Dedicated To The Men of God Who Preach the Word of God As It Is To Men As They Are

bookstore1.jpg (7975 bytes)

Audio Preaching.jpg (1894 bytes)

music3.jpg (8290 bytes)

"Preach The Word"

What Time Is It?

Dr. Vance Havner

A FARMER WAS awakened in the middle of the night when his
clock went on a rampage and struck seventeen. He rushed all
over the house waking everybody up shouting, "Get up! It's later
than it ever has been before!"

It is later than it ever has been before, and the smartest thing
any man can do is to set his watch by God's clock. The rich
farmer in our Lord's parable thought his soul had goods laid up
for many years, but God said, "Thou fool, this night thy soul
shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:20). There is a lot of difference
between many years and this night. We have daylightsaving
time but more important is soul-saving time, and the rich
fool did not have that kind of time.

In Isaiah we read, "Watchman, what of the night?" (21:11). In
those days a watchman was a sentry on a city wall. Today he
watches a radar screen for a possible enemy. Better than watchtower
or radar screen, better than all the news analysts and
political experts, is to know what time it is by the Word of God.
Someone may say, "Nobody understands all that, and besides,
Jesus said that nobody knows the time of the end but GOD
HIMSELF." But He also said, ". . . ye can discern the face of
the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew

Peter called such ignorance of the times wilful ignorance. It is
bad enough to be ignorant when it can't be helped; it is a thou-
sand times worse to be ignorant on purpose. The jigsaw puzzle
of these times has many pieces. Only God can put them
together, and they are being assembled now by an unseen hand
before our eyes.

One of these pieces is anarchy. Our Lord told us that before
He returns lawlessness will abound (Matthew 24:25). We are
reminded today of the last verse of the Book of Judges: "In those
days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was
right in his own eyes." When authority goes out anarchy comes
in. We behold this anarchy in every area of life today. We see
it in modern art. Recently the magazine section of a Sunday city
newspaper printed a full-page painting done by a chimpanzee
that had gotten its nose into some paint jars and had smeared the
colors indiscriminately. I thought it was modernistic art! (I mean
no disrespect to apes.) We see this lawlessness in our literature.
I saw a highway sign that read, "Dirt For Sale" and reflected that
it ought to be hung over the paperback bookracks all over
America. Consider modern popular music. Somebody has said
the pop records sound just the same when they are worn out! If
what I hear belongs to the "top forty," I'd hate to hear the
bottom forty!

Right and wrong are no longer absolute but relative. Every
man does what is right in his own eyes. "If I think it's all right,
that makes it right." So we have contextual morality and situation
ethics. "If you don't like a law, break it." So we have civil
disobedience. Every television news report shows a howling mob
with the law in its own hands. America has a thousand fractured
and fragmented groups, each demanding what it wants with no
regard for what happens to the country. Universities cringe
before lawless students. The faculty surrenders to the mob. The
monkeys take over the zoo! The police are called in to do what
the parents of these youngsters failed to do ten years earlier.


There is no discipline in government, in school, in the home, or
in the individual. Even the church has thrown discipline overboard
and no longer mentions specific sins in church covenants,
only generalities, so that each member can put his own interpretation
on what is right or wrong. There is a universe of moral law,
whether we like it or not, and when we disregard it we pull down
the house on ourselves and our generation. The alternative to
discipline is disaster. We have become soft and tolerant and
fearful and permissive, and the forces of evil are taking advantage
of it to wreck the country.

A policeman said to me recently, "It is pretty hard sometimes
to tell who is on trial, the criminal or the policeman." Thanks to
court decisions, the offender gets more sympathy than the victims
of his crime. What we are seeing in the hideous crimes of
today is not ordinary wickedness but demonism. There is no king
in Israel and every man does what is right in his own eyes.
However men may justify it and by whatever name they call it,
this is anarchy.

In these last days we also have apostasy, the falling away from
the faith predicted in Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians
(2:3). He also wrote to Timothy that the time would come when
men would not endure sound doctrine but would turn from truth
to fables (II Timothy 4:3,4). "Fables" means "myths," and now
we have the de-mythologizers telling us that the miracles did not
happen and that they merely teach us certain truths. If the miracles
are only myths, then I am mythtaken, mythified and mytherable!

Commentaries that doubt or deny the supernatural
abound. This, of course, is nothing new for apostasy runs in
cycles. Today we have new personalities and a different terminology
all the more dangerous because it uses the language of
orthodoxy. Today there are fewer Communists in the party as
such, but they have joined other organizations in which they can
do far more harm. The same is true of liberalism in theology.
Spurgeon wrote: "Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. That
is how apostates do it; it is always with a kiss. Did you ever read
an infidel book in your life which did not begin with profound
respect for truth? I never have. Even modern ones, when bishops
write them, always begin like that. They betray the Son of man
with a kiss."

