Having Had Mercy, Have Mercy!
- 2011-10-20 18:30 | Chris McCann
We are living in a most unusual time. On May 21, of 2011, mankind entered into the Day of Judgment. This “day” will last for 5 months (153 days) until October 21, 2011. The Bible is teaching us that this period of time is Judgment Day!
The Completion of God's Salvation Plan
The Bible declares that it was God’s plan to save 200 million people out of all those who would ever live upon the earth. Just prior to May 21 of this year, God finished the work of applying the redemption Christ had purchased for His people before the foundation of the world. Just prior to May 21, 2011, the Lord finished saving all of those whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life. This act of God in finding all of His lost sheep and then finally gathering them and leading them safely into the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd was accomplished right before May 21. On May 21, God then shut the door to heaven, also known as the door to the sheepfold:
John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
John 10:7-9 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
May 21, 2011 also happened to be the 17th day of the 2nd Hebrew month. And that was the equivalent date to the beginning of the flood of Noah’s day 7000 years earlier:
Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
Genesis 7:16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
God shut the door to the sheepfold after finding the last lost sheep. Another way of saying the same thing is that God shut the door (Christ) to heaven on May 21, the beginning of Judgment Day! Once the door shut, it cannot ever open again for a sinner to become saved and enter in.
Sadly, as we have earnestly studied the Bible over these five months, we have found verse after verse that supports and strengthens the conclusion that the Lord is no longer saving sinners. He has finished that glorious work.
Does this mean that we are no longer to pray for people’s salvation? No! It doesn’t mean that at all. Some have misunderstood or mischaracterized the teaching of the Bible at this time to indicate that we’re teaching that man should no longer beseech the Lord for mercy. This is not true. God encourages us to cry to Him for mercy. He actually has given us a parable specifically designed to encourage people to go to Him and pray for themselves and others during this five-month period of time (Lord willing, we’ll take a look at that parable a little later).
May people pray for God’s mercy in granting them salvation at this time? Yes. But, the manner in which individuals approach God beseeching Him for His mercy ought to be carefully considered.
This is nothing new really. All throughout history, the Lord was pleased when men approached Him in a right way. That is, when a person went to God on God’s terms, correctly understanding that there was nothing he or she could do to get themselves saved, and also understood that God had predestinated an elect company of people before the world began to become saved.
Armed with this knowledge, individuals boldly approached God’s holy throne and asked Him to graciously save them, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they, too, might be numbered amongst one of those elect whose names were recorded in the Lamb’s book of life.
In other words, these people that approached God in such a humble manner were recognizing that it was necessary for their present request (of salvation) to fit into God’s overall plan and past action of actually saving all those whom He had made provision for in Christ.
The salvation of men throughout history has always been dependent upon a past action. This past action of God was finished before the world was created:
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
True believers have always prayed that their children, or other family members, or their neighbors, or anyone they happened to meet in their lives might be counted amongst the elect people of God for whom Christ had already made payment and finished the faithful work of dying for their sins before this world began. “O may it be,” the child of God has cried to the Lord, “that Christ might have died for my poor son’s sins? O Father, could it be that my daughter might be one of those few who have been predestinated to your wonderful salvation?”
God’s people have long been aware of this verse in the book of Ephesians, chapter 1:
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Of course, many in the churches do not understand election and therefore do not teach these things. However, the failure of understanding election is a crucial mistake. Failing to understand this doctrine has led untold numbers of individuals and churches into the path of a works gospel. That is, many have developed doctrines that teach that it is up to man to accept Christ and bring salvation to one’s self.
The Bible will not allow for this type of understanding. God is very jealous of the truth that He is to get all the glory in the matter of salvation. The following verse in the book of Galatians, chapter 2, shows exactly how it was that God saved sinful people:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
After reading this verse, we come to realize that baptism never saved anyone. Partaking of the Lord’s table never saved anyone. Giving to the Lord’s work never saved anyone. Accepting Christ never saved anyone. Any type of action on man’s part is insignificant of itself. All actions of obedience or attempted obedience to the law of God are defined by God as a work and, therefore, these actions are unable to justify any man.
