Terry James note: This series of Nearing Midnight articles was written at the end of 2010 and the very beginning of 2011. These articles were written in response to people who were quite fearful about what they saw developing. Glenn Beck, then host of a FOX program and Hal Lindsey were both saying the world’s financial system was on the brink of collapsing.
I believe the Lord Gave my spiritual understanding His Answer to readers’ fears. The following series of 10 articles was what I wrote, intending to share what I believe the Holy Spirit wanted shared with readers.
I am now –in early 2020– getting exactly the same sorts of fear-filled emails as back in 2010 and 2011.
I wanted to repost this series, in its entirety to again put before readers the same insights I believe the Lord gave me to disseminate a decade ago.
I’m asked if my thoughts have changed about the “Days of Noah, days of Lot” prophecy by Jesus found in Matthew 24 and Luke 17 and 21.
The answer is no… My thoughts haven’t changed because Jesus’ Words in His prophecy have not changed. Like Christ, Himself, His Words are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 1
Commentators, secular and religious, weigh in incessantly on all aspects of the issues of greatest concern for these angst-ridden times. Those issues of most profound worry are collapsing economy, loss of personal liberty, and what is going to happen in the immediate and long-term future.
One can almost physically feel the fear in the emails I receive daily. Worries over what the future holds fill the articles and, more to the point for this commentary, dominate the personal missives that search for answers that might provide some degree of comfort.
One of the more mildly fearful emails I received this week says in part, “I watched the Hal Lindsey Report yesterday in which he said that he believes before the Rapture that Christians were going to be persecuted. After reading your nearing midnight article today I can see that Christians becoming more and more isolated for their support of Israel is just another sign that he is right. If Hal is right, with the rapture being as close as it is then persecution for Christians has to be very close. What is your take on this?”
I listened to what Hal Lindsey had to say in that particular program, and he did paint a bleak picture for the immediate future of planet earth. He correctly pointed to even more terrible times for the world a bit further out–during the Tribulation. I had so many urging me to watch Glenn Beck’s program that I tuned in to that show on the several days he painted a frightening picture of what he says he believes George Soros and the New World Order minions have in mind for the world –particularly for the citizens of the United States.
Mr. Beck, like Hal Lindsey, gave as part of his view of things the prescription he thinks necessary to help with curing the sickness from which the United States and the world suffer. It is interesting that both Lindsey and Beck–one Christian, the other secular (in that he is a FOX News pundit)–give faith turned toward God as a major part of any such remedy.
Now, I am aware Glenn Beck is a Mormon, and that this fact makes the difference between the views of the two men and their recommendations quite distinct from one another. But the intensive urging of both to look more deeply into the crush of troubles weighing heavily on the minds of most everyone is more to the point. Both see what is happening in these strange times as emanating from dark, spiritual forces.
I know that Hal’s analysis is correct because he realizes that the source against which humanity–particularly Christians–struggles is found in God’s Word. I honestly don’t know exactly what Glenn Beck sees as the chief opponent against which humanity must be protected. He points to George Soros and his ilk, but never seems to get to the root of the evil we face.
Lindsey knows–as do you and I who try to be attuned to God’s Word in these prophetic times—that, according to the apostle Paul, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Paul wasn’t writing about the George So roses of the world. He was forewarning of the dark powers behind the earthly megalomaniacs who would be our masters. Maybe Mr. Beck sees those darker powers, too, but he can’t bring himself about to cast God’s light upon that unseen realm. Perhaps that is because he sees us, the American people, as the answer to our own spiritual problems. If we will just summon the same patriotic grit of the founding fathers, we can overcome the human diabolists like Soros. To aspire to vanquish “spiritual wickedness in high places” –the dark, satanic forces of the spiritual world—would not be possible. When all is said and done, Beck’s viewpoint is inclusive of only the humanistic elements of the struggle mankind faces today. In this, sadly, he seems in lock-step with the world order builders that God laughs sarcastically at as recorded in Psalms 2.
I won’t go further about Glenn Beck so far as concerns his acumen in pointing the way to overcoming in the struggle we face as the apocalyptic storm nears. His religion’s prophetic beliefs dictate outcomes drastically different from those found in the Bible. Since he hasn’t overtly introduced those to his viewing/listening audiences–at least, not yet–I won’t address those here.
However, the biblical scenarios are the ones Hal Lindsey does introduce on a weekly basis to his audience. It is this view we will look at when thinking on the prospects you and I face, considering all of the bleak economic and societal news on the immediate horizon.
But, we’ve run out of column space for this week. We will begin scanning our darkening prophetic landscape through God’s radar next week, God willing.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 2
Terrible times like no other in American history lurk somewhere in the future, according to FOX News Channel’s Glenn Beck. He is joined in his stated apprehension for what is coming by thousands of American citizens. Many of these are fear-filled Christians who look to Beck and others to inform them of the proposed terrors to come, and to tell them what to do about it. I continue to hear from some of these through email on a weekly, even daily, basis.
I would like us to look briefly at developments across today’s socioeconomic landscape, thus to examine as analytically and as fairly as possible the portentous matters that give Beck and others fodder for their doomsday scenarios.
Economics-minded forecasters great and small watched the stock market bubble build during the days preceding the Lehman Brothers collapse of 2008, speculating wildly what the bubble’s burst might bring. That financial aneurysm, they determined, would certainly rupture–and, of course, it did. Governmental insanity created by ultra-liberal politicians saw to it that people with champagne tastes and beer drinkers’ budgets for years received home loans they didn’t have much more than a prayer of ever repaying.
We are now familiar with the terms “Freddie Mac” and “Fannie Mae.” We are equally acquainted with names such as Barney Frank, Charles Schumer, and others, who–in the name of “fairness” to those who couldn’t afford housing like the more affluent–demanded these be given the loans anyway, despite the fact the recipients didn’t have the income or collateral to support that level of debt.
