The Second Witness
Then a second voice spoke, “I, too, confirm this truth. ‘The judgment of God is about to be revealed on the earth. Even so, ‘Mercy triumphs over judgment.’ The Lord always extends mercy before judgment. If you will warn the people that His judgments are near, His mercy will save many.”
I did not recognize the one speaking, but it was another man of great stature and nobility, with a brilliance that indicated a high rank.
“I am Jonah,” he said. “When you understand the Lord’s judgments, you understand His ways. However, even if you understand them, it does not mean that you agree with them. Understanding is necessary, but it is not enough. The Lord also wants y
“You have often asked for the Lord’s presence to go with you. That is wisdom. I was a prophet, and I knew Him, yet I tried to flee from His presence. That was a great folly, but not as foolish as you may think. I had come to understand the great burning that comes with His presence. I had come to understand the responsibility that comes from being close to Him. In His presence, all wood, hay and stubble is consumed. When you draw close to Him with hidden sin in your heart, it will drive you to insanity, as many have learned through the ages. I was not trying to flee from the will of the Lord as much as I was fleeing from His presence. “When you ask for the reality of His presence, you are asking for the reality that you have seen here to be with you. Heaven is your true home, and it is right for you to yearn for this. Even so, He is a holy God, and if you will walk closely with Him, you, too, must be holy. The closer that you get to Him, the more deadly hidden sin can be.”
“I understand this,” I replied. “That is why I asked for the Lord’s judgments in my own life.”
“Now I must ask you this,” Jonah continued. “Will you seek Him? Will you come to Him?”
“Of course,” I responded. “I desire His presence more than anything. There is nothing greater than being in His presence. I know that many of my motives for wanting to be with Him are selfish, but being with Him helps to set me free from that kind of selfishness. I do want to be with Him. I will come to Him.”
“Will you?” Jonah continued. “Until now you have been even more foolish than I was. You can come boldly before His Throne of Grace at any time and for any need, but rarely do you come. Yearning for His presence is not enough. You must come to Him. If you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Why do you not do it? You are always as close to Him as you want to be.
“Many have come to know and follow His ways, but they do not come to Him. In the times that you will soon enter, they will depart from His ways because they did not come to I urn. You have laughed at my folly, which was great, but yours is even greater than mine. However, I do not laugh at your folly—I weep for you. Your Savior weeps for you; He intercedes for you continually. When He weeps, all of heaven weeps. I weep because I know how foolish His people are. I know you because you are just like me, and like me, the church has run to Tarshish, desiring to trade with the world even more than sitting before His glorious throne. At the same time, the sword of God’s judgments are hanging over the earth. I weep for the church because I know you so well.”
“I am guilty!” I pleaded. “What can we do?”
“Great storms are coming upon the earth,” Jonah continued. “I slept when the storm came upon the ship that I was in while running from the Lord. The church is also sleeping. I was the prophet of God, but the heathen had to wake me up. So it is with the church. The heathen have more discernment than the church at this time. They know when the church is going the wrong way, and they are shaking the church, trying to wake you up so that you will call on your God.
“Soon the leaders of the world will cast you overboard, just as the men in that ship had to do to me. They will not let you keep going in the way you are headed. This is the grace of God to you. He will then discipline you with a great beast that comes up out of the sea. It will swallow you for a time, but you will be vomited out of it. Then you will preach His message.”
“Is there no other way?” I asked.
“Yes, there is another way,” Jonah replied, “although this has come and is coming. Some are already in the belly of the beast. Some are about to be cast overboard, and some are still sleeping, but almost all have been on the ship going the wrong way, seeking to trade with the world. However, you can judge yourself and He will not have to judge you. If you will wake yourself up, repent and go the way that He sends you, you will not have to be swallowed by the beast.”
“Is the beast to which you are referring the one in Revelation ” I asked.
“It is the same. As you read in that chapter, this beast is given to make war with the saints and to overcome them. This will happen to all who do not repent. But know that those who are overcome by this first beast will be vomited out of it before the next beast comes, the one that comes up out of the earth. Even so, it will be much easier for you if you repent. It is much better not to be swallowed by the beast.
“Just as Lot’s story is a warning to those who are given over to perversion, my story is a warning to the Lord’s prophet, the church. The church is running from the presence of the Lord. It is running to activity in place of seeking the Lord’s presence. You may call your activity ‘Ministry,’ but it is actually running from the presence of the lord. As I have said, the church is running to Tarshish so that it can trade with the world and seek the treasures of the sea, while the greater treasures—the treasures of heaven—few are seeking.
“The sin of wanting to trade with the world has entangled the church, just as I was entangled in the belly of the beast with the weeds wrapped around my head. The weeds, the cares of the world, have wrapped themselves around the mind of the church. It took me three days to turn to the Lord because I was so entangled. It is taking Christians much longer. Their minds are so entangled with the world, and they have fallen to such depths, that many have no hope of getting free. You must turn to the Lord instead of away from Him. He can untangle any mess, and He can bring you up from the greatest depths. Run from Him no longer! Run to Him!”
Then Lot added, “Remember the mercy that the Lord had for Nineveh. He had mercy because Jonah preached. He did not live among them and try to be a witness: He preached the Word of God. Power is in the Word. There is no darkness so dark that His Word cannot penetrate it. Many will repent and be saved if you will go to those to whom the Lord sends you and give His warning.”
Then Jonah continued, “When you fall short of the Lord’s grace and sin entangles you, it is hard for you to come to Him. You must learn to always run to the Lord at such times, not away from Him. When you go through that door, you will enter the times when the Lord’s power and glory will be released on the earth such as He has not done since the beginning of time. All of heaven has been waiting for the things that you are about to see. It will also be the time of the greatest darkness. You cannot endure either the glory or the darkness without His grace. You will not walk in His ways without coming to Him daily. You must not only seek His presence, but you must abide in His presence continually.
“Those who have tried to follow Him by just seeking Him once a week in a church service while they spend the rest of the week seeking the world will soon fall away. Those who call upon His name thinking that He is their servant also will soon fall away. He is the Lord of all and all will soon know this! First, His own people must know it, so the judgment is going to begin with His own household.
“It is presumption to only call upon the Lord when you want something. You should call on Him to ask what He wants, not what you want. Many of those who have some faith also have great presumption; the line between the two can be very thin. When God’s judgments come to His own household, His people will learn the difference between faith and presumption. Those who try to do His work without Him will fall away. Many have faith in the Lord, but only know I Him from a distance. These do great works in His name, but He does not know them. Those who have known Him from afar will soon weep over their folly.
“God does not exist for the sake of His house—His house exists for Him. In His patience, He has been waiting outside of His own house, knocking, calling, but few have opened to him. Those who hear the Lord’s voice and open to Him will it with Him at His table. They will also sit with Him on His throne, and they will see the world as He sees it. Presumption cannot sit with Him at His table, nor on His throne. Presumption is the pride that caused the first fall, and all of the darkness and evil that are about to be reaped on the earth have come because of it.
“When Satan saw God’s glory, he turned to the way of presumption. Satan dwelt in His presence and still turned from Him. This is the greatest danger for those who see His glory and know His presence. Do not become presumptuous because of what you have seen. Never become proud because of your visions: This will always lead to a fall.”