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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Bird's Eye View of the End Times Part 1

We look at the prophetic landscape today and see many pieces of the same puzzle. We are seeing the fulfillment of some prophecies, the partial fulfillment of others, and events are progressing with such unprecedented speed, that by the time we process and understand one thing, three others have already occurred. Before going any further, I need to stress that although we are seeing the fulfillment of end time prophecy, and I discuss it from time to time, our focus must continue to be Jesus, and a relationship with Him. We cannot be so consumed with the prophetic that we miss out on knowing the giver of prophecy; we cannot be so consumed with end time events that we miss out on a relationship with the One who is to return in these end times. We can know the times and the seasons, we can know the what, the when, the where, the how, and the who, but if we don’t know Jesus, all our knowledge amounts to nothing, a handful of dust swept away by a strong breeze.
Some have accused me of not being faithful to end time prophecy, since I don’t talk about my grandfather’s dreams or visions, or even my own too often, and my response to that is that my primary concern is to be faithful to Jesus, not to prophecy. Jesus is more important than prophecy, and prophecy is given to God’s children that they might not be ignorant of the times they are living in, and that they might prepare spiritually for the dark days ahead.
Today we are going to be discussing three major pieces of the end time puzzle. The first piece is the state of prophecy in the end times, both true and false. The second piece of the puzzle we will be discussing is the state of the church during the end times, and the third piece is the state of the world.
1. The state of the prophetic!
For the past few decades, self appointed and self anointed prophets have been attempting to redefine the nature of God. Each time God sends a warning, each time God attempts to awaken His people by sounding the alarm, these men come out of the woodwork, and in soothing voices tell the Church that it wasn’t God that allowed these things, it was mere chance, and happenstance.
“God doesn’t do that anymore!” is the cry of the modern day pseudo-prophets, dismissing the fact that we serve a God who changes not, who is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Apparently for the past twenty years God has no longer been concerned about holiness, righteousness, sanctification and obedience; His primary focus has been blessing, and prosperity and self-esteem. “Do what you want to do, establish your own level of morality, and as long as you sow a seed into this ministry, God will bless you abundantly, pressed down, shaken together.”
Soothsayers are nothing new among the people of God. They have been around for millennia, and the true servants of Christ, the true followers of God have had to contend with them throughout the centuries.
The reason soothsayers are so successful is because human nature likes to hear good things. We do not like being confronted with our own sins, we do not like being confronted with the righteousness of a righteous God, we like to be told that God understands, God overlooks, God glosses over, and that there is no consequence to sin and disobedience.
We hear a word of coming judgment, and the first thing we do is seek out the contrarian position that tells us God only wants good things for us, and abundantly so. For every one servant that speaks a true message from God, that receives true revelation, there are ten who tell the people what they want to hear, so by sheer numbers alone the true messengers are at a disadvantage from the start.
“But brother so and so said that God’s going to continue blessing us, and we will prosper again, and no judgment will come upon us, why do you still hold to your position?”
Well, because I stand on what God showed me, and on what the Bible says. No matter how good a ‘word’ might sound, if it contradicts the Word, it is not of God. The Word says God punishes sin, the Word says judgment begins in His house!
Jeremiah 5:12-13, “They have lied about the Lord, and said, ‘it is not He. Neither will evil come upon us, nor shall we see sword of famine.’ And the prophets become wind, for the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them.”
God cannot contradict Himself. God cannot overlook sin simply because it is taking place in a nation that has ‘in God we trust’ on its money, although if some people have their way even that may soon be a memory.
Often we allow our sense of patriotism to cloud our reasoning concerning the righteousness of God. Just as some in Israel of old did not believe God would send judgment because they were His people, some today do not believe that God will send judgment because we are a Christian nation. Whether or not we are a Christian nation is debatable, but for the sake of argument let’s say we are; the only thing that would mean, is that God will hold us all the more accountable for our disobedience and sin.
I’ve used this analogy once before in a sermon, but I think it might serve to bring understanding, and shed some light on why the churches in America will not be spared judgment, but rather be the first to experience it.
Imagine being a parent who sees their own child, and a complete stranger’s child doing something truly horrible. They were both doing the exact same thing, whatever the horrible thing might have been, and the question that begs to be asked is which child do you discipline? Do you go to the stranger’s child and proceed to give him a spanking, or do you go to your own child and do likewise?
