To my Love Jesus Christ Who saved my soul when He awoke me from my slumber when I dwelt in Cold Nod. I love You my Lord.
Cold Nod: A Plea for Humanity
© 2017 by Eloy Puga
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No portion of this booklet may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from THE CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Printed in United States of America
IT’S COLD 3
NOAH’S WORLD 10
THE CAUSE OF NOD 15
ONE EXIT 20
WORLD CHANGING EVENTS 28
FINAL THOUGHTS 33
Our world is on fire. This is a difficult time and world to live in, not only because it’s chaotic, but because in the words of Os Guinness, it’s filled with “lies, hype, and spin.” I’ve noticed that the more I live the more sober-minded I’m becoming, meaning that I treat truth more seriously day-by-day. What I mean by truth is: that which connects to reality and can also be propositionally stated. In other words, truth is what is and can also be proclaimed like: 2+2 = 4, the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Championship in 2004, and a bachelor is an unmarried male. God’s Word, the Bible, is true and what you will read is a small piece of Bible-based truth.
The Lord placed a burden on my heart to write this, I’m simply being obedient. I believe that we’re living in the season of the return of the Lord Jesus, and that our world’s not getting better, and that it won’t get better. I also believe that you’re reading this for at least a couple of reasons: (1) God wants to wake us up, NOW. (2) God wants to show us that there’s true hope.
With this booklet, I simply have three goals: (1) To honor God. (2) To inform and warn the unbeliever. (3) To inform, edify, and encourage the Christian.
Some notes before you read: (1) Please read the whole thing, it’s short. (2) I only wrote what God placed on my heart, thus, this isn’t a theological treatise. (3) Please read the endnotes they’re helpful. (4) Even though some Bible verses are listed, there were probably many more I could’ve added. (5) If you have a Bible, please look up the verses and follow along. (6) All italics were added by me and are used for emphasis. (7) Take a few minutes to think/reflect on what you read; this will be beneficial. (8) Make it a priority to share this with anybody and everybody as soon as possible.
My hope and prayer is that the Lord will use this meager offering as a clarion call to speak to people and to draw many to Himself as the Holy Spirit activates His Word which leads to lives (starting with yours and mine) being changed and God being worshipped.
Love, grace, and peace,
“Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.”
- Jesus, Matt. 24.12
Love Grows Cold
According to the FBI, violent crimes classified as: murder, non-negligent/willful manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery are and have been increasing.^^1^^ This is not only true in the U.S., but it’s also true globally as murder rates rise all over the earth.^^2^^ When Jesus stated an effect: the love of many growing cold, being caused by: the increase in lawlessness, He was speaking to His disciples about what the times will be like before His return to earth, known as His Second Coming/Advent. The times in which we live seem to resemble what the Lord Jesus spoke about.
The word lawlessness used above is the Greek word, anomia, which also can be translated as wickedness, iniquity, and/or lawless deed, the word itself carries the idea of transgressing the law in general and God’s laws specifically.^^3^^ Some of God’s laws/commandments are: honor your father and your mother, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony against your neighbor, and do not deeply desire anything that is your neighbor’s.^^4^^ God expects all people to obey these laws, however, the sad fact is that we haven’t; we have all broken God’s laws. We may not want to admit to the fact that we break God’s laws and that we live in an ever-increasing wicked society, nevertheless, it’s true.
In holding to the words of Jesus, I am convinced that one of the causes for the general increase of wickedness is because the love of many people is growing cold. The word cold in this context is the Greek word, pyscho/psucho, which is a verb that not only describes something growing cool by blowing, but in the metaphorical way that Jesus used it means of waning zeal and/or love. It includes the dwindling zeal and love of humanity in general by being indifferent and apathetic, but more specifically it means the lack of zeal and love for/towards God.
The word love used in this booklet is the Greek word, agape, which carries the idea of aiming to cherish, to esteem, to respect, to be loyal to another. Agape finds its fullest expression in the person of God Himself with verses like, “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”^^5^^ In this sense, love, is also clearly unmerited and self-giving.
The Apostle Paul describes what a society in the last days that has grown cold in love looks like: people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and there will be many people who claim to know God but who deny God’s powerful workings in the world.^^6^^ I won’t give illustrations or examples of the behaviors/acts listed, but I simply challenge you to turn on either the local and/or world news (even if it’s hard to tell if it’s fake or not) and to start counting how many of these behaviors/acts can be witnessed; this may be a startling reality check. Please take a minute to seriously think about this. This is a time to be concerned, not a time to be apathetic about the reality in which we live.
Even the atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell, thought that because of the lack of love: one may seek revenge upon the world, pit himself against the world, become extremely self-centered, become very insecure while seeking ways of escapism, etc.^^7^^ I’m not sure that Russell was reading the Bible when he pondered this, but we can see that even within his atheistic worldview, his thoughts and observations seem to align with Jesus’ prophetic words and Paul’s general descriptions of societies that can be labeled as growing cold in love.
Background and An Aspect of Prophecy
Before we continue, it will be advantageous to our understanding of Jesus’ words if we had some background information on when, where, and to whom Jesus spoke these words, and then we will see how His words are applicable today.
