Report From The Tower
If you believe the words of Jesus, He maintained that every single member of the bride of Christ: all the virgins, will be asleep when He returns (Matthew 25:5). Yet, someone around here must remain awake for there is this voice that rings out suddenly at midnight that has been tagged with the moniker "The Midnight Cry". One cries out "Behold, The Bridegroom Cometh". Now, if 100% of the bride is asleep, who is making that cry? My old friend Bob Neumann pointed it out to me some years back that the prophet, who is a watchman, is not, in a strictly speaking biblical sense, part of the bride of Christ. The prophets are revealed by John the Baptist in John 3:29 to be the "friend of the bridegroom". Now some argue this as having application only to the prophets who lived up to and prior to John. Nevertheless, someone has to remain awake, unless you believe that the midnight cry originates in heaven or through some other supernatural means. I take it that the prophets, the watchmen, remain awake. They are not appointed to sleep prior to the Lord's return, as EVERY member of the bride is appointed to do.
So, sleeping is a prerequisite. All must do it. No one believes they are sleeping. No one will even admit that they might be in danger of falling asleep, yet everyone is appointed to sleep. We are, of course, speaking of spiritual sleep and slumber. Those who sleep do so in the night and in darkness (1 Thess 5:7). There is a time prophesied when deep darkness will cover the entire Earth and gross darkness the people (Isa 60:2) That prophet admonished those who discerned that covering darkness to Arise, Shine; for thy light is come. So, there seems a conflict here. Will this be a time of darkness like no other time of darkness, for, apparently, Isaiah foresaw the falling of darkness that would cover the whole Earth when a contrary response was to be made by God's people. Jesus, however, saw a deep darkness that would fall and all of His people; His followers; His disciples, would all sleep. So, what is different? Are human beings different now than they were in previous times of deep darkness? It is doubtful. So, it must be a thing done by the hand of God. God allows His people to all fall asleep. He does not ring the spiritual alarm early at this time. There is apparently no time left to display the glory that Isaiah speaks about. Nevertheless, those virgins are accounted wise who had purchased extra oil and who had prepared for the long wait for the bridegroom that lasted deep into the darkness.
What of these sleeping disciples? It seems to me that five of the ten sleeping virgins are disciples and five are not. What does spiritual sleep look like? Jesus called his disciples sleepers when they could not remain awake to pray with Him an hour at His urging, so prayerlessness appears to be one facet of spiritual sleep. Certainly, one cannot watch and sleep at the same time, so the day of the Lord comes upon the sleeper as a thief in the night. Sloth, sleep and poverty are linked in Pro 19 and 20. Isaiah said that a deep sleep could be sent by the Lord and would cover the eyes of the seers and the prophets, so apparently, prophets are not immune from spiritual sleep, yet we prophets know that as we see the day of the Lord approaching, it is critical that someone of us remain awake. 1 Thess 5:6 casts spiritual sleep as being the exact opposite of being watchful and sober. So, you get the picture here! When we are spiritually sleeping, we are ignoring those spiritual activities that keep us alert and strong in the Lord and the power of His might: prayer, fasting, worship, rising early and time spent in God's word. We may be in a downward spiral where we have not totally discontinued these things, but we are allocating less and less time to these spiritual pursuits. And so, over time, our relationship with God: our alertness and our watchfulness, is eroded, a little at a time. We do not care about the things of the Lord with quite the same passion that we once did. Our fire has dimmed. We do not check for new prophecies, nor do we care if any have come forth. We slack off in our fellowship. We worship with lesser passion. In short, we become lukewarm, and we know full well what Jesus might do with us when we reach that point.
I look around right now and I see a sleeping bride. All the virgins are snoring and the prophets are having a hard time staying awake. Those who know me make fun of my driving exploits, saying that I would drive anywhere in the world if a road went there. I disdain flying. Part of my driving has involved long times behind the wheel where I have frequently employed such odd tactics as slapping myself in the face (hard) and splashing water on my face as well while behind the wheel. Dr. Zacharias Fomun told us that he used to put his feet in ice water when the Lord called him to arise especially early for a time of prayer. In short, we sometimes have to employ extraordinary measures to avoid natural sleep. We may have to do the same to avoid the spiritual equivalent.
We know the day of the Lord will arise during such a time of spiritual slumber. During the last two weeks, these events have occurred, while we were sleeping:
I present these points to you and I make the following observations about various scriptures that reference the day of the Lord. Are we sleepers getting close now?
All in all, it is high time to wake up and watch if you are able to slap yourself to wakefulness. Take off every thing of pollution and remove those things that hinder you out of the way and run the race to win, for there are signs that we may very well be nearing the finish line of this race.
Stephen L. Bening
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