Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXV

 Matthew 24:21-22, “For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” 

The world’s a big place, and when Jesus says there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, nor ever shall be, we can intuit He has transitioned from the discussion of the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple to the last days of the world and the precursors to His imminent return. How do we know this? Because there have been tribulations far worse than those that took place during the siege of Jerusalem, such as the holocaust, which claimed six million lives, a five hundred percent increase from the number of those who perished when the Romans overran Jerusalem. 

Take into account the millions of believers who lost their lives for the cause of Christ during the Communist reign in nations such as Russia, China, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, and the like, and we can readily surmise that the tribulation Jesus was speaking of is not something that occurred when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. 

What will be will eclipse what has been, and it will be a worldwide affair. The target will be the elect, and Jesus says that for their sake, those days will be shortened. I understand full well that if you’re currently living in America, Canada, or any other Westernized country, the idea of an all-out war against the saints seems far-fetched and improbable. I’m sure the same could have been said about Christ’s warning about fleeing to the mountains when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies. 

Although we’ve discussed prophecy and the prophetic in the past, it bears repeating that when a word is given, when a messenger is sent, or when a servant is tasked with delivering a message, it seems farfetched to those who hear it. 

Unprecedented, however, does not mean impossible. When Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth seven hundred years before Jesus was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem, I’m sure the notion seemed impossible to many. Yet there were those who held to the words of the prophecy and remembered them, and when it took place, they called back to it, though seven hundred years had passed. 

When Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple within a generation’s time before it was even completed, that too seemed improbable, yet it occurred just as He said it would. Those who took His words to heart fled before the siege turned into a slaughter. 

If the elect were not the target of this, the greatest of tribulations, or they were wholly unaffected by them, why would the days be shortened for their sake? 

Those who conflate the wrath of God with the tribulation Jesus speaks of are guilty of sloppy exegesis on an egregious level. I think it’s a way to deflect from the reality that the household of faith is called upon to endure and forewarned that they would be hated by all nations and killed for Christ’s name sake because it would melt the biscuit wheels right off their gravy trains. 

You can’t preach prosperity and tribulation in the same breath. You can’t tell people that the wealth of the wicked is waiting to be claimed by them and, at the same time, tell them that they will be hated, betrayed, and martyred. There is a disconnect, an unbridgeable gap between the two schools of thought, and men must choose which they will believe. As for me, I believe Jesus even though it may be uncomfortable for my flesh to ponder such things. 

Even as they see the words of Jesus coming to pass in real time, some men still can’t bring themselves to reiterate them. They’ve taught these things for so long and have grown so rich off the retelling of these fables that it’s too late to change course now or admit that they were lying all this time. Benny Hinn tried, kind of, but I think the backlash from those who’d been sowing seed so they could reap a harvest was so monumental that he reverted to the old parlor tricks that entertained the carnally minded in the span of a few months. 

We like to lay the blame at the feet of those who disseminate teaching and doctrine antithetical to scripture, but there is enough blame to go around, and the blame isn’t solely on them. If there were no demand, there would be no supply. If people didn’t enjoy having their ears tickled, the ear ticklers would be out of business. It’s not as though they’re doing it for the great high calling of spreading the Gospel; what they’re spreading isn’t the Gospel at all, and they know it, so if there were no monetary incentive to continue droning on about seeds and harvests, they would stop.

Even though it’s a parasitic relationship fashioned to look symbiotic, most of those being harmed by their ingrained beliefs that Jesus came to make them rich rather than whole, give them stuff rather than bring them from death to life, will defend the parasite leeching off the sweat of their brow to the death, because they’d rather send a check than surrender their heart. 

These are individuals who, having read what they must do to be saved, decided to seek a second opinion, and wouldn’t you know it, they found one. The problem is that any other way but Christ is an illusion, a fable, an immaterial and substanceless hope based on the words of other men who spoke those words with a purpose in mind other than the salvation of the individual.  

Because men have rejected the gospel of the kingdom while embracing the opinions and machinations of men, they are spiritually unprepared for the things Jesus said we would bear witness to and experience. Endurance presupposes hardship. Endurance presupposes strain, adversity, and suffering. You don’t endure a day at the beach with your toes in the sand or a walk through a wooded glen replete with wildflowers and the melodic sounds of songbirds. 

Not only does Jesus say that he who endures to the end will be saved, but He specifies what we will have to endure. Those who will get blindsided and caught unaware will have no one to blame but themselves for having ignored His warnings and discounted His words.  

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXIV

 One of the Jesus-approved ways by which we can gauge how close we are to His return as far as a timeline is concerned is that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations before the end could come.

Imagine how fantastical that claim seemed to His disciples, given that they were currently a handful of men following Him, shunned by the religious power base of the time, and rejected by their own families and friends for following after Jesus. They had no clue as to how big the world was, nor did they have the ability to travel by anything other than ship to faraway lands, journeys that weren’t only time-consuming but also fraught with danger and uncertainty.

Paul, the Apostle of Christ, survived no less than four shipwrecks in his life. That’s just one man. So it’s not as though seafaring was a safe form of transport or that those who’d departed for a journey were certain to arrive at their destination, yet Jesus declared the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in all the world.

