The Dreamer Dreamed (PART FIVE)
The Dreamer Dreamed
- The Visions of Judgment
This is a short story about a young man named Steven who was given dreams
from God that reveal truth God has shown me (the writer) that His Church needs
to hear. Though this is written as fiction, the words spoken by Jesus are actual words
that God showed me. So, this is not just a fictional work. It applies to our current
world and to the Church. I encourage you to seek God about this to find out what He
Messenger to the Youth Group
Steve was translated next to a church building with a large, carpeted room that was filled with table games, such as pool tables, air hockey tables, and foosball tables. Teens were sitting in couches and folding chairs, listening to a man in his forties give a talk. He must be the youth pastor, Steve thought. The youth pastor wore glasses and had a graying goatee, but the rest of his hair was medium brown. He wore a dark T-shirt displaying an image of a rock band.
“Okay, so for our Fall Youth Retreat we were planning with Pastor Ben to take you to see a rock concert, but this concert will be an opportunity to bring your non-Christian friends and get them into your groove, if you know what I mean. They may not want to visit this church until the ice is broken, and what better way to break ice than to take them to a rock concert? So, we--”
“Hey Stan,” a guy nearby called out, raising a hand.
“Yes, Trevor?” Stan said.
“What band is performing?”
“Oh, I was going to get to that. It’s actually called Pyramid Eye. It’s a new band, but its popularity has soared in just the last three months.”
“Hey Pastor Stan,” another guy said with a wry smile, “didn’t its lead singer say he made a pact with the devil? I’m all for seeing a devil-worshiper. Let’s put on our pointy horns and grab our pitch forks.”
“Ha, ha,” Stan said. “That’s very funny, James. You can’t believe everything you hear. Some people say that this country is controlled by a secret society called the Illuminati.”
As he said “Illuminati,” Stan put up finger quotation marks.
What the youth leader just said made Steve begin to think. The Illuminati? Who were they? Steve made a mental note to research that later.
The scene changed to the same room but most of the teens had left. A few guys and girls were playing pool in a corner of the large youth hangout room. A young man approached the youth pastor just as he said goodbye to a teen girl who was being picked up by her mother. The teen guy had dark brown hair that was bushy and less than two inches long, combed back. He was average height for a 17-year-old. A white T-shirt with two words on it caught Steve’s attention. In bold letters it declared: “Jesus Saves.”
“Excuse me, Stan,” the guy said, “may I have a word with you?”
“Sure, Frank. What’s up?” Stan said.
“I’m not so sure about going to this band because --” Frank’s voice trailed off and he gulped, trying to keep his hands from trembling. He knew what he had to do, but he was nervous about how the youth leader would take it.
“I, I believe God was showing me something He wants me to tell you,” Frank said. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. “God wants me to say that you are needing to seek Him about this event you would like to have the youth group go to. He wants you to know that if you do something like this apart from His will, you will be accountable for all the youth who go with you, if this is not His will.”
Once Frank had spoken, he waited to see what Stan would do. The youth pastor stood still for a few minutes, pondering what the young man had said.
“Well, Frank,” Stan said, “doesn’t God want lost souls to come to our church? I think this concert would be a good way to bring them in. The harvest is ripe, so shouldn’t we go out there and bring them to church?”
“Also,” Frank said, “God showed me that you should seek Him about how you run this youth group. He wants you to know that there are many guys and girls here that don’t actually know His Name. They may say they are Christians, but they don’t know God’s Name, He told me.”
Stan stood there, stunned. He blinked several times, and remained quiet for half a minute. “Frank, I just remembered that my son Jeremy has a test coming up and he often needs my advice on homework. I’m going to have to get back to you on that later.”
Stan patted him on the shoulder and turned to head for his office. Jesus motioned for Steve to follow the man. In the privacy of his office, with the door closed, Stan pulled out his cell phone and called the senior pastor. But, Steve saw the vision or dream play before his eyes.
“Hello, Ben, I’m sorry to bother you,” Stan said. “I need to talk with you about something. It’s about this boy in our group called Frank. He told me some alarming things. I think we should keep an eye on him.”
“Why do you say that about Frank?” the voice in his speaker asked. Somehow, Steve could hear it, as if the telephone were on a speakerphone setting.
“Well, I say that because he was telling me that God showed him that very few of the kids in the youth group actually know Jesus Christ as their Savior. He also said that I should seek God about how to run the youth group and about taking the youth to a rock concert. He seemed very unsure about the concert.”
