What does it mean that the world is getting gloriously dark? Find out with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: September 9, 2023
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Tim Moore: Shalom! Welcome once again to Christ in prophecy. I’m your host, Tim Moore.
Nathan Jones: And I’m your co-host, Nathan Jones. For the past four weeks, we’ve brought you excerpts from our 2023 Annual Bible Conference featuring Robert Jeffress, David Barton, David Reagan, Tommy Nelson, and Erwin Lutzer. Our theme was Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.
Tim Moore: It was difficult to choose conference highlights this year because each speaker brought a message that was timely, inspiring and important. You would certainly be blessed to watch each presentation in its entirety, whether through our Christ in Prophecy YouTube Channel, or through our conference DVD.
Nathan Jones: And today we want to wrap up this series by sharing some highlights from Tim’s message entitled It’s Getting Gloriously Dark. It will leave you excited about Jesus soon return, even as darkness descends upon the world.
Presentation by Tim Moore
Tim Moore: My message today is entitled It’s Getting Gloriously Dark. I borrowed this title from a statement made by Adrian Rogers, the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. And this is what Adrian had to say. “We’re living in strange days, are we not? Boy, are we even more so now. When I see what’s happening to the world. If I didn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, I’m not sure what I would do. Yet, knowing the Bible and Bible prophecy, when I see all these things coming to pass, they do not shake me. Sometimes they grieve me, sometimes they sadden me, but they do not shake me. That’s because I know God’s Word. I know they’re a fulfillment of prophecy. I can say with all the saints, praise God, it’s getting gloriously dark.”
Now, what did he mean by such a seemingly contradictory statement? For the next several minutes, I’ll explore exactly what he meant, and look for a reason not to let our hearts be troubled in the midst of gathering gloom, but to rejoice as we await our Blessed Hope. And to be motivated to urge others to flee from the wrath to come.
You know, if the unbelieving world thinks things are bad now, they haven’t seen anything yet. Three times in Matthew Jesus speaks of those who reject Him as being cast into outer or perpetual darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And we know that except for the cross of Jesus Christ, we are all in utter darkness. John 3:36, says “If we do not embrace Christ as Savior and honor Him as Lord, then the wrath of God abides on us.”
This theme of fading light and darkness evoke a foreboding sense of dread that is really age old. It’s been a part of literature, and art, and music since the beginning because it reflects an understanding of the nature of God that is planted deep within our hearts. Some of you will remember almost three generations ago now, in 1967, The Moody Blues recorded a melancholy song called The Night. It contains a section of spoken words that officially are known as a late lament. And they began this way “Breathe deep, the gathering gloom, watch light fade from every room.” And right now, our society is indeed breathing deep, the gathering gloom. Some are so intoxicated with casting off the fetters of moral boundaries in celebrating their own transgression that they do not realize they’re dancing on our own society’s grave. They are reveling in sin.
And as I’ve said before, our nation should know better. David Barton made that very clear today. We could go to the Old Testament, where in the day of Joshua, the children of Israel, the fathers of generations to come, said “We commit to serving the Lord God, just as you, Joshua, have chosen this day.” And yet, just a few generations later, when Elijah asked the sons, and grandsons, and great-grandsons of that greater generation, “Whom will you serve the god of Baal or the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?” Their response was what? Exactly. Silence. They had forgotten.
So God records in Romans 1 through Paul’s writing, “Even though they knew God, they do not honor Him as God or give thanks. But they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” I can’t think of any passage more applicable to our own, and I’ve used the phrase already today, formerly Christian Society.
Do you feel like your world is falling apart? Or are you just merely lament that the world is falling to pieces around you? Or do you recognize that the prophetic pieces are falling in place and at an unprecedented rate? Do you consider it a blessing to live in such a time as this, when you can witness with your own eyes what Christians for 2,000 years have longed to see? And that is demonstrable signs and proof that Jesus is coming soon and very soon. They took by faith what you can now witness being fulfilled in your own day and age.
Well, I can assure you of two things, brothers and sisters. First of all, I can assure you that Jesus is coming again. And you don’t have to take my word for it. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t. Let’s go to the Word of God and see what it has to say. Three times in Revelation chapter 22, which Tommy touched on earlier, Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly. Behold, I am coming quickly. Yes, I am coming quickly.” How many times does He have to say it for Christians at least to believe? Know the Lord is coming soon.
