In Uralla, NSW Australia,
there is the grave of Captain Thunderbolt, a daring adventurer of
the early days of that state. Some years back I traveled all around
the country where Captain Thunderbolt operated. It is rugged and
hilly country perfectly suited to the kind of operations that he
carried out. What amazed me was the famous leap that this remarkable
man and his faithful horse made.
It seemed to me to be hardly possible for a man
and his horse to attempt such a span, but they did and galloped to
Message Carved in Rock
There was something else
that was near to this famous place that held my attention. On some great boulders were
engraved passages of Scripture. These great rocks are quite
close to the roads and can be seen by all as they travel along that
highway. How often have we have seen texts either carved in the
rocks or painted on the mossy stone?
Now, I do not think that
Captain Thunderbolt carved those texts, though there is no reason
why he could not have done that very thing, for he was known as the
gentleman of the bushrangers. But whether he was
responsible or not, those texts are there and they are likely to
remain there until the earth is dissolved in fervent heat.
Coming up a steep grade with
the car climbing in a slow but steady second gear, as the
car makes a fairly sharp turn, all of a sudden you are
confronted with a text of Scripture engraved in the hanging rock:
'Prepare to meet thy God'. Today that sign is not only
carved in the rock on a sharp incline miles away from anywhere, but
it is everywhere. You cannot get away from it.
The Hour is Striking
I would like you to notice a
text found in
Ezekiel 7:5-7. I like the way this text is
rendered in the Revised Standard Version.
"Thus says the Lord GOD: Disaster after disaster! Behold, it comes.
6. An end has come, the end has come; it has awakened against you.
Behold it comes. 7. Your doom has come to
you, 0 inhabitant of the land; the time has come, the day is near, a
day of tumult, and not of joyful shouting upon the mountains."
I think that is one of the
most solemn statements that I have ever found anywhere in the Bible. Did you get that statement
clearly? It says "Disaster after disaster! The end has come."
Another translation (Moffat)
is even more graphic for it says, "The hour is striking, and
striking at you; the hour and the end. Your doom has come."
Are We Heeding the Warning?
No wonder Jesus said in
Matthew 24:44, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as
ye think not the Son of man cometh."
We need to be ready. There
is no knowing the time when we must depart from this world.
Ezekiel 33:4 says, "Then
whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning;
if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his
The question is this, are we
heeding the warning sound? If we do not, the
responsibility is on us. The Bible says, the hour is
striking and striking at you. Remember this; death cheats
many a man and woman out of eternal life.
Proverbs 1:24,25,27,28 says,
"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my
hand, and no man regarded;
But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my
reproof: When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction
cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek
me early, but they shall not find me:"
It is a terrible thing to
ignore the pleadings of God and yet how many are doing it. And sad
to say not only those outside the church but those inside the church
as well. Not all are hearing the pleading voice and answering by
Have We Time for God?
calls us to the Prayer meeting but not all answer that call. God
calls us to the Sabbath school but there are some who never answer
that call. Really, God does not ask very much of our time. When you
sit down and quietly work it out, we do not give much of our time to
God, and yet there are those who even deny god the few hours He asks
Yes, the hour is striking
and striking at you. That is a solemn statement. When that strikes it will be
too late, for man's probation will be closed then. It is also a solemn thing to
think that our probation is closed the moment we die. Not necessary
some time in the future.
seems to be very successful in getting people to procrastinate, to
put it off until it is too late. Have you ever thought of what it
will be like ‘the last night of earth'?
If men and women knew that
it was the last night on earth they would not find it hard to give
up their evil habits. It would be very easy for
them in that day to say, "I will quit living for the
things of this world." "I am ready to do what God
wants me to do."
There are always some who
feel that some other day would be a better time to make a change in
There are a good many
individuals, when they see what is in Bible they say, "Yes, I can see
it is truth, it is in the Bible. But I could not do what God wants
me to do, not at present anyway, perhaps some time in the future." Yet little do they realize
that the last night of earth is drawing close.
We are told "It is striking;
the hour has come, the hour is striking, and striking at you; the
hour and the end." Our excuses will not stand
in that day.
I sometimes wish that Satan
was not so successful in getting people to hide behind their
petty excuses. One says, "I am too busy to
do what the Bible says I should be doing. Others say, "I am all
wrapped up in my career and there is no time for anything else."
Excuses sound so good but I
will tell you this, they will be worth nothing when we stand before
the Judgment Bar of God.
Parable of the Great Banquet
The Lord gave us a picture
of this in the parable of the great banquet.
Luke 14:16 says, "Then said
He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
Verse 18. "And they all with
one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him I have
bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray
thee have me excused."
Verse 20, "And another said,
I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."
Jesus tore the hypocrisy of
their petty excuses clear away. One was going to examine a
piece of land that he had bought to see if it came up to
expectations. This was ridiculous. Could
you imagine a Jew buying property without weighing up all the pros
and cons long before making the purchase. The other put forward a very
poor excuse He said, "my wife won’t let me." You can easily see who was
ruling that home.
