by Gene Lawley
It is my belief that this age of the Gentiles, this age of grace, is near its end, and following are some reasons why I think that.
First of all, Jesus aid, in Luke 21:28, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near," just after He gave a whole list of cataclysmic events that will come upon the world so that men's hearts will fail them for fear.
The Great Deceiver, whose goal is to lull everyone to sleep and unaware of eternal danger ahead, has come up with "man-made climate change" to explain it all. It was once called "global warming" until the heavy snow storms came upon us in the middle of the outcry of concern for global warming with melting of the icebergs and rising of ocean levels that would overcome the land masses.
In that list of stormy events Jesus said there would be earthquakes in different places, places that were not previously normal for them to be experienced. Ravaging hurricanes, ice storms, tornados with devastating effect have been happening.
The statement He made next, however, gives us the "times and seasons" in which these things would appear. He spoke, in Luke 21:29-32 in parable form, that the blossoming of the fig tree-a type of or identity of the nation of Israel-would mark the time of the end. Note His words:
"Then He spoke to them a parable: 'Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.'"
If He meant the generation which heard Him say that, as perhaps some might want to argue, then you and I would never have been born. No, He was talking of the generation which would see the return of Israel to its place as a nation among the nations. This happened on May 14, 1948, sixty-nine years ago. How long is a generation in God's timetable? Psalm 90:10 gives us a clue:
"The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
(This last part reminds me of that old faithful gospel song, "I'll Fly Away" and probably is the source of that title.)
When He says "all things take place," it is clear that He means the final seven years that are called the Tribulation period, for it ends with Jesus coming to the earth to reign as King of kings on earth for a thousand years. (See Revelation 20.)
Based on the accumulation of years since the rebirth of Israel, we are in the range of months only until Jesus comes in the Rapture of the saints.
There are other telltale events in this world, also, that indicate that the time is very short. In 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 Paul tells us that a "falling away" must come before the appearance of the lawless one. Some argue that this means "taking away" as in the Rapture, which is mentioned later in the chapter as being "when the one who restrains is taken out of the way."
I looked at how about 52 English translations and paraphrases recorded that phrase, "falling away," or if it were translated as "taking away" instead. Almost all were using "falling away" or a similar wording as their translation variation. The closest phrase used was "departure," which can easily mean "departure from the faith." None of them specifically identified the phrase with the Rapture, however.
It is totally conceivable that the end result of "falling away" from lawfulness will usher in that very image of lawlessness-the devil himself. That turning from lawfulness is confirmed by other Scripture, as follows, in spite of the argument as to the meaning of that phrase in the original Greek:
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron..." (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
"But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13).
"Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?
For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:1-7).
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world" (1 John 4:1-3).
(I have noted before that an uncle once complained that details of topics of the Bible were not put together under each respective topic heading, as in an encyclopedia, and now I have almost done the same thing. However, here I have quoted Paul, Peter and John to confirm the consistency of the Scriptures as one message.)
It is almost unbelievable what we see in the news every day , not only in America but the whole world, the turn to lawlessness. Terrorism runs rampant and it seems no one can get a handle on it with any authority. Political correctness has become the controlling principle for social relationships. There is a faction that is quick to call any contrary judgment to their way of thinking "racism" no matter what is the real issue.
Here in America the absolute hate for President Trump is so very vivid in the liberal side of our culture that there seems to be no way to resolve the differences. The very things which the leftist Democrats have always said they are for are the things Donald Trump promised he would do and is doing them, yet their hate is so strong they will not cooperate at all to get those things done.
President Trump is president of the people of America, but he does not fit their mold of a president, so "he just is not presidential." They strongly deny it, but it does appear that they would rather destroy America than to see President Trump succeed.
Check the source of their "wisdom." Solomon wrote in Proverbs 9:10, "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom," so it is no wonder that their default position turns out to be lawlessness, right out of the pit of the devil's habitat.
Just like Jesus said, false prophets with their false doctrines are abounding and are giving the masses a casual attitude regarding any sense of impending judgment and the end of the age. A news person the other day told of a bumper sticker that said, "Jesus Is Coming-Look Busy." When sunlight is filtered through darkness, its intensity is greatly diminished and therefore, its effect shows up as increased lawlessness, in spiritual terms.
Why does God allow such to happen? There seems to be a principle that God allows mankind to embrace sinfulness in a big way once he has rejected God as his Master. It confirms Man's judgment for his rebellion. Yet, God says He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" in 2 Peter 3:9.
None will enter the presence of God having not repented and turned away from his rebellion against God and receiving Jesus as his personal Savior, just as John 14:6 declares that none can be saved except through Him.