The Bible gives clear warnings of what life will be like on earth before and during the purging of the earth known as the Tribulation. There are also records of the kind of lifestyles which led to past judgments.
THE LESSON OF THE FLOOD
There is a precedent in the study of world wide judgment, since the Flood of Noah’s day wiped out almost all life on the earth. There is ample evidence of the Flood all around the earth – for example, mass graveyards of fossils and bones, sometimes with the remains of millions of creatures all buried together in one catastrophic event. Have you ever noticed how many dinosaurs, and sometimes a whole herd of them together, are said to have just “wandered into a swamp” and got buried and fossilized?
Genesis 6:5 records that, ‘The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness had become on the earth’. He observed that ‘every inclination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil all the time’. Remember that God judges by His high standards, not by ours. Verse 11 states that ‘the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and full of violence’. Peter wrote that the Flood came because of ‘ungodly people’ (2 Peter 2:5).
In summary, God saw ongoing terrible violence, wickedness and ungodliness; continous evil thought. and corruption (a twisting or rejection of God’s way of living for man). The Flood wiped out almost all life on the earth, and rearranged the earth’s surface.
THE LESSON OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH
God sent judgment on Sodom and surrounding cities because of:
Sexual immorality and perversion: Jude verse 7;
The ‘filthy lives of godless men’: 2 Peter 2:6-8
Men were perverted by homosexuality (Genesis 19:4). God called this kind of sin “detestable” (Deuteronomy18:22), or in the KJV, ‘an abomination’. Another mark of their sin was that they were unashamed of it. They probably had their own ‘gay pride’ marches.
THE NEW TESTAMENT WARNS OF SIMILAR LIFESTYLES AS A SIGN OF THE LAST DAYS
Us humans make the mistake of thinking that if God does not judge sin within five minutes, he’s not going to, or else he’s not even there at all. But Scripture makes it clear that God is patient with us-He gives us as much time as He can to repent and change our ways. John recorded in Revelation that people will not repent of ‘idolatry, murder, magic arts, sexual immorality or theft’ (Revelation 9:20-21). This reveals the continuously evil thinking of people who will be living at the time of the Tribulation, as in the days before the Flood. Idolatry refers to the obsession with, and the worship of nature, objects, wealth, people, or so called ‘gods’ other than Him. It can include materialism: many people “worship“ their cars, in the sense that they spend their time, money and effort on it above anything else. God, our Creator, is the one who deserves our worship. He is not opposed to fun or possessions. In fact God created us with the capacity to have and enjoy an immense amount of pleasure, but He knows what is bad for us, and what is best for us.
Jesus said that in the last days, ‘because of the increase in wickedness THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved’ (Matthew 24:12, 13). This warning of a coming cold, ‘unloving’ attitude in people was amplified by the apostle Paul. Those if us who have been around for a few decades know that people haven’t always been quite the way they are now. Paul said:
‘There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.’ (2 Timothy 3).
A CULTURE IN DECLINE
Paul described the stages a culture goes through when people turn their backs on the living God (Romans chapter 1). The same decline can be seen in our culture now:
They suppress the truth about God, v19-20.
They claim to be wise but become fools, v21-22.
They impose their own ideas about God onto religion, v23.
They indulge in sexual impurity, degrading their bodies, v24.
They serve the creation rather than the Creator, v25 (this would include extreme environmentalism: putting creation above God and His crowning creation, humans).
They engage in unnatural lusts and homosexuality, v26, 27.
They want to forget all about God, v28.
They have depraved minds, v28.
They descend into wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and gossip v29.
They are slanderous, God-hating, insolent, arrogant, boastful, disobedient to parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, v31, 32.
They approve of the wickedness of others v32.
SOCIETY WILL NOT BE DISFUNCTIONAL
Despite the lifestyles of the majority of the population, the Bible says that there will be a functional society when judgment suddenly falls. Jesus said that just as in the days of Noah and the days of Lot-right up to the day that they were judged-people were eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building. They either did not know, or chose not to believe that judgment was coming (Luke17:26-29).
The Bible talks about the coming of God’s judgment as a ‘thief in the night’ (I Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10). This does not mean that we should not look for the coming of Christ. Paul said, ‘But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief’ (2 Thessalonians 5:4). Jesus said that we should ‘keep watch’ (Matthew 24:42).