Rather than govern the housing industry responsibly, the elected officials invested with the responsibility to oversee things, in concert with their Wall Street cohorts, foolishly threw caution to the fiscal winds. A banking crisis of unprecedented magnitude was thus created, with the housing bubble rupture setting in motion bank failures and threats of even greater crises.
Calls for massive bailouts to avert what the president of the United States and others in government and media speciously screamed would otherwise be world-rending calamity brought about the most devastating crisis of all. Trillions of dollars were, in effect, created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve Bank to save entities “too big to fail.”
The totally irresponsible sleight-of-hand accomplished only the creation of an exploding national debt that most likely can never be repaid. Decisions made by some of the same people who help create the problems strapped on the back of American citizens financial burdens with which generations far into the future will have to deal.
The resulting economic uncertainty deepened an abyss-like recession that more soundly thought-out measures would have surely lessened in severity. Jobs, as we know, are being lost; businesses are closing their doors; deflation or hyper-inflation–the experts can’t figure which—might collapse the American economy within a near-time frame (which the experts can’t predict, either).
The stability of the global economy hangs in the balance, with the other nations and their monetary gurus wondering about the financial fate of the U.S. and its all-important dollar. And, make no mistake: Under present world economic structures, the fate of the American dollar is absolutely critical.
Enter Glenn Beck at the tip of the gloom iceberg. And “iceberg” is a viable term here because the things he and others are forewarning are indeed chilling. Statements the TV and radio show host make almost daily send shivers down the spine of many of his viewers and listeners. He says things like (I paraphrase), “Change is coming, and when it happens, you won’t recognize your country. You will wake up next day, and it will no longer be America as you’ve known it. And, it will happen just that fast. I can’t tell you when that transformation is coming, but it’s coming.”
Beck forecasts the same astonishing change for the entire world in his proposed overnight transformational moment. His words sound almost out of the pages of Bible prophecy from the Pre-Trib view, don’t they? But the change he predicts is tied almost exclusively to the earthly, not to the ethereal–almost, but not entirely, as we will soon find.
Economic collapse, thus societal rearrangements of apocalyptic dimension, is at the heart of his fearful forecast. He implies that we will, perhaps, awaken that morning to a monetary cataclysm–our dollar as worthless as the deutsche marks of the Weimar republic of Germany just before Hitler’s meteoric rise to power in the 1930s. The FOX program host often raises the real probability, in his view, that inflation, which is on the rise, will skyrocket to astronomical levels when the great transformation he fears takes place.
He gives some key commodity future dollar amounts for what he claims the experts tell him will be exponential price rises. A small bag of sugar could be as much as $60 or $70. One ear of corn could be $11 or higher. A loaf of bread will likely be $24. Just under a pound of coffee could be $77. Fifteen ounces of orange juice will likely be $45, according to Beck’s forecasters.
A Hershey chocolate bar, standard size, will cost $15.50, his experts say. Now, that is certainly a crisis in the making if it is an accurate prognostication. Chocolate lovers I know would probably join the rioters Beck believes will rage in the streets once cuts to federal government give-away programs have to be made.
Next week, we will think a bit on what a changed America might look like if truly effective remedies to deal with Mr. Beck’s fearful vision of a new socioeconomic paradigm are ever implemented.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 3
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has internment compounds placed strategically around the United States. These will be used as concentration camps when anarchy reaches a critical point in America and the world. This sort of warning has been at the heart of fear-filled emails I’ve been receiving for the past seven years, at least.
Today, the trepidation concerning the likelihood of the collapse of America and the world issues daily from a populist mouthpiece. There are others, but Glenn Beck fills the role as chief forecaster of impending doom. He says frequently that we will awaken one morning and find that America has changed. We won’t recognize the nation. It will happen just that swiftly, and the transformation will involve, among other things, probable hyper-inflation that will make money valueless for most people in America. This means that the entire world will follow suit. Global depression, we infer, will be the plight of all but the ultra rich of the world–the George Soroses, etc.
Based upon Beck’s dire suppositions, we consider things to come. Just how far into the future all of this evil lurks, Beck doesn’t know. However, based upon the rapid movement in economic uncertainties, it is likely, he implies, that it will happen sooner rather than later. That new dawning–or perhaps “nightfall” is the more apropos term–will be bleak, he predicts. The dollar will have fallen as the reserve currency for most of the world’s economies. Entire bank accounts will be wiped out, in that their contents likely won’t be sufficient to feed a family for a day, much less for longer. Governments will be forced to cut social programs of every sort–completely eliminating them in most cases. Rioting will explode while those on welfare roll and others used to government largesse will turn violent. The big inner cities will be particularly hard hit.
If the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans can serve as example, looting and violence might well be the order of such changed way of life on that terrible day after the transformation forecast by Glenn Beck occurs. The sorts who looted during the devastating hurricane will almost certainly spill into the suburbs, then into the countryside, pillaging for food and anything else that strikes their fancy.
Riots in the streets of Greece, Spain, and most recently in London, brought about by governments imposing austerity measures on money spent on social programs, present a foreboding picture of how things in the U.S. might look within twenty-four hours of an economic collapse such as Beck and others fear. In the United States, the very thought of what might take place when government handouts are cut off caused Indianapolis, Indiana, city officials to bring in greatly increased law enforcement when officials were about to announce that unemployment payments would not be extended.
