Copyright © 2014 by Joseph Diop
The credit for this image, called the “Hand of God,” goes to NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill. However, the creation of this phenomenon itself, and the sign that it portends, belongs to God Almighty alone. It is the sign given to the prophet Elijah. Let me explain.
Nasa’s NuStar Telescope took this dazzling image, seen for the first time by the public, in January 2014. However, 2,000 years ago, Jesus announced,
“There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and IN THE STARS.” Luke 21:25
This will be our first installment on promised blockbuster prophetic insights. This message is a public service announcement of the kind we are accustomed to hear on TV: “We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this…” This is an authentic sign from God. It forebodes both good news and bad news. How so? Some will be singing “O Happy Day,” while others will tune up with “Highway to Hell.” This sign marks the beginning of exactly polar opposites in experiences for the people of earth. It all depends on whatsoever your works deserve. You are going to get your “just desserts.” Jesus declared, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12
Celebration or lamentation, which shall it be for you? That hand in the celestial clouds is saying, “Behold, it’s either pay day! Hallelujah! Or, “It’s payback time ! Woe is me !!!” Your own karma has now come to catch up with you. I would quote from that old song by the Temptations,
So, fee-fi-fo-fum. Look out baby, ’cause here I come…(Get ready ’cause here I come) I’m on my way. (Get ready ’cause here I come).. So, Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dum. Look out baby, ’cause here I come.
But, I won’t quote from that song, because then, I’d have to change the words a bit, to, “Get ready, cause here I AM.” But, let’s rewind a bit. I’m getting ahead of myself here. I was going to share with you how this is the sign of the prophet Elijah. So, let’s slow our roll and get back to that.
The prophet Elijah was a bit of a Lone Ranger; a kind of “Last Man Standing” among the prophets of his day. Singlehandedly, he had stopped the rain in Israel for 3-1/2 years, and harnessed the attention of a hen-pecked king, named Ahab. He had defied the evil queen, Jezebel, brought down fire from heaven, and faced down four hundred-fifty (450) prophets of Baal. Then, he executed them. Now, after turning the hearts and minds of the Israelites back to their God, he was in the process of initiating Israel’s rains again. Elijah did the praying, while he had a servant dispatched to check for signs from heaven of the returning rain. That’s when the heavenly omen appeared.
And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, there ariseth a… cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand.” And [Elijah] said, “Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not.” 1 Kings 18:44
There you have it. A cloud “like a man’s hand.” Anthropomorphically speaking (speaking of God in human terms), this hand IS God’s hand. And Elijah’s faith said, in so many words, “Here it comes! Tell the king he’d better hurry, or he’ll surely get caught in the rainstorm that’s coming !”
Or, as they used to say on the TV show, “Laugh in,” ”Here come de judge !” This visitation is going to prove to be a perfect dichotomy of fortunes for the people of earth. By this sign, Elijah knew that good news had come for those who had prepared themselves. As it is written,
“Says the Lord of hosts, ‘… I will… open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it’” ( Malachi 3:10). Is that not good news? Does it get any better than that? But then, there’s the reverse. Indeed, this sign is a coin with two distinct sides. As the prophet Isaiah said,
10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. Isaiah 3:9-11
And again, in Isaiah 65:12-14, the prophet said,
12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: 14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
And, in the Apocalypse itself, the book of Revelation, it says:
The people of the world were angry, but now is the time for your anger. Now is the time for the dead to be judged. It is time to reward your servants, the prophets, and to reward your holy people, the people, great and small, who respect you. It is time to destroy those people who destroy the earth!” Revelation 11:18 (Easy-to-Read Version)
So now, this sign says that this is a time for rain. That is a time for rewards, that is for “blessings from heaven” for the children of God who have been faithfully and patiently serving him. But, it is also a time for revenge upon those who have totally been a part of the world’s great problems — for those who through their unrepentant and unrighteous behavior, have helped spread trouble and misery on earth.
I have saved the most dramatic declarations until now, the statements clearly outlining what this sign means in the end time. The prophet Isaiah has a saying, which he periodically repeats like a mantra. “His hand is stretched out.” To be more exact, foretelling of calamities, disasters, and tragedies that God is going to inflict on the earth, with retribution for their impenitent and multitudinous sins, the prophet says,
For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
Read it with your own eyes. He says this in Isaiah 5:25; 9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4; and the grand finale in 14:27. But, the prophet Isaiah is not alone in employing this device. The prophet Amos has a similar such mantra of his own. No less than eight (8) times, spread throughout the book of Amos, he uses this idiom;
“For three transgressions… [of various named peoples] and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.” Amos 1:3; 1:6; 1:9; 1:11; 1:13; 2:1; 2:4; 2:6.
“Doom and gloom! Doom and gloom!” you say. But I say, ‘Nay!’ Have you forgotten so quickly that God said he was going to simultaneously bless the righteous overwhelmingly? But, at the same time He affirms that He will punish the wicked. God is going to make it rain abundantly. Upon the righteous, blessings. But, “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” Psalms 11:6
It is going to be a “gay ol’ time” for those whose works merit the positive promises of God. For them, it’s going to be an early, real-life Christmas. Or rather, more accurately I should say, for them it’s nothing less than the celebration of “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9; Matt 22:1-2). It’s the time when God is going to make the first to become last, and the last first (Matt 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30). For them, He is going to reverse every curse. For them, He is going to (to use a hip-hop expression), “Flip the script.” So, will you be shouting and rejoicing, or weeping and wailing? It all depends on the works that you’ve been doing when God suddenly shows up in your life.
I can’t help but close with this little insight from the Psalms. There, in Psalm 77:14. it says,
Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
In a manner of speaking, that is announcing that God travels incognito. You’ll never see Him coming. You’ll never know which way He is coming, or how He’s traveling. For that matter, you’ll never be able to predict in whom He’ll show up. Do you recall this story? He said that He may show up as those who are “down and out” — as those who are down on their luck. He may appear as the poor and needy, the naked, the outcast, the one who is sick, or the one whose face is splattered all over the evening news — in legal trouble? (Matthew 25:31-46). And, by the time you recognize him, He’ll suddenly be right in your face. Jesus described the unexpected coming of that suddenly undone effect, “as a snare” (Luke 21:35). Then, it will be too late to change your behavior. It will be too late to ask for forgiveness or pray the Sinner’s Prayer.
That’s why Jesus had his own mantra along these lines, which He repeated frequently. He said over and over in various ways, “Be ye ready also” (Matt 24:44). And He said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour [or in what form, for that manner] your Lord doth come” (Matt 24:42; Rev 3:3, brackets mine).
For all this, his hand is stretched out still.
The scripture says quite solemnly, “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12). Are YOU prepared? If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? Or, for sure, to hell? Either way, this may be your very last chance to accept Christ’s great offer of amnesty to those who will repent and accept him as their personal Lord and Savior. Perhaps, you are one of those who has been in the Church and actively serving for many years. But, you know, being in the Church no more makes you a Christian than being in the garage makes you a Rolls Royce. Being in Christ, not being in the Church, is what makes all the difference in this world, and in the world to come. Like Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:1-21). So, if you’ve been serving in the choir, on the usher board, or on the deacon or deaconess board for many years, there’s no time like the present to pray this prayer consciously, and for the first time, “make your calling and election sure” (2Peter 1:10). Either way, for heaven’s sake, I now invite you to pray this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be. Amen.
Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.
For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000
If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my all sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.
For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000