It’s easy to conclude that the world is a small place when an individual can reach millions with a camera and a Wi-Fi connection, but it was not so during their day. Even as early as the 1900s, when most people were still riding their horses to church or taking carriages if it was a family affair, the notion that the gospel would be preached in all the world seemed like a far-fetched thing. Sure, missionaries were making their way to smaller and smaller nations, discovering new groups of individuals to whom they could preach the gospel, but it still seemed like an impossible task even as little as a hundred years ago.

All the technological advancements we are witnessing today had to happen for the myriad of prophecies regarding the last days to be fulfilled. Those tasked with recording them didn’t try to explain how they thought they might come about. They just knew they were hearing from God, were faithful in recording what they received, and though they might have had questions or certain things didn’t seem probable at the time, they nevertheless did their duty. That’s the difference between true prophecy and what passes for prophecy nowadays. Deductive reasoning is not prophecy. Divine revelation is not required to conclude that a storm is coming if you’re standing on your stoop, watching the sky grow dark and hearing thunder in the distance.

The disciples never asked Jesus how these things could possibly come about. All they asked was when. They took it as a certainty, as yes and amen, not doubting His words but desiring to know when His words would come to pass, both regarding the destruction of the temple and the end of the age.

This is the sort of faith we must aspire to in every area of our lives. If God says He will keep you, shelter you, protect you, and guide you in the coming days, take Him at His word. Believe it as truth and an immutable certainty. The knowledge that God can protect His own and knowing that He promised He would eliminates any anxiousness or fear of what the future holds from our hearts.

We journey through this life and will soon bear witness to the unfolding of the last days of the world, but we do not do so alone or absent of hope. We know our redeemer lives. We know He is able and willing to imbue us with all that is necessary to make us living witnesses and testimonies to His omnipotent power.

That said, ignorance of the days in which we’re living and of what Jesus said they would look like brings about unnecessary tumult in our hearts and a tendency to give heed to the voices speaking things antithetical to His words.

As we compare and contrast Luke’s retelling of the Olivet discourse with Matthew’s, it’s readily apparent when Jesus is speaking about the destruction of the temple and the broader events of the last days before His imminent return.

Luke 21:20-24, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written might be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

The most credible retelling of the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple comes from the writings of Josephus, a historian and military leader who served as Titus’s translator when he led the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. He wrote that 1.1 million Jews were killed during the siege, with another 100,00 or so being enslaved.

What Jesus had prophesied decades prior had come to pass just as He said it would. Those who remembered His words fled as instructed and were spared; those who discounted them fell by the edge of the sword.

While those present during the destruction of the temple were told to flee when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, those who would be around during the last days of the world were commanded to endure to the end. The reason for this is obvious if unpleasant for those who believe that a geographical place of safety will exist during those days.

There will be no safe haven for the children of God when the events Jesus foretold of will begin to unfold during the last days of the world. There will be no mountains we can flee to or nations we can emigrate to, and the only place of refuge will be in Him.

Those who trust God will weather the storm, endure, and persevere. Those who trust in the arm of the flesh will have to contend with watching every plan they’ve engineered fail them as things go from bad to worse, and the just will inevitably have to live by faith. If you’re not working on building up your most holy faith and expending your time and energy elsewhere, sooner or later, the futility of your endeavor will become painfully obvious.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, June 17, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXIII

 Certain environments allow deception to take root more readily than others. An environment of lukewarm commitment and faithfulness is by far the most compatible with deception, which is not only surviving but thriving, running rampant, spreading, and growing in the contemporary church. One gives way to the other, allowing it to grow unchecked and choke off the truth of the Word in the process.

If you’ve ever had a lawn invaded by dandelions, crabgrass, thistle, or other weeds, you know that if you ignore them, they will continue to spread and grow until there are more weeds than grass. Your only option is to find the most potent weed killer on the market and spray your lawn until it first stops the spread and then begins to kill off the existing weeds. The weeds don’t want to die. They will not remove themselves from your lawn voluntarily, even if you ask nicely. Their mission and purpose is clear, and unless confronted with similar conviction and steps are taken to do away with them, they will continue to do what is in their nature.

The truth of God’s word is akin to weed killer for deception. If the Word is absent in a given environment, whether a church, a denomination, or a home group, deception will spread and grow and become the dominant force. If it’s ignored, it will just get worse. If confronted with the Word, it will first cease its progress and then die out altogether. Death is a violent prospect. There is a finality to it, and deception will do its best to either survive or go scorched earth in the process of its demise. Deception will never go gently into that good night; it will always do its utmost to destroy and divide.

There is great danger in the love of an individual, a congregation, or an entire generation growing cold while the hype man passing for a shepherd insists that their love for Jesus is burning so bright that there are ushers with extinguishers on standby. The reason they get away with it is because they’ve redefined what love is, and what once used to be defined as surrender, trust, worship, and fellowship, picking up our crosses and denying ourselves, have been reduced to surpassing last week’s offering with this week’s offering.

Although the majority sitting in the pew might be faithless, aimless, purposeless, and frigid when it comes to the love of God in their hearts, if they happen to throw an extra dollar in the offering plate, they’re reassured that due to their willingness to part with a few shekels, their love has never burned brighter.