“That is strange behavior,” Ben, the senior pastor, said.
“Yeah, it is strange. I’ve been a youth pastor here for ten years and I’ve seen kids getting saved. Maybe I should take his advice?”
“Stan,” Ben said, “what we might be facing is an attack of the enemy to cause doubt in our work. You’ve been a good teacher to these kids. I think you’re doing a great job. Don’t let what a boy says get you off your course. I think he might be tapping into the wrong source.”
“You think so,” Stan said. “I think you’re probably right. It just might be the devil attacking us to doubt our objectives and methods.”
“What I would do is just watch what he does at church, and make sure you don’t let him know you are watching,” Ben said.
“I’ll try to keep tabs on him,” Stan said.
Suddenly, Steve was whisked away from the office where the covert conversation was taking place. He saw Frank sitting before a desk in his bedroom, writing notes down with a pencil, in a notebook. The teen guy seemed more relaxed and peaceful than he had been when he gave the message to the youth pastor. Jesus allowed Steve to read what Frank was writing.
Frank had written: “Today, God had me speak a message to Pastor Stan about the rock concert and about how Stan ran the youth group. Stan seemed evasive and tried to get out of seeking God about the message. I’m sad to see his actions and I wish he would take time to seek God about the message. I had spent some time in prayer and in seeking my Heavenly Father about this message, but Stan passed it off as if it were nothing. I think he needs to be prayed for more than before.”
Jesus touched Frank’s shoulder and said something to Frank. But, Frank couldn’t see Him. However, Steve saw the Lord because it was a vision.
Frank leaned back in his chair and said, “What did you say, Lord Jesus?”
“My son, Frank,” Jesus Christ’s voice said, “I am with you. Do not be afraid. Your youth pastor does need to seek Me. I am working on his heart. I will show you what to do when the time comes, but rest in Me. There will be some persecution for the message I will have you deliver to your youth group, but you will be rewarded for it. I will guide you in speaking the truth to them in love.
“They need to hear the Gospel, and need to repent, and seek Me, and trust in Me to save them from their sins. You will be My witness to them since you desire to know Me better. Now, I will show you what I will have you to do on this coming Wednesday night youth group meeting.”
Steve was instantly transported to the same youth hangout room. Guys and girls were interacting with each other, talking, playing table games, and laughing. A teen guy reached for a volume control on a large speaker and turned up the volume. Steve could not hear any sound coming from the speakers, but he could see some of the teens bobbing their heads with the music.
After a couple minutes had passed, the youth pastor, who had been throwing darts with some guys, motioned to a guy standing nearest to the speaker to turn the music off. Reluctantly, he did.
Clapping his hands to get their attention, Stan said, “Okay, everyone, let’s gather up front.”
The teens chatted with each other while they slowly came forward to some couches and chairs that had been set up in one corner of the room. Once they were seated, Stan pulled out several boxes from behind a couch and said: “Who has never played Apples to Apples?”
Several hands went up.
“Okay, here’s how it works…” Stan explained the game and had the boxes of cards distributed to the group.
Time fast-forwarded before Steve’s eyes. Now, he saw the group, divided into several teams, playing “Pictionary.” A dictionary word was looked up, and one of the team members had to try to draw pictures that would form the dictionary word. Others would try to be the first to guess the word.
Time fast-forwarded again. Now, Steve saw Stan sitting in a folding chair and reading from a Christian book. Setting it down, Stan asked the teens what they thought about what he had just read. A few youths gave their input, while the rest listened. Some texted or played apps on their cell phones. After a little discussion, Stan shared a Bible verse about courage. He then asked if anyone had something to share with the group.
A girl stood up and requested that they pray for her mother who was feeling sick, due to a fever. Stan wrote down a brief note on a slip of paper. Once she was done, he said, “Thanks, Amanda, we’ll pray for your mother. Does anyone else have a prayer request or something they want to share.”
A door opened and Frank walked in. Some looked his way, curious.
“Frank,” Stan said, “have a seat. We were just having a sharing time.”
“I have something to share,” Frank said as he walked up toward the front. Steve could tell that he was a little nervous, but nonetheless, he seemed overall calm and peaceful.
“God has been putting something on my heart to share with you,” Frank said, looking over the group. “I haven’t mustered up the courage to share it earlier, but I felt God telling me to share it with you now. So, here goes. God wants you to know that He loves each and every one of you. He has a purpose for your and my life, and doesn’t want us to waste our lives.
