Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! —Isaiah 5:20
It used to be, that people didn’t need to lock their doors at night, or worry about someone stealing a bike from their front yard. You didn’t use to need to worry about your kids walking to the store by themselves, or just being out all day playing until dinner time. You didn’t need to worry about whether your government was spying on you. You trusted the banks to do with your money, what they said they would. If bad guys did bad things, they were caught and went to jail (and for a long time). You had a national border that actually stopped, or at least, limited the amount of unknowns coming into your country. At one point in your life, you had faith in the system.
But what we’ve seen in the last 25 years in the United States, is a rapid and aggressive acceleration into a national decline in almost every sector. We have effectively transitioned from a producer-nation, to a service based nation. We have rapidly transitioned from a creditor nation, to a debtor nation. We have justified to ourselves (vis-à-vis an ever rising debt ceiling), the current level of sky rocketing debt we currently find ourselves in. Time honored cultural and religious institutions are being turned on their head. Marriage is no longer just between a man and a woman. Children don’t necessarily need to come from only two parents. Science is quickly outpacing the ethical boundaries that prevent the abuse of those technologies.
Globally… Ebola, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, and a half dozen other diseases are but hairbreadth away from becoming pandemic. Strange animal die-offs are occurring at alarming rates. The radioactive fallout from Fukushima pollution of the Pacific has begun to change the face of life in the world’s largest ocean. ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, and many other Islamic terror groups are rampaging across the 10/40 window, leaving a trail of carnage in their wake. Crime and murder have all but seized our city centers, which in turn has driven the law abiding citizen, further and further out of it.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good” (2 Timothy 3:1-3).
The norms and basic civil decencies are being turned on their head. Ethnic tensions are on the rise globally, but none so alarmingly as they are right here in the US, where black inner-city mobs “knocking out” or beating up non-black persons, is seemingly becoming common place. The media are reluctant or outright afraid to call things what they are, and ‘hate crime’ is seemingly only reserved for those “dangerous” Tea Party types.
Right is wrong, up is down, black is white, and evil is good…and it’s only getting worse. Notice how the Apostle Paul’s words are ringing truer and truer by the day. Things are not getting better, but are getting progressively worse. And now that we find ourselves in these very times he spoke of, are we surprised that they are anything less than what the Bible said they would be?
Not many years ago, it was really hard to find things to dig up to prove that we are in fact, in the last moments of the last days. Such is not the case in 2014, where so much is happening on so many fronts, that it makes your head hurt just thinking about it. It would be really easy to get discouraged with all that has transpired since 9/11/01, and conclude we must already be in the Tribulation in some form or fashion. Maybe that is why positions like Pre-Wrath and Post-Tribulation positions seem to be growing at more rapid rates within eschatological circles. It is natural to assume that when things take a turn for the worse, we must be in one or more of the judgments. For instance…
The other day I was scanning the news when I came across an article talking about the pros and cons of the new RFID technology. It had a long laundry list of potential benefits that it could have constructive impacts to many of the aforementioned problems we are currently experiencing in this nation.
For instance, it could help prevent crime, track predators, protect property, and prevent identity theft. But at the end of the article, it asks the question of whether or not it’s ethical, and whether it has the potential for abuse. I thought that was a rather silly question, considering all we know now about the abuses of government thus far, over privacy and what not. But I liken it to the pre and post mindset people had before and after 9/11.
Before 9/11, Americans would have never allowed the Patriot Acts to pass through the halls of Congress. But afterwards, because of fear, it seemed like a very logical thing to do and it was pushed through at break-neck speed. Now that it is in force, its tentacles of intrusion have only ever grown in its scope and depth as it reaches into the lives of average Americans. All it took for the American people to hand over personal liberty, was the right threat. Each new potential threat is used to justify a continued and ever more pervasive reach into the lives of the public…and again, that too, is by design.
Fear drives our daily lives now. Fear feeds into our belief systems, and into what we are willing to accept as normal. Fear is ingratiating itself into our eschatology, which is why positions like Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib are on the rise in evangelical churches. Fear is an insatiable monster in and of itself, and it feeds on hope, and devours peace, crushes action, and delivers you into a cradle of bondage.
Being grounded in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture as THE Blessed Hope, is more than just lip service. It is more than just head knowledge. It’s more than just having the correct, chronological understand of end time’s events. It was designed by God, to give us, a light of hope, in an increasingly darkened world. Whether we want to accept it or not, we are that generation that will see the Lord return. We are the generation with Israel back in her land. We are the generation with Israel in control of Jerusalem. We are the generation that has the technological and economic means to control all buying and selling in the world. We are that generation that have all the signs converging at break neck speed. And yes, doom and gloom is big business…just turn on your local or national news. Fear sells, but we, are not called to live in a spirit of fear. Peter said…
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
We are not only to have the proper understanding of Scripture, too include how things end (eschatology), but we are also supposed to apply that knowledge to our daily lives. If you notice in the New Testament, almost every passage referencing the Lord’s coming at the Rapture, is preceded or surrounded by passages that promote holy living. We are to live out our beliefs, by being grounded in the reality, that Christ will return, and that His return, will be before the world enters into that final seven years. We are not called ‘overcomers’ for nothing…
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
It’s knowing, believing, and sharing that belief through our word and deed that will draw people to Christ, because we have this hope, in an increasingly hopeless world. We belong to Christ, Christ is in us, and we make up the body of Christ…and Christ is God. If Christ existed before all things, and by all things were created through Him, and Christ conquered death and hell at the Cross…what have we to fear?
What is in this life that poses a greater threat than that? Nothing. We are not called to have a spirit of fear. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture (or catching up) is just hope realized and codified in Scripture for our benefit. It was God’s plan, hidden before the foundation of the world, revealed through Paul and John to us, that we should live boldly and confidently, in a world that is passing away. (Eph. 3:1-7; 1 Thess. 4:13-5:9; 1 John 2:17).
A world passing away, is juxtaposed with the peace that passes understanding. Yes, these are dark times, and they are growing darker by the day. But the worse it gets, the closer it is to Christ’s return. We simply need to keep all that in perspective.
So beloved, don’t get sucked into false beliefs that promote fear, and rob you of hope. Don’t be drawn to teachers that feed doom and gloom, and promote their own ministries or eschatological beliefs, over what Scripture actually teaches. Don’t let their confusion over the Rapture, with the Second Coming, lead you down a path which has you prepping for Armageddon, when we are called to live boldly and confidently in this time so soon near our Lord’s coming. (See Matt. 6:25-33).
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding andeternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:16-17).
Pete Garcia is an editor-at-large for The Omega Letter.