So daunting are the prospects that even Beck stops short of delving too deeply into what such a changed world–catastrophically lacking in food, electricity, appropriate sewage treatment, and clean drinking water–would mean to Americans. But such change, he forewarns, is coming…and soon. It is coming, he says, because of the internationalist elitists who want that transformed world through which to rule over the rest of us–a “New World Order,” as George Soros, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and even George H. W. Bush and other champions of globalism have termed it.
Presidents have for decades been leading America into the globalist economic arena. No chief executive has observably been more determined to meld the U.S. economy with the rest of the world than Barack Obama. He said in a speech in Mumbai, India, regarding his desire to take America into the global economic model, “This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalization as a threat and those who accept we live in an open, integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities.”
Obama stated further that unemployment within the U.S. that might result from global economic integration is going to be the “new normal.” It is just something we are all going to have to get used to.
Most every proponent of this move into globalism comprehends that the process of merging the American economy into the one-world configuration they desire will be painful for U.S. citizens. Wages will go down. America’s living standard will fall, according to the globalists. Americans will face a struggle in the course that must be taken to reach parity for all of the world community. This is just a fact of life, according to those who know best. President Obama himself says that the nation’s economy might “not be fixed for quite some time.”
Again, if I hear him right, Glenn Beck believes this change will be, for Americans, an instantaneous fall into an abyss of economic depression, not a slow slide into the poor house. He presents an almost fatalistic scenario, concerning our not being able to stop it from happening overnight. He urges all who will listen to prepare for the coming, contrived collapse of the American and world economies.
He says, at the same time, that he believes Americans have what it takes to thwart this drive toward New World Order–this effort to return to Babel. He indicates that he believes fervor for patriotism at the level of that of the founding fathers can reignite a foundational movement to restore sanity to government, economy, and culture/society.
At a rally in Washington DC, he threw some spiritual/religious verbiage into the mix of his exhortation to take back America: “Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.”
Sounds like Beck is onto something there, doesn’t it? Let’s look more deeply into where that might be leading next time.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 4
America is on the precipice of economic implosion, according to Glenn Beck and others. A sudden, catastrophic transformation will jolt us one morning upon awakening to the fact that the way of life we’ve known is gone. The Fox News show host pronounces the nation’s doom if his prescription for cure isn’t followed.
If the cure is not taken, George Soros and his ilk, the New World Order titans, will march America’s citizenry into global gulag–on the broad way back to Babel. There, all of mankind will, like John Lennon once sang, “Be as one.”
Beck’s biblical allusions flow soothingly, once the dire diagnosis and prognosis for America’s socioeconomic illness are firmly grasped by his audience. And, a growing number of people seem mesmerized by the host’s descriptions, illustrations, and analyses.
The Lord God knew that being “as one” was a humanistic recipe for disaster, Beck pontificates. The Almighty rushed to the plains of Shinar–as recorded in Genesis chapter 11–to spread humankind throughout all parts of the planet to avoid exactly what Soros and his buddies are again planning to foist upon earth dwellers. After laying out instructions and suggestions about how to survive some harsh, even terrifying, interim times just ahead by storing foods with long shelf lives and making other prudent preparations against the devastation the dollar’s demise will assuredly bring, Beck shifts to spiritual counsel. He leads into this phase with his words at the rally, as mentioned earlier: “Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.”
Almost tearful with emotion in his voice, Beck pleads for Americans to go to our knees and pray for the nation’s salvation. Then, with a great inhalation of patriotic resolve like that of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and other of America’s founders, Beck, with Patton-like motivational rhetoric and steel in his voice, fortifies his troops for the battles ahead.
America will triumph through all the assaults against the republic, he declares with vigor, “because we are Americans.” Americans always do whatever it takes to overcome evil.
Glenn Beck exhorts Americans to invoke God’s name and help in the “take-back America” campaign. Good–so far as it goes.
With his next declaration, the Fox host frames his proclamation about the cure he envisions. He declares that the American people–those like the patriots in his audience–will do the necessary sacrificing and make the political and economic changes essential to set the U.S. ship of state back on course to a sound moral and socioeconomic mooring.
America will survive the great crash that is coming and, he implies, it will again become the greatest nation–although perhaps smaller, he adds–because of the goodness intrinsic within the American people. We are, he says, about to “witness miracles.”
And, this is the point where emotionally hyped fervor and patriotic resolve—no matter how sincere—depart from truth that resides within the heart of God’s prophetic Word. No matter how well constructed or intensive the efforts to implement it, Beck’s blueprint–or any humanistic blueprint—for saving the republic is doomed to failure.
To this point, Hal Lindsey’s view of Bible prophecy and Glenn Beck’s analyses and forecast for America’s destiny have run relatively parallel. Both Lindsey and Beck see a time coming in the near term when America will suffer financial collapse. It will be, they each predict, a time of national and worldwide societal darkness worse than the bleakest years of the Great Depression. Based upon the staggering debt of the U.S. and of most every other major nation on earth, theirs is the only conclusion that can reasonably be reached using informed rationale.
Lindsey and Beck also envision a singular moment when America and the world will change forever. It will be an instant so calamitous that it will, in effect, eventuate in a totally transformed global order for every facet of human interaction.
This, however, is where similarities in their view of the future end. Now the views diverge as dramatically as the difference between the eternal places called heaven and hell.
As I wrote in the beginning of “Scanning a Fearful Future,” Glenn Beck hasn’t overtly interjected his Mormon beliefs into his foreboding predictions. Therefore, I won’t address his pronouncements in regard to his religious beliefs–that is, except to again point out that the Mormon view of the end of human history differs greatly from what the Bible says about the consummation of all things encapsulated by this thing God created for man called time.
I feel justified in mentioning this because Beck himself more and more brings the name “God” and the need for the exercise of “faith” into his presentations. However, his consistently stated viewpoint makes it obvious that he believes the fate of us all will play out in an all-earthly scenario, with America winning the day, if we all follow his prescription for dealing with the coming calamity.