Those of the church are the children of God. Those of the world are not. God disciplines His own children first and foremost.
Jeremiah 5:30-31, “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?”
The ‘prophecies’ of a tolerant God, a God who is indifferent to the sin in His own house, the ‘words of knowledge’ heralding a new season of prosperity and a transference of wealth, are only sustainable for a season. Yes, the people love to hear the good words, they love to have their ears tickled, but the question that we must individually ask ourselves, is what will we do in the end? If we trust in the pillow prophets, and the soothsayers rather than the Word of God, if we believe their imaginings over the truth of scripture, what will we do in the end? How will we react to the times and the seasons of which the Word clearly forewarns?
It’s not that God is not speaking, He is! Whether through His word, or His chosen vessels, God is speaking to His people, but a great majority is dismissing and rejecting His words, because they do not line up with their preconceived notions of what the world will be like in the end times.
If we choose to believe a lie, just because it is temporarily soothing to the flesh, and accepting of our fleshly pursuits, we will have no one to blame but ourselves for these times coming upon us, and finding us unprepared.
Jeremiah 6:10, “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it. “
We have become addicted to the superficial comfort that words which originate from men’s bellies rather than the throne room of God offer us. We are temporarily encouraged when we hear the words of peace and safety, only to be plunged into hopelessness upon seeing the truth with our own eyes.
We revel in flattering revelation, because such revelation bolsters our flesh, and we mock and belittle those who would speak the truth, who would hold up the mirror of the Word that our true self might be revealed. We hate the truth, and the word of the Lord has become a reproach to us because the truth is uncompromising, unyielding, and it judges without partiality. I know this will offend some, but it must be said, we have to stop believing we are somehow more special than everyone else in the world, just because we are Americans. God does not see nationality, He does not see skin color, He sees the heart, and He weighs the heart and more souls than we would like to admit have been found wanting.
We have marginalized the Word because it is offensive to the sensibilities of sin and transgression. We no longer love people enough to tell them the truth, and so we turn a blind eye to the filth, ruination, and darkness they call home. What’s worse, is that we strengthen the hands of the wicked, by encouraging them to continue in their sin, while at the same time make the hearts of the righteous sad, because we readily label them intolerant, backward, or the big word, fundamentalist.
In this brave new world, God no longer has a standard, sin is no longer sin, hell no longer exists, and disobedience is no longer punished. Welcome to the new paradigm; welcome to the new god that this present generation of deceived souls calling themselves oracles of the one true God have created.
Ezekiel 13:8-9, “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you,’ says the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies.”
For the love of God, for the love of all that’s holy, for the love of our very souls, let’s grow up already and stop the foolishness! Rather than chase after gold dust, and rubies, and oily hands, let’s get on our knees in true repentance of the heart, and seek fellowship with the eternal Father; rather than chase after personal words of prophecy, let’s crack open the Bible and do what it says first and foremost, because if a ‘word’ contradicts the Bible, it’s not from God no matter how much you might ‘bear witness’.
We’re looking for shortcuts, when there are no shortcuts to the holy of holies. We’re looking for ways wherein we can skip a few steps, you know just the time consuming stuff like praying, fasting, and reading the Word, and still be all that we can be in Jesus.
The church is to blame for the influx of false teaching, false prophets, and false doctrines that abound therein, because we reject the truth, and embrace the lie. You can read passages from the Word itself, and there will be those within the church today that will say in their hearts ‘that’s not the God I serve! My God wouldn’t do that! My God is love, my God is not judgmental, my God accepts everybody just the way they are!’
‘But it’s in the Word’, you retort. ‘It may be but that’s not the way I see it.’ And that is the theological and doctrinal foundation of today’s nominal Christian. They believe only what they want to believe, they make it up as they go along, and they accept only those parts of the Bible that tells them good things, that do not challenge them, that do not compel them to change, or be born again.
Challenge their flawed beliefs, challenge their superficial faith and they will label you unloving, uncaring, and go to the church with the smiling guy that tells the jokes, and makes them feel good.
By all means, feel good, chase illusions, prophecy good things, profane the name of God for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, and believe that God’s only desire is that you prosper in this life, I can’t stop you, but what will you do in the end?
Whether we believe it or not, whether we accept it or not, it does not change the fact that we are living the end times. How can I be so certain? I can be so sure of the times we are living in because of the state of the church today, and the state of the world that we are currently living in.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

