To Be Clear: These Are The End Times
No one in their right mind wants to live through the end times. The Bible makes clear that the wars, pestilence, famine and upheaval in the natural world are without precedence during those days. And yet here we are, living in a time when prophecies regarding the last days are increasingly fulfilled.
In this blog I have tried, for some seven or eight years now, to point to the accelerating decline in the natural world, and show how that decline is a) part of the logical consequence of Satan’s rebellion, which man has joined in, and, b) a significant part of what drives the fulfillment of prophecy in the last days. I’ve done this by outlining through scripture a progression of events that looks like this:
- Satan makes dramatic charges against God’s character, claiming He is selfish and manipulative. Satan mounts a campaign for God’s place and proposes a “better” way of running the universe. One-third of the angels are convinced and join his side.
- Satan and his angels lose the battle, are cast to earth and are banned from heaven.
- Satan recruits man by making the same charges that he made to the angels. Man accepts Satan’s charges against God and joins Satan’s rebellion. Satan takes man’s dominion of the earth as spoils of war.
- Satan continues his rebellion the only way he can – by implementing the “better” system that he promoted in his campaign in heaven. Satan, possessing dominion, twisted the lifeforms on earth so that many conformed to his operating principle of selfishness – a system of taking.
- God’s elegant, robust original creation, which was based on love and a system of giving – was perverted. The new system flourished at first as it cannibalized God’s creation, but soon the system began to stall, then slowly collapse in on itself as key parts of earth’s living systems died out or failed to perform their original functions.
- Man and earth now have selfishness as their organizing principle but we are in the end stages of seeing just how terrible and failing this system is. This generation is the one who gets to see it completely and rapidly collapse.
- God allows the collapse of Satan’s design for the world because letting Satan’s systems play out and be proven folly, and thus his charges against God be proven folly, is the only way that God can redeem His character without the use of force, thus retaining the trust-based relationship He has with all created beings who will accept Him.
- After earth has collapsed and Satan’s lies have been conclusively revealed, Satan and all who joined his rebellion – whose lives are in harmony with selfishness – will be destroyed and earth will be created anew, without any trace of Satan’s selfishness-based system.
So, that is a really, really short summary that leaves out a great deal. For a longer treatment, take a look at this video (it was produced by ARTV and and can be found on their site if you are a member, or you see it at this obscure site that probably ripped it off).
Or, you can watch the video series “Prequel of the Bible” by It Is Written for an in-depth Bible-based approach. I wrote that series in conjunction with John Bradshaw. The first video in the series can be found here.
But back to the subject at hand: The end of the earth. The Bible provides us with a number of things to watch for so that we know when the end is coming and when the last days have arrived. For a lot of evangelicals, the last days are characterized by attacks on Israel. But most Bible prophecy in regard to the last days is more general, pointing more at trends and overall conditions than at a specific event in a specific place. This is because, by and large, the last days are all about the failed and collapsing natural world and human society, both of which point to the failure of Satan’s twisted design. Take, for instance, the picture that is painted in Matthew 24:6-8: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
So, what we’re supposed to be watching for is nations in conflict (check) as well as an abundance of potential and feared conflict (check) as well as famines, pestilences (check!) and many earthquakes. Of that list, we lack only famines and earthquakes. Based on where we are in prophetic history, I do expect earthquakes to significantly increase. That leaves famines, but here is the thing: conflict, economic upset and disruptions in our environment (drought, floods, etc.) all work together to produce famines, so unfortunately I see famines emerging.
Now, some may argue that we cannot possibly be in the last days because all of these things have always existed in the world to one degree or another and we can’t possibly be in the last days until all these indicators are off-the-charts flashing a red signal. My response is the this world will ease into the last days. It won’t be like the slamming of a door. How could it be, when we are told Christ will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2)?
For the sake of doing a diligent study, let’s compare the generalized description of the world in Matthew 24:4-8 with the generalized description of the state of man in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!”
The world today reveres men (and women) such as are described above, increasingly choosing them as leaders. And let’s be clear: what is happening is that the two systems at play here – Satan’s system and God’s system – are separating from each other every more distinctly. Those who admire and adhere to a system of selfishness, who like to be competing ruthlessly and taking from the weaker, have embraced Satan’s system and their character is described above. Those who, on the other hand, have embraced Christ’s kingdom of love increasingly have characters that are described in the beatitudes, in Matthew 5:1-12.
So, when I look at the trends in the natural and man-made world, and when I look at the increasingly polarized character of man, and when I compare those things to scripture, I conclude that, yes, we are in the end times and there is a fairly short (given the span of history) and very bumpy ride ahead of us, during which we who are faithful to God will increasingly take on His character as a witness to the world.
The Corona virus as a sign of the end-times? Yeah. It fits with everything else. But don’t overstate its importance, because if we do that, then we will sink back into slumber when it passes. Better to take in the whole picture and become more and more alert and an active part of God’s army.
Soon we will see Christ coming in clouds of glory, and I can hardly wait.
Thanks for this. Timely, as always!
Never before have global markets, economies, and rapid transportation systems been so tightly interlaced and interdependent, And, never before have there been nearly 8 billion souls, rapidly increasing in number, competing, many ruthlessly, for the earth’s dwindling space and resources. As a result, the current state of things is obviously without precedent. The global over-wash of this COVID19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees as nothing else has ever done, and it has exposed the underlying latent fears, insecurities and dreaded expectations of people that moved many to, among other things, sell off stocks, and strip market shelves in a wave of panic. The :”birth pangs” (“the beginning of sorrows”) will, as you have reminded us, certainly increase in frequency and intensity, and soon there will not be intervals between the pangs long enough for any meaningful recovery, and human desperation, without any possibility of human remedy (eg. government bail out) will grow more dire with each wave. Praying for the Spirit of Jesus (His Oil) to be in me, and in my Church, as time elapses, and we see Him.
Keeping a safe “social distance” and looking forward to the Lord’s promised return, and intervention to restore..
Prayers, and best to you.
Thanks for your insightful (and very articulate) comments!
An after thought—and now, the diabolical proposal to employ Social Darwinism, not named as such, ( see Thomas Friedman today’s NYT.) ending safety restrictions by Easter,
I read a book called God’s Final Word- Understanding tge book of Revelation, written by Rat C. Stedman. He makes a powerful point that the letters of Revelation were prophecy of different ages of the church in chronological order. In other words, the first letter was the first church age. The last letter is the final church age.
Tome thus is so blatantly true. What I’m saying is the church today is nauseating. And sooooo many Christians are wealthy.
Did you know that in Luke 14:33, Jesus said you can’t even claim to be a follower of Christ unless you give up everything you own?
The first church got it. When people owned property, after they became a Christian, they would sell their property and bring the money to the church. Acts 4:34,35 “ 34There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.”
That is nit tge church today. Wealthy Christians enjoy their wealth, while they watch the poor starve to death. Of course that’s nauseating to Christ. Therefore, Jesus tells the end times church, “”
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” We in this age are nauseating to Christ. You are and I know I am.