Hal Lindsey, like me and those who believe that Bible prophecy clearly speaks of what conditions will be like at the very end of the age, also sees America and the world headed into an economic morass. Unlike Glenn Beck, however, we are of the conviction that if indeed we are at the end of this dispensation–the Age of Grace (Church Age) as we believe is the case–this nation is beyond anything human intervention can do to save it. Next time we will look at what I’m convinced is God’s view of things to come in the very near future.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 5
I must preface what follows by saying that I use Hal Lindsey in this look at the future because I and so many others hold him in high regard as the most widely recognized apologist for the pretribulation Rapture view of Bible prophecy. His book, “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” is of course the work that vaulted him into prominence. His continuing efforts over the decades to forewarn of things to come–with his current TV program serving as an excellent Bible prophecy platform–puts him at the top level of those who watch for Christ’s return, in my view.
Lindsey has indicated on his television program, The Hal Lindsey Report, that he believes America and all other nations of the world are headed into the darkest of socioeconomic times. American Christians, he believes, face persecution unlike any that believers in the United States have experienced. He recommends, as does Glenn Beck, that people store food and make other preparations against possible hyper-inflated times to come.
While Lindsey advocates–as does Beck—that we strive to be good citizens and fight the staunch, patriotic fight through the ballot box in order to return the nation to one centered in morality and freedom, he says in practically the same breath that this world system is doomed. There is no hope, apart from the hope that is in Jesus Christ. His seeming dichotomy of thought evokes concerns that must be addressed.
We began looking into prospects for the near future by considering an email I received from one such concerned Christian. Again, he wrote the following, in part:
I watched the Hal Lindsey Report yesterday in which he said that he believes before the Rapture that Christians were going to be persecuted. After reading your “Nearing Midnight” article today, I can see that Christians becoming more and more isolated for their support of Israel is just another sign that he is right. If Hal is right, with the Rapture being as close as it is, then persecution for Christians has to be very close. What is your take on this?
This writer’s perspectives carry much weight. It is Dr. Lindsey’s view of things that impressed the emailer to write. Since I am asked for my “take” on Hal’s position regarding severe persecution for believers being imminent, I must be true to my study of prophecy and risk going somewhat counter to his stated belief that Christians in America are necessarily going to suffer such intensive, satanically engendered travail.
I mean no disrespect for this man, certainly a special servant chosen for the Lord’s prophetic ministry for these closing hours of the age. However, my assessment differs from his forecast to an extent that I sense it needs to be presented here.
We have spent time thus far looking into the eerie, troubling changes taking place across the socioeconomic landscape of America and the world. Mostly, we have tried to get our brains around the apparent insanity of our leaders and why they have created crises then printed trillions of dollars to throw at those crises–all of this sleight-of-hand chicanery done to stave off supposed national and world cataclysm those leaders warned would otherwise destroy civilization as it has been known. Their supposed attempts to preempt economic Armageddon now threaten to bring about the collapse of every economy on the planet.
The foundation had to be laid thusly in order to begin answering the question so many people want to know. Our emailer framed well the fears of many who worry what the near future might hold. Since world conditions are in configuration that includes issues and events much like those for the Tribulation given in Bible prophecy, will Christians in America face severe persecution before Christ returns to this desperately wicked planet? That is among the most expressed concerns in email correspondence I receive these days.
Hal Lindsey, like Glenn Beck, states that he believes there will be a cultural and societal breakdown due to an economic collapse that is surely about to take place in the United States. I infer from his strongly stated position that he believes Christians in America will face severe persecution as a part of the sociol and economic upheaval about to erupt in this nation.
In the final analysis, however, whether I accurately understand and expound upon Dr. Lindsey’s thoughts in these matters is of minor consequence to the treatment at hand. The fact is that many Christians who do observe these times from a prophetic perspective need answers to questions like the one posed by the emailer. Trying to look at what lurks just ahead in the foreboding mist and haze of the coming days is the proposed objective of what follows.
Next time we will attempt to accomplish this, staying within the confines of what God’s Word actually has to say about the very end of the age.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 6
There are so many ominous signals of stage-setting for fulfillment of Bible prophecy in every direction we look that even secular fascination with things to come is piqued. One such example is the History Channel’s “Nostradamus Effect” series in which I was asked to participate. One of the most immediately troubling signals that threatens apocalyptic disruption of world stability is the very probable collapse of the global economy, which we’ve been examining. There is little doubt, using even a modicum of rationale, that monetary madness infects the entire planet. We will now peer through God’s prophetic lenses into the portentous future nearest us.
The title I’ve chosen for this exploration, “Scanning a Fearful Future,” envelops all of Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey’s thoughts about the dire immediate future for America and the world. If their extremely similar assessments of what this generation faces is truly about to take place, my answer to the recent question to the worried email sender–representative of many such trepidacious emailers–must be given quickly. The emailer, after prefacing his question by saying that Lindsey stated persecution is coming for Christians, asked: “…persecution for Christians has to be very close. What is your take on this?”
First, I must rephrase his question to get to the heart of what he and so many others are asking. The question they mean to ask is: “…Persecution for the church in America has to be very close. What is your take on this?”
Believers in Jesus Christ–the born again (John 3:3)—are being persecuted around the globe at this very moment. Many are suffering torture and martyrdom. Members of the true church of Jesus Christ have always suffered and died, and will do so right up until Christ’s call, “Come up hither!” (Rev. 4: 2). So, what American Christians are concerned about in regard to this question is whether Christians in the United States will suffer the level of persecution endured by believers like those in, for example, the Sudan. For that matter, the question implies asking whether American believers will suffer to a major extent in any way whatever. Hal Lindsey expressed in several of his TV programs that he believed Christians in America will suffer persecutions, and, I infer, he was speaking of persecutions of the fearful sort–those that might include loss of life in martyrdom. This fearful future, again I infer, will likely be part of a severe societal/cultural breakdown brought about by economic cataclysm. This, as pointed out previously, is much like Glenn Beck’s forecast for Americans in general.
