I believe the Church will have to endure some suffering. We read
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand (Da. 12.10).
This purification can happen now, voluntarily, or later, to our shame.
We read abundantly about the Church departing from the truth. This happened on an individual basis. I returned to where God wanted me to be shortly before Bible Rock Church broke up. In 2000, I had a rough time of hard pursuit after the world when God used Linda to shock me into repentance and back into the Kingdom. On February 19th, 2005, I made up my mind to return to the Lord with fasting and prayer. I fasted on the 21st & 22nd and prayed for my family, church, President, nation, military and local govt.
Later I set out to find a church which believed in and practiced prayer. Having found none, a year later, I ended up in Manhattan on 51st & Broadway in the quest for a praying church.
The fact is, if we don't return to the Lord with all of our hearts now, while we can see the nation being destroyed, it'll be very difficult for us by the end of the year. We have got to hear from the Lord. Our pastors are content to take our tithes and offerings, provide some entertainment and intellectual stimulation but are not giving any insight on what is at hand. Times Square Church pastors, however, are faithfully sounding the alarm.
Beloved, the Lord has promised, "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets (Am. 3.7)." We must frequent the prayer closet and He will keep us ahead of the world system. We also have to warn the Church.
I had a picture of the Church on a showboat above Niagara falls. The water was perfectly calm. In the water were people, who were not part of the Church and unaware the boat was there. The people on the boat were oblivious to the people in the water headed toward the fall. Someone had released a dinghy from the boat and was going about rescuing souls. His partner with binoculars had noticed the peril ahead and was shouting at the boat to warn of danger. The band played on and the captain and crew continued dancing. Some were on the railing telling the two in the dinghy not to be so extreme, "This boat is a sturdy, powerful vessel with a dynamic pastor and great band," someone said.
The wet towel treatment is the religious response of those who have been studying scripture many years. They seem to be the "pit bulls" of the Church preventing oil from entering the lamp that the flame be not re ignited.
Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually (Lv. 24.2).
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent (Rv. 2.5).
Isn't it amazing how those "pit bulls" want to keep the Holy Spirit from returning to the Church?
Nonetheless, our job is to seek the face of God, warn the church and win souls. Some will listen. Maybe there will be an influential person in some church, somewhere, who will listen, seek God's face and lead the church into repentance.
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and from your judgments: 6 Neither have we listened to your servants the prophets, which spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7 O LORD, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries where you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against you. 8 O Lord, to us belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets (Da. 9).
I don't know about you but I am sickened by the notion that many churches are perceived by the members as so great, "Isn't this a great church, how'd you like the service?". The Church needs to repent like Daniel (one of the three most righteous men in the Old Testament).
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever (Da. 12.10).
This verse is for this time, the time of the end. It is about those who will be obedient to Christ in this present darkness. We will be those righteous who pray effectually and fervently. We will be those who preach the Word, being instant, in season, out of season. We will be the wise for the winners of souls are wise. We, also will be those who sound the alarm, keeping clean hands.
Back to the question of the century, "When will the Church wake up?" Maybe later in the year, when the economy is in complete collapse. Many will be dumbfounded as we were at 10:00 am e.s.t. on 9/11/2001. But the wise shall shine as stars in the firmament.