The Role of the Faithful Witnesses in the End Times (Part 1) by James Atkinson (2011)
Over the years, I have taught the Word many times in many different areas, but the following subject matter is so important and so urgent for every Christian to understand. We are called by our heavenly Father to have a full understanding of what will happen in the End Times. He expects us to know and to carry out the specific instructions laid out for us in His word for when this time occurs. Alternatively, without this knowledge, we stand unprepared for the most troublesome time ahead, when our faith will be tested to the extreme. Our Father expects us to be ready, and so the time to prepare, for the time that is ahead, is right now!
‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk
naked, and they see his shame.’ (Revelation 16:15)
I have a great love for our people but also a great concern. One day, my brothers and sisters in Christ will be faced with the most intensive, most dramatic, most evil and most spiritually charged period of time that this world has ever experienced. That time will be the period of the final seven years when the Anti-Christ will rise to power and Jesus Christ's return will be imminent. Both Christians and those of the nation of Israel who refuse to follow the way of the Anti-Christ will be the most vilified and the most persecuted people on the planet. This period of time will even be worse than what the first century church experienced at the hands of the Romans and what the Jews experienced during the Holocaust.
'....and I saw the souls of them that we beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.' (Revelation 20:4)
Under God's sovereignty, it will be a time when the boundaries of evil will be allowed to fully expand like never before. But to us, it will also be a time when God will give great power and authority to the faithful in Christ - the bond-slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks of the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “servant” is a translation of the Greek word “doulos” and refers to those who have totally sold themselves out to God, Jesus Christ and the Word. They are those who will remain faithful despite persecution. They will remain faithful even unto death. In the End Times, they will have a spiritual understanding of what is happening around them and will reject outright the image of the beast and the mark of the Anti-Christ. We are called to be such servants, to publicly prophesy and give witness to the judgments that will be rolling out onto the world, and thereby save many souls in the name of Jesus during that critical time. We will be given a supernatural boldness to do this and I will talk more about this later.
‘As it is written, for Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.‘ (Romans 8:36,37).
Over the years people have tried to teach me various doctrines regarding the End Times but I warn you now that there is a certain doctrine, a doctrine of devils that if believed, numbs the prophetic Word in the minds and hearts of Christians. This doctrine falsely teaches that Christians are gathered together or raptured before the emergence of the Anti-Christ. This is incredibly dangerous to those who are led by it. This doctrine first came about from a woman who belonged to a Spiritualist church in Scotland many years ago. She claimed she received this doctrine in a dream from God. Since then like a cancer it has taken its grip on Christendom. I have even witnessed some leaders and teachers in the body of Christ court this very doctrine to the point that they viciously attack like wolves the lambs, or anyone else, who dares to question it. These are those who are devoid from our Fathers love - beware of such people and avoid them at all costs. Even if it is one of your leaders, remove yourself away from them for our God is greater. Our adversary, the devil, uses them to defend his doctrinal strong-hold. I will later show you from the Word what the truth actually states. With such an understanding, you will be able to allow the Father to work within you to prepare your mind and heart for the future.
Do not be fooled by either flesh or dark spiritual powers that promote false doctrine as they will rob you of your loving heavenly Father's Word, and ultimately your rewards. Remember that you and you alone will be giving an account of yourself in the end to God and to Jesus Christ and not to the false teachers who think they know it all - don't be stupid with yourself. When I was much younger in the Word, I was taught by prominent leaders that I should forget about the book of Revelation because we will all be gathered or raptured out of here before it all kicks off. I admit to you, that for a time, I wanted to believe this but it was not ringing true with the visions the Father had shown me throughout my life about the End Times.
If you are like me, then we presently live in a comfort bubble at this moment in time. I have a well paid job, a nice house, three gorgeous children and a beautiful loving wife. We have holidays abroad once or twice a year, and in fact right now, I'm writing this article in a villa in the Spanish countryside watching the morning mist gently disappear to reveal the beautiful rolling hills and mountains on the horizon. Life is indeed sweet and comfortable, and if anyone would want to steal that away from me, then yes I would naturally become protective and defensive.