We’ve made this faith of ours about things Jesus never did. We’ve transformed it from building up our most holy faith, pursuing righteousness and holiness, dying to self, and living for Him to something wholly tethered in the material. The more you give, the holier you are. Glory hallelujah! But is that what Jesus said? You grow in holiness by daily dying to the flesh and pursuing the righteousness of God.

Matthew 24:13-14, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

What exactly will we have to endure and do so to the end? Christ’s words are straightforward enough. It’s not as though we can read them and draw another conclusion other than that he who endures to the end shall be saved, but it doesn’t mean countless souls haven’t tried in the last couple of centuries because the implications of those words do not bode well for those whose entire existence revolves around this present life and the ease thereof.

It’s hard to sell people on a prosperous future full of sunshine and rainbows when you’re forced to point out that they must endure something, anything, even the smallest of discomforts, because that’s not the Jesus they were sold on, and it was the first time they heard anything about the prospect of suffering or endurance.

The world will hate you; you must endure it. Your brothers will betray you; you must endure it. False prophets will rise up and deceive many; you must endure. You will be witness to the love of many growing cold; you must endure it. You will be delivered up to tribulation and killed; you must endure it. You must endure all these things to the end because the end of a race makes you a beneficiary of the inherent prize and not the beginning.

We cannot minimize the onslaught that will come against the household of faith from without and from within during the last days of the world because the enemy is fully aware that time is running out for him to attempt and draw away from the path of truth those who are not fully cemented therein.

There is only one way to endure to the end: having our eyes firmly affixed upon Jesus and letting nothing to the left or to the right capture our attention or distract us from our pursuit of Him. Know the Shepherd’s voice, and you will know when another speaks in His name that is not of His nature. If people knew what Jesus said about the last days, perhaps so many wouldn’t have fallen for the theories plaguing the church with people running to and fro looking for some hint or insight into things Jesus explicitly declared were unknowable to us.

It’s not as though He didn’t speak of things we should expect before His return; we just want to know the actual date. Many are naturally curious; others think they can use the knowledge to repent a day before His return, as though finding a loophole for an extra pizza at the local pie shop in the wording of their weekly coupons.

If you’re spending more time looking for loopholes and excuses than you ever did cementing a relationship with Jesus and growing in Him, you were never His, to begin with. Among the other things Jesus said that is met with discomfort by the modern-day church is that many would stand before Him insisting that they prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and did many wonders to boot, yet Jesus will declare He never knew them.

Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXII

 In order to keep a fire burning bright, you must tend to it and feed it, and its continuity must be an ever-present priority in your mind. You can’t start a fire, walk away from it for a month, and then come back and expect to find it burning. By then, there won’t even be smoke or embers, just a dark patch where a fire once burned.

We have a firepit in the backyard, and during spring and fall, the girls love to sit by the fire and roast marshmallows. The one thing they like more than the gooey marshmallows is when I light the fire itself because I’m quite liberal with the lighter fluid, and whenever I throw a match, it makes a big whoosh. It’s entertaining, and there’s always a look of awe accompanied by clapping or excited fidgeting. If there isn’t enough kindling, the big whoosh is all they get, and the fire dies down just as fast as it started. By now, I am a master of the craft, so there hasn’t been an instance where the fire died down before they could enjoy it in some time.

The fires of first love must be fed constantly with the Word of God lest that which once burned bright flickers and dies out. When the last thing most churches today encourage their congregants to do is read the Word, consume it, and be fed by it, it’s no wonder that the love of many grows cold, and they are constantly looking for some new revelation to delve into, some hidden knowledge, some sign or other, that more closely resembles the ruminations of broken minds obsessed with extraterrestrial supernatural forces than the Bible.

Many have been led to believe that a flash in the pan will suffice when it comes to their spiritual longevity. Such individuals constantly relive the same moment when they felt the urging of the Holy Spirit or when they had an encounter with God, but because no one ever told them they must keep the flames alive and burning, that their hunger for Him must never wane, they’ve been dry and cold since that time forward. Some still go through the motions of sitting in a church pew and scrolling Facebook while the pastor is preaching; they’ll throw a few bucks in a plate once in a while, but as far as desiring more of God and His word, as far as having the hunger for the things of God, that waned long ago.

Christ alone does not satisfy, so they have to find that other thing to glob onto and make it the center of their universe, the thing that takes preeminence and becomes a replacement of sorts for Christ. Whatever that thing is, it becomes their passion and focus, not Jesus. When we couple that with an utter disinterest in teaching, preaching, pursuing, or insisting upon holiness unto the Lord, we see that once again, the words of Jesus were true, and they hit the bullseye, although spoken two thousand years ago.

Jesus isn’t a currency. He isn’t something we barter away for a bit of fame or fortune; He isn’t something we relinquish for the promise of an easier life. He is the Christ, the one who came and died for the sins of mankind and who promised to one day return to claim His bride and present her before the Father in heaven.

