Judgment is Near, James 5:7-8

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8.

James chapter 5 began with a description of the evils that the unsaved rich commit and ends with the statement in verse 6.

“You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.” James 5:6.

The just here is the Christian who is justified in Christ. However it does not have to be limited to Christians since anyone who lives an honest, peaceful life, working and caring for his family, though not a believer may be considered just in comparison to these evil rich persons.

The laborers in the fields of the rich for instance.

“Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” James 5:4.

God loves justice and abhors evil; He repays the evildoer in kind for his evil deeds, reaping what they have sown.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.” Psalm 89:14.

The murder of the just, the innocent, could either be through the act of robbing them of their reputation and their livelihood, or by actually killing them.

However, the just mentioned in James 5:7-8 earlier is a reference to Christians.

The admonition to be patient my brethren is aimed at all Christians who have reached the end of their rope in one way or another.

It is not just the rich that stress or rob us; home life, work, frivolous lawsuits, unruly neighbors, bullies at school, lawlessness, or an evil political environment can tax the patience of almost any Christian, but let us not forget that vengeance is God’s job.

“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19.

James also tells us to be patient, and gives as an example the farmer who must wait for the early and the latter rain, which, in Israel, come in October-November as the early rain and April-May have the latter rain; which gives us about four months of nothing.

If this is so, the number 4 can have the meaning of; yieldingness, weakness, testing. Perhaps this fits your situation right now, if so, we are told to be patient.

“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:8.

Twice we are told that the coming of the Lord is at hand; and for nearly two thousand years we have been waiting.

Does this mean that it is not going to happen, or that we should stop waiting?

The coming of the Lord is imminent, meaning that it could happen at any moment, James said this to his audience circa 50 A.D. and every generation since has read these same words, and they meant the same thing every time, and they mean the same today.

The coming of the Lord can have a twofold meaning here, it can refer to the rapture of the church and it can mean the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus to rule on earth.

The Christian looks forward to the rapture, since it will remove him/her from the earth and its woes.

All believers look to the glorious appearing of the Lord to reign on earth for a thousand years, at the end of which the evil rich spoken of in this chapter will be judged for their sinfulness, along with all others who have rejected Christ as their savior and be cast into the lake of fire for eternity.

It is for this latter reason that Christians should be telling others of Christ, and praying fervently for them and others they cannot minister to personally. For more on the rapture, see the post of the same name, “On the Rapture”, posted in two parts on 9-9-18 and 9-13-18.

Is the return of the Lord to rapture, the removal of all Christian’s, men, women and children, including all babies at hand?

James says yes, by this he meant that there is nothing that has to take place by way of prophecy for the Lord to return for His own.

It can literally happen at any moment, but you would not bet fifty dollars on it with so little information would you?

The Lord Jesus gives us some information that may persuade you to take that bet; the Lord starts off by telling the disciples that the temple would be destroyed, which it was by the Romans in 70 A. D.

“Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2.

This statement brings on a question from the disciples.

“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3b.

The Lord answers two of the questions but not “…when will these things be?” We will not examine the whole passage, only the verses that indicate how close the return of the Lord is.

“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.’” Matthew 24:4-5.

For the Christian the answer as to whether someone is the Christ or not is a no brainer because I Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us that we will meet the Lord in the air.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:16-18.

And I Corinthians 15:51-54 tells us that we will have a new body, the result is that when we see the Lord Jesus, He will not have to identify Himself, no mistake; do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

“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. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8.

Bear in mind that when the Lord says that they will hear of wars and rumors of wars it was during the Roman period known as Pax Romana, a period of about 200 years, between 27 B. C. to 180 A. D. the Roman Peace.

The fact that it is called the Roman Peace does not mean that it was a time devoid of war, rather it was a time when the borders were secure and travel within the Empire was safer, and Rome was not striving to enlarge its territories.

So a statement like wars and rumors of wars was quite unheard of at that period. Below is only a partial list merely to give an idea of the carnage over many of the last two thousand years.

From 43 A. D. to 180 there were eleven wars, including the Jewish uprising that resulted in the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple on August 10, 70 A. D.

From that point on things have gone downhill, there were a total of 68 wars between 43 A. D. and 999 A. D.

