The Storm Clouds are Gathering , a prophetic event
Jesus warned His disciples before He went away that prior to His coming there would be very turbulent times in the earth, and exhorted them to be always praying, always walking before God in vigilance and sobriety. . .for this alone would fortify them with the strength and grace they would require for that hour (see Lk. 21:36). He refused to give them any schedule as to when He would appear, but He emphasized the need to be ready at all times.
He used the illustration of the night watches and indicated He might come at any one of those watches, and therefore they must always be on the alert. But He indicated that He may tarry beyond what His servants thought He would, and that the sense of expectation that was there in the beginning would gradually fade from their hearts and minds. And so, as the night dragged on there would no longer be any sense or awareness that their Lord’s coming was near. . .and they would live in ease and contentment under the false assumption that “My Lord delayeth His coming. . .” (Lk. 12:45).
I am not poking fun at the doctrine by any means. It’s far too serious a matter for that. But I did not understand in those days that a martyr is one who is faithful in life, as well as in death—and he may never be killed and still be a martyr. For example, the beloved John was a martyr (Greek ‘martus’, a true and faithful witness, though there is no record of him having been killed). Nor did I understand that great tribulation has been the lot of the followers of the Lamb throughout their history. Also, I came to understand later that God has a mark reserved for His people, which will immunize them against the onslaughts of Satan, as he seeks to corrupt their minds “from the simplicity that is in Christ”. It is the mark of His Spirit imprinted in our minds—God’s seal, that no beast or dragon can erase. This mark is called “the seal of the living God”, which God imprints upon the foreheads of His people. This seal is God’s sign to all spiritual powers, good or evil—that these are chosen in Christ; and a sign of assurance to those who are sealed, that they need not fear the winds of God’s wrath, when they begin to blow upon the earth. (see Rev. 7:2, 3).