It was in the region of Palestine during first century times that Jesus started His world and life changing ministry at the age of thirty. As a rabbi (teacher) He had followers/disciples who would learn from Him. Chapters 24-25 of the Gospel of Matthew records what is known as the Olivet Discourse: Jesus’ longest recorded prophetic address that He gave His disciples while on the Mount of Olives.^^8^^ It was given after Israel’s leaders rejected Him as their Messiah. Before Jesus started His teaching, He and some of His disciples walked out of the Temple area, and the disciples were so impressed with the Temple being a magnificent structure that they drew Jesus’ attention to it. Jesus spoke a prophecy^^9^^ concerning the destruction of the Temple, “Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down.”^^10^^ In other words, the Temple would be destroyed.
Concerning Jesus’ prophetic discourse, it’s beneficial to know that many prophecies in the Bible could be seen as having an immediate and a later fulfillment. Take Joel 2.28-32 for example, where God says that: He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, people will prophesy, and have visions and dreams. In the words of the Apostle Peter, this part of Joel’s prophecy came true and was fulfilled on the birthdate of the Church known as the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2.14-18). The second part of Joel’s prophecy: the sun turning to darkness and the moon to blood will be fulfilled during the Tribulation period seen in Rev. 6.12.^^11^^ Looking at Luke 1.30-33, the angel Gabriel told Mary that: she would give birth to a Son, His name would be Jesus, and that He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The first part of Gabriel’s prophecy came true and was fulfilled as recorded in the Gospels during Jesus’ first coming. The second part of the prophecy: God giving Jesus the throne of David, Jesus reigning over the House of Jacob (Israel) forever, and Jesus’ Kingdom having no end has not been fulfilled yet, but will be fulfilled at Jesus’ second coming.
The immediate fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy was the destruction of the Temple which definitely came true a few decades later when the Romans, led by Titus, ransacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70 (if you visit Jerusalem, you can actually see and touch some of the remains of that event).^^12^^ The occurrence of the rest of the events have yet to take place in Israel, but will in the future, this will be the later fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy.
Jesus’ Prophetic Words Apply Today
Continuing on, the very first thing in the Olivet Discourse that Jesus told His disciples was, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many.” Jesus was concerned that His people, Israel, will follow imitators when the truth is that He alone is the one and only Messiah. After stating this, Jesus continued to tell the disciples about more events that will also take place in the land of Israel preceding His return to earth and the end of the world: there will be wars and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes in various places. Jesus called these events the beginning of birth pains. Sort of like a woman who’s ready to give birth having more powerful contractions that escalate before the baby arrives. This means that the events that Jesus spoke about will escalate in both quantity and magnitude before His return.
One way we can apply this Scripture to our day is by first classifying these events as: there are many leaders and followers of false religions/religious organizations, wars/strife between nations and people groups, starvation, and natural disasters. We can then observe in our world: a growing plethora of false religions and cults that are deceiving people and assisting Satan to lead those people to hell,^^13^^ the continuation and increase of world strife at various levels,^^14^^ the growing numbers of people who are affected by hunger (especially in developing countries),^^15^^ and the constantly increasing number of natural disasters such as: hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc.^^16^^
The increase in number and potency of these events was foretold by Jesus and is becoming more apparent on a daily basis. From one perspective, yes, these events have been happening ever since Jesus spoke these words, but, from a broader perspective, these events are exponentially increasing and will keep doing so until His return. The events that are going on in our day should not be seen as normal by no means. To deny the reality of the powerful escalation of these things is to deny the truth that we are witnessing unfold right before our eyes. I urge you, please make some connection between Jesus’ words and the times in which we live.
Much has been presented in this opening chapter, and I’m hopeful that the reliability and applicability of Jesus’ prophetic words can be seen. Our society is not as out of control as it could be, and there are definitely some folks who are caring and loving, however, what we are witnessing in our day is the coldness of our society growing colder in various ways while we live in an age of deception on a planet that seems to be groaning for its redemption. We’ve read and can now make a rational inference that Jesus’ return to the earth is near and it’s nearer than it was yesterday. One might ask, “Well, when is He returning?” Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour of His return (only God the Father knows). But, Jesus did give more insight about His return to earth; He said that, “As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.”
As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.
- Jesus, Matt. 24.37
The Days of Noah
The historical account of Noah, the ark, and the worldwide Flood is recorded in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. During Noah’s time, humanity was out of control and God chose a man, Noah, to build an ark to save his family and some animals from God’s wrath that was coming upon the earth in the form of a flood. In this chapter, we’ll examine some of the spiritual environment and moral climate that Noah lived in so that we can better understand what Jesus meant when He said, “As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be.”^^17^^
Genesis 6-9 presents us with Noah’s account which starts off with intriguing details. Human population was growing and the “sons of God” were marrying women. This phrase, sons of God, is the Hebrew phrase, bene elohim, which refers exclusively to angels.^^18^^ In Genesis 6, these are fallen angels that Satan was using to corrupt the entire human race.^^19^^ Plainly, this was some form of demon-possession that permeated through the earth. Satan’s modus operandi has always been to have his own will realized and to become like God while trying to frustrate God’s plans, thus, his thinking must have been to deeply corrupt the human race by attempting to stop the Messiah’s (Jesus’) arrival. Ever since the Fall of Man episode in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3), Satan knew that the Seed of the woman, the Messiah, would come to crush him. Satan decided to profoundly corrupt the human race knowing that there was no way in the world that the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, would ever become incarnate by a demon-possessed woman. Satan thought this way because he definitely knows that God is holy and that God will not work through sin.^^20^^
Furthermore, it may be worth noting that there were also giants in those days called Nephilim, this Hebrew word means fallen ones, which likely refers to fallen angels. These were the descendants of the demon-possessed people. These Nephilim were also known to be powerful warriors.
