I will never forget standing with a family in a small hospital room, watching the slowing heart monitor hooked to the still, small form of a three-year old boy, who fell into a swimming pool while no one watched. I was supposed to be the spiritual shepherd called to be with a grieving family to provide support, encouragement, and an appropriate word from God. The problem occurred when I walked into the hospital room knowing the boy would soon die. He looked just like my three-year old son – tight, curly, blond hair and a tiny, fair-skinned body. If it hadn’t been for all the wires attached to this miniature person, he would have looked as if he were taking a nap and would be ready to jump up and run around the room any minute.
In that moment, I was no longer the pastor on call with emotional and spiritual fortitude, the one expected to be the steadfast guide in a tragic moment. I was not the one who, while transparently sharing in the grief with an appropriate emotional response, remained resolute in my ability to lead this grieving family into the open arms of Christ’s comfort. Instead, I was the brokenhearted father who looked on the fractured form of his dying son. I became an emotional wreck. As we all huddled around the bed waiting for the heart monitor to flat line, a nurse compassionately placed her hand upon my shoulder comforting me as much as she did the distraught mother.
I learned that day that even in the moments when being immovable is essential, many times it is elusive. It would have been strange, unChristlike, and even inhuman for me not to have been emotionally affected by such an event, but my inability to control my emotions in such a critical time made me less effective at the moment.
People thought Thomas Jonathan Jackson was immovable, and many swore they would follow him to their death. He began his military career in the Mexican-American War but gained his fame as he served under General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. As the Union Army pressed upon the Confederates, Jackson pushed his men to fill the gap and stand firm against the enemy. When Brigadier General Barnard Bee looked back to see Jackson holding fast as the enemy poured toward him, he said to his men, “Look men, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall!”[i] From that day forward, Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson became known simply as “Stonewall Jackson.” A fierce fighter, immovable in battle, he eventually became one of the best known and most effective generals who led the Confederate States Army.[ii] It is unfortunate his reputation of fierceness and immovability in life is tainted by the way he died: accidentally shot by friendly fire and eventually succumbing to pneumonia. Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname, but as history reveals, he was not immovable as he died prematurely from such a senseless accident.
Immovable! Can we comprehend such a concept? When have you needed to be immovable but were unable to find the strength? It may have been an intense spiritual conflict that called for deep, godly strength or a strong temptation in which you needed to put your foot down and say no. Maybe your moment of need came in the midst of a major emotional struggle when you really needed to be strong. Can we stand immovable in critical times?
Perhaps we have to move to the realm of fantasy to find someone who is immovable. You may think of Superman as immovable, but he couldn’t handle Kryptonite. While Batman always seems to get out of tight spots, I wouldn’t call him “immovable.” Is being immovable an illusion, or could it be a reality for us? The answer comes when we consider that which threatens our ability to stand firm. Blogger Jim Loy posed an interesting question: “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?”[iii] If an object, or a person, is immovable, then an irresistible force does not exist. Conversely, if an irresistible force does exist, then immovable objects do not. One will negate the other. We all have experienced forces in our lives that seem to overwhelm and challenge us, but did we stand immovable against them?
The Bible is clear that as time draws to a close, the world will move into a state of chaos and upheaval, presenting various forces that may at first seem irresistible. I do not mean irresistible as in something we absolutely must have, like a piece of my grandmother’s chocolate cake. I mean irresistible in a way that no matter what we do to overcome a particular challenge, we cannot win and remain unable to resist or overcome the challenge. Past generations have faced significant challenges, but these challenges pale in comparison to the difficulties that will come.
I am not a doom-and-gloom kind of guy, but in various places in the Bible, God does give us a glimpse into coming events that are indeed quite gloomy. We call these futuristic passages “prophecy,” statements made under the inspiration of God about events that will come to pass. God must want us to glimpse often because nearly thirty percent of the Bible is made up of prophecy.[iv] Some were made thousands of years ago about future events, but from a twenty-first century perspective, those events are now history, like the birthplace of the Messiah (Micah 5:1-2) or the cruel punishment and death Jesus would endure (Isaiah 53). Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophetic passages related to His first coming.[v] If God was wrong regarding any of these prophecies, then the whole Bible would be suspect. Because God was 100 percent right about Christ’s first coming, we can be confident about His prophecies related to Christ’s second coming.
The Bible has much to say about what will be happening in the world when Jesus comes back for the second time.[vi] Today, many people are asking questions about current events and wondering if these events point to Christ’s imminent return. Others are clueless about current events and how they may relate to Bible prophecy. This lack of understanding may stem from not knowing what the Bible says about the last days. Bible literacy is at an all-time low in our country, so it should not be a surprise that the average person is not tuned in to potential prophetic events as they unfold before our eyes.[vii] Others do not seem to care, for they have been lulled into apathy and have already fallen prey to the deception of our age. Some of the chaos and trouble in our own country and in countries around the world could very well be a warning that the trumpet sound calling the church to meet Jesus is soon forthcoming.
When I say “the church,” I am not referring to a particular church building in any community, but rather I am speaking of every Christian in the world who has surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When people become Christians, they immediately become part of the universal church. Bible prophecies about events that will take place during the final seven years of time are horrific. Cataclysmic events will bring such mayhem, pain, and heartache that many people will not be able to endure the struggle, but some Bible scholars think the church will not have to endure the events of this final period of time. The Bible teaches that the church will be raptured at some point before the end of time as we know it. While there is disagreement by Bible students as to the exact timing of the rapture of the church, most Christians agree that the Bible teaches of the church being caught up to meet the Lord. The word “rapture” is not in the Bible, but the concept of being “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air is clearly spoken about in passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Some scholars believe this rapture will happen before the Tribulation Period begins while others believe the church will have to experience a portion of the final seven-year period. Still others think the rapture will happen at Christ’s second coming. Whether you believe the rapture will come before the Tribulation, in the middle, or at some other time, there is no doubt day-to-day challenges will get exceedingly worse before the church is taken away to meet the Lord in the air.
