February 19, 2010
Part 4: How Then to Live?
The Bible is clear that no man or woman is privy to knowledge of the day and hour of Christ’s return; nevertheless, visionary clues point to the season of His coming. Prophetically, Israel re-established as a nation signals the proximate approach of Great Tribulation. With increasing intensity, nature will groan as if in the throes of birth pangs. Earthquakes, famine, and pestilence will shake civilization with unprecedented fury; and lawlessness will abound.
To rest secure in our helter-skelter world presupposes firm grounding in God’s truth as opposed to any counterfeit of it. In order to discern accurately between truth and a credible counterfeit, one first must know “the real thing” inside-out, top-to-bottom. As previously explained, this is accomplished through lifelong, Spirit-directed study of God’s Word line upon line, precept upon precept.
To force submission, opportunists craft doomsday rhetoric to magnify and intensify the dark side of our human condition. Any believable crisis can and will be exploited—be it environmental catastrophe; rising crime or terrorism; nuclear, biological, or cyberspace attacks; aliens (some from outer space!); new diseases; an imploding social system and moral decay.
Energized by inflammatory language, and ever-flaunted by the if-it-bleeds-it-leads media, apocalypse NOW—whatever that represents to the target audience—threatens to choke, burn, infect, ambush, sicken, addict, destroy, offend, scar, maim, weaken, kill, hurt and/or wreak lives.
Fact is countless threats are credible, even inevitable. Only the foolhardy dismiss as inconsequential global terrorism, genocide, and even moral decay. Nonetheless, it requires discernment to sort, pinpoint, weigh and prioritize them while, at the same time, maintaining equilibrium in the face of “sky-is-falling” global hysteria.
Be sure our hope is not in some spiritual guru, a political party, a candidate of preference, partisan activism, or even emergency preparedness.
Our home is located in an earthquake-prone area. With this in view, many—ourselves included—plan and prepare for needs of family, friends, and neighbors should an emergency ensue. In anticipation of crisis, we’ve undertaken reasonable preparations to provide for needed finances, food, drink, first aid, and waste management. Even in the event of a short-lived winter storm, we are better for it.
While many doomsayers look to Machiavellian measures for answers, proactive believers approach practical, preparatory tasks with unruffled trust—not in their own provisions—but in the God they serve. Although rash alarmism has no place among secure Christians, many overly anxious ones practice the cult motivation of fear mongering. By heralding gloom and doom, these attract and draw together the fearful.
In contrast, while maintaining firm trust in the creator and sustainer of life, believers are called to apply God-given common sense to faith-propelled, proactive preparedness. A Christian’s hope is in Jesus Christ and none other.
Spiritually, Christians must seek God’s will and remain in it as best they can. Morally, they must set and keep godly standards. Politically, they can vote and, as God leads, assume leadership positions on key battlefronts for which they are equipped and called to enter. Mentally, they must work at being fully informed and engaged, but never lose sight of Jesus.
These choices are before Christians: scoff at end-time threats, join the herd, beat down the inevitable, or use it for good and thereby restrain its full expression.
Scoff at It
Many scoff at the sky-is-falling rhetoric of end-of-time prophecies. In similar times as ours, a committed preacher of righteousness named Noah warned corrupt contemporaries of an impending flood so that they might repent. Sadly, scoffers refused to listen and, as a result, were excluded from safety on the ark. Correspondingly, contemporary Christians mustn’t scoff at what God fingers as very real contemporary threats.
True, Christians anticipate a golden era of unprecedented opportunity, peace, and worldwide collaboration when Christ rules and reigns in the Millennium. To the undiscerning, the right use of energy among intuitive friends united by earth stewardship, sustainability, collectivism, and illumination sounds like the real deal; but it isn’t. The Bible warns even Christians that, if not wary, they too are subject to strong delusion.
Globalism’s promises of unlimited well-being, transcendence to one’s “higher self,” and universal brotherhood are compellingly seductive; however, in the end, a one-world religious system enforced by the false prophet of the Book of Revelation obliges all to worship Antichrist or face certain death for noncompliance. From biblical perspective, to join this order guarantees spiritual death.
Some might not like to hear this, but attempting to fight against fulfillment of clear Bible prophecies is as useless as pounding mole hills with a baseball bat. As I understand biblical eschatology, one-world government is a given. Rome will revive; and world financiers, acting as “kings without kingdoms,” will rule with Antichrist for a predetermined and bounded time span.
It is by God’s permission that Satan empowers malevolent men and seducers to advance their errant agendas; nonetheless, in God’s time, and with the brightness of Christ’s coming, the enemy’s schemes will be revealed and utterly paralyzed. Even as dark clouds gather and loom overhead, Christians are all the more empowered to overcome evil and to fulfill their destinies simply by retaining spiritual purity.
Christians’ Two-Fold Charge: Use It for Good and Restrain It
While living in this world, Christian believers are not party to it. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul allowed using the whole world order (cosmos) for godly purposes as long as they not overly use it, or rely on it wholly. With eternal citizenship elsewhere, believers are as pilgrims; they remain riveted to their Lord more so than to a world system destined in time to pass away.
Perhaps unexpectedly, 21st-century global trends have much to offer Christian Kingdom-builders. For example, open borders promise ease of entry for Bibles and ministers of the gospel. Technological innovation and limitless information invite broad access to biblical knowledge on big or small screens, in radio, and by means of the Internet. The universally spoken English language facilitates networking while cashless transactions enable global ministries to do God’s bidding.
What some would use for wrongdoing, Christians can and must use for good. God’s call to resist and restrain the “mystery of iniquity” falls to the universal body of Christ whose charge is to restrain iniquitous use of the system. This is not accomplished by American Christians acting alone, by any specific political administration, or under orders of some standing army security counsel.
For such a time as this, some among us are raised to leadership and action, as was Queen Esther, who risked her own life to champion her people before King Ahasuerus. Though not all lead in the church, in business, or in politics, all Christians defend righteous judgments in the civic arena.
It is not appropriate for Christians to herald planetary doom, thereby attracting and drawing together the fearful. Nor should they yawn in the face of impending calamity by escaping into a comfortable world of complacency, fantasy, or addiction. Instead, Christians must be wise as serpents, gentle as doves. To win over doubters requires wisdom, not stealth; prevailing prayer, not brute force; anointing, not cleverness.
Perhaps more now than ever before, it’s time to shake sleep, study to show ourselves approved, maintain spiritual sobriety, and exercise vigilance. Being well-read and up-to-date on vital issues is a great start; but more exactly, believers must heed biblical mandate by praying diligently, exercising faith, and practicing charity.
Even if one were to achieve all of the above and willingly face martyrdom, it’s never enough if God’s love evades the equation. Just imagine the magnetic draw of a surrendered life led in Christ-blessed abundance, one that is tempered by balance and lived victoriously and joyfully to the glory of God and in service to others.
Subscribe to the NewsWithViews Daily News Alerts!
my friend, is the restraining power of the church: experiencing the
Christ life, humbly but powerfully; circumspectly but with a single
eye for the Savior; no longer I, but Christ.
The Bible assures us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. By divine enablement, yes, we can. By God’s grace, yes, we will.