Never mind what the “experts” or the extremists say: are we in or close to end-times in the Biblical sense, or aren’t we? I want to know, and I want to be alert and watchful…
Today I’m thinking about the kind of society we live in, in comparison to prophecies which warn of what people will be like at the time when the Day of the Lord is approaching or in process. I’ve already listed scriptures in a previous post: this is a commentary.
I’ve been around for several decades, and I’ve seen a huge change in our collective culture in that time-not just in my country of origin (the U.K.) but in the United States, and the entire Western world. It’s a fact that human nature has always been fallen: we’ve had violence and deceit and sexual immorality since the dawn of civilization. Cain killed Abel, after all, and Sodom was judged thousands of years ago because the people had become totally depraved.
We may or may not be in such bad shape as that of Sodom which was destroyed, or of any other culture which has been destroyed or has faded out, but the fact that we are not quite as bad as they, yet, and that the world has always had its deceivers and its liars and murderers, is not our governor. There’s no “wicked-ometer” just about to blow a gasket. The significant question is whether or not our present society meets the predicted conditions which would make us ripe for judgment.
Sodom was destroyed for its depravity: it doesn’t exist now, except in tiny pieces under the dust and sulphur. And our culture, we could argue, seems to be descending towards the moral depths of any society of the past which God has already judged out of existence. We now have not just individuals going off the proverbial rails of propriety and normality, but we have government entities promoting and protecting the very things which people and societies of the past have attempted to keep under control. Yes, we’ve had wars in the past, and liars and immorality and all the other maladies that God hates, but the difference in our present time is that we have turned our backs on God. We have cut our tether to our Guide and our Conscience.
The time before the Flood serves as another example. There was rampant immorality and violence (recorded in Genesis 6) so that humans had no conscience and no self-control. Those people, with all of nature, met their judgment, which again was total, without expecting it-a model, said Jesus Christ, for the coming judgment of the world:
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:38-39).
They will not know about the judgment coming, because they have locked God and His words out of their minds. God can deliver those who want to be delivered-but not those who don’t. The answer of many people to this-even some Christians-would be that we in our day really aren’t that bad…we’re all just getting on with our lives and doing our best. It’s those “other” people who are nasty and evil, we think to ourselves. But isn’t that the point that Jesus was making? Before the Flood, people were living “normal” lives, and doing their best-in their own eyes, but in their ways and their thinking, they were alienated from God. They thought the world was theirs. They were wrong.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5).
It wasn’t that they spent their time realizing how terrible they all were, and thinking, “Oh dear, how can we get right with God?” They all were intentionally in rebellion against all that God had intended for the human race. They had trashed the Maker’s instructions. They had become corrupted, and had no concern for what God thought. This is what Jesus had to say on the matter in his own time on earth:
“…this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19 NKJV).
Paul described the stages a culture goes through when people turn their backs on the living God (Romans chapter 1). The same pattern of decline can be seen clearly in our Western culture now:
They suppress the truth about God, v19-20. God has been expelled from our politics, any discussion on science and origins, our educational system, and our courts. Without the compass of God’s will in our lives, humanity tends towards corruption and depravity.
They claim to be wise but become fools, v21-22. Life and the universe came from nothing, they tell us and our kids, and we are related to slugs. God doesn’t know anything about science (no, He only created the entire physical universe).
They impose their own ideas about God onto religion, v23. I’ve been told there are people living on Venus-despite its temperature of hundreds of degrees Celsius, and they know more about love than we do. Faith is wishful thinking, say the experts, and nothing more. Scripture has no truth and no consequence. All religion is equally valid or invalid, and purely optional. God is what you want it to be.
They indulge in sexual impurity, degrading their bodies, v24. This corruption of the human body is celebrated now. But it isn’t normal, and God hasn’t changed his mind about how His creation should live.
They serve the creation rather than the Creator, v25. This would include extreme environmentalism: putting creation above God and His crowning creation, humanity. Again, slugs are of no less value than humans to these people, and humans are just one little part of nature.
They engage in unnatural lusts and homosexuality, v26, 27. We all see the abundant evidence for this today. It’s far more open and common now than just a few decades ago, and it’s being celebrated and protected by our culture. God’s plan of marriage being between a man and a woman, has been pushed aside.