When we realize that the things Jesus said would be occurring could not have occurred without a lethargic, self-obsessed, earth-centered, and duplicitous populace convinced that all it took for them to spend eternity on a puffy cloud eating grapes from golden chalices was a thirty-second prayer or the wave of a hand, we begin to see the intricate details woven into this seemingly straightforward prophecy.

Many will be offended, many will be deceived, and many will betray their fellow man because they never went beyond the superficiality of raising a hand in a church service, then spending the next forty years doing as they will, the thought of Jesus and what He did crossing their minds once a year, an even then feeling as though they did Him a service by raising that hand that one time.

We’ve gone from being desperate for God to believing God is desperate for us to such an extent that He is willing to overlook any and all stains, wrinkles, or predilections. Jesus gave His all for your all. That’s the contract. Anything less than your all is unacceptable to Him. He’s not looking for roommates or someone to split the electric bill with. Either He is Lord of all of you, or He isn’t Lord at all.

Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”

Those were the words of a king. A man for whom nothing was out of reach, yet his singular desire was to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. Juxtapose David’s words and the desire of his heart with Spencer, the grill mechanic, because we can’t call them burger flippers anymore, who comes along, and when he is presented with the gospel, he asks if you can sweeten the pot, maybe throw in a toaster oven, or a raffle for a sweet, sweet Kia. Men today demand concessions from God, where no concessions can be had, but there’s always someone who comes along insisting that they could.

Some churches use raffles and giveaways to grow their congregations and stir interest, as though Jesus weren’t enough. The only problem is that once the goodies stop being as inviting, those who were there for something other than fellowship and intimacy with Christ stop coming as well.

It’s a mindset culminating in situational commitment, situational faithfulness, and situational Christianity. By this, I mean that when someone is surrounded by other believers, they, too, dare to call themselves believers. When they’re out in the world, they try to blend in the best way they can so they don’t draw attention, stand out, or cause the godless to be suspicious of them. Far too many are Christians only when it suits them and not because they’ve been reborn, renewed, and wholly sold out to Jesus. Such people will be the first to fall, the many that will turn their backs on Christ and the cross because while your faith costs you nothing, it’s easy to claim to be a person of faith. When, however, your faith costs you everything, then you are confronted with the reality that the choice has always been binary, meaning that by embracing the one, you will be at enmity with the other.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXI

 Matthew 24:11-13, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Those who have studied the enemy's strategies know that he never eases his pressure. It’s all gas, no brake.  If he gains an advantage, he exploits it. If he’s met with resistance, he doesn’t pause to recover but redoubles his efforts to reach his goal. Our adversary is relentless, and the scriptures have warned us of this. Starving lions don’t surrender easily. They will stalk, bide their time, then pounce. If their prey is swift enough to flee, they’ll give chase, hoping to exhaust them, and one misstep, one wrong turn, one moment of hesitation, and it’s game over.

We see this more clearly in our modern age than at any other time. When a new law isn’t passed the first time, the devil’s minions try and try again until they wear down the opposition and get their way. They’ll change venues, go to different states, seek out sympathetic judges, intimidate, cajole, bribe, threaten, and manipulate until some horrendous thing is codified and becomes the law of the land.

As we draw closer to the end, the trajectory the world is on is not unexpected. What is truly disheartening is how effortlessly the godless are trampling over the people of God. We have grown complacent, easily swayed, and distracted, rejoicing in small victories while the enemy's actions continue to cast a shadow over our progress. While the godless are united in their advancement of evil, the household of faith is fragmented into factions, each striving for dominance in their own little circles, their distraction allowing the darkness to persist unchecked.

The enemy never wastes an opportunity to attempt to deceive. He’s never too busy to try and sneak one of his minions into the house of God, bring them to a place of prominence, and then have them teach all manner of things antithetical to scripture.

Here we are, fresh on the heels of being blindsided and being hated by all nations rather than loved as we were told we would be, with people being offended because they’re still here when they were told they wouldn’t be, and even before the church could catch its breath or muster its forces, a new wave of false prophets rise up deceiving many.

It’s been mentioned before, but it bears repeating that the word ‘many’ Jesus uses to describe the number of those who would be deceived is vexing. If the deceived are already deceived, who are the many these false prophets will be deceiving? It’s not as though the godless will acknowledge them as prophets; they don’t believe in such things. False as they might be, these prophets will pull the wool over many people’s eyes, insisting that they speak on behalf of God Himself and deceive many.

If there’s another way to interpret this text, I’d love to hear it. The only caveat is that your interpretation cannot be based on feelings, emotions, or what other people have said about the text. And, if perchance you use the Left Behind series as your eschatological confirmation, I will do my utmost to publicly shame you for as long as I have breath. It will be well deserved.

The quickest way to discern whether what someone is saying about a given scripture is in harmony with it is to get alone with God, read the text for yourself, and see if what you heard and what you’re reading match up contextually.

The devil tried to play that game with Jesus, insisting that if He was the Son of God, He should throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple because it was written that He shall give His angels charge over you, and, in their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

It was the same sort of scripture twisting every prosperity preacher who has taken a verse out of context is guilty of. The latest one I heard that gave me a chuckle was good ole’ brother Jesse insisting that Jesus hasn’t returned yet because not enough people were forking over their hard-earned money to him. It takes Moxy to make that kind of statement, but most such men lost the ability to blush decades ago.

