World in Crisis – Hour of Temptation :: by Terry James

Planet Earth is on the brink of disaster. And, the impending crisis is as individual as it is collective. Winds of the times-altering sort pervade and saturate life in our communities–where we live most intimately. It is not just within the nation and the larger society and culture, but within our very living rooms that we are experiencing the transformation. Instant communication brings wave after wave of the portentous change invading our places of personal sanctuary. We cannot escape it.

It is much more than merely the historic firsts that have thrust the enigmatic Barack Hussein Obama to the U.S. presidency that ring alarm bells. Numerous developments pique the spiritual sensitivity meters of those who observe the dynamics of the times for possible prophetic application. Building events alert the spiritually attuned to the likelihood that America and the world have dramatically transitioned into an era that has brought this generation to the precipice of something profoundly ominous.

Moral Morass
Loss of comprehension about what is the pillar to which America’s national conscience was once secured constitutes the core of the causes of the sea-changes that have swamped the nation, and as a result have caused the planet to quake. The following Scripture has never been more apropos than for America today in describing the moral morass in which we are mired: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush…” (Jeremiah 8:12a).

One whose worldview is truly biblical cannot in good conscience do other than acknowledge that the nucleus of the crisis–the many crises—America and Planet Earth face is spiritual. The end of all rebellion against God just before death is depravity that flows from minds that have become reprobate.

The obvious similarity of proliferating signs in this generation to the “perilous times” conditions the Apostle Paul foretold can’t be shunted aside as mere coincidence. The characteristics of end times man of which Paul vividly forewarned fit perfectly in defining the generation alive today both in American and world societies and cultures.

Perilous Times Manifested
The “perilous times” characteristics Paul foretold for the generation that will be alive when Christ returns are manifesting themselves in every aspect of life in America and the world today. Let us examine that declaration to some extent. (Read 2 Timothy 3:1-7 to get the overview.)

Men (and Women) Lovers of Selves
Humans have, since the disobedience in the Garden of Eden,  been in love with themselves. They fell victim to the serpent’s deadly narcissistic venom. When Satan told Adam and Eve they would be as God, the idea was so appealing that fallen man has since that time marched in line behind Lucifer in saying “I will”…

Fallen man wants no one to rule over him –i.e., wants nobody getting in the way of his pursuit of doing what is right in his own eyes. Oppressive regimes are for the most part the result of it becoming necessary to bring under subjugation man’s natural tendency to gravitate toward chaos and anarchy. Only when he willingly submits to his Creator and the order God establishes does man thrive under truly moral governance. The founding fathers of the United States were wise enough to realize this governing principle.

Today entertainment and marketing/advertising tell us to love ourselves above God or anyone else. The results of love of self are divorce, children with broken homes, devilish levels of crime, and even murder.

Generation of Proud Boasters
We have to go no further in searching for this end-times characteristic given by Paul than to consider the most recent election season. Pride –that sin to which Lucifer fell, and which God says goes before a fall—permeated the political process and the participating protagonists. “Me, myself, and I” were front and center for the microphones and cameras to capture, project, and broadcast so the audiences at the political rallies and across the nation and world could see and hear the proud boasters.

The people of 21st century America readily fell for propaganda not unlike the half-truths and outright fabrications put out by Joseph Goebbles’ propaganda machine for Adolf Hitler in the first half of the 20th century.  That’s because much of the populous of this most blessed nation in history also manifests the characteristics of being proud and boasters. How long before this leads to downfall, only God knows.

Blasphemy Abounds
To understand the blasphemous attitude of many in America, all we must do is think on the kinds of entertainment millions love to cerebrally ingest, according to the DVDs, movie tickets, and books they purchase.

Think about the Harry Potter series, which tugs the thoughts of even Christians at record-setting levels to the dark side (the satanic side) and away from the righteous side (God’s side). Defenders of the Harry Potter series, including Christians who find these novels harmless, fail to recognize the subtle siren song that lures souls into these destructive shoals.

Books such as The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown mock the deity of Jesus Christ, and it is a worldwide smash hit almost instantly, with media fawning over the blasphemous story-telling as if it were a work revealing newly discovered facts.