“There is a time which will soon come to our nation that will be very difficult and hard to go through, and judgment will begin to fall on our cities and country. I know this may sound strange, but God wants you to know that judgment is at hand because the sin of this country is great. He wants each one of you to make Jesus Christ truly your Savior and Lord, if you haven’t done it yet, because the time to repent and turn to God is now. Tomorrow may be too late for some.
“If we hold onto sin and bitterness, we cannot continue walking with God. We have to choose who we will serve, whether we will serve God or mammon, which is money and worldly pleasures. I encourage you to seek God about this message and about what He would like you to know. I am just doing what He asked me to do. I give Him all the glory.”
With that, Frank walked over to an empty chair and sat down, feeling his heart beat faster. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He didn’t feel like warning the other youth, but he also felt in his spirit the need to warn them and the urge to tell them about judgment to come.
Stan was silent for a few moments, stunned at what he heard. Steve heard some of the teens whispering and giggling quietly. A few of the guys on a couch were whispering to each other and chuckling, casting sideways glances at Frank. Steve felt let to approach them, and Jesus allow him to hear their conversation.
“That loser is turning into a religious nut,” one teen guy whispered to a friend nearby. “What got into Frank? He sounds legalistic.”
“Mr. Too-good is telling us we need to repent. What should I repent from? I’m a Christian. I prayed the prayer of salvation. Why should I need to repent?” another guy said.
“He looks like someone gave him a dare, and he couldn’t say no,” a different guy added.
The first teen to speak said, “Maybe his mommy gave him a dare.”
Several guys and girls chuckled when they heard that.
But, some of the other teens looked serious and thoughtful, as if they had been convicted of sinful living.
The relative silence seemed to last for a couple minutes. Finally, Stan said, swallowing, “Well, let’s pray then.” He uttered a bland prayer, which included a request for Amanda’s mother to be healed, and a mention that the poor people in Africa hear the Gospel and receive the food and medicine they need. He also mentioned a few other prayer requests, including that God would bless the youth group and bring lost souls there so that they could join the church. There was no mention of the message Frank had given just a couple minutes earlier.
A girl prayed for the pastor and for the youth pastor that they would have God’s guidance and blessing. Another girl prayed for her boyfriend to get saved. Once that was over, Stan again mentioned the rock concert and encouraged the youth to bring their friends. Then, the meeting wrapped up.
The teens turned the music back on, which Steve couldn’t hear, and continued playing table games and hanging out, chatting about high school teachers, about movies they wanted to watch or had seen, about video games they had played, and about classmates who had humorous quirks about them, etc.
Steve went around the room, listening to their conversations, but no one mentioned what Frank had said during the sharing time, except to mock him. Steve could tell that some were afraid to speak favorable of Frank, lest they fall out of favor with their peers.
As for Frank, Steve saw him slip out a door, and not return.
The Second Warning
The scene changed and Steve saw a basket-ball court with chairs set up in a half-circle. Some table games had been moved into the court. Dozens of teens were chatting, playing table games, and shooting basketball hoops. Laughter, the squeaking of shoes, and the thumping of basketballs being dribbled echoed through the room. Some speakers had been set up with a music player resting atop one.
Again, Steve couldn’t hear the music, but he could tell that some of the youth were moving to the rhythm. After a minute or so, Stan entered the room and informed them that they were meeting in this basket-ball court because the youth hangout room was being remodeled and expanded.
After a while, Stan had the youth gather to play various group games. After the game time was over, Stand had them sit down in chairs while he read from a Christian book. They had a group discussion after he read four pages. Then, it was sharing time.
A door opened, and Frank walked into the meeting, taking a seat. This time, many people looked his direction, and some tried to be stealthy about their stare. A few were giggling and whispering as they glanced at him.
“Are there any prayer requests or anything to share, other than talk about the world ending?” Stan said, glancing at Frank.
At this, several of the teens snickered.
No one spoke up for over half a minute. Then, Frank stood to his feet. As he did several people rolled their eyes and Stan grimaced.
“I want to let you know that I am not standing before you because I want to do this, but I felt the need to because God was showing me to warn this group about judgment that is soon to befall our land, and this city, and this church.”
Several gasped and others forcefully coughed.
“First Peter 4:17 says that judgment must begin with the house of God,” Frank said, “and 1 Samuel 15:23 says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. God had to warn King Saul several times, but each time, Saul hardened his heart, and refused to repent. Instead of waiting for Samuel the prophet to arrive in Gilgal, like Samuel had told him to do, Saul defiantly offered a sacrifice, which Samuel was supposed to offer.