With each reading of this text, I am floored by the layers upon layers of prophecy contained in the Olivet discourse. I could imagine how improbable the things Jesus was saying seemed to the disciples. Jesus spoke of lawlessness abounding at a time when the church hadn’t even started. He had yet to be crucified, buried, and raised on the third day. He had yet to spend forty more days with them or ascend to heaven, yet here He spoke of a time when lawlessness would abound among those claiming to be His own.

Again, the lawless are already lawless. It would have been no great revelation to say that lawlessness would abound among the godless. It was, however, revelatory that within the context of the last days, the end of the age, and prior to His return, lawlessness would abound.

What is lawlessness? The Bible defines what lawlessness is, so we don’t have to guess at it.

1 John 3:4, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

To insist that Jesus was referring to the godless when He said that lawlessness would abound makes no logical sense. Sin is the natural state of the sinner, but it is not so with those who have been redeemed. Jesus foresaw the watering down of the gospel two thousand years before it began to manifest in churches, congregations, and denominations. He foresaw the turning away from righteousness and a pursuit of holiness to what much of the church has become, lawless men leading other lawless men to perdition, all the while insisting that God approves of their lawlessness and they have nothing to fear from the day of judgment.

The love of many growing cold is a direct result of sin and lawlessness abounding within the household of faith. If you’ve ever wondered why the church and the world seem interchangeable and why there is no discernable difference between the pursuits, desires, aspirations, or practices of those who live in darkness and those who claim to be of the light, now you know.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XX

 How many times can someone cry wolf before no one reacts anymore? What’s the cutoff? Five times, ten, fifteen, fifty? How often does your neighbor have to come over and ask if you would be so kind as to feed their cats because they’re getting raptured come the weekend, and there’s no one else they can ask before you roll your eyes and think them a tad strange? They’ll likely avoid you for a few days after they were supposed to get caught up, but come the next date, they’ll be ringing your doorbell again because their cats are like their babies, and they need to make sure they’ll be taken care of once they’re off.

I understand that those who send out imminent rapture alerts every few days view those who don’t automatically jump on the bandwagon and give away all their earthly possessions as the scoffers Peter was referring to in his second epistle, but they’re not. It’s the constant date setting, dates that come and go only to be replaced by new dates, that is precipitating the increase in scoffers, not those who refuse to see wishful thinking or cousin Zed’s burrito dream as a revelation.

Fellow believers are not denying Christ's return. They are simply refuting the idea that Sister Edith knows the day and the hour. Why? Because Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, but the Father only. We cannot deny the reality of Jesus' words to appease men or spare their feelings. I’m sure Sister Edith is well-intentioned, but she is wrong. Not because I want her to be wrong, but because Jesus says she is wrong.  

But back to what Peter wrote, because the timing of when the scoffers will appear is telling.

2 Peter 3:1-4, “Beloved, I now write 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.’”

I used to travel a lot when I was younger. First as my grandfather’s translator for ten years, then another decade, and change after he passed. Whether I was driving or flying when I knew my destination was near, there would be a rush of excitement and a certain expectation of finality. Whether it was a crew member coming on the audio system informing the passengers that we had started making our final descent and they were going through the cabin one last time to collect empty glasses or seeing my exit was only twenty miles away, there was always that feeling.

It’s human nature to have a heightened level of expectation and excitement when you are nearing the end of something. Whether it’s a journey or a goal you’ve set for yourself that you can see nearing its end, that feeling is hardwired into us. Even though the anticipation becomes palpable the closer you get, you haven’t really arrived until the plane touches down on the runway or you pull into the parking lot of Motel 6, relieved to see that they’ve left a light on for you.

If you try to open the cabin door while the plane is still in flight, someone will stop you, and you will be greeted at the gate by law enforcement. If you pull off on the side of the road before you reach the motel, you’ll be sleeping in your car.

We cannot overlook or ignore the fact that Peter specified the last days as the time when the scoffers would come and mock believers, querying where the promise of His coming was. Those who continue to set date after date are not without fault when it comes to the increase of the scoffers we are seeing currently.

Yes, I believe Jesus is returning. He said He would. More important than the when biblically speaking, is making sure that He finds us ready upon His coming. The reason for our hope is not to escape some event or another but to be with Him in eternity.  

2 Peter 3:10-12, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons out you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”

This isn’t about who’s right or who’s wrong regarding the timing of Christ’s return. It’s about what Jesus said regarding the love of many growing cold and the myriad of voices saying here is the Christ, or there. How many times can someone be crushed by disappointment before they allow bitterness to worm its way into their heart? How many times can someone fall from the mountaintop of exaltation, thinking that tomorrow’s the day we all fly away, to the valley of seeing that day come and go with nothing happening before their love begins to wane? How many will be taken in by the false christs and false prophets because they believed the words of men rather than the words of Jesus?

For many today, the timing of Christ’s return is a hill they’re willing to die on. They’ll disfellowship with people they’ve known for decades at the drop of a hat because they disagree on this point, even though it’s not a salvific issue. No one on either side of the debate is going to be standing in heaven screaming, “I told you so,” at the top of their lungs, that I can guarantee.