But I tell you a second truth. While He tarries things will get worse. Oh, Tim, are you a doom and gloomer? Nope, I’m a realist. And I’m one who can read scripture. I believe that things will get increasingly worse in this world until the Lord arrives. But that when the trumpet sounds, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead and Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Oh, I can’t wait. I get excited. I’m ready to go. I’m practicing my Rapture leap, as I said, with Don Perkins encouragement.
So as the world grows increasingly dark. My question is this: Do you believe, number one? Do you really believe that Jesus is coming again, whether for you alone or for all you all have put your trust in Him? And are you okay with number two? I don’t mean okay as in enthusiastic for increased immorality and wickedness. I don’t mean that we should relish suffering or persecution like some kind of a sick masochist. What I mean is this: Is your faith strong enough to weather the storms that will rage until the Father says to the Son, “Go and get your bride.”
You came here this weekend because you have a keen interest in God’s Word His prophetic Word and you have a faith that is looking forward. But I challenge you to even now consider how strong is our faith and do I need to repent? Lord, I do believe, but help me in my unbelief. Paul put it this way, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” You might say it in a paraphrase for today’s application. Do not be overwhelmed by darkness, be a beacon of light in this darkness.
You know, it’s so easy to get aggravated by our anxiety, bothered by our battles, caught up in the chaos, despondent over our doubts and fixated over our frustrations. So much so that we forget, like Joseph that the Lord is with us. What is Jesus given name? Emmanuel. Which means God with us. Is He with you? Whether you feel like it or not. Yes, He is.
I loved what Erwin Lutzer said earlier, feelings are not to be trusted. They are fickle. Faith is confidence in things unseen and does not get distracted by feelings. Well, reality is in this life we will have troubles, Jesus told us as much. But He said, “But take heart I have overcome the world.” Why did Jesus tell us we would have troubles? What possible point could there be in Him advising us that we would have trouble and tribulation in this world, you might ask? Well, He actually told us. He told us these things so that we would have peace in Him. If you’re looking for peace in this world, you’ll never find it. There is no shalom, y’all. But if He is in you, and you in him, you have peace. You have His peace. You have everlasting peace.
But let’s consider one other aspect of this light and darkness motif. My brother recently challenged the men in his Bible study to consider this: What is a shadow? And yes, I know under the shadow of His wing we can take refuge. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a shadow as a dark figure cast upon a surface by a body blocking or obscuring the rays from a source of light. As such, it is two dimensional at best and dim. It reveals no details, no color, no riches, no beauty. Perhaps that’s why C.S. Lewis is reputed to have called this worldly existence, the shadow lands. We live knowing there is a light, but often unable to see it clearly. And compared to heaven, this life is like a two dimensional existence that lacks detail, color, richness or beauty. I know you’ll say, but there’s great beauty in God’s creation. You’re right, there is. But once again, compared to heaven, this life is but a shadow.
Paul put it this way, “Now we see in a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known.” So if God dwells in unapproachable light, why are we constrained to live in this shadow land? Well, I believe there are three reasons that we look through a glass dimly, and we’re here. First of all, sin has dimmed our eyes. And even the vestiges of sin although the condemnation for sin has been removed from us in this life. Boy, we feel the tug, shall we say, and sometimes the temptation to have our eyesight dimmed. Satan himself would love to obscure even our perception of God at work around us. And certainly he has pulled the wool over the unbelieving world.
And finally, the reality when we talk about prophetic things is that there are secret things that belong only to the Lord our God, Deuteronomy 29:29. The things revealed to us I believe He expects us to know and to believe, and yes, with increasing favor of the Holy Spirit, and even as time goes on, greater understanding. That requires what Dr. Reagan talks about is a dirty five letter word spelled S-T-U-D-Y. Sometimes you actually have to study the Word of God. But the secret things belong to our God.
Most of us have a three and a half pound brain. Mine’s a little bit smaller than most. I couldn’t possibly fathom the mind of God. Could you? I’m glad He doesn’t try to cram all His knowledge into my brain, it would explode and it would be as ugly a scene is what Tommy Nelson described on that airplane. You wouldn’t want to be sitting anywhere close. And I’m okay with that because I am not God.
