Whither the Watchers: Goals in the Borderlands by Dr. Jeffrey Ady
Whither The Watchers:
Goals in the Borderlands
Dr. Jeffrey Ady
Editors Note: This is a companion piece to Dr. Ady's article we previously published on August 8, 2012.
In my last editorial I reviewed several tremendous waves of change washing over the Prophetic Watcher community and urged everyone in the Body of Christ to hold fast to our Blessed Hope, pull together and develop our local networks into vital communities of prophetic watchers, teachers, evangelists and disciplers—as we cleave closer to Christ and to each other in preparation for our Lord’s imminent return for His reward.
In this essay I wish to articulate how unique these times truly are, and describe eight characteristics that set these times apart from the vast balance of the Age of Grace.
But first a bit of necessary context.
It was the deepening winter of 1976; snow was falling in the Inland Empire of Spokane, Washington, and I was the only person awake in my father’s house late that night toward the end of November. I had just finished the book “The Late Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey, then a past best-seller, put on an ignominious bookshelf in the basement in my father’s house. I was sixteen and cut off from the Roman Catholic Church in which I’d grown up in.
My parents had split up and my father had remarried, been “born again” in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and was then attending something called a “Foursquare” church. It made no sense to me at all. But Lindsey’s electrifying account of the rebirth of national Israel and “this generation” “not passing away” until “all these things being fulfilled” sparked a fire in my spirit, and I gave myself to the Lord Jesus as I prayed the prayer at the end of his book.
Tears streamed from my eyes as I lay on my back in bed, with the lights out...and I had an open vision: it was as if a panel in the ceiling of my bedroom had been pulled aside, and my new Father in Heaven was smiling down at me from “the excellent glory”. His was a glorious, warm, tremendously healing smile. I was His...and He was mine! And I knew beyond any doubt whatsoever that when He sent His Son to collect His saints, I was going to join them. I was now among that blessed company who would meet with Jesus in the air as we will rendezvous before we all exfiltrate to the Father’s House together! Hallelujah!
The promise of the Rapture of the Church brought me to Jesus 36 years ago. Now, thirty-six years later, the words “Come, Lord Jesus!” escape my lips daily after they erupt out of the very depths of my spirit, a travail so deep that it surpasses any intercession I have ever engaged in, leaving a ragged hole in my soul each time I utter them.
These are the days when “Come, Lord Jesus!” isn’t a prayer of doctrinal assent, even of enthusiastic agreement—it’s an SOS call to heaven, an EXFIL plea, a call of the Bride of Christ to her Groom to come fetch her before it’s too late. It’s not one of unbelief or fear—it’s one of exhaustion, one of a soldier who’s fought the good fight too long against foes of increasing strength and aggression who know no limits. These are days when the rules of engagement offer us zero tolerance for error in the present. We have to be watchful and understand perfectly what our mission is.
Definition of "Borderlands"'
I call the days we are in currently “Borderlands”—perhaps a sinful mixing of geographic and temporal and geographic terms—but a vernal sin nonetheless. We inhabit the Borderlands between Ages: We are at the end of the Church Age, the Age of Grace, and at any moment the Great Catching Away of the Church to meet Jesus of Nazareth in the air will inaugurate the next Age, albeit a brief one: Daniel’s Seventieth Week, or the seven-year Tribulation. But once that instantaneous transition occurs, there’s no going back.
Strange things occur in these Borderlands. Unusual conditions prevail in the Borderlands. These are times and places of high stress, of ineffable foreshadowing of spiritual conditions to come. Unheard-of levels of prophetic fulfillment are obtaining, and these conditions are the precursors of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. The board is set; the pieces are almost in play. Great pronouncements in the spiritual realm reverberate back through time into our place and time, troubling everyone here and now.
The “distress of nations, with perplexity” Jesus warned about (Lk. 21:25) is even now sending waves back into our Age, into the Borderlands...and we think it’s bad now! People around the globe are doing things that make absolutely no sense at all, in any context, and more people are doing these sorts of things than ever before in the history of the planet [with the possible exception of antediluvian man and his corrupted maternal cousins]. Nature itself is convulsing in agony at the sin in our lives, at the evil in our institutions, even at the iniquity in our churches.
