Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Distress is a Warning Sign of Further Trouble Coming



“These things happened to them as examples for us. 
They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”  
1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT
[STUDY NOTE: Literal fulfillment of prophetic passages often occurs more than once and this puzzles people. In most cases this represents a primary fulfillment which sets the example of how God works then additional fulfillments which reflect the primary. Some passages also have an End of Time fulfillment. We need to always ask what is the reflection of this warning in our day.]
Learning from Joel 2:1-10:

My father remembers the skies literally blackened three different ways. It happened with locusts. They ate everything. Sometimes the clothes on the clothesline. Sometimes the wood on the window frames. Always the crops in the fields and pastures. 
Darkness descended once because of huge flocks of crows flying overhead. In his childhood he earned money by stealing eggs, or even hatch-lings, from the crows' nests . The government paid a bounty because the crows had become a destructive plague. 

Generally more famous, darkness happened when great dust storms rolled in. Some were tan. Some were red. Some were black. It depended on where they had picked up the soil. These clouds not only stole the light, they stole your breath, and dried your mouth into caked mud. Definitely not times to play outdoors. 

Joel 2:1-10 demonstrates the phases of God's preparation to come with a day of judgment for a nation or people group. The same pattern can be found in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets' writings.

The Order of Events in a Day of the Lord:

1.    A Word of Warning Comes
2.    Distress Builds within the Children of God
3.    An Word of Alarm is Sounded
4.    Darkness and Gloom Descend of His Children
5.    The Awareness of the Coming Destruction Becomes Clear
6.     The Instrument of His Destruction Comes
7.     The Congregation of the Saints is Purified as if by Fire

In the end, many of the people who have born the name of our God, the name of Christ, are removed, destroyed from among us. The faithful may flee or be driven out. The institutions and physical trappings of His children are often destroyed and require either extensive spiritual and earthly repair or a complete rebuilding from the ground up.

This is the pattern of the day of Lord when it comes again and again upon us His Children.

Be careful not to confuse these warning with the ones about the Great and Final Day of the Lord at the End of Time. Do not let the End of Time predictions blind you to God's works of judgment today.


Jesus also speak of distress before darkness as the day of the Lord comes:

21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days,“‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ Matthew 24:21-29

Because he seems to be applying this to the fall of Jerusalem in the 1st century AD and then to his own bodily return at the end of time, we tend to forget that these signs, this pattern will occur many times when, due to our apostasy, a day of the Lord comes to His people on earth. It can occur for a single congregation. It can occur within a single ethnic group. Most times it occurs in a given nation, or united geopolitical area.

Do not let the End of the World blind you to the warnings God sends today, in your own lifetime. Rather be alert and watching so that even today you will not be found unprepared.  


1. Have you prepared for the Day of the Lord (or a lesser day of the Lord) if it should come in your lifetime? How?

2. Do you see any steps of warning occurring for your nation? (ethnic group, church, or geopolitical area)


Distress is both an act of God's hand moving against us and a precursor of judgment.

"Immediately after the distress of those days..."Matthew 24:29

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