By: David Hereen
Always based on Scripture, the nine chapters of this book have primary themes. These are relevant for life at any time, but we can anticipate their importance escalating as we move into and through the time of the end. The end-time era will not close until the moment of Jesus’ Second Coming.
Based on the text of my book, End-Time Living, these are the themes that are important to us as we prepare our hearts for whatever may happen between now and the end:
- Watch objectively for cultural crises
- Attune watchfulness to biblical ethics
- Talk (pray) to God about everything
- Add this to prayer: Prepare and share
- Stand firm no matter what: Fear not
- Be God-centered, not self-centered
- Always trust the trustworthy Savior
- Love Jesus and tell Him about it
- Recognize the sky-sign of His return
- Abide with Him and receive His love
- Tell your Lover details of your love
- Pray and praise God amid persecution
- Decide: Is my faith fervent or lukewarm?
- Obtain fulfillment in prayer and praise
- Live a holy and godly life
- Joyfully accept God’s love & salvation
Every one of these things is based on spiritual–ethical and/or moral–principles. Even the apparent objectivity of a careful watch (No. 1) should be based upon what is being sought. Are we looking for personal advantage or for the welfare of others? We should watch out for our own well-being, of course, but should not ignore anyone else in the line of fire.
The scriptural phrase “watch and pray” is basic and will become even more important during prophesied end-time calamities and persecutions (Nos. 2 & 3). Jesus spoke more about prayer than anything else, but his end-time sermon reiterated the need for watchfulness most often, especially watchfulness for the celestial sign heralding his Second Coming (Mat. 24:27-31).
Prepare and share is an evangelism plan (No. 4). Since we have been told by Jesus that multitudes upon multitudes will be saved during the time period between tribulation and His return, it is important for us to prepare, that is, to learn how to share the gospel of salvation. Testimony of Christ’s love for us personally may be as important or, in some cases, even more important than the formula for trusting and asking him to forgive our sins and lead us heavenward.
Jesus used the phrase stand firm during his end-time discourse because some of the things he was prophesying were scary (No. 5). Fear is a deterrent to righteous living. To this he added the suggestion that we avoid the related pitfalls of worry and anxiety (Luke 21:14, 34). Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat. 11:28)
I have heard it preached that the seat of all sin is the self (No. 6). Richard Wurmbrand wrote this about self-centeredness: “Solomon’s Song belongs to those who have made the greatest renunciation of all: the renunciation of themselves.”
The hundreds of self-based words in the dictionary have been mentioned, but what can we do about our sin-center? Jesus answered that question with these words: Watch and pray. Every time we detect sin, we should ask God for forgiveness and strength to withstand future temptation.
Trusting the trustworthy should be a principle that explains itself (No. 7). But there are times when we need to remind ourselves of what Jesus has done for us, especially our eternal salvation. We can recognize occasions when our trust is not fully upon Him by the answer to one simple question: Are we afraid or worried about anything? Fear and worry are signs of faltering trust.
In Song of Songs, the Shulammite’s love for the king who allegorically represents Jesus is so intimate and intense that, merely by remaining in her presence, her “friends” are turned from sarcastic observers to believers exercising that faith on behalf of their youngest sibling. We cannot love Jesus too much (No. 8). Talking to Him (prayer) and reading His word (the Bible) are basics, but, if possible, we should not sever communications with Him at all.
Besides this book, I have written several others about the end-time, including two for the purpose of identifying the celestial sign Jesus said would herald his return (Mat. 24:30). Reasons for my conclusion are to be found in those books: The High Sign and Day of the Lord (No. 9). It is worth repeating that there are more than 200 points of evidence that the sign will be a great comet, and not a single thing I have found that contradicts this conclusion.
The verb abide is related to the noun abode. An abode is a physical dwelling place. But in the figurative language of the Bible, it is a spiritual one. The closeness of our relationship with God may be ascertained through spiritual discernment (No. 10), If we are in an abiding state, the Lord will remain in our thoughts much of the time. Those thoughts will translate into extended times of praise, supplication, and thanksgiving. He will never be far from our spirit and its outreaches into body and mind.
A memorable thing to me about my study of Song of Songs was the candor of the conversation. As God’s allegorical representative, the king held nothing back, praising every part of his bride’s body from feet to hair (No. 11). She, as the believers’ representative in the story, was equally praiseful of everything that she loved about him. This is an ideal, but those of us who are married, engaged or, even if we have a boyfriend or girlfriend whom we sincerely love, should take a chance: We should speak out and tell our beloved exactly how we feel.
Jesus prophesied that during the end-time we (Christians) will be hated in all nations, that is, worldwide, and this hatred will lead to persecution (Mat. 24:9). It will be a great test for us. We will pray. But will we trust God enough to be praiseful of Him? Or will we do more worrying and complaining than praising and thanking? Though the answer to these questions may seem simple right now, it may not be so easy if and when suffering becomes intense (No. 12).
The answers to the hypothetical questions posed in the preceding paragraph should lead to correct conclusions concerning question No. 13. Whichever is dominant in our prayers – praise and thanksgiving or worrying and complaining – probably will give us the correct answer as to whether our faith is fervent or lukewarm. And what is the solution for lukewarmness? We should resolve to praise and thank God even if the situation appears bleak.
Here are those key words again: prayer and praise (No. 14). They have appeared so often in this summary of important themes for end-time living that they must be at or near the top of the list, as far as God is concerned. So, let’s talk to Him with conversation that includes many interjections of praise and thanks. He has said of thanksgiving that we should find something to be thankful about in every circumstance (1 Thes. 5:18). If we emphasize praise and thanksgiving in our conversations with the Lord, personal fulfillment will take care of itself.
In the finality of things, God always prevails. Christians, His people, will encounter rough patches along the way, including persecution and consequential suffering. But, as long as we cling faithfully to Him, and forgive others who do or speak evil against us, we can expect good results: Evidence of His love, eternal salvation of friends and family members, and personal contentment (Nos. 15 and 16).