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Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 8

Planet earth is on the brink of what both Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey have stated they believe will be monetary and societal collapse of unprecedented magnitude. We also looked previously at a prophetic declaration by the Creator of all things, which is–I believe I can verify–about the generation that will be alive at the very end of the age.

Specifically, Jesus’ prophecy refers to one catastrophic moment in this present dispensation–the Church Age (Age of Grace)–when all of this world system will come crashing down.

Again, here’s the prophecy from Christ himself:

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)

Are the two cataclysms–the one Beck and Lindsey talk about on their TV programs and the one Jesus foretells–related to each other? If so, how?

We will now try to answer the questions about world collapse, whether persecution for American Christians is imminent, and how it might all be tied together prophetically. We will do so by looking in-depth at the details wrapped up in Jesus’ forecast for earth’s near future.

Jesus gave what I am convinced is the premiere end-of-the-Church-Age prophecy in Luke 17:26-30. He describes in considerable detail world conditions and activities at the moment He breaks in on things of this present age.

He tells in His prophecy just the opposite of what Glenn Beck says is on the brink of happening to the people of America and the world. That is, the Lord’s description of how the worldwide catastrophe will happen differs greatly from the Fox host’s prediction of the cause of the calamity he says is just around the corner.

Remember, Mr. Beck is predicting for the near future the direst of socioeconomic collapses. He recommends that we prepare for, quite likely, hyper-inflated times to come, at the very least. He indicates that he fears that from the collapse will spin draconian governmental measures to quell the rioting that will occur when those millions who are given government hand-outs no longer receive the largess. There is more than enough evidence of unchecked government today to prove Beck’s fears are well founded. The phenomenal growth of federal intrusion into practically every facet of the citizen’s life today portends grave consequences for liberty in the months and years just ahead. For example, bureaucratic regulation such as the move of the unelected FCC apparatchiks to invoke “net neutrality”–a Big Brother-like regulatory process that could eventuate in establishing dictatorial power over Internet usage–threatens anyone who would express opinions that run counter to state-approved language. The current administration intends to implement this despite the fact that a federal appeals court has ruled the administration doesn’t have the authority to do so.

Hal Lindsey sees the same cataclysm approaching, basically for the same reasons. He also recommends that we prepare for possible food shortages, and he says he believes Christians in this country will face severe persecution, which I infer to mean persecution of the sort suffered by martyrs for the cause of Christ. I must add here that I agree with both of these gentlemen–to some degree. And I disagree, also, with both–for differing reasons. But I reserve my thoughts in that regard for the biblically based logic I hope will make itself manifest as I analyze the words of the greatest of all prophets.

We now are basically familiar with what Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey say about the two questions involving the probability of American and world socioeconomic collapse and, in Lindsey’s case, about Christians in America facing imminent, severe persecution.

Let’s dissect carefully what Jesus predicts for the times just ahead. I say with confidence that Jesus tells the future from this moment forward, based upon what I’m convinced His words are speaking to this generation at this very hour. He prophesied in the Luke 17:26-30 passages that in the “days” He, the “Son of man,” is about to break into earth’s history, mankind will be doing certain things. It will be a time like the days of Noah before the Flood and the days of Lot while he was still in Sodom.

People, the Lord said, will be eating, drinking, marrying, building, buying, selling, and planting. Things will be going along pretty much as normal for the time. The Lord indicates no catastrophic, worldwide socioeconomic breakdown of any sort in this time immediately before “the Son of man is revealed” (Luke17:30)–the time He breaks into human history.

This time cannot be the Second Advent of Revelation 19:11. At the time the Lord of Lords and King of Kings breaks through the planetary darkness of death and destruction at Armageddon, perhaps as many as three-fourths of all people on earth will have died as a result of wars, pestilence, and geophysical disasters brought about by God’s judgment and wrath upon an incorrigibly wicked, unrepentant world of earth-dwellers.

In other words, planet earth’s living conditions at the time of Christ’s return in power and glory at Armageddon will not be anything like living conditions at the time of His intervention into human affairs as He describes in the days of Noah, days of Lot prophecy. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, it will be anything but business as usual. It will truly be hell on earth when Jesus comes to destroy all human government and the soul-rending carnage it has produced.

So, Jesus, in the Luke 17 account, was foretelling the days leading up to the time when He calls His church to Himself–”His church” meaning all born-again believers who have lived and died during the Church Age (Age of Grace). This is known as the Rapture. To learn more about this stupendous event, read 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 14:1-3, and Revelation 4:1-2.

To repeat, Jesus was not describing His coming back to earth in the Luke 17:26-30 prophecy. He was telling about His coming to above the planet to receive His people–Christians—to Himself. Christians–the Church—then will accompany Him back to the heavenly places He has prepared for them in the Father’s house–heaven.

Again, we have reached the limits of our space for this commentary. We will next further examine Jesus’ telling us about–I’m convinced—this very hour in which you and I inhabit planet earth.

Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 7

America and the nations of the world, as we have explored, are–according to Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey–moving quickly down the road that leads to global socioeconomic cataclysm. I agree. Such a destiny lurks in the murkiness of the not-too-distant future. However, exactly how that destination will be reached and who among the planet’s current population will suffer the disastrous fate predicted by Beck and Lindsey are matters for much closer scrutiny. Two questions we will try to address are in view as we look at the near future through the prism of Bible prophecy:

1) Will America and the world suffer Beck and Lindsey’s feared versions of economic collapse, thus societal catastrophe? 2) Will Christians in America suffer severe persecution as part of any such catastrophic breakdown?

Now, here’s where things can get quite confusing, if careful attention isn’t paid to the thoughts I’m trying to convey. I am of the conviction that America and the world will suffer Lindsey and Beck’s predicted economic, thus societal, catastrophe. Persecution and martyrdom will coalesce to make life for believers even in the U.S. region hell on earth as a result of that immense calamity.

I am at the same time equally convinced that there will neither be national and worldwide economic and societal collapse nor severe persecution and martyrdom for American Christians. Lunacy? Not if one views things to come through Bible prophecy as it is truly given for us to understand.

God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa. 55:8). Believe it or not, like it or not, God’s Word demonstrates that He deals with mankind in dispensations–distinctive eras that He alone determines. This generation is part of the dispensation of grace–the Church Age. This dispensation will morph into the Tribulation, a period of seven years of God’s judgment and wrath also known as “Daniel’s seventieth week.”

My seemingly irrational claims, viewed in light of dispensational truth, are on sound biblical footing. Please consider slowly and carefully. Putting forth that I believe America and the world both will experience and will not experience apocalyptic socioeconomic collapse makes sense from dispensational perspective. Holding that American believers in Jesus Christ will not go through such persecution that includes martyrdom, all the while proclaiming that believers living in this nation will suffer persecution and martyrdom, is a biblically correct dispensational pronouncement.

These paradoxical proclamations are made understandable by the words of the greatest of all prophets–the Lord Jesus Christ. His astonishing prophecy about the end of this dispensation in which you and I are living addresses the two questions for which we seek answers.

Bible prophecy’s answers to these are as follows, I’m firmly convinced:

1) Neither America nor the world will suffer societal and monetary catastrophe that will bring about apocalyptic collapse due to man-made accidental bungling or contrived manipulation. However, there will be a crash of the world’s socioeconomic system, which will cause chaos of unfathomable scope, brought about by the God of heaven in an instant of time.

2) Christians in America today will not face persecution of the sort suffered by martyrs in past ages and by believers in parts of the world at present. But, following God’s next catastrophic intervention into earth’s history, believers in North America–as well as all other believers in Jesus Christ–will suffer persecution even worse than that inflicted upon believers of previous times.

Most Relevant Prophecy

When thinking on prophecies that are stage-setting for the wind-up of history, we most often point to prophecies involving Israel being back in the land of promise as most key to where we stand on God’s end-of-the-age timeline. The peace process and Jerusalem being at the center of the world’s spotlight show precisely the lateness of the hour.

That said, I believe no prophecy is more relevant for this moment in history than that given by Jesus Christ Himself, which encompasses not just the future of Israel and Jerusalem, but of the entire world:

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17: 26-30)

This prophetic declaration by the Creator of all things is about the generation that will be alive at the dénouement of the age. Specifically, it refers to one catastrophic moment in the present dispensation when all of this world system will come crashing down. We will next look in-depth at the details wrapped up in Jesus’ foretelling of planet earth’s near future.

Scanning a Fearful Future: Part 6

There are so many ominous signals of stage-setting for fulfillment of Bible prophecy in every direction we look that even secular fascination with things to come is piqued. One such example is the History Channel’s “Nostradamus Effect” series in which I was asked to participate. One of the most immediately troubling signals that threatens apocalyptic disruption of world stability is the very probable collapse of the global economy, which we’ve been examining. There is little doubt, using even a modicum of rationale, that monetary madness infects the entire planet. We will now peer through God’s prophetic lenses into the portentous future nearest us.

The title I’ve chosen for this exploration, “Scanning a Fearful Future,” envelops all of Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey’s thoughts about the dire immediate future for America and the world. If their extremely similar assessments of what this generation faces is truly about to take place, my answer to the recent question to the worried email sender–representative of many such trepidacious emailers–must be given quickly. The emailer, after prefacing his question by saying that Lindsey stated persecution is coming for Christians, asked: “…persecution for Christians has to be very close. What is your take on this?”

First, I must rephrase his question to get to the heart of what he and so many others are asking. The question they mean to ask is: “…Persecution for the church in America has to be very close. What is your take on this?”

Believers in Jesus Christ–the born again (John 3:3)—are being persecuted around the globe at this very moment. Many are suffering torture and martyrdom. Members of the true church of Jesus Christ have always suffered and died, and will do so right up until Christ’s call, “Come up hither!” (Rev. 4: 2). So, what American Christians are concerned about in regard to this question is whether Christians in the United States will suffer the level of persecution endured by believers like those in, for example, the Sudan. For that matter, the question implies asking whether American believers will suffer to a major extent in any way whatever. Hal Lindsey expressed in several of his TV programs that he believed Christians in America will suffer persecutions, and, I infer, he was speaking of persecutions of the fearful sort–those that might include loss of life in martyrdom. This fearful future, again I infer, will likely be part of a severe societal/cultural breakdown brought about by economic cataclysm. This, as pointed out previously, is much like Glenn Beck’s forecast for Americans in general.

My answer to the emailer and others who continue to ask similar questions is that I don’t believe Christians in America are prophetically scheduled for severe persecution like that being experienced by those in Sudan, China, and other such places around the globe.

Now I can almost hear the clicking of emails being typed. Some are already conjuring the questioning flames of retort. “Do you think American Christians are too good to suffer persecution?”; “Do you think America is God’s pet nation? –That the U.S. doesn’t deserve judgment?!” Please…save your fingers the pain from the white-hot irritation shooting from your keyboard. I agree completely with you. American Christians are NOT too good to be persecuted. The U.S. does deserve judgment. There is no argument there. Now, please allow me to give my scripturally based reasoning in disagreeing with Dr. Lindsey on these matters.

I begin by inserting this caveat about my assertion that American Christians won’t suffer persecution of the most heinous sort. My belief in this regard is predicated upon my prayerfully studied understanding that the world as we know it would have to first come tumbling down, then rearrange to be configured exactly as it is now in order to accommodate American Christians going into such persecution as feared by my emailer.

That world crash, then turn-around, just isn’t going to happen. Everything is in place for Bible prophecy to unfold. Based upon this reality, my case follows in presenting why I’m so sure that what I believe about things to come in the very near future correctly diverges from what Dr. Lindsey and Mr. Beck say they believe is about to happen.

Each is certain that the United States is facing economic catastrophe that will bring about food and other shortages, thus will engender rioting that will bring anarchy and collapse. Lindsey’s fears are less adamantly presented than Beck’s, but the implication that such is in the very near future is there in Hal’s TV program narratives. While Beck doesn’t consider anything regarding true Bible prophecy at all, Hal Lindsey believes that severe persecution for Christians is also in that bleak future.

To briefly state my “take,” in answer to my emailer, I believe that America will not suffer catastrophic collapse while Christians (true believers in Jesus Christ) remain on planet earth. You and I–whether believer or nonbeliever–are, I’m firmly convinced, members of the most privileged generation in history. We are alive at the very end of this fascinating moment in human advancement. For believers, however, the privilege is magnified beyond imagination.

Believers in Jesus Christ are alive during this end of the Church Age for a divinely appointed purpose. We are witnesses to and participants in the very time the Lord Jesus Christ Himself prophesied would see Him revealed in spectacular fashion. The prospect for those who name the name of Christ is truly glorious.

While “Scanning a Fearful Future” is an accurate title for purposes of this examination of things to come, an equally appropriate title for those who are born again would have been “Scanning a Fabulous Future.” We will  continue next week with specifically what I believe the near future holds for believers and nonbelievers alike.

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