The Raising of Rebels (Disobedience to Parents)
This characteristic of end-times man has grown exponentially since the Supreme Court, by fiat in 1963, told God He is no longer welcome in public classrooms. With the expelling of prayer and Bible reading has come great increase in turning from parental guidance to a disastrous turning of much of America’s youth to everything deleterious society and culture has to offer. Gangs have taken the place of families in raising many of the inner-city youth.

Shortly after the 1963 expulsion of the Almighty from public schools, the nation’s fires of optimism were doused by a president’s assassination, the coming of a catastrophic sexual revolution, and a war that for the first time in its history saw the U.S. military unable to achieve victory.

The nation, in effect, became bankrupt with Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty that failed to produce the “Great Society” he and the big spenders envisioned. Along with the 50,000 plus dead in Vietnam came the assassinations of Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy.

The drug culture and Woodstock spewed forth with anti-American protestation by young people grown to be full-scale rabble-rousers whose slogan was “Make love, not war.”

Shortly thereafter came the fall of a president who had to resign because of the Watergate debacle.

It seems the biblical warning was proven true. “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man [or nation] seweth, that shall he [it] also reap.”

Unthankful, Unholy Hordes
While America’s blessings have grown, the U.S. population’s recognition of the One who blesses decreases by the day. People in America are for the most part pleased for the things they have, for the bounty of food they enjoy, and happy that they aren’t in squalor like people of Third World nations. But, most don’t stop to think for a moment to give true thanks to the giver of all things good. As a matter of fact, most Americans don’t know the God of heaven in any sense whatever.

The Thanksgiving holiday has, except for a diminishing number of believers in Christ for salvation, become a sham celebration, a reason for time off to watch football and eat heartily.

The designations “unthankful” and “unholy” fit the condition of today’s American society and culture very well.

Without Natural Affection
For brevity’s sake –for this manifestation of Paul’s perilous times forewarning could become quite extensive—I will mention the two primary issues that speak starkly to the characteristic of end-times man: “without natural affection.”

Homosexuality–A small portion of the U.S. population that is homosexual has the government, media, and corporate entities large and small championing their abominable activities. God’s Word calls it abominable, so don’t throw stones of hatred at the writer, who merely gives God’s Word on the matter.

Homosexuality is not a lifestyle, but a death-style. Homosexuality cannot by its abased nature reproduce humankind. Diseases associated by and large to homosexual interaction have brought about an incurable plague –AIDS. Other STDs are spawned by the perversions of men having sexual relations with men.

States like California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and others constantly deal with this small portion of America’s populations seeking validation for their sexual debauchery, which, again, God calls abominable.

Every major civilization that has come and gone has at the very end of its life span been deep into the practice of homosexuality, with, for example, Rome having degenerated to the point homosexuality was considered as much or more the norm than heterosexuality.

This is an abomination, the Bible says, and is a way of death that is without natural affection.

Abortion–Killing babies while in their mothers’ wombs is the most heinous manifestation in our time of the Apostle Paul’s prophecy that the generation alive at the time of Christ’s return will be “without natural affection.”

More than 50 million children have been thus murdered–legally—since Roe versus Wade in 1973. The incoming Obama administration, if we can depend upon the rhetoric of promised legislative/judicial/executive-approved increase of “a woman’s right to choose” in the coming months and years, will assure that many millions more little ones will be killed.

Jesus forewarned about this, and all who would harm children: “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17: 2).

Abortion is proof beyond any doubt that this is a generation “without natural affection.” For a mother to allow–even welcome–the killing of her baby goes against nature itself. Even animals protect their young fiercely. Most abortions by far in these closing days of the age are for expedience–birth control after the fact. Children in the womb, because they are not wanted, are an inconvenience. This is a sin for which America and the world will pay beyond any penalty that has yet been experienced.

Trucebreakers, False Accusers
Setting aside the geopolitical history that includes the infamous and never brought to light truce breaking and false accusations, we think for a moment of the matter of marriage in the United States.

There could be no greater truce breaking than that of the covenant broken when divorce occurs. This form of truce breaking–the marriage bond—is epidemic in this nation. Much of the family break-ups come from the accusations that rage while husbands and wives spew vitriol at each other.

