Numerous places in Scripture, both OT and NT, tell us that even though we may not know exactly when the Rapture and the Tribulation will happen, we can still get a good idea of how near we are by events gaining speed and growing in intensity. Nothing new in that, we have known this for over 2000 years. My goal in this article is to show one of the indications from Scripture, Romans 1: 18-32, that points out how we are extremely close to hearing the Archangel blowing the Shofar to call us home and the beginning of the Tribulation.
I believe these passages lay out an introduction, four types of events or conditions in sequence, and a culmination or conclusion. I see this as a long term plan that began before the reforming of Israel in 1948. I also will show how the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24 is a shorter time period focusing on post 1948 events, and how these two passages complement each other. I, like many, see Matthew 24: 4-8, and 36-51 as pre- Rapture, with vs. 9- 35 as post Rapture. The target audiences for these two prophecies are also different.
Romans is intended for the church whereas the Olivet Discourse is targeted mainly toward the Jews. That does not mean that one group can’t discern the meaning behind the prophecy aimed at the other. These two prophecies compliment and augment each other and when viewed in this manner help us to get a better understanding of the nearness of the Rapture. The events of Romans 1: 18-32 are nearing completion, as I will point out below, and all one needs to do is watch the news to see that Matthew 24:4-8 is happening all around us. As these events have unfolded in sequence the subsequent event stems from and builds upon the prior with all continuing to occur and grow in strength.
Romans 1:18-20 serve as the introduction:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
In this passage God, thru Paul, is telling us that He has shown us all the proof we need for His existence, meaning all of creation, and because of that no one has an excuse. Verse 18 also points out to whom He is directing this against; those who hold the truth in unrighteousness or in other words, those willfully ignorant of Him. This point is the set up for the first event type.
The first event type is found in verses 21-23: “ Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things”
This actually began in earnest in 1859 when Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory was not really anything new. What he did was take a number of different ideas from others and piece them together into a “logical” form. As believers we know that even though it may be logical, it is still incorrect. Today, mainstream science requires the belief in this false theory.
It has become their religion and sacrifices the unbelievers. Those who don’t bow down to it are ostracized and find themselves on many occasions looking for other employment. If you ever have an opportunity to talk with the adherents of this satanic idea and let them know you believe the Bible’s version of creation you are ridiculed as being ignorant, superstitious and uneducated, while they are to be believed because they happen to have half the alphabet after their name.
The root cause of this is verse 21 and it leads directly to their superior attitude found in verse 22, the result of their rejection of God. Verse 21 also points out that most of the early intellectuals that followed and advanced the ideas of evolution were in fact Christians, with many of them Biblical scholars; i.e. they knew God and not only did not glorify Him but in fact rejected Him.
The result of verses 21 and 22 is verse 23, Darwinism. The creation when initially made was without corruption because there was no sin. Adam introduced corruption by way of original sin. Darwinism teaches the opposite, that death (corruption) has been a part of the creation from the beginning. Darwinism replaces God with the ideas of Man, as foretold in verse 23. Darwinism’s true main purpose, as designed by Satan, is to deny God’s existence and to remove Him from creation. If God doesn’t exist then He could not have created us. If that is true then Darwinism teaches us we are in fact gods ourselves.This leads directly to the second event type as laid out in verses 24 and 25:
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Since in their warped views God doesn’t exist then there are no moral absolutes except those the individual places on himself. Morality becomes relative, especially sexual morality. Since the late 1940s the divorce rates have skyrocketed. So has marital infidelity, sexual promiscuity, children born out of wedlock, occurrences of STDs, etc, etc, etc. This moral collapse is exactly what verse 24 is pointing to. Stemming directly from this is the modern equivalent of the ancient Canaanite practice of passing their children thru the fire to Molech; abortion.
We also see today many who profess to be Christians that not only condone this abomination, but actually encourage it in the name of “choice.” This breakdown in the moral code is exactly what Satan wants and encourages. It allows him to worm his way in slowly and stealthily. Since there are no moral absolutes it frees the individual to do whatever they think is right at that time. Talk about a wide, easy path to follow! I spent over 27 years in the US Army and I don’t like being told what to do as much as the next guy.
However, I do know that without a clear cut chain of command and clear and concise orders you have a recipe for failure. That is what Satan is striving for since that means the adherents of this philosophy will default to him. Verse 25 refers back to and ties this to the prior event type of removing God from our lives. It also points to the growth and expansion of the first event because of the second. Basically, they feed on each other and expand concurrently.
