The little flock during the future time of Jacob’s trouble will need “patience” to endure such times. The description of those times is a major doctrine throughout the testimony of scripture. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel prophesied about these future times. Daniel made prayers and supplications to God to know more about the timing of when the God of heaven would set up His kingdom on the earth, as well as, the preceding kingdom under the “little horn” (the anti-christ) during the day of God’s wrath. The prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel would not only prophesy about Israel’s then, present, pending judgment of God from the Assyrian’s and Babylonian’s, but also about the return of Assyria and Babylon’s role during the day of God’s wrath and the end times.
The prophets were an example of suffering toward the generation they prophesied that would go through the sufferings of Christ. James writes,
“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” (Jas. 5:10)
The same patience in which the little flock will need to “possess their souls” and endure to be saved and receive the end of the Lord (Jas. 5:11), the end of their faith (1 Pet. 1:9). The Lord spoke of the patience of the prophets and used them as an example,
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:11-12)
The prophets were not the only individuals God used to teach about sufferings and patience within them. God used Job to teach the matter as well.
The Patience of Job
Another individual God utilizes to teach about having patience through suffering was Job. Job was one part of the triad of individuals that God used to highlight this matter. Those individuals were Noah, Job, and Daniel. Job went through a specific kind of suffering, sufferings that came from Satan, as well as, miserable counsel from his own friends. James references Job in his exhortation to the Israel of God scattered abroad in his epistle when he says,
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (Jas. 5:11)
The little flock will need to understand that God is allowing them to suffer the sufferings of Christ produced by the policy of evil against them. Along with this the little flock, like Job, will suffer from their own kinsmen and the fruit of false prophets – false teaching (Matt. 4-5). They will also have their own family members chiding with them and turning against them for their love of Christ (Matt. 10:32-38).
Peter in his epistle follows up where James ends by describing more of the great reward the Lord spoke of,
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heavines through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet. 1:6-9)
Praise, honour, and glory in eternal life is the end of their faith. Eternal life was the beginning of their faith – reward in the kingdom is its’ end. The little flock will possess in reality the hypothetical situation that Ezekiel mentions, that is,
“though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD” (Eze. 14:20).
In fact, Ezekiel goes on to prophesy about the remnant that will be brought forth based upon their ways and their doings. The remnant’s ways and doing will be generated from the Word of God falling upon their good and honest heart, as they love Christ, thus be good and faithful servants which the end will be that which Noah, Daniel, and Job would have possessed if they were part of the generation unto the kingdom; that end being deliverance – the salvation of their souls, entering into the kingdom out of great tribulation instead of death.
Peter speaks of this patience all the more when he teaches,
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1 Pet. 2:18-20)
Also, patience is a noteworthy factor in the book of the Revelation:
- Rev. 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
- Rev. 2:2-3 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
- Rev. 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
- Rev. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
- Rev. 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
- Rev. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The God of Patience & The Dispensation of the Grace of God
The apostle Paul in view of God enduring with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction extols God as “the God of patience”. This dispensation God has suspended His day of wrath, the day in which the little flock will have necessity to possess their souls in patience; nevertheless, in this dispensation God is revealing that He is the God of patience. Moreover, He didn’t leave for Himself to display His patience but it is a fruit of the power of the Word of God to work within us, to manifest His patience.
God’s sons and daughters have great opportunity to be patient when they encounter the sufferings of this present time or the sufferings of Christ. Although patience doesn’t lead us to a soul salvation of entering into the kingdom, it does lead unto another salvation of our inner man being comforted to endure the sufferings just like it will with the little flock. Although, our hope is a bit different than the little flocks hope, it is hope that works patience that endurance may be possessed.
The apostle Paul teaches on this issue in Romans 8 and on many other occasions. In Romans 8 he teaches,
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Rom. 8:18-25)
Again later in the chapter,
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-39)
Here, in verse 36, Paul quotes Psalm 44 which prophesy’s of the little flocks suffering like David suffered. A suffering that didn’t come from disobedience but for obedience, because of faithfulness.
Therefore, the remnant during the day of the Lord will need the same patience to go through those sufferings just as we need patience to go through the sufferings of this present time; with God’s two-fold hope in Christ providing the godly patience to each group. The remnant will by patience possess their souls just as we by patience are to possess our souls.
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher