The Famine of Agabus

Photo: Stephanie Ricker

THE FAMINE OF AGABUS

Part Two

John J. Blanchard

June 9, 2018

Today will be part two of what we have started.  There may be a part three. I don’t know, but at this point in time we are certainly going to have part two.  If you remember, last week we talked about the wind, the rain, the storms, and the floods. Let’s review that just a little bit.

Last week we covered how huge storms such as hurricanes and cyclones and tornadoes do tremendous damage to people’s shelters, their homes, and to their food supply.  Without prompt aid, those things lead to famines. We also covered the fact that wars can have the same effect. Wars destroy people’s homes and their food supplies, and often lead to famine.  That often leads to disease and pestilence.

Other natural disasters can do the same thing, such as earthquakes and volcanoes.  We see Hawaii is suffering through a volcano that is erupting. It’s putting lava on the ground and destroying people’s homes.  Fortunately, there is aid that can help. If there wasn’t aid in situations like that, we would often see famines come about as a result.

We also covered how false signs and lying wonders can lead to spiritual storms, spiritual wars, spiritual earthquakes and pestilence that lead to famines of a spiritual nature.  That’s what we want to talk more about today. Christ gave us warnings about those sorts of things. Let’s go to Matthew chapter 24. He told us there and in Luke 21 not to pay attention, really, to physical disasters as predictors of His return.

Let’s read Matthew 24 once again.  Matthew 24, starting in verse 3: “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be?  [This is asking a question about the end of the age and His return]. And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ [In the King James Version it says, end of the world.]  And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’”

He says, make sure no one tricks you or deceives you.  Then He goes on to tell you what the deceptions would be.

Matthew 24, verse 5:  “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  [And here is what you’re going to hear, He says.] And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”

FALSE SIGNS OF CHRIST’S RETURN

He said you have always had that, and you are always going to have that until I return and we install the kingdom of God in the Millennium.  He said don’t let any of those things deceive you when people come in My name saying these things. Yet over and over and over again that has happened ever since Christ uttered these words.

These false signs and lying wonders have caused fear and anxiety in mankind for over 2,000 years now.  While they are doing that, now we have all these books that we can print and the movies we can make. They have made a lot of people very wealthy scaring the rest of mankind half out of their wits with these false signs and lying wonders.  It just doesn’t quit. There is so much out there right now. I mentioned a few of the subject titles last week. We don’t want to advertise any more of that stuff. You can go to a book store and look on the shelf. It is just loaded of all kinds of false signs and lying wonders about Christ’s return.

As we discussed last week, Christ did warn about wind and storms.  These are of a spiritual nature. He said make sure you build your house on the rock.  Let’s go to Matthew chapter 7 and reread that. Matthew chapter 7, verse 24: “‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.’ And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

BUILD ON CHRIST

He knew what He was talking about because He is the Creator.  He is telling us here that individually, and also as the body of Christ, we are building a house for Him to dwell in.  Our body, our mind, and our heart, and then all of us collectively as the body of Christ are a house for God. We have studied that subject over and over.  Let’s just look at a couple of Scriptures.

Hebrews chapter 3, verse 1:  “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.  For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

It is undeniable.  We are building a house for God.  But notice, He says, we have to hold fast and firm to the end.  As He said in the parable of the house on the rock, it can fall down.  It can be in a calamitous situation, and great is its fall.

Go back a few pages to Ephesians chapter 2.  It talks to us about coming together to form a house for God.  Ephesians 2, verse 19: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

As Hebrews says, we are a house individually for God.  Together we are building a temple—another home for God as a building built of human stones.  It’s a phenomenal thing to understand, but it turns on its head this whole idea of earthquakes and wind storms breaking down physical homes.   We see the evidence on the news every day.

God here is talking about a spiritual household for Himself, and it must be founded on the rock.  That Rock is Christ. I Corinthians chapter 10. Let’s start in I Corinthians 10, verse 1: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

Christ is the Rock, and we need to be built on the rock, as our individual homes and as a group,  as the temple of God—the body of Christ. Christ warned that that house can fall apart if we are not careful.  It can fall apart, individually if we lose it and don’t hold fast firm to the end, and as a group if we become divided.