“Later on, Saul was told by Samuel that God wanted him to destroy the wicked and rebellious Amalekites, and destroy all their livestock. But, Saul saved the king of the Amalekites and spared their livestock, which God had told him to destroy. When confronted by Samuel, Saul told him that the livestock were to be offered up to God. But, this was not what God wanted.
“So, in 1 Samuel 15:22 and 23, God had Samuel the prophet say that ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’ and also that ‘rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.’ God wants us to repent and forsake sin. He wants us to do things His way, and have close fellowship with Him. Doing things our own way, and rejecting God’s ways is rebellion, and it keeps us from having close fellowship with God.
“Later in 1st Samuel, we find Saul seeking to kill David; murdering priests of the Lord; and going to a witch for counsel, after he had put witches out of the land. Saul died as a wicked man, and did not enter Heaven. God had called him to be king because he was humble and was trusting in God at the start of his reign.
“But, soon after receiving power, King Saul turned away from what he knew to be right. In Ezekiel 33:13, God says that if a righteous man trusts in his own righteousness, and commits iniquity, all his righteous actions shall not be remembered. He shall die for his iniquity. That is what happened to King Saul, and that is what happened to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
“I encourage all of you to seek God about what I am saying. He will show you the truth. He wants all of us to trust in Jesus for salvation, and be born-again through Jesus Christ. Our own works cannot save us. That’s what the books of Romans, Galatians, and the books of the whole New Testament say throughout them.”
Stan stood up from his chair, smiling. “Thank you, Frank for your presentation, but I think now it’s time to give it a rest. I think we all just need to know that God loves us, and just let ourselves relax.”
“God loves us and that is why He is warning us about judgment to come,” Frank said with concern. “If you have a toddler that is wandering in the road, won’t you call out to the child and seek to save him?”
Stan pursed his lips, in thought. A few seconds passed before Stan spoke again.
“Why don’t we all pray now,” Stan said, trying to control the situation and trying to maintain his fake smile.
Many of the teens closed their eyes, but others chanced a peek at Frank. Others just stared at him while Stan prayed a run-of-the-mill prayer.
Once Stan was finished praying, he said, “Remember to invite your friends to the Pyramid Eye rock concert, which will be held at the football stadium on Friday night. Also, we are planning a movie night next Friday. So, mark that on your calendars and bring your friends.”
“What movie is it?” a guy near the front asked.
“We can pick some from a collection but I just purchased the new release of The Legend of the Haunted Vale. I also have Blackbeard and the Curse of the Ghost Ship, which came out last year. We’ll have plenty of snacks and soft drinks.”
“Any beer?” a guy asked.
“You’re too young for that,” the youth pastor retorted, grinning. “But, if you don’t tell your parents, I just might give you a taste of some … just kidding.”
The Pastor’s Office
Steve saw the scene before him of the youth group vanish to be replaced with a comfortably decorated office. A middle-aged man sat behind an oak desk talking to a teen guy on the other side. Scattered throughout the room, snap-shots of basketball history captured players shooting hoops or slam-dunking. A couple of Thomas Kinkade’s lighthouse paintings hung on either side of the office. A window behind the man revealed a green, scratchy wall of juniper bushes outside. High above the man’s head hung a painting of a cross and an empty tomb.
“Pastor Ben,” Frank said as he faced the middle-aged man across the desk. “God showed me he would like me to give a message of warning to the church. He is calling out to people to repent and seek Him, because judgment is soon to fall on this land, because it has done wickedly before Him.”
Ben, who appeared to be in his mid-fifties, had white hair at his temples but the rest of his hair was black. A long grey goatee sprouted from his chin and reached down past the collar of his dark green polo shirt. In his fingers he fidgeted with a silver pen.
“You’re telling me that God showed you He wanted you to warn this church about judgment coming?” Ben said. “I preach to the people, and I even tell them they should stay away from harmful behaviors. Why would God want to warn the people of this church? I think we’re doing a good work here.”
Frank, wearing a dark blue T-shirt and carpenter jeans, was in the middle of a conversation when Steve saw the scene appear before him, in this vision.
“I encourage you to seek God about this,” Frank said with concern. “God has shown me that there are many people in your church that do not know His Name. They say they are Christians, but they have not truly asked Jesus to be their personal Savior and Lord. That is what God shown me. He wants to warn them. Please, seek God about this.”