My answer to the emailer and others who continue to ask similar questions is that I don’t believe Christians in America are prophetically scheduled for severe persecution like that being experienced by those in Sudan, China, and other such places around the globe.
Now I can almost hear the clicking of emails being typed. Some are already conjuring the questioning flames of retort. “Do you think American Christians are too good to suffer persecution?”; “Do you think America is God’s pet nation? –That the U.S. doesn’t deserve judgment?!” Please…save your fingers the pain from the white-hot irritation shooting from your keyboard. I agree completely with you. American Christians are NOT too good to be persecuted. The U.S. does deserve judgment. There is no argument there. Now, please allow me to give my scripturally based reasoning in disagreeing with Dr. Lindsey on these matters.
I begin by inserting this caveat about my assertion that American Christians won’t suffer persecution of the most heinous sort. My belief in this regard is predicated upon my prayerfully studied understanding that the world as we know it would have to first come tumbling down, then rearrange to be configured exactly as it is now in order to accommodate American Christians going into such persecution as feared by my emailer.
That world crash, then turn-around, just isn’t going to happen. Everything is in place for Bible prophecy to unfold. Based upon this reality, my case follows in presenting why I’m so sure that what I believe about things to come in the very near future correctly diverges from what Dr. Lindsey and Mr. Beck say they believe is about to happen.
Each is certain that the United States is facing economic catastrophe that will bring about food and other shortages, thus will engender rioting that will bring anarchy and collapse. Lindsey’s fears are less adamantly presented than Beck’s, but the implication that such is in the very near future is there in Hal’s TV program narratives. While Beck doesn’t consider anything regarding true Bible prophecy at all, Hal Lindsey believes that severe persecution for Christians is also in that bleak future.
To briefly state my “take,” in answer to my emailer, I believe that America will not suffer catastrophic collapse while Christians (true believers in Jesus Christ) remain on planet earth. You and I–whether believer or nonbeliever–are, I’m firmly convinced, members of the most privileged generation in history. We are alive at the very end of this fascinating moment in human advancement. For believers, however, the privilege is magnified beyond imagination.
Believers in Jesus Christ are alive during this end of the Church Age for a divinely appointed purpose. We are witnesses to and participants in the very time the Lord Jesus Christ Himself prophesied would see Him revealed in spectacular fashion. The prospect for those who name the name of Christ is truly glorious.
While “Scanning a Fearful Future” is an accurate title for purposes of this examination of things to come, an equally appropriate title for those who are born again would have been “Scanning a Fabulous Future.” We will continue next week with specifically what I believe the near future holds for believers and nonbelievers alike.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 7
America and the nations of the world, as we have explored, are–according to Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey–moving quickly down the road that leads to global socioeconomic cataclysm. I agree. Such a destiny lurks in the murkiness of the not-too-distant future. However, exactly how that destination will be reached and who among the planet’s current population will suffer the disastrous fate predicted by Beck and Lindsey are matters for much closer scrutiny. Two questions we will try to address are in view as we look at the near future through the prism of Bible prophecy:
1) Will America and the world suffer Beck and Lindsey’s feared versions of economic collapse, thus societal catastrophe? 2) Will Christians in America suffer severe persecution as part of any such catastrophic breakdown?
Now, here’s where things can get quite confusing, if careful attention isn’t paid to the thoughts I’m trying to convey. I am of the conviction that America and the world will suffer Lindsey and Beck’s predicted economic, thus societal, catastrophe. Persecution and martyrdom will coalesce to make life for believers even in the U.S. region hell on earth as a result of that immense calamity.
I am at the same time equally convinced that there will neither be national and worldwide economic and societal collapse nor severe persecution and martyrdom for American Christians. Lunacy? Not if one views things to come through Bible prophecy as it is truly given for us to understand.
God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa. 55:8). Believe it or not, like it or not, God’s Word demonstrates that He deals with mankind in dispensations–distinctive eras that He alone determines. This generation is part of the dispensation of grace–the Church Age. This dispensation will morph into the Tribulation, a period of seven years of God’s judgment and wrath also known as “Daniel’s seventieth week.”
My seemingly irrational claims, viewed in light of dispensational truth, are on sound biblical footing. Please consider slowly and carefully. Putting forth that I believe America and the world both will experience and will not experience apocalyptic socioeconomic collapse makes sense from dispensational perspective. Holding that American believers in Jesus Christ will not go through such persecution that includes martyrdom, all the while proclaiming that believers living in this nation will suffer persecution and martyrdom, is a biblically correct dispensational pronouncement.
These paradoxical proclamations are made understandable by the words of the greatest of all prophets–the Lord Jesus Christ. His astonishing prophecy about the end of this dispensation in which you and I are living addresses the two questions for which we seek answers.
Bible prophecy’s answers to these are as follows, I’m firmly convinced:
1) Neither America nor the world will suffer societal and monetary catastrophe that will bring about apocalyptic collapse due to man-made accidental bungling or contrived manipulation. However, there will be a crash of the world’s socioeconomic system, which will cause chaos of unfathomable scope, brought about by the God of heaven in an instant of time.
2) Christians in America today will not face persecution of the sort suffered by martyrs in past ages and by believers in parts of the world at present. But, following God’s next catastrophic intervention into earth’s history, believers in North America–as well as all other believers in Jesus Christ–will suffer persecution even worse than that inflicted upon believers of previous times.
