Surely at some point, as a modern-day watchman on the wall, you have experienced that sharp smirk or the raising of unbelieving eyebrows as you attempt to explain to a lost friend or family member that the world we now see unfolding before our very eyes is exactly as the Bible said it would be at the end of the age and that the long-awaited return of Jesus to this earth is finally upon us! Perhaps your warnings have even evoked laughter or biting sarcasm, scoffing of a more contentious nature?
None of this, however, has really come as a surprise to you, as this sort of response is exactly what is expected from among those who are perishing. The real dismay then comes when you find yourself on the receiving end of scoffing not from an unbeliever but from a fellow brother or sister in Christ. To share that news that ought to be exciting to any follower of Jesus, only to have it summarily rejected can leave us scratching our heads with questions. Why would those who love Jesus or at least profess to love Him be opposed to His return to gather us all unto Himself that where He is, we may be also? The answer to that question can be a bit complicated, but we shall endeavor to address it with wisdom from God’s word.
I believe Peter’s second and final epistle can shed some light on this perturbing phenomenon we are experiencing in this last hour. The elder apostle, knowing and stating in this epistle that he is not long for this world, pulls no punches as he pours out his final words to those sheep he had once promised his Master he would feed. Let us read carefully his words: “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'” (II Peter 3:3-4).
Two words jump out at me in this passage that I believe help to explain the aforementioned phenomenon, “fathers” and “creation.” Allow me to expand on this.
Firstly, who are these fathers mentioned here by the apostle? I want you to consider now that this is already very near the time of Peter’s death and also very near the time of Paul’s death. Furthermore, James, the brother of our Lord and the writer of his own epistle, had already been martyred at the time of this writing. James, in full and eager expectation, wrote before his death: “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8).
Paul, in his epistles to the Corinthians and the Thessalonians, had more than once spoken as if the coming of our Lord Jesus was very near, and yet he himself would soon be “absent from the body” long before his prediction would come to pass.
Peter himself, who had proclaimed Christ’s return as far back as his first message on the Day of Pentecost, would soon be gone. I believe that these fathers who have fallen asleep that Peter is referring to are the very same men who initially proclaimed the return of Christ, those early Church fathers who would ultimately not be around to see the return of Christ during their lifetime. The scoffers would one day say, “These men who once warned us of this coming day are long gone, and everything goes on just like it always has!”
Now let us briefly consider the word creation. These same scoffers are acknowledging creation. In fact, in the following verse, it says they willfully forget the flood that once destroyed the world. Notice they don’t deny that flood. You see, friends, these scoffers acknowledge the fathers, they admit to creation, and admit to a worldwide flood. These scoffers that Peter is warning us about are none other than believers! He is warning us not to be like these believers! Listen to his words just a little bit further down in his letter: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” Don’t scoff at that Day he is exhorting; look for it and hasten it!
The scriptures are abundantly clear that the Christian should ever be on the watch for his Master’s return. That we are to actively look for and be constantly prepared for His return. Consider these words from Luke’s gospel: “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” (Luke 12:35-37a).
Further down in the same passage, it reads: “‘Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’ Then Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?'” (Luke 12:40-42). How appropriate that it was Peter, the apostle who was once commissioned with the statement “feed my sheep” is here asking this question of our Lord some 30 years prior to the writing of his second epistle where he is echoing the words of his Master.
Here are a few more passages for your consideration. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).
I humbly encourage all my preterist brethren to consider that the events of A.D. 70 were not as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:43-44).
“But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites” (Matthew 24:48-51).
“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3).
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:10-13).
Let us not forget that while we cannot know the day or the hour, we can and should know the season! “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (I Thessalonians 5:4-6).
And finally: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Again, the warnings are abundantly clear that we are not only to be watchful and prepared at all times but that we can also know and distinctly see when the Day is approaching.