I understand how some believers find it hard to want to understand that one day faithful Christians will be greatly persecuted even to death and that the bubble we presently live in will burst. I understand how the sheep in the body of Christ want to hear that we will be out of here before that day, but we all need to wake up and see what God our Father states quite clearly in His Word.
The Word is much more important than any of our utopian lifestyles, and we should always humbly accept it above our own understanding and pride.
The very grave error of interpreting the falling away as the rapture.........
‘Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.’ (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10)
In the second epistle of Thessalonians chapter 2, the Bible speaks of a ‘falling away’ before the Day of the Lord. Some wrongly teach that this falling away is the rapture before the great tribulation. They, in turn, fail to teach the prophetic Word, telling you that we don't need to understand this part of the Word because we are out of here before it all happens. With such a mindset, the Father is unable to work within them to unveil His prophetic word, and furthermore the mysteries within the book of Revelation - their hearts' intent is to reject the truth and remain blind.
When you study the Word of God, making assumptions is a very dangerous game to play. It can lead to whole portions of truth crumbling into error through private interpretation. When we study the Bible, one of the study keys is to remember that it is only a version of the original Word. We must go back into its original language, before translation, in order to understand the exact meaning of words and by doing so we accurately gain the truth without error.
The New Testament is believed to be originally written in either the ancient Greek language or in Aramaic and therefore we must understand the meanings of words within these languages. The words 'falling away' which are translated into the King James Version Bible are from the Greek word ‘apostasia’. This word only occurs in two places in the Bible - here and in the Book of Acts. The correct translation from Greek to English is to 'forsake', and so in Acts 21:21 we read that Paul was being falsely accused of instructing Jewish believers to abandon/forsake (‘apostasia’) the Law and all of their customs. The same word appears in Thessalonians telling us of the great forsaking. The Anti-Christ will literally go into the re-built temple in Jerusalem and declare that he is God. What follows is a mass forsaking of all religions and all gods, including the one and only true God. The false prophet will give life to the image of the beast and cause people to receive the mark of the Anti-Christ either on their right hand or their forehead. Those who reject this will be prevented from buying and selling. They will be imprisoned and some even executed - the Word speaks of the Saints being worn down later after this point in time. The world will see us and Israel as the big problem, and indeed such a view is already prevalent in the world today and increasing in intensity. Bottom line, the world will be forsaking God to worship the man of perdition who has Devil himself embodied in side.
Satan will be achieving one of his all time goals which has always been to be worshipped by man as god himself, but this will only be for a short season.There is much more to understand here about how we should handle the 'falling away'. More light and further understanding can be found in Mark Atkinson's book ‘Thy Kingdom Come' and by listening to the audio resources on this website.
So we now know that the forsaking is not the rapture. It does not mean that the rapture will not happen but it will happen much later than this at the last and final trump - the seventh trumpet. Believing in anything else is dangerous and against the Word. God’s Word states quite clearly that we should be watching. Are you watching?
Imagine now, someone who believes we are raptured before the emergence of the Anti -Christ only to find at that time that they have been taught wrongly by the people they trust. Sadly, they will find themselves unprepared, not knowing the truth, and not knowing which way to turn. With their faith already rocked, the immense pressure and coercion to receive the mark and follow after the image of the beast could cause them to forsake God and the Lord Jesus Christ. If they do, they will then be subjecting themselves to the judgments that are not designed for them. In the end, they will retain their eternal life but will lose their rewards. Do not be one of those - don't fall short of your Father’s glory and his expectation of you.