As I look at Christians today, I wonder if we are ready for the days ahead. Are we ready to stand firm in these last days leading up to the rapture of the church? Are our children prepared to endure the trials and challenges that are sure to come as the Antichrist prepares to step up onto the world’s stage?
This book is written as a guide to help Christians prepare for the days ahead. It is divided into two parts. The first part offers biblical teaching about the last days and compares this teaching to current events indicating we may indeed be the last generation. If we are not the last generation before the return of Christ, then our children or grandchildren could be. Many wonderful books go into great detail about Bible prophecy and current events, and it is not my intent to provide an exhaustive list of every prophecy connected to the current events of our time; however, it is my purpose to provide just enough biblical information and facts about current events for us to consider the possibility that the last days may be upon us.
The second section focuses on the spiritual armor God has provided for the times of spiritual conflict the church will be forced to undergo. While you may have already studied the spiritual armor referred to in Ephesians 6:10-18, I will challenge you to look at it anew as equipment God has given the church so we can stand immovable in the last days leading up to the rapture. The final chapter will offer practical application of the principles outlined in previous chapters. It does not matter what your denominational affiliation may be; God has a message for all of us, and there are things we must do if we are going to engage our enemy with steadfastness.As you read thoughtfully and prayerfully through these chapters, keep your Bible close at hand and search through additional scripture as God prompts. Talk with your Christian friends about these concepts and study them together. A small group discussion guide is included in the appendices for these times of group study. Preparing to stand firm in the last days is serious business, and we must treat it as such by making it a priority. While Stonewall Jackson was not immovable on the battlefield, he was immovable in his faith. Even though everything about his philosophy and beliefs was not right and his position on slavery was wrong, he was a Christ follower who believed in the Word of God. We, too, can be a stone wall in the face of the enemy, and we must stand with the rest of the church against a resistible force through the immeasurable power of our immovable Lord.
[i] History, http://www.history.com/topics/stonewall-jackson
[ii] Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_Jackson
[iii] Jim Loy, When An Irresistible Force Meets An Immovable Object, accessed on August 19, 2013, http://www.jimloy.com/logic/force.htm
[iv] Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Are We Living In The End Times? (Carol Stream, Illinois, Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), 3.
[v] Grant Jeffrey, Jesus: The Great Debate (Nashville, Tennessee, Word Publishing, 1999), 229.
[vi] 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 tells us of Christ’s return to take Christians away. We call this the rapture. Matthew 24 deals with what seems to be a different return, and Christians often refer to this as the “Second Coming” or the “Glorious Appearing” (Titus 2:13). Zechariah 14:4 indicates Christ will actually touch the earth again at the Mt. of Olives. This is distinguished from the rapture of the church where the church will “meet the Lord in the air.”
[vii] Michael Youssef, Biblical Literacy: The Antidote to Postmodernism, http://www.christianity.com/theology/angels-demons-satan/biblical-literacy-the-perfect-antidote-to-postmodernism-11569596.html
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Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days
By Dr. Tim Riordan
Excerpt taken from the Introduction of Immovable
Dr. Tim Riordan serves as the Senior Pastor of SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia. He has received degrees from the University of Georgia, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms. He and his wife, Sandra, have six children and one grandchild and make their home in Newnan, Georgia.
Dr. Johnny Hunt, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia
Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor,First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
Christ’s return is imminent and the church must be prepared. In Immovable – Standing Firm in the Last Days, Tim Riordan has challenged believers with anticipated, prophetic events and solid, biblical truth that should awaken the church to the Kingdom opportunities and the spiritual challenges before us. This book will provide direction for the church to put on the spiritual armor of God, to stand firm on the truth of God, and to be vigilant in winning souls for Jesus until He returns. Immovable will be a valuable resource for Christians as we make preparations to stand firm in the days ahead.
Tim Riordan’s book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, is a much needed call to the church to prepare for the days that are ahead. He offers clear Bible teaching on prophecy, relating it to current events, and calls believers to prepare for the spiritual warfare that is to come by showing how the spiritual armor of Ephesians six has special relevance for Christians living in the last days. This book provides a healthy mix of solid biblical teaching and practical life application to help Christians prepare to stand strong in the difficult times leading up to the Rapture and to present a strong witness of the gospel to a world that is in need of salvation. While the days ahead will be challenging, the opportunities to advance the gospel will be unparalleled, and the church must be ready to embrace the challenges and the opportunities. Immovable will serve as a useful guide to help Christians stand firm and victorious in the final days before Christ’s return.
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Bible prophecy points to cataclysmic events before the return of Christ. Is it possible that the stage is being set now for some of the events to take place? Are you ready for the challenges and spiritual conflict that are sure to come in the last days? In Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, Dr. Tim Riordan challenges Christians to be prepared for the difficulties and opportunities of living in the last days before the return of Christ. He connects Bible prophecy regarding the last days to the spiritual armor of Ephesians and teaches Christians how to put it on and engage our spiritual enemy. Immovable will serve as a guide as you seek to prepare to stand firm in the days ahead.
Are you prepared to stand firm in the last days?