When God saw that wickedness was widespread on the earth, that there was an intermingling of demons and humanity, and that people’s thoughts were continually evil, God was grieved and decided to bring judgment upon the entire situation, except for Noah and his family members (a total of eight people). Ch. 6.11 says that, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness.” The word, corrupt, is the Hebrew term, sahat, which means to decay, its basic idea is moral corruption. The word, wickedness, is the term, hamas, which means oppression, wickedness, wrongdoing, and violence, its main connection is with sinful violence.^^21^^
Father of Creation Science and Bible Scholar, Henry Morris, lists some of the world conditions before the Flood, which appear to be the same in our times and are increasing daily: preoccupations with physical appetites, rapid advances in technology, grossly materialistic attitudes and interests, uniformitarian philosophies, devotions to pleasures and comforts, no concern for God in belief and conduct, disregarding the sanctity of marriage, rejection of the Bible, population explosion, widespread violence, societal corruption, preoccupation with illicit sexual activity, widespread blasphemy, organized Satanic activity, and the promotion of widespread depravity.^^22^^ These items can undoubtedly be labeled as forms of corruption and wickedness from God’s perspective.
By mixing the dark colors of mankind’s sinful activity with the dark colors of Satanic influences, a dark picture is painted that the Bible describes as being the spiritual environment and moral climate that Noah lived in. I have no doubt that our spiritual milieu and moral conditions closely mimic the days of Noah. I think that part of the zeitgeist, the spirit of our age, is a moral free for all, a no holds barred immorality that has strong ties with demonic influences. It also seems that many people think and act like every lifestyle is acceptable and should be celebrated. As before, I’ll ask that you please take a moment and reflect on what you just read.
To have humanity living in a high-degree of immorality and depravity was never God’s intent when He created us. Nevertheless, in Noah’s day, several generations after the first people, Adam and Eve, humanity is seen in a pitiful state that God did not put up with for too long, God decided to judge the world with a catastrophic flood. One may respond that God is harsh by sending a worldwide flood, however, it’s truly an act of God’s mercy and grace by saving some folks through the ark to ensure that through their bloodline Jesus, the Messiah, will come to redeem all who would ever trust in Him for salvation, O’ what a great and infinitely wise God and Savior He truly is!
Unaware of Coming Judgment
In Matt. 24, after Jesus stated that before His second coming the world will be like the days of Noah, He continued to give more details about people’s activities. He said that people would simply be living life and doing the normal things that people do, and that people didn’t know about the coming judgment (the Flood) until it was too late. This is very meaningful. How many people do we know (it could even include ourselves) who are just caught up in the everyday normal living activities of work, family functions, recreations, sports, enjoyments, leisure activities, etc., and they just seem to be skating through life with a simple mindset of me, my family, and my stuff? Reader, I urge you, please listen to me, this is part of Satan’s plan: to get every person preoccupied with the daily activities of life, to not pay attention to the things happening in our world and in our surroundings, and to get people to basically ignore God and to live as God doesn’t exist.
Many of us think that as long as we try our best to be decent people who don’t get into too much trouble, try to pay our bills, save a little for retirement, and have adequate wi-fi connections, we may think that we’re all set in life. This is so far from the truth. Many people are living in a hamster wheel and aren’t aware that God’s judgment is coming, but it is. Jesus plainly said, “They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away.”
One main reason that people don’t know that God’s judgment is on the horizon and are caught up in the mundane things of everyday life while their lives pass them by, is that Satan, the god of this world, has blinded them from seeing God’s true light that is only found in the Gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ.^^23^^ Satan fully knows that a true encounter with Jesus Christ will awaken that person from his slumber.
So, when we connect everything together, the days of Noah can be described as a world where fallen people who have been/are blinded and deceived by Satan, who are living in a morally dark and demonic influenced world, who are also caught up in really doing nothing except routinely existing not knowing that judgment is coming while they grind it out day-by-day until they die in despair. This is truly a bleak situation that seems hopeless. Let’s think about this and ask, “How did we get here, how did we get to this point?”
Then Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod . . .
Cain and Sin
The historical account of Cain and Abel is recorded in Genesis 4 which took place before the events of Noah’s day. By examining what occurred, we’ll gain much insight into how we arrived to our era in human history concerning the general moral condition of our world.
Some of the children born to Adam and Eve were two brothers called Cain and Abel. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. One day the two presented their offerings to God, Cain offered some of his produce while Abel offered his very best portions of his flocks. Abel offered his best portions in faith to God (Heb. 11.4), while Cain offered just some of what he had, offered it without faith, and only as duty. God was pleased with Abel’s offering but not pleased with Cain’s offering.
Cain was furious and looked depressingly hopeless. God, showing His concern, asked Cain three questions which he ignored and didn’t reply to: (1) “Why are you furious?” (2) “Why do you look despondent?” (3) “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted?” The third question also came with a warning: (in essence) “If you don’t do what is right, sin is crouching at your door desiring to dominate you, but you must rule over it.”
