Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
Some of the disciples had asked Jesus about when the end of the world would be and this is one of the signs given to them. “…Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3b).
They were asking about Jesus’ Second Coming and the end of the “aiōn”, which means a period of time or age. They weren’t asking about the Rapture and Jesus’ answer was pointed toward a time known as Daniel’s 70th week, which is a seven-year time period sometime after the Rapture. Interestingly we can already see this prophecy coming to pass. Jesus told His disciples that this period of time will be unprecedented in human history and that men’s hearts will turn toward so much evil that love shall wax cold.
Paul also wrote to Timothy about the heartless mindset of people in the last days.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
Paul’s words are becoming reality as we see people are becoming more and more heartless. News headlines are filled with cold hearted murders and torture. People’s hearts are growing colder each day and it seems that hatred abounds in every sector of our society. Where will it end? It will end in judgment.
As Daniel’s 70th week draws near Christians will undoubtedly be victims of much heartless behavior. This hatred is inspired by Satan and his minions; he hates Christians because we represent Christ. Long ago there was a young man who hated Christians and did all he could to destroy them. His name was Saul. He obtained orders to persecute Christians and hauled them off to jail and worse. One day as he was off to Damascus to cause more havoc amongst the Christians, Saul met Jesus. A light from heaven shined all around him:
“And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4).
Saul was more than a little confused “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5).
Saul thought he was going after Christians but in reality he was persecuting Jesus. This encounter left a lasting impression on Saul. That day he met Jesus and his life was changed. He began working for Jesus rather than against Him. We know him better as the apostle Paul. As time draws short, Christians are again feeling Satan-inspired hatred. Many Christians today are being tortured and killed because of their faith, but it is Satan’s hatred for Jesus that is behind this evil.
Hatred, bloodshed, and death have been around since Cain killed Abel. World wars and more have put multitudes of folks in graves, but what’s coming is far worse than anything previously seen on earth. One day Christians will be raptured and the Restrainer will be taken out of the way.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
The Greek word “katechō” is translated “letteth” and means “to restrain, hinder – that which hinders Antichrist from making his appearance.” Once the Ekklesia is raptured the evil forces of Satan will not be restrained. There will be no let up of blood being spilled as most humans will be open to serving Satan. This is the scenario of the last seven years before Christ’s Second Coming. Paul said the “mystery of iniquity” was already at work when he wrote to the Thessalonians. We are even closer to Daniel’s 70th week and can see evil permeating our world. It will only get worse.
There are many indicators exploding on the scene that prove we are in the end times but this lack of love is certainly one of the most frightening. Why isn’t more being said about it? How many sermons are being preached about prophecy and the fact that it is being fulfilled daily? Are preachers scoffers who don’t really believe prophecy? “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
I suspect that very few preachers want to jump into prophecy because they don’t want to be alarmists. We are much closer to the end of time than Peter was and things are worse so it would be a good thing for Christians to be alarmed. Maybe that would spur the lukewarm Christian to action. There are scoffers, but that should not stop us from looking at prophecy and being aware of its fulfillment. Jesus, Paul, and Peter all spoke about the end times. We have been in the last days since Jesus ascended to heaven, but the birth pains are getting closer. Heartlessness is growing.
There seems to be hopelessness all around. Where there is hopelessness love is easily forgotten. Instead of hopelessness we should feel excitement. We are living in the last days. Christian, the Rapture could happen at any time! That is very exciting. We need to share our hope by spreading the Gospel of Christ.
Even though many Christians are working diligently trying to show the love of God through their lives and through their speech, it is becoming more and more politically incorrect to profess Christ. In school our children are expected to read books that are filled with witchcraft and evil, but the Bible is not allowed. We can celebrate pagan holidays and pretend they are Christian, but whatever you do, don’t say “Merry Christmas.”
As time goes on this satanic hatred of Christians, which is really persecution of Jesus, will become worse. Satan will be allowed more rein to guide the feeble minded lost souls toward full blown hatred of all Christians. After the Rapture this hatred will be embodied by the son of perdition (the Antichrist). Christians will be gone, but there will be those who come to faith after the Rapture. They will be hated and killed.
While we, the Ekklesia of Christ, remain on earth we need to combat this insane cold heartedness at every turn. We need to turn the lost souls of this world to Jesus before it is too late. Sadly the apathy and ignorance within the Ekklesia today is obvious and the hate in the world goes almost unchecked. As Peter said there is a feeling that everything is the same as it always was, but that is just denial. Even many Christians spew hate and they look and act like the worldly people who don’t know Christ. As Christ’s followers we need to represent Him well in all we do. Yes, it might draw Satan’s attacks to us, but our example is Christ and we need to emulate Him.
Cold heartedness abounds and there is evidence everywhere. Millions of mothers kill their babies and call it abortion. Governments around the world slaughter their own citizens, and people walk into schools or shopping malls and open fire. Heartlessness is everywhere. Being on the cusp of Daniel’s 70th week can be discouraging as we who await the Rapture hold fast each day and anticipate His inevitable call for us to join Him in the clouds. While we wait we have work to do. No matter how much persecution comes our way we are to hold fast to the faith and occupy until He comes.
If you are a born-again believer in Christ but you’re not involved in fulfilling Christ’s command to spread the gospel, then you best get involved. Time’s a wasting. Do you really want to meet Him face to face and tell Him you were just too busy or too fearful to speak up for Him? Many Christians are giving in to fear, and that’s why the Ekklesia is floundering today. That’s why heartlessness is going unchecked.
Right now, while the Ekklesia remains a force on earth, heartlessness can be combated. Yes, it’s going to get worse and perhaps someday we will need to run and hide to keep from be slaughtered. Then again, perhaps we will be given the courage which the first century saints were given. As we stand in the face of certain death we will smile as we see Jesus standing before us.
Stephen was the first Christian martyr, and as he was being stoned he saw Heaven open up “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-5).
We live in difficult times, but Christians need to honor God by showing His love to this wicked world.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
We who are born-again enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit living within us; He is an awesome convicting Spirit. If we allow it He will use us to attract the lost and unsaved of this world to us, and thus to Christ.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
He may give us words as He moves us in our witnessing tasks, or He may simply use us as an example of what living “in Christ” looks like, but you must always be ready with an answer.
In these last days the Holy Spirit is working overtime to convince as many as possible to join God’s children at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Show God’s love to those who are lost and there will be fewer heartless people in this world.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham