Events in the Middle East this past week have generated concern in governments around the world, as well as to those who study the prophecies relating to the rapture of the church. Yet the vast majority of people, including a large percentage of professing Christians, act as if there is nothing unusual about the events we see occurring around the world. The terrorist bombing in Russia, the current administrations overtures to China, the governments in Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt in peril or in turmoil, all are seen as simply natural occurrences that are to be expected in the world we live in today. Rather than contemplating the possibility that the world is on the brink of experiencing judgment from God as predicted in the Bible, the world simply watches to see how events unfold.
If you have followed this blog for any length of time, I would hope it has become apparent to you that I believe strongly that we are at the very end of what is called the “church age”, and that the rapture of the church, the bride of Christ, is imminent. When that event occurs I believe the world will experience calamities which are a direct result of the events we see happening today. Why then and not now?
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 NKJV
Although the preparations are being made, the world is being protected by “He who now restrains”, who according to the majority of Bible scholars is identified as the Holy Spirit embodied in the individual members of Christ's body, the church. When the rapture occurs, because the church leaves it follows that the restrainer leaves. It is then that we will see the result of the preparations now being made in the world around us.
The following is a commentary by Terry James of Rapture Ready, a website devoted to “watching” that I have often referred you to. In it he examines the subject of the apathy we see around us and the possible reasons for it. My hope is that it will help you to see and understand how close we are to the “end of times” and motivate you to share with an unbelieving world the hope that is our salvation in Christ Jesus.
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).