Destruction of Pompeii
You have all heard of
that ancient city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
The people of Australia
should count themselves fortunate indeed that they do not have
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and such like manifestations of
Well away back nearly 1900
years ago, the volcano began to rumble and roar. The warning was given that
it looked as though the volcano was about to erupt. A good many of the people
fled for safety. When things had quietened
down, just for a little while, and it seemed as if all would be
alright: then some of the people who had rushed away, they stole back
into town just a little ashamed that they had left so quickly. Yes, they took up the
pleasures of life once more. And according to the records
they were really given to pleasure.
The records are all there to
tell us of these things, petrified for eternity. Living in immorality, living
for the gods of this world and the lust of the flesh: they little
realized that the hour of the last night on earth was upon them.
I have no doubt that the
Apostle Paul had gone there to preach. I do know one thing, and
that is that God does not bring judgments upon a place until He first
of all sends a message of mercy and an appeal to turn from
gives men a chance to accept the truth, and as I mentioned there is
a very strong possibility that St Paul preached in that town as it
is not too far from Rome.
I want to tell you that
there were people in old Pompeii who were resisting the last appeal
from God to turn from iniquity. They were putting it
off, putting it off until the Holy Spirit had striven for the last
time. It is a dreadful thing when
God comes to the end of His mercy.
They dug that old town out
of the ruins and today you can walk down the streets. You can still
read the names of many of the streets. In some cases you can even
read the names of the people who were living in those
houses. They are not living there
anymore, but they were living there 1900 years ago. Suddenly, in one hour, in
one moment you might say, all life came to an end as that river of
lava suddenly covered them. And there they were
petrified in hot and burning death.
It ought to be a reminder to
our world of the last days, what it will be like when our world
reaches her last night: if you could only see those ruins, and think
of how life came so suddenly to an end.
for Pompeii's Inhabitants
There was a woman, a
comparatively young woman. She had evidently fled inside to gather
her most sacred treasures when the volcano blew up
that fateful night 1900 years ago. She was found fleeing from
her home having fallen right across her own
doorsill. There she was pinned down that awful flood of death,
boiling, white hot lava. She was found 1900 years
later petrified, still in the attitude of flight and fallen right
across her own doorsill. And in her stony hands she was still
clutching something. They pried her hands open and found in each
hand a pearl earring. When the last night on Earth
came to her, what was it that she
treasured most? It was her precious earring. It was the one thing she
must save. But those things will not avail: they will do no good
when an individual comes face to face with eternity. It is then that earthly
treasures lose their value.
A man was found turned to
stone. He is another specimen that you can view. He was
found clutching something to his breast, holding it close to his
bosom. They pried open his stony hands 1900 years later to see what
he valued most the last night on Earth and they found a little
treasure chest. In it gold, and silver, and precious stones, and all
the rest. That was valuable; there is no question about that. But the
last night on Earth,
that is what he thought of, "I must save my jewels, I
must save my gems." And there he was, clinging
to his precious little gods that could avail him nothing as he went
down in that burning death to be petrified for our day, as a warning
to those who shall be living in these last days: clinging to their
earthly gods right to the last.
I want to tell you that the
trinkets of this life: the gold and silver of this life will mean
absolutely nothing when it comes to the hour of death when one must
stand face to face with eternity.
Men today say, "I would like
to take my stand and do what the Bible says I should be doing, but I
am afraid it might interfere with my business or my
chances of promotion. The last night on Earth it
will be different.
People today will sell their
souls to please their friends, or their relations.
All over the world there are
individuals who know the truth. There are individuals who
have found the truth but they do nothing about it. They just keep
on putting it off. Remember this, God says, "It
is coming; the hour is come the hour is striking and striking at
you, the hour and the end. Your doom has come."
Many are coming to the end
of their natural lives even before the end of all things. The day death strikes, that
is the end for you and for me. I tell you it is high time that the
warning was given.
I picked up the paper and
was horrified to read that a young man had accidentally shot himself.
He was shooting cattle at the slaughter yards when he slipped and
the gun went off. I had baptized that young man. Only God knew if he
was ready to go.
I would like to mention
another striking instance of how quickly one can come face to face
with his or her probation without a moments chance for
A man and his wife attended
Bible study that was being conducted by a layman in his home. It was
the first Bible study they had ever attended. At the conclusion of
the study the layman prayed and in his prayer he
mentioned the Close of Probation. Afterwards the lady asked
him, what did he mean by probation. So he explained that the
moment a person dies then that person has no further opportunity to
make themselves right with God. The lady said, "I have never
seen it that way before." Shortly after they got in the car and set
out for home. On reaching their home the man got out but his wife
made no move. He called her but there was no response. Further
investigations proved that she was dead. The hour had struck for this
lady and the hour had struck for the young man.
It is high time, the warning
was given. There is a need to sound the
alarm and not to sing a lullaby like so many of the
preachers are doing today.
Amos 4:12 says, "Therefore
thus will I do unto thee 0 Israel and because I will do this unto
thee prepare to meet thy God."
People have to be prepared
to meet God. There is a warning to be
given. The matter is urgent. Many Church leaders are asleep. I asked one minister of a
well known church how he occupied his evenings. He said he played
chess. Playing chess when multitudes are in the valley of decision.
How can we afford to dilly dally when eternity is so close.
May God help us to be ready
for the last night on Earth.