There were 313 wars between 1800 to 1899, and 379 from 1900 to 2011, this has continued to a total of about 1047 and counting as of the present; depending of course on how one defines a war.

However the Lord tells us not to be troubled by this because wars do not mean that we are in the tribulation period, He then gives us an unmistakable sign.

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7-8.

The beginning of sorrows is better rendered the beginning of birth-pangs, since the comparison is to a woman about to give birth. So verses 7 and 8 give us a stepping off point, the prelude to the tribulation.

Even Jewish scholars agree that the nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom is a description of a world war.

The important question then becomes, has this happened? You already know the answer, World War I, fits the statement perfectly.

It began with an assassination in 1914 and a declaration of war between Austria and Serbia; and escalated when some 27 kingdoms took sides, swelling to as many as 43 with many lesser nations joining in the war.

There were some 53 million uniformed combatants involved in this conflagration, and an estimated total of 37 million deaths from the war and its consequences.

It should be noted too that many historians consider World War II to be a continuation of WW I.

As far as famines since WW I go, I could not get any firm numbers, but there have been about fifty of them since then, with well over 64 million deaths.

There may have been fewer fatalities during some of the above famines due to better farming methods and food aid from other countries when they do occur.

However you can count on all this disintegrating when the entire earth is plagued with famine during the tribulation, since everyone will be scrambling to take care of themselves.

The dictionary defines pestilence as, deadly epidemic, disease; something considered harmful or evil; which seems to be the meaning here in Matthew 24.

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1920, claimed the lives of an estimated 30 to 40 million people worldwide and has been called the worst epidemic of recorded history. For example the flu killed more people in one year than four years of the Black Plague of 1347-1351.

One reason for the huge number of fatalities from the Spanish flu is that this pestilence began in February 1918 before WW I was over in November 1918.

The significance of this is that when the flu began, hospitals were glutted with wounded and dying men; the fields were littered with dead and decaying bodies of men and animals, many of which were in rivers and streams, polluting the waters.

The soldiers themselves spent long periods of time in trenches cold, wet, covered in mud, and under constant stress. The latter being perhaps the most deadly condition for disease.

The populace in war torn areas were malnourished from lack of fish, meat, grain and dairy products. The Spanish flu hit the ground running like a 300 pound football player running the ball through a field of ball playing rejects. And it did not stop running until April 1920.

HIV and the AIDS virus are a new dimension recognized in 1981, the death toll from AIDS is 25 million and counting. With bird and swine flu, AIDS, tuberculosis, a resurgence of some diseases thought eradicated and the addition of horrific ones like Ebola with a mortality rate of about 80%. Pestilence seems to be on the rise.

Major earthquakes, in the 14th century there were 137, 15th century 174, 16th century 253, 17th century 2119, 20th century, as of 1981 there were about 2250, and from 1980 to 2008, magnitude 6 to 9.9 quakes have increased from an average of 109 per year to 160.

As you have seen from news releases in the 2000s the death tolls have been astronomical, for example the tsunami in Southeast Asia on 12-26-04, killed over 230,000 people.

All these things are the beginning of birth pangs; like the contractions felt by a pregnant woman, as they increase in intensity and number, the sooner the event is going to happen, such as the birth of a baby, or the beginning of the tribulation.

This is a good time, right now to make sure that you have received Christ as your Savior; for those in Christ are not going to go through the tribulation which is described in the book of Revelation.

If you are interested in the book of Revelation, I have posted a series of studies on the book, beginning with Revelation Part 1, posted 9-14-16.

Or, if you prefer, the books “The Beginning of the End” and “Revelation Unveiled”, both by Tim LaHaye are excellent.

“…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:20-21.

When James wrote that the Lord is at hand, none of these things had happened; this tells us that none of them had to happen before Jesus returned for His own in the rapture.

Since they have happened and the birth pangs are getting closer together, we should truly live as though it could happen at any minute.

Consider carefully, what will you be doing when you are raptured out of this world; will you being doing something sinful or careless, or will you be walking as though in God’s very presence? This is, and should be, a scary thought.

Judgment is Near, James 5:7-8 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 10-12-11, updated on 11-26-20.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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