As our culture rapidly departs from God’s truth, it descends into its own truth, which is constructed of deceptions, half-truths, slanted propaganda and outright lies. As the prophets of the Old Testament observed, they now call evil good, and conversely good is now evil. In such an environment, it is absolutely essential for the follower of Christ to have a maturing two-world view. A two-world view is what characterized the people of faith in Hebrews 11, as well as the likes of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:8-21.
THE FIRST WORLD is the one we live in now. Satan, the “god of this world”, is opposed to that which the Lord has created, and which God has declared to be the best for mankind. These God-ordained entities include the key elements of family, the church and the concept of nations. The Lord has established these to help restrain sin and give to man what is best for him. But Satan works relentlessly at removing them, which explains the approaches of cultural Marxism growing rapidly in our country. Transgenderism, homosexual marriage, the widespread promotion of the LGBTQ agenda, inculcating young children with sexual perversities, unrestrained sexual activities and the explosion of pornography are all aimed at destroying the nuclear family.
The church is clearly a target as well. The radical left partners with Islam, protecting and promoting it, for the one goal of destroying the church. And this reality is aided by “progressive” Christianity with its downplaying of prophetic truth which stimulates a two-world view. It is replacing God’s truths with its emphasis on “social justice”. And they all engage in the hateful name calling of believers who stand for the authority of God’s word. All this is all aimed at destroying the church of Jesus Christ. Open borders, rejecting “American exceptionalism”, and the rapid promotion of almost anything global is all aimed at destroying nationalism and patriotism. Nations were put in place by God after the Tower of Babel to help put a lid on sinful behavior. And while evil men lead nations into some terrible evils, the reality is that the one-world government of the Antichrist that is still to come will bring evil to its zenith. Globalism is where this world is headed.
In a prophetic discourse (Luke 21:10-36), the Lord Jesus declared what would happen in this present world. In 21:8-11, He stated what would take place in the first years of the coming Tribulation period. Unusually intense famines, wars, earthquakes and plagues (perhaps Covid-22, 23 and 24) will hit hard with over 25% of the world’s population dying during those first years (according to Revelation 6:8).
Then Jesus said that “before these things” take place (21:12), in this church age, there are going to be some very difficult times for His people. Believers will be persecuted and betrayed even by close family members. But all this has a purpose, and that is that we believers will have the opportunity and privilege of giving testimony concerning Jesus (21:13). And the good news is that we will be given all that we need at that moment to be able to speak boldly, wisely and accurately about the truths of God (21:14-15).
In 21:20-24, Jesus then continued speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem (which took place in AD 70). These are called “days of vengeance” because that generation of Israelites, who rejected Jesus as Messiah, would pay a heavy price for their stubborn refusal to accept Him.
In 21:25-28, the Lord then returned to the subject of the Tribulation period, pointing out the supernatural displays and destructions that will be experienced in the second half of this seven-year period of time. It is worth noting that men’s response to these events will be “dismay”, “perplexity” and “fainting from fear. Man’s philosophies and solutions to the world’s problems never ever bring the results that they advertise. They always bring despair to people. The cultural Marxists of our day speak (as they always do) of the utopia that lies ahead when the world gets rid of the out-of-date restraints such as the nuclear family, the church and nations. But such naivete will be exchanged for fear and despair. As the world descends into the nightmare, known as the Tribulation, uncertainty and terror will grip the minds and hearts of those who refuse to bow before the Lord Jesus.
THE SECOND WORLD is the one guaranteed to us by the Risen Christ. A biblical worldview has this as an essential ingredient. We are to live in this world but with an eye on the world to come. God has promised His children that our best days lie ahead of us. And He has set forth some of the realities that lie ahead of us. It is good for us to remember these matters, since they were given to give stability in unstable times.
The Rapture or Death. In either case, the believer immediately enters the presence of the glorified Christ, while getting rid of the sinful flesh which plagues us in this life. There is no third option, such as purgatory or “soul sleep”, but instantly we are with our Savior. All of the burdens and trials of this life are immediately set aside as we will begin to experience the wonderful world to come.
The Judgment Seat of Christ. This time of rewarding is to give us added motivation to live well for Christ in this world. It is a reminder that we are to be faithful to Him as good servants. Our salvation is never in question at the Judgment Seat, since our salvation is a free gift that we cannot earn. But the level of our fellowship and participation in the future kingdoms of God is affected by the outcome of Christ’s evaluation of us at the Judgment Seat. This was one of the primary motivations that the Apostle Paul had in his life (2 Cor. 5:10-16). We are not called to be famous, but faithful to what the Master has given to us, His servants. And each of us, as we live our lives on a daily basis, can be faithful to Him.
The Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom. We, as the “bride of Christ” will be part of this kingdom, as God is going to fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in a coming 1,000-year reign of Jesus, son of David. The Old Testament prophets gave great detail about this aspect of the future kingdom of God, as did some New Testament writers. This reign of King Jesus will be on this present earth and will be characterized by a radical change in the spiritual dimension. Jesus will not be the carpenter from Nazareth, but will be seen in His great glory (as He was on the mount of Transfiguration). Satan and his forces will be imprisoned in the abyss for that thousand years, which means that neither Satan’s activities or Satan’s world system will exist. Furthermore, the world will then be characterized by righteousness, peace, joy and a full knowledge of the Lord. None of these exist in today’s world, so we really have to work hard at imagining what such an atmosphere will be like. The physical world will be marvelously changed as the curse will be lifted, making the entire earth fertile and capable of abundant fruitfulness. Disease and deformity will no longer exist. Violence which characterizes the animal kingdom will vanish as harmony exists even among the animals. And the same holds true for mankind. The earth will go back to what it would have been like before the curse of Genesis 3 was placed on it.
The Eternal Phase of the Kingdom of God. At the time of mankind’s fall, God embarked on a program to restore and reconcile all that was lost there in the Garden of Eden. We are going back to paradise. Once the thousand year of the Messianic (Millennial) Kingdom is completed, God will destroy the old heavens and old earth and will create new heavens and earth, patterned after the original creation. It is on this new, perfect earth that God will dwell among His people (Rev. 21:1-5) and we will at last fully experience what our Good God has always wanted for His children.
IN THE MEANTIME, ACCORDING TO JESUS. In the Luke 21 passage, Jesus gave to His people truths for us to live by in this world, as we keep an eye on the world to come.
Be prayerful (21:36). Of course, we should pray (but frequently we don’t). As we live in a morally and spiritually decaying culture, we can become fearful, resulting in a greater danger of compromising God’s truth. Jesus’ point is that we need to pray for the strength to remain steadfast and loyal to Him and to His Word.
Be honored (21:13-15). It is a great honor to represent the Great Creator God, and we have been selected to give “testimony” about Him to an unbelieving world. And when we think about it, with eternity’s values in view, what a privilege to represent Him, and to be empowered by Him.
Be diligent (21:34-35). We daily must evaluate how we are living, keeping in mind that cultural pressures can lead us into harmful living because either we compromise God’s standards or we just give up and hide somewhere. Life in this world has never been easy, but the cultural decay with its onslaught against the righteous standards of God make it harder.
Be loyal to Jesus Christ (21:16-17). Jesus reminded us that even good friends and family members might let us down and even betray Christ. Divided loyalties are not to characterize us. In His ministry, time and again, Jesus made it clear that even family relationships cannot replace our loyalty to Him. We will, He says, give an account to the “Son of Man” (21:36).
And while we pray “even so, come Lord Jesus”, we are to maintain and mature our two-world view until we do see Him.