On Friday 7th September 2012 I had one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Perhaps it’s best if first of all I simply state exactly what happened and then I’ll mention my own interpretation of the occurrence given other events at that time.
At 1.15pm I started a 24 hour time of fasting. I only mention this as I very rarely fast but just felt I needed to do it on this occasion. That night I attended my fellowship’s monthly prayer meeting at Plymouth Christian Centre from 9pm onwards.
I was really excited by the prayer meeting as there was such a sense of expectancy and hope that we’re participants in what God is doing and will do in Plymouth. I was particularly struck by a sense of desperation that Pastor Geoff had that people need salvation more than anything else as this had also been increasingly on my heart. Some of the other leaders spoke prophetically of us coming into a new season and there was the theme of ‘harvest’ too. I had a strong witness with the words of someone who spoke of us being on the verge of something big…a move of God where the supernatural is more evident such as in children having dreams, visions and revelations of Jesus.
When I got home from the prayer meeting at 11.15pm, I spent a bit more time waiting on God as the prayer meeting had finished an hour earlier than expected. I was led to a daily devotional book that I’d rediscovered after doing some clearing out that week, which I hadn’t read for over 10 years. I started reading the verses designated for that day (7th September) that were from Revelation 12 vs 7-12. The verses spoke of a war in heaven and Satan being thrown down to earth and about how his time is short. It describes how believers can overcome him in verse 11 by the blood of the Lamb and the words of their testimony.
As I was reading these verses I suddenly heard a rapid ticking noise. I looked up at the living room clock and the second hand was speedily making its way round to the number 12. Then the minute hand started moving rapidly too. The clock went to midnight, even though it was still only about 11.45pm. The minute and hour hand then rapidly moved to one, two, three o’clock… I tried to continue reading the devotional book but was distracted by the clock as the hands kept moving past the hours. When the clock reached precisely 11 o’clock it suddenly stopped and the phrase ‘The eleventh hour’ immediately sprang to mind. I finished reading the devotional and looked back at the verses again.
In the meantime, I’d had Youtube on the TV and was listening to some worship songs which we had sung in church earlier that evening. Whilst the clock hands remained at exactly 11 o’clock, Youtube froze. …and stuck on a picture of Jesus. The words on the screen were ‘I am here my child… with you – Hold on to Me.’ Then after it unfroze, a Bible verse appeared on the screen from Matthew 28 v 20 saying ‘And surely I am with you to the end of the age.’
At about 12.15am the clock hands started moving again and went back to exactly the right time. It’s a radio controlled clock that receives the correct time from a pulse sent out from Germany. However, never before had I seen the clock whizz round and not show the correct time. Since that day the clock has continued to work as normal but on occasions the hands have spun round quickly, stopping at 11 o’clock. I can’t see any physical reason why the clock would do this, stopping at a particular time and then go back to the correct time, except for how I’ve heard that radio controlled clocks sometimes do this. But up until that night, the clock had never done that before! (And it was ‘funny’ how the following September, a completely different clock, in a different setting, did the same thing but stopping at 12 o’clock as a confirming sign of the midnight hour.)
Regarding the devotional reading, it was entitled ‘A Defeated Enemy’ and the devotional book is entitled ‘Journey into the Promised Land – Daily devotions for the New Millennium’ by Morris Cerullo. I believe God was trying to draw my attention to the verses and the explanation, therefore the following is the devotional reading in full:
Revelation 12:7-12 (NIV)
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
One of the greatest lies Satan has fed the Church is concerning a time that is coming before Christ’s Second Coming when he will unleash all his fury upon the saints. It will be a time of great travail and persecution, greater than the world has ever known. Satan wants to keep the Church in spiritual ignorance concerning what will occur. He wants us to be confused and unprepared.
For years, there has been a veil over our eyes. There are many Christians who know very little about this time of great distress that is coming. Many have not studied or searched the Word to see for themselves exactly what is going to take place. Either they have dismissed it from their minds because what they have heard has been too negative or frightening, or they have accepted what they have heard without confirming it with the Word.
The Spirit of God is calling us to prepare for this time that is coming. Those who are not prepared will be shaken. Many will fall if they don’t realize that God is still in control. The Church of the living God will not be defeated!
In Revelation 12, God reveals to us Satan’s activities during the days before Christ’s return. There is a final end time struggle in the heavens. Satan will be cast out of the heavenlies to earth and a warning is issued to those living upon the earth: “…Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev.12:12). Satan, knowing his time is short, will pour out his wrath upon the saints who are living upon the earth at that time. Daniel warned us of this persecution (Dan 7:25), as did Jesus (Matthew 24:9-10, 21-22).