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, even those who disagree on this particular topic, and all I can do is echo the words Jesus spoke to Peter when he said, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” If your faith is in Christ, it will not fail even when you begin to see the things you never thought you would take place upon the earth. If your faith is in a doctrine or a particular worldview rather than Christ, you will likely be counted among those who will be offended, betray one another, and hate one another.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XIX

 Matthew 24:10, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”

By this point, the followers of Christ are already being delivered up to tribulation and killed. They are already hated by all nations for His name’s sake, so who will be those that will be offended, become betrayers, and hate?

What will trigger the offense? What will precipitate the betrayal?

Strangers have never betrayed me because they were strangers. I did not know them and never allowed them within my circle of trust. However, a handful of people I considered friends or brothers in Christ have. Betrayal of any sort presupposes a relationship and an existing trust between the betrayer and the individual being betrayed. For someone to betray your confidence, you must first allow them into your confidence.

The same goes for those being offended. The world already trivializes believers; they’re already offended by the moral positions we hold or the objections we have regarding sin, hedonism, debauchery, and a myriad of other things that the godless see nothing wrong with. Those who live in darkness are perpetually offended by the light, because it is as an unnatural environment to them as the darkness ought to be for those in the light. That the goalpost for what is deemed normal, natural, healthy, productive, or decent is being moved at a dizzying pace is a conversation for another time.

So who will be these many that will be offended if not those of the world? At this juncture, I have to step away from my laptop and consider whether we should rip the band-aid off in one smooth motion or try to pull it off gently and slowly. Either way, it’s going to sting.

I’m fully aware that we are living in the most easily offended generation to ever walk the earth with people actively looking for reasons to be offended, but that does not explain away what Jesus said and that He once again used the word ‘many’ to describe those who would be offended. The demarcation between the godless who will persecute the godly is made clear in Christ’s words. If we account for the current spiritual climate of the church and the extrabiblical doctrines they’ve embraced as gospel truth, it becomes painfully apparent who the offended party will be and what will trigger their offense.

I keep returning to Christ’s first warning as a touchpoint of sorts. It is repeated throughout the chapter, even describing the various iterations that would appear as time progresses. There will be false christs, false teachers, false prophets, some even performing great signs and wonders, yet through it all, the message of the hour is to take heed that no one deceives you.

What of those who did not take heed? What of those who built their spiritual houses and pinned their entire hope and expectation of the future and their place in it on fables and doctrines contrary to the Word of God and the words of Jesus?

What if rather than an easy ride in the first-class cabin with no want or desire out of reach, lack and need, and persecution was the thing they were confronted with? What if everything happened in diametrical opposition to their expectations, and as things got worse, they heard that any day now, the wealth of the wicked would be transferred into their outstretched palms, and the only thing that happened is that they got deeper into debt while the prosperity ship never docked in their port of call? Throughout their descent into poverty, those making the promises of thousandfold returns - because hundredfold returns would barely get those they conned back to even - never seemed to miss a meal, drove ever newer and more expensive cars, and those they fleeced wouldn’t be allowed to walk the grounds of their gated communities, much less own a home in the development?

But hey, at least they had the promise of being caught up before things got really bad to cling to. Surely, their preferred evangelists couldn’t have been wrong about that. Granted, they never pointed to a Bible passage that supported their theory, and the closest they came was the church not being mentioned after the sixth chapter of Revelation, but there was an almost unanimous consensus, and nine out of ten of the most brilliant theological minds agreed on this singular theory.

Yes, Jesus talked about those who endure to the end being saved and said that at the end of all these things, and after the tribulation of those days, the sign of the Son of Man would appear in heaven, but they explained that away by sighting translation irregularities from the Greek and Hebrew.

To be honest, I’d be offended, too. If everything I was led to believe about the last days of the world and the church’s role in it turned out to be wrong, I’d be highly offended, and it would take great effort to keep the bitterness I felt from consuming me utterly.

This morning, I had to leave the house early. By early, I mean before anyone else was up. Just because I wasn’t present and accounted for when my wife and daughters woke up, it doesn’t mean they automatically assumed I no longer existed or was gone for good. I just wasn’t there when they woke up. They didn’t call the police and report me as a missing person or start converting my den into a trampoline room.

Even without the words of Jesus standing in stark contrast to the assertions that because the church isn’t mentioned after Revelation 6, it’s no longer here, it would be an untenable leap of logic. We’re trying to prove a negative without any substantiating evidence other than our hope and desire that this is how things will play out. I go weeks without mentioning or talking to people I know. This does not mean they no longer exist or have ceased to be earthbound.

It started going south when Jesus was no longer the end-all and be-all for the believer. Men who had no desire to humble themselves, repent, or submit to God’s authority were drawn to the promises of earthly treasures via prosperity or of finding their one true love via men’s insistence that their mate is in reserve, God’s just waiting for them to be a giver so He could reciprocate in kind, and countless other things which omitted Christ, loving Him, serving Him, and worshipping Him as the singular ideal.