10 comments:

Kevin Acres said...

Wow beautifully said. I say with a loud voice AMEN! I have not the gift to be able to say what you said so rightly and simply but I was echoing internally with joy your words.
Praise God because that is what is being done in this article.

Thank you

Suzy said...

Thank you Michael for saying it like it is.
It seems people are more concerned with pleasing themselves through the deceitfulness of "false compassion" for those who are "seekers" rather than pleasing our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the true compassionate one, "the One who draws all men unto himself." (see John 12:32)
When we see many of the churches becoming apostate, not only is it a pitiful condition calling for Christ's rebuke, and in dire need of repentance, but sadly, it is also another sign that we are indeed living in the end times.

1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
(1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

Cale said...

Wow. Breath. Good stuff, Michael. Keep it coming, for as long as we have left. What will I do in the end, Michael? One who reads the truth, acknowledges it, prays for grace and will to follow Him, and don't. Living willfully in sin, knowing there is judgment, knowing it is coming, and praying for it to come, to release me from this prison of prosperity, of hopelessness, of emptyness, of lifelessness, of deep depression and shame and festering, putrid soul-wounds. And if that means He takes my life rather then cleanse me, I know He is good, and a merciful and loving God, and I trust Him with His judgement.

What of the man who desperately tried to break through to healing in Jesus, and didn't. Of periods of months of fasting, years of prayer, Bible study, entire books memorized, walking in utter and absolute obedience... Only brokenness. No healing. Complete and utter exhaustion. Outcast from the organized church, patted on the head by so called leaders and said good boy, now go sit down and let's all be positive! Who sought healing and was given a stone, clanging cymbols.

Jesus is going to heal the outcast, the broken, the hopeless. That is me and I am still- by grace through faith alone- the Church. Heal me, Yahshua! Heal your Church! Bring your fire and set us free!
- Cale

Elm Street Chapel - Dave said...

Amen Michael.

You said: The church is to blame for the influx of false teaching, false prophets, and false doctrines... My God is love, my God is not judgmental, my God accepts everybody just the way they are!’
‘But it’s in the Word’, you retort. ‘It may be but that’s not the way I see it.’ And that is the theological and doctrinal foundation of today’s nominal Christian. They believe only what they want to believe,...

Without the discipline to truth most believe the convenient lie. Without the Holy Spirit leading into "All Truth" no one can know truth. Without preachers pointing the way to know truth none will find it. Without an "ear to hear" none can know to turn and repent; God gives them over to their own "LUSTS". People follow the carnally elevated; they think, he has a big following he must be right. They don't know God or His word.

Ecclesiastes 9:15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that rules among fools.

The blind lead the blind. Prophecy comes to pass before our eyes.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But, the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

L,J,P&HG
Dave

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Awesome post. How sad the state of the church. I had a conversation yesterday w/ someone about the very same thing that you posted. Here is the reaction I received:

‘that’s not the God I serve! My God wouldn’t do that! My God is love, my God is not judgmental, my God accepts everybody just the way they are!’
‘But it’s in the Word’, you retort. ‘It may be but that’s not the way I see it.’ And that is the theological and doctrinal foundation of today’s nominal Christian.