We can go to Psalm chapter 18 for an Old Testament Scripture.  Let’s go to Psalm chapter 18, verse 1: “I will love You, O Lord, my strength, the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Christ is our rock.  He is our strength. He is our fortress.  He is our deliverer. We need to build our house and use the faith that we can be blessed with, our confidence firm, to build a home pleasing for Jesus Christ and the Father to dwell in.  Then do it as a group together, not allowing the house to fall apart.

Let’s go back to the parable of the house on the rock in Matthew chapter 7.  We are going to get some of the context here. Just looking at Matthew 7 briefly, He starts in verse 1 with:  “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in our own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

This is the beginning of the chapter where He talks about building your house on the rock.  Judging one another and being hypocritical towards one another can divide the house. It goes on to say, ask and you will receive.  It says narrow is the way. I am just looking at the headings here. We don’t have time to read the entire chapter. I do want to read verses 15-20 which is real close to when He started talking about building our house on the rock.

Matthew chapter 7, verse 15:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

He says here in the same chapter to beware of false prophets, because that is what really tears the house apart.  We will see that as we proceed through the entire sermon.

He says in Matthew 7, verse 21:  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

You can see here lawlessness has to do with tearing the house apart, and also false doctrine, false prophets, and false teachings.  They can even be so deceived that a person can be a deceiver without even realizing it. They can actually approach Christ at His return and say, didn’t I do this good work and that good work and prayed for people and did this and that?  Christ can say, I don’t even know you! It shows you that this is a powerful thing to understand. Something can look really good and divide the body of Christ—tear the home apart—because it’s right after all these things that He goes into saying build your house on the rock.  Build your house on the rock.

Today, as we mentioned in the first segment in this series, there are a lot of false doctrines, a lot of false prophecies, and a lot of false teachings out there.  They are everywhere. They abound! How else could we explain divided Christianity other than the fact that there are too many false doctrines? Otherwise shouldn’t we all be together?  Shouldn’t we all be of one mind? I think so.

Let’s go to Luke chapter 11, verse 14:  “And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute.  So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled.  But some of them said, ‘He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.’ Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.  But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.”

THE DIVIDED HOUSE FELL

He goes on to talk about, is Satan’s kingdom divided?  How could Satan get anything done if his kingdom was divided?  Likewise, we see here Christ’s house should not be divided, or it can fall.  Now He warned in the parable of the house on the rock that if we build our house solid on Him, we can withstand the storms of false doctrines.  We can identify false prophets, false dogma, false religions, and false beliefs. We can keep them at bay. If not, these false teachings can lead to judging one another, tearing the house apart, and then destroying the very house of God.  It can destroy our individual homes as we lose confidence and don’t stay fast to the end.

If you go to I Corinthians, you’ll see another comparison here.  I Corinthians chapter 1, verse 10: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

Paul was feeling horrible about the fact that the church was getting divided by personality.  People were saying, I am going to follow this one or that one. I like either what they say or how they preach or their message better than the other.  He said, is Christ divided? Can we allow the house of God to be torn asunder by personality or by style? He said, no. All speak the same thing. This is the glue that keeps us together as the body of Christ and the house of God.  He says, do not allow these divisions to come in. It’s very dangerous for the household.

If we go back to I Timothy, Paul says there very directly what these false doctrines can be.  I Timothy chapter 4, verse 1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

Our spiritual food is what gives us spiritual strength.  I think that’s the main focus here—good food. But he says food, as we have looked at in the past, is doctrines and teachings and can come either from Jesus Christ and God the Father, or they come from another source.  Here Paul says straight out they are doctrines of demons. That’s how come we can look at Christianity and see this plethora of doctrines in direct opposition to one another. Where did that come from? It did not come from Christ.

How can you have Christians believing in Christmas and Easter, Christians believing in the Passover and the holy days, Christians keeping a Saturday Sabbath, and Christians keeping a Sunday Sabbath, Christians saying any day is the Sabbath, Christians saying the law is done away, and Christians saying the law must be kept?  How can you have this? God is not the author of confusion. Paul says the antidote is to speak the same thing, to be of one mind, stick together, and don’t allow these things to divide the congregation and divide the household of God, or the house can fall.

People say that God’s house can never fall.  Come on! The evidence is there! Just look at all these various groups out there, faiths, and religions.  It’s torn apart, and they have fought physical wars over it. Millions and millions of people have died over doctrine—millions of people.  It can get extremely serious.

Yet we know in II Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God breathed.  It is God ordained. It is good for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  We know that Scripture by heart. The Scripture is the word of God—His wind, His God-breathed words for us. That’s a spiritual comparison to a physical breath.  We have looked at the gospel of John chapter 20 where Christ said, receive the Holy Spirit. He then breathed on the disciples. We know that’s a divine wind that’s beautiful.  But Christ also warned that storms, tempests, and floods can beat against the house, destroy the house, and lead to famine.

False doctrines lead to famine.  People aren’t getting good food. For 2,000 years the church has endured storm after storm after storm.  We have seen one faith after another to come on the scene fighting with the previous one. It started a few hundred years after Christ’s death.  We had the Catholic Church rise up, and then certain men started seeing that it didn’t square with Scripture, so many various denominations started at war with the Catholic Church and at war with each other.  It made this continual wave of doctrinal fighting for the last couple thousand years. They have been terrible storms, but it has led to an enormous famine. God prophesied about that.

Let’s go to Amos chapter 8, verse 11:  “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.  They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins and strong young men shall faint from thirst.’”

He is talking about spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst.  We see the physical comparison of wars and division leading to famine.  We can see all these internecine warfares between various faiths and religions and dissonant beliefs tearing at the fabric of Christianity spiritually.  It pitted brother against brother and sister against sister and literally drove the truth underground, so that people couldn’t find it. People couldn’t find it.  It was hidden! As we continue in the sermon we’ll see God said that was going to happen, too.

The Holy Spirit warned the early Church that there was going to be a big famine.  That’s why last week I showed you a list of famines from a couple hundred B.C., right up until the last century.  There was no big famine around the time of Christ. There was no big famine at the time of the early Church, as far as a physical famine, but there is a prophecy about a famine for the early Church.   There is a prophecy. We have to determine what happened, but before that, let’s get a little bit of background.

Let’s go to Acts chapter 10.  Beginning in verse 9 is Peter’s famous vision.  We’re going to read portions of this and not read the whole thing.  We’ll just get it fresh in our mind, to get some background information.  Peter had this vision to open up salvation to the Gentiles.

Acts 10, starting in verse 9:  “The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.  Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.  In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’  And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.”

Notice he was told to kill and eat.  He said, no, I can’t. That’s unclean.  As the story continues, we can drop down to verse 17.

Acts 10, verse 17:  “Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.”

Cornelius, a centurion, had sent people because he also had been visited and was told to see Peter and send representatives.

Acts 10, verse 18:  “And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.  While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are seeking you.  Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.’ Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, ‘Yes, I am he whom you seek.  For what reason have you come?’ And they said, ‘Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.’  Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.”

Dropping down to verse 34 of Acts 10:  “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’”

He is talking to Cornelius and his group there.

Verse 35:  “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.  The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all…”

Peter had this tremendous revelation from God that all mankind can be saved.  People take it there and run off with it. Anybody can do anything they want now!  They can receive the Holy Spirit, be baptized, and be saved, just come as you are, as we have spoken of in the past.  But righteousness depends upon keeping the commandments. We have looked at those verses many times. Jesus Christ said, if you love Me, keep My commandments.  We are just going to look at one, and then we’re going to come back to this idea in just a moment about the food.

Let’s go to John.  Keep your finger in Acts.  Let’s go to John chapter 14, verse 19, where Christ is speaking here:  “‘A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me.  Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.’  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’”

He said, if you keep My commandments, the Father and I will dwell in you.  You will be Our house. People like to talk about that—receiving the Holy Spirit, but they drop off the fact that they have to keep the commandments.  We have to be willing to obey Him. That’s how we judge what’s righteous.

If you notice, he started off this little segment by saying, the world will see Me no more, because He knew a famine was coming—a famine of the word.  But the Church itself, a small persecuted group, would be fed and would be a household for God. There’s a lot in this.

Let’s go back to Acts chapter 10 when salvation is getting opened up to the Gentiles.  Acts 10, verse 13: “And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’” What was he to kill?  He was to kill the unclean animals. This is a spiritual comparison.

I am not speaking specifically about human beings.  Don’t get me wrong here. But the idea of the unclean to come in as they were, they had to clean up and be righteous.  When we die in Christ, we are crucified with Him. When a person of any Gentile group anywhere wants to become Christian, they die in Christ.  They are crucified with Christ, and His blood covers their sins. They must be cleansed.

