Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution, Part 1
This is a difficult subject to write about mainly because people don’t want to hear it. Today, many Christians are involved in concerted efforts to bring America back to its roots (whatever that means). They pray for it, attend rallies, pick and choose the “right” political candidates, and much more.
I want to state clearly that I think voting is fine and sometimes necessary. In fact, it is one of the rights of being a citizen in a Constitutional Republic like America where democracy is the way in which the government is supposed to be run. There are many things that folks can head off at the pass simply by voting. However, to think that the voting process will somehow nullify what God has ordained is not only awkward, but calls into question God’s veracity and integrity.
God has specifically pointed out the way things will be and how they will arrive to that point as things move toward the end of this current age. The only thing we can really argue about is where are we on God’s timetable of events? As most are aware, there are several ways that people choose to understand God’s Word when it comes to prophecy and specifically, end times events. I choose to take the Bible literally. As I’ve stated before, doing so does not mean I understand the Bible in literalistic terms. Understanding someone literally simply means understanding them in their most obvious and plain sense. Understanding someone literally also means making room for a person’s use of metaphors or other figures of speech.
For instance, if someone said, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” we would not assume that they meant they wanted to eat a complete horse, or that they even wanted to eat horse meat. We would take their meaning as someone who was simply very hungry and they are using a known idiom to get that meaning across. In the end, we have understood their meaning literally. A person who might take an idiom like that literalistically might think they really wanted to eat a horse. This might happen with a person who visits or goes to live in another country and is learning their language. In doing so, they would undoubtedly come across numerous idioms connected to that foreign language that have unique meanings. Ultimately, their goal would be to learn the actual intended meaning of each of those idioms as they learn their new language.
I believe understanding God’s Word literally is the best way to interpret it. It’s what we do when we read a classic work, a work of fiction, or poetry. We strive to understand what the author means, not what we think he/she means or what simply sounds good to us. In order to do that, we must get into the mind of that author and even understand the day and age in which they lived (if they are from a previous generation), because language changes so much. We also do this in everyday conversation and no one thinks it’s weird. Metaphors, figures of speech, and idioms are common to nearly all languages, both written and spoken. It’s how people communicate.
With that said, I believe all things point to the fact that we are in the last of the “last days.” Paul believed he was living in the last days and in fact, the last days began during the life of Jesus or shortly after His death and resurrection to the beginnings of the Church (Acts 2). From the birth of the Church until now, this world has been in the last days. So how do we know where we are in those last days?
Obviously, as each day passes, we move closer to the end of these last days, but are things in Scripture that highlight things that we might see and discern so that we have a better handle on where we are, according to God’s timetable? Yes, I believe there are many things that highlight certain events and a general timetable.
I don’t want to get into setting dates, times, days, or hours. That’s not the point of this short series of articles. The point is for us to understand God’s prophetic timetable in light of society and it appears that it comes together. Can we…should we look for anything? If so, what? Should we become so preoccupied with the subject of the end times that we wind up being so focused on it that we fail to realize when we stop evangelizing and therefore fulfilling the Great Commission? Should our study of the end times cause us to want to be even more involved in the Great Commission? I think so. The way I look at it is that we are all one breath away from death anyway. No one alive now knows when they will die. That’s God’s department. If the study of the end times brings us to a greater awareness of just how close death is to everyone and helps us to lose the “ballast” in our lives that keep us from walking closer to God, then it has served it’s purpose (1 John 3:2-3). If we – on the other hand – tend to study the end times to simply gain “knowledge” and become puffed up, then it would be far better for us to not study that subject. I cannot emphasize how important this is for all to understand.
Bearing this in mind, can we see things that Jesus, Paul, Peter, or someone else highlighted in the Bible that might apply distinctly to this period of time and even this particular generation? I think that is the case and these are things I want to bring out in this short article series.
But I would like to make something very clear (aside from the fact that I am not intending to set dates). That is, as we see evil seemingly gaining the upper hand throughout the world, we need to understand that God is not sitting back with His hands tied waiting for Christians to do something (pray, vote, work hard, etc.). In fact, the exact opposite is true.
Let me end this particular article by noting that in the world today, there is a growing cacophony of noise that says “Jesus isn’t coming back!” Certainly, some of that comes from the world – unbelievers – who make a statement like that out of sarcasm. They really don’t believe that Jesus is God. They insist that nothing He said or did proves He is God and since He’s not God, there’s no way He can come back even if He wanted to do so. But we are also seeing a growing chorus of voices from within Christendom itself saying the same thing.
…that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation,” (2 Peter 3:2-4).
Jude alluded to this same type of person in Jude 1:18. The fact that people today scoff at the idea of a returning Jesus is becoming the norm. No one who considers themselves to be intelligent will admit to believing that Jesus is going to return to earth. There are even those within Christendom who “scoff” at the idea of a literal, physical return of Jesus by stating that He “returned” at the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in AD 70. Here, they say, He returned “spiritually.”
To state this is to call Jesus Himself a liar because He said He would return physically (Matthew 24). Beyond this, in Acts 1, angelic messengers specifically stated that Jesus would return the exact same way He left and they stated this to the disciples who watched Jesus being physically taken up into the clouds. To assert and believe that somehow, both Jesus’ and the angels’ statements meant a “spiritual” return does a complete disservice to the Bible as well as God’s own words spoken firsts through God the Son and then angels. But such is the way people – including too many Christians – think today.
Peter’s words above tell us one of the signs indicating the very end of times is found in the fact that there will be a growing chorus of people who reject the notion that Jesus will return physically. This is exactly what is happening in the world today. We are seeing it in the secular world and we are seeing it with growing ridicule within the confines of the church at large as well.
We’ll continue this subject and learn about more of the things connected directly to the end of this age in our next article. Join me then.
Entry filed under: christianity, Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: end of the age, end times, return of jesus, second coming.