Wednesday, February 1, 2023

GLOBALISM IS ON ITS WAY- Dr. Benware

                                                               

The Bible is crystal clear that mankind’s rebellious rule on this earth will come to a thunderous conclusion when that satanically empowered man rules the world at the end of time. The Antichrist, as he is commonly referred to, gets his power, his amazing abilities, and his unprecedented ruling authority from Satan, the “god of this world” (Rev. 13:2; 1 John 5:19). For a fairly short period of 3½ years he will ruthlessly dominate all of mankind. Globalism will then arrive and it will be ugly and evil. 

Many today are naively working to bring their utopian globalism into existence. They believe that a world government which has eliminated democracies and free market economies is the solution to the ills of the planet. And the “elites” of mankind, in their great wisdom, will solve mankind’s problems. To do this, nations need to be diminished and the traditional family neutralized. We will take a brief look at their efforts after we review what the Bible says about the Antichrist (“the beast”; “the man of sin”; “the lawless one”; “the little horn”; “the king who will do as he pleases”). He is the final, great globalist, and one who does rule all the nations of the world.

The Biblical Antichrist 

This coming Antichrist has, according to the Bible, four distinct phases to his career. First, he will start his career as the ruler of a western nation.  Daniel 7 makes the point that his kingdom (nation) arises out of the old Roman empire. He will be ruling (as president, king or prime minister) at the time of the Rapture. However, he will not at that time be identified as the Antichrist. He will rule a western nation (one coming out of the old Roman empire). Since Satan does not know when the end times are coming (note Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:36), we can conclude that Satan has a man, at this very moment, ready to step into the role of antichrist. The second phase of his career begins when he signs a treaty with the nation of Israel (Dan. 9:27). By covenantal agreement, he will be a supporter and protector of Israel. It is the signing of this treaty that identifies this one as the Antichrist.  Daniel (in 7:24; 11:40-45) reveals that Antichrist is a man of war and he will begin by militarily defeating three kings (kingdoms), with seven others simply submitting to him (Rev. 17:11-12). He is a man of war and with Satan’s help overpowers these 10 nations from the area we call Europe (again coming out of the old Roman Empire). All of this takes place during the first half of the Tribulation period. This will be a bloody period as at least 2 billion people will die (25% of the world’s population). Then at the mid-point of the 7-year Tribulation period, several great events take place, such as Satan being cast out of heaven and confined to the earth. It is at this mid-point that Antichrist is killed (assassinated) and then supernaturally returns to life (Rev. 13:3, 12, 14). He dies physically and then will return to life. But this is not seen as a “resurrection” (as he does not appear to have received a resurrection body). This shocking and powerful event catapults Antichrist into the third phase of his rule; that of being the ruler of the whole world (Rev. 13:5-7). This phase will last for 42 months (3½ years comprising the second half of the Tribulation). He will be worshiped as he functions as the absolute, ruthless dictator of the world. This is when Jesus warned Israelites to flee from the land; and this is when God’s people will be slaughtered by this evil man. This will be his time of world domination. Globalism arrives. The fourth and final phase of the Antichrist’s career begins when King Jesus comes at His Second Coming and totally defeats him and casts him into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:19-20; 20:10). It is the final phase of his career because Antichrist will never, ever leave that place. Today, many in the world are actively preparing to bring in a one-world government. They see themselves as unusually wise, however they are terribly ignorant of the end result of globalism.

THE CAREER OF THE ANTICHRIST



The Present, Aggressive Push Towards Global Rule

  1. Those Involved.  Some 55 years ago, the Club of Rome (World Economic Forum) was formed. It meets annually to devise and implement ways to eliminate democracies and sovereign governments. They view themselves as the “elites” of the earth, who because they are the world’s most powerful financially, politically and socially, are best equipped to solve the world’s problems. At their annual meeting last month in Davos, Switzerland, American John Kerry uttered these humble words: “It’s pretty extraordinary, that we, a select group of human beings…are able to sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet.” These “elites” are convinced that they only can save the rest of mankind from their problems. These folks certainly do not appear to be lacking in arrogance. 

  2. The Motives.  Global governance was and is what motivates the Club of Rome. They would do this by solving the world’s problems (real or imaginary) and neutralizing democracies, like the United States. A global government is the goal.           

David Rockefeller in his “Memoirs” stated: “…some even believe that my family and I are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as internationalists and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure; one world if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty and am proud of it.” 


They apparently really believe that globalism is the answer and they are the only ones who are capable of implementing it. Of course, they do not acknowledge that governments are God’s idea and that the traditional family is essential to healthy governments. And they appear quite ignorant of what their beloved global government will look like in the hands of the Antichrist.


  1. The Method.  In order to accomplish their global goal, they concluded that they needed to find a common enemy against which they could get independent nations to unite. This enemy did not need to be real. They tried several. But in their book, “The Next Global Revolution” they declared: “in searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea of pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.”  And, they could have included pandemics in their list. They say that the gross negligence of mankind caused these things, and therefore, mankind must step in to aggressively save the planet. And since the independent nations of the earth cannot seem to do it, it is left to the “elites” to do it. Everyone reading this article can see many of these matters being played out in our own government, and in governments all over the world.