This is the big deal here, and you will see in a moment there is a prophecy that was warning that once this is opened up to the world, it’s going to be hard to keep the evil out and keep the paganism out.

In this same section of Scripture, there is an amazing thing that happens.  We are talking about the same story here in chapter 11. Acts 11, verse 1: “Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.  And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him…”

This started a conundrum in the Church about circumcision, but Peter went on to recount the dream—the vision that he had when he was in the trance.  When he recounted, he said, I see that God shows no partiality. Salvation has opened up to the world. Yet, Christ said the world will not find Him, because it wasn’t opened up to everybody in the world.  It was opened up to those who would become firstfruits. It’s a small group, but the firstfruits could be composed of people from the world.

Now let’s go down to verse 19 of Acts 11:  “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.”

There was a persecution that scattered the believers.

Continuing in verse 20 of Acts 11:  “But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.  When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

That’s the first reference to the believers as Christians—followers of Christ.  It started right there in Antioch with this whole idea of this vision with Peter, accepting of Gentiles and preaching the word to the Gentiles.  The Church started to grow like wildfire! Right at that point in time when the Church started to grow like wild fire, an interesting thing happens in verse 27.

Acts 11, verse 27:  “And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.  Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine [in the King James Version, a great dearth] throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.  Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”

A FAMINE OF THE WORD

There was no great physical famine in the whole world.  There has not been a worldwide famine actually since. The only reference I could find that was a worldwide famine was over 4,000 years ago.  If this is a true prophecy, and it was, what was being talked about here? It was a famine of the word.

They went to support the apostles at Jerusalem to get the word out as quickly as possible.  They wanted to get the food out to as many as possible before the famine would hit, because once the famine hit, you’re not going to be able to figure out without God’s help who Christians really are.  So many groups are going to be called Christian, with so many doctrines, with so much false food, it will be nearly impossible to figure out who’s who. This is why Christ said, don’t be deceived by what people who come in My name would say.

They will be preaching of wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilence.  None of that has to do with My return. There are types of those things, but they are spiritual.  They hit the house, and those who were not building their house on the rock got deceived, tricked, fooled, and formed various denominations and faiths around the world, each calling themselves Christian.  In many cases they were willing to kill each other over it, thinking they were special and had the only corner or angle on the truth.

I have titled this sermon, The Famine of Agabus, and it has been going on for 2,000 years.  When the Gentiles entered, Agabus was warning Peter and the disciples that there would be so much false doctrine coming in, we have to be on guard and fight it continually or we will have a big famine.  He said, I see that’s what’s going to happen. There will be a huge famine of the word. Eventually that’s exactly what happened. The law itself—the Ten Commandments—got thrown out or changed. The Sabbath day was switched.  The holy days were switched for pagan days. Divisions entered the Church to the point where people were put at the stake and burned if they tried to keep the Sabbath or tried to keep the commandments. They were put to death by very famous people like Martin Luther.

There were horrible divisions throughout Christianity.  As a matter of fact, the Nazi plague of the twentieth century had much to do with the original doctrines and teachings of Luther, so to this day, to the very recent past, there were wars and rumors of wars that physically were based on false spiritual doctrines.

I want to read to you a little segment of a book, The Story of the Christian Church by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut.  I am turning to page 33, because he says something very interesting here.  This particular chapter is called The Age of Shadows. It’s chapter five.

“We name the last generation of the first century, from 68 to 100 A.D., “The Age of Shadows,”  partly because the gloom of persecution was over the Church [which we just read in the Scriptures], but more especially because of all periods in the history, it is the one about which we know the least.  We have no longer the clear light of the Book of Acts to guide us; and no author of that age has filled the blank in the history. We would like to read of the later work by such helpers of St. Paul as Timothy, Apollos, and Titus, but all these and St. Paul’s other friends drop out of the record at his death.  For fifty years after St. Paul’s life a curtain hangs over the church through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul.”

When the veil rises, the Church is very different within one century after Christ’s death.  People are arguing about what day is the Sabbath, should we keep the laws of God, can we bring in statues into our places of worship?  On and on it goes. False doctrines got argued about until some group came to supremacy, and in combination with Constantine of Rome, forced a faith on the people.  They persecuted the people who were trying to keep God’s truth, hence the famine got worse and worse.