So you may ask: Why does God wait while the world plunges into open rebellion? Why does He exercise patience while the wicked flaunt their rebellion against Him? Some would even ask: Is God even still in control? Well, my response is I’m sure glad he waited till I put my faith in Jesus Christ. Aren’t you? I’m glad He didn’t come before I embraced Christ as my Lord and Savior. But to answer the question, is He still in control. Consider the account of the storm that raged on the Sea of Galilee. And my question is this: Why was Jesus asleep? I talked earlier about people sleeping. Why was Jesus asleep in the hold of the boat while the storm raged and the disciples grew increasingly anxious? Don’t you even care? Well, I believe Jesus was not asleep because He was tired. Well, maybe in a mortal sense He was tired to a degree, but that doesn’t quite explain it. Was it because He didn’t know the storm was going to come and so it caught Him off guard? No, I don’t think that’s true. Maybe He didn’t have any power over the storm. No, obviously not. A word from the Lord and the storm ceased. Maybe it was because He just didn’t care that the disciples would be fearful and anxious. No. Scripture says “Cast all your cares upon Him because he cares for you.” So that can’t be it. No, I believe that He slept because He had no reason to fear the storm. I believe He slept to provide a literal picture of shalom, peace, even in the midst of a storm, and anxiety and fear. I believe He slept because He intended to demonstrate His power at the right time.
And in that regard, I believe that in so many other cases and this one as well, Jesus knew that there would be greater glory to be manifested in His calming of the storm than in preventing it in the first place. Why was the man born blind? Surely God could have prevented that. What did Jesus say? Because the power of God, and the glory of God would be manifested in His healing. Why is He allowing us to endure this season of darkness? Because He’s going to get even greater glory. Do you trust that? He has not lost control? He is still in charge. I can assure you Heaven is not worried or nervous about all the things that are going on in this earth today. God’s not in a panic. He will manifest glory for Himself in the manner and timing of His return and in His final judgment. And you can be sure of that.
I titled my message in honor of a sermon delivered by Pastor Adrian Rogers. He asserted that our faith does not live by expectations, but by promises. It does not live by appearances, but by providence. And it does not live by circumstances, but by praise. He said that if we believe that rather than fold up and give up, we can look up and stand up.
I was going to ask if you’re an optimist or a pessimist. But really, I’ll just cut to the chase and say, as Dr. Mohler shared, I’m not an optimist or a pessimist, Christians are people of hope. Not hope, as in I look around, hope it gets better. No, my hope is focused on the blessed hope, as Dave Reagan says, who is a person, not a concept. And the great confidence that He indeed is coming soon. Do you look forward to your blessed hope like Paul? Are you assured that a crown of righteousness is laid up for you because you have loved His appearing? Have you perceived their end because you’ve read the end of the book? Tommy Nelson said, “I’ve already read the end of the book. We win.” Actually, Jesus Christ wins. And for you and me, if we’ve given ourselves to Him, He’s already won us. And so darkness has no power over us.
What is going to be your testimony to the generation of his children if He tarries? And if you go home to Him and leave others behind in this darkening world? Well, I can give you this assurance, even though the world is dark. Scripture tells us. “But brethren, you are not in darkness that the day would what? Overtake you like a thief? Why? Because you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night, nor of darkness. So then let us not sleep as others do. But let us be alert and sober.” A lot of people stop reading in the passage where it says Jesus is going to come like a thief in the night, and they don’t read on to these important passages. He won’t come like a thief for those of us who are of light and of day, we should discern the season of His coming. Paul goes on to say to the church at Thessalonica, “Since we are of the day, let us be sober. Having put on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation for God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He gives us this assurance in Romans, “The night is almost gone and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Paul did exactly that. Jesus told Paul when He commissioned him to go to the Gentiles to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the dominion of Satan to God. First John 2:8 John writes a new old commandment embodied in the person and gospel of Jesus Christ, because, as he said, “The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”
Well, if Habakkuk is a song, and if we’ve already talked about Psalms of David and yes, of Asaph, what would your psalm be? What would your song or your book convey? Would it convey tough faith, resolute trust, confiding our persevering confidence in the promises of God?
Q&A from Conference
Nathan Jones: Well, Tim, I’m not normally prone to pessimism, but even if I was, I would say that your presentation gave me some hope.
Tim Moore: That was my prayer. You know, even as we see the world falling to pieces around us, we must not be discouraged or give in to despair. If we keep our eyes on Jesus. We can walk above the waves and encourage one another.
Nathan Jones: One of my favorite parts of our conference is the question and answer session, where we discuss questions posed by folks in the audience.
Tim Moore: Mine, too. Erwin Lutzer provided a tremendous answer to two questions about the price of obedience and how to be encouraged if we feel discouraged.
Erwin Lutzer: Well to answer your last question first, regarding feelings. Feelings are not facts. And for those who even struggle with depression, they may feel unloved by God, but actually you have to go by the Word of God rather than your feelings. Because if you go by feelings, and this is a longer discussion as to what’s happening in society, what you discover is if you have truth by feeling, then that’s why boys feel as if they are a girl and they want to transition. So feelings are important, but they are not facts.