A statement like that would be considered unkind and un-
Christian today in this age of tolerance and undiscerning amiability,
but Spurgeon took a stand in his day at great personal cost.
Dr. Phillips says the early church opposed false doctrine in a
manner that sounds almost un-Christian to us today. But today
all doctrines are mixed into one theological mulligan stew. Combining
all isms into one big ism doesn't help. Bad eggs are not
improved by being stirred with good eggs into one omelet. It is
also the day of ecumenism, but apostate fellowships are not
helped by uniting with others of like faithlessness and disorder.
One hundred blind men can see no better than one blind man.
Not only is there anarchy in the world and apostasy in the
professing church, but there is apathy even in the true church.
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many [of most]
shall wax cold" (Matthew 24:12). The order of the day is
abounding lawlessness and abating love. Like Ephesus, we have
left our first love. It has not only cooled, it has chilled. There are
works aplenty but not first works because we have left the first
love that produces first works. It would be frightening to know
how little of our church activity is the spontaneous expression
of our love for Christ. The average church member couldn't care
less. Too many church services begin at eleven o'clock sharp and
end at twelve o'clock dull. We blame television, boats, and ball
games for poor crowds at church on Sunday nights, but they are
not the main trouble. Two pastors were discussing that problem.

One said, "My church is too near to the lake and too many of
my people go boating." "My church is just as near to the lake,"
replied the other, "but our trouble is not that we are too close
to the lake. We are not close enough to the Lord."

All our study courses, promotion, pep meetings and kick-off
suppers avail nothing in attempting to get people to do what they
don't want to do anyway. We are trying to get people to sing
when they don't have a song, to witness when they have no
testimony. Our Lord did not give Peter a lecture on how to feed
sheep when they met by the Sea of Tiberias. He asked, "Do you
love me?" Peter was a backslidden Christian on a fishing trip;
there are multitudes more of his kind today. The issue is still the
same: do you love Jesus? Affection is the answer to apathy.
Anarchy, apostasy and apathy will culminate in the coming of
Antichrist. Paul tells us that the mystery of lawlessness is already
at work and when the Restrainer is removed, Antichrist, the
Wicked One, will appear. There is a spirit of Antichrist; there
will also be a personal Antichrist. Man began his sinful way by
changing the truth of God into a lie (Romans 1:25) and Antichrist
will be the final Big Lie. The devil is a liar and the father
of it. He began with a lie in the Garden of Eden, "Ye shall not
surely die" (Genesis 3:4). At the end God will send a delusion
that men should believe a lie, Many will come saying, "I am
Christ" and will deceive many. This will reach its climax in the
Ultimate Lie, the Man of Sin. Men will either love the truth or
believe a lie; they will believe God Who became Man or the man
who will claim to be God.

We are being primed for that final delusion. P. T. Barnum said
the American people love to be humbugged. We love it. It runs
in the blood. We take to it like a duck to water. I do not know
who the Antichrist will be. There were deluded prophets who
thought Mussolini filled the bill. Some imagined that Franklin D.
Roosevelt's National Recovery Act was the mark of the Beast!
But there will be an Antichrist, and he could be living now.
A judge said to a man on trial: "You have a right to have a
lawyer. There is a lawyer on your right, another on your left and
another in the hall." The man on trial looked at the lawyers on
his right and left and said, "I think I'll take a chance on the
lawyer in the hall." My Saviour is "in the hall"—even at the
doors —but there is another in the hall. The grim figure of Antichrist
looms without. When he appears, he will not seem grim
but gracious. His advance stooges are already with us, so pleasant
as to make it appear sinful not to endorse them. But "be not
deceived"; we have been forewarned long ago.
There is a weird and sinister movement of the powers of
darkness all over the world today. One of its major objectives at
present is to destroy America. It will not be necessary to do that
from without; we are allowing it to be accomplished from within.
Part of this movement is Communism; part of it is paganism; part
of it is demonism. Sometimes it wears the robes of religion to
deceive, if possible, the very elect and to enlist the support of all
clergymen who don't know what time it is. Ahab is going up
against Ramoth-gilead these days with the blessing of the prophets
of Baal, and any Micaiah who opposes it had better get
ready for his diet of bread and water. Many well-meaning people
will be misled. Dr. Torrance says: "In due time even so-called
Christian organizations may easily reveal themselves as part of
a many-headed monster of evil, the more monstrous because it
is world-wide and bears Christian similitude."

We are watching a gigantic effort to bring in a counterfeit
millennium by legislation, education and reformation, trying to
superimpose a profane Paradise, a false kingdom of heaven on
an unregenerate society. The human race is being collectivized
and homogenized into one faceless mass, one world religion, one
world government. Dr. Clark Pinnock says that a grand politicalreligious
collusion of the kind pictured in Revelation 13 is certainly
within the realm of possibility in the near future. Men are
trying to create an ideal social order that can exist only when
Christ returns. To expect this pagan society to build such a
Utopia is the most ridiculous fallacy of the century. We shall
have a changed society only when we have changed people. The
trouble today is that we still have the same old crowd.
But shall we not try to improve conditions? Yes, but don't
expect too much. This world will be no better than the people
in it and even the millennium will be followed by an insurrection!
We confuse the Rider of the White Horse in Revelation 6
with the Rider in Revelation 19. They look alike but that is the
horrible danger of it. Do not forget that Antichrist will show
himself to be God (II Thessalonians 2:4). Dr. Ironside says that
the first Rider on the White Horse is "the devil's cunning scheme
for bringing in a counterfeit millennium without Christ." Dr.
Torrance says that the 666 of Revelation 13 is "the number of
so-called Christian civilization without Jesus Christ." Seven is
the number of perfection, and six is almost seven but it is not
seven. The best that science and education and philosophy can
do always ends in a six. No matter how you dress up an unregenerate
man, he is still a six. Give him a Ph.D. and a split-level
ranch home and put him in the country club, he still is a six. Put
him in Congress, he will still be a six. You can reform the social
order by education, legislation, sanitation, but all you have is a
six! Man's utopian program culminates in Babylon and 666. We
will never have a seven until a victorious Christ comes to reign
over a redeemed earth. What we are seeing now is the program
of Antichrist so cleverly staged that thousands of well-meaning
people think it is the Kingdom of Heaven.

