From Connections: Darlene's story: Are we living in the end time?
By Darlene Warren
BIG SANDY, Texas--It occurred to me recently that our association with the Radio/Worldwide Church of God has given us insight into areas of thought the typical mortal seldom receives.
As members (and prospective members) we have spent countless hours proving the validity of the Bible, that it is indeed God's written code of conduct for humanity, and throwing out the parts that don't apply to us.
We've discovered God's truth on healing but found lacking the basic ingredient to make it work.
We can discern those among us who are led by God's Holy Spirit; we can identify the Beast; we've even found the lost 10 tribes.
We've studied the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 until we are sure they refer to church eras, and the icing on the cake is that each of us knows which era we belong to. The problem is everybody wants to be in the same one.
With all our special insights we couldn't just keep them to ourselves. We tried hard to warn humanity that God was coming soon to straighten this world out. We sent first tithe, holy-day offerings, freewill offerings, special offerings, leftover second tithe, local church-activity funds and in some cases property deeds to church headquarters to do our part in preaching the truth and warning the world.
All this, yet we weren't actually supposed to "rub elbows" with the world. Something bad might rub off on us. Or, worse yet, we might come into contact with someone we would feel compelled to invite to church before he had been visited by a minister.
Even though God has truly blessed us with His Holy Spirit, that essence that miraculously enables us to understand a teensy-tiny portion of what He is all about, our "special knowledge" has sometimes gotten us into a lot of trouble.
Many of us prepared ourselves mentally for a flight to Petra, the most likely site for a place of safety. We tried not to think of the other alternative--that perhaps some of us would not be spared but instead be martyred for what we believed.
Neither of those situations is beyond the scope of imagination; it could still happen. The problem was the timing, the fear tactic that caused us to focus on 1972 as the most likely time when the church would flee.
As I look back on the years, I realize now that I spent very little time reflecting on the prospect of growing old and too much time dwelling on the "end of the world" scenario. I had not prepared myself for the fact that I just might live long enough to marry, have children and become a grandmother.
World War III
Even though our insights haven't always been right on the money, God continues to endure our sometimes misdirected zeal to figure Him out. It is our nature to want to know our future in detail. We want to know if we are indeed living in the end time. We want to know if the world is now entering World War III.
Is Al Qaeda in cahoots with the King of the North? Thankfully, God knows that if He revealed His strategy for mankind point by point we wouldn't be able to deal with it. We would either lie down and sleep, knowing that He delays His coming, or delve headlong into strategies on how to save our sorry hides.
Things we know for sure
God has revealed to us certain things. We know that God created the universe in six days and that on the seventh day He rested. He gave His only Son for the redemption of mankind's sin. We are beginning to understand that God's ecclesia is a spiritual body, not any one particular organization, and that He gives His Holy Spirit to be a comforter to us.
We can try to decipher a lot of other things. We may think we know which Holy Day coincides with which end-time prophesied event. Even Daniel was denied information. He didn't understand what God had shown him. He was simply told that the words were sealed till the time of the end, to go his way, that he would enter into his rest and at the end time he would rise and receive his reward. Signed, sealed and delivered. Case closed.
Daniel was troubled by what he had seen, but his advantage over us is that he knew this wouldn't happen in his time.
God hasn't given us that bit of information. We feel sure we must be living in the end time, but who can know beyond a shadow of a doubt? The one thing we do know for sure is, like Daniel, if we endure we will rise to receive our reward. A new and better world is coming.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God