The older man grunted and leaned back in his chair. A frown creased his face as he tapped his pen on the oak desk. Ben closed his eyes, in thought, and opened them slowly several seconds later. ‘What was Ben thinking about?’ Steve wondered. ‘Was he taking the message seriously?’ Half a minute passed before the pastor spoke.
“Young man,” Ben said slowly with a cold tone in his voice, “I think God is pleased with what we’re doing at this church, and I believe you possibly may have heard from the wrong spirit. But, just to be fair, I will seek God about this and see what He shows me. Is there anything else you wish to talk about?”
Frank felt a sadness stir his heart. He could tell that the pastor had rejected what he had just said. “Pastor Ben, I encourage you to actually seek God with an open mind. God will show you the truth.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you?” Ben asked, seeking to get the young man out of his office.
Frank stood up and said, “I know that if you seek God about this He will show you the truth.”
“You already said that. I will seek Him.”
Frank left the office and the pastor shut the door behind him. Once he was sure Frank was gone, Ben reached for his phone and dialed some numbers. The phone ran three times before a man on the other end picked up his phone.
“Hello Will,” Ben said, “this is Ben. I just got done talking with a boy from the youth group who says God gave him a message to warn the whole church with. His name is Frank Johnson. I want you and the other deacons to keep an eye on him because he says God wants him to warn the entire church. If you see him act up, I want you to usher him outside and tell him never to return. I will have a word with his parents at seven tonight. Clearly, this message has to be from the devil. It could not be from God because I am doing right by this church. The spirit Frank spoke with told him that many people in the church do not know God’s Name. I’ve preached to them for twenty-two years and I know God has been using me. …”
Time skipped ahead suddenly, and Steve now saw the pastor bowing at his desk in his office. He had his hands clasped together in prayer.
“Heavenly Father,” Ben said out loud, “I have done good deeds for your Kingdom. I’ve ministered to many people over the years and helped the poor. We’ve gone down to Mexico on several mission trips to distribute food to the poor, and New Testaments to lost souls. We started out with just a congregation of just 15 people and reached 300 just last year.
“I taught them from your Word every Sunday and Wednesday. I ministered to the people throughout the week. You know how busy my schedule is. I can’t see how you would send a boy, who is not even an adult, to warn this church to repent from sin, or how you could tell him that many people here are lost, after all the preaching I’ve given them. What a slap in the face that is to me. I can’t see how that can be from you. So, Heavenly Father, please bless this church and remove this thorn from my side. Amen.”
Ben opened his eyes, sighed, and stood to his feet.
Steve could now see Jesus standing beside the pastor and putting His hand on Ben’s shoulder. Jesus was saying, “Ben, Ben, I am with you. I want you to seek Me and listen to My voice. This young man who spoke to you is sent from Me to warn your church to repent from their sins, and to forsake wickedness. I ordain and choose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. [1 Corinthians 1:27. See “Footnote” A.].
“I use children to preach repentance to the lost, and to warn those who claim to be My people. Frank is being used by My Spirit to warn. Let him warn the body of Christ. Let him warn the congregation on Sunday. Ben, you are resisting My Spirit. Return to Me, son. Return and rest.
“Forsake doing things your own way, and look to Me. I will fulfill you. Return to Me, Ben. And, I the LORD your GOD have spoken.”
But Ben spoke up just as Jesus was finishing. “This voice in my head must be a deceiving spirit. God, this can’t be from you, can it? I’m doing right by these people. I can’t accept this. Tell me, should I allow this young man to speak?”
Two voices reached the pastor’s spiritual ears. Jesus standing beside him said: “Son, I want you to let Frank speak, and I am certainly the Lord your God.”
But, another voice entered into Ben’s thoughts and said: “You are doing well, Ben. I am your god. You have been hearing from a deceitful spirit. Frank is being led by an evil spirit to cause problems for you. Don’t let him speak at your church, for you are the pastor, and you must not let him interfere with my order in the church.”
Steve could now see an evil spirit placing his scaly hand into Ben’s head. The spirit resembled a faun, or a goat-man, with black dragon wings. It had piercing red eyes and sharp teeth from which dripped black liquid.
The pastor seemed unsure about both voices. He seemed to be struggling over which to believe. But, the demon’s words were more appealing to Ben than Jesus Christ’s message.
“Lord God, what should I say to Frank’s parents?” Ben asked, trying to ignore the conviction he felt that he was resisting God’s Spirit. The demon, who he couldn’t see, placed his fingers into Ben’s head again.
