So many end-times signals pervade the present hour that it’s difficult to choose one for this column. They are all important to our being faithful watchmen on the wall. We can always present analysis of news from Israel and the Middle East, or from the European Union, Russia, Iran, Iraq and China. We can–and often do—observe geophysical signals that look much like prophecy in the making. Economy, religion, and societal and cultural matters are most often somewhat less manifest on our prophecy screens of observation. Hidden down in the sub-strata of these categories are issues and events that are most often missed, or ignored. The old adage “can’t see the forest for the trees” applies in these cases. These are the issues that have become such a part of American–and even foreign—cultural life that we often miss their significance.
I would like to deal with one area of these prophetic sub-categories for a moment. Actually, the potential ramifications involved in this singular issue likely will be at the very heart of rebellious mankind’s final rebellion against God, as follows:
“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:10-11).
I would like to examine one of the “deeds” of which these hell-bound rebels will refuse to repent. This is because I believe this particular “deed” is becoming a prodigious problem in our time. We recently witnessed this through news media that has obviously gone completely bonkers in its obsession in reporting the matters involved.
The prophecy is given as part of the Apostle Paul’s “perilous times” forewarnings: “For men shall be…incontinent, fierce…” (2 Tim. 3:2-3). The word “incontinent” here doesn’t mean that adult diapers are required. The term means people will be unwilling and/or unable to control their desires. They will be totally addicted. Here’s the prophecy that captures the particular addiction to which that left-behind people will be willfully enslaved: “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Rev. 9:21).
The problem, so critical in our day that it is almost certainly the great addiction that will fulfill this prophecy during the most terrible time of judgment during the tribulation, is wrapped up in the word “sorceries.” Its root meaning is key to understanding what this great addiction will be when Revelation 9:21 comes to pass. Here is what one of the best Bible teachers to ever live–in my view–has to say about this matter:
“Sorceries” is the Greek word pharmakeion, from which we get our English word “pharmacy.” Pharmacy means “drugs”. What were called drugstores when I was a boy are now called pharmacies. The Great Tribulation will be a period when the use of drugs will not be controlled. Drugs will play a large part in the lives of the unsaved and will serve several purposes. Drugs will enable them to bear the judgments of the Great Tribulation…” (Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Edited Messages Commentary, p. 971).
News media reporters and pundits, as well as many of the fans/followers of the entertainment industry celebrities and their activities, are stunned when their heroes and heroines die as result of drug overdose. We remember Heath Ledger, the 28-year-old Australian actor who starred in “The 10 Things I Hate About You,” in Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot,” and in “Brokeback Mountain,” was found nude and lifeless in his New York City apartment. He is but one of many within the entertainment business to die from deliberate or accidental overdose. The drugs that took the actor’s life were, apparently, prescription–not illicit in nature.
We remember Judy Garland’s and Marilyn Monroe’s stories. John Belushi, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Anna Nicole, and dozens more have gone the way of one form or the other of pharmakeion.
Sadly, we are given the media eye’s view of possible tragedies in the making when the paparazzi follow the lives of stars like Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan. Drugs and alcohol, according to news reports, are at the center of many of the bizarre incidents in which these young people are involved.
Those who name the name of Christ should pray for these caught up in this demon world of addictions, rather than simply cast invectives, saying overtly, or in effect, that they deserve what they get. Their influence on the youth of America is considerable, and we should pray that they turn in the opposite direction and become truly positive role models. God loves them and wants to bring them out of the darkness of this world, which is ruled over by the devil and his minions.
The perilous times Paul foretells are with us, we can know, because the Scripture frames precisely what we see today: “For men shall be … incontinent, fierce…” (2 Tim. 3:2-3).
There is no doubt that the most violent crimes in the news today are usually reported in tandem with drug dealings. Both dealers and those under the influence of pharmakeion are the fiercest among us. No one is safe when standing between the dealers and their drug money, or the addicts and their next fix.
The prophecy in Revelation proves the demonic, supernatural strength of addictions. With the very last vials of God’s pure wrath being poured upon the rebellious earth-dwellers, they, rather than repent and plead for mercy, shake their fists in the Creator’s face and curse Him. As bad as the addictions are at present, they, according to God’s prophetic Word, are scheduled to get infinitely worse as mankind moves down the hellish path prepared for them by Satan and his demonic hordes.
Pray for those held in this bondage. Only Christ’s return as King of Kings can and will ultimately prevail against this thing called pharmakeion. It is one of the most prominent end-times signals to be found in this generation.