False accusations leveled in order to gain advantages over others in the personal and corporate worlds fly like untamed winds across the land in today’s society. The young learn quickly by watching the adults in their lives the luciferian black art of lying to get ahead.

The Incontinent
Bible prophecy forewarns of a time near the end of the age and beyond into the tribulation when people will be “incontinent,” as is the word used in the KJV. That people at the end of the age will be “incontinent” doesn’t mean that they will require adult diapers because of uncontrollable biological excretions. The word means that people will be unbridled in their lusts, their wants. They will give in to their addictions to the point that their sins in this area will constitute a major contribution to the times the Apostle Paul terms “perilous.”

The over prescribing and overuse of prescription drugs, not to mention the illicit drugs that pervade the American culture, are the tip of the iceberg. Overindulgences in every kind of pleasure, in every area of life, demonstrate the degree to which this generation has moved toward becoming the “incontinent” of Paul’s prophecy.

The terms “shopaholic,” “chocaholic,” and other designations we use in a humorous way belie the serious nature of the truly soul-wrenching terms, “alcoholic,” “drug addict,” “pedophile,” and other horrendous addictions that more and more drive this generation toward the abyss.

These addictions and others are scheduled to get infinitely worse during the tribulation, according to the Revelation.

Fierce, Despisers of Those Who Are Good
The evil characteristic, “fierce,” can readily be seen on the world and national scenes today. Piercing anger that threatens life and limb increasingly makes its presence known, and fits with Jesus’ prophetic words: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26).

Jesus foretold that the world would be at the very end of the Church Age (this present dispensation) much like it was in the times of Noah, just before the Flood that destroyed all human life. Jesus prophesied: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).

Whether considering the viciousness of Islamic terrorists who produced the horrors of September 11, 2001, and suicide bombers who walk into the middle of civilian gatherings and blow up themselves and others with them, or people who arm themselves and go into America’s classrooms to murder as many as possible, we are in a generation that is fierce.

The recent hostage-taking in India and the ongoing piracy on the high seas of late testify to the treacherous times. Violence fills the whole earth!

The second characteristic listed here by the Apostle Paul is that there will come “despisers of those that are good.”

In God’s economy, there is only one “good.” That “good” is in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

More and more there are assaults on the principles Jesus taught and preached. More and more assaults are perpetrated upon Christians because of their beliefs in Jesus as the only way to God the Father and heaven for eternity.

For example, the fierceness with which militant homosexuals continue to attack Christians–even in the pews of churches–shows the rise in level of hatred in the hearts of those who are despisers of those who are good.

Traitors, Heady, High-Minded
In my view, those who would betray America by sacrificing the nation’s sovereignty upon the altar of a global economic order are traitors of the most egregious sort. This is occurring at a pace that is nothing less than astonishing.

The betrayal is happening at every level of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. The economic insanity is simply inexplicable, except in the context of the prophecies that there will be 10 kings (or leaders of economic world trade blocs that will give their power and authority to Antichrist at some point during the tribulation era (read Revelation 17:12-13).

The heady, high-minded, one-world order elitist types have incessantly thrust and sliced and chopped into America’s autonomy. Finally, they have started the nation on an economic slide that can end only in a collapse that will eventuate in the U.S. being absorbed along with others into the long ago prophesied world order of Revelation chapter 13.

Perilous times are here and now!

Lovers of Pleasure More than Lovers of God
The last two categories of Paul’s “perilous times” prophecies can be applied to the secular, non-religious world, of course. Certainly, we don’t have to examine society and culture in any in-depth way today to know that people in general love the pleasures of the flesh more than they love the God who created them. We take that as a given, so won’t consider it here; it is too obvious.

The subtle, more devilish thing to consider in examining these last two characteristics of the 2 Timothy chapter 3 account of Paul’s prophecies about the characteristics of end-times man is the involvement of those of the many churches who name the name of Christ. Looking into the churches–that is, examining those who populate the churches of our time, gives profound insight into exactly where this generation must be on God’s prophetic timeline.

Having a Form of Godliness, but Denying the Power Thereof

The “falling away” of Paul’s 2 Thessalonians prophecy is well underway: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

To “fall away,” one must be first at a high point from which to fall. Paul is talking here about true Christians –those who have been born again in the family of God (John 3:3).

