25 Dec 2023

On Leaving the World Behind

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have become producers of movies, it seems. Former Secret Service agent and now national talk show host Dan Bongino tells that he believes the two are the actual producers of the dystopian film Leave the World Behind. –This, although the Netflix director of the production, Sam Esmail, claims the former president is only an advisor on the film.

Fact is, Leave the World Behind is the product of the Obamas’ Higher Grounds Productions company. The movie is an adaptation of Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, which Obama had included on his 2021 summer reading list.

The film, according to Bongino, portrays disasters of the direst sort. And director Sam Esmail says the movie is based largely on many personal notes from Barack Obama and his intimate knowledge of threats to America and the world.

Esmail said: “I am writing what I think is fiction, for the most part. I’m trying to keep it as true to life as possible, but I’m exaggerating and dramatizing. And to hear an ex-president say you’re off by a few details… I thought I was off by a lot! The fact that he said that scared the [expletive deleted] out of me.”

Bongino said that revelation by the director scared him, too. The movie itself wasn’t a great film, according to the former Secret Service agent who served in protection efforts for three presidents, including Obama. But that Obama told the director that the dire threats given in the fiction weren’t as bad as the ones that actually exist worries Bongino, a former agent who has a considerable degree of intimate knowledge of such presidential intelligence-gathering capability.

I haven’t watched the movie–that is, I haven’t listened to it (being blind). But I trust Bongino’s analysis and agree the threats to the peoples of the world at this time must be dire indeed.

Of course, all we have to do is to look around at all that’s going on, as those who “watch” like our Lord commands us to do, to know that the very existence of humankind would be very tenuous if not for the controlling and restraining hand of God.

The very title of the movie speaks of the lateness of the prophetic hour. The spirit of Antichrist, which has a profoundly growing presence in the world, seems to be foreshadowing the Beast’s coming regime. Leave the World Behind is quite a title, don’t you agree? That is, it is quite a title considering the nomenclature of our website, Rapture Ready, and the title of this weekly column, “Nearing Midnight.

The title of Obama’s film almost seems meant to mock the spectacularly successful Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It’s like the producers are saying to those of us who don’t like the way developments are going to “get out of Dodge.”

Speaking of that well-worn phrase, a writer of note who regularly gives information about the grim developments that are engulfing the nation and world has weighed in on that very subject. That is, he delves into the wisdom of “getting out of Dodge” at this darkening time of human existence on planet Earth.

The writer presents information from a biblically prophetic perspective. I have no doubt he is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ and the Word of God. However, his interpretation is, I believe, far from accurate in the matter of eschatology so far as he seems to understand things, as we find in looking at his use of the phrase “get out of Dodge.” Here is a portion of that article.

So where will you be when things finally hit the fan?

During the past several years, we have seen a mass exodus of conservatives from blue states. For example, Fox News is reporting that 65 percent of those that have recently moved to the state of Idaho are Republicans, and only 12 percent are Democrats…

“Time is not on your side; flee the city NOW before the coming collapse!”…

Ultimately, if you were planning to relocate, you should have already done it by now.

But the good news is that conditions are still at least somewhat relatively stable as we approach the end of 2023.

So if you want to get out of Dodge, you can still do it.

In fact, for many of you, this may be your last chance.

But don’t wait too long because the clock is ticking.

At this point, most Americans can feel that something has gone horribly wrong. The warning signs are all around us, and conditions are getting worse with each passing day. (“Are You Prepared for the Coming Economic Collapse and the Next Great Depression? 12/11/23)

The writer warns that it is time to, in effect, do the same thing Obama’s movie title is suggesting. We should leave the world behind.

Of course, that title means, in total context, I presume, that people should work toward leaving the world as it is presently configured by making it better. Perhaps what is needed is a “Great Reset.” In fact, that is exactly what is meant by the film’s title and tenet.

The writer who uses the title “Get Out of Dodge” in his article, on the other hand, I believe, means that in order to try to avoid being caught up in the dangers and evil of the coming Antichrist regime, we should find, as we say in the South, fraidy holes in which to hide. That’s a bit simplistic, and perhaps even unfair or disrespectful, to refer to the writer’s efforts in such a way. Certainly, he is an excellent writer and even a good reporter of world events as they might pertain to God’s Word with regard to the way things are shaping for the Tribulation.

But he is against any thought of a pre-Tribulation Rapture of believers. As a matter of fact, he has written an entire book against that view—and is totally misguided as to how we as believers should be preparing at this critical hour as we are nearing midnight of the Tribulation era. We should not be looking at “getting out of Dodge” in terms of trying to move somewhere in order to not get caught, punished, and/or killed by the Antichrist and his forces of evil when his regime comes to power.