When Jesus had once sternly rebuked the Pharisees for not discerning the times in which they lived, did it not infer that there were indeed many signs that they should have rightly discerned at His first advent? Should we now also be guilty of the same blindness at His second advent? If I am expected to know these signs of the times, what are they then, you may ask? What follows are just a handful of the many we find in scripture.
Imagine for a moment an ancient people group who, nearly two thousand years ago, were defeated and displaced from their ancient homeland, becoming refugees in every corner of the globe. Imagine then that this ancient culture maintained a lot of their ancient ways and their heritage in whatever corner of the world to which they had been scattered for nearly two millennia. Then imagine those same peoples returning to that land they had once been displaced from for so long, a land that lay barren and desolate for the entirety of their absence, just as had been prophesied over 3,000 years ago by the mouth of Moses. This is a feat that had never before occurred in all of human history. Never has there been a displaced civilization in all the annals of recorded history that was removed and then ended up returning to their ancient homeland and resuming their existence as an ethnic group or a nation.
The scriptures give us numerous prophecies from both the major and minor prophets concerning this return to the land of their fathers. Against all odds, Israel became a nation once again in just one day, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah. It took two world wars and the coming together of a million different pieces of a very complex puzzle for it to occur. It was nothing short of a modern-day miracle and is also the most prominent sign that we are living at the end of the age.
Both the Apocalypses of Daniel and John are not possible without the existence of a national Israel. They are God’s prophetic time clock and the reason for the 7-year Tribulation, otherwise known as the time of Jacob’s trouble or the 70th week of Daniel. These will be the last 7 years of human history before Messiah comes to establish his Kingdom upon the earth. Moreover, what can be known from scripture about this terrifying time in human history can already be seen on the prophetic horizon. Not very far off in the distance, I might add!
Take, for example, the early judgments of the Lord, the 7 seals from the book of Revelation. The second seal tells us of a rider on a fiery red horse to whom it was granted that he should take peace from the earth and that people should kill one another. The scripture tells us that he is given a great sword. We live in a society today where violence is teeming just below a very thin veneer of civility that is hanging on by a thread. Generations have been conditioned with the increasingly violent nature of our entertainment, from movies to video games. Mass shootings, violent uprisings, rioting, and brazen acts of lawlessness are the order of the day. The rider on the red horse will not have to stir the waters of our present world very much to accomplish his goal.
What about the third seal, one that points to a worldwide famine and hyperinflation? When the rider on the black horse makes his debut, a loaf of bread will be going for the bargain basement price of just a whole day’s wage! Have you not heard of the countless food processing facilities that have suspiciously burnt to the ground in the last year or so? Or maybe the displacement of farmers that is happening around the globe in places from the Netherlands to India to the United States? The war in the Ukraine, considered the bread basket of Europe, is causing alarming shortages. How about the war on cattle or rice in the name of climate change? Rice being the primary food staple in huge swaths of the globe.
Maybe you’ve heard about globalist billionaires who are buying up farmland as quickly as they can in order to stop farming from taking place altogether under the false pretense of saving the planet? Or maybe you’ve heard of the extremely alarming shortages of fertilizer worldwide, which is desperately needed to maintain the global food supply? Has anyone noticed any recent inflation trends? All of this amounts to various experts around the globe sounding the alarm that we are headed for severe global famine in the near future. We are racing toward the four horsemen as they race toward us, friends.
What other signs, you say? Give me more; I’m still not convinced! Revelation 13 tells us of a one-world government, a one-world currency, and a one-world religion. Allow me to answer those future predictions made in Revelation with current preparations that are being made right before our eyes: the World Economic Forum, Central Bank Digital Currencies, and AI.
The WEF has made no attempt to conceal their agenda. The wealthiest, most powerful, most influential people on the globe meet regularly in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss and hasten their Agenda 2030. In summary, it is a plan for world governance.
