(Jeremiah 11-13; 1 Timothy 4)
In the fall of 2019, before the whole COVID chaos hit, I was part of unpaid staff when a new pastor was chosen and came to lead our church. I had been the Missions Director for several years, as well as a Bible teacher emphasizing eschatology. That’s pretty rare these days, I know, but our prior pastor and the interim pastor gave me free rein to teach on end times related subjects.
Because of my watchman mentality and focus, I’d been seeing for a while that things were getting darker in the world and America in particular. I’d said for some time that I believed the American church would face a time of trial and persecution before the Rapture, because I always felt the Lord would need to purify His Bride in our land. My facetious and (in)famous saying was: “Do you think the only suffering we’ll endure before Jesus returns is ease and comfort?”
Seeing this gathering gloom, I suggested to the new pastor in one of our first staff meetings that it would be prudent for the church to make plans for a time of coming persecution. Perhaps we should get the people thinking about this and make preparations to go underground at some future point by getting small groups meeting and understanding what this would mean.
This idea was met with a serious head nod and abruptly forgotten. Subsequently, into 2020 with the advent of COVID, because of things I said about what was happening and how I said them, the pastor didn’t approve, effectively saying, “That’s not who we are.” Eventually, through this and various other interactions, this led to my parting ways with the church.
Here we are now two years later, in the fall of 2021 [when this essay was written], and our government is plunging headlong toward absolute tyranny. Conservatives and Christians, i.e., political enemies and those who love God, are being demonized. The State has set up a false dichotomy of fear versus safety by emphasizing the difference between vaxxed and unvaxxed people. Quarantine facilities, a.k.a. FEMA or internment camps, have been prepared all around our nation – no different from those already being used in China and Australia. The rhetoric is increasing against those who refuse to go along with the narrative propagated by mainstream and social media under direction of the Biden Regime. All they need is a trigger mechanism to go after those they deem enemies of the State.
No doubt at that time, churches that declare they follow only God and His commands will find themselves at extreme odds with governmental decrees. It wouldn’t surprise me if they are forcibly shut down. What then happens? Will churches be ready to meet secretly, i.e., those believers who haven’t yet been rounded up and isolated in Green Zones for “their protection”?
Perhaps in 2019, such scenarios may have appeared as fanciful conspiracy theories. Twenty-four months later, at least to some, they’ve probably taken on a new reality and truth.
In Jeremiah’s day, the Lord warned the prophet that certain men were conspiring against Him. In Jeremiah 11:9-10, He warned:
“Again the Lord said to me, ‘A conspiracy exists among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers.”
God went on to detail the extent of their sins, and it disgusted Him so much that He commanded in Jeremiah 11:14:
“Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.”
They had gone after other gods, worshiped them, gave them offerings of every kind, and set up altars in reverence to them. In other words, they had decided that the God of Israel wasn’t worth following. They apparently thought that pagan gods had more to offer than the One who had delivered them from the fiery furnace of slavery in Egypt.
Their iniquities had risen to such a drastic level in their rejection of Yahweh that He wouldn’t even hear prayers on their behalf going forward. He would bring disaster upon them.
There are two groups in our current times that are stoking the furnace of God’s anger. The first is those who have outright and long ago decided they didn’t need Him in their lives. For many of these, just as Romans 1:24 says, He has given them over to the sinful desires of their hearts.
The second group is the church that has chosen to ignore the Word of God when its people should have known better. How much condemnation might the Lord have for those who say they are in Christ yet choose to continue doing church as though we’re still in normal times?
One of the phrases making the rounds these days that resonates is because of the truth it conveys. It distinguishes between what we’re currently seeing and surely what is ahead, from the days of old, i.e., 2019 and earlier, to the future. It is the BEFORE TIMES. This is so dystopian – and yet so true – it’s astounding that we are even beginning to talk this way.
Those who have believed that Christ-followers must endure the Tribulation are perhaps beginning to understand how devastating this coming time will be. To think that we can prep and hole up as God’s wrath rages around us – and that He will shelter us supernaturally – is an interesting but false perspective. I’m very much a believer in the supernatural aspects of God, but I also believe that He has other plans for us during the Day of the Lord. In fact, I’m very much anticipating the incredibly supernatural event that will soon astound the world, i.e., the Rapture of the true church.
Conspiracy theories from just a couple of years ago have largely proven true. Thankfully our God is sovereign and watching closely. At just the right time, He will prove that the “conspiracy theory” of the Rapture is also fact. Won’t that be an amazing vindication of what many of us have believed to be the blessed hope that God has given to His children?
The Lord has put it on my heart to always read completely through His Word at least once each year. From that practice, it resulted in my producing the Awaken Bible Study Notes, a 4-volume set correlating with each quarter’s readings. This is the link to Amazon for Volume 1 covering January – March (Genesis 1 – Judges 5; Matthew 1 – Luke 7):
Awaken Bible Study Notes series Volume 1
Following that year’s efforts, God gave me the “assignment” of writing a daily essay on what I had read. That produced the 4-volume Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections series. Here is the link on Amazon to Volume 1, which covers January – March (Genesis 1 – Judges 5; Matthew 1 – Luke 7):
Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections series Volume 1
If these daily writings have been a blessing to you, I hope that you’ll acquire these books for further study. My intent in all I write is to bring God the glory and to make His people think. Both the Study Notes and the Commentary and Reflections delve into the prophetic and supernatural nature of God’s Word, a combination you simply won’t find elsewhere. They attempt to show the parallels to our times with the peril from the past when God’s people turn away from Him and His commands. Scripture is very much a blueprint for today.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and prolific author. His Whirlwind Series comprises three end-times books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is a Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has written many other Christian thrillers that will challenge you, and which you can learn about at his website:www.GaryRitter.com. You can also watch Gary’s video Prophecy Updates on Rumble at his Awaken Bible Prophecy channel: https://rumble.com/c/c-783217.