The third event type follows hard on the heels of the second and is found in verses 26 thru 28:
“ For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”
Obviously this refers to homosexuality. When the sexual revolution prophesized about in verses 24 and 25 began homosexuality was still considered a deviant sexual behavior. Today it is mainstream. The homosexual community is a small percentage of the population yet carries considerable influence and power. They, in a very short time span, have come out in the open, have been accepted and are now cramming it down the throats of those who speak out against it.
The government is an active participant in this. In the last few years we have seen the government ,through the courts and legal system ordering people to violate their firmly held, and constitutionally protected religious beliefs, in order to accommodate the homosexual community. Christian business owners are being forced to provide homosexuals goods or services that are in conflict with their beliefs or face fines that will in effect put them out of business.
Verse 28 is a reiteration of the results of the second condition. This includes the rise in abortion, and the fact that it has grown exponentially since Roe v. Wade. The government is now forcing Christians to give de facto support to the abomination of abortion. The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, requires insurance policies to provide abortion and birth control coverage. The most insane example of this is the case of a group of Catholic nuns having to fight in Federal court to be exempted from this provision. So now not only do we have government allowing this abomination, we have government actively engaged in conducting it.
This leads to the fourth step as found in verse 29 through 31:
“ Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:”
These things are all now becoming more prevalent. All one has to do is watch the daily news or pick up a newspaper to see this. People are becoming ruder, cruder, meaner, more violent, uncaring, unfeeling, unconcerned, less self-controlled, deceitful, untrustworthy, etc. on a daily basis. This is the culmination of the first three event types and is only possible because of them. All four of these event types feed on each other in an unholy way that can only signify the nearness of the end.
Compared to what the world was like as short a time ago as in 1948, today’s world is completely insane. If we were able to bring someone from then to the here and now, I think they would go insane with just how bad things have become. And yet, in many ways these things seem “normal” to those of us who have arrived here by living thru these events. We also are seeing what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24:5-8, which I believe are to be looked at as starting almost simultaneously and continuing together since 1948:
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
In the last forty years we have seen a huge spike in cults, pseudo-Christian denominations, false gospels being preached and “spiritualism.” We have also seen a rise in occult practices and their acceptance, and an increase in the supernatural. This is what Jesus was referring to in verse 5. Since the end of WWII there have been untold numbers of conflicts, revolutions, police actions, coups, uprisings, etc, etc, etc. In the past 20-30 years I would venture to say that there has not been a day that some kind of conflict has not been happening somewhere in the world.
This corresponds to the first part of verse 6, with the last parts telling us that this is to be expected and that there is more to come. Verse 7 begins with the reiteration of the point that conflicts will not only continue but become the normal state. The last part of the verse points to the natural world and the signs to look for. We are seeing these types of events happening globally, and increasing in frequency, duration, and effect. Talk about labor pains! Verse 8 refers, I believe, to the fact that these events are the lead up to the Rapture and the beginning of the time of Jacob’s Troubles.
Remember He was telling this to a group of Jews and that the time of sorrows refers to the Tribulation, which is for them and not the church. From that perspective it is easy to see that He is telling them what is in store for the Jews and how to know what to look for in order to understand when it is getting ready to happen. This and Romans 1: 29-31 both refer to the things that are going to be happening right before the Rapture. Even though the Olivet discourse was mainly for the Jews, I think He also put in something for the church; verses 38 through 41:
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Here, in verse 38 He is telling us that in the time leading up to the Rapture that as bad and ungodly as the times will be people will still be getting on with their daily lives. In verses 39 through 41 He is saying what will transpire at the Rapture. As bad and weird as things are today people are still getting on with their lives, as per Matthew 24: 38, without any thought as to what is going on around them. They are numb to it all because they have rejected God, as foretold in Romans 1:18-31, with the culmination as found in verse 32:
“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
This is the culmination of verses 18 through 31, and the state we are currently in. The first clause of verse 32 tells us that those who have rejected God deep in their hearts know that He does exist, even if they don’t admit it. They also know they are not even trying to live in accordance with His Word. The second clause reiterates what we, believers and nonbelievers know in our hearts; we all deserve the ultimate punishment for our wickedness, with obvious differences in store for the believer and nonbeliever.
The third and fourth clauses point out that the nonbelievers, like a child throwing a tantrum, want to play the game their way no matter what and if they can’t then no one gets to play, just like a spoiled three year old. This culmination is our current state of affairs. All four of the events types laid out by Paul in the previous verses lead directly to this, and provide the medium for it to grow and feed upon. This state is also the final sign of the nearness of the end of the Church Age and the calling home of the Bride. It can’t be much longer before we hear the call. Keep looking up and keep listening for the Shofar.
All Scripture references are from the King James Bible.
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