The only way a sinner can have his sins forgiven and get right with God is through the action of Christ’s faithfulness in dying and paying for that person’s sins. No man can ever get right with God through any action of his own. And, the important thing for us to remember is that Christ’s action of justifying His people is a past action. It was not done yesterday. It was not done even a thousand years ago. As a matter of fact, it was accomplished before time itself, before God created the sun, the moon, and the stars to keep track of times and seasons. The people of God have always been required (by the Bible’s teaching) to look back into the far reaches of the past in order to understand the salvation of God.
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The Lord’s long past work of salvation is also why Jesus made the following statement in the gospel of Matthew:
Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The King James translation is the best English translation there is. The translators did an outstanding work, for the most part. However, there are a few instances where they could have better translated a word or a passage. This is one instance. The better translation of this verse would read as follows:
”…whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall having been bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall having been loosed in heaven.”
The Greek tense is important here because it indicates that the prior action of binding and loosing (which has everything to do with the gospel that sets spiritually bound sinners loose from their sins) is an action that took place in heaven. Of course, the rest of the Bible reveals to us that that action was the work of Christ done on behalf of His elect people before the world began.
God's Application of Redemption
Some may question why it was necessary for believers to carry the gospel into the world if all the work of salvation was finished long ago? The answer to this question is that while it is true that Jesus paid the penalty for sin before the foundation of the world (see Revelation 13:8), it was still necessary for God’s messengers to carry the Bible’s information concerning the gospel to mankind in order that the Lord might apply His work of grace to those He had elected to become saved. That is, even though Christ chose all those whom He intended to save before the world began, and even though Christ died for their sins before the world began, there was still the necessity of applying the Word of God to the hearts of these chosen people according to the perfect timetable of God. This is explained in Galatians, chapter 4:
Galations 4:3-5 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
One way of viewing the entire history of the world (up until May 21 of 2011) is by looking at it as the time period in which God was applying the words of the Bible to the hearts of the elect unto salvation.
All over the world, in every generation God’s elect people were born and lived their lives. Since Christ had died for their sins before time, He had obligated Himself to save them at some point during their lifetime before they died. At times, God saved an elect person early in life (John the Baptist was saved in the womb for example); or, at other times, God saved an elect person late in life (the thief on the cross was saved at the last moments of his life). Either way, it was guaranteed that the one whose sins were already forgiven could not die unsaved. Through the act of paying for their sins, God guaranteed that He would save them at some point before their lives ended.
The Great Multitude Saved out of Great Tribulation
The Lord saved His people throughout history in every generation, but the Bible also reveals to us that God’s application of salvation towards people of the Old Testament and towards people alive during the days of the New Testament church age was not as great or as widespread as we might have thought.
A careful examination of the Bible shows that relatively few people became saved for the first 13,000 years of earth’s history. We do not have actual figures but we can estimate that perhaps several million became saved leading up to the end of the church age in 1988 A.D.
It was during that year that God began judging the churches and congregations of the world. The Bible identifies this time as a time of “great tribulation.” We read of this time period in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 24:
Matthew 24:20-21 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
The Bible teaches us that the great tribulation period would last for 23 years. On May 21, 1988, the church age ended and the great tribulation started. It continued for 23 complete years and ended on May 21, 2011. Judgment Day began at this point and we are presently within the five-month period of judgment that Revelation chapter 9 describes.
May 21, 2011 not only ended the great tribulation period but it also ended God’s work of applying salvation to His elect people. It was no accident that the message of “May 21—Judgment Day!” spread across the face of the earth and people from all nations heard this declaration of judgment coming from the Bible. It was God’s plan to send one final warning to mankind from His Word. Through the sending forth of this message, the Lord would bring His Word to the ears of men everywhere on earth. This was vitally important because the Bible tells us that it is through the hearing of the Bible that people were able to become saved:
Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the
feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
God poured out His Word in a glorious way. The message of judgment coming from the Bible was carried via radio, internet, literature, messengers of the gospel on tract trips, and by word of mouth from person to person. Billboards and various sorts of advertising went up in nation after nation. The news media of many countries began to cover this unusual story of an approaching Judgment Day!