Alternatively, if you allow the Father to show you, then I guarantee that you will reach a point where you will almost kick yourself for not allowing this to happen before. Your eyes will become open and you'll soon realise the urgency of the times. You will gain a clear spiritual understanding of what is presently happening around you and the preparation needed for the time ahead. This is when the 'Hope' of his return (Colossian 1:27) truly starts to live powerfully and fervently within you.
What will we be called to do?
‘But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the ea rth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:’ (Acts 2:14)
We are called to a carry out a specific function in the final seven year period when the Anti- Christ has risen to power. God’s spirit will be poured out (energized) to the faithful and the douloses will dream dreams and have visions. These visions will disclose the specifics regarding the present judgments that are rolling out on the earth at that particular time. Our God has total sovereignty and as He allows the boundaries of evil to expand, so too the power of the douloses. God will not leave us redundant but, to the contrary, we will play an active part in the spiritual battleground of that time. We will be called to publicly prophesy the judgments before they occur and to save souls by evangelising – this is the fulfillment of Revelation 20:4 when it speaks of being witnesses to the Word and to Jesus. We are to do this within the love of God even though we will be suffering terrible persecution ourselves. Connected to this will be the prayers of the saints. In love the douloses will be synced and aligned to God and Jesus Christ. There is a time in the Word that God will require the faithful church to play an active role in the releasing of the judgments of God onto the world. These judgments are far worse than compared to the persecution that we will receive at this time. The judgments that are rolled out are not designed for God's people, as we are not appointed to God’s wrath, but rather to save others before it's too late. Revelation 8:1-6 shows us just how powerful the faithful church at this time will be. It will be more powerful than at any time in its history. The actual prayers of the saints at this time will cause the release the judgments of God onto the world.
‘And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.’ (Revelation 8:1-6)
We will know that the time to save souls is short and in our love for others we will pray for God to release his judgments to bring as many as possible to Christ. In God’s mercy, the first of these judgments are not full measures or else the entire unfaithful population of the world would be wiped out with only the faithful in Christ left standing.
‘And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the
elect's sake, whom he hath chosen , he hath shortened the days.’ (Mark 13:20)
Our Father holds back the full measure of His judgments until later in order to enable the faithful Church to carry out its specific role to save souls. It is important to understand that these judgements are not provoked by hatred, despite the terrible persecution that will be waging against us at that time. We are called to always walk in His love and this will still be our Father’s will in the End Times. In that day when the world waxes cold in love (Matthew 24:12), we, on the other hand, will be walking greatly in the power of His love, boldness and might. The purpose of the first judgments is to save souls through love and here we are to understand our precise role.
Through His love comes boldness, and in that day God will be our sufficiency, and we will walk in His supernatural boldness fulfilling 2 Corinthians 3:12:
‘12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face....’
The word for ‘plainness’ is BOLDNESS. This is not merely a physical or mental bol dness, but a spiritually charged boldness that comes from God. The Book of Acts literally demonstrated the power of God and here we see a foreshadowing of this boldness…
‘What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by th em is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in
the name of Jesus.’ (Acts 4:16)
The world will be commanded by the False Prophet not to speak or teach anything else apart from the way of the Anti-Christ. Witnessing Christ will be taboo and will result in execution.
‘And being let go , they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24 And when they heard that , they lifted up their voice to God with one accord......... (Acts 4:23)
‘And when they had prayed , the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.’ (Acts 4:31)
These were born from above believers who already had been spirit filled. They were filled with the power to speak the Word of God with boldness. This is a foreshadowing of what will come to us in the future and yes we will speak the Word of our Father with the greatest of boldness – a supernatural boldness from God in the face of the Anti-Christ.
Throughout my life, I have received many visions related to the End Times, which have yet to come to pass. Additionally, many times I have been shown specific events in both my personal life as well as in the world before they had happened. I certainly don’t profess to be anyone special amongst my brothers and sisters in Christ but I know the Father wants me to share this vision with you. Incidentally, I have no fear or shyness in telling you about this despite living in a world today that may label me a nutcase for doing so. One of the things many of us need to change in our hearts is if we have any fear of giving or receiving a message from God to His people. We should never be ashamed or feel stupid, and we should always be willing to take on this responsibility, for indeed this is part of our preparation for the future. One day many of us will be dreaming dreams and prophesying and, so by example, I’ll make the start.
