I was netsurfing last night, watching videos of abandoned millionaires’ mansions, mysterious houses in the woods, houses where tragedies allegedly happened, abandoned commercial buildings, even an abandoned high school. There were some abandoned fallout shelters, and one I watched last night of a complete idiot in Russia who was prowling around in an “abandoned” military fallout shelter – where the power was still on …
The abandoned house that gripped my heart, however, was a house in a British suburb that was abandoned by 1) elderly parents or 2) their son after they died. No one could say for sure. Even after several years of being abandoned, it was so obviously a well-loved home, kept up carefully by its former owners. It was filled with photos, collections of books, mugs, and fine wines. Beautiful furnishings. It was easy to imagine the owners walking in and demanding, “What are you doing in our house?!”
I began thinking about what we’ll leave behind when we go, who will enter our residences, what they will care about. What will they find that’s helpful? What will they value of what we leave behind?
One day, not long before my father’s death, he and I were sitting in his den just talking. He looked at the floor-to-ceiling, 12-foot-wide bookcase that held about half of his books, and he said, “When I die, you and your brothers are going to take a few of these books, and the rest will be thrown out. Because no one cares about them any more.” He recognized that the culture had changed. He was part of a vanishing breed. I suppose that’s always the way when a generation passes into eternity. Those who come after have their own loves and desires, and they ruthlessly throw out most of the things the vanished ones held dear.
One of those things, for me, is the Bible. Although I have always had more faults than I have good excuses for, those who know me best can testify that I am a believer in Jesus. The Bible has been the most important book in my life, and I have about a dozen scattered throughout my trailer.
“ ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘that I will send a famine on the land.
Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)
Not if they enter my home. Of course, the Bible will almost certainly soon be outlawed. Who knows what will be left when I’m gone? But to begin with, there will be many copies of the Word of God. Treasure indeed, for those whose hearts are opened to it.
What will we leave behind in the minds of friends, family, and co-workers? Revelation 13:6 says that the beast will “open his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.” Several Bible teachers have suggested that “those who dwell in Heaven” are the Raptured saints, the “Body of Christ”. The beast “blasphemes” them because even the memory of them causes those who knew them to believe in the God of the Bible and in Jesus and be saved.
We know from Revelation 7:9-11 that there will be “a great multitude whom no man can count” saved during the Great Tribulation. Millions of souls that will escape hell and gain Heaven. That enrages the devil, and the “beast” to whom he gives his power. We, the Raptured Christians, will be beyond their vicious grasp, and they both will be left here to suffer until the final judgment when they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire forever. And in the meantime, no torture, no death, no reward that the beast and the devil can offer will turn them aside. The devil will again be left with the taste of ashes in his mouth, the ashes of his dreams consumed by the fire of God’s powerful, holy love. The certain knowledge that his judgment is near and there is nothing he can do to stop it. Not. One. Thing.
We can and should do more than hope our abandoned houses testify. We should be asking the Holy Spirit to lead us to those He wants us to witness to. And their apparent indifference should not discourage us in the least. If everyone we witnessed to accepted King Jesus as Savior, who would be left to spread the word in the Tribulation? We are sowing holy seed which God will cause to grow and bloom at the right time.
Onward >groan< Christian soldiers. We are weary. Some of us are beginning to have difficulty enduring. But we must endure until King Jesus returns to take us out of this world, because we are “the last arrow in the quiver”. We are the last generation of the Body of Christ on earth. We have a mission. Of course it will be difficult. The devil is stupid in some ways, but he knows what we are here for. He’ll make it as rough on us as God allows him to. But we are still the Church! And while we are on this earth, the gates of hell will not prevail against us. King Jesus promised us that.
Victory in God’s eyes is not the same as victory in the eye of the world. “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” Dying in faith, enduring the unthinkable in faith, these are victories. I hope and pray that our victories in these last days may not come at the cost the first disciples paid, but they may. King Jesus went before us. If necessary, He will lead us through the Valley of Darkness, whatever form that may take.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth … Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (From Hebrews chapter 11)
The torch has been passed to us. May it burn brightly in our hands in these dark times.