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Fear in the Last Days
By Tom Brown

Shocked and stunned describes what I felt about the catastrophe in New York. The image of the World Trade twin towers collapsing are forever etched on my mind. I will never forget it, and neither will you.

Jesus anticipated events such as these. He said, "When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away" (Luke 21:9). Prophecy teachers undoubtedly are using these events to signal the coming of Christ. I believe Christ is coming, however, Jesus never made wars and revolutions the signal for His return. He said when you see these things the end will not come right away. These signs are only the beginning of birth pains.

The emphasis Christ made when we see these events is to make sure we do not give way to fear. Do not be frightened was His message. He emphasized the need to keep away from fear.

There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11)

He warned about fearful events. Just because an event is fearful does not mean we have to be fearful. He continues to warn us about the last days.

Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Luke 21:26)

Imagine hearing that a comet is headed to the earth, and there appears to be nothing the human race can do about it. How will you react? If you are having a hard time with the World Trade Center catastrophe, then you are not ready for what will take place in the future. It will get worse, according to Jesusóeven the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Matthewís gospel adds something:

"Immediately after the distress of those days" Ďthe 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.í (Matt 24:29)

There is no way to minimize the fearful events Jesus proclaimed would happen. Stars will fall from the sky. It sounds like comets or large meteors. He even says that these events would take place after the distress of those days. As if the distress of those days were not enough, He warns about worse things happeningóso bad that men will faint from terror.

Dissipation

"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)

We not only have to watch out for fear but we have to be careful about dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life. I know most people do not know what the word dissipation means. It means overindulgence. It refers also to overeating because of worry. Do you have a tendency to overeat when you are nervous? That is what He meant. It also means overspending. It is incredible how people deal with worry. Some overeat, some overspend, others just overindulge in other thingsómaybe they saturate themselves in their work; others just stay in bed and oversleep. At any rate, these are the not the ways to handle catastrophes.

So how should we handle cataclysmic events? Jesus gave us the answer:

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)

Praise God! It is totally scriptural to pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen. Some people think is it inevitable that earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and wars will harm all the people on the earth. It wonít. The book of revelation only mentions that one-third of the people will be harmed in the great tribulation. That leaves most of the people free from disaster. We can pray to get rapture or if you believe you will go through the tribulation, you will be protected from the things that will happen.

We need to have faith for the last days. Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Jesus is interested in whether or not we have faith when He comesónot if we have the right eschatology. He wants us to have faith. The opposite of faith is fear. So many believers are running in fear. They do not know what will happen to their lives.

What should we do when horrible things are taking place on the earth? We should preach the gospel to all nations, and that is when the end will come. Yet, many are fleeing from the cities and building barricades and saving stockpiles of food. How is that going to fulfill the great commission? The final sign of the end of the world will not be a comet hitting the earth, nor will it be the third world war. Jesus told us what would be the final sign:

The Final Sign

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:14)

When will the end come? When the gospel is preached as a testimony to all nations. The word testimony means undeniable evidence. In other words, the gospel must be preached with the evidence of signs, wonders, and miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The greater the tribulation, the greater will be our testimony. It wonít happen, though, if we give into fear. We canít hide ourselves in our homes and be afraid to go out and preach the gospel.

"But what about the disasters that can happen to me?" You can pray that you will escape all that is happening. Use your faith and confess protection. God is still in the business of keeping His Word, even if it is the last days. God does not change simply because the last days are here. Peter said, "In the last days, God will pour out His Spirit." God is pouring out His Spirit like never before. However, you must trust Him for protection and that He will empower you to preach the gospel with signs following. Listen to the Psalmist:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah (Ps 46:1-3)

No matter what tragedies may come, we will not fear!

Why is Fear Dangerous?

Why does the Lord caution us about fear? After all the most often repeated command in the Bible is "Fear not." The reason fear is dangerous is because fear brings upon itself what it fears. A famous president once said, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself." It is true: fear is the thing we must avoid.

Fear is not just a distressing emotion; it is the spiritual force of Satanís kingdom. Faith is the force of Godís kingdom. We are saved by faith, we are healed by faith, and we move mountains by faith. Faith attracts Godís blessings to you, yet fear attracts Satanís curses to you. Fear is a force. Remember when Peter walked on the water. He did fine until he was afraid. His fear sank him. Fear is the opposite of faith. "And whatever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). Fear is a sin.

According to the Revelation 21:8, the fearful will be cast into the lake of fire. Fear is that serious! We have to resist it like we would resist any other sin. Yet, many Christians do not even consider it a sin. Yet it is!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7, KJV)

Fear is called a spirit. It is a demon. No Christian wants to have a demon, and yet when you operate in fear, you are demonically inspired. Wow! I know you may not like to hear that, but it is true. How do you overcome fear? There are three forces that help us overcome it when we realize it is present within us. The forces are mentioned in the above verse: power, love and a sound mind.

Power, Love and a Sound Mind

Let us ask an important question: why do we fear? We are afraid because we feel powerless. We feel that we canít change something. We fear because we feel helpless. As long as you have power to change some evil, then fear cannot take over.

The Bible says that we have power to resist the devil, and he will flee from us. We can heal the sick. We can call on our angels for protection. Listen, we do have power. We can overcome evil with good. When you recognize that you have power, then fear cannot stay. Fear cannot coexist with power.

The Bible also says that we have love. The Bible directly shows the correlation between love and fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (I Jn 4:18)

Fear and love cannot coexist either. You either have love or fear. You cannot have both. In this passage, John shows that the person who fears doubts Godís love for him. When you know that God loves you, then you know He will help you, not harm you. We often fear because we believe we deserve punishment. We think God is out to get us. Yet He is out to help us.

Many sermons have given the impression that God causes trouble in the believerís lives. Why do many think that God punishes His children? The reason is because many do not believe in Godís love for them.

I canít speak for you, but I know God loves me. I will not fear that God will punish me. I know the punishment for my sins had already occurred at the cross. God so loved me that Jesus took my place of punishment. I believe my sins have already been punished. So I rely on Godís love for meóthat He will reward and bless me. You need to believe this, too.

Wired for Faith

The one area that fear will attack is the mind. This is why Paul said that we have a sound mind. God did not create your mind to handle fear. Your mind is not wired for fear anymore than you are wired for electricity. Stick a fork in an outlet, and you will discover your body is not wired for electricity. Neither is your mind wired for fear.

I read the story about an underclassman, which went through an initiation for his sorority. They blindfolded him and tied him to the railroad tracks. What he did not know was there was another set of tracks. All he heard was the train coming. As it approached closer and closer he screamed for help. The other men just laughed. Finally after the train passed by, the men went to untie the man, but they found him dead. He died of a heart attack.

Jesus said, "Menís heartís will fail them for fear." You may not die as quickly as this freshman did, but you will experience another kind of death. You will begin to lose courage. Without courage you will never be able to win over your battles. Isaiah prophesied what fear could do. "Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit" (Isa 24:18).

God told Gideon to send home all the men who feared. God knows that fear will bring failure. Itís time that you purpose to live fear-free. Whenever you notice fear in your life, then resist it by quoting the Word of God.

Our heart goes out to the victims and families of the 9/11 tragedy. We are praying for them.

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