World Economic Forum (Club of Rome) and the Antichrist.  At this point, we need to be careful. We cannot say that the Antichrist will be a card-carrying member of the World Economic Forum. However, Antichrist will be one of the “elites”, since he will lead a powerful nation (one that can defend Israel). It is highly probable that their efforts for the past 50 years will provide the framework for what the Bible reveals about globalism and Antichrist. Mankind clearly has traveled a long way on the path to globalism over these past 50 years. Consider when Covid-19 arrived and the whole world was locked down. Consider the present irresponsible massive borrowing and spending in order to deal with such things as climate change; an activity known to weaken a nation. Consider the attack on the traditional family by the gay-lesbian-transgender community. On close inspection the fingerprints of the World Economic Forum are seen.

  1. Satan’s Involvement. The Bible reveals that behind these ideas which challenge God’s standards are demonic beings. The “god of this world,” Satan (1 John 5:19) is active in his own world. His hatred for God’s laws and people are ever present. The “elites” may not see Satan, but he is there. Their successes are really his successes. Satan’s passionate desire has been to be like God (Isa. 14:13-14), and to be worshiped. The closest he comes is the second half of the Tribulation, where in the global empire, Satan and Antichrist are worshiped by all the world (Rev. 13:4-8).

  2. God’s Involvement.  God has determined all the end time events, down to the smallest detail. Everything He has declared will come to pass, and that includes man’s last final rebellion, the global government of the Antichrist. Even that evil empire will cause God to be glorified, as millions will reject that man and his evil and will turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and a guaranteed entrance into His glorious kingdom. That kingdom will last for 1,000 years which stands in stark contrast to the measly 42 months of Antichrist’s reign

  3. Our Involvement. The Church will be raptured out of this world before Antichrist is revealed. However, as we live at this moment in time, not knowing exactly when these end time events will unfold, we must be involved. We know that the globalists will have their 15 minutes of fame and will appear to win. This is God’s plan and we cannot, of course, stop it from happening. But this must not deter us from: (1) making disciples for the Lord Jesus; (2) still advocating for God’s standards and principles to be in our culture; (3) be sharing our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) with a culture that is becoming increasingly characterized by hopelessness; (4) within the church be insisting that the Bible be proclaimed clearly as God’s inerrant, authoritative Word without compromise; (5) be disciplining ourselves towards greater holiness in our lives; (6) be doing good deeds so that our heavenly Father is glorified (Matt. 5:16). A lot to do and perhaps not much time to do it.                                 

Even so, come Lord Jesus



(NOTE: Some information was taken from Dick Morris’ online January 14, 2023 article “How Globalism is Conquering the Globe”, and from the Patriot Post of January 18, 2023 in an article, “Destination Davos”, written by Douglas Andrews) 


Sunday, January 1, 2023

HERE COMES A NEW YEAR

   

         Flipping the calendar to January usually brings some moments of reflection with it, as we think about what this new year might bring our way. For Bible-believing Christians, the beginning of the year causes us to wonder if this is the year that Jesus comes for us, and if perhaps the long-awaited end of times will descend on this world. And these thoughts are not irrational as the world does appear to be looking more like the days of Noah and the conditions found in Sodom and Gomorrah. And then, of course, we wonder what our personal futures will be like, as we contemplate issues of health, finances, and relationships. What will this new year bring?

God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen not to tell us the specifics concerning what will take place in our 2023, which is probably a good thing. (Do we really want to know that we will be injured in a car crash in July?) However, there are certain truths that are fixed and do apply to this coming year. Even though some truths are familiar, they might help in giving us some perspective about 2023. First, the bad news.

Evil will triumph temporarily. The Apostle John reminds us that this world (culture) “lies in the power of the Evil One” (1 John 5:19). So, we ought not be too surprised when, after rejecting God’s standards, people twist life around and now “call good evil, and evil good” (Isa. 5:20). The Apostle Paul’s powerful and revealing discussion of the downward slide of a nation makes it so very clear that our nation has fallen under the wrath of God. (Read Paul’s expose of nations who walk away from God’s truth in Romans 1:18-32, and see if you can reach any other conclusion). And things will get much worse on this planet during the coming Tribulation period when the satanically-empowered Antichrist will successfully seek out believers in Jesus and destroy most of them (Rev. 13:7). And while the Church will be raptured prior to this time, millions will come to faith in Jesus after the Rapture, but will be martyred for their faith in Messiah (Rev. 7:9-14). It looks like the storm clouds are forming.

The Church will apostatize. One of the sad realities about Israel in the Old Testament was that those charged with keeping that nation close to the Lord (priests and leaders) miserably failed. Unfortunately, the church will follow this pattern and there will be a great departure from God’s truth (2 Thess. 2:3). The false church of the Tribulation will be the zenith of coming “apostasy.” But before the Tribulation, the warning is that there will be a massive invasion of false teachers into the church who “in the later times will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). And “the time will come when they (believers?) will not endure sound (healthy) doctrine,” but rather will turn away from God’s revealed truth and flock to those teachers who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3-4). That time seems to have come, and most likely in 2023 this turning away from God’s truth will only accelerate. Watch out for more and more preachers who subtly (or not) will cast doubt on the verbal inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. This is often seen as they try and accommodate the Scriptures on cultural issues such as abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, God as the creator and the God-ordained structure of the home. Biblical prophecy will be further distorted and/or marginalized. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan’s approach has been to cast doubt on the veracity and authority of God’s truth. The Bible says that the church will not do well at the end. Does it not seem that we are in this time?  

