by Jeannette Haley
“Know this also, that in the last
days perilous times shall come.”
2 Timothy 3:1
Anyone who thinks that the world is not changing for the worst must dwell on another planet, or is completely deluded. It is no secret that we are living in a hostile environment—one in which those who fear and love God are becoming marginalized by those who hate anything decent, moral or Christian. That goes for Judaism as well, although it appears that most in the Jewish community continue to remain clueless to the looming danger. Many students of eschatology fear that the “beast” of Marxism, or Communism, has come back to life and is determined to exterminate all those who believe in their right to freedom, and who love God.
Thanks to the “information highway” (Internet) and the only unbiased news source available (FOX) people can be kept abreast of the “news behind the news.” Add to that conservative and Christian talk radio, DVD’s, books and other printed material, and you have more information available to the public than at any other period in history. No one in America or any other developed country has an excuse to be uninformed. There are times, however, when I consider it a mixed blessing.
While people need to be aware of current events, especially in light of biblical prophecy, I have found, at least for myself, that a continual, steady diet of bad news can result in a wide range of emotional reactions and responses. I believe I am not alone when I admit that my feelings can fluctuate between shock, anger, dread, grief and sorrow, to a sense of expectancy due to prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes.
In Jan Markell’s May 7 article, entitled “For Such a Time as This,” she wrote: “This office has been receiving communications in the last few months revealing that some Christians 1) Are discouraged by the level of struggle they are facing; 2) Are tired of bad news and don’t wish to hear or read anything negative; 3) Feel they are being tested beyond what they can endure; 4) Feel a sense of hopelessness in many areas from finances, to relationships, to grief over the dismantling of America. Some express fear along with grief and anxiety. Christians can shoot their wounded, so I hope no one considers these people to be lesser Christians who need chastisement. They need encouragement. Nobody said it would be easy to be born for such a time as this.
“Ministries like this one could compromise as many churches have. We could switch and present ‘feel good’ articles and ‘happy talk’ radio. We could stop sharing the inconvenient truth. Well, we will not.
“The Bible says that when unrighteous people rule a nation, the people groan (Prov. 29:2). Thus, many in America are literally groaning and weeping. It would be better to be down on your knees, praying without ceasing for our great nation. As stated above in point 4, many are grieving at the loss of the America we once knew.” Full article: http://bible-prophecy-today.blogspot.com/2009/05/for-such-time-as-this.html
Granted, bad news is “discouraging.” It is unsettling, and depressing. It can undermine and erode our sense of security and confidence in our earthly life. After all, for 233 years, America has been the bastion of freedom and prosperity, and most Americans blithely assumed that it would never fall, in spite of the lessons of history, and biblical warnings and prophecies to the contrary. Most Christians have assumed that God would always bless and favor America. Therefore, is it any wonder that so many are reeling from shock at the unchecked evil that is eroding and threatening every level of our society? People who have lost jobs, homes, and their retirement along with their way of life know what it is like to have the rug literally pulled out from underneath them.
How are born again Christians to respond? Should we grab our guns and grub, head for the hills and dig in, or should we stand still and fight? Should we give in to our fears and faint? (Do not think you are “beyond” fainting. Many of God’s kings, priests and prophets have experienced that emotion.) The truth is, we, as God’s people, need to stop, fall on our faces, and in faith seek the Lord for His wisdom, perspective and leading. The other thing we must do is to ask the Lord to help us think “outside of our comfortable box” by tossing out personal pet theories, ideas, concepts, formulas, and conclusions concerning how everything is going to play out. With Job, we need to humble ourselves and quickly come to the place where we realize that God Almighty is sovereign, and that man’s best attempts to put Him in some “understandable” box is silly and futile.
Some of the more dominant theories (theologies) are as follows: The Church is not going to go through “the great tribulation.” Yet, the Bible does not uphold this conclusion, but rather assures us that, rather, we will be spared from the wrath of God. One widespread teaching promoted by the Manifest Sons of God and Latter Rain is that there will be a great, worldwide revival, with Jesus “returning” in the “manifest sons” instead of personally and visibly as the Bible affirms. Another false idea is set forth by the Preterists who claim that the apocalyptic prophecies have already been fulfilled, beginning in A.D. 70. How anyone with even a limited understanding of Scripture can come to such a conclusion is mind-blowing, and merely gives evidence to the fact that people will go to great lengths to bend, twist and wrest the Scriptures to support what they want to believe in spite of biblical and historical evidence to the contrary. Of course, there is the other extreme where some believe that Jesus is not coming until after the Millennium, and so forth. There is no end to theories based on Scriptures taken out of context, man’s traditions and teachings, limited understanding of both the Bible and history, and just plain wild imaginations that bear more resemblance to Hollywood fantasies than God’s Word.
