John 8:47: “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:14: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
2 Corinthians 4:3-4: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan – John 21:31; 14:30; 16:1] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (Bracketed sections added.)
1 Timothy 4:1-2: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
2 Thessalonians 2:6-12: “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he [the Holy Spirit] who now letteth [restrains] will let, until he [the Holy Spirit]be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked [Antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him [Antichrist] , whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they [humanity] received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (Bracketed sections added.)
Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Revelation 3:14-17: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
As I write this in the last quarter of the year 2014, it amazes and disheartens me as well to see just how well these verses written over 1900 years ago describe our Twenty-first Century world. We now have in North America most Protestant denominations preaching the gospels of political correctness, tolerance for just about everything and everyone. (Except for those who actually believe the Bible means what it says, that is!)
And a growing anti-Semitism all too eager to condemn Israel for defending herself from its predominantly Muslim enemies, while never mentioning that these very same foes are the ones who celebrate when their spiritual kindred knock down our skyscrapers, kidnap and kill school children, fire rockets and dig tunnels into Israeli territory with the express purpose of slaughtering civilians.
Included in the package is also the embrace of homosexual lifestyles even among their clergy despite the fact that not only does the Bible has express condemnation of it, but that this manner of living is a threat to the longevity and health of those actively involved in it. To me this is just as nonsensical as promoting smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, or not wearing your seat belt.
To have such things come out of a totally secular society which is ignorant or dismissive of God would not be all that surprising. This is because the standards are developed out of the culture itself. One which rejects the God of the Bible God has no ultimate standard other than itself to make the determination of what is good or what is evil.
We’ve seen where this has led in the past with the Third Reich and Soviet Communism. The trend to avoid unpleasant realities was present even in the 1940’s and the delay to confront Adolf Hitler almost proved fatal to the western democracies. Similarly, Stalin’s atrocities against his own people were ignored out of a desire to find an ally against Nazi Germany, and, for a time, even after the second world war. But eventually we wised up and did what we had to do against both regimes to preserve freedom.
In the seventy years since the end of World War II and the twenty-five years since the fall of the Soviet Union, we now face the rise of militant Islam. However slow we might have been to recognize our greatest foes of the last century, the refusal (or could it be inability) to acknowledge this threat may pose a greater danger to the free world than it has ever encountered. Why can’t those who are leading the free world see it?
The Muslims are in a different situation than a society based on atheism since they do believe in a supreme being who has established rules which define good and evil. They worship Allah whom they claim is the same as Jehovah. However a brief examination of the Koran reveals striking discrepancies between the two.
The Bible tells us that Jehovah (I AM) loves Jews and Christians (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 28:10-15; Numbers 6:22-27; Hebrews 8:10-13, John 3:16, 14:21-23; 1 Corinthians 2:9). The Koran is inconsistent saying in some passages that the other “people of the Book” which would be Jews and Christians, are included in Allah’s blessing (Sura 2:62), but many others say he despises them both (Sura 2:21; 2:91; 5:51; 9:30). So, a Muslim can justify either benevolence or hostility toward them based on the Koran.
If a humanistic society can develop moral standards which say it’s okay to kill those they consider “inferior” types of people or that the state has more rights than the individual, how much worse can it get from one who follows the teachings of a “god” who can’t seem to make up his mind over such a fundamental issue as how to deal with those outside their religion?
When we such a one approving of the kinds of things mentioned in the beginning of this article, we can see the answer to that question. How then can a country like America whose foundation was based on the God of the Bible, despite what the historical revisionists would have you believe, give this kind of evil a pass?
(By the way, let me digress for a moment to back up the claim I just made with this significant historical document):
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The point I’m trying to make is that we can see reasons for the God-denying societies above having major errors in moral compasses, but America has no excuse. Consider this in the light of what Jesus once said:
Luke 12:48: “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
When we look at what God gave this country in terms of natural resources, prosperity, and a foundation based upon Him and His standards, what does this suggest in terms of the consequences of rebelling against Him?
The truth of the matter is this: I believe it began in June 1963 when Christians allowed the Supreme Court to inhibit their First Amendment rights to practice their beliefs without government interference by restricting prayer in our public schools. In November of that very same year, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas, Texas, followed by other assassinations in a decade of deep social unrest across this country. By pushing God away, did we begin to create a vacuum for Satan to start moving in on us?