The following vision I’m about to tell you resulted in me researching and teaching a series of three teachings based on the role of the Church in the End Times and from this came this very article.
In this vision, I was with two others in the desert and in front of us laid a canyon we needed to cross. The canyon had a very narrow plank of wood which stretched from one side to the other. I peered over the edge, and when I looked down the canyon the depth was so great I literally became paralyzed by the fear of the sight of it. There was great darkness and evil at the bottom of the canyon. Suddenly a great power from God filled me – I can still today remember the great power and boldness that burned lovingly inside of me. I spoke about it to the others around me and they too became filled with this great power and boldness. The Father showed me thi s power through the eyes and heart of another as they crossed the very narrow plank of wood which lay ahead. When I looked down now there remained none of the fear or dread that had previously gripped me before, but rather in its place a great boldness to walk. We crossed the canyon.
There was a second part to my dream…
I then stood before the Anti-Christ and began to taunt him. His eyes then fixed themselves upon me and he began to walk towards me and so I walked backwards. Our eyes never strayed away from each other and, for a time, the gap between us never shortened until his face turned into the Dragon.
This whole vision shook the very core of my being – waking me up instantly afterwards. Being wide awake, I could not return to sleep despite it being before sunrise – in my heart and mind I knew that the Father had just spoken to me about something so serious and so important. I had received this vision three weeks before teaching and sharing this when I taught the first session on the role of the Church in the End Times. The Father put it on my heart to share particularly these parts of this vision. There is another part that is personal to me but illustrates the time period of when the first part will happen.
The faithful in Christ in the End Times will receive and demonstrate a supernatural boldness to prophesy the judgments despite the terror of the persecution they will be suffering at that time. We will publicly declare these events before they happen, and with this evangelise to save souls. The road at this time will indeed be a narrow one, as there will be great evil and pressure around us to go the way of the Anti-Christ, but we will stand as the douloses of God! As long as we remain faithful, the Father will give us the power and boldness to carry out His will for that time. Being motivated by the love of God, we will pray and take our part in releasing His judgments onto the world. The faithful church will be at its most powerful compared to at any other time in its history – even the first century.
Today, the question we all need to ask ourselves is whether or not we are preparing for this day in both knowledge and heart. The Father has provided all the knowledge we need in his Word and wills to work within our hearts to shape us for that time but only you can allow this to happen.
What a time it will be for us to have the honor of being one of the many faithful and devoted witnesses to His word and to Jesus. This moment in time, this fleeting glance of life is nothing to be compared to our existence in the future that lasts forever. What you decide is your mind-set now, and what you do with it will determine who you will be in the future. No other investment is more rewarding and more important to us than this. It is time to wake up and just believe the Word but you have got to make it your own in your heart. Don't follow like simple sheep or hero worship the leader in your local church above the Word. We are all called to test everything and everyone against both the truth and sheer accuracy of the Word!
Our Father expects us to know his prophetic Word and these things must be worked within your heart - you need to reach for the point of being sold out to become a doulos ready for the time ahead because the time is short. To my brothers and sisters in Christ, the time is indeed now for the time that lies ahead of us.
May my Father bless you richly, working greatly within your heart and mind unto the full understanding and preparation of your role in the End Times.
James Atkinson (2011).
I have not put a copyright on this piece work and so please share this article freely to anyone you know in Christ, encouraging them to do the same….
In part two of this article, we will look more at walking in the love of God in the End Times, the spiritual battleground of the final seven years, the two mysteries coming into full maturity, understanding 666, departing from the faith versus the obedience of faith and God's two witnesses.