This, it should be obvious to anyone whose spiritual ears are attuned to the Holy Spirit conviction of these strange, troubled times, is the condition of much of the Church of Jesus Christ.

This is not even to include the obvious pretenders to the title “Christian.” These have never been born again–have never claimed that Jesus Christ is the virgin born, only begotten Son of the Living God, who alone has taken away the sins of the world. These do not accept the deity of Jesus or that the Holy Scripture (the Bible) is inerrant. They haven’t “fallen away” –begun the road into apostasy—because they have never been at the high point of being born again.

Paul’s condemnation here is for true members of God’s family who have known the closeness required in the salvation process, then have gone back to the ways of the world.

Sadly, tragically, this is the condition of the vast majority of the Church today. The mega-church movement into entertainment and merchandising, turning many into centers more like social clubs than places of worship, makes manifest the end-times condition of which Paul forewarned. Much of the Church today has a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof.

Pastors who never speak of sin that separates people from God, who never preach and teach the horrendous price Jesus paid on the cross at Calvary to take away, to cover, that sin, who teach only how to feel good about one’s self, are in the majority. These get the most TV air play, receive the greatest financial support from parishioners in their vast audiences. These “pastors” tickle the itching ears of their contributors/congregations. The preachers give the heads-in-the-sand pew- and couch-sitters the non-doctrine pabulums they seek in order to soothe their seared consciences, promising formulaic ways to cause God to shower them with wealth and health.

These deny the true power of Christ –His sole ability to save the souls of men, women, and children.

This “falling away” is an American catastrophe that has taken the nation, perhaps, too far down the pathway toward the abyss to ever be turned around. I believe that these are indeed the “perilous times” prophesied by the Apostle Paul.

Two Churches in View

We are seeing on the scene today two religious bodies foretold by the Lord: one the false, and the other the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The ascended Jesus told the prophet and apostle John of these two distinctive churches that would be on the world scene at the time of His coming again.

The Laodicean Church
Jesus’ prophecy about the Laodicean church was transcribed by John while the old apostle was exiled on the Isle of Patmos: “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: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:14-18).

Jesus Calls His Sheep to Come Out of This False System–This church has among its huge multitudes the apostate believers–the ones who have fallen away. It is condemned by Christ in harsh terms. Still He calls those who have fallen away to come back to their family status, that He might clothe them in righteous robes of godly works. There are true believers in this body, and there are the lost souls. Their shepherds are mostly of the ravenous wolf variety, I’m of the conviction. This body, minus the born again among them, will go into the tribulation hour when Christ calls “Come up here!” to all who belong to Him.

The Philadelphian Church
Jesus has no condemnation for this church, only commendation. The King of all kings has some thrilling things to say to this body:  “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:7-13).

Fascinating Words–Jesus commends the church that has remained true to His calling. This is the Body–His Bride—that will join Him in the air when He calls. (Read John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 4:1-2.)

There will be those who, if I do not clarify, send notes asking if I, based upon this statement, believe that only some Christians will be taken in the rapture. Let me be very clear: ALL Christians, whether they are in or out of the holy will of God, will go to be with the Lord at the rapture of the Church. This is scripturally provable. The Apostle Paul said, under Holy Spirit inspiration: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15: 51-52).

Every single individual, dead and alive, who has come to salvation will be changed in one moment of rapture. Paul said “ALL” because God told him to say “ALL” will be changed. God cannot lie!

It is fascinating to consider the Lord’s words in this account of His love for the church of Philadelphia. Jesus told John to write: “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”

I do not think it far-fetched to see in the Lord’s words a condemnation of those who declare that they have now inherited the mantle of God’s chosen people, the Jews–the literal nation of Israel. We call this replacement theology. This is a terrible error in some cases, and a downright satanic lie put forth in other cases.

No one and nothing has replaced Israel in God’s never-changing regime. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! The literal descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will receive each and every promise God made to them. Those promises have not and will not be given to anyone other.

Jesus indicates here, perhaps, that those of His faithful Church walking most closely in His ways will hold to this truth about Israel and belief in the veracity of His promises to the physical descendants of the patriarchs.