If the modern-day church held to the declaration of the early church that for them to live is Christ and to die is gain, this wouldn’t be the ticking time bomb that it is, but the truth speaks for itself. To many, Jesus is neither the chief cornerstone that the builders rejected nor is He the singularly absolute necessity in their lives. If they could have what their heart desires without including Jesus in the mix, all the better. If they could use Jesus as the means or vehicle to acquire the desires of their hearts, that would work, too. Jesus is no longer the prize; He is the instrument by which men attain what they really want, and it isn’t Him.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XVIII

 Details matter—they always have. The difference between a mediocre artist and one whose name is remembered long after they are gone is the ability to capture features, expressions, and emotion, all with the stroke of a paintbrush and some paint.

Some time ago, a local town was having a centennial celebration of its founding, and they brought in a few rusty, rickety rides, carnival games, someone selling fried Twinkies and cotton candy, and a supposed artist who drew your portrait while you waited. The price point is what got me. Fifteen bucks for a portrait is a deal I couldn’t pass up, so I sat in a plastic chair that groaned in protest to the point that I dared not get comfortable in it, and away the artist went. Fifteen uncomfortable minutes later, seeming satisfied with his work, he said, ‘Done,’ then flipped the paper around to show me something that looked like a lightbulb with furry eyebrows and a set of spindly arms and legs. If I looked like that in reality, I likely could have gotten a job with a traveling circus, but then again, it was fifteen bucks, and the man seemed proud of his accomplishment.

Creation itself declares that God is detail-oriented, almost obsessively so. In fact, He is meticulous about subtle nuances and leaves nothing to chance. Keeping a running count of how many hairs you have on your head isn’t something someone who is inattentive, imprecise, and careless is likely to do. Although, for us, as creations, perfection might be the enemy of good, to God, perfection is the standard. There is nothing we can point to in this great big world and say God was just phoning it in on that day.

When it comes to Jesus, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and so when He says a certain thing in a certain way, or there is a turn of phrase that stands out, we would do well to meditate on it and understand the wondrous reality that Christ was speaking of a future time and events that would occur within the span of one generation, and the end of time when He would be returning for His bride.

That men choose to conflate the two and draw conclusions based on the faulty premise that Jesus was speaking about one event, even though there is a clear and undeniable distinction in what He was describing is on them and not on Him.

Before my wife switched careers, she was a school teacher in Romania. Her biggest frustration day in and day out was that while most of the children in her class grasped the concept of simple math, the alphabet, or scrawling their names on a piece of paper easily enough, a handful of them just weren’t making any progress. She blamed herself, thinking she was failing them somehow.

Seeing that she was constantly troubled by this notion, I sat her down one day and asked her the obvious question: Was she teaching that handful of kids who weren’t getting it any different than those who were? Her obvious answer was no, and she even devoted more of her time to those falling behind than the ones who were excelling.

“Then, by the power vested in me as your husband, I absolve you of all guilt in this matter,” I said, smiling. It wasn’t her fault that some of the children in her class weren’t keeping up. She hadn’t singled out that handful of second graders and refused to teach them as thoroughly as the rest of the class. Whether due to inattention, intellectual capacity, unwillingness to learn, or failure to devote enough time to studying outside the classroom, it was their failure, not hers.

How is it that Christians living in the nation with the single most access to the Bible in the world are the most biblically illiterate? Once in a while, a video will pop up in my feed of street interviews with college students asking them basic questions such as how many states the United States is comprised of or if they could name three countries besides America. The answers would be the epitome of hilarity if they weren’t so sad.

If the same sort of street interview took place as people were leaving church on a given Sunday, you’d get much the same answers.

Ignorance of Scripture is fertile soil for deception. Ignorance of what the Word of God says about the last days of the world is fertile soil for men claiming to be sent by God to sow deception, doubt, fear, and bitterness.

If the average Christian today believed that the message of the cross is, as Paul stated, the power of God, would they not do their utmost to consume it and spend time growing in it daily? Would spending time in His presence not become the singular pursuit and desire of their heart? But that’s the thing. We say things we don’t mean, parroting what we hear from others because it makes us feel like we belong. We lie to ourselves about our level of commitment; we deceive ourselves concerning the level of our faithfulness; we sing lies every other Sunday about all of me, all of me, you’re going to have all of me because You’re worth all of me.

When? When is He going to have all of you? As it sits, the general consensus is that all He is to far too many is a convenient escape from the things He said are soon to come upon the earth.

We’ve transitioned from nothing wicked or defiled will enter His kingdom to sin is just a construct, or God is bigger than my sin, and so He’ll look the other way even though I’m unwilling to part with it. The holiness of God and the wickedness of man are two opposing forces. They’re like two magnets with the same polarity; they repel each other. It doesn’t matter how much one might try to insist that sin and holiness can share the same space; it is an impossibility.

What does that have to do with the topic at hand? What do duplicitous believers have to do with what Jesus said about the last days? It explains, and clearly so, the reason for the hearts of many growing cold and tells us that those words were not spoken in reference to the early church but rather to what would be called the church during the last days.

There is no historical evidence that a preponderance of believers fell away or denied Christ during the early church, even when faced with the prospect of martyrdom. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul mentions one man named Demas who forsook him, not for fear of persecution but for having loved this present world.