“Tell them,” the demon said as it flicked its serpent-like tongue, “that their son is seeking to disrupt the order of the church, and that you are concerned that he is hearing from an evil spirit. Tell them that you would like them to meet with you and the elders of the church to discuss their son Frank’s spiritual condition.”
“Yes Lord,” Ben said, “I’ll do that.”
“Ben, follow my voice,” Jesus said. “I am speaking with you. Seek Me more about this. An evil spirit has been speaking with you.”
Ben squinted. “Did you say that, Lord God?”
“Yes, My son,” Jesus said. “I love you, and I want you to know that Frank is called to warn the church. Don’t resist My Spirit. I will guide him in what he says and I will work it out well.”
Ben cringed. He couldn’t accept that a teen boy would be called to preach and warn the church, and he, the pastor, would be just watching it happening. It was humiliating to think about. People would wonder why it was that Ben had not warned them and that a young man was called to do what the pastor should have been doing.
“My son,” Jesus said, “if you repent before Me and seek My face, I will have you warn the Church instead of Frank. But, if you will not warn the Church, Frank will go. And, I the LORD your God have spoken.”
Ben cringed at the thought that Frank would speak instead of him, but Ben couldn’t accept that he was not doing his job as a pastor. He felt he did good works and taught the people well. If he didn’t speak much about repenting from sin, so what? [See “Footnote” B.]. He felt he gave them good messages. They seemed happy with his preaching. Well, some people did wonder why he rarely or never preached about sin and judgment, but they were very few compared to the majority.
“Ben, My son,” Jesus said, “seek Me and you will be blessed. I will show you what I want you to know. Seek Me, Ben.”
But, Ben shook his head and cringed. He wished that Frank had never spoken to him. He wanted to have a normal routine and a smooth pace. But now, Ben felt, Frank had thrown a monkey wrench into the machine, and Ben’s heart felt very convicted. He had two options, Steve realized. Either Ben would soften his heart, and repent, and seek God’s will, or he would resist God’s will and not actually seek God.
“Now My son,” Jesus said to Steve, “we will visit the church three Sundays later. You will see what has happened to Ben at that time. And, you will see how Frank follows My leading in the message I have called him to give the church. And, I the LORD your God have spoken.”
The Message to the Church
Steve suddenly appeared in the middle of a fairly large auditorium, which could seat about a thousand people. A circular platform at the back of the room was filled with a worship band. A drummer pounded away (but Steve couldn’t hear the sound) while electric guitars played a popular Christian song. After a minute or two, they finished the last song and began to put their instruments away, and carried the microphones to the rear of the stage.
Right as the band was leaving the stage, a young man stood up from his chair in the front row and climbed onto the stage. It was Frank, Steve realized. A microphone on a stand was resting a few feet from the lectern or pulpit. Frank stood before it and began to speak to the crowd with earnestness and boldness Steve hadn’t seen in him before:
“God has called me to warn you to seek Him and repent from any sin in your lives He is convicting you about. He wants you to know Him personally and deeply.”
As Frank said this, Steve noticed four deacons at the back of the room were speaking to each other in hushed tones.
Frank continued to say: “God gave us salvation through Jesus Christ so that we can know Him as our Father and Savior, and have a personal relationship with Him. But, sin keeps us from having a close walk with God.”
Ben approached the deacons and spoke to them with a little bit of anger in his face. Steve was allowed to hear him say, “We can’t let him keep preaching.”
“Sin brings us onto a path that will eventually lead to damnation, because a rebellious soul cannot enter Heaven,” Frank said. “Hebrews 10:26-31 warns us about how a born-again Christian can harden his heart to a point where he tramples underfoot the blood of Jesus Christ, and denies his own Lord. Sin is what leads him to rebellion, but repentance is the answer for a guilty conscience. Jesus came to save us from the consequences of sin, which are eternal separation from God in Hell and eternal suffering. These are the reasons Jesus Christ died for us, and rose again.
“So, trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you, and seek to know Him. Forsake sin because that will harm you, and look to God for help. Joseph fled from Potiphar’s adulterous wife. [See “Footnote” C.]. We must flee from temptations and look to God for help. Knowing God as our best Friend is the answer to temptations. And, God desires us to know Him better. In John 17:3, Jesus said, ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’ This is important --”
Suddenly, the power to the microphone was cut, and Frank’s voice lost the amplification. The four deacons were hurrying down the aisles toward him.
