Having Done All

Paul, towards the end of his letter to the Ephesian church, marks the conclusion in chapter 6, verse 10, with a “Finally”. I don’t think anyone would argue that he was meaning: “in closing”, with the intent of finishing up his writing. Nonetheless, I am personally inclined to think that same “Finally” might also be utilized to prophetically connect this admonition to the final events at the end of this Age.

In support of that admitted speculation on my part, our Lord Jesus, in Matthew 24, describes a scenario of troubling, (including evil activity on the earth) that will be unmatched in intensity and frequency.

Unless you have been taught that all the tough-stuff occurred in the first and second centuries of the Common Era, and that the current-day church is functionally the wedding planners for the marriage supper of the Lamb, it is biblically challenging (if not impossible) to read Matthew 24 and objectively separate the described severe troubles from the imminent return of Messiah, particularly since Jesus, in verse 29, clearly and inarguably cements the consistency of the timeline for His spectacular worldwide appearance. He uses these words: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”.

“Immediately” (Greek: “Eutheos”) means precisely that – instantly, subsequent, forthwith. “Eutheos” leaves no room for a 2,000 year hiatus to be wedged between the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (if those were the tribulation events some purport to have been intended by His prophetic description), and His worldwide dramatic return.

Here’s what Matthew 24 tells us (the parentheticals are mine):
Matt 24:21-30
21 For then (at that time) there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand. (meaning: don’t miss this)
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
(nothing secret, and in fact purposely intended by God to be dramatic, highly visible, seen by all)
28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “Immediately (there you go: IMMEDIATELY) after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then (at that time, immediately after the days of greatest trouble the world has ever witnessed or experienced) the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they (all the tribes, everywhere on earth – an international event) will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

As traumatic and violent as the events were, no such worldwide appearance of Messiah occurred IMMEDIATELY (or AT ANY TIME, for that matter) either during the first or second century, CE. That means our Lord’s return (obviously)  has yet to occur, along with the immediately precedent events.

For your first and second century traumatic-event reference:

That clearly said, and whether or not one might believe the end of this Age will be marked by the very most troubling events (I do), let’s at least agree on this point: The current days are indeed days of trouble. They are also days of great opportunity for the church of God (as the Lord works with us, shaking heaven and earth – Hag 2:7), and I believe they will be days of huge evangelism and Kingdom growth. Nonetheless, they are days of trouble.

Lots is occurring around the world, in epic proportions, whether or not our own little bubble of Western Christianity sort of remains intact, for now. There is more Christian martyrdom and persecution now than ever.

It would take a spiritual ostrich to deny we are in increasingly evil days, right now. Whether they are Final Days, or whether one might perceive these troubling days as a temporary blip on the spiritual EKG of life-on-earth, we’re without question in evil days. Ask our brethren living elsewhere.

THAT SAID, let’s see how dear Paul, himself familiar with troubles, counsels us to live during ANY evil days (and I would add, especially during the most troubling of days, at the end of this Age):

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

One might conclude that verse 13, by implication, could be telling us that our choice to be living at anything less than a “having done all” condition might not work out so well:

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

I believe the severity and intensity of the work in the last days of this Age is intended, by our jealous and zealous God, to:
A. Draw many people to Him (and/or back to Him), and at the same time;
B. To purify and refine His own people so that we might be equipped to rule and reign with Him in the next Age, in the humility and purity required for us to survive and flourish in His holy presence.

If that is the case, then there’s a lot to be accomplished by the Lord, in us as well as through us. The refining process, as uncomfortable and as challenging as it might be (just ask a piece of silver) will culminate in great results.

Does this coordinate with any other word regarding the condition of the saints at the end of the age?

Daniel 11:35
35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

Daniel 12:7
7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.

Zephaniah 3:8-12
8 “ Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord,
“Until the day I rise up for plunder;
My determination is to gather the nations
To My assembly of kingdoms,
To pour on them My indignation,
All My fierce anger;
All the earth shall be devoured
With the fire of My jealousy

12 I will leave in your midst
A meek
(“aniy” – afflicted, humbly, lowly, needy…)
and humble (“dal” – lean, needy, poor, weak – pretty much depleted of their own resources)
And they shall trust in the name of the Lord.

The purification work of the Lord will not be annulled by anyone teaching or preaching otherwise. God is preparing a people.

The great and encouraging news for us is that no one is predestined to stumble or fall, as is confirmed by Peter, who himself modeled weakness and, later, strength in God:

2 Peter 1:10
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

And Jude said it this way:
Jude 1:24-25
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.

The invitation to all believers is to personally and intentionally press in to the Lord, to discover what His ongoing will is for you, and you alone. It will never defy or contradict biblical guidelines, but in His creative glory, I contend it will be customized for you and your situations, anointings, and destiny. What a great adventure the Lord has called us into.

All scriptures NKJV

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About ez3728

I am a believer in Jesus - that He is the One and Only Messiah of the world. I believe the Bible is the perfect and complete Word of God, and that God is absolutely competent and capable of keeping His Word perfect, undefiled, and uncorrupted. Jesus was born Jewish. So was I. He lived a perfect life, and is worshiped. I live an imperfect life, and I worship Him.
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