I told I was 'extreme'. My heart goes out to those that have a false image of Christ.

Anyway, thanks
D

Briefcase said...

As you say, Michael, God doesn't change. I wouldn't put it past him, though, to be amenable to reviewing, from time to time, how best to get through to those few in the population that can be saved. Times do change, and with them, fashions and popular culture; in a word, the way we ought to communicate so people listen. The Gospel remains the same, but what was easily understood a century ago may need to be rephrased today or it might not be comprehended. Just check with the advertising profession.

Fire and brimstone sold well in Victorian times when an outward show of morality was in vogue. Today, it doesn't convey the message, except to the few who already know and need no more convincing. If that's to be our mode of speaking, we run the risk of not being heard even by those who could receive salvation.

At the other end of the spectrum of severity versus laissez-faire lies the moralistic-therapeutic deism you so eloquently decry in your post. It certainly isn't likely to make anybody aware of Christ's knocking at the door of their hearts. Now, if the efficacy in getting through to those we need to reach behaves like other human endeavors, then somewhere between those two extremes would lie an optimum where our message would be heard and understood where it matters.

Yet, moralistic severity isn't the only variable at our disposal. Whenever the church or an uncorrupted offshoot of it has been persecuted, it has always grown by leaps and bounds, and has been able to convey its core message--repentance, forgiveness, and salvation by the blood of Jesus and the grace of God--with force and clarity. Watching Christians live their faith and, if required, die for it, demonstrates the attractiveness of their choice in a dramatically better manner than hearing judgment pronounced on one's own transgressions. The Gospel is meant to be good news, but where's the joy if the only alternative we offer to the ennui of Churchianism is the misery of everybody's sinfulness?

As the End Times progress, a time will come when Christ's own will again be persecuted, tortured, and killed. As hard as it seems today to get through to people, there's good hope that in a near future, it'll again be as simple as show and tell.

For a popularized account of the happenings of the End Times, see my free e-book Walkabout: The History of a Brief Century.

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

Dear Briefcase,
For some reason it sounds odd calling someone briefcase, but since I have no name for you, briefcase it shall be.
I take no issue with the means by which a message is delivered to the masses, as long as the content remains a constant. If Jesus is not glorified, if the cross is not presented, and if repentance is not called for, modern linguistics and hip vernacular notwithstanding, it will not cause true transformation of the heart.
Jesus found self righteousness or what you termed 'outward morality' offensive and highly destructive, and we as true children of GOd should view it in the same manner.
I hope you did not infer that my message encouraged outward shows of morality, becuase this was not my intention. True transformation of the heart and mind is what I preach, and this can only be accomplished by Jesus, in Jesus and through Jesus.
With that having been said, I think we can both agree that the Bible describes life as a journey offering two roads. Regardless of how offensive this idea might be to the modern mind, it is either the kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of darkness. We cannot have both.
What troubles me is that the modern day church has attempted to reconcile opposites, and Biblically speaking this is impossible. We cannot reconcile darkness and light, and so our message must have the requisite consistency that would compel men to choose for themselves who they will serve. As for me and my house, I echo the words of Joshua, we will serve the Lord.
It is the Holy Spirit that must do the work in the heart of man, that he might see his retchedness, and the need for Jesus. Our duty is to preach the truth!
As far as the persecution of the saints, I cover that in the last post of this study.
God bless.
With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Briefcase said...

Yes, your heart is in the right place, Michael, and I'd be proud to have you as my minister.

Robert is the name.

Anonymous said...

Good reply to Briefcase, Michael. I was a bit alarmed when I read his comment, so I am glad you clarified things. Whew.
God bless you,
Suzy

Sure Word Ministries said...

Wow! Thank you so much for speaking the truth! May God raise up more voices like yours that will not be afraid to say it like it is - just like the Bible says it. I was tremendously blessed by this post. May the Lord continue to use you in mighty ways. May God bless you!