The Antichrist is alive today. Satan simply does not know when God is going to commence end times events. (In Matt. 24:36, not even holy angels have been given the starting date of the end times. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Satan has been clued in on this critical piece of information). As a result, Satan has always had a man ready to go at a moment’s notice. Such a man exists today within western culture. Daniel 7 is clear that out of the old Roman empire will come this powerful but wicked end times personality. So, he will not come from Russia, China or many other places. Whoever this is, he will be a ruler of a single nation. Then when he signs a covenantal agreement with Israel (Dan. 9:27), he is revealed as the Antichrist. If time passes and there is a “delay” in the start of end time events, Satan will replace the “present” Antichrist with another and will be ready to go. The stage is pretty much set for the last act in this play on planet earth, but we just do not know the time when the curtain will be raised. God’s timing has always been perfect, and we can be sure that the Sovereign Lord will not be a minute early or late for the curtain raising. Now some good news.

We are in the kingdom for such a time as this. Long ago when the Medes and Persians ruled the world including Israel, Mordecai the Jew gave an insightful word to his niece Queen Esther. When the Jews were facing annihilation, Mordecai told her that she was probably in her position as the queen for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). In other words, Esther was sovereignly placed there by the Almighty God to be His instrument in saving His people. And so, it is true with us. We are not here on this planet, at this time, by accident, but are here for “such a time as this.” God has His purposes and we are here to carry out His purposes. This is not to say that as individuals we will change the world, but it does mean that our Lord has things for us to do. He has people that need the Savior and we are the evangelists. He wants truth, His truth, proclaimed and defended. He has individuals who need His touch in their lives which will be done through believers. He is waiting to hear from praying believers. We probably think of ourselves as “little” and “insignificant,” and we are probably right. However, that is exactly the kind of person that God has chosen to use over the millennia. We are here in 2023 because we have work to do for the living God. This could be our best year yet. 

We can presently live in this culture with peace and joy. Anxiety, worry, and fear are tightening their grip on our culture, which is the growing opinion of many, Christians and non-Christians alike. 2023 is worrisome. Jesus noted that in this world we will have trouble, but believers can live in peace (John 16:33). He had stated a few minutes earlier in His discourse that His peace was different from the world’s peace (John 14:27). The world’s peace depends on the circumstances of life being good and pleasant. But Jesus’ peace comes because of who He is and what He has done. A person who has placed their faith in Jesus is immediately, positionally at peace with God (Rom. 5:1). The believer has a harmonious relationship with God and is no longer at enmity with Him. But peace is more than something positional, it can also be true of us as we live in this culture. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul declares that “the peace of God…shall guard your hearts (emotions) and mind (thoughts) in Christ Jesus.”  In this culture, unbelievers simply cannot comprehend this tranquility and harmonious relationships that are available to followers of Christ. As troubles appear, believers are to come to the Lord God with “thanksgiving” and pray about those troubling matters. When troubles come, believers need to shift their focus off the troubling matter and onto the Lord; who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and good. We may not know what 2023 will bring, but we do know that our Lord Jesus does. Peace can be ours, and joy can be ours as we abide in Christ and live obediently to Him (John 15:11),

Jesus will return and rule over the entire world. The Bible does not stutter or stammer on this matter. It is never IF Jesus will return and rule the world, but always WHEN He will do it. Psalm 2 is such a powerful reminder of what is going to take place (Take a moment and read this Psalm…good for the mind and soul). Contrary to some theologies, Jesus is not presently fulfilling Psalm 2, and this is made certain by numerous scriptures. For example, Hebrews 1:5-2:8 speaks of Jesus ruling as the One who fulfills the Davidic covenant. It includes the statement that “we do not yet see all things subjected to Him” (2:8). The point is that He is not, at this moment, ruling as Messiah. But He will. And Psalm 2 records the declaration of the Sovereign God that He has installed the Anointed One as king in Zion (2:6) and has given the nations of the earth as His inheritance (2:8). This is such an encouraging scripture. Today, many political leaders are corrupt and abuse their authority. But it is established and settled that God will set aside all of these and that Jesus’ reign on this earth will be in righteousness (Isa. 11:4-5). And the God who cannot lie says He will make all things right. We can hope that it all begins in 2023. 

It is important that we rehearse these and similar truths regularly. So, if by any chance you are concerned about many things that might come in 2023, remember that Jesus promised: (1) all authority has been given to Him (Matt. 28:18-20), and (2) He is our Good Shepherd and He will always be with us (Matt. 28:20; John 10:11_15)). No force or person can thwart His power, and He is constantly watching over us, His “sheep.” Our task now is to “abide” (remain in fellowship) with Him and live obediently (John 15:1-12). As the old song goes: “trust and obey for there is no other way.”



Thursday, December 1, 2022

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD and CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

 

One can never have too many lights when decorating at Christmas time. This great principle has been a guiding reality around our home for years. We love the white lights, the LED lights, and the colored lights; ones that blink and ones that stay steady. They not only make for a compelling display that is pleasing to the eye, but they also chase away the darkness. Now there is some disagreement where the idea of lights at Christmas came from. Some point to the candles of Hanukkah, while others trace it back to Christmas celebrations in Europe and other ideas are also presented. It makes no real difference since beauty is present and darkness is gone.