We must be willing to ask a congregation, what price are you willing to pay for obedience to Jesus? And everyone has to answer that question for themselves. The business man, I got a text the other day from somebody who says, “Can a Christian sign this?” And I said, “Well, you can sign the first four things, but you can’t sign the last. You can’t sign that you’re going to use multiple pronouns because you know that you are lying. And if somebody says, “Well, that’s my truth, the answer is, well, guess what? This is my truth. I am not going to do this.” So that becomes a line.
Very quickly, another question, a schoolteacher in Chicago said that he was told that it is not enough to tolerate same sex marriage. If you don’t celebrate it, you could lose your job. All right. Now, here’s a challenge for your church and mine. Let’s suppose he refuses to celebrate and he can’t celebrate what God has condemned. Now, the question is, he loses his job. Is the rest of the church going to come around him and say, you know, you do have a wife and children. We’re going to be there for you financially. We’re going to be there in every way to support you. That’s a question that churches in America have not had to ask that we need to begin to ask. My wife and I have been to Communist countries, and their believers tend to hang together in prayer, in support and we have individualism here. But we’re going to have to hang together and support one another in answer to your question of encouragement. And that is going to have to rethink even what church is.
Tim Moore: Nathan what question and answer really captured a major takeaway from this conference for you?
Nathan Jones: I particularly like the one where they ask about how do we engage the culture? And once again, Erwin Lutzer really hit the importance of staying focused on the godly assignment we’ve been given.
Erwin Lutzer: Our assignment. And this is why when I preach and write books, it’s not so much to reclaim the culture, it is to reclaim the church. And to help the church to see that we must stand against the culture, with courage, with love, balancing the two that we’ve talked about. And therefore, what we have to do, though, also as pastors and others, is to teach our people how to respond to this culture.
For example, let’s suppose a child comes to you and says, I think I’m trans. How do you respond to that? You listen to the child, you try to help the child. But then what you have to do is to say, look, self-perception is not always a gauge to reality. So you need to have that discussion. You can go to a psych ward and you can find somebody who believes that he’s Napoleon. As a matter of fact, Tim, I heard about a situation in which a man in a psych ward said, “I am Napoleon.” The man next to him said, “How do you know that you’re Napoleon?” He said, “God told me I’m Napoleon.” And his friend said, “No, I didn’t.” So, we must help people to understand that perception is not always reality.
So we need to engage the culture. And I want to say this, we didn’t ask for this culture war. The culture war has come to our doorsteps and it cannot be avoided. It’s as close as Monday morning for the workforce, for people in our schools. So we have to ask ourselves the question. And with this, I will bring this plane down very quickly, Tim, except to say this, ultimately everyone has to ask that question for themselves, right where I am what does faithfulness look like? And everybody is going to answer that question a little differently because of your environment, because of your work, because of that. But the question is what price are you willing to pay for obedience?
Tim Moore: We’ll close out our question and answer clips with a wonderful answer by our Teaching Evangelist David Bowen to a question I posed.
With all the heaviness of the message that we share, because we see with eyes wide open the way our world is today, even our beloved country, if you’re watching from America, a formerly Christian nation, how do we in turn not let our heart be troubled?
David Bowen: I think we pursue righteousness. And to me, that really is revival. So we just individually and corporately pursue righteousness. That’s how we not let our heart troubled.
Tim Moore: We pray that this series of excerpts from our 2023 Annual Lamb & Lion Ministries Conference has been a blessing to you. If you have not been able to attend in the past. Join us next year, or invite us to bring a conference to your hometown.
Nathan Jones: Every year our conference album is one of our most popular resources. If you’d like to get a copy of the three DVD album with all six presentations and two question and answer sessions to watch at home or share with your Bible study or Sunday school class, just visit our online store or call the number on the screen. For only $25, and that includes domestic shipping, we’d be glad to send you a copy.
Tim Moore: I appreciate the insights all our guest speakers offered and the wonderful question and answer dialog we shared along with our Internet Evangelist Nathan Jones and Teaching Evangelist David Bowen. We’re already planning our 2024 conference, but if the Lord tarries we look forward to seeing you again next week here on Christ in Prophecy.
Until then, keep on radiating the glorious light of men, Jesus Christ, into our dark and hopeless world. On behalf of all of us here at Lamb & Lion Ministries, let not your heart be troubled. He has gone to prepare a place for all who trust in Him. And He will come again to receive us to Himself. Godspeed.