But there is a small group that is hard to identify throughout history, just like Hurlbut said.  We know from Revelation that there would be a group that was fed, they would be His bride, it would be a woman.

Revelation chapter 12, verse 13:  “Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.  But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood [that’s a storm]. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.  And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

We have the prophesies of Christ to keep the law.  Satan has always hated God’s laws. He is the lawless one.  But we have this promise of a small persecuted Church, hidden in the wilderness, who will be fed.  That is spiritual food, brethren. It is spiritual food and water, the nourishment you need to survive.  Like Christ said, the world will not find you.

There will be a famine of the word.  People will run to and fro. They will go from mainstream church to mainstream church, to dogma to dogma, and still not find the truth, but in a miraculous way, it would survive.  The truth would survive, hidden away until the last days. Then there will be an earthquake. It will be an earthquake in mankind that will shake people’s beliefs to the core.

God’s wind will blow around the earth in such a way that people will receive in their mind the drawing from the Father to Jesus Christ, so they will understand how Satan has deceived them.  Remember Ephesian 6 says our war is not with people or other denominations. Our war is with Satan and the hosts of heaven, with wicked spirits in high places. They are the true deceivers.

TRUTH WILL SHAKE THE EARTH

Revelation chapter 16, verse 17:  “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’  And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.  Now the great city was divided into three parts and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.  Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

He goes on to talk about a hail storm, which is speaking of a spiritual destruction of the lies that have come upon mankind.  This is an earthquake that has never happened before. This is an earthquake in human beings. We are stones. We are dirt. We are earth.  These will be ideas that shake the earth in a way that it has never been shaken before—to wipe away all of the deception, so that we can have an innumerable multitude rise up as a mountain of God, as Daniel said.  It will be a mountain that starts with a single stone.

We have books and all kinds of Bible studies and sermons about Satan’s mountains and how they will fall and God’s mountain will rise.  The kingdom of God will rise.

The word “earthquake” is seismos (#4578, Strong’s Concordance, 1995 edition), which means a commotion of the air, a gale of the ground, an earthquake.  It can be translated a tempest. It comes from the word seio (#4579, Strong’s Concordance, 1995 edition), which means to rock, to agitate, to cause to tremble, to throw into a tremor of fear and confusion.

People will be afraid as they see the tenets they believed in fall apart.  They were willing to kill and die over them. The other non-Christian faiths were willing to kill and die because of their religion, too.  They are going to have a comeuppance as well. You don’t go around killing people because they don’t see things exactly the way you do. You wait for God to open their minds for the truth, and the truth would be based on the word of God—upon His divine wind.  It won’t be upon prophets who came after Christ.

Christ was the last prophet to prophesy as far as prophesying for the future.  He and the apostles were the last. The writings of the Bible are complete. We are not to add to them or take away.  A prophet can mean teacher, and that’s different. No one should be writing any prophecies anymore, not since Christ and the apostles.

False doctrines will fall when Satan’s hosts fall and his deceptions are done away with.  Man is made of the earth, and this truth will shake mankind like an earthquake. That will lead to the ending of the famine.  Food will abound.

Let’s go to Revelation chapter 7, verse 9:  “After these thing I looked and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’  All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’”

Verse 13:  “Then one of the elders answered saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’  And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

The famine is over at this point.  With the conversion of the world, the famine ends—the famine of Agabus.  The Church will not be just a small group hidden in the wilderness receiving God’s truth hidden from the world.  The world will receive the truth.

All these artificial divisions and the hatred between the groups, between various religions and denominations will end.  There will be peace, and we will have a beautiful Millennium on the earth. We’re getting very close to that time, but the world needs to wake up yet to let the wind of God, the breath of God, the truth of God, the word of God into their minds and hearts and respond to it.  That’s a miracle of God working in mankind, the dust of the earth. We are on the verge of that beginning, brethren, but we have to hold fast firm until the end. Don’t let our individual houses get shaken off the foundation or worse yet the house of God collectively, the Church, fall apart.  There’s been enough destruction of the house of God over the last 2,000 years. We don’t need anymore.

With that, brethren, pray that the world will soon wake up to the truth of God and get the spiritual food and water that they need to become the innumerable multitude.