Through these means (and probably many other we have no knowledge of), the God of the Bible blew the trumpet and warned the people. Also included in the message broadcasted to the world was that the door to heaven would be shutting. May 21, 2011 would be the last day for a sinner to get right with God. God used this warning tremendously and saved a vast number of people. We are not hoping that was the case. We know it was from what we read in the Bible. In the book of Revelation, chapter 7, it says:
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Revelation 7:13-14 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes?
and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
We see from this passage in Revelation 7 that God saved a great multitude of people “out of great tribulation.” Again, the great tribulation ended on May 21, 2011. It was prior to that point that God saved the great multitude referred to in Revelation 7. We now know the following facts:
- May 21, 1988—The 13,000th year of this earth’s existence; God began a 23-year judgment on the churches known as great tribulation.
- May 21, 2011—God ended the 23-year judgment on the churches/great tribulation ended.
- May 21, 2011—God finished saving the great multitude out of great tribulation.
- May 21, 2011—God finished His work of applying redemption (salvation) to the elect. All the elect were now sealed.
- May 21, 2011—God began Judgment on the whole world for five months.
- October 21, 2011—God completes the five months of judgment on the world.
New Born Lambs All Over the Earth
The Bible tells us about its own incredible spiritual power in many places, but one place in particular stands out as an apt description of the Bible’s ability to change the hearts of men. This verse is found in the book of Hebrews, in chapter 4:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…
The English word “quick” is an Old English word that means alive or living. The Bible’s pages or the physical bound volume are not living at all. They are simply ordinary paper and ink; but spiritually, the Bible’s words are alive. And, since these words are spiritually alive, they have the power to bring spiritually dead sinners to life.
God has established this as the way in which He would save His elect people. He sent forth His Word into the world and it fell on the hearts of men. According to the Lord’s own timing for each individual and according to His own good pleasure, He blessed the seed of His Word sown on an elect sinner’s heart and made them a new heart. This is how God made people born again.
Since the entire Bible is spiritually alive, it did not require that a great deal or even much of the Bible be heard in order to bring the spark of spiritual life to the dead sinner. We read of this aspect of the Word of God in 2 Timothy, chapter 3:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
All Scripture—the entire Bible—is God-breathed and able to bring life to the spiritually dead. This is why when the news concerning Judgment Day coming on the date of May 21 spread all over the nations, God was able to do a glorious work of salvation. Of course, the language of Judgment Day comes right out of the Bible. The Lord used this terrible information to save the great multitude of people, from, as Revelation 7:9 says:
”…all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues…”
Mankind heard the Word of God and God blessed His Word to quicken the remaining ones of His elect. He completed His saving work. All those whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life became saved at some point prior to May 21.
This leads us to the realization that there are now scores and scores of people all over the world who have become saved and are spiritually as newborn sheep. Many of them know little to nothing about the Bible. There is no way for the more knowledgeable true believers to know which person/s out there in the world God saved prior to May 21, and which person/s out there in the world did not become saved (the only exception to this would be those who remained in their churches).
The Lord wonderfully saved tens of millions of people. He saved His best work of salvation for the very last. All the child of God can know is that God saved many people across the face of the earth. But, we cannot know if, perhaps, one of those whom God saved might be in our own family; or, perhaps our neighbor; or, our co-worker. This information is critical at this time to our understanding of how to approach God in prayer for our loved ones and for others whom we desire the very best for.
Trouble Me Not: The Door Is Now Shut!
Let’s return to our original discussion. Yes, it is true that the Bible is declaring at this time that God has completed His salvation plan, in the sense that the last of the elect have had Christ’s atoning work applied to their hearts and they have indeed become born again. This glorious event took place sometime just prior to May 21, 2011.
While it is true that God has finished saving people at this time, it is not true that as a result of this grand act that the Lord would no longer have us to pray for mercy either for ourselves or for others. As a matter of fact, God specifically encourages us to go to Him in prayer during this five-month period of judgment in the parable of the man going to his friend at midnight:
Luke 11:5-8 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight,
and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
There are a few elements in this parable that tie it in very directly with the Day of Judgment. For instance, the man goes to request bread from his friend at “midnight”. Midnight is used as a figure of Judgment Day in the book of Exodus:
Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
We see that it was at midnight that the Lord brought judgment upon Pharaoh (type of Satan) and Egypt (type of the world). Also, notice what else is stated by the man’s friend within the house in Luke 11’s parable:
“Trouble me not: the door is now shut…”
The “friend” within the house is a picture of God Himself. Due to the lateness of the hour (midnight), he has gone to bed and “shut” the door.