Regarding God’s warning to Cain about sin, I’ll attempt to define sin since it’s so horrible and disastrous. Sin is not only acts of wrongdoing and the breaking of God’s laws,^^24^^ but sin is also a state of alienation from God. Sin separates us from God, because He is holy and cannot bear to have sin in His immediate presence without judging it. Sin is universal and humans are born with a sinful nature, thus, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.^^25^^ In God’s economy, we miss the mark and fail to reach His righteousness. Sin also includes unbelief and hardness of heart which shows itself as being hostile towards the love and promises of God while refusing to repent. The effects of sin are both moral and spiritual bondage, guilt, death, and hell. Sin can be thought of as a poisonous personal power that holds humanity in its grasp.^^26^^ In short, sin is pure evil.
Cain never changed his ways and never took an appropriate offering to God, furthermore, Cain never verbally responded to God’s questions. However, what Cain did next was pure evil. He took his brother Abel into a field, attacked him, and killed him; sin immediately dominated Cain as God said it would.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”” God said, “what have you done?”
Cain’s Character and God’s Judgment Leads to Nod
Obviously, Cain never heeded God’s warning about sin. Cain’s sinful anger and other sinful desires overtook him instantly. Cain committed murder. Cain didn’t act alone though, Scripture is crystal clear that Cain was of Satan, Cain “was of the evil one.” (1 John 3.12) Meaning that Satan (like sin) influenced and dominated Cain. What we see is that the mixture of Cain’s sinful anger combined with Satanic influences produced the first murder in human history. This Molotov cocktail of sin and demonic powers blew open the gateways to more murder and violence which has heartbreakingly compounded throughout the centuries and it continues doing the same today.^^27^^
When God asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain answered, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s guardian?” How dare the first murderer in human history reply to the Majestic Creator of the Universe with a wicked snarky lie of a response. In the words of Melville, “Ah, humanity!” The level of sinful audacity one must have to answer with a camouflaged lie in the face of a holy, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being of aseity is astronomical.
Hence, God immediately dished out judgment upon Cain. God’s judgment included a curse that Cain will have tremendous toil with the soil, but above all, that Cain would be a wanderer on this earth, and that he would be separated from God’s presence. In response to his punishment, Cain said to God, “My punishment is too great to bear!” Thus, Cain went out from God’s presence and lived in a land east of Eden called Nod, which means to wander.
Cain’s act of sin was murder,^^28^^ regarding murder, Jesus clarified that the act of murder doesn’t have to take place for murder to occur. Jesus said in Matt. 5.22, that whoever is angry with someone without a cause, the person who is angry will face judgment. Jesus got to the heart of the matter by pointing to the human heart in the matter. Murder, as is all sin, is a matter of the human heart in its rebellion against God.
In total, God asked Cain five questions from the perspectives of why, where, and what. Cain answered only one of those questions, and his only answer was a sly lie. Cain never told God that he was sorry for what he did, he never showed remorse over his sin, he seemed indifferent to his own actions, and when he was confronted by God his response was pathetic. But, when Cain was in God’s courtroom being brought to account and the sentence was given, Cain seems to be devastated, not because he was filled with deep regret and now he’s penitent, but because he was found guilty and has to face the consequences for his actions. Cain’s moral character is nothing less than shameless and disturbing.
We can see much of this in our day, when a criminal is found guilty in court and there is little, if any, remorse shown for what that person has done. At least when Cain got sentenced he showed some concern, even if it was because he hated his well-deserved sentence. Nowadays, criminals in court rooms seem to show no concern even when they get sentenced. Yet, it’s not only the criminal in the court room who acts this way, no, it’s the average person also, the engineer, the doctor, the pan-handler, the waitress, the stay-at-home mom, the firefighter, the hypocritical religious person, the senator, the fill-in-the-blank, all of us can see some of Cain’s character traits at some level in our own person. Let us reflect on this for a moment.
Separation Causes Wandering
Cain’s punishment of being cast out of God’s presence is one of sin’s main outcomes; alienation from God. Sin breaks our relationship with God, it wedges a chasm between God and us. Cain’s parents, Adam and Eve, also experienced this by being cast out of the Garden of Eden and away from God’s presence because they sinned against God by breaking His commandment to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Sin clearly severs us from God, it shatters our relationship with Him. That’s what happened to Cain, Adam and Eve, and that’s where all unrepentant humanity stands; separated from God in a broken relationship. Even one perspective on hell is that it is a place of outer darkness that separates a person from God’s grace and His immediate presence. Separation from God causes a person to wander here, to wander there, to wander anywhere in life.
What I propose is that all of humanity apart from God is filled with wanderers who blindly wander in a land of wandering called Nod. In other words, all of humanity who does not know God personally through His Son Jesus is lost. Sadly, people have no significant clue of what to do or where to go since they are separated from God in the land of Cold Nod.
So because people live lives apart from God, our anger, resentments, unforgiveness, frustrations, stresses, etc. (all of which are huge factors to the many societal issues in our day) continue to increase. Most people are separated from God unknowingly, despite the fact that some people do know that they are separated from God, even some of those folks seem not to care, yet both types of people try to numb the pain of being separated from God by attempting to find an escape through drugs (which is an epidemic), relationships, money, sports, etc., but forms of escapism don’t work. There’s still a restlessness in a person’s soul as he wanders through life, wandering because there is no true peace and no true joy to be found in this world apart from God. However, there is hope, a way out of Cold Nod . . .
In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself . . .
2 Cor. 5.19
Cold Nod’s Only Exit is Reconciliation
Before the way out of Cold Nod is revealed, I’ll define what I mean by Cold Nod. Cold Nod is simultaneously a place and a spiritual state. First, from Jesus’ words that the love of many will grow cold being caused by the increase of wickedness in society, we get the basic idea that describes Cold as being the generally unloving world in which we live. Then, we have a spiritual state of blind wandering apart from God caused by sin which describes Nod, thus the term Cold Nod. The stage of the Cold Nod drama plays itself out on earth as people blindly wander through life separated from God in a broken relationship with Him.
Since God is a personal God who has been violated against, only forgiveness and reconciliation can mend the relationship. Similar to when two persons are at odds with one another because one has violated the other in some way, that relationship will never truly be amicable unless there is forgiveness and reconciliation. The two persons can avoid one another for a lifetime, yet, if one of them dies, the fact remains that their relationship was not in accord, reconciliation was needed but it never took place.
Reconciliation is the change in relationship from hostility to harmony and peace between two parties.^^29^^ Reconciliation with God is necessary because of the sad spiritual state that people are in; it’s one of hostility towards holy God. The Bible teaches that by nature people are the objects of God’s wrath, we are His enemies based on the fact that we’ve sinned against Him.^^30^^ The person who sins is the one that will die and the wages of sin is death.^^31^^ These are frightful and sobering truths. Most people have never heard this before. Think of it, the person who is not reconciled to God is walking around and living life with no idea that he is God’s enemy and that when death visits that person he will experience God’s wrath. The time for people to be reconciled to God could not be more urgent.
Jesus, the Cross, and the Gospel
In reconciliation, God took the first step, the initiative, when He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to reconcile the people of the world to Himself. The Bible states that, “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself,” this was a major part of the work that Jesus did when He came to earth. God sent His one-person divine rescue team, Jesus, so that people could be reconciled to Him so that they wouldn’t have to experience God’s holy wrath against them because of their sin.
How did God do this? How did He reconcile humanity to Himself? God did this by Jesus’ death on the cross. God proves His own love for people in that when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus became the sinner’s substitute, so that a person would not have to pay his own penalty for sinning against God, Jesus paid it all. Thus, based on Christ’s death on the cross we can be saved from God’s wrath. “While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life.”^^32^^
Jesus also physically resurrected three days later, His resurrection proved that God accepted Jesus as an atoning sacrifice. Jesus’ work on the cross not only takes away a person’s sin, but it actually grants that person Jesus’ righteousness so that the person can be in perfect standing in God’s presence. In God’s eyes and in His courtroom, a person can be declared judicially justified, forgiven his sins, and perfectly reconciled to Him. Based on Jesus’ work on the cross, God’s holy wrath is now satisfied and people do not have to be objects of God’s wrath any longer, now people can be objects of His eternal love and compassion. Wow! Our purely negative spiritual condition can be changed to a wholly positive one.
To put it another way, the bad news is that we have sinned against God, are separated from Him, and are objects of His holy wrath. The good news is that God made a way for sinners (like you and me) to be forgiven and to be reconciled to Him through Jesus’ work on the cross; this is the basic message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.^^33^^ Theologian, Charles Ryrie, writes:
The need for reconciliation lies in God’s enmity against sinful mankind. God took the initiative and reconciled the world to Himself. This was done by the death of Christ, and that provision changed the world into a savable position before God. Yet though the world has been reconciled, man needs to be reconciled by changing his position about Christ. Then, and only then, is his condition before God changed.^^34^^
What Must I Do?
What must a person do to be saved from God’s wrath and placed into a reconciled relationship with Him? The short answer is that a person cannot attain salvation through his own effort. What Jesus did on behalf of sinners is a completed work, we cannot add to His perfect work. A person cannot earn his salvation, and a person cannot reconcile himself to God. There isn’t an imaginary scale that God has that will weigh our good deeds against our bad ones to earn us salvation. However, what a person can do is to accept what Jesus has done on the cross, to receive what He has done by faith/trust.
In the Gospel of John, someone asked Jesus what would God have us do, Jesus replied, “This is the work of God – that you believe in the One He has sent.”^^35^^ In that same Gospel it says, “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.”^^36^^ Lastly, in one of the most famous Bible verses, John 3.16, it says that God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, Jesus, that whoever will believe in Him (Jesus) will not perish but have eternal life.
Reader, I urge you, please place your total trust in Jesus Christ as soon as possible to save you from God’s wrath and to reconcile you to God. Jesus is the only way to be reconciled, there is no other way. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.^^37^^ I plead on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. Don’t waste time, you’re not promised tomorrow, you’re not promised another breath. Today is the day of salvation for you. You’ve been reading this booklet because I whole-heartedly believe that God desires to save you and to pour out His grace, love, forgiveness, and so much more upon you so that you can experience the true peace and true joy that only God can give. Once again, I plead on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.
You may ask, “How do I do it then, how do I truly accept Christ?” As mentioned, you accept what He has done on your behalf by believing in Jesus. Salvation is from the Lord^^38^^ and it comes by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, this saving faith is accompanied by repentance, a turning away from sin to a life that pleases God. But, practically, you can cry out to God to have mercy on you, tell Him that you desire to be saved, that you truly desire Jesus to be your Lord and Savior and to wash away all your scarlet red sins and to make them white as snow.^^39^^ If you’re struggling with the faith part, ask God to grant you saving faith in Jesus. If you’re struggling with turning away from your sin, ask the Lord to grant you repentance, to help you turn from your sin and to live a God-honoring life. Just cry out “LORD JESUS, I NEED YOU!” Listen friend, He will save you, God is an EOS, an Equal Opportunity Savior. Jesus said, “the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.”^^40^^ HE WILL ACCEPT YOU.