Brilliant light was part of the first coming of Jesus Christ into this world, and it will be on display at His second coming. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Luke 2:9 informs us that an angel appeared to some shepherds out in the fields and that “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” The darkness of that night was brilliantly removed by the illuminating glory of God. About a year later, the “star” (which I believe is best understood as the Shekinah---the glory of God) appeared to wisemen who were directed to go and find the new King. This brilliant light was a sign to them, as it was to ancient Israel as God led them through the wilderness (Exo. 40:34-38).

And so it will be at His return. In Matthew 24:29-30, Jesus declared that when He returns it will be when the moon’s light is gone, and the sun has become darkened. Into that unnerving gloom on earth at the end of the Tribulation, the glory of Christ will shine. At that moment, there will appear the “sign of the son of Man”, which once again is probably the Shekinah, glory of God. Jesus will come in “glory” and will sit on His throne, which is a “glorious throne” (Matt. 25:31). In His earthly ministry, Jesus allowed three of His disciples to have a preview of this marvelous light of His glory on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2-5). They saw what He will appear like in His coming earthly kingdom. 

The idea of light being connected with Christ’s appearances should not come as a surprise to us. The Apostle John began his gospel with the declaration that Jesus was the “light” that entered this spiritually dark world (John 1:4-9). Jesus Himself would later state that He was the “light of the world” (John 8:12). This statement was made after Jesus had forgiven a woman who was in a moral/spiritual darkness. That woman (to use the words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:13) had been delivered out of the domain of darkness and entered a glorious relationship with Jesus Christ. 

According to 1 John 1:5, the basic nature of God is that He is “light.”  There is absolutely no darkness of any kind in Him. John’s important point is that if a believer wants to live in fellowship with the Light, that believer cannot allow even a smidgen of darkness in his own life. Whatever we might claim, darkness in our lives rules out any real fellowship with Christ. Generally, the church today is increasing in allowing dark doctrines and darkness in living to become normal. As a result, too many Christians believe that God will accept most any behavior in their lives, since He is a God of love. He is that to be sure, but John dismisses our claims to walk with Him if we tolerate any kind of darkness in our lives (In 1 John 2, he says that we are lying when we say that). In reading 1 John 1:5, 7 very recently, it was a powerful reminder to me that sin must be immediately confessed and zero tolerance given for any shade of dark behavior whether, as believers, it be in our actions, our thoughts or our attitudes. John states that a believer who has a little bit of darkness in his/her life simply cannot have authentic fellowship with God who is pure light (1 John 2:8-11). However, since we do sin, provision has been made for us by Christ’s work on the Cross. When we confess our sins candidly, taking God’s view of those sins, we are then fully and completely washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. Walking in the Light depends upon our obedience to Him. Perhaps as we put up our Christmas lights this year, we will let them remind us of Jesus, the light of the world, with whom we can have daily fellowship if we will walk in the light (1 John 1:7). 

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth as the King over all (Psalm 2), it will be in power and GLORY (Matt. 25:31). The Light, the glory, the brilliance, will be overpowering. This is what Peter, James and John experienced on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2-5). To his dying day, Peter never forgot what He saw that day on the mountain, and he tells us about it in 2 Peter 1:16-19. Note Peter’s choice of words as he described Jesus as He will appear during that 1,000-year reign on this earth (“glory”, “Majestic glory”, “a lamp shining in a dark place”, “day dawns”, “morning star”). There are so many videos out these days which attempt to tell us about Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. Some are helpful, but to a certain extent they all have conditioned us to think of Jesus as the carpenter/rabbi from Nazareth, and do not help us really see Him as the glorious King. During His earthly ministry, as Paul teaches us in Philippians 2:7, Jesus “emptied Himself” of all displays of deity. That will change when He comes back in full glory to rule. That is our blessed expectation as given in Titus 2:13: the “appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” His will truly be a kingdom of light.

Whether or not Jesus was born on December 25th, it is a good thing to celebrate His entrance into this world; that moment when God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). And maybe, just maybe, as we hang up our Christmas lights, we will remind ourselves of the nature of our Savior; that He is light; and that our Christmas lights might daily ask us the question: “are you walking in the Light?”

May your Christmas be filled with light, both physical and spiritual.


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

TRENDING TOWARDS THE “DAYS OF NOAH”

 

  In His prophetic discourse, Jesus stated that when He comes back at His Second Coming, the condition of the earth would be like those in the days of Noah. (In speaking of His coming, Jesus was not talking about the Rapture of the Church, as that was a truth not yet revealed.) He was referring to the time when He would physically return to the earth and thus fulfill God’s covenant commitments to Israel. Now when we think of the “days of Noah” our minds naturally go back to Genesis 6 where the horrible, pervasive evil conditions on the earth are described.