We saw earlier that May 21, 2011 was the 17th day of the 2nd Hebrew month, the equivalent date to when the flood began 7000 years earlier and when God shut Noah and his family within the ark. The act of shutting the door to Noah’s ark guaranteed the safety of all the passengers within, but it also guaranteed the destruction of all with the breath of life without.
On May 21 of this year, God shut the spiritual (that is unseen) door to heaven. Luke 11’s statement by the man’s friend within the house fits perfectly with what spiritually took place on the Day of Judgment. It is as if God (the friend within the house) is saying to the friend visiting at such a late hour: “Look, don’t you know that it is now Judgment Day! That the day of salvation has come and gone! That I am no longer saving people! Can’t you see that the door to heaven is shut at this time?”
Furthermore, the friend within the house makes one more statement that fits exceedingly well with our present understanding of our spiritual circumstances:
”…and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.”
The Bible refers to God as the believers’ Father. In many places, God speaks of those He saves as His children:
Galatians 4:5-6 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Actually, the truth that God is His people’s “heavenly Father” is pointed out a little further down in the same chapter of Luke 11:
Luke 11:11-13 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish,
will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
We can see then the implication of what we have read in Luke 11:7. “My children are with me in bed” by itself would not lead us to draw much of a conclusion; but once we take note that the time is midnight and that the door is now shut, we then realize that, of course, God has finished His salvation plan and has gathered all of His elect children. All are safely with Him in His bedchamber for this five- month period of time:
Isaiah 26:20-21 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide
thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
This is all describing a spiritual reality. God’s elect are still physically wherever they happen to be in the world; but spiritually, He has gathered them all together by the act of saving them and He has brought them into His bedchamber—awaiting the very last day (October 21, 2011).
The Past Action of the Application of Redemption
We saw earlier in our study that the children of God have always been directed by God to look back into time past (before the foundation of the world) in order to rightly understand God’s salvation program.
The Lord chose His people before this world began. He also took upon Himself their sins and died for them before the world began. This information that the election of all those chosen to salvation was a completed past action never hindered God’s people in any age from praying for others in order that that past action might be applied to their family and others.
Our present situation of God having already saved all of the elect has not changed this backward looking of God’s people at all. The only difference is that in addition to properly recognizing that the Lord has chosen and paid for the sins of His elect before the world began, we now include the information that the application of that redemption has now been applied. God applied what Christ had done for His people to all of the elect prior to May 21, of 2011.
In recognition of the Day of Judgment, we now look back beyond May 21 and realize that all to be redeemed were redeemed before that day. Yes it is a past action, but this is in keeping with all of God’s saving work being a past action. We still do not know which ones became saved and which ones did not; therefore, we can continue to pray for each person we encounter.
Returning to our parable in Luke 11, we can say that we have found the following information:
a. It is midnight (Judgment Day!) b. The door is shut (No more salvation is taking place) c. All of the friend’s children are with him in bed (God has saved the last of the elect)
If the parable ended here, we might be able to come to the conclusion, as some have been saying, that we are not to pray for mercy or for the salvation of others at this time. However, the Lord Jesus goes on to make one last remarkable statement concerning this parable of the friend requesting bread at midnight. Let’s read on:
Luke 11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
Before we go on to explain what the Lord is teaching here, we first need to understand some things about this request for loaves of bread. We must understand this request in the light of all the other information that this parable gives us and in the light of all of the other information that the Bible itself gives us concerning the Day of Judgment.
We know so far that the parable’s information is aligning perfectly and harmonizing with all of the information from the rest of the Bible that once God brings judgment He will have completed His plan of saving all those predestinated to become saved from before the foundation of the world.
Since the friend within the house is saying that all of his children are now with him in bed, spiritually, this is declaring that there are no more sons or daughters of God to be found out there in the world. Therefore, as we look for the spiritual meaning of the request for three loaves, we must realize that the request for bread at that late hour is not and cannot be a request that involves the Lord granting salvation to save a person that is not saved. We know this is not possible during the five months of torment that have come upon the earth.
The Bible indicates in Revelation 22 that the spiritual condition that a person is found in upon entering the Day of Judgment is the same spiritual condition that person will remain in:
Revelation 22:10-12 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time
is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Once we correctly understand the spiritual circumstances of the Day of Judgment, we quickly begin to realize exactly what is going on with the man’s request for three loaves of bread for a friend of his that has come to him in his journey.