How Will I Know?
How will you know if you’ve truly been saved and reconciled to God? You’ll know because your life priorities will change into God’s priorities. You’ll desire to truly live a life that is pleasing to God. When you truly believe in Jesus, you are born again, the Spirit of God regenerates you by bringing spiritual life into you, God’s life is brought into your spirit to make you spiritually alive when you were previously spiritually dead. Then God starts transforming you into the beautiful likeness of Jesus Christ.^^41^^
This starts happening because you become a new creation the moment you believe. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”^^42^^ A life filled with God as you learn to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength starts to take place while He teaches you to love people. A life with direction, a life filled with holiness, purpose, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control starts showing itself as your freshly reconciled relationship to God starts to grow through the study of the Bible, through obedience to God’s Word, through communicating with God through prayer, through fellowship with God’s people (the Church), etc. You start learning to deny yourself, to pick up your cross daily, and to follow the Lord Jesus as His disciple by obeying His commands as you witness and share the Gospel with the people in this world. Your heart will break over what breaks God’s heart. You’ll start loving what God loves and hating what He hates. You’ll see the Lord guiding and strengthening you as you live a life of faith and repentance that pleases Him in every way. Lastly, you will definitely know that you have been saved and reconciled to God because God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, He will testify to your spirit that you are in fact His child.^^43^^
Yes, dear reader, much will happen when you are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. As you figured out by now, the only way out of Cold Nod is a person, the God-man, the Savior of the World, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, the One and Only Jesus Christ. You’ve heard the bad news of fallen humanity’s spiritual situation, but you also heard the good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The only reasonable response is to accept the free gift of salvation and reconciliation that Jesus offers. Don’t let anything keep you away from being reconciled to God. Only Jesus is the One who can rescue you from blindly wandering in this cold world; Jesus is your only hope. I urge you to place your total faith in Him as your Lord and Savior, cry out to Jesus, He will hear you and He will save you.
We say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thess. 4.15-18
Woe! Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth . . .
There will be an event that will totally change the world, it’s called The Rapture. The word translated rapture, is from the Latin word, raptio, it translates the Greek word, harpazo, which means “to seize” or “to snatch.”^^44^^ The main idea of the word rapture is to snatch away or to suddenly remove. The Rapture refers to the catching up of God’s people, the Church, to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. This may seem far out and hard to believe, nevertheless, this is what the Bible teaches, so it’s true. This will happen and when it does happen the world will never be the same again. This event is imminent, it could happen at any moment.^^45^^ I write this to inform you so that you’re not taken by surprise when it occurs.
This is what will happen: the bodies of all Christians who have died, no matter where their bodies are, will suddenly be transformed and given new immortal resurrected bodies. This new body will be joined with the person’s spirit that the Lord Jesus will bring with Him. Then those Christians who are alive at that moment will be transformed with new immortal bodies. All these believers will be translated into the heavens to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. This will happen in a twinkling of an eye (see 1 Cor. 15.51-57), the twinkling of an eye is faster than the speed of light reflecting off of the eye.
The rapture principle is seen in God’s taking of Enoch in Gen. 5.24 and of the prophet Elijah in 2 Kings 2.11. On both occasions, God took His faithful people and they never died, Enoch and Elijah have since been with the Lord, in essence they were raptured.^^46^^
In previous chapters, when you read of the second coming of Jesus Christ, this helped describe His return to the earth with His saints to set up His Kingdom (Rev. 19.11-20). In God’s plan, the Rapture will happen before that. I’ll note some differences between the Rapture and Christ’s return to the earth.
In the Rapture: (1) Christ comes for His own people (John 14.3, 1 Thess. 4.17, 2 Thess. 2.1). (2) He comes in the air (1 Thess. 4.17). (3) There are no signs that precede the rapture. In Christ’s return: (1) Christ comes with His own people (Rev. 19.14). (2) He comes to the earth (Zech. 14.4). (3) Signs do precede His return (Matt. 24. 4-8, Luke 21. 11, 25).^^47^^
When the Rapture occurs, millions of people on the earth will disappear instantly. This world will never be the same after this takes place. Think about the questions people will ask: What happened? Where did these people go? Where’s some of my family, friends, co-workers, classmates? Did aliens take them? What in the world happened!? Yes, it will be sobering, sad, and scary for the people who remain on the earth, because all of the living Christians will have been snatched up by the Lord Jesus to be with Him forever.
During the Tribulation period foretold in the Bible, the worst time of devastation in world history will occur on this earth. There won’t be another time like it, God will be pouring out His holy wrath of judgment upon the whole earth. Whoever is living on the earth at that time will experience relentless terrifying apocalyptic events that have never taken place before. This time period is called the seven-year Tribulation, it will affect the entire world, no one will escape. This period will include: an enormous amount of death by wars, famines, plagues, and wild animals (Rev. 6.7-8). Mountains and islands will be shaken and moved, a third of the earth will be burned up, a third of the trees will be burned up, all the grass will be burned up, a third of the sea will become blood, a third of the sea creatures will die, many people will die because of polluted water, darkness will prevail because daylight will be limited due to cosmic disturbances that will affect the sun, moon, and stars (Rev. 8.7-12).