They want to forget all about God, v28. Just try talking about your faith in the workplace or in any university lecture hall, or for that matter, almost anywhere.
They have depraved minds, v28. You can choose your gender…really? You can rip a baby with a beating heart out of the womb and throw it away? Can depravity reach lower depths than this?
They descend into wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and gossip v29. And that’s just the government…
They are slanderous, God-hating, insolent, arrogant, boastful, disobedient to parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, v31, 32. Not putting all of us into the same deplorable basket (to coin a famous phrase) there is no discipline now, and little self-discipline.
They approve of the wickedness of others v32. This is the open operational mode of media and entertainment now. What God calls “evil” is openly called “good”.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NIV).
In my time on this earth I’ve seen a huge shift in our culture, away from any fear of God and from conscience; away from self-control and any sense of absolutes, and towards what God calls pride, sin, and rebellion. It’s not seen as rebellion by most, of course, but once society forgets God, they also forget what His ideas of truth and rebellion are, and His ideas are very different to ours. We don’t think of ourselves as being godless or immoral or dishonest, but we are anyway. We’re so far removed from the standards of a perfect God, that we think we are right and God is wrong. That’s the height of arrogance and pride.
In His love, God sent His own son, to die for our sins. We can find forgiveness and mercy by accepting His son. I tell The Lord often that I would not send my son to die for humanity: how did He? And the ultimate insult to a Father who loved his world so much is to reject His son who willingly died for us. How can there be any other outcome but judgment? To think that God will turn a blind eye to our rebellion, or even that He changes His opinions as society changes, as even some professing Christians think, is the height of foolishness. If truth were not a fixed set of laws and principles, as in the laws of nature, there would be no universe.
The New King James Version of the Bible, the NIV, the ESV and the NASB (95), translate this kind of rebellion in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians as “lawlessness”. Paul was speaking of an end-times rebellion, and of the man who will epitomize it. In the verse quoted above, Paul said that God Himself is holding back flood of lawlessness, until a certain point in time, when He will let it run rampant, for a short time. This will effectively expose all of us for what we really are. It will separate those who love Him from those who prefer evil. It will separate true believers from the pretenders.
Lawlessness refers to a total disregard for what God thinks, and a determination to live any old way we want to live. It lends itself easily to what we see in our society, and particularly to our political world,. There our leaders make laws for us but have no regard for them in their own lives, and often aren’t answerable to them. They have a disregard for God and for man. This is what has transpired in my lifetime in the Western World. The rest of the world has already largely expelled God or doesn’t yet know about Him, and has gone the way of atheistic communism, or worships one or more of the millions of false deities. I must here acknowledge that there are many millions of Christians all around the world-even in those nations which have no attachment to Christian thought. But the culture that was loosely founded and built on the Christian faith-the West-has fallen away and is in open rebellion, or “lawlessness”.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I personally don’t think we’re in that specific time when God will let go of the flood of evil, but the trend certainly seems to be in that direction. As I noted above, we as a culture have turned our backs on our Creator. In a world created by Him, there can be no lasting result besides disaster. In this Western empire of ours which has effectively ruled most of the world since the time of ancient Rome, we have now given the green light to lawlessness of every description. Riots destroying businesses and homes, and attacking innocent people are “peaceful protests”. Homosexual and any sex is “love”. The family is any arrangement of uncommitted or committed individuals. Terrorism doesn’t exist except in the patriot. Killing babies is “planned parenthood”. Men can become women if they want to, and yet, in complete hypocrisy, gender distinctions don’t exist. Patriotism is “racism”. Judeo-Christian philosophy is “oppressive”. Fact checkers tell their own view of the facts and attack free speech, which was established by Christians and Deists. The universe and life created itself from nothing. Lies are truth so long as you’re within political correctness and have the power to escape justice.
War is peace.
We aren’t in normal times. We are in a time when evil is called good and good evil, and Truth in its absolute sense is out of style. We are in an, or the, age of lawlessness. When we consider this phenomenon with others relating to Biblical prophecies, we can’t help thinking that the man of lawlessness, spoken of by Paul and Jesus, is at hand for the proverbial, and Biblical, grand finale of history.
Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome. My “signs” discussion of the nation of Israel should appear next week.