we canít see the forest for the trees.
brutality of Hitlerís Third Reich was difficult to grasp because it
was so massive. When people heard the reports, they could not take
it in. So to bring the point home, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg
trials displayed the dried up head of an executed prisoner to the
courtroom. That by itself was brutal enough, but then he explained
that it was used for a paper weight on the desk of a commandant of a
Do you realize that there are people living today that
witnessed two world wars!
Do you realize that for the last 50 years mankind
has had the capability to wipe out civilization as we
know it through nuclear weapons?
Do you realize that for the last 40 years over one
billion babies have been destroyed worldwide by
abortionóand it continues!
We donít understand the magnitude of the time we
live in. We canít see the forest for the trees.
made the point. The people in the courtroom “saw” the brutality.
could see the forest behind the trees.
church as we know it Todayóitís days are numbered. Weíre sinking. We
must adapt. We must learn to jump into the spiritual life
boats God has supplied to survive whatís coming.
does not take a spiritually astute person or a Bible scholar to see
the writing on the wall. The magnitude of the forces building up
around us is vast, is unprecedented, is Biblical in its proportions.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons, the morality freefall, the
widespread use of abortion and the reestablishment of the nation of
Israel are all screaming at us: Fasten your spiritual seat belts,
something big is about to happen.
have lived with these realities so long we have become numb. We have
lost sight of what is right in front of our eyes. We canít see.
there is Someone Who can. There is Someone Who does. There is Jesus.
The Bible says Jesus counts the sparrows that fall. He numbers every
hair on your head. He leads trillions of trillions of stars out at
their appointed times and seasons. He calls them all by name.
Because of the greatness of His power and the greatness
of His might not one is missing.
Imagine what Jesus thinks about all that is going on in His world
Many are beginning to realize 9/11 and the war on terror is
heralding the start of a third world war. But most of us are sleep
walking. Weíre living in a dream world. We donít want to face
reality. Itís naÔve to think that this war is going to magically
disappear and we will receive some kind of an exemption.
whole history of mankind is one of warfare, and we have certainly
foundation for immense warfare breaking out.
During the two world wars military technology advanced during
the wars and weaponry was used at ever increasing levels. We can
expect the worldwide nuclear arsenal, building up since the last
world war, to be used in the next world war.
History declares it to be so.
What is the old saying? “If we donít learn from history we are
doomed to repeat it.” The one sure thing we learn from history is
that we donít learn from history. We will go to war.
Warfare in the natural realm is preceded by warfare in the spiritual
realm. Todayís church is not prepared to take on the
increased scale of spiritual warfare waiting for us right around the
corner. If the church does not adapt, it will sink. Only a very
watchful, prayerful church will be able to ride out the storm ahead.
There are many voices in the church telling us not to worry, that
everythingís going to be alright.
What should we do? To whom should we listen?
What about Jesus? Why not listen to Him?
Jesus said over and over again, “Watch and pray, watch and pray.”
He warned, “Many false christs and false prophets are coming.
There will be wars and rumors of wars. Nation will rise up against
nation and kingdom against kingdom. Behold, I have told you in
advance. Watch and pray” (taken from Matthew chapters 24 and
óJesus warned, Itís going to get bad. Itís going to get real
bad. Itís going to get so bad, “Itís going to be like the
days of Noah” (Luke 17:26, 27).
bad was it in the days of Noah?
The wickedness of men was so great that the intent of their hearts
was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).
óJesus warned, “itís going to be like the days of Sodom and
bad was it during the days of Sodom and Gomorrah?
said, “The wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah has become so great
it has come up to my ears in heaven” (Genesis 18:20, 21).
When the two angels came to visit Lot in Sodom, All the men of
the village from
oldest to the youngest came out to Lotís house and said, “Bring
those men out to us so we can rape them”
paraphrase of Genesis 19:4, 5).
óJesus warned, Itís going to be so bad that if He hadnít
“shortened those days, no life would have been saved” (Mark
óJesus warned, the deception is going to be so bad, it will “lead
astray, if possible, the elect” (Mark 13:22).
óJesus warned itís going to be worse than any time in history. That
includes the time of Sodom and Gomorrah and the time of Noah and the
Itís going to get bad!
These are Jesus words. These are His warnings for us, today.
we step back we can see what Jesus was warning us about. We can see
the larger picture. We can see the forest. We can see whatís coming.
what do we do?
watch and pray.
