Derek Prince - What Will Happen When This Age Ends?
Now, we're going to come back to a picture of the close of this age I’m going to make general statements about the kind of things that will be going on as this age comes to a close. I believe we’re very near the close of the age, that’s my personal opinion. I don’t want to set dates but I could believe that within the next fifty years everything that’s written in the Book will have happened. I’m not saying it will, I’m saying I could believe it could. I want to take certain features of the close of the age. I’ll give you three significant Scriptures. Isaiah 60:1-2. Isaiah 60. What I want to say is as the age comes to a close righteousness and wickedness will both be on the increase. Righteousness will flourish and so will wickedness. Light will shine and there will be great darkness. We’ve got to get adjusted to this antithesis between these two things of light and darkness, righteousness and wickedness.
In Isaiah 60:1-3 the Lord is speaking to His people and He says: And He says: Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples but the Lord will arise over you and His glory will be seen upon you. Nations come to your light, kings to the brightness of your rising. A promise for God’s people at the close of the age. The glory of God will shine upon us and in the midst of the dense darkness that is surrounding us on all sides, that is covering all nations those who have a heart for truth will come out of the darkness to the people of God to seek the light. But don’t expect the darkness to end. It will continue and it will grow deeper. But, the light will get brighter. There’s one wonderful fact about light and darkness which goes right back to the creation. Wherever light meets darkness, who wins? Light, that’s right. Just bear that in mind. We win if we’re the light. Then the parable of the wheat and the tares.
I won’t go into that reading from it because time is running out but the parable is about a farmer who sowed good seed in his field and then in the night an enemy came and sowed tares, weeds, that apparently looked like wheat but there’s just one thing, they don’t have any fruit, they don’t produce anything that’s worth having. The workers in the field said: Shall we go and pull up the tares? The farmer said, No, because when you try to pull up the tares you may pull up some of the wheat. Let them both grow together to harvest. And then in interpreting the Scripture Jesus says the harvest is the end of the age. He says at the end of the age the angels will come forth and sever the wicked from among the righteous. The wicked will be bound up in bundles and cast into the fire, the righteous will shine as sons in the kingdom of their Father. But bear in mind that right up to the close of the age the wheat and the tares will be growing up side by side. That’s not speaking about the pagan world, this is speaking about professing Christendom because that’s what it’s talking about.
In that situation both wheat and tares will grow side by side. If you want to be sure you’re wheat and not tares, check on the fruit that you’re producing because that’s the difference. The church is not going to be fully purified until the end of the age. And then we’re not going to do it. I’m glad I don’t have to do it. The angels are going to do that. And then in Revelation 22 right near the end of the Scripture, a word from Jesus Himself. Revelation 22:10-12: He, the angel that brought the revelation, said to me: Do not seal the words of the prophecy, for the time is at hand. He who is unrighteous, let him be unrighteous still; Who is filthy let him be filthy still; who is righteous, let him be righteous still. He who is holy, let him be holy still.
That’s a remarkable statement since it comes from God. God is saying, in effect: If you want to be unrighteous, go on, you don’t have long, live it up. If you want to be filthy, be still more filthy. But if you’re righteous be still more righteous, if you’re holy be still more holy because this is the parting of the ways. And then Jesus says in the next breath: Behold, I am coming quickly. My reward is with me to give it to everyone according to his work. So this is immediately before the return of the Lord. The wicked and the righteous are side by side. The wicked getting more wicked; the righteous getting more righteous. Let me say in the spiritual light there is no standing still. You cannot remain static. You have to be either going forward or backward. The pathway of the righteous is like the shining light which shines more and more unto the perfect day. Righteousness is not a standstill, it’s a pathway. It’s something you move in.
If you’re moving in that the light is getting brighter every day. If you’re living today by yesterday’s light you’re beginning to be a backslider. You’re not in the pathway of righteousness. All right. So those are two things. Then in the midst of all this Jesus offers us some beautiful words of comfort in Luke 21:25-28. Luke 21:25-28, speaking about the close of the age: There will be signs in the sun, in the moon and the stars, on the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring. Men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. The whole globe is going to be shaken. Then they will see the Son of man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. That’s the coming of Jesus.
Now this is what He says; He’s speaking to His disciples: When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near. So how do you react to all the turmoil and the conflict? Do you get depressed and discouraged or do you say: Praise God, our redemption is very near? You see, your reaction tells you where your heart is. Jesus spoke about birth pangs of a new age and He described them in Matthew 24. We may look there a little later. They’re very unpleasant. I’ve never given birth to a baby but I understand it’s never an easy experience. Birth pangs are associated with it. The question is do you want the baby? If you want the baby, you’ll put up with the birth pangs. No birth pangs, no baby. So again you can check your own attitude by how you respond.
If you say things are getting worse and worse: This is depressing, I feel miserable. Where is God? I don’t see Him doing anything? you’re rejecting the birth pangs. What it really means is you’re not waiting for the baby. What is the baby? It’s the birth of the kingdom of God on earth. It won’t come without birth pangs. The birth pangs are guaranteed. What we have to determine is how we will respond to them. Meanwhile, as I’ve said, in all of this the church has a task to complete. What is that? I didn’t hear you. Proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom to all nations. Let’s look at the picture of the birth pangs in Matthew 24, verse 7: For nation will rise against nation - ethnos against ethnos, ethnic conflicts kingdom against kingdom. There will be disasters in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pangs. You see? So, you want the baby? You have to endure the birth pangs. There’s no alternative.
And then Jesus says and there’s a series of thens. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. Who’s you? I didn’t hear you. That’s right, you is us. That’s not good grammar but it’s the truth. They will deliver you - is you and me, Christians. We will be hated by all nations for the sake of Jesus’ name. Verse 10: Then many will be offended and will betray and will hate one another. Many who? Many Christians. The pressure will be too great, they’ll give up. To save their own skins they’ll betray their fellow believers. This has been happening in China and the Soviet Union for a generation or two. It’s not confined there, believe me.
Verse 11: Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And believe me, the world is full of false prophets and a lot of them are inside the church. We won’t go into that. I’ll just make that statement for you to ponder on. And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. Do we see lawlessness increasing in the world today? Yes or no? I don’t think anybody would say no. That’s what Jesus said. Lawlessness will abound. What's the result? The love of many Christians will grow cold. The word for love there is agape, the word used for Christian love. So, under the pressure of the lawlessness in the world some of us will let our love grow cold. The next verse is very significant, verse 13: But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Actually the Greek is more specific, it says: He who has endured to the end shall be saved.
So how do you stay saved? You have to endure, that’s right. You’re saved now but to remain saved you have to endure. I tell people, and nobody really blesses me for saying this: There’s only one way to learn to endure and that is enduring, that’s right. If you’re in the midst of enduring right now, bear in mind God is training you to live it through to the end of the age. Then it says: This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations. You say, when times get easier we’ll go out and preach the gospel. No, no, no! Times are going to get harder and harder and harder. It’s going to take guts to go out and preach the gospel. Do you like that rather vulgar word guts? It’s very American. Do you know the American translation of that? Intestinal fortitude. That’s what we need: Christians with guts. The situation is not going to get any easier; it’s going to get harder. You think it’s too hard now, well move in quickly before it gets harder. The church that Jesus wants is not going to be deterred by opposition or persecution it’s committed to Him and to His purposes and to His tasks.