In asking bread for another, God is showing us in this parabolic demonstration that He would have us come to Him at the time of judgment to request that gospel blessings (typified by the loaves) be given to others we are in contact with. In giving us this parable, Jesus is greatly encouraging us to continue to approach His throne of grace and beseech Him for mercy throughout the entire five-month period of judgment.
But how can we beseech God that He might save others if we know that He is no longer saving? How can we cry out to God that He have mercy upon our child if we know that He is no longer bestowing the scepter of His grace?
Having Had Mercy, Have Mercy!
The solution to properly understanding Luke 11’s parable and to rightly realizing how we are to come to God crying out to Him for mercy at this time is found in the realization that the work of redemption is a past work. That is, the Lord has already done the final application of applying His Word to the hearts of all the elect. He has already given them all new born again souls. But, since a new soul is invisible to the naked eye, we cannot know which ones out there in the world have been blessed by God in this way and which ones have not been blessed in receiving their new souls.
This lack of knowledge on our part concerning which ones have been redeemed and which ones have not been redeemed permits us to go to the Lord beseeching Him that He might have mercy on our sons and our daughters. We are in effect praying this way: “O Lord, could it be that you might have done a work of salvation in my son’s life while it was the day of salvation (prior to May 21)? Could it be, Father, that you have already had mercy on my husband in saving him, but, O Father, I do not see any evidence of this in his life to this point—O please, Father, may You have mercy upon my husband and may Your Spirit begin to shine in his heart more and more unto the coming day?”
Since we do not know exactly those whom God saved, we can honestly pray for the salvation of our loved ones. However, our prayers should always be tempered with the information given to us in this parable. “O Father, I know that it is the Day of Judgment, and O how merciful You are that you have allowed me to come before You even at this late and dark hour. O Father, how gracious You are that You have permitted me to come and beseech You still for my family members, even after the door to salvation has been closed. O Father, Your mercy knows no bounds. Could it be, O Lord, that even now, You might hear the prayer of such an unworthy sinner and grant Your grace to my dear children?”
Can we not see how absolutely amazing and merciful this is on the Lord’s part, to allow for even the slightest bit of hope for someone coming to Him in prayer at this time? And also, can we not see how daring and brash it is on our part to approach the Infinite God of the Bible, the God that has already begun to pour out His furious wrath upon rebellious sinners, and to dare to ask Him for grace and mercy and salvation at this time of the very Day of Judgment? This is beyond boldness.
Once again, this is why we read:
Luke 11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
The Greek word translated here as “importunity” (#335 in Strong’s concordance) is not a very common word. It is only found in this one verse. It is a compound word. Perhaps we can better understand what this word is pointing to if we take a look at the two words that make up this word. The Greek word translated as “importunity” has an Alpha prefix (#1 in Strong’s), which in the N.T. Greek acts as a negative particle. It negates what is in view. In this case, the 2nd part of this compound word, is a word that has been translated elsewhere as “reverence” or “shamefacedness” (Strong’s #127). This Greek word is found in only two places in the New Testament:
1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness (Strong’s #127) and sobriety;
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence (Strong’s #127) and godly fear:
Since the Alpha prefix is attached to the word translated as “importunity” in Luke 11’s parable, I think we can understand this word to mean: “No shamefacedness” or “No reverence”.
This shows us just how brazen it is to come to God for salvation at the time of the final judgment of mankind. The act of coming to the friend within the house at midnight is described as an act of “importunity,” not so much because the man is coming again and again and again (as we find described in the parable of the widow going to the unjust judge for justice in Luke 18); but rather, the thing that makes this man’s plea one of importunity is the fact that he is daring to come at all. And spiritually, we can see it is as if we have no shame to come to God even now after the Day of Judgment has begun. O how kind and merciful our heavenly Father is to allow us this tremendous comfort at this most sorrowful time!
”…because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
We cannot conclude our look at this parable without making a final observation of the great words of encouragement that God is giving His people in this last statement of verse 8. It is as if the Lord is saying, on the one hand, “How irreverent of you to dare approach Me at this time. Do you not know it is Judgment Day! A time of fire and brimstone! A time of fiery wrath! How dare you to approach My throne of grace after the door of salvation has been shut to make request for the salvation of sinners!”