“THEN THE LORD SAW THAT THE WICKEDNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT ON THE EARTH, AND THAT EVERY INTENT OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY…NOW THE EARTH WAS CORRUPT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, AND THE EARTH WAS FILLED WITH VIOLENCE. AND GOD LOOKED UPON THE EARTH, AND BEHOLD IT WAS CORRUPT; FOR ALL FLESH HAD CORRUPTED THEIR WAY UPON THE EARTH.” Genesis 6:5, 11-12

And the book of Revelation certainly verifies the absolute corruption of mankind in the end of times, when Jesus returns. Man, in those days, will repeatedly demonstrate hatred for God’s righteous standards and for God’s righteous people. Evil men, energized by Satan himself, will slaughter believers (Rev. 6:10; 13:7); will kill hundreds of millions of people (Rev. 9:18); will, like Adolph Hitler, try and solve the “Jewish problem” by destroying Israel (Rev. 12:15); will aggressively speak out against the true God and His ways (Rev. 13:5-6); and will rally mankind against King Jesus in a futile attempt to resist His coming (Rev. 19:16-21). This time of tribulation, as Jesus declared, would be the worst of times (Matt. 24:21). And, like with Noah’s day, the evil is so pervasive that mankind will end up drinking from the bowl of the wrath of God (Rev. 15-16).

When Jesus returns at His Second Coming, probably around 80% of the population of the world has just perished in the Tribulation. The book of Revelation helps us envision what this is going to look like. And with the Holy Spirit’s ministry of the restraining of sin being removed out of the world (2 Thess. 2:7), wickedness will simply explode on the planet. Evil will be deep and wide. It will be a repeat of Genesis 6.

However, it is interesting and instructive how Jesus describes the days of Noah as it relates to His return to earth. It does not read like Genesis 6.

“FOR THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN WILL BE JUST LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH. FOR AS IN THOSE DAYS WHICH WERE BEFORE THE FLOOD THEY WERE EATING AND DRINKING, THEY WERE MARRYING AND GIVING IN MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOAH ENTERED THE ARK, AND THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND UNTIL THE FLOOD CAME AND TOOK THEM ALL AWAY; SO SHALL THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE.” Matthew 24:37-39

“AND JUST AS IT HAPPENED IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, SO IT SHALL BE ALSO IN THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN: THEY WERE EATING, THEY WERE DRINKING, THEY WERE MARRYING; THEY WERE GIVING IN MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOAH ENTERED THE ARK, AND THE FLOOD CAME AND DESTROYED THEM ALL.” Luke 17:26-27

Luke then records a further illustration given by Jesus.

“IT WAS THE SAME IN THE DAYS OF LOT; THEY WERE EATING, THEY WERE DRINKING, THEY WERE BUYING, THEY WERE SELLING, THEY WERE PLANTING, THEY WERE BUILDING; BUT ON THE DAY THAT LOT WENT OUT FROM SODOM IT RAINED FIRE AND BRIMSTONE FROM HEAVEN AND DESTROYED THEM ALL. IT WILL BE JUST THE SAME ON THE DAY THAT THE SON OF MAN IS REVEALED.”  Luke 17:28-30


Unexpectedly, Jesus does not focus on the rampant sinfulness of mankind, or on the unusual level of unrighteousness of the last days. Rather, He speaks of normal human activities, such as eating, marrying, building, and planting. That certainly does not sound all that terrible! But what Jesus is emphasizing is “ungodliness” and not “unrighteousness.” “Unrighteousness” is when people behave in an unrighteous way. It means that they are disregarding God’s righteous standards, principles, and laws. The people of Noah’s day and people of Lot’s day were obviously living in a very unrighteous way. And that will be true at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming. “Ungodliness” is not the same thing as “unrighteousness” though there is a clear connection between the two words.

Unrighteous living flows naturally out of ungodliness. Being “ungodly” (asebeian) communicates the idea of a person living without any real regard for God in their lives. The great Creator God is dismissed to a place of irrelevance. Ungodliness is not atheism. It is not a denial of God’s existence. But it is such a diminishing of His person that He really has no real authority and has no real place in the life of an individual. It might be synonymous with “secular.” Fundamentally, the awesome Creator God is removed from His rightful place of centrality in life to a place where He is essentially irrelevant.

Ungodliness is the opposite of showing deep reverence for God. There is simply no awe in the minds and hearts of His creature. A person goes about life, eating and drinking, building and planting, with no place for this irrelevant God. He exists but is out somewhere on the distant margins of life. This appears to be what Jesus is emphasizing regarding the spiritual atmosphere at His Second Coming. The world at large will think wrongly about God. And this is the most likely reason why they are totally unprepared for God’s judgment on them when it comes. Judgment catches them by surprise, and we wonder why. Jesus began His prophetic discourse with the warning that “see to it that no one misleads you…and many false prophets will arise and mislead many” (Matt. 24:4, 11). People in the Tribulation period will be misled and will embrace a distorted, deceptive view of the God of heaven. This, of course, is not something new, since from the days in the Garden of Eden this has been Satan’s ploy: to distort the truth of God, and therefore, call into question God’s credibility.

Today, this diminishing of God’s Word has been accelerating. A growing percentage (according to some reliable studies) of those in the church no longer believe in the inerrancy and authority of God’s Word. And this is true even in churches that call themselves “evangelical.”  However, the Apostle Paul is quite clear that God and His word are inseparably linked together (Gal. 1:6). In this Galatians passage, Paul is amazed that these Christians have departed from the truth he gave them; but he observes that when they leave God’s truth, they are actually departing from the Lord Himself. To diminish God’s truth is to diminish God Himself. The inevitable result of this is that the Lord God is reduced in the minds and hearts of people. They go on with the routine of life without the Lord God being the center of life. At best, He lives out on the margins of life and this is ungodliness. This is what will be massively true in Jesus’ day as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. We certainly are trending towards the days of Noah in this matter. Several decades ago, A. W. Tozer observed that “the Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be unworthy of thinking, worshipping men.” (“The Knowledge of the Holy,” p. 6). Ungodliness in the church and in the culture has been going on for quite awhile and will get worse right up until the time Jesus returns back to the earth again.

