Friday, May 14, 2021
Among the lies and propaganda of COVID-19, and what will soon be a mandate to vaccinate or be totally excluded from society by order of elite globalists, and the radical Left, are many other end-time events for which true Christians must be prayerfully attentive. Wars loom on multiple fronts; Russia and Ukraine; the US and China; the US and North Korea; China and Australia; and the Middle East is freshly besieged by rockets from Hamas into Israel, as Israel retaliates. Food insufficiency for many is very real. Socialist leaders’ handouts is creating joblessness as Democrats and the radical Left fuel racial hatred and revisionist national history. America and her freedoms are being systematically destroyed from within by godless government leaders.
Among these and other end-time events, the rise of persecution against true Christians is now spreading globally. Those having discernment of the biblical signs of the times are not surprised that persecution of Christians is now becoming the norm. What’s happening in China is horrible. And what’s occurring across our northern border in Canada is shocking. As globalist Democrats and elites have made socialism attractive to the ignorant “woke” and “cancel cultures”, the face of communism with “free stuff” has become very popular. As Christian persecution spreads, it appears that Canada wants to be the leader in that persecution. I agree with Pastor Jeffress, that “Democrats ‘Absolutely’ Pushing Out Christianity to Embrace Socialist Agenda”. Join me in prayer for persecuted Christians here at home and abroad, that God and His Christ be glorified.
Dear believers, be led by the Spirit, and “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:13–18). We must cling to the life, death, resurrection, and testimony of Jesus Christ. Everything else is doomed to utter failure and destruction by raging fire, see 2 Peter 3:10–12.
And in the last 18 months there have been a flood of evangelical pastors who left the Christian faith, but have also left their spouse and family for their own desires. It’s stunning! How does this happen? And many pastors are committing suicide! Celebrity pastors it seems, have it all, (except the real truth) high profile, popularity, cultural jive, authors of many books, money, and social affluence – then molest young girls or boys, or have extramarital affairs, or fall into apostasy to their own destruction! Believers, these are signs of the end-times just like the Holy Spirit warned: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4). We’re there! This Scripture surely describes our present day. But know this: leaving Christ, spouse, and family, for suicide, or sexual immorality is not persecution, but evil choices!
What shall one do? First, if you’re in an institutionally organized church where the Word of the Lord God is altered, changed, diluted, watered-down, or revised to suit the natural fallen heart or the culture, get out! You must get yourself and loved ones away from any influence exchanging the small gate and difficult path that leads to eternal life, for an easy comfortable path pleasing to the flesh. Abandon feel-good teachers and commentaries of the Bible that make sin and unbelief less offensive to God, which include headlines like this from CBN: “Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church Makes Bold Move By Appointing Its First-Ever Female Pastors”. Churches with women pastors openly reject God’s command to “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. [And then God gave His reasoning for that clear command] For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:11–14).
Additionally, get far away from any influence, church or otherwise, that preaches the pre-trib rapture lie, because it will leave you deeply offended and yearning for the truth. Draw near to God’s unaltered Word and let no one steal it from you. Don’t be captivated by oratory skills that explain away portions of God’s Word in order to uphold traditions of men. Therefore, Jesus said “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down” (Mark 7:8, 13). When a church or pastor suffers hardships or severe difficulties after being disobedient to God’s Word, that’s not persecution, but self-inflicted harm. We can learn from the prophet who dispensed of God’s command: “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (Jonah 2:8 KJV).
Persecution comes to true Christians because the Holy Spirit promised that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Jesus promised His followers, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me” (John 15:20–21). And the fallen nature of humanity, hostile toward God and His Christ, has not changed in two thousand years, and when the gospel was preached by Christ’s apostles the people “were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37 and 7:54). Under Peter’s preaching (2:37) the former repented and were baptized, but the latter under Stephen (7:54) “gnashed at him with their teeth”. But here’s the remarkable point: whether the hearers are repentant or rebellious, the preaching of the true gospel bears the same fruit – people are “cut to the heart”! But very little of that occurs today as many pastors preach a neutered gospel in order to protect people from being cut to the heart lest they be offended at the price their sin cost the Son of God. In this, many, ignorantly, remain in their sin and unbelief.
Though Christ promised it, many cannot spiritually stomach the truth that the way to eternal life is difficult, and so they exchange the true gospel for an ear-tickling culture-pleasing false gospel. Again, the Lord Jesus warned of this very thing, saying that this is “he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matt. 13:20–21). They did not first count the cost which is likely due to the fact that the gospel preached to them did not challenge them to first count the cost as Jesus taught at Luke 14:26–33. Is the gospel preached to please man or God? There’s a very big difference: the former comforts people in their sin and unbelief, the latter cuts them to the heart! The former is the broad road to hell, but the latter, the narrow and difficult road to eternal life. So, “how shall they hear without a [true] preacher?” (Rom. 10:14).
Lastly, but by no means least, today is the Nation of Israel’s 73rd anniversary. Seventy-three years ago David Ben-Gurion (1886–1973) announced the rebirth of Israel. This is significant regarding the end-times as Israel ceased being a nation when the Roman general Titus sacked and burned Jerusalem in AD 70. For the next 1,878 years, Israel, as a nation, didn’t exist. But then on May 14, 1948, Israel was reborn, and God’s “fig tree” (Joel 1:7 and Hos. 9:10), the land of Israel, came to life again. And it was Jesus who said “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:32–35).
In essence Jesus said that, when we see Israel reborn “its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves”. The generation that sees that occur “will by no means pass away till all these things [the first 3 1/2 years of tribulation, followed by 3 1/2 years of great tribulation, and the return of Christ] take place”. Biblically a generation is the normal lifespan of a person. With this in mind, God said “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years” (Psa. 90:10). My concluding thought is this: Israel has now aged 73 years from its rebirth, and if “by reason of strength” continues to her 80th year, then we Christians have reason to believe that the end of this present age is but seven years from the fall harvest months of 2021. We have good reason to believe the 7-year tribulation will begin this year, because seven years later the Lord Jesus gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31).
Marlin J. Yoder