God has revealed to us His end-time plan for a purpose. He wants us to be prepared. Not only has He shown us how Satan will be working upon the earth in the last days, He has shown us that we will be victorious. We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony (Rev 12:11). Satan will be destroyed forever (Rev 19:20).
You are facing an enemy who is defeated and doomed for destruction. Once you have a revelation within your spirit:
…that Satan has been defeated
…that his power is limited upon the earth today
…that God is in control
…that you have been given power and authority over him…
You are prepared to face every attack, every testing, every trial in total victory.
Make this declaration: “Satan is defeated. His power is limited. God is in control. I have power and authority over Satan and I am prepared to face every attack, every testing, and every trial in total victory.”
Perhaps I should just mention one other thing that happened whilst waiting on God at this time. Every so often I do a type of ‘journaling’. When I sense God is wanting to say something, I take a pen and notepad, and then simply write down all the words that come in to my mind. I try not to think about what I’m writing whilst I’m writing, but then afterwards I go back to weigh and test the words on the paper to see if it might be God or not.
After I wrote down the words from Youtube and the verse from Matthew 28:20 that appeared on the screen, I had a sense of God wanting to say something else so I scribed the following:
Things are going to get rough, Ben. Things will happen that if I told you about them now, you would freeze in fear. But fear not, for I am with you, always, to the end of the age… Trust in Me. Look to Me. I will strengthen you and uphold you against all hardships, to the end.
On reflection of the clock stopping at the eleventh hour, my interpretation is that we’re entering a period of time that will lead to the return of Jesus. I believe that there will be a massive revival and increasing persecution of Christians…a time when we’re going to see other Biblical prophecies about this age come to pass.
As Western Christians, we particularly need to be prepared for this time of suffering and persecution. The joy of the Lord will be our strength and will be a great witness in itself. We need to have a strong relationship with Jesus and know His presence with us to get through this period of time. Perhaps it will involve having a change of mindset and recognising that there really is no time to waste.
Personally, I have an increased sense of urgency for people to have secured their salvation and know for sure where they will be heading when they step into eternity. This was particularly the case after I read a book in August 2012 by Bill Weiss who was taken to hell for 23 minutes. People need to be saved from going to this horrific place. Jesus told Bill, who’d been a Christian for 28 years, “Tell them I am coming very soon.”
Various things happened during the summer months of 2012 that gave me a heightened awareness of the times we are living in. In July 2012, as a family we’d ventured up north to visit family members in Hull. Whilst there Uncle Steve shared with us a vision that God had given him as he’d snoozed one day during the previous month. The main point of the vision was that Jesus told Uncle Steve to go to his son-in- law’s church in Thirsk to share with them the message that He is coming soon. (My Uncle Steve has since died but had belonged to Jarred Cooper’s church in Hull, was a steady Christian in his eighties, and had not really had revelations like this before, which made it all the more surprising that this happened.)
As Steve shared with us what had happened, I had a strong witness to his prophetic message.
In August 2012 we visited family in the Philippines. During this time I was invited to teach in the Bethel Church a couple of times as well as the Asian Bible College. On previous occasions I had given typical teaching from the Bible but this time, on all three occasions, I felt led to include teaching about the times we are living in and Bible teaching about Jesus’ return.
I won’t go into the details now but with hindsight, I felt that this ‘eleventh hour’ clock incidence was a confirmation of the step of faith taken to share Bible teaching that is not always widely accepted within the Body of Christ.
The last thing I think it’s helpful to mention is a prophetic word from when my wife and I went to a dedication of a friend’s baby at a different fellowship in the summer of 2012. The preacher had a strong sense of needing to repeat a prophecy that had been given to the church the previous year and I wondered whether this is something that applies to the whole church within Plymouth (or even wider) rather than just that fellowship:
A prophetic word by Sue at Waterfront Church, Plymouth (4th September 2011)
The Lord has been speaking to us over the last few months about being an army. I believe He is standing before us as the Commander of His army to say this…
This is the start of a new campaign. The old one has finished and the new one is beginning. Listen! The battle will be fierce, it is hotting up and will be fierce and fast, there will be dark days and even darker nights. I am not telling you this to frighten you but so that you may be prepared.
This is not the time to sit back and relax. So do not say in your heart there is plenty of time. The battle will be on you shortly. This is not the time to retreat but to hold firm the ground you have already taken.
Listen! I am not giving you new marching boots but new running shoes, so stand firm on the ground you’ve already taken and advance fast. This campaign is for your hearts and minds. So I am giving you a new name. You are not just any old company of people, but you are mine specifically chosen for this campaign. You are not just A Company or B Company but I am calling you Joy Company. You will find deeper and deeper joy as you fight this battle.
This battle is of my choosing, I know the beginning and the end, and it will be fast and furious but listen! I am with you always and you are on the winning side.
So Joy Company, stand up ready to advance and take new ground for I am giving you victory.