With all this in mind, it is vital for us as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to make sure that our view of the Lord God is true and accurate according to the Scriptures. We do have the tendency to make God look a little more like ourselves; to bring Him down a little. And so, we need to ensure that we are not becoming “ungodly” in our thinking and living. We are helped in avoiding ungodliness in our lives by focusing on the works and the attributes of God as revealed in the Scriptures. So many portions of Scripture help in this regard; such as Isaiah 40, Psalm 2, Psalm 139, Psalm 145 or God’s illuminating words to Job (Job 39-41). And perhaps reading (or re-reading) books like Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy” will help us focus with clarity on the greatness and majesty of our God. It is true, of course, that we will not be here on earth during those heightened days of ungodliness in the Tribulation period, but we are dealing with this growing phenomenon of “ungodliness” today in the church. We individually must not give ground one bit on the Person of God and the Word of God, or we will experience the reality of creeping ungodliness in our own lives.

Ungodliness (being secular) never goes well for us. We just do not see God correctly, and unrighteousness is entered into with great ease. We miss God’s directions; we make poor choices and we have negatives come into our lives that really do not need to be there. It remains true that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One” is understanding (Prov. 9:10). Seeing the Lord God correctly is foundational to a solid Christian life. I am hopeful that each of us will renew our resolve to avoid ungodliness in our own lives. This truth is vital to our spiritual health, even while the culture, and too much of the church, are trending towards the days of Noah.



Saturday, October 1, 2022

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, OUR EFFORTS and THE NOVEMBER ELECTION


The attack ads are coming at us. They are nasty, verbal tsunamis. They are everywhere and in great numbers. One political office-seeker throws as much mud as is possible in 30 seconds, or maybe on a single billboard. Their opponent returns the favor. This, of course, informs us that an election must not be too far off. Few present any positive solutions, so they resort to character assassination. Perhaps you are weary of this as I am, and would like to vacation in West Pango Pango for the next two months.  (By the way, things are not much different in West Pango Pango). But that time away would not solve anything. We who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ might consider approaching the coming elections with these 6 points in mind.

  1. God is sovereign over all things, including elections. 

    When evil people gain positions of power or when there are questions about the legitimacy of an election, it is difficult for us to understand Daniel’s statement, where he said: “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. As it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and sets up kings…” (Dan. 2:21-22). Nothing is outside of the control of the Sovereign of the universe, including elections. Man’s evil manipulations, deceit, lying and violent rage against Him and His standards only elicits laughter from the heavens (Psa. 2:4). The Great Creator is simply not intimidated nor impressed with the boastful beating of the chest by humans. We, however, often find it hard to figure out what God is doing in allowing some things to take place and some people to be in the places of power. But believers throughout all of history have learned that they simply must trust the all-knowing and all-powerful God. He knows everything actual and possible, and there is no force or combination of forces that can thwart His will from being accomplished on earth. That applies to this election as well. This biblical truth might make it seem that the subject is settled and we are to just sit back, or maybe take that vacation in West Pango Pango. But there is more. 

  2. Prayer is vital in God’s working in the realm of mankind.

Probably everyone reading this article believes that prayer is important, but it is also likely that no one reading this article really understands how the sovereign God factors prayer into His plans. But having said that, the Bible again and again records that a person praying brought about a response from the Lord. Remember when the brutal Assyrian army had surrounded Jerusalem and godly King Hezekiah fervently prayed for God to intervene? God did. Through Isaiah the prophet, God said to the king: “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib, king of Assyria…” I will judge him in a powerful way (Isa. 37:12-29). Sounds like prayer made a difference. And then there was the time when Daniel was passionately praying about God fulfilling His promise to return His people back to their land. The angel Gabriel was sent to Daniel and informed him that the moment Daniel began to pray, Gabriel was dispatched from God to Daniel with the answer (Dan. 9:23). Many times, the early church witnessed the response of God to prayer. Facing persecution, they prayed. “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). Again and again in the Scriptures, individuals and groups sought the Lord and He intervened. And since God has not changed, the challenge before us is to seek for the Lord’s intervention. The polls and the pundits don’t dictate what is going to take place. He has responded to prayer in the past, and He certainly can do it in November. We apparently can have a role in this.

  1. Righteousness still elevates a nation.  

    The truth of Proverbs 14:34 remains in force today. It states, “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” America needs an infusion of righteousness.  So, we should seek those who best would promote programs, policies and laws that reflect biblical principles. This might take some research on our part, since in this culture righteousness might be more difficult to find. We seem to be facing so much that is false and deceptive, and increasingly good is said to be evil, and evil is said to be good. However, some politicians and propositions are closer to biblical truth than others. And if we can, we need to support those.

