Last days

 
A first sign that we are in the Last Days is that Israel is back in its own land.  This was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah about 2700 years ago
          Isaiah 11.11  “In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left
          of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from 
          Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.”
By reading all of Isaiah 11 one can see that the phrase “In that day” is referring to the end of this age, or the Last Days.
So according to God’s promise Israel became a nation once more in 1948, and in spite of having many enemies who would like to see her removed, Israel is still there!
A second sign is the Jew and Gentile becoming “one new man”.
We see this in Ephesians 2.15 where Paul is talking about the Jew and the Gentile (non Jew).
          “His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one 
            body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which He put to death their hostility.”
The opposite of this is Replacement Theology, which teaches that God has finished with the Jews, and that the Church is the “spiritual Israel”.
However, Romans 11 is an excellent chapter to show clearly how God feels about His chosen people.
          v17  “If some of the branches (the Jews) have been broken off, and you (Gentiles), though a wild olive     
          shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do        
          not boast over those branches.
          v23  And if they (the Jews), do not persist in unbelief they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them                            in again.”
          So clearly, we Gentiles have been allowed in to share in the promises God made to Abraham, but not to replace the natural descendents.  Now, just as obviously, the Jews are being grafted in again.
The evidence of this “one new man” is seen in the number of Messianic fellowships that are springing up in the land of Israel, and throughout the nations where numbers of Jews still live.  A Messianic fellowship has this name because Jews in it have come to see that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah, and they have put their trust in Him for their salvation.
 
How should the church prepare in these last days?
I have been reading a book by David Silver, “a Slow Train Coming”. In his book David describes the purposes of God being fulfilled like a train moving down its tracks, and being unstoppable.  I felt the need for people to be on that train, and that they should make sure they were at the station at the right time and with their belongings ready with them.  You can’t take a lot!  It’s not good waiting till the train arrives and then running home to collect your things.  By the time you get back to the station the train will have gone.
This means a change of lifestyle – like the early church had in the book of Acts.  The disciples lived like this with our Lord when He was on the earth.  This simple lifestyle leaves us largely free from the cares and troubles of the material things of this world.  No mortgages, debts, or insurances.
          We see in Luke 8.1-3  that as Jesus moved about proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the twelve were with Him and a number of women.  It says in v3 “These women were helping to support them out of their own means”.
          We see also from John 12.6 that they had a common purse and that Judas, even though he was a thief, was in charge of it.  We can see this again in John 12.39  “Since Judas had charge of the money…”
It was natural therefore that as the early church began, they also had this same lifestyle.
Acts 2.44  “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
And again in …
             4.32  “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was
             his own, but they shared everything they had.”
Our experience in Drury is that to shift from the independence of the world’s lifestyle to a life of sharing, is not easy if there is not a great pressure to do so – like some natural disaster, or war.  We were only able to change because of a strong inner conviction to do so.  In another study entitled, “The End of this Age”, you can read scriptures that reveal God’s plan to allow tremendous pressure to help the church reach this same place that the early church knew.  To those who desire to see this “radiant church” that Paul spoke of in his letter to the Ephesians, this pressure will be very welcome.
How much do you long to be ready when our Lord Jesus returns?