In 1973 the same Supreme Court ruled that the most helpless among us, the unborn, could be killed without penalty for any reason, even one of being unwanted. Hitler had the same idea when it came to Jews. Now we are seeing the “marriage” of same-sex couples approved with the latest polls revealing that over 50% of the population thinks that’s just fine. Are we also seeing the consequences as well?
In the past decade alone we have seen political, economic, and natural stresses not only in the U.S. but around the world. As I write, Ebola has now arrived on our shores and where this may lead is anyone’s guess, especially with what can only be described as a government paralyzed with ineptness and self-interest. It is this same lack of competence which is allowing terror groups such as ISIS to arise, Iran to keep its nuclear program, its lack of support for Israel which is the only true friend and democracy we have in the Middle East, and the list goes on.
Underlying all of this seems to be a growing lack of the ability for our general population to perceive that things are going dreadfully wrong on just about every level one can imagine. It is as if people are literally being prevented from seeing the truth. The passages above are particularly significant in showing us that in the days before Jesus’ return, this mental blindness will become pandemic in the church itself. It looks to me that we’ve already reached that point, from the evidence above.
Can it get worse? I believe that the Bible shows that this very thing is setting up humanity for what is soon to come, detailed from the 2 Thessalonians 2 passage cited above.
As illustrated, we are talking about the Antichrist here, a human being who becomes totally possessed by Satan himself. What is clear is that this final, worst despot comes to power by deceit, by taking full advantage of people’s clouded minds. There is the strong suggestion that this mental fog is something that they have actually welcomed. Historically, when a lie is more comfortable or convenient than the truth, which side have human beings often chosen? Has this trait of self-delusion been restricted only to secular society alone? Unfortunately, it has not as we will now see.
Over the 2000 years that have passed since Jesus walked the earth, all too often that which called itself the church has committed some terrible atrocities in God’s name and thought it was justified in so doing. In every case its persecutions upon those outside (or even inside as with the various Inquisitions) its fold found justification in by either a corrupted reading or willful disregard of what the Bible teaches.
This practice still continues as we observe the trends to condone the lifestyles of practicing homosexuals even to the point of accepting such individuals as clergy, the acceptance of pluralistic salvation which essentially tells us that Jesus lied when he said he was the only way to his Father (John 14:6), praying to dead human beings in addition to praying to God for “intercession” in violation of the First and Second Commandments (Exodus 20:1-5), when the Bible clearly states that Jesus alone intercedes for us (1 John 2:1-2).
And any number of false doctrines are still maintained which have zero biblical basis. The point here is that belonging to a church even today does not necessarily mean you’ll hear the truth coming from its pulpits. From all appearances it is getting a lot worse.
Perhaps the single and greatest reason for this is the biblical illiteracy of those filling the pews. Deferring to someone just because the person has a formal religious pedigree or is wearing a collar is in my mind an abdication of a Christian’s responsibility to compare what is being preached to what the Bible actually says. We can learn a great deal from the Bereans of Paul’s time which consisted of Jews and Gentiles alike:
Acts 17:10-12: “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.”
The present level of biblical ignorance is appalling and certainly provides a powerful tool for Satan to exploit. Considering the current doctrinal condition of the church in Europe and America today, the willing acceptance of the “doctrines of devils” which Paul specifically warned us in his two letters to Timothy would come is already upon us. It does not seem to be much of a reach to believe that not only will the church not resist this coming “fuehrer of the not-too distant future,” but will welcome this false messiah with open arms and provide a fundamental infrastructure for his rise to power.
If the state of the church and society is already this bad even with the presence of those Christians who have made it their business to become Bible-literate, imagine what it will be like when they disappear in the Rapture. Not only will the resistance they now present to the moral decline in both the church and society be gone, but the very presence and restraint of the Holy Spirit himself upon Satan and his minions. It appears we are well on the way to producing the kind of useless and spiritually blind church Jesus spoke of in Revelation 3:14-17.
It seems to me that the things the majority of a civilized people would have found distressing a mere couple of decades ago scarcely raise an eyebrow these days. Some, in fact, have gotten the stamp of approval from our legislatures, and worst of all, from our churches as well.
Perhaps this “searing of the conscience” and comprehensive deterioration is easier to see from the perspective of my advancing years than from someone born into it, so for this reason, I feel a responsibility to pass on these warnings. Yet I also have no illusions that they will be not be taken seriously by those whose minds have long been closed.
Nevertheless, as a Christian who takes the Bible at its Word, I felt it is my responsibility to try.