The Work of God at the End-Time by T. Austin-Sparks
Reading: Luke 2:25-38; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 8:13, 9:26.
We are being led at this time to take note of the fact that we are at an end-time, and that God does a peculiar work at such a time. Things become very strange and very difficult at an end-time; everything seems to be thrown into a state of disturbance, upheaval, intense pressure and conflict. The great conflicting forces in this universe register very terribly and intensely upon that which is of God and upon those who are of account to Him, so that there often arises the sense that this is an actual end, and a question as to what more is possible. Inwardly we feel that the way is becoming exceedingly hedged up: ‘frustration’ is the word which seems to prevail, and outwardly everything is in a state of serious and great question as to the future. Indeed, it becomes more persistently the experience of the true people of God that they could give up and abandon everything. The ways in which this works out are numerous, but the whole effect is to paralyse and put out of commission that which is of God and bring it to a complete standstill. It is this, then, that will govern our consideration at this time – that we are in an end-time and that in end-times the work of God takes a particular form and is of a peculiar nature. It obviously becomes supremely important and necessary for the Lord’s people to know the time in which they live, what the portents are, and what it is that God would do at such a time.
I suggest to you that that constitutes a real reason for getting together in serious and solemn conference, for it is not something that we can take just as a part of a sequence of meditations. Our consideration of it may be supremely crucial and in a peculiar way related to a time in the history of this world, and of God’s work in this world, which is of tremendous importance and will not be repeated.
Now, this matter of the end-time and God’s work therein is brought very fully and clearly into view by Simeon and Anna. There is no doubt that they represent firstly an end-time – an end-time dispensationally and an end-time with regard to their own age, for they were both advanced in years. And then they also represent God’s service at such a time. Simeon used the word of himself – “Nowlettest thou thy servant (bondservant, the word is) depart, Lord, according to thy word, in peace.” “Thy servant.” Anna was found continuing in the temple in fastings and supplications day and night, not leaving it, a prophetess thus occupied in the house of God; and if that is not a picture of service, what is?