Perhaps Jesus is saying as recorded in Revelation 3:9 that those who have denied that His promises to Israel are any longer in effect will be brought to bow at the feet of the faithful Philadelphian church. Possibly, they will have to admit that the faithful Church was right and true in this all-important matter to the God of heaven.

Another fascinating statement is found in chapter 3, verse 10. Jesus told John to write: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

The word “temptation” here means “testing.” Jesus promises to keep from a specific hour of “testing” those who have remained faithful to the word of His patience. The terms to consider are “testing” and “patience.” The Philadelphian church, Jesus says in this foretelling, has been faithful to His Word about His “patience.” Those of this church will, therefore, be kept out of the hour of “testing.”

Jesus said, as recorded in the gospel of Luke: “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19). What “patience” was the Lord referring to, here? The Apostle Peter clarifies for us: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

The “patience” of the Lord is wrapped up in the all-important issue of salvation of lost souls. This is God’s word of His patience. Those who are truly in His family have kept in their hearts the Word of His patience –trust in Him for their salvation. These who are alive at the time before the hour of “testing,” who keep the word of His patience, will not go into that hour of “testing” –the tribulation era, Daniel’s seventieth week.

Does this mean that because believers “keep” the word of His patience –hang on to our salvation belief—we can lose it if we don’t “keep” the word of His patience? No. We can’t lose the “word of His patience” because the Word is Jesus Christ:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14: 6).

Jesus, who is the Word, who is the life –eternal life—said, “My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29).

Finally, the Apostle Paul, through Holy Spirit inspiration, nails down the truth that it is impossible to do other than “keep the word of my patience,” as Jesus said it. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Testing Time for Nominal Christians
The term “nominal Christians” is used to describe those who are Christians who claim Christianity as their “religion.” These are, however, Christians of convenience. They don’t mind the pretense of being associated with the name of Jesus Christ, but truly living under His governance when the requirements include their turning in repentance from their favorite sins is something they refuse to do.

This is not to imply in any way that one can lose his or her salvation once the person has truly accepted (believed in) Christ for salvation. We looked at that previously. One who is truly God’s child –and there is but one way to become His child, remember John 14:6—will not continually wallow in the pig pen of deliberate sinfulness. The child of God will, like the prodigal son, at some point get out of the pig pen and return to the Father for cleansing, with the intention of living in the Father’s house, not in that proverbial pig pen.

Tragically, many of today’s churches are of the nominal Christian variety. The pastors preach and the teachers teach feel good earthly doctrine not unlike that of the secular and corporate worlds. These are those of the churches Jesus prophesied will NOT be kept out of the time of testing (tribulation).

The nominal churches have encouraged millions, by keeping their pew-sitters in darkness, to believe all is well with their souls. This is the attitude cultivated in those church settings, even though deeply in the congregants’ spirits there is the void that only Christ can fill.

The Mark of the Beast
These nominal Christians–those who don’t know Christ for salvation—will have to endure the time of testing –the seven years of tribulation—if they do not come to Christ before the rapture of the true Church.

Perhaps –even likely—it will be the decision of whether to take the hellish mark of the beast (Antichrist) that will be the most agonizing “time of testing” Jesus foretold that His Church will not have to endure (Revelation 3:10).

The end-times signals are literally blaring at this generation from every direction. Worldwide crisis is obviously afflicting all nations, each of which Jesus prophesied will be in great distress with perplexity (Luke 21: 25) at the time of His return. The drive toward one world economy, government, and religion is in our headline news on an hourly basis. Society and culture reflect the violence and corruption Jesus said will make the time He returns like it was in the days of Noah, and the times of Lot in Sodom.

Tomorrow Too Late!
The crisis overspreading the world might look for a time like all will be clear and sunny again. Certainly, many look to the new presidential administration as promising leadership that will lead America and the world out of darkness that has begun to close in on even the homes that shelter us. But, regardless of temporal fixes to the monetary madness and the governmental gyrations, the tribulation storm approaches with astonishing swiftness. Only Christ can shelter from that monstrous tempest. Tomorrow might well be too late. Don’t go into the time of testing along with the world of lost souls. Accept Christ today.

“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.)” (2 Corinthians 6:2).