The real people of God, (not the false church or false religion) have always faced opposition from the rest of the world, and the Bible makes it clear that this will be a feature of last-days life on the earth. This is stressed in the book of Revelation. People will be angry with the Lord, with Biblical teachings, and with Bible believing Christians and Jews. These days in the West you can mention any religion or religious leader in a public place without problem, until you mention the name of Jesus. It’s that Name which is becoming so objectionable, unless you use it as a curse word, as millions do. Why do they not use “Buddha” as a curse word, or another name that we all know but which I can’t mention without being physically threatened? The labels ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘evangelical’ are seen as dirty words now in our secular culture (while four letter words become more acceptable). The ‘dragon’, a name for our arch enemy Satan, will ‘make war against those who obey God’s commands and who hold to the testimony of Jesus’ (Rev. 12:17 and 13:7). God’s people have faced and continue to face persecution around the world, (see 2 Timothy3:12), but the Tribulation and probably the time leading up to it will be a time like no other before it.
David foretold that the nations will ‘rage’ and imagine that they can rid the earth of the Biblical God and His people (Psalm 2, and see also Revelation19:19). However, in heaven the Lord ‘scoffs’ at them, (verse 4), because He is in total control of all things and could wipe them out with a word if He chose to. God will allow this persecution for a time, before He brings terrible judgment on the perpetrators (Revelation19:11-21).
We can see signs now that persecution is coming (although persecution is already the norm for Christians in large parts of the world). The many enemies of Biblical Christianity, including most news and media outlets, are doing their utmost to get the rest of the world to see Christians as intolerant, ignorant, narrow minded, dangerous and bigoted, and a hindrance to the evolution of mankind. They have been busily revising history. These enemies have been working to exclude the Bible, prayer, and professing Christians from all public life and office, even though western nations were founded on Biblical principles, and owe their civility to these principles. Those few nations which were Christian in the first half of the 20th century are being overrun by secularists who want everyone to forget all about the Biblical God. Ironically, they are happy to see Islam moving in, since it serves to help dilute the Christian influence in society (this policy is going to cause major problems for the secularists also before long: it serves as a judgment in itself). The Tribulation will bring man’s determined attempt to finally rid the world of Bible believing Christians and Jews.
In the words of Kent Hovind, we are in a war, ‘but we’ve read the end of the book, and we know who wins’. Neither man, nor the devil can stop us from living for ever with the Lord.
In light of the war against God and His people, it’s a good idea to be aware of the many warnings in the Bible of deception, not only from outside the Church, but from the inside.
A WARNING OF LAST DAYS DECEPTION
In th ebeginning there were no religions and only one faith. Now we have so many religions, faiths, gods, philosophies, denominations and sects that no one can keep up with them all. When Christ spoke of the Last Days his biggest warning, the one thing that he urged us to beware of was deception. There will be false prophets, false teachers, false apostles, and false Chrisrs.
The best way to arm yourself against deception is to focus on Truth. If you want to know what is true, look in the Bible to find out. Anything which contradicts it is a lie and a deception. Don’t find that out the hard way.
What is truth? This rhetorical question was asked of Jesus when he was standing in front of Pilate. Pilate didn’t think there was any such thing as absolute truth. The same attitude exists now throughout the Western world. A large percentage of people who consider themselves intelligent and enlightened assert that none can claim to have knowledge of anything which is true for everyone. Instead they claim that truth is what you decide it is. What is true for you may not be true for someone else. In this way they impose their view of truth that all religions are equally valid (or invalid): none of them are true in any absolute way, but only in the minds of those who believe. If you want to believe that God is a teapot, than that is truth for you, and nobody has the right to question that and neither do you have the right to question anyone else’s truth. Only Christianity and Judaism are seen as harmful religions, and fair game for criticism and ridicule.
Logically, all religions can be wrong but they cannot all be right. Four of you could guess my eye color, but if you give different answers you can’t all be right. If one of you has known me, or if I have told one of you what color my eyes are, you can know the answer to the question: you can be right, no matter how hard the others insist that you must be wrong. You would be foolish to assert that my eyes are blue, green, brown and grey at the same time.