There will be a person who is identified in the Bible as being the beast (Rev. 11.7, Ch. 13, etc.), he is a man who will rise to an incredible amount of world power and influence who will be used by Satan in an extraordinary way. Whoever doesn’t take the mark of the beast (a visible mark which shows devotion to the beast), won’t be able to buy or sell anything (Rev. 13.16-17). Furthermore, whoever takes that mark will be tormented full strength and will never have the chance to be saved (Rev. 14.9-11). Whatever you do please don’t take that mark.
These are some of the things that are coming upon the world. They are real. They aren’t to be taken metaphorically or symbolically. This is neither fiction, nor Hollywood, nor Bollywood. I am not writing to purposely scare anybody, but this is the scary truth. Perhaps you never heard about these things, now you have. You may be in shock, but hopefully God will use this to awaken you from your slumber. Please remember that our world has sinned against holy God and He will dish out His judgment; won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is right?^^48^^
Reader, please listen. Our civilization isn’t getting better and we aren’t headed towards a blissful utopia. Take a serious look around you at the world in which we live, make an honest assessment, hopefully you can see that this world is in shambles. However, God is being patient with us, and with all the people who dwell in Cold Nod. He is not willing that anyone will perish, but that all will come to repentance.^^49^^
Please take the Rapture seriously, take the Tribulation period seriously. How will you respond now that you know that these events will happen? Will you go back to living your life like everything’s normal? Are you even concerned? If you’re not concerned, ask yourself why not? If you’re not a Christ follower yet, quietly ask yourself, “Am I truly at peace knowing that I’m separated from God and that I’m just wandering in this world awaiting His wrathful judgment?” Can you truly live your life knowing this? My heart’s prayer for you is that you can’t and that you won’t.
As this booklet comes to an end, a recap is in order: We’ve started at Jesus’ day, went back to Noah’s Day, went back even further to Cain’s day, then from Cain’s day we moved forward to Jesus’ day concerning His reconciling work of the cross, and finally we’ve surveyed some future events that will happen. We’ve touched on: (1) How the love of many is growing cold because of the wickedness in our society, and how Jesus’ words can be seen as applicable in our day. (2) How our times are indeed similar to Noah’s day when God sent judgment in the form of a worldwide flood, and that Satan is indeed leading the demonic influences in this world. (3) How in Cain’s account we can see that people are separated from God because of sin, and how this causes people to blindly wander in this world of Cold Nod. (4) How the single way out of Cold Nod is the person of Jesus Christ. (5) How the rapture could happen at any moment, and that soon the worst time in human history will come upon the earth as the second coming of Jesus Christ draws near.
I have some suggestions for both the unbeliever and the Christian on how to rightly respond to what has been presented:
To the unbeliever: My heart’s desire and prayer is for you to cry out to Jesus Christ to save you as soon as possible. Trust Him with all your heart. He is the only way to be reconciled and to be saved from God’s coming wrath. If you turn from your sin to God, and place your total faith/trust in Jesus, then you can approach God as your heavenly Father, and He will be the God of love, mercy, and grace to you.
Once you do this, please ask the Lord to guide you to a Christ-centered worshipping fellowship/assembly that recognizes Jesus as the Head of the Church so that you can grow in your faith as you become a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where you meet at: in a home, at a coffee shop, in a Church building, etc. Just be in an assembly where the members are actively seeking Christ and being obedient to His commands. Also, please get yourself a copy of the Bible and start reading,^^50^^ immediately obeying, and sharing what you are reading and learning. Remember to: pray, trust, and obey. If not, you will sway, rust, and decay.
However, if you reject God’s offer and free gift of forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus Christ, there is no hope for you and you will die in your sins and you will experience God as your Judge, you will be found guilty of sinning against Him, and you will spend eternity apart from God in hell.
To the North American Christian: May I sincerely ask you: Has your love for God and for others been growing cold because of the wickedness in our society? Are you experiencing lukewarmness because you’ve lost your first love?^^51^^ When was the last time you’ve wept over unbelievers on their way to hell? When have you last wept before the Lord for unbelieving family members, for the unborn being killed, or for fellow Christians who are being killed and persecuted in other countries? When was the last time that you truly attempted to witness to unbelievers? Are once-a-week-60-minute Church meetings enough Jesus for you? Do sports, shopping, housework, or other things take priority over God and His Kingdom agenda? Last question: Are you even concerned about your answers to these questions?
My heart’s desire and prayer is that you were challenged, edified, and encouraged in what you read. Hopefully you can realize that we are living in the last days and that we, Christ followers, are to be vessels that are filled with God so that we can be used as His instruments to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people who dwell in Cold Nod. Let us love God as we love people, let us not forget that many people are dying without the hope of Jesus Christ and will pass into a Christ-less eternity. Let us remind ourselves not to get caught up in this world and that “the world and its lusts is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.”^^52^^
Let us truly watch, pray, and fast as we wait for our blessed Savior Jesus to return. Let us depend fully on the Holy Spirit to guide our steps into petitioning Him for an outpouring of Himself before His deep judgment is unleashed. Let us purify ourselves^^53^^ as we live as obedient disciples as we take our marching orders of the Great Commission^^54^^ seriously while we make disciples of Jesus Christ who’ll make disciples of Jesus Christ as we worship our Triune God of glory in spirit and truth. We cannot be idle, we must live with a sense of urgency knowing that the time is near and that deep persecution is around the corner. Lastly, let us lovingly warn people with the truth that God’s wrath is coming, while we point them to the lover of our soul, the One and Only Jesus Christ.