This program of Antichist will meet its doom at Armageddon.
The Bible is a disturbing book, a hammer, a fire, and a sword.
It bids us "stir up the gift of God," "break up the fallow ground,"
"gird up the loins of our minds." We are beset with spiritual
paralysis and sleeping sickness. We sing hymns and do not know
what we are singing. We hear sermons, but "hearing, we hear
not." We read the Bible, but Satan draws a veil over the sacred
page. The rich fool told his soul to take it easy. We ought rather
to cry, "Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve and press with
vigor on." It is time to wake up, get up, and stay up. God's alarm
clock is going off every minute. We scan weather reports and
study the news but we cannot discern the signs of the times.
Blessed is the man who has set his watch by God's clock, who
knows what hour it is by the Eternal Timepiece that has never
sounded a false alarm.

It is next to impossible to arouse America to her peril today.
Well might the President of the United States appear on television
and call the nation to pray with Jehoshaphat in his hour of
crisis, "0 our God, . . . neither know we what to do: but our eyes
are upon thee" (II Chronicles 20:12). A few voices still warn us
and a few watchmen are still on the wall, but Americans are too
drunk and doped and drugged, too crazed by money and sex, too
befuddled in the insanity of these times to pay attention. They
have listened to politicians and experts pooling their ignorance
in symposiums and interviews. They have gone to church all too
often to hear a blind leader of the blind.

It is not likely that any President will call us to a prayer of
desperation. It wouldn't hurt his reputation, for everybody
knows he doesn't know what to do anyway! But why are our
churches not filled with penitent worshipers in this tragic hour?
Emergency requires urgency. When someone is ill in our homes
we disrupt our normal schedule and give priority to the emergency.
When disaster strikes a community, business closes down
and everything is adjusted to the crisis. The ambulance and fire
engine disregard traffic signals and speed laws. When a house is
on fire we dispense with usual formalities to arouse the endangered.
This does not call for panic in which some carry feather
pillows downstairs and throw clocks out the window but it does
call for urgent action.

What would happen if the pastors of any city would call all
concerned Christians to gather in the city auditorium for a night
of repentance, confession, dedication and supplication? I do not
mean a formal program with an "outstanding speaker." I do not
mean an evangelistic campaign—that is good in its place. I mean
a prayer meeting of holy desperation. How many would come?
How many would ask, "What's the angle? Is somebody trying to
put me on?" I do not mean an affair with a committee arranging
everything: a choir, movies, and maybe refreshments, and, of
course, inviting the mayor to make a speech. The crisis of this
hour will never be met by run-of-the-mill American arrangements
for staging religious meetings. You cannot "put on" an
all-night prayer meeting as you would set up a marathon. Only
a spontaneous season of prayer born of holy desperation will do

How can we start it? The average church congregation is in no
mood for it. Most of them couldn't care less. That is evident from
the dead-pan expression on most faces, as if most of the crowd
were saying, "I move we accept this as information and be dismissed."
But some of us might start praying that God would rise
up a Gideon's Band to begin with, and hope that it might grow
large enough to fill the city auditorium. We have too many little
meetings of the Sons and Daughters of I Will Arise to rise to the
challenge of something really worthwhile. We must get on an
emergency basis and quit trying to whistle our way past the

What would happen if, in some great church convention, all
business were laid aside and the congregation were to go to
desperate prayer? If it be objected, "But we have gathered to
attend to church business," we would reply, "What bigger business
do we have right now than to turn to God in holy desperation?
The hour is too late and the need too great for "business
as usual." Nothing else is "as usual" and why should we be?
It would be a mockery and a farce to assemble a congregation
of disinterested and unconcerned church members for prayer
just because somebody "got it up" or issued a proclamation.
Better a handful of souls who know what time it is and who pray
because desperate prayer is the only effective weapon left in such
an hour. Will you be one of those? Start with yourself, get right
with God, and then seek others of like mind and heart. Maybe
it will grow until some meeting place will fill spontaneously
without an outstanding speaker, without advertising, without
promotion, the participants brought together by the urgency of
the hour and the compulsion of the Holy Spirit, praying until
God rends the heavens and comes down.

What time is it? It is time for holy desperation because it is too
late for everything else.



The Fundamental Top 500

E-Mail Tom Walker
Site created by Tom Walker