And the iniquity in our churches goes back decades...decades of failed leadership and corrupted morals, broadcast all over the planet, muddying the name of our Savior as if He were the Televangelist-In-Chief with microphone in His left nail-scarred hand, and His right hand on a stack of thousands of machine-cut “prayer cloths” sent in by silly and weak-willed women (2 Tim. 3:6) who sent those prayer cloths in with five hundred-dollar checks (a scene I remember from Robert Tilton that made me literally sick years ago).
As if that weren’t bad enough, the nominal face of Christ on the earth is now making pacts with the followers of a moon god, saying the Cross isn’t important, let alone necessary for salvation; ordaining leaders and ministers who, in Paul’s day, would have been right at home in the temples of Bacchus, Diana and Astarte; disavowing a literal, inerrant Bible as the Word of God; and becoming not just tangential in importance to Western society, but maturing into a pariah, ripe for cooptation and persecution by a soon-to-be-ascendant Antichrist. What they have wanted for centuries will soon be on hand to satisfy their every lust [and they will get what’s coming].
Borderlands Periods are not novel; in addition to the period we now find ourselves in, the one in which Christ first appeared, the antediluvian period described in Genesis 6-7, wherein Noah and his family found favor with God on account of Noah’s singular righteousness [6:8-9, 18] and were removed prior to the judgment that was brought upon all of them that surrounded them [7:1]. We know our times are analogous to those because both Jesus and Peter drew the connection between them [Mt. 24:36-38; 1 Pet. 3:19,20]. In a sense, all Ages are transitional, for each leads to another; between Eternity Past and Eternity Future, we’ve got a string of periods that lead into each other that are described vividly and in detail by Scripture. But in this essay I limit my discussion to the Antediluvian and Pretribulational transitions.
Borderlands Periods seem to share certain very distinct characteristics:
1. Borderlands Periods appear to be times when structures and conditions of grace that restrain evil are systematically undone in part, leading up to the border where, once crossed, the restraint is removed completely. And here is where I connect with Richard Coombes' intriguing article on the possibility of the partial attenuation of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the apostastia so contemporaneously characteristic of Christendom at large.
2. Borderlands Periods tend to be one-way; that is, from a state of grace to a state of judgment. When one crosses the border from one age to another, grace is no longer available—there’s no going back to better days when forgiveness and deliverance was gotten on better terms. Once the rain began to fall, the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened in Genesis 7:10, there simply was no going back to the misty pre-rain days. And once the Lord removes His Church and the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit who indwells them individually and corporately, there is just no going back to the Age of Grace. The Rapture of the Church is a one-way crossing into the Tribulation.
3. Borderlands Periods possess identifiable, circumscribed time dimensions: The warning before the Flood was one hundred and twenty years [Gen. 6:3]. Daniel’s seventieth week is taken to be seven years.
4. Not only are prophetic predictions concerning the immediate age during or following the Borderlands on which one sits fulfilled—these fulfillments are visibly seen to the watcher. This characteristic of observable prophetic fulfillment is important, for it leads directly to the fifth characteristic, which is
5. A strict accountability for not heeding the warnings embedded in observable fulfillments. Should one observe a prophetic fulfillment, repent, and walk with God prior to the close of the current age, heeding a warning this side of the Border is a good move. Not heeding the warning is a sure ticket to the other side of the border, i.e., a front-row seat to participation in in the prophesied judgment.
6. In Borderlands times, brief periods of unusual openness to the Gospel [which may be mistaken for historic, epoch-ending revival] is followed by just as striking polarizing and hardening of positions. Slippage stops. People on either side of the “Jesus Divide” perceive each others’ positions on Jesus and the things of God to be irrational, illogical, to make no sense, and thus may tend to depersonalize their counterparts. From scholars to laypersons, people on both sides of the “Jesus Divide” are amazed that folks on the other side of the “Divide” could take the positions they do... “Why, no rational person would decide, say or do that, knowing what I know...they’re crazy...beyond all hope.” Persecution then becomes easier as dehumanization is the next step. People stay where they are on the metaphorical "tracks" as the next Age approaches like a speeding locomotive. An uncanny frozenness soon takes over as what's in peoples' hearts manifests. Their fruit catches up with them, and they are set in their paths…escape or judgment…God is indeed NOT mocked…people do indeed reap what they sow.
