Friday, April 27, 2018
That the gospel of Jesus Christ “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12) is increasingly under attack, is an understatement. It began 2000 years ago, it’s increased in the last century, and will soon be totally rewritten.
Satan knows his time is short. His gradual deception has sought to blend the culture with the “two-edged sword” of the gospel that exposes the heart and soul to its great need of conversion new birth. And those more interested in self-preservation and protecting traditions of men and pleasing people, rather than preserving the sword of the gospel, are participant with him.
In my early years of Christian life I assumed, as do most, that what came from the pulpit was whole truth. I trusted the pulpit. It didn’t occur to me that truth would be twisted to satisfy man. It was disturbing to learn that what I once thought was whole truth, turned out to be a deceptive lie from the enemy. That’s when I discovered that a half-truth equals a whole lie.
But for many years now I praise God that the Holy Spirit set me on the path of wisdom, discernment and courage to become increasingly Berean in my search for whole truth, to break free from the status quo of denominational deceptions and traditions, and set my face like flint “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Discerning the signs of the times and recognizing that we are unmistakably in the end-times, in fact, in the final generation of this present age, is not a comfortable message and is resisted by many professing Christians. But the whole truth, whether believed or not, will indeed march ahead with “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40), in full view.
In addition to the end of this age being marked by Jesus’ promise that “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars”, He also said that “Then they [unbelievers] will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9). At the most elementary level of Christian faith, this requires an intentional Holy Spirit-led preparation.
Being wise in Christ and knowing Satan’s devices, we know that he will deceive through false doctrines or traditions to remove one’s Spirit-led preparation to endure tribulation persecutions. But Jesus said “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). That process begins by believing and personalizing the testimony of Jesus Christ for the times of the end.
Douglas MacKinnon asks, “How long will I be allowed to remain a Christian?” in his 4/21/2018 article by FOX News. MacKinnon observes that, “In various parts of the Middle East, there is a genocidal cleansing of Christians being carried out. Women, men, and their young children are being slaughtered because of their faith and world leaders and most of the media turn their backs in bored indifference.” Believe it or not, the same persecution is coming to America.
MacKinnon continues, “Here in the United States, Christians and Christianity are mocked, belittled, smeared and attacked by some on a daily basis. This is a bigoted practice that is not only increasing exponentially, but is being encouraged and sanctioned by a number on the left.”
MacKinnon further observes, “A high school football coach is fired for taking a knee in prayer. A teacher is fired for giving a Bible to a student who requested it. A Marine is cursed at and then court-martialed for not removing a Bible verse from her computer. Another Bible verse posted by sailors in a military hospital is labeled “extremism”.
MacKinnon rhetorically intones what’s coming to America. “Will we soon have to meet with fellow Christians in secret? Will we have to whisper our beliefs from the shadows? Will those Christians with “traditional” beliefs lose their jobs and livelihoods if discovered? As more and more of the mainstream media, entertainment, academia and the hi-tech world continue to purge or discriminate against Christians, what future jobs will be open to young Christians?”
The answer to MacKinnon’s question, “How long will I be allowed to remain a Christian”, depends on his commitment to Christ. I hope he endures faithfully to the end. It must be all or nothing. We must not be like the one who “has no root in himself, and endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matt. 13:21). A compromised, half-truth faith in Christ will not endure to the end.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). That is not received well in the Western church accustomed to its war-bought freedoms that promotes people living as they will, rather than by the will of God in Christ. But Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
It hasn’t reached America, yet, but severe persecution for one’s professed faith in Christ is coming. And no one will be spared by the hopeless pre-tribulation rapture tradition, which is another deceit taught by many churches. In fact, self-consolation in that false tradition is the seedbed of the offense to come that will take many in hatred and betrayal, see Matt. 24:10.
It should not come as a surprise that Jesus said of the good news of the gospel, that, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:19–20).
This is why the Vatican and its popes murdered tens of millions of Christians in its efforts to force papal worship, which led to the Reformation. That loss was not forgotten by the Vatican which is now set to make its global comeback when Antichrist, who comes from the Vatican, the heart of the revived ancient Roman Empire, to crush and destroy saints with an iron fist.
The arrival of Antichrist is what’s imminent, not the rapture. And don’t let anyone tell you that we are not to look for Antichrist, because Jesus said, “Therefore, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’, [Antichrist] spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Matt. 24:15). Have you prepared in the knowledge and truth of God to stand firm in the face of coming tribulation and persecution?
Marlin J. Yoder