Christian who was an ex-Hare Krishna. At the height of this event, this writer got to deliver a testimony concerning the Lordship of Christ and the truth of His Resurrection in front of a TV News camera. Part of it was broadcast. But the most interesting thing that happened was that there were supposed to be three of those "chariots" in the parade. As it happened, only two went up 5th Avenue, and only one went back. The day after the festival was over, "just by chance" this writer found out "just by chance", why the other two had dropped out. For some strange reason, they both had broken wheels.
There is a Biblical type of prayer that is not well known, and maybe thats just as well, because it is a serious and potentially dangerous kind of prayer. It is called "imprecatory prayer". It is, believe it or not, the Christian equivalent of putting a curse on someone or something. The purpose of it is to stop evil. It is a kind of prayer that all mature Christians should engage in, yet they must know what they are doing. In praying this kind of prayer, it is important not to be seeking personal harm to anyone, even though you must recognize that, as in Herods case. the harm may well come. Leave that to Gods sovereignty. If you knowingly seek harm to anyone in prayer, that will grieve the Holy Spirit and short circuit the power of your prayer. Worse than that, any harm to other people that you pray for may come back to you. So don't do that! Remember, the principle of sowing and reaping applies to prayer! The intent of an imprecatory prayer must be primarily to stop evil, and secondarily to seek Gods mercy and salvation for the people who are doing it. But understand that God may view the perpetrators of the evil as being beyond repentance. If He does, His answer to the prayer will be to destroy them. In the book by Derek Prince mentioned above, he suggests that this might have been the cause of the death of Joseph Stalin.
You should therefore also, believe it or not, pray for the Beasts and their followers. Especially, pray for the salvation of their followers, and for God to have mercy on them. Frankly, though, a quick, relatively painless death will be all the mercy most of them will get, but pray for God's mercy for them, anyway. As for the Beasts, we already know what God will do to them (Revelation 19:20). Nevertheless, pray for justice for them. They will get that, and God will bless you even for your prayers in that sense. As you sow, so shall you reap. Pray for justice, and you will reap justice.
Prayer In The Darkest Hour
There is an old saying that "the darkest hour is just before dawn". This will almost certainly prove true for Christians toward the end of the Tribulation. When the Tribulation is over, Christianity will have almost totally disappeared. As it says in Daniel 12:7;
"...when the power of the holy people
HAS BEEN COMPLETELY SHATTERED
all these things shall be finished".
This is not good news. There will still be living Christians, both those who have the Seal and the penitents. But theyll be scattered and in hiding. Frankly, they may also be starving. They will be able to do virtually nothing that constitutes overt ministry. The Tribulation will be "the night....when no one can work" (John 9:4). Especially the latter part. The one thing they will be able to do is pray. And that, I am sure they will do. They will be praying as described in the "The Scorching Sun" page, and as shown in the "Armageddon" page, their prayers will be answered.
There will be one more major requirement for Christians who want to make it through the Tribulation spiritually. They will be called upon to be witness for Christ like never before in the history of the Church. They will be called to absolutely put their lives on the line with their testimony for Christ. We will discuss this requirement in the following page:
A Time For Testimony
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Contact Author, William D. Brehm