7. While Paul said that in the end of days “evil men would wax worse, deceiving, and being deceived” [2 Tim. 3:13], Revelation 22:11 becomes most relevant here in that it describes a most unusual two-stage preparation for the saints’ transition to the next Age. To unpack the Greek in Rev. 22:11 [KJV]:
He that is unjust [adikeō, (ἀδικέω) criminal, hurtful, wicked, wrong] let him be unjust still [eti, (ἔτι) more, further, continues]: and he which is filthy [rhypainō, (ῥυπαίνω), morally defiled], let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous [dikaios, (δίκαιος), upright; virtuous; Acceptable to God], let him be righteous [dikaioō, (δικαιόω), to be shown or be declared to be] righteous still: and he that is holy [hagios, (ἅγιος), most holy thing; a saint] let him be holy [hagiazō, (ἁγιάζω), to render or acknowledge, to dedicate people to God, to purify; Vines, lit: “Let him be made holy.”] still.
In other words: a closer look at the nuances of the Greek in how the different words for righteous in the first and second usages, for they are different reveals an important dynamic. We who are saved go from simply keeping the commands of God and being acceptable to God to being shown or being declared to be righteous. Similarly, we who are in Christ are go from being simply “saints” to “being made holy”, utterly set apart from the koinos or common. It is of utmost importance to note that the unjust and filthy remain so and do not undergo any similar, further transformation. Perhaps this is a special sanctification in preparation for the Rapture, as in the Bride being made ready, “without spot or wrinkle” [Eph. 5:27], or perhaps the transformation described in the second stage is the Rapture itself.
8. A final characteristic of Borderlands Periods is the utter chaos that we seem to be observing, particularly as it seems to rule the day in the Middle East, where I see a great amount of confusion. "Distress of nations, and perplexity" is a classic predicted characteristic of the 70th Week [Luke 21:25], but it is sending ripples back through time into our Period and these waves are unquestionably affecting everyone at present, saved and unsaved. The Middle East is a combination tinderbox, lit fuse, thermonuclear bomb and madhouse, and each madman has a torch in hand! The confusion is absolutely unprecedented. The Western World, normally at least nominally in control of things, appears to have no policy handle on the situation...there is no policy period. Prophetic teachers and ministers who previously had the Ps. 83 and Ezek. 36-38 wars and engagements nicely worked out in sequences, with rings of alliances around Israel, must be scratching their heads now. That Iran has been allowed to percolate for so long, acquire nuclear capability, is beyond belief. In previous centuries this never would have been allowed to progress so far. Syria's Assad survives to this day despite absolutely insane blows to his regime. Similarly: In normal times his regime would have fallen months ago.
It is my firm belief that the confusion at present in the Middle East, and by extension, the world, means for us watchers that NOTHING can be predicted ANY MORE via conventional prophetic analytic methods. There is nothing more to wait for, no further sign that we need to see that would indicate that we are "any nearer" to Jesus' return for His own. We are left with a scenario in which the conventional formulae of observing, predicting, and analyzing by fulfilled Scriptural prophecy application no longer yields usable information. Our models, assumptions and propositions built over forty to sixty years of prophetic scholarship and ministry now appear to be insufficient to describe the chaos that reigns over the global geopolitical landscape. Conventional thinking may no longer enable us to understand with further clarity “when” the “next step” will occur, whatever that step might be. The word and concept of “Imminence” doesn’t just mean “it can happen any time now”...it also means “It needs to happen now!” “This world is falling apart at the seams!” So: Richard’s suspicion of the partial lifting of the Restrainer’s “air superiority” over the “Prince of the power of the air” really may be spot on, as we may be seeing the functional, not just temporal, preparations for the rapture.
WHAT TO DO, SEEING THAT THESE THINGS MAY BE TRUE comes next?
Now is the time for us to cling to the Lord in faith…"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" [Lk. 21:36].
The time of our departure is fast approaching! It is nearer than most even realize!
Jeffrey C. Ady, PhD.
Associate Pastor, Hope Chapel Ala Moana
Honolulu, HI USA