“Seek God,” Frank shouted so that he could be heard, “because sin will keep you from Him. Don’t think that your good works will outweigh your bad, because God’s Word says, in Isaiah 64:4, that all our works of righteousness are as filthy rags.”
The deacons grabbed him by the arms and forcefully ushered him outside through an exit. But, Frank offered no resistance, knowing Jesus was with him.
As they ushered him out, Frank shouted so he could be heard, “Turn to Jesus and truly make Him your Lord and Savior. Repent from any sin you are aware of and seek to know God as your best Friend.”
Steve was instantly taken to the outside of the building where he witnessed a scene unfold before him. An exit door was shoved open and the deacons brought Frank through, and released their hold on his arms once he was outside. A frowning deacon crossed his arms and stood in front of the door to block Frank’s possible reentry.
“We ask you to leave these premises right away,” a deacon said, drilling him with a cold look.
The exit door opened a few seconds later, and a man and a woman came out.
“Why did you take my son away while he was in the middle of speaking?” Frank’s dad said.
“He was disrupting the service and we had to maintain order,” a different deacon said stiffly.
“He wasn’t disrupting the service,” Frank’s mother said calmly. “He was giving a message God wanted him to speak.”
“Please, sir, would you kindly take your family and leave these premises?” the first deacon said to Frank’s dad.
“The people need to repent and seek God,” Frank said, with concern in his face. “Would you let me speak to them some more?”
Three deacons kept their mouths shut but a fourth one said, “You are stirring up trouble and the pastor didn’t authorize you to speak. Now, please leave.”
Reluctantly, Frank turned and walked away, and his parents followed a few feet to his left. Steve saw Jesus appear beside Frank, walking beside him, placing an arm around his shoulders to comfort him. Steve also sensed Jesus Christ’s presence beside him.
After going about twenty yards, Frank stopped, feeling a heavy burden on his chest. “Dear Jesus,” he said, quietly, “what should I do? I thought you wanted me to warn this church, but they threw me out.”
“Frank, My son,” Jesus said, smiling at him, “I am with you. The elders, the pastor, and the deacons rejected the message I had you give. The youth pastor, Stan, is mostly closed to it too, but Stan is still wondering if it might be of Me. Pray for him, but you have done your part. You have warned them.
“Now, they will be given opportunity to repent and seek Me, but if they will not repent, and if they will harden their hearts greatly against Me, then I cannot let them enter Heaven. Their hearts are already very hardened against Me, and the pastor Ben is very hardened against Me at this time. Soon, I will have to harden his heart, if he will not repent.”
Somehow in this vision or dream, Steve had been able to hear Jesus speaking to Frank. Now, he was curious about what Jesus had just said.
“Dear Jesus, what does it mean for you to harden their hearts?” Steve asked Jesus (who stood beside him) and gazed into his Lord’s loving face and green eyes, which sparkled with life and peace.
“My son,” Jesus said, “it means that they would have hardened their hearts so much that they would never want to repent or seek Me, and never will turn to Me, no matter how much I call out to them. That is why I would have to set a mark or a sign over the door of their heart that says there is no vacancy.
“Their hearts are close to being completely filled up with sin and rebellion because they did not want to know Me, or seek Me, or do My will, but they just wanted to pursue their own agendas and their own will. If they will not repent, they will certainly continue to harden their hearts until the day of judgment, where I will say to them that I never knew them.
“Because, even though they may still be saved at this time, if they will not repent from their sins, I will declare that I never knew them because the short amount of time in which they have known Me on earth is nothing compared to eternity. If a man served Me his entire life, and refused to repent, and refused to forsake sin at the end of his life, and if he continued to do so, I would have to blot out his name from the book of life.
“When his name is blotted out, the records say that I do not know him. He never was one of My sheep, nor was he ever one of the elect. The elect are those who I foreknow will be in Heaven, because they have continued to rest in Me and obey Me. Now, if they rebel, I will forgive them, if they do not greatly harden their hearts against Me. But, those who rebel and who will not repent, no matter how much I call out to them, will certainly not be part of My Kingdom because they loved the world and their own will more than they loved Me. That is true. And, I the LORD your God have spoken.”
“But, Lord,” Steve said, “how do people know if they are too hardened to repent?”
