October 20, 2014

Ebola, ISIS, Gay Marriage, Ferguson and the End Times, Part I

Ebola certainly has been in the news a lot lately, hasn't it? Come to think of it, so has Enterovirus D68, ISIS, civil unrest in Ferguson Missouri, hyperpartisanship in the United States, political unrest in the Ukraine, gay marriage, drought in California, flooding in the Balkans, earthquakes in many places, financial unrest worldwide and violence in the Middle East. When we mix these events with occurrences like blood moons, massive solar flares and false Prophets of Doom on YouTube we end up with a caustic brew of paranoia and anxiety.

The title of this post got you attention didn't it? It was meant to. I am playing off your fear and uneasiness of the current condition of the world to prove a point. We are living in an age of uncertainty and change. In actuality, so has everyone else that ever walked the earth since the dawn of time (or at least the Fall of man). I suppose that is why horoscopes and demonic soothsayers/psychics have always been so popular. People don’t like uncertainty and wish to avoid it by either making predictions or getting someone else to prognosticate. People are comfortable being comfortable. Anything that shatters the status quo is met with confrontation to silence or remove it. The truth is, the Bible has told us to trust God with the future and stop worrying about it. So much for most people listening to God and obeying Scripture.

Unfortunately, the fear many are feeling is because multitudes are being conditioned by the media and even many errant Evangelical churches (i.e.: the world) to live in fear of the future and the unknown. Sadly, many are living in that fear because they are totally disregarding Jesus' own words about not living in fear and anxiety. In the following statement Jesus even tells us why we have this fear and anxiety. It is because they have little faith or in the case of unbelievers...no faith.

Matthew 6:25-30 ~ “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Jesus tells us straight away why we shouldn't be consumed by uncertainty and fear.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Again, most people don’t listen or have severe problems obeying God. Enter zealous interpretations of Biblical prophecy and uneducated fear-mongering and people begin to ask heartfelt questions because they are scared. This of course draws many false prophets out of the woodwork that are unqualified to answer these fears thereby leading people astray (one of the exact reason Jesus exhorted us not to worry). Even the non-believing public are becoming cynical and uneasy about the condition of the world and are asking the same question(s).

“Why have things gotten so bad in the world?”

The question I am continually asked is: "Do you think we are in the Last Days? Are we in the end times?"

First off, my interpretation of what the Last Days means is this. I believe that the last days began during the ministry of Jesus and the first century Church. The last days are defined as the continuous period of time from the ministry of Jesus to the second coming. Therefore humanity has been living in the “last days” for the last 2000+ years. When the likes of John Hagee and other Dispensationalists like Jimmy Swaggart, and Hal Lindsey use it as a descriptive term for a period where a rapture will take place…it causes me consternation. Sorry folks, just being honest. I am in no way mocking those that believe the Rapture nor am I saying that Jesus is not coming again to judge and usher in the Kingdom once and for all. I would be a fool and biblically illiterate to do that. What I am saying is many are totally missing the point of the prophecies of the End Times. Many are missing the forest for the trees so to speak.

It is an issue of timing. The problem is that no one knows the exact time of the End. Do I know the time of the end? No. No one does, Jesus even said as much (Matthew 24:36). But we should know the change of the seasons by the leaves on the trees (Matthew 24:32). That is the exact reason Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse. It was so that believers (or unbelievers) might have some sort of idea what the world would be like in the time of the End. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that every single self-described prophet and interpreter of Revelation, Daniel and the rest of Scripture that tried to extract an exact date or time period for The End or The Apocalypse…has been wrong. Dead wrong. They have had a 0% success rate. The local weatherman has had more accurate predictions. I suspect anyone doing it now will meet with the same success or lack of it.

Are saints being beheaded and killed in the world today? Yes. So are a load of other people including unbelievers and adherents of other faiths. We only need to turn on the network news and read the Internet to see the persecution of Christians (predominately in the Middle and Far East) in the world. Yes, some are being beheaded. Has persecution of Christians increased? Perhaps. Compared to when, the 1st Century, the 16th century during the Reformation? 

Has violence increased? Yes, but not just towards Christians. You’d have to be idiotic and blind to have missed this fact. We see it in ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban abroad. If you are not Islamic in Islamic countries there is a target on your back. The violence isn't just abroad though. We see it domestically in gangs, drug wars at the U.S. border and in the wombs of pregnant women who chose abortion. Sadly we even see it in our schools. The school violence should not surprise us in lieu of the fact that God and Bible have officially been removed from the schools.

Furthermore people are complaining that our government has gone rogue and are clueless to the needs of their constituency. This also should not surprise us because of the militant push to inflict the Separation of Church and State on any and all Government functions. Even though the idea of Separation of Church and State is found nowhere in the Constitution, only in the minds of the ACLU and rabid militant atheists. No God, no wisdom. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. We left God behind and he has reciprocated.

So predicting the exact date of the End Times seems as if it is a fool's errand. What should we then take away from what Scripture has said about the End Times? Well, firstly, we shouldn't be geeking out about every forlorn event that we see in the news and assume everything we see is a prognostication or signpost pointing to the end or the world.

People need to chill.

The remainder of what we should do? Well, you'll need to read that in the second half of this post.

[Concluded in Part II]

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