And yet, on the other hand, at the same time, it is as if the Lord is also saying, “I Am pleased with your recognition of the truths of My Word. I Am also pleased that you are coming to Me at this time of judgment, and even though you understand that I have shut the door to heaven, you are still making request for others which can only mean that you realize the enormous depths of My capacity to be merciful. Therefore, I will grant your request according to the purposes of My perfect will.”
Of course, we cannot say that approaching God in such a humble manner and in coming to Him in full understanding of the day in which we live will guarantee that God will hear our request and grant it. But, we can say from this verse that God is greatly encouraging us to come to Him and to make our request known at His throne of grace and that it is very possible that He might hear us and grant our request for our loved ones.
Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
No Change, or Evidence of Salvation in Those Prayed For
Some have rightly understood these things and have been praying throughout this five-month period of judgment for their loved ones. However, as the 153 days of the five-month period of Judgment Day has elapsed to the point of their being only a few hours remaining, so, too, has the hope of God’s children begun to dissipate. “Oh”, the child of God sighs, “if the Lord had done a work of salvation in my wife, it would have become evident by now. But I see no change in her at all. The only conclusion I can come to is that the Lord did not save my wife prior to His closing of the door of salvation on May 21st. Therefore, she is not now saved and cannot ever become saved.”
On the surface, this sort of analyzing of things may seem to be done humbly; but if we look a little deeper, the truth is that this believer’s conclusions concerning his wife are not humble at all. This believing husband is basically saying that if God had saved his wife, then she would begin to behave and act in certain ways in which he could know for a fact that she had become saved.
But is that true? Can we know for a certainty that a person has become saved or not when the outworking of salvation only has a short period of a few months to work itself out? I think that if the child of God looks back on his own personal spiritual journey he would quickly realize that the outworking of salvation is a very mysterious thing. So much so, that it is practically impossible for the true believer to pinpoint the time when he or she did indeed become saved.
There is no possible way that any one of us can conclude with absolute certainty that another individual could not have become saved by the hearing of the Bible’s message of Judgment Day (except, of course, for the problem of those in the churches leading up to May 21, but that is not the subject for this particular study).
But another might say, “I understand what you are saying, but wouldn’t God have begun to produce fruit in my loved one since the Lord is fully aware of the shortness of the time we have left?” Again, the implication found in this question is that since no fruit has become visible in my loved one it means that God has not done any work of salvation.
We do have to realistically admit that in most cases it is true that God has not saved our loved ones. Yet, in cases where God has saved someone, there is no constraint on the Lord’s part to manifest fruit within that individual before the last day arrives. God is under no obligation to make sure that others can see He did a work of grace in this one or in that one’s life.
For instance, God could have saved a very young child or even a newborn baby. There is no way that the parents or anyone else could discern that these young ones became saved. The Lord might also have saved some severely mentally disabled people who are unable to express the change that has taken place within them. It is also possible that the Lord saved a young man or a young woman and placed His Spirit within that person but that the fruit of the Spirit has not yet made itself apparent.
It could also be that the Lord Himself is holding back the moving of His Spirit in a person’s life in order that the outward evidence of His work of salvation not become evident in that person’s life. But why would the Lord not make it very clear to all (especially to the praying true believer) that He had already saved the one being prayed for?
We could ask the same question as to why it was during past generations that a wife prayed for her husband year after year and there never was even the slightest indicator that he was a child of God. But then, as she dutifully continued to pray day after day, perhaps even in the last year of that man’s life, salvation occurred. The man became saved and then soon after died.
The fact that he became saved revealed that he was always one of God’s elect. But just because he was one of God’s elect did not mean that it was manifested early on. The Lord for His own purposes and unto His own glorious end determined to test the wife and others as they prayed for this man.
Likewise, God is trying us to the end in a similar way. Will we continue to pray and beseech Him for our loved ones, even as we enter into the last few hours of Judgment Day itself? What a test for each child of God. May each one of us continue to persistently approach God’s throne of grace, and with importunity make our requests known to Him on behalf of those we care for. May we be encouraged to pray to our merciful Father in heaven, “O Father, could it be that You may have had mercy upon my loved one before our entering into this time of judgment, therefore Father, having had mercy, have mercy!”
Luke 18:1-7 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?