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.^^55^^
Eloy Puga (B.A. University of Michigan-Dearborn, M.A.A. Luther Rice College and Seminary) is a follower and disciple-maker of the Lord Jesus Christ with Biglife, and a doctoral candidate at Trinity Theological Seminary. He is adjunct Instructor of Philosophy at Indiana Wesleyan University and at Wayne County Community College in Metro Detroit, Michigan.
He can be reached at: .
1 [+ https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-preliminary-semiannual-crime-statistics-for-2016+].
2 [+ http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/murder-rates-by-country.html+].
3 Anomia is also the same word used in Matt. 7.23, Rom. 4.7, and 1 John 3.4.
4 These are some of the Ten Commandments found in Ex. 20.
5 1 John 4.10, see others like 1 John 4.8, John 3.16, 1 Cor. 13.4-13, etc.
6 2 Tim. 3.2-5.
7 Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness (New York: Liveright/Norton, 1958), 138.
8 See other passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
9 Prophecy is a message from God that has yet to come true that is (obviously) in accord with His agenda.
10 Matt. 24.2. This Temple is the Second Temple known as King Herod’s Temple.
11 Jesus also foretold this in Matt. 24.29, as mentioned this will be fulfilled during the Tribulation time of Rev. 6.12.
12 Jesus gave details of this event in Luke 21.20-24.
13 Including but not limited to: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Shinto, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Baha’i, Sikhism, Mormonism, Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.
14 E.g. Through Kim Jong-un, North Korea has strife with many nations, most Middle Eastern countries desire to destroy Israel, many nations despise the U.S., tribal, ethnic, and general race conflict continues to rise, etc.
15 The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimate that 795 million (1 in 9) people globally suffer from chronic undernourishment. [+ http://www.worldhunger.org/2015-world-hunger-and-poverty-facts-and-statistics/+].
16 E.g. There are too many to list, but here are examples of some recent memorable natural disasters: Hurricanes: Hugo (1989), Andrew (1992), Katrina (2005), just weeks apart – Harvey (2017) and Irma (2017). Tsunamis: Indian Ocean (Dec. 26, 2004) which killed over 230,000 people in Asia, Pacific coast of Japan: Tohoku (Mar. 11, 2011) where over 18,000 people were killed/missing. Earthquakes: Indonesia (2007), Chile (2010), Japan (2011), Mexico (2017).
17 Son of Man is a Messianic title that Jesus used eighty-two times in the Gospels concerning Himself, it’s taken from Dan. 7.13-14, where the Son of Man will be given an everlasting dominion and an indestructible Kingdom.
18 This phrase, bene elohim, is only used here and in Job 1.6, 2.1, and 38.7 referring strictly to angels.
19 For more on this see the brilliant work of Donald G. Barnhouse, The Invisible War and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record.
20 This and a couple more insights in this chapter are from Donald G. Barnhouse, The Invisible War (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965).
21 Gleason L. Archer, R. Laird Harris, and Bruce K. Watke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody, 1980.), 297.
22 Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976), 174-175. Morris lists Bible references for each entry.
23 2 Cor. 4.4.
24 See the Ten Commandments in Ex.20.
25 See Rom. 3.23, Ecc. 7.20, Prv. 20.9, Ps. 14.3, etc.
26 See D.G. Bloesh, “Sin,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2^nd^ ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 1103-1107.
27 Please re-read the first two sentences of Ch.1 for an example of the increase of murder and violent crimes.
28 Murder defined as the premeditated willful taking of human life by another.
29 Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: Moody, 1999), 336.
30 Eph. 2.3, Rom. 5.10, 3.23.
31 Ezk. 18.20 and Rom. 6.23.
32 Rom. 5.10.
33 The Apostle Paul summarized the Gospel as: “. . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15.3-4.
34 Ryrie, 339.
35 John 6.29.
36 John 1.12.
37 Acts 4.12.
38 Jnh 2.9.
39 Isa. 1.18.
40 John 6.37.
41 Please see John 3, Tit. 3.5-7, Eph. 2.1-10, and Rom. 8.29.
42 2 Cor. 5.17
43 Rom. 8.16. Also, please study the book of 1 John to see the basics of how a Christian should live.
44 Gerhard Friedrich and Gerhard Kittel, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 80.
45 For resources on the Rapture and Bible prophecy you could start with Things to Come by J. Dwight Pentecost, The Gathering Storm: Understanding Prophecy in Critical Times edited by Mal Couch, and The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy edited by Ed Hindson and Tim LaHaye. Also, see the ministry resources of Chuck Missler, John Macarthur, Ed Hindson, and David Jeremiah.
Rapture experiences can also be seen with Jesus and the Apostle Paul in: Acts 1.9-11 and 2 Cor. 12.2 respectively.
47 There are more differences between the Rapture and Christ’s return, please see the resources above for a more detailed study.
48 Gen. 18.25.
49 2 Pet. 3.9.
50 A good place to start is in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
51 Rev. 2.4, 3.16.
52 1 John 2.17.
53 1 John 3.3.
54 Matt. 28.18-20.
55 Jude 24-25.