When people try to tell you that there is no absolute truth, ask them if that’s absolutely true. They can’t have it both ways.
Just as it is true that your neighbor’s house does not belong to you, and your neighbor’s car does not belong to you, so there are other things in the physical world and in the spirit realm which are true, and some which are not. As Christians, we have chosen to believe, and to know by reason and enquiry, that Jesus and his followers spoke and wrote about truth, and that God has spoken and acted to reveal his nature, his will and his plan. Our faith is not blind as some claim. There is plenty of tangible, verifiable evidence to support our faith. Just as Satan attempted (successfully) to cause doubt about God’s will, nature and plan in the Garden of Eden, so the same kind of deception continues today.
Attacks of deception come from inside and outside the Church. The attacks from outside are easier to identify, although they can be just as effective against a person who is not armed or willing to fight them. Perhaps the most pervasive and persuasive lie is that of evolution. Wherever we turn now, evolution is being pushed down our throats, though often sugar coated to make it more palatable. Besides this, there are frequent attacks on the history and motives of the Church through the centuries, the origins of the Bible, the exclusive nature of the gospel, and much more. This is not the place to answer these claims: there are numerous resources which will help you to affectively answer these attacks. One point I can make here is that you will be told that ‘all the experts’ believe in evolution, and that the Bible is just a collection of fictional stories. This phrase can come either from ignorance, or it can be a deliberate lie. In fact there are many well educated people who believe in Creation, the truthfulness and historicity of the Bible etc., but they are not allowed time on TV (unless they are set up to look stupid), and they are not allowed to teach in universities, colleges or museums. They are not allowed to publish in science journals or news outlets. Their works and publications are deliberately kept out of the public’s view, except on the odd occasion that the weaker works and proponents among them are held up to be misrepresented and ridiculed.
Attacks from inside the church can be more subtle, but their central tactic is to undermine the Bible. Remember that once the Bible is set aside or only used as one of many equal guides, then your beliefs are like a ship on the ocean, without an anchor, a map, radar, or any other reliable navigation tool. Some will be claiming to know the right direction of travel, but there is no way of knowing if they are right. Everything becomes completely subjective. Jesus used another (better) analogy. He said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves’, (Matthew7:35).
A false interpretation of scripture can be as dangerous as flatly denying it.
Jesus said, ‘Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people’ (Matthew 24:9).
Some of these false prophets and teachers will even be able to do miracles, or give the impression that they can do them. One of Paul’s many warnings goes as follows: ‘the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine (teaching). Instead they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths’, (2 Timothy 4:3, 4). We are certainly living in such a time.
Finally, even God will send a ‘powerful delusion’, as a judgment against everyone who has rejected His Son. Paul wrote that this delusion, or deception, will be so persuasive that it will fool everyone who has rejected the truth (2 Thessalonians 2) Some have suggested several things, among which are the lie of evolution, and UFO’s. The relevant verses suggest that the deception involves or includes apparent or real miracles. Whatever it is, Jesus said that if it were possible, even the ‘elect’ would be fooled (Matthew 24:24-25). Those who are really trusting and believing God’s word will not be fooled. But everyone else will, and those who reject the lie will be despised, mocked and hated.
Paul said that there will be a ‘falling away’ of believers from the faith before the return of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This has been occurring in the Western world for decades at an accelerating rate.
We also have something today which the writer George Orwell termed ‘doublespeak’. This is essentially the use of extreme euphemisms, or words and terms which sound good, and beneficial, but which actually stand for something horrible or detrimental. For example, the term ‘reproductive health’ these days includes or sometimes speaks solely of abortion: the brutal killing of a defenseless little child before it has a chance to live its life, for the convenience of the mother or father (even for this people can find forgiveness-if they repent).
Truth is up for grabs. It can be whatever the government, the religion, the philosophy or fads of the day say it is. We have been warned through Daniel that in the last days ‘truth will be thrown to the ground’, (Daniel8:12). The only one you can really trust is the Lord.
The ‘bottom line’ is that the Bible claims to be the inspired word of God. If God is God, He is able to preserve His word as a guide and a witness to the world, and without it, there is no way of deciding truth. As individual believers, it is essential that you take in the teachings of the Bible for yourselves. Always test what people are teaching if you are not sure whether it’s Biblical.