Some Jews living in Germany during the rise of Adolph Hitler could
read the writing on the wall. They were watching and they
left. They left before it was too late. One was Albert
Einstein. However, millions stayed,
thereís another reason why itís so important to prepare for whatís
something else going on. Something even bigger.
of this. All of this. The immorality plague, the abortion
nightmareóeven the coming nuclear waródo not begin to compare to
what is really taking place behind the scenes. As foreboding and
horrible as these things are, they will be dwarfed by what is rising
up behind the forest.
Jesus is coming!
is coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Just like we are not ready for the coming storm, we are not ready
last book in the Bible is called the Revelation of Jesus
Christ. This title states we have not yet seen Who Jesus really is.
He has not fully revealed Himself. He has not come for us. We have
not met our Bridegroom face to face.
the great things Jesus accomplished when He was hereóthe miracles,
the healings, the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and
the pouring out of His Spiritóare not the revelation of Jesus
Christ. This is still to come. Jesusí first coming has merely laid
the foundation for His full revelation. Get ready! The King is
Remember when Jesus and His disciples were on the boat in the Sea of
Galilee and the storm blew up and the disciples started to panic?
This is an accurate picture of the church today. Jesus was asleep in
the bottom of the boat. The disciples woke Him up, angry that He
didnít care they were all about to drown. And
what happened. After rebuking them Jesus spoke to the storm and
there was a great calm.
are face to face with the beginning of the storm of the ages. Our
boat is beginning to fill with water. Some of us who have gotten a
glimpse of the forest behind the trees are beginning to panic.
Whereís Jesus? Jesus, why are You sleeping? Donít You see weíre
about to go down? Wake up! Do something!
Jesus is going to wake up. He is going to do
something. He is going to still the storm. But are we ready
for this? Who can endure the day of His coming? (Malachi
After Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee the disciples
looked at each other and said “Who is this guy? What manner
of man is He that even the wind and the waves obey Him?” (paraphrase
of Mark 5:8).
Itís like they were really saying, “Give us back the storm, we can
handle thatóbut this Man? Weíve never met anyone like Him before.”
we ready? Are we ready for whatís behind the storm, for whatís
behind the forest? Once Jesus does appear many of us will react like
the disciples. We will start looking at each other and say, “Whoa. I
had no idea! Iím not too sure about this. I can handle this storm of
tribulation. I understand that, but this Man, this God-Man, I donít
know if I can handle Him.”
When God came to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, He wanted to
make them into a kingdom of priests. In response they made a golden
calf. They bowed down to worship it. They died in the wilderness.
They werenít ready.
When Jesus came to present Himself to His people as their King, He
came humble and riding on a donkey. They did not recognize Him. They
crucified Him. In return God rejected His people and scattered them
to the four corners of the earth.
They werenít ready.
we watching and praying? Do we know whatís coming? Do we realize
Who weíre dealing with?
Jesus is a two-edged sword.
Jesus comes to us with forgiveness, salvation, and healing. He comes
to us with
ButóJesus also comes to us with burning and refining. He baptizes
Spirit and fire. He is a refining fire.
When Jesus comes, the day will show it, because it is to be
revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of
each man's work. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer
loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire (I
church will be saved through fire. We will be refined
through fire. We will be made ready for our coming Bridegroom
through refining fire. His holiness burns away all in us that is
not like Him. We come out of His fire like refined gold. We come out
of His fire like Him.
the parable of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the Bridegroom,
all ten fell asleep and all their lamps went outóincluding
the five that were wise.
have no clue as to whatís around the corner, racing at us like a
locomotive. Weíre all asleep. All our lamps have gone out. We donít
see the storm brewing around us. We canít see the forest for the
trees, let alone our Bridegroom rising up behind the trees. We must
“Watch therefore. For you do not know when the master of the house
will return. Lest coming suddenly he finds you sleeping. And what I
say to you, I say to all, watch and pray!”
(Jesus, Mark 13:35-37).
will provide a way of protection and escape from what is comingóand
He will prepare us for His coming. But itís going to take a
church that is experienced in spiritual warfare to survive. An
unprepared church is a sinking ship. Should we be concentrating on
polishing the brass railings right now? Or should we be
concentrating on watching and praying in obedience to the Lord, to
be a church that is ready for whatís behind the trees?
Those who have as their greatest concern, eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building, marrying, and giving in marriage are
not seeing the bigger picture. They canít see the forest for the
must wake up! We must watch and pray! We must
be ready for the coming storm. We must be ready for our
But at midnight (the darkest time of the night, the darkest time
of the storm) there
was a shout, “Behold the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
2007 Michael J. Silberg