Today is day 2 of our Gideon Rising #Calltofast. So many things are happening at such a rapid clip that it feels overwhelming and impossible to keep up. When we see the things all around us disintegrating in our society, it’s natural to ask, “Is this the end times?”
I want to address this today, before adding a prayer at the end, because so many people say, “Yes, this is!” and so many other people mock this idea.
As I was reading the Bible with my sons this morning, I was compelled to read Jesus’s answer to the disciples’ question:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus starts by answering things concerning the fall of Jerusalem, which would happen during their lives and the lives of their children. But, looking closely, he says some things that seem very general.
- Deceivers coming who claim to be the Messiah, or Jesus himself.
- Wars and rumors of wars. (These have been happening for eons, right?)
- Nations rising against nation and kingdoms against kingdoms. (Factions in society and the world. Age old problem.)
- Famines and Earthquakes will be in lots of (various) places.
The above mentioned are the beginning of the birth pains. I asked my sons what things happen in the second half of the school year that makes it different from the first half. What “marks” the second half of the year? They listed things like: snow, holidays, spring break, SOL tests, spring sports like soccer, track and baseball, end of the year field day. There are things that are signs of the end that start WAY in advance of the actual last day of school. They are signs that we are in the second half. In God’s eyes, in view of the WHOLE of human history, the time after Christ is the end of the age. It is the time of grace and the time where humanity has to choose to respond to his Son Jesus Christ or not. In this view, there is a beginning to the end of the age, the same way that January is the beginning of the second half of the school year. So, certain things like, wars, persecution, earthquakes and deceivers have been increasing for thousands of years.
Then he continues with more specific items.
- Many will turn away from the faith and hate each other. (Hatred is not new, but a great falling away is new.)
- False prophets (He differentiates between these and the ones who claim to be Jesus.)
- Wickedness will continue to increase till the point that many will lose the ability to really love and trust. Love of many will grow cold.
- The abomination that causes desolation. (Getting more specific here.)
- False religious leaders performing supernatural wonders to confuse, deceive and lead people astray to worship false gods and doctrine.
The list above is not an exhaustive list of the signs of the coming of Jesus. There are plenty of other prophecies and scripture that point to the VERY end of the age, right before the return of Christ. A few select items to recognize (Again, not exhaustive):
- Knowledge will increase and people will travel back and forth to find education. (Daniel 12:4)
- The power of the holy people will be utterly broken. This was written to Daniel, so it is referring to the Jewish people. (Didn’t this happen during WW2?)
- Israel will become a nation again and all of it’s scattered people will be called back from the 4 corners of the earth. (Started in 1948 and continues to pick up speed.)
- People will embrace evolution and “intentionally forget” that God created the world and that the flood happened. (2 Peter 3:4&5)
- People will mock and say, “Where is this second coming that was promised?” (2 Peter 3:4)
- “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12)
So, here is the point. Since the time of Jesus, the world has been moving closer and closer every day to the return of Christ. When we see the distressful things in the news, and indeed they are increasing in their level of distress, we are reminded that every day draws closer to when Christ returns. The scripture guarantees that things at the end will continue to unravel and that men’s hearts will fail them for fear at the things coming on the earth.
As believers, we should not be afraid of these things. If we truly trust Christ, things like persecution will be to his glory. When we see Russia announce a new wave of persecution on the church, when we see mayhem on the streets and people losing their lives by the sword in the middle east, we are to lift up our eyes for our redemption draws near.
The Bible promises us that it will feel like we are losing. It promises us this. Ever since the 1967 6 day war where Israel took back all of it’s land since King David reigned AND Jerusalem, the world has moved quickly into a place of distress. God has not allowed it to be too quick, because he knows what we can handle and he will be patient to give as many people a chance to come to Christ as he can.
However, also, remember that in Revelation it says that EVEN with all of the signs and fulfilled prophecies and the tribulations that come on the earth, people will still not repent. They will harden their hearts, like Pharaoh of Egypt, who knew there was a God, but decided to fight against him, instead of to repent and turn to him for times of refreshing.
When you are discouraged by the violence, the confusion, the delusion spreading in society, the people trying to change our nation, remember that we should not fear. Somehow, in America, we have connected spirituality to success. Many of you reading this remember living in the US when it was under the providential hand of God’s protection, grace and mercy. However, as sin increases in our nation, so does the opportunity to repent, including the reminders that we are in sin and all the baggage that sin brings. Sin brings chaos. Sin brings division. Sin brings hatred. Sin brings racism. Sin brings violence. Sin brings confusion.
Do not be surprised by any of this. But, do pray. Pray for repentance to begin with the people of God, that Jesus will find faith on earth when he returns.
“Father, in Jesus name, I exalt your holy name. I excitedly await the coming of your son Jesus. Until that day, may your kingdom come and your will be done on earth, in my life and in my nation as it is in heaven. Lord, I am fearful of the things coming on the earth. I give my fear to you, because you did not give me a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love, power and a sound mind. I put my trust in you, as our nation is reeling from division, violence, racism, scandal, and lawlessness at the highest level. I pray right now and repent of any and all sin in my life.
I ask you to wash me. I thank you for Christ and his sacrifice for my sins. Please forgive me for living carelessly with his sacrifice. I ask for you to do a renewing work in my life, Lord Jesus. I ask for a new and powerful move of your Spirit in my life and family. I ask that you will fill my life with the oil of your Spirit that I will be ready for whatever happens and that I will stay awake spiritually as our nation and the world is going through the night.
Please bring healing to our nation. Please bring a wave of revival. Bring hope to those living in darkness. Stop those who are planning evil and spreading division. Bring restoration and healing. Thank you for the work of the godly man Martin Luther King Jr. Thank you that he loved you and even that he died proclaiming your truth. I pray that you will raise up more godly voices to proclaim God’s truth over this nation.
I pray that you will uncover the lies and the evil that is lurking and seeking to destroy. I pray that you will give strength to the churches and the pastors. Remove the veil of lies that come against us to blind us. Do not allow us to fall into confusion or division. Keep us humble, Lord. Help us to stand for the truth and to speak the truth in love.
God, help us to stand up for the fatherless and those hurting. Correct us when we are wrong and point us in the right direction in Christ. God, deliver those who are suffering for Christ. Help me to remember those who are in chains for Jesus all around the world. Be with the church in Russia as it is coming into a great time of persecution. Ready and Steady the believers there, in Jesus name. Keep them in your hands of grace and mercy. Fight against Satan’s schemes to destroy them, in Jesus name. Deliver them from evil.
Lord God, direct my heart in the coming days, that I will serve you with every part of my being and not just occasionally and not just on Sundays. In Jesus name, Amen.