Most Relevant Prophecy
When thinking on prophecies that are stage-setting for the wind-up of history, we most often point to prophecies involving Israel being back in the land of promise as most key to where we stand on God’s end-of-the-age timeline. The peace process and Jerusalem being at the center of the world’s spotlight show precisely the lateness of the hour.
That said, I believe no prophecy is more relevant for this moment in history than that given by Jesus Christ Himself, which encompasses not just the future of Israel and Jerusalem, but of the entire world:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17: 26-30)
This prophetic declaration by the Creator of all things is about the generation that will be alive at the dénouement of the age. Specifically, it refers to one catastrophic moment in the present dispensation when all of this world system will come crashing down. We will next look in-depth at the details wrapped up in Jesus’ foretelling of planet earth’s near future.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 8
Planet earth is on the brink of what both Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey have stated they believe will be monetary and societal collapse of unprecedented magnitude. We also looked previously at a prophetic declaration by the Creator of all things, which is–I believe I can verify–about the generation that will be alive at the very end of the age.
Specifically, Jesus’ prophecy refers to one catastrophic moment in this present dispensation–the Church Age (Age of Grace)–when all of this world system will come crashing down.
Again, here’s the prophecy from Christ himself:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
Are the two cataclysms–the one Beck and Lindsey talk about on their TV programs and the one Jesus foretells–related to each other? If so, how?
We will now try to answer the questions about world collapse, whether persecution for American Christians is imminent, and how it might all be tied together prophetically. We will do so by looking in-depth at the details wrapped up in Jesus’ forecast for earth’s near future.
Jesus gave what I am convinced is the premiere end-of-the-Church-Age prophecy in Luke 17:26-30. He describes in considerable detail world conditions and activities at the moment He breaks in on things of this present age.
He tells in His prophecy just the opposite of what Glenn Beck says is on the brink of happening to the people of America and the world. That is, the Lord’s description of how the worldwide catastrophe will happen differs greatly from the Fox host’s prediction of the cause of the calamity he says is just around the corner.
Remember, Mr. Beck is predicting for the near future the direst of socioeconomic collapses. He recommends that we prepare for, quite likely, hyper-inflated times to come, at the very least. He indicates that he fears that from the collapse will spin draconian governmental measures to quell the rioting that will occur when those millions who are given government hand-outs no longer receive the largesse. There is more than enough evidence of unchecked government today to prove Beck’s fears are well founded. The phenomenal growth of federal intrusion into practically every facet of the citizen’s life today portends grave consequences for liberty in the months and years just ahead. For example, bureaucratic regulation such as the move of the unelected FCC apparatchiks to invoke “net neutrality”–a Big Brother-like regulatory process that could eventuate in establishing dictatorial power over Internet usage–threatens anyone who would express opinions that run counter to state-approved language. The current administration intends to implement this despite the fact that a federal appeals court has ruled the administration doesn’t have the authority to do so.
Hal Lindsey sees the same cataclysm approaching, basically for the same reasons. He also recommends that we prepare for possible food shortages, and he says he believes Christians in this country will face severe persecution, which I infer to mean persecution of the sort suffered by martyrs for the cause of Christ. I must add here that I agree with both of these gentlemen–to some degree. And I disagree, also, with both–for differing reasons. But I reserve my thoughts in that regard for the biblically based logic I hope will make itself manifest as I analyze the words of the greatest of all prophets.
We now are basically familiar with what Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey say about the two questions involving the probability of American and world socioeconomic collapse and, in Lindsey’s case, about Christians in America facing imminent, severe persecution.
Let’s dissect carefully what Jesus predicts for the times just ahead. I say with confidence that Jesus tells the future from this moment forward, based upon what I’m convinced His words are speaking to this generation at this very hour. He prophesied in the Luke 17:26-30 passages that in the “days” He, the “Son of man,” is about to break into earth’s history, mankind will be doing certain things. It will be a time like the days of Noah before the Flood and the days of Lot while he was still in Sodom.
People, the Lord said, will be eating, drinking, marrying, building, buying, selling, and planting. Things will be going along pretty much as normal for the time. The Lord indicates no catastrophic, worldwide socioeconomic breakdown of any sort in this time immediately before “the Son of man is revealed” (Luke17:30)–the time He breaks into human history.
This time cannot be the Second Advent of Revelation 19:11. At the time the Lord of Lords and King of Kings breaks through the planetary darkness of death and destruction at Armageddon, perhaps as many as three-fourths of all people on earth will have died as a result of wars, pestilence, and geophysical disasters brought about by God’s judgment and wrath upon an incorrigibly wicked, unrepentant world of earth-dwellers.
In other words, planet earth’s living conditions at the time of Christ’s return in power and glory at Armageddon will not be anything like living conditions at the time of His intervention into human affairs as He describes in the days of Noah, days of Lot prophecy. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, it will be anything but business as usual. It will truly be hell on earth when Jesus comes to destroy all human government and the soul-rending carnage it has produced.
So, Jesus, in the Luke 17 account, was foretelling the days leading up to the time when He calls His church to Himself–”His church” meaning all born-again believers who have lived and died during the Church Age (Age of Grace). This is known as the Rapture. To learn more about this stupendous event, read 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 14:1-3, and Revelation 4:1-2.
To repeat, Jesus was not describing His coming back to earth in the Luke 17:26-30 prophecy. He was telling about His coming to above the planet to receive His people–Christians—to Himself. Christians–the Church—then will accompany Him back to the heavenly places He has prepared for them in the Father’s house–heaven.
