Think of your favorite “end times” chapter in the Bible. Most would say “Book of Revelation” though that is not a chapter (Revelation has 22 chapters). Some might go with Matthew 24 and I would say, “Good choice!”.
I am always encouraged by Matthew 24:11: “The gospel will be preached to the entire earth and then the end will come.”
A more obscure “favorite chapter” would be Luke 22. Nice!! Luke warns that people will faint with fear at what they see in the end times (verse 26). Some might go with a chapter from one of the Old Testament prophets, especially from Daniel.
But nobody would select James 5. Until a couple of months past, neither would I.
Then I began noticing that most of verbs in James 5 were future tense. It’s like James (the Lord’s brother) is saying, “I’ve written four nice chapters on how to live as Christians (chapters one through four), but now let me focus on the last days – right before the second coming of Christ.”
I now read James 5 believing that what he writes will happen in the next few years. Wow!
Prophecy in the Bible has layering – a layer of meaning for the individual reading the prophecy as application for obedience right now; a layer of application for the church in any age; and a layer that will be fulfilled both personally and with the church in the very last days. (Read more about “layering” in Interruption #12 at my website -www.grantedwardsauthor.com.)
James 5 has the three layers – personal, church, and in the future for both personal and the church. The following three phrases found in James 5 are particularly “future” and prophetic:
Verse 3: in the last days
Verse 5: early and late rains (of revival)
Verse 9: the Judge is standing right at the door
I memorized James years ago. When I reviewed James through the years, I focused on layer one 0r the personal application of “right now”. Noticing that chapter five is future tense, I began reading this chapter asking the question, “Am I seeing this today?” Or layer three – prophecy, both personal and the church in the last days.
Consider the following verses, do you see prophecy? Do you see this layer being fulfilled today?
Verses 1 to 3: The rich being judged simply for having wealth?
Verses 4 to 6: Those who did harvesting and labor without pay rising and demanding justice?
Verse 7: The latter-day rain of revival (Almost every author and teacher today is talking about this!)
Verses 8-11: The need for extreme endurance and patience?
Verses 14-15: I believe that elders will come to the forefront as corporate leaders of the church. They will have power to pray for healing that will amaze many. The leadership of the church is switching from iconic and high-profile leaders to humble and walking together elders!
Verses 16-18: The prayers of Christians in 2021, because of 2020, will not be powerless like their prayers of 2019!!!