No matter how rose-colored one’s glasses might be, one cannot conclude that the portrait the Bible paints regarding these last days is cheerful, optimistic, or carefree. Whether the words of Jesus, Paul, or John on the isle of Patmos, we are repeatedly told what to expect and what the world will look like on the eve of Christ’s return.
As we read the warnings contained within the pages of Scripture, some might conclude that, for the most part, the things the Bible warns about have been a part of the lexicon of human misery since the beginning of creation itself. There have always been earthquakes, there have always been wars, and there has always been some sort of pestilence in some part of the world, so being told they will take place during the last days seems obvious. It’s by no means revelatory, is it?
That Jesus would take the time to warn of these things ought to give us reason to ponder the more profound implications thereof, but who’s got time for pondering things nowadays? We’re on the fast track to nowhere and too busy doing nothing to concern ourselves with the things Jesus said. This is the instant generation; raised on jet fuel and unrealistic expectations.
None of it matters anyway since we’re not even going to be here. Sure the pre-thanksgiving rapture theory was a bust, but there’s always Christmas, New Year, International Women’s Day, and maybe even International Pretzel Day to shoot for. If it didn’t happen today, there’s always tomorrow to look forward to, just as long as we don’t have to face the reality that we’re all still here and it’s getting a wee bit hot in the kitchen.
If something Jesus said would be a harbinger of His return was already happening during His time, the only conclusion we can draw is that those things would increase in frequency and intensity. Sure, there have always been wars, earthquakes, famines, and pestilences, but their frequency will increase the closer we get to His return, as will their intensity.
Jesus wasn’t guessing at what the last days would look like; He knew exactly what they would look like and forewarned us so we would tamper our expectations of ruling the nations with a rod of iron or getting that long-awaited wealth transfer from the wicked to the righteous. It’s not a purely American problem, either. Even Romanians have gotten in on the game. Okay, technically, Romanian Americans, but a guest speaker at a sizeable Romanian church in Chicago encouraged the congregation to buy Shiba Inu crypto coins before they cut off his mic.
It would have been funny if it wasn’t so off-putting because he didn’t pronounce Shiba coin correctly.
I want to believe it as much as the next guy, but the whole thing about the sinner’s wealth being laid up for the righteous is a proverb, not an end-times prophecy. It is found in the same proverb as sparing the rod spoils the child, and hope deferred makes the heart sick.
I get that we live in a clickbait culture, and we’ll butcher a scripture passage ten ways from Sunday until we get it to say what we want, but trying to make the Bible say something it doesn’t isn’t worth it for the momentary endorphin rush.
So why do I keep harping on this? Because Jesus also said something that hasn’t been happening since the begging of time, that has nothing to do with the violent ways of men, the natural cycles of pandemics, or the ever-present earthquakes in various places.
Matthew 24:10 says, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
If you knew how many hours I’ve spent looking at this one verse from every conceivable angle, you would think me either mad or a genius.
What we know by reading the text is the following: the offense will be widespread, it will be so deeply felt that it will lead to betrayal, and the rift it will cause will be such that men will come to hate each other.
Here’s a hypothetical for you: A solid 75% of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians believe that they will either be gone before the things the Bible says comes to pass or they stand to get their grubby hands on the wealth of the wicked. Everything the Bible says will happen begins to happen, they’re still here, with no wealth transfer in sight, but rather religious persecution on a grand scale breaks out globally.
If you believed what they believe and the opposite happened, wouldn’t you be offended? If you believed what they believe because your pastor, elder, deacon, bishop, or pink-haired prophetess told you it would be so, then suddenly you were faced with torture and death, wouldn’t betrayal be a viable option? Wouldn’t you hate the people that lulled you to sleep and insisted that cotton candy clouds and chubby cherubs playing harps were just a love offering away?
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.