  2. We hold dual citizenship. 

    Most of us are citizens of the United States of America. And there have been many blessings which are ours because of that fact. But we are also citizens of heaven. The Apostle Paul, who was a Roman citizen, said that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). There was some value for him in his Roman citizenship, but much greater value in his being a citizen of heaven. Our time as citizens of the United States is limited to decades, but our heavenly citizenship is something that is eternal. So, while we are to be the best American citizens we can be, we must remember that we are ambassadors from the kingdom of King Jesus. Our highest loyalty and service is to be for Him. And since we are still here, our primary task is to be carrying out His wishes, whatever they may be. This truth helps us keep a proper perspective in our loyalties, and in our elections.

  3. We should remember the “Josiah Effect”.  

    I have spent time recently in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. There are many spiritual principles and illustrations that emerge from those historical books. What caught my attention was the reign of Manasseh (2 Kings 21). During Israel’s 450-year monarch period, 43 kings ruled. And of all those kings, Manasseh is said to be the wickedest of all. He was an incredibly evil king who sacrificed his own sons to a foreign god; who set up idols in the holy Jerusalem temple; who was deep into the occult; and who slaughtered the righteous people of Jerusalem. God declared that he was even more wicked than the dynamic evil duo of Ahab and Jezebel. His evil was greater than the Canaanites that occupied the land prior to Israel’s arrival. Because of this extreme level of wickedness, God pronounced irreversible judgment of Judah. Terrible judgment was coming because of his evil. God does take His rules seriously. But then, amazing as it might seem, into that situation of utter depravity came a new king by the name of Josiah (2 Kings 22 and 23). Josiah loved the Lord, humbled Himself before the Lord and sought to live according to God’s standards. Because of Josiah, God put judgment “on hold.”  As long as Josiah was alive, judgment would not come on Judah. This kind of “adjustment” by God can be observed a number of times in the Old Testament, as 2 Chronicles 7:14 declared it would. America is not Israel, and God has no covenant relationship with America. But the USA is looking more and more like the days of Manasseh. However, it does seem that God delights in making these “adjustments.” I do not pretend to know what God might do in response to believers being like Josiah. Remember that God was willing to spare wicked Sodom if just 10 righteous people still existed in that city (Gen. 18:22-33). If God did make an “adjustment,” I think it would be so that we could have time to become more intentional in the way we live as Christians, and not so that we could vacation in West Pango Pango.

  4. God has future plans for mankind which will be fulfilled.  

    The Book of Revelation, along with many more prophetic portions leave no doubt that God has some very detailed plans and purposes for mankind and for this planet. And since He is Sovereign, these will take place. It is never a question of “if,” but “when.” For example, before the millennial kingdom of Jesus is established on this earth, certain things will take place. One of those is the establishment of a global government, ruled over by the Antichrist. Globalism is eventually going to come. However, globalism is also going to lead to God’s plans coming to fruition. God will use it to do His great work of saving the people of Israel, which is the primary purpose of the coming Tribulation period. God has committed Himself to saving Israel as well as millions of gentiles, and He will use the coming evil to do so. The great miracles and judgments of that period will tear off the spiritual blindfold on Israel and will also awaken millions of slumbering gentiles to ultimate realities. But to do all of this, there will be a dramatic change in this world which will include the rise of incredibly evil leaders and their diabolical plans of world domination. This is going to take place. The location on the calendar is not known.

So, as the tsunami of attack ads roll over us, we are not to languish in despair and helplessness. That laughing you hear comes from heaven. And the Great King would have us keep these and other theological truths in mind. We are here and we have work to do. As a person thinks, so they are. Think biblically as you face the November elections.




Thursday, September 1, 2022

On That Day


A person’s last words, when they know they are their last words, are often quite powerful and significant to the hearers. The Apostle Paul’s last words, in 2nd Timothy, are indeed powerful and significant to Timothy, but also to all believers. In this last letter that we have of Paul’s, he mentions “that day” three different times (1:12; 1:18; 4:5). When he wrote 2 Timothy, Paul was in a Roman prison awaiting his execution. One matter that he was directed by the Holy Spirit to write about was to remind  Timothy about the believer’s future appearance before Christ’s judgment seat (“that day”). Most of us regularly need this reminder of our personal accountability when we appear before the Lord Jesus Christ. We get so wrapped up in doing life that we often lose this essential perspective. As a reminder, the Judgment Seat of Christ is not the place where our eternal destiny (heaven or hell) is determined, but it is the place for the rewarding of believers. Rewards are given on “that day” but the consequences of those rewards will carry over into the one-thousand-year reign of Christ, and most likely, throughout the eternal kingdom of God.

(1) 2 Timothy 1:12. The context for the first use of “that day” is Paul’s confidence and Paul’s suffering in relation to the gospel of Christ. Paul was ordained by God to be a proclaimer of the Gospel (“apostle, preacher and teacher”, 1:11). And while we are not apostles, it is nevertheless true that we too have been given this amazing body of truth to share with mankind. It includes the truth about God’s intervention into history to solve the sin problem. Paul was not ashamed of this gospel (same word used in Romans 1:16) because the work of Jesus on the Cross is the only means of reconciling God and man (1 Cor. 1:18). But Satan and godless men hate this good news and lash out against those who would witness to its truthfulness (2 Cor. 4:4). They target faithful preachers/teachers. As a result of his faithfulness to the gospel and to the Person of Christ, Paul suffered. As he himself shares in chapter 4, he is in a harsh imprisonment, attacked by evil men and abandoned by his friends who are fellow believers. He is in a painful, lonely place. But even in this dismal situation, Paul is absolutely convinced that God is powerful enough to keep the combined efforts of the Evil One and wicked men from destroying the gospel. Paul has done his part to guard the gospel, and now the mighty hand of God will keep the evil enemies from succeeding in their attempt to destroy the gospel of Christ.