The question remains, how are we to respond to the dismantling of our Constitution and country? Some may insist that the Bible tells us to sit and passively submit to evil rulers. (The Bible and history prove, and condemn, such thinking as suicidal nonsense.) Others believe it is our duty to stand up and fight for our precious freedoms. Either way, it is time to reflect on King Solomon’s words as recorded in Ecclesiastes 3. According to verse 8, there is “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Action, or inaction, for believers depends on God’s timing and His will. Those who have “ears to hear” and “eyes to see” will understand. The Prophet Daniel, speaking of the times in which we live, said, “. . . but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32b). Jesus told us that His sheep know His voice. Therefore, it all comes down to each individual believer “watching and praying” and walking in the Spirit. There is no doubt about it; we are heading into treacherous waters. Playing church will no longer provide a safe haven for members of the lukewarm or worldly Laodicean church.
Are we to fight, or flee? Again, whenever we face such a dilemma, it is wise to go to God’s Word to gain wisdom and perspective from examples and principles. We all know that the Lord’s people, Israel, fought countless physical battles throughout the Old Testament (and up to the present time.) But, what about Christians? Does God have one set of rules for Israel, and another for Christians? What did Jesus mean in Luke 22:36 where He told His disciples, “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Obviously, Jesus knew that, after His resurrection and ascension, His followers were going to suffer much persecution, and that they needed to be prepared. This was for the purpose of self-defense, and defense of loved ones, not for launching an all-out aggressive, physical assault on the enemy. In essence, Christians are to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16b). If you think that Christians must obey every oppressive law passed down by a wicked, godless government, then you haven’t read the Book of Acts lately.
As Christians, if we love our freedom—the freedom to love, worship and serve God, a freedom that millions have fought and died for—then do we not owe them, as well as our fellow citizens and loved ones our allegiance to stand for, and by, the Constitution of the United States that guarantees such freedom? Keep in mind, Christians have a mandated responsibility from God to preach the Gospel to the entire world, and to make disciples. Without our freedom, carrying out the great commission in obedience to Christ would be greatly hindered, if not rendered impossible.
While we, with Abraham, look for that city not made with human hands, an eternal kingdom being prepared for us, remember that our forefathers, who gave us this Republic, paid dearly for it. Most of the signers of the Constitution gave their lives as a result. Should we do less? The self-indulgence and passivity of most Americans has brought the sleepy, Laodicean church to this midnight hour. Instead of taking advantage of our God-given freedom to live for and in obedience to God, many have squandered away time, money and energy on selfish pursuits. It is vital that there be true repentance and turning to God that He may have mercy and forgive us, but not so that we can return to our selfish lifestyles.
Concerning a “time to flee,” Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12 says, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” As surely as there is a time to take a stand and fight, there is also a time to flee. (See Matthew 24:16-22.) Each person must do that which the Holy Spirit instructs, and not listen to or follow any other voice. Therefore, God’s people need to be prepared at all times, while continuing to do the work of the Lord, wherever He has placed them. Remember Nehemiah and the builders of the wall at Jerusalem, “For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me…our God shall fight for us” Nehemiah 4:18, 20b.
Bad news, especially that of the stature facing us today, involving such topics as nuclear attack, terrorist attack, flu epidemics, food shortages, and so forth are depressing enough, but now that our government has turned its guns on “We the People,” the result can understandably be faintness of heart. Proverbs 13:12 says,“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick . . .” Let us face it, the hope of most Americans has been, or is, directed towards temporal things that cannot offer real security, either in this world or in the next. Such hope is ill founded at best and disastrous at worst. Therefore, may we take into our minds and hearts the eternal and never-failing Scriptures: “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” Psalm 27:11-14. Is your spirit afraid and feeling faint? God declares, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” Isaiah 41:10. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” Isaiah 40:31.
Of course, in order to be encouraged by the Lord, you must receive His Word, and His Spirit, by faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6. We must settle within our hearts if we can stand and firmly declare, with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” Job 13:16a. We can only come to this point if we know Him, not just of Him. Therefore, may we all have “ears to hear” when the Spirit calls, ready to listen and obey; willing to heed His instructions, for we have this promise, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” Romans 8:17. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” Revelation 21:7.