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16  Introduction

THE BEAST W ILL W IN . . . FOR A SEASON Along with the tender words of daily blessings, I need the tough warning that the Beast will win. For a season. “[The Beast] was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them . . . and . . . cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain” (Rev. 13:7, 15). I need the warning that the great Babylonian whore will one day be “drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6). These horrors are in the Bible. God’s word. Where is the shepherd who is preparing the saints for this kind of future? What answer could he give to our questions? What answer would fit with the upbeat entertainment mood? Where in the West do we hear the answer: “They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Rev. 12:11)?

OUR FELT NEEDS A RE A BOU T TO CH A NGE The fact that people do not feel a need for this kind of food in their spiritual diet should not silence the wise and loving shepherd. Our felt needs are about to change dramatically. Pastors will be glad if they are ahead of the curve. Otherwise, it may be too late. Coddled people will not be good listeners when their world collapses. They will be numb with confusion and rage at the God who wasn’t supposed to allow this. “If this is the way God is, why didn’t you tell us?” The aim of this book is not to meet felt needs, but to awaken needs that will soon be felt, and then to save your faith and strengthen your courage when evil prevails. These are big, deep, weighty, strong truths. Truths for pestilence and war and personal calamity. These truths are made of steel. I know that a tire iron cannot caress a bruised heart, but if your car is rolling

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