We are told by our Lord what we are to do. He said:

“And when you see all these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your head, for your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

Further, Jesus Christ told John to write the following:

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ—in His death, burial, and resurrection and on His being our Savior from sin’s dread sway—are to be following the Apostle Paul’s Holy Spirit-given directive:

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Believers are not to fearfully look for Antichrist and his satanic regime of terror. We are to “occupy”work to spread God’s Word of salvation while we anticipate the Lord Jesus Christ’s call to us from the clouds of Glory. We are not to strive to get out but rather to look for and trust our Blessed Hope–the Lord Jesus—to rescue us from the time of God’s wrath and judgment that is about to come against the anti-God rebels who will be, sadly, because of their own choice, left behind to face that man of sin.

Here again is how to make the right decision –the decision God wants everyone to make in order to bring them into His eternal heavenly family.

“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).


The Lord’s Reward for Watchers

Those of us eagerly anticipating Jesus’ appearing have much in common with Simeon and Anna. Luke 2:22-38 records their remarkable faith as they greeted Joseph and Mary when the couple presented Jesus at the temple shortly after His birth. Anna and Simeon recognized the baby as the promised Messiah, the One spoken of in the prophetic texts of Scripture.

They were well-advanced in years. With Simeon, it’s implied by his words about not seeing death before he would see the “Lord Christ.” The text tells us that Anna was eighty-four. However, these seasoned saints knew Scripture and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of many scriptural prophecies.

Their examples provide much encouragement for us today as we await meeting Jesus in the air.

  1. The Lord rewarded their belief in prophecy. Both Simeon and Anna believed the prophetic message of Isaiah 9:6 with its familiar words, “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.” While most of their contemporaries looked for a conquering King as the Messiah, they understood that He would first come as a baby.

Simeon displayed remarkable insight when he spoke these words to Mary, “and a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 1:35). With the help of the Holy Spirit, he saw the Messiah in the words of Zechariah 12:10. Even the disciples had difficulty believing that the Messiah would suffer and die, but Simeon saw it in the words of Scripture.

The Lord rewarded their faith by recording it forever on the pages of Scripture. Today, two thousand years later, we still read about their God-given faith and insight.

Someday, the Lord will reward our belief in the prophecies that apply to the expectation of our Savior’s appearing. We will meet Jesus in the air, and He will take us to where He now dwells in Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:2-3; Colossians 3:4). And there will be a crown especially for those of us who love “his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

  1. They allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to them through the words of Scripture. Even though the Holy Spirit would not come to indwell believers until Pentecost, He was clearly active in these dear saints. He told Simeon that he would see the Christ before he died (2:26).

Under the Spirit’s guidance, they allowed the words of Scripture to speak for themselves rather than change the meaning to fit their beliefs. They expected the Messiah to arrive as a baby, and Simeon spoke of His suffering.

Like Simeon and Anna, we base our joyous expectation of Jesus’ imminent appearing on the words of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit within us aids our understanding of what we read on the pages of our Bibles. We accept what we read and do not spiritualize the words to mean something other than the authors intended.

  1. They didn’t adhere to the popular beliefs of their day. Simeon and Anna didn’t look for the Messiah to come and immediately rescue Israel from Roman bondage as many of their contemporaries did. They looked for a baby, and Simeon warned Mary concerning the sword that would someday pierce her Son (Zechariah 12:10), saying that it would also do the same to her soul (Luke 2:35).

Although they didn’t follow the popular views of their day regarding Jesus’ first appearance as a King, they nonetheless believed the prophecies concerning a future restoration for the nation of Israel. Simeon, who saw Jesus’ suffering in Scripture, also mentioned a future “glory” for God’s chosen “people Israel” (Luke 2:32). Anna proclaimed the Messiah’s birth to “all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

As watchers, we live during a time when the most popular views of end- time events exclude Jesus’ appearing to take us home to glory as well as His thousand-year reign over the nations. The most popular view of our day teaches that the church will triumph over the evil and lawlessness of our day and bring in the Millennium with Jesus returning after the reign of the church.

Another false view that’s prominent today states that Jesus’ Second Coming occurred in AD 70, at which time He fulfilled most biblical prophecy relating to the future.

It’s my observation that many of the saints who reject these errant views and expectantly look for Jesus’ appearing are mature in years (AKA old), just as were Anna and Simeon. A substantial number of us grew up in churches where the pastors preached about Bible prophecy and laid a solid biblical foundation for our understanding of its prophecies. Just like the pair from long ago, the Holy Spirit has used our comprehension of biblical prophecy to infuse joyous hope into our souls in spite of the perilous times in which we live.

Although we do not have a certain promise that we will not die before the Rapture, similar to that of Simeon, we possess a reasonable expectation of being alive when Jesus appears. As the shadow of the Tribulation grows darker by the day, we recognize that He may come for us at any moment.