“My son,” Jesus said, lovingly, “if a man, or woman, or child wants to repent from sin and truly forsake it, I will by no means cast them out. [See “Footnote” D.]. I will certainly forgive them for their sin. The sin that cannot be forgiven is a heart that hardens itself, and refuses to recognize that it needs to repent, and that it ought to repent.
“A hardened soul may say that they ought to repent, but they never actually will repent because they have made up their mind and heart that they are ‘right,’ and that they can continue sinning and ‘justifying’ their sin. If they humble themselves and repent, they will not have ever committed the unforgivable sin. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Steve said. “I think I do. But, if You say that You never knew them, how can it be that they once were saved?”
Jesus said with some sadness in His eyes: “I never foreknew them as My sheep or as My elect because I knew ahead of time that they would choose, of their own free will, to forsake Me, and reject Me, and not turn back to Me. So, they never were the elect, and they never were My true sheep. They were saved, but they rejected Me, and forsook Me, and refused to turn back to Me. Therefore, I did not foreknow them or know them as My elect. That is certainly correct, My son.”
Waking from the Dream
Suddenly, the scene changed, and the church building parking lot vanished before Steve’s eyes. He saw the dark of his eyelids with a faint amount of light shining through. Steve sat up in bed and blinked. After a minute or so, he stretched, yawned and lowered his feet to the carpet in the basement bedroom of his parent’s home. Everything he had experienced for the last eight hours had been a long dream or vision. He wanted to write it down so that none of it would be lost.
Steve walked over to his maple reading desk and clicked on a reading lamp. He opened a drawer in his wooden dresser and pulled out an older laptop that he used for writing. It had no internet access and was just used as a word processor. He powered the computer on and waited for it to load. As he waited, he exhaled slowly as he thought about all the things he had seen and heard. This was a powerful and concerning vision or dream, and he wanted to share it with his friends and family. They needed to know what was coming to this country.
After Steve had written down some notes, he leaned back in his chair, sensing that God wanted to speak to him.
“My son, Steve,” Jesus said to his spirit and soul, “I am with you. I have a message I want you to write down to share with your family, and with your relatives, and with your friends. They will soon be experiencing a shaking that will shock them to hear about, and will shock them to experience.
“Soon, their world will change and they will wake up seeing the very things your dreams spoke of. They will see concentration camps, riots, chaos, economic problems, inflation, and martial law. They will be shocked to see all these things unfold in their lives, but the worst it yet to come. For, indeed, the Antichrist will arise and will require that all men and women get the mark of the Beast, without which they could neither buy nor sell.
“But, those who look to Me shall be delivered from this wicked system, and I shall provide for all their physical, and emotional, and spiritual needs. I shall meet all their needs. Now, go and share that message with them. And, I the LORD your GOD have spoken.”
Steve thought about what God had just told him. He remembered that his dad, Harry, had mentioned that there would be a family reunion with Harry’s side of the family in about a week. It was to be held in a nearby city park. They would have a barbecue and potluck. Then, some of his cousins, like Robert and Bruce Jones, might bring a projector to play a movie or go to a theater to see a new release. Steve didn’t feel like he really wanted to warn them because he felt inadequate, but he knew that God chose the weak for His purposes.
“My son,” Jesus said, “I will go with you wherever you go. I will be your Guide even until death. I will never leave you, nor forsake you. Warn your cousins, and uncles, and aunts about the judgment that is coming, but I will be with your mouth to give you the words to say. I will guide you. Now, rest, and let My be your Strength. And, I the LORD your God have spoken.”
“Thank you that you will be with me,” Steve said. “I really need your help. I will do your will. And, you will go with me. Thanks.”
“Rest, My son,” Jesus said.
Steve breathed deeply and relaxed. A sense of calm came over him as he thought about what God was calling him to actually do. His cousins and relatives needed to be aware of the judgment coming. He didn’t know exactly how they would respond, but he hoped they would be open and receptive.
(A.) 1 Corinthians 1:27 says: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
(B.) Ben didn’t think he needed to preach repentance from sin because it would offend his audience. But, Jesus constantly warned his listeners to forsake sin.
In Mark 9:47-48, Jesus warned us to remove anything that would lead us into sin. He said: “ And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Jesus is teaching us to forsake what leads us to sin, and not hold onto it. He doesn’t actually mean that you have to pull out your eye.
(C.) In Genesis 39:11-13, Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife because she was tempting him to commit fornication with him. He was figuratively removing his eye, or what would lead him into sin.
(D.) In John 6:37, Jesus said: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” [If we seek God and turn to Him, He will not cast us out.]