Again, we have reached the limits of our space for this commentary. We will next further examine Jesus’ telling us about–I’m convinced—this very hour in which you and I inhabit planet earth.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 9
Jesus Christ–God in the flesh—foretold that the time just before God’s judgment and wrath befall rebellious mankind at the very end of the Church Age will be like it was in the days of Noah and of Lot. Although those times were wicked and all thoughts were focused continually on evil, people of the earth were carrying on with normal activities like eating, drinking, planting, building, marrying, buying, and selling.
In the days of Noah, earth dwellers were carrying on business as usual right up until the moment that Noah entered the ark and all who were left on earth were swept away by the Flood. In the days of Lot, there was an air of civility, with Lot even serving as a judge at the city gates during the day. At night, however, the depravity ran rampant when homosexual lust turned to voracious, predatory assault. Lot and his family members were removed, and all people who were left behind in the city were consumed by the holocaust from heaven.
Jesus said He will be revealed when conditions are like they were during those times. We have seen that the time when He intervenes into the affairs of mankind as described in Luke 17:26-30 will not be His Second Coming at Armageddon (Revelation 19:11). It will be another, earlier intervention–but catastrophic, nonetheless.
We have pointed out many times in these commentaries the strangeness of the dynamics of our times. Crises are building in many critical aspects of human interaction. We have wondered in amazement at the insanity of the dastardly mismanagement of economic matters by governments around the world. How, we puzzle over, have the economies of America and the world avoided crashing?
Why, despite threats of the destruction of Israel by the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear production facilities not occurred? Why, with the tremendous buildup of arms by the many Islamic Israel-haters in obvious preparation for an attack on the Jewish state, has there not been a major blow-up in the Middle East that would disrupt world stability?
Yet the anxieties about the world sitting on a number of powder kegs afflict only a few people, relatively speaking. Except for those who are unemployed in America, for example, it’s business as usual. The majority of people just don’t worry about the precarious position of the nation and the world. The masses are buying, selling, marrying–even men with men and women with women, I might add. And building continues, despite the housing debacle and trillions of dollars of debt wrought by monetary madness such as that found in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Most troubling, the church in America–and I am referring to those who are born again (see John 3: 3)—is, for the most part, oblivious to world conditions that present strong evidence that we are on the brink of the prophesied apocalypse. This makes this generation of Christians precisely the generation I believe Jesus was speaking prophetically to when He said, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).
But, as we have been examining, there are those who are scanning the fearful future. Glenn Beck, the Fox News program host, says he sees coming a man-contrived world economic collapse, hyperinflation, and societal collapse that only patriotic, sound-thinking, even spiritually-inclined Americans can begin to fix. He doesn’t know when it will happen, but, he says, it will happen almost overnight. We will awaken the next morning to a world totally different than what it was before we went to sleep.
Hal Lindsey, the author of The Late, Great Planet Earth, says much the same thing. He foresees, as a part of that feared socioeconomic collapse, severe persecution for Christians in America at some point. Jesus’ words, which I believe speak directly to this generation, present a different picture than Beck’s forecast (and to some extent, than Lindsey’s) regarding things about to break upon a mostly unsuspecting world. My own thoughts that follow are based upon what I believe is wrapped up in the Lord’s forewarning to our generation in Luke 17: 26-30.
Two statements are necessary at this point. First, it is God’s staying hand that prevents the impending calamities outlined in this essay from collapsing America and the world into the worst times in history. Second, if things continue on their present course geopolitically and socioeconomically–and if God takes His hand of control off developments–the collapse feared by Beck, Lindsey, and many others will certainly come at some point. The longer the rebellion-engendered crises build, the more devastating will be the crash when it comes.
I begin my analysis of what lies just ahead in that fearful future about which Beck, Lindsey, and others have conjectured, and over which so many emailers have fretted. Again, I believe that the answers reside cocooned within Jesus’ “days of Noah, days of Lot” prophecy. Now, we apply His analogy to the present generation.
Jesus foretold that human activity will be going along in a business-as-usual manner. God, in one day, will take His family–believers—out of harm’s way. That very day, His judgment and wrath will begin falling on those not taken. To reiterate because the point can’t be overemphasized: If one accepts Christ’s words as true, and as literal, as I do, one must agree that things must be going along as normal for the time when the sudden intervention happens. Jesus plainly says that the generation alive at the time of that divine intervention will be removed to safety before the devastating events of judgment take place.
Both Beck and Lindsey say they believe a world-rending socioeconomic collapse is imminent. Beck, at least, believes the crash and totally changed America and world will be brought about by the diabolical efforts of New-World-Order types like George Soros. Both Beck and Lindsey are recommending that we make preparations to survive that coming time of devastating collapse.
Yet Jesus tells us that it will be business as usual right up until the moment He removes believers from the planet. There is no man-made, worldwide catastrophe in Christ’s prophecy. As a matter of fact, Jesus says all will be relatively normal, in terms of human activity, until that removal. Then He will be revealed by way of His cataclysmic judgment that begins to devastate planet earth. It is God who causes the cataclysm, not George Soros or any other human or other entity. Mankind’s involvement in the whole matter is that of displaying total rebellion and refusing to repent of sin, thus bringing on God’s righteous judgment. One era–the Church Age—comes to an end with the removal of believers. The next era then begins at some point with the confirming of the covenant with Israel, as given in Daniel 9:26-27. That period will be the seven years of Tribulation, the last three and one-half years about which Jesus said: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew24: 21).
Next we will look into the fearful future, specifically as it relates directly to America’s near-term financial destiny and to whether believers will face deadly persecution.
Scanning a Fearful Future: Conclusion
My disagreement with Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey regarding their statements that they believe America is about to suffer economic, thus societal, collapse is only one of degree. There is absolutely no doubt that collapse is coming. It is how that implosion will eventuate and who will be caught in the carnage that are at the heart of my disagreement.