CBDC’s (Central Bank Digital Currency) are not your digital bank account, credit cards, or Apple Pay on your phone. This is different. They represent a currency that is programmable, can carry with it an expiration date, and has the capability of being turned on or off. Sound familiar? Like maybe something that could be used to control your ability to buy or sell? Believe it, friends, they are coming to a theatre near you very soon! We already have numerous examples, from FedNow, to the UniCoin, to the soon-to-be-introduced BRICS currency that has been announced for a late August of ’23 debut. These digital currencies will not be the notorious mark of the beast but will be used to facilitate that mark during the Tribulation.
Lastly, if you have not been keeping up with the advances in AI, I congratulate you on your off-the-grid existence; you are likely not reading this article. 2023 is turning out to be the Year of AI. Every day we hear on the news some interesting new tidbit that is related to AI. Perhaps it is the many characters who have been involved over the years in its development that are now screaming from the rooftops about its dangers and the need for serious regulatory action to be established while others call for a six-month moratorium on all further developments of this technology? Maybe it is the warning of the many jobs AI is soon and sure to make obsolete?
Even more nefarious than this, though, is this author’s belief that AI will soon be the source of great deception upon mankind. Its intelligence will soon far exceed that of a human to the point that it will be presenting concepts that are beyond our capacity to even understand. Make no mistake about it, though, friends; it is not sentient; it does not have a soul. It is a computer with lines of code and has gathered all of its intelligence from the vast amounts of human data that has been made available to it. Human data that in this world has been corrupted by the fall of mankind. As the old saying goes, garbage in garbage out.
Now we are hearing famous transhumanists like the WEF’s own Yuval Noah Harari proclaiming that AI will give us the first religious texts not written by humans. Just this week, a Lutheran church in Germany held the first service where the sermon had been entirely written by AI and was facilitated by a chatbot avatar that led the service from a large monitor that stood in place from where the preacher would normally deliver his message.
AI will soon be offering humanity extremely advanced and deceptive philosophy and could very well be the source of this false religion that the Bible tells us will take the world by storm. Its incredible potential to mimic and create deep fakes, like the recent video that appeared to depict Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring martial law on state television, causing a panic on many who believed it to be genuine, and its uncanny ability to produce increasingly convincing holograms of stars long since deceased may very well be how the image of the beast is given “breath” or life. Rev 13:15 It will undoubtedly play a role in the monitoring of every person on the globe, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave.
Still not convinced? Let’s see what the apostle Paul had to say about these days.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” (II Timothy 3:1-4).
Sound eerily familiar? Give yourself just 5 minutes on your choice of TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, and see if Paul’s description isn’t spot on when compared to our day. We live in a day when prominent companies are tripping over themselves to be next in line to lose billions of dollars just to align with woke ideologies, where drag queens dressed as nuns are the new elementary school teacher or worse, Sunday school teacher, and where pornographic material has replaced coloring books. Noah and Lot would feel right at home in these days. If this doesn’t qualify as perilous times, then you, too, have a conscience that has been seared as with a hot iron!
Shall I go on? How about I ring off just a few more signs for good measure? Increased atmospheric disturbances, volcanoes, and earthquakes (creation is groaning with birth pangs). Pestilence (think 2020, need I say more?) Wars and rumors of wars (the conflict in Ukraine has us closer to nuclear war than we ever were during the Cuban missile crisis). Preparations being made for a third Jewish temple, which, according to scripture, will be in place during the Tribulation; everything from the Temple Institute to DNA tests done to find descendants of Levi, a revived Sanhedrin, and perfect red heifers being flown into Israel.
Tell me that all of these predictions from scripture concerning a nation that by all reasonable accounts shouldn’t even exist are merely coincidence, and I’ll tell you that the fat lady is singing while she rides a flying pig through hell on a cold day. And yes, there’s still a hell no matter what your local Laodicean seeker-friendly pastor coddled you with this last Sunday during his humanistic motivational self-improvement speech. Go ahead and add apostasy to that list of end times signs (2 Thes 2:3, 1 Tim 4:1).
