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Prophecy: While We Were Sleeping
October 6, 2015

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The popular "Christian" music song by "Casting Crowns" from some years back tells the story of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of a distance. The writer looks back at a nation that "had no room for it's King" and a nation that was sleeping. Then, after a pause and a noticeable quieting in the background music, the singer changes course. He then sings the words "United States of America...looks like another silent night." And, so continues the parallel between the USA and Jerusalem as the question is asked, "America, will we be sleeping" and will we be another nation that has no room for it's King?

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:

  • Russia (Gog, Meshech-Moscow, Tubal-Tobolsk) has begun bombing in Syria and has moved many warplanes there.
  • Iran (Persia) has said they will imminently commence ground troop operations in Syria, working in concert with the Russians.
  • China (Kings of the East) has said she will assist Russia and Iran in the Syrian military operations.
  • Russia has moved a Typhoon Class (Red October) Submarine, the largest submarine in the world, that carries 20 missiles, each capable of carrying as many as ten nuclear warheads each, off the coast of Syria.
  • Russia has announced they will be sending 150,000 of their special forces troops (Spetznatz) to Syria.
  • Russia has announced they are calling for a draft of 150,000 additional Russian Soldiers.
  • Russia has reported that in their first week of bombing runs, they have destroyed an ISIS command center and that they have ISIS on the run; on the ropes.
  • Syria has accused Israel of providing assistance to ISIS.
  • Many voices are being raised, hailing Russia as the savior of the Middle East.
  • NATO airspace was just violated by Russian Warplanes, intruding into Turkish airspace.
  • All of these things began to happen after the fourth blood red moon occurred at the start of the Feast of Tabernacles of 2015.

    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?

  • Damascus, Syria is 135 miles from Jerusalem, Israel. That is almost the same distance between Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC
  • Ezekiel 38 could only have been fulfilled after the "Gog" invader had been reduced in some way to one-sixth 1/6 of it's former size or strength. The Soviet Union, at it's height, occupied 22,402,200 sq km. Russia's land area is 17,075,400 sq km, or 76%: more than 3/4 of the area of the former Soviet Union. Obviously, the prophecy, if it refers to Russia, cannot reference land area. Militarily, the comparison is appropriate however. In every sense of gauging the size of a military, except for the number of nuclear weapons, the Russian military is less than one-sixth as strong as that of the Soviet Union was in 1986. Russian Military Comparisons This means that now, and only now, has Ezekiel 38 begun to be in play and on deck for possible fulfillment.
  • Revelation 16:14 says that all the kings of the Earth and of the whole world will gather at the place called Armageddon. This is almost certainly located near Meggido in the north of Israel, some 80 miles from Damascus, Syria. All of the armies of the world will some day gather to that location. Today, Israel and America stand politically against the entire world, yet no other non-Muslim nations have arisen militarily against Israel...yet. What might motivate them to invade Israel? Several nations now have their military assets less than 100 miles from the North of Israel. Is it not becoming increasingly clear that America and her allies have not been trying very hard to defeat ISIS for almost the entire four year duration of the Syrian war? What if it can be proven that Israel and America have been aiding, supplying and helping ISIS?
  • Isaiah 17 references a time when Damascus, Syria shall be taken away from being a city. Verse 2 says that the cities of Aroer (Cities in Northern Israel) are also forsaken. This is just a few dozen miles from Meggido. Verse 13 tells us this happens when the nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters. This language evokes thoughts and images of Revelation 16:14 and the Armageddon invasion. Watch the other nations that are mentioned in Ezekiel 38: Put (Libya), Ethiopia and Gomer. The identity of Gomer is much in dispute, but it may include either greater North Africa or greater Turkey.
  • Please remember that God will not raise a hand to help Israel against all the nations of the world until the army, led by Gog, invades Israel, along with all the other nations in his consortium. They will invade and be in the land with all their weapons. Then and only then will God arise and magnify Himself. (Eze 38:21-23)
  • Also, at this time, God will also send a fire upon those that "dwell carelessly in the Isles". (Eze 39:6) Can this be speaking of any other nation than America?

    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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