One of Paul’s great motivations for his determined efforts was the reality that he would stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account of what he had done, and then be rewarded. Being rewarded was not his only motivator, as he states in 2 Corinthians 5:10-16, but it is the one he emphasizes here. Paul was faithful in his proclaiming the gospel and by so doing, he was willing to be identified with Christ. And when we too appear before Jesus, faithfulness will be one of the key criteria in our evaluation (1 Cor. 4:1-2). We must never forget that the Lord requires that we be faithful, but never requires that we be famous. Sometimes we think that fame in the church, or culture, will play a great part in our evaluation. It will not. But faithfulness will be. as it is highly prized by the Lord Jesus. We must be faithful to Him in the use of our spiritual gifts, natural abilities, intellectual abilities, use of our time as well as our financial resources. The Lord places a great emphasis on the faithfulness of His servants.

2 Timothy 1:18. While being faithful in sharing the gospel is a very important part of our responsibilities, as servants of Christ, it is not the only thing. In this verse, Paul uses Onesiphorus as an illustration of faithfulness in serving Christ by diligently serving others. Onesiphorus’ labors and boldness would have been well-known to Timothy, since Onesiphorus was an Ephesian believer and Timothy was ministering at that time in Ephesus. This man went out of his way to find Paul when he was a prisoner in Rome, and to bring encouragement to Paul. Paul reminds Timothy that Onesiphorus lived a life characterized by kindness and good deeds. That attitude and those kind works will be remembered at the Judgment Seat, so it is not simply proclaiming God’s Word that will be evaluated. This should be of huge encouragement to all believers who do not stand behind a pulpit or classroom lectern. Paul also includes the fact that he is praying that mercy will be extended to Onesiphorus at the Judgment Seat. We do not know what he has in mind when he speaks of “mercy” (a withholding of deserved punishment), but it is apparently going to be an issue for all believers at the Judgment Seat. James too brings up the fact that we all will want mercy when we stand before the Lord (James 2:13). And mercy will be granted to those who have shown mercy to others in this life. This is clearly a significant point to think about, as it indicates that part of our evaluation will be in how we dealt with others; especially those who have hurt or offended us. 

(3) 2 Timothy 4:8. This third use of “that day” makes it clear that the subject is indeed the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul has faithfully, successfully reached the end of his race, and in the future he will be rewarded. Paul uses the imagery of an athlete who has won at the games and awaits the “crown” from the referee. This is not a time of punishment, but a time when faithful believers will be rewarded.        Several truths about rewards are mentioned. First, the reward is secure (“laid up for me”). Jesus also clearly taught that investments made in the Bank of Heaven would never diminish or disappear (Matt. 6:19-21). Rewards earned will never disappear which may point to them being eternal in their consequences. Second, rewarding takes place, not at death, but at His appearing. This also is something Jesus was clear about in Revelation 22:12, where He brings His reward with Him at His coming. Third, Jesus is the “righteous” judge. When believers appear before Him, He will evaluate us fairly and justly. This comes from His very nature. He will not reward undeserving saints nor overlook the works of faithful saints. And, it will be clear to all observers that His evaluations are totally righteous ones. It is likely that Paul mentions this fact because Jesus stands in stark contrast to the Roman judges who were unrighteous in their dealing with the Apostle Paul. Fourth, Paul specifically mentions one “crown” to illustrate the rewarding at the Judgment Seat. This was the “crown of righteousness.” This crown is given because of a believer’s righteous living. Christ will give this to the one who has lived life according to the righteous standard of God. He is using the imagery of an athlete who competed at the games and did so to receive the victor’s “crown”. The “crown” (stephanos) was a wreath placed on the head which honored the athlete who had won. He won because he trained and disciplined himself for this moment before the referee. Paul did so as well, as he detailed in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. There Paul argues for believers to discipline themselves in their spiritual lives.

The “crown of righteousness” is not just for apostles. All believers who have loved His appearing will receive it. This speaks of the attitude and anticipation of the believer who has an ongoing love for Jesus Christ and of seeing Him. When a believer is looking forward to seeing Jesus Himself, that perspective gives strength to persevere in righteous living and to swim against the ungodly cultural current. We should observe that one receives this crown not because a believer is just hoping for the Rapture to bail the believer out of present trouble, but is a longing to see the Savior Himself. 

The days we are presently living in are increasingly characterized by evil. More and more we are shocked by the calling of good as evil, and evil as good. Our American culture is in a dramatic moral and spiritual decline. The government seems to be looking with less favor on those who identify with Jesus Christ and His standards of behavior. Our day seems to be resembling more and more the days of prisoner Paul in Rome. Whatever the comparison may be, we need to listen to the last words of this great apostle and keep an eye on “that day.” We need to clearly identify with the Lord Jesus and, by His grace and strength, be faithful to Him in the way we handle His truth and the way we live. It will be worth it on “that day.” 

As the old verse goes: “only one life, it will soon be past, 

                                        only what’s done for Christ will last.” 


     “That day” is coming.