My divergence from Dr. Lindsey’s fears about the immediate future for America and Christians is of the very mildest sort. I look to God using him in a mighty way during the past decades as validation of his mission being God-ordained. Thus confutation is entered with all due respect. That stated, I must give the reasons I believe Beck and Lindsey’s fears for the immediate future are somewhat off the mark, as far as Bible prophecy is concerned.
Every signal across the geopolitical, socioeconomic, and religious spectrum–even signals involving the geophysical and astrophysical— scream through the sirens of forewarning. We are at the very end of the Church Age–on the brink of the Tribulation. Yet most in America–including most believers in Jesus Christ—are going about business as usual. Except for the relatively few voices forewarning of the impending cataclysm, there is no recognition of or interest in the end-times storm warnings.
Jesus, as we have seen, said human activity will be like it is at present when He next breaks into earth’s history like a thief in the night. Again, we look at the Lord’s words in the book of Matthew:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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, 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. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (Matt 24:36-42)
As we have examined, this break-in upon mankind’s history cannot be describing the Second Advent. It will not be business as usual at that time, when the planet is decimated by wars and God’s judgment and wrath. Jesus is here speaking of the Rapture–His imminent, catastrophic break-in upon earth’s history.
So, we come to our present hour. America is the apex nation of the world. That is, it is the most materially blessed nation and one of the most spiritually blessed nations ever to exist. This, despite the fact that it has degenerated in many ways to become perhaps the most wicked in human history. The United States is so blessed with material wealth that every nation on earth is inextricably linked to its economy in one way or another.
It is true that its dominance is under threat and is eroding quickly. The economic meltdown and unavoidable implosion of America’s monetary hegemony is imminent. But everything of global financial significance still hinges on the health and fate of the American dollar. This is to the great consternation of the people Glenn Beck rails against as wanting to bring the dollar down so that a new monetary regime can be brought to bear on the hapless citizens of what they envision as a Babel-like, one-world order.
Despite incessant assaults, the American economy hasn’t collapsed. It should have by now, but it hasn’t. It is, despite ominous signs ahead, business as usual–just as Jesus said it would be at the end of the age. If America’s economy crashes–as Beck says it will very shortly— the entire world will collapse to rubble. The business-as-usual element of Christ’s prophecy about it being like the days of Noah and Lot would be out the proverbial window.
If the U.S. economy collapsed, taking the world’s buying and selling capability into the darkest times in history, it would take years–if ever–for everything to recover so that things would again come into business-as-usual configuration. Yet the devastating, world-rending collapse is coming. It cannot be stopped. I completely agree with Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey in seeing that coming economic catastrophe in the immediate future. However, I disagree that the folly of man or the deliberate manipulations of human diabolists will bring the fearful disaster. And the disaster will not happen until God’s prophetic timing allows. It will continue to be business as usual despite increasing harbingers of economic calamity. Perhaps conditions will even look like they are improving. But if so, it will be smoke and mirrors–a sham “recovery.” The damage is done. Recovery is impossible.
This all means that Jesus Christ is poised to do exactly what He foretold. The prophetic signals and conditions prevalent in America and the world should have the attention of every believer. Jesus is about to fulfill His glorious promise as recorded in John 14:1-3.
The Rapture, I believe Jesus is telling us, will be the sword of judgment that pierces the building, festering boil of humanistic rebellion. When the Church is taken to heaven, the minds of those left behind who want to control will no longer have restraint on their thoughts and ambitions. There will cease to be a governor on man’s conscience, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, because the Holy Spirit will allow the evil within mankind to do its dastardly work.
This will be the time–during the chaos of the days immediately after the Rapture—that all of Mr. Beck’s fears will come to fruition. Neither patriots nor anyone else will be able to save America and the world.
Now to try to answer my emailer concerning whether Christians in America will suffer severe, even deadly, persecution, as I infer Hal Lindsey believes. Christians of America in this pre-Rapture time certainly are not immune from persecution–even from the persecution like that suffered by the Christian martyrs of history. However, it would take a horrendous catastrophe–such as the one Beck predicts—for American society to totally turn its back on Christianity, thus to begin physically attacking Christians in the way Lindsey fears might happen.
The Church, with the Restrainer resident within each believer, will continue to be salt and light–to exert influence over America’s societal and cultural conditions. That influence, although observably becoming less and less effective, will be sufficient to prevent all-out, Nazi-like persecution against Christians in this nation.
When the Church-Age saints go to Christ upon His call to them (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 4:1-2), America and the world will be devoid of the Church’s buffering influence. Those who accept Christ during the Tribulation will undergo the most horrific persecution of human history.
Again, if a calamity like the one Beck forecasts were to befall this nation before Christ’s foretold intervention into earth’s history, such a collapse would take the U.S. and the world out of the time of business as usual Jesus said will be in place when He pays the earth that surprise visit.
Jesus was telling us in Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42 specifically about His coming for the Church, and the general time-frame of that event. With all that is in alignment precisely as Jesus and the prophets described, I am convicted in my spirit that now is that time.
Those who haven’t become part of God’s family–believing in Jesus Christ for their personal salvation—face a fearful future indeed. They will be left behind in an instantly changed world gone mad with chaos infinitely worse than even Glenn Beck predicts.
There is still opportunity in this Church Age for the person who hasn’t accepted the Lord Jesus as personal Savior to do so. But time is fleeting. The Rapture could take place at any moment.
Here is what God’s Holy Word, the Bible, has to say to you, if you want to escape from this world that is soon to suffer God’s righteous judgment. Truly follow these instructions from the heart of the God who loves you and wants you to be safe with Him forever. You will then be assured not of a fearful future, but of a future that is fabulous beyond description.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10: 9-10).