Current Prophetic Insight!


December, 2001

Dear Ministry Friend,

The events of recent months have caused many Christians to wonder where we are at on God's prophetic timeline. Is this the end of the age? Is there going to be a "rapture" of all the believers in the near future? And what should we do in light of the developing prophetic calendar? I will share my opinion on these pertinent questions below.

The disciples came to Jesus in Matthew 24 and asked Him, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. . . . You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places... Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." Luke 21:25-26 adds, "And there will be signs . . . on the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity . . . men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth."

Jesus said there would be wars, but that we should not be troubled! As believers, we are supposed to be able to live through literal wars without being troubled! Now, that's a call to have faith if I ever heard it.

The first time I saw this concept clearly demonstrated before my eyes was when Judi and I spent a summer in the early 1980's smuggling Bibles into what was then Communist Eastern Europe. We were based out of Holland, and had diligent training on how to get through border crossing searches where we had guards with automatic weapons searching us — and we did have some difficult searches and close calls! We were instructed to memorize the addresses along with directions to our "contacts" so that we would take nothing into the country on paper which might be confiscated. Then, when we knocked at a secret believer's house door, we had to be prepared what to say if the underground Christian had been arrested and his house was occupied by a Communist informer (which happened to me on one occasion). Then there was the time we had removed hundreds of Bibles from the secret compartment and laid them into the vehicle trunk for delivery that evening. As I turned onto the highway leading into the town, I found myself in the middle of a Warsaw Pact convoy on military maneuvers! The soldiers in the army vehicles eyed us, and when we got to town there was a military roadblock! As I stopped the car, the officer shouted for me to get out. He was flanked by soldiers on both sides of the road, and I could feel my heart literally pounding in my chest as Judi's and my future rested on the next few moments while I stood in my car's headlights. After I handed my passport over, I prayed silently. Studying my papers, the officer mumbled something that sounded like "Americana" in his broken accent, then barked some orders at me which I couldn't understand, and waved me on while handing my passport back. Man, did we thank God as we drove on through the town. I waited a good while, then drove back into town where we made contact with the underground believer receiving the Bibles.

I could handle that kind of stress smuggling Bibles for one summer, but there was a mature Christian man there at the Dutch mission who did this for years full-time! I wondered how he could stand up to the stress, but through watching his life I saw the key. He just did not allow himself to be troubled. He celebrated every moment of life without a care. I saw him back at the mission base one evening in his trailer pouring grape juice into a long-stem glass, having a candle-light dinner in his little RV — just him and the Lord! He simply lived by faith and enjoyed life even though he was constantly "in war" and in danger (reminded me of the Apostle Paul). I decided at that moment that I could endeavor to live my life and ministry continually with faith in God, not fearing what might happen next — just obeying God from day to day. And like the Bible says, faith works! That is what enabled me in later years to smuggle Bibles into Russia and then China.

So no matter what is going on with our nation — war, terrorist attacks, uncertainty in the economy, earthquakes, or whatever else — we just need to continue our lives in faith without a care. That's what Jesus told us to do! Jesus told us ahead of time what was going to happen, so "the distress of nations, with perplexities", earthquakes, and disturbances — these are just signs of the times! The end times may be difficult for those who do not trust in Jesus, and the unbelievers will not know what is going on. But this is not how those with faith in God are supposed to be! 1st Thessalonians 5:4-5 tells us, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day." We are supposed to know what is going on — and not be disturbed by events as they unfold in the days and years to come. Now, we don’t know exactly when the return of Jesus may be — it might be a year, ten years, or a hundred years. But we are not supposed to be in fear over the events occurring which God has already revealed will happen! We should just keep right on doing God's Word.

Concerning this second coming of Jesus, the word "rapture" doesn't occur in the King James translation, but it is simply a phrase that describes the happiness believers should feel at being translated from this earth to be with the Lord. However, sometimes I have felt that many believers will be looking back longingly toward the "stuff" on earth they got so attached to. There's a joke told about two believers who got to Heaven, and after the end of the age the earth was all burned up. A sincere believer was commenting to a worldly believer saying, "Look, all those material possessions we had there are just piles of ashes now." But the worldly believer retorted back, "Yeah, but my pile of ashes is bigger than your pile!" Materialism can be persistent! But in reality, we will have such a perfect life in Heaven, with such abundance, that no believer will miss the difficulties and imperfection of life on this earth.

When will this "great translation" of the saints occur? Well, it could happen any time, but Jesus said "this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." So it would appear that we need all the Christians here to get the Gospel into all the world. There is still a lot of work to do since there are billions of people who have not yet truly heard the Gospel. When I was on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, I asked an English-speaking Chinese artist if he knew what Christians were. He said sincerely, "Is that some kind of taxi?" Of the 1.2 billion Chinese, over 500 million have never even heard the name of Jesus. (I explained the Gospel to that Chinese man, and he prayed a salvation prayer!)

I don't believe in picking dates for the rapture. That's how the "Jehovah's Witness" movement got started in the late 1800's. Naturally, the "rapture date" kept passing, so they kept picking a new date all the way into the 1970's. I think the charismatics took over in the 1980's where the JW's left off! In fact, I heard last week that some well-known minister now picked next March for the rapture! When the disciples asked Jesus about the date He would set up His Kingdom in Acts 1:6, Jesus actually responded, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." As much as we might like to know, Jesus said it's not our business! I think He knows that "employees slack off" just before quitting time!

So in spite of any tendency to get all concerned, we are not to be troubled — just continuing to be about our Father's business until we are translated "in the twinkling of an eye" to receive our rewards for what we did for Jesus. You are doing something for Jesus, aren't you?

Working for the Lord,

Dale & Judi Leander


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