Friends, JESUS IS COMING SOON!
Still, we have yet to finish dissecting our scoffer and have not satisfactorily answered our original question. We can see that the scripture encourages us not to scoff at the Lord’s return, that God’s Word, in fact, repeatedly exhorts us to be watching, praying, and anticipating His return. Furthermore, the scripture tells us as children of light that we can see the Day approaching and then gives us numerous signs to be looking for, many of which we’ve just reviewed. So, what is it then? Why are there still so many believers wearing ‘foolish virgins’ t-shirts and failing to B.Y.O.O.(Bring Your Own Oil)?
I find that a very satisfying explanation actually comes from one of the least likely characters from the Old Testament. Yes, I still read my Old Testament, no matter how many preachers try to convince me it is no longer relevant. I find that it continues to stubbornly be the foundation upon which all of my New Testament is built.
So, who is this unlikely character to which I am referring? It is none other than Jericho’s surprise hero of the Faith, the harlot Rahab. The second chapter of Joshua tells us how two Israelite spies were successfully hidden by Rahab when their presence had been detected within the city walls of the ill-fated Jericho. Three things, I believe, distinguished Rahab and sealed her own fate in this tale of courage and belief that is later recapped for us in the famous Hebrews faith Hall of Fame, Hebrews 11.
Firstly, the Bible tells us that Rahab was informed. She tells the spies that she had kept up with the children of Israel’s escapades since their hurried escape from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. An event that had taken place over 40 years prior before she was even born. She goes on to say that she knew of their conquests and their successes as they made their way to the land of Canaan and how God had granted them victory every step of the way.
Secondly, being armed with this information, the seed of faith began to germinate in the heart of this Canaanite woman. She makes this confession of faith when she states, “for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath.” Her faith was so great that the author of Hebrews lumped her in among a list of people who showed tremendous faith over the years. No doubt, Rahab was truly afraid as she saw those things that were coming upon her city, her family, and her own life. Surely, she was tempted to turn these spies in and perhaps find favor among the king of Jericho and her city’s leaders. Maybe she even entertained the thought that if the spies were caught, the children of Israel might change their minds about attacking her city.
We will never know what emotions and inner turmoil Rahab was suddenly faced with as these two men showed up on her doorstep. What we do know is the simple statement that Hebrews gives us that “Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe.” This was no small matter of flipping a coin or consulting a magic 8 ball; no, Rahab committed to her actions and her decisions and laid everything on the line based upon her belief. This was true genuine faith.
Thirdly, Rahab understood that everything was getting ready to change, that the life she had once known in Jericho was over. The children of Israel were here, and “normal” wasn’t coming back. She was willing to let go of her world for whatever it was that God had next for her, no matter how different things may end up being. The scripture tells us that Rahab eventually went on to marry a prince of Judah and that this Gentile prostitute became a part of the bloodline that would eventually lead to the Messiah. How absolutely fitting for the undeserving to become worthy of such an honor by means of faith. This is why the author of Hebrews included this unlikely candidate among such a prestigious list.
So, there you have it, my beloved brother or sister that is a card-carrying member of the End-Times Scoffer’s Club. It is high time that we, like the courageous and wise Rahab, got informed. We need to be students of God’s Word and understand Bible prophecy, not just ignore it because of past foolishness among Christians who mistakenly made wild predictions or tried to set dates for the Lord’s return. The damage done to those of us who are truly waiting for our Lord’s return through this misguided enthusiasm has been a true tragedy among the Body of Christ.
Our faith in this hour needs to be the unshakable faith of a decisive Rahab, a faith that helps to loosen our grip on this dying world. Too many of us are in no rush to see the Lord’s return because we are hanging onto a great many unfulfilled dreams of this temporal and passing world. It is time to let Jericho go. This is not our home, nor has it ever been, friends. This is why our own Prince of Judah has gone on to prepare a place for us. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!