Other than the Bible, I believe that Foxe’s Book of Martyrs should be required reading for every new Christian. Nothing humbles you to your core quite so quickly as reading what other believers had to endure for the name of Jesus and what they were willing to face in order to remain faithful to Him. I get it, though. It is traumatizing and akin to suffering when the coffee shop in the church lobby is out of soy milk, or you have to park two rows down from the entrance, so believe people when they tell you they know exactly what persecution feels like and that they’re ready to endure it.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, June 10, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XVII

 Those who have proven themselves to be no more than ghouls wearing human skin have made it clear that letting a good crisis go to waste is inconceivable. However that crisis comes about, whatever the implications for the average citizen, think tanks get paid millions of dollars to find ways and means to capitalize on it, skirt responsibility, and aggregate and consolidate their power.

The guilt or innocence of the group of individuals they choose to target and blame for what ails society is irrelevant and beside the point. You isolate the aforementioned group and then wage a systematic and well-planned attack against them, insisting that they are the source and genesis of the problem.

The soil has already been tilled, and the seeds have already been planted. We are told repeatedly and earnestly by talking heads who, trying to feign sincerity, look more like they’re suffering from extreme constipation that two-parent Christian families pose a greater danger to the republic than zealots who believe that taking the life of an infidel will ensure eternal frolicking with no less than seventy virgins. It’s that Jesus guy and His followers that are the real problem. They are the danger, the enemy, the virus that must be eradicated.

Standing in the way of the degeneracy being presented as wholesome and virtuous cannot be allowed to stand. The godless have a plan and a vision and they are executing on them whether the average Joe approves of it or not. Granted, most people don’t have time to peel back the layers and see what’s really happening because juggling bills and keeping up with their mortgage payments has become the ever-present albatross around their neck. Each day gets more difficult, so they don’t have the time, energy, or wherewithal to open their eyes and see the narrative being constructed for what it is. It’s not a conspiracy theory; it’s the reality most people are living through, and it is a well-orchestrated distraction so that those in power can attain their goals without untoward opposition from what they deem to be the peanut gallery.

In their troubled minds, not only do they know what’s better for you, but they believe wholeheartedly that they are better than you, and all you need is the right motivation to see it for yourself. Whether the narrative is that it’s for the greater good or your own good, and you’re too obtuse to see it and so must be forced to do as they dictate, the goal is still the same.

Matthew 24:9-10, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”

Jesus didn’t say there was a chance you may be hated or even that it was a high likelihood; He said you would be hated for His name’s sake. Jesus wasn’t playing the probabilities game; He declared with absolute certainty that you would be hated for His name’s sake. If the world doesn’t hate you but hates the Jesus you claim to serve, the question must be posed as to whether or not you are serving Jesus. It is incongruent for the world to hate the Master but love the servant.

There are multiple big ideas we have to unpack from these two verses. The first is the word ‘then’. Innocuous, I know, but heavy with implications. When’s then? When will the children of God be delivered up to tribulation, killed, and hated?

The answer is found in the previous two verses. As the world is falling apart, as nations rise against nations, and we begin to see famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places, as the beginning of sorrows stuns the world like a hammer to the skull, then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you for His name’s sake.

Grab your Bible, read the full text, and tell me if there’s another way to interpret this passage.

The next big idea is that Jesus said the hatred, vitriol, and bloodlust would be of global proportions. You will be hated by all nations for His name’s sake. Not just a few, or a handful, or a majority, but all. This circles back to the idea that when these events begin to unfold, there will be no safe haven and nowhere to run to this time, as opposed to the believers who lived during the time of Jerusalem's sacking and the temple's destruction.

The day will come when, if you are a follower of Christ, you will be persona non grata in every nation on the face of the earth. But not America, surely never America! Are you sure about that?

It’s easy to be dismissive regarding the words Jesus spoke if we live cloistered lives, unaware of what’s going on beyond our personal bubble of a handful of like-minded individuals. We read His words with a certain level of skepticism because what He said would be doesn’t match up with the reality we are currently experiencing. Sure, nations afar off with names we can’t quite pronounce might be persecuting Christians, but it could never happen here because we’re a godly nation that trusts God. It even says so on our currency.

While much of the church is at ease in Zion, thinking itself safe and secure from what they deem unthinkable, new laws are being passed and codified whose only purpose and intent is the silencing and subsequent persecution of those who claim faith in Christ. Perhaps they’ll be jolted awake when whispers of outlawing the Bible begin to turn into a chorus, but even then, most of them will take a verse about obeying the laws of the land out of context and get in line to turn in their Bibles in exchange for a coupon for a free McFlurry.

It sounds like you don’t think much of modern-day Christians and the rebranded Christianity, brother. In my defense, I haven’t been given a reason to. The evidence speaks for itself, and the words of Jesus and Paul regarding the love of many growing cold, and the falling away being imminent become more real with each passing day.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XVI

 Children are masters at scapegoating each other or anyone else in the vicinity at whose feet they could lay the blame rightly theirs. It’s never their fault; it’s always someone else. The last good one I heard was from my six-year-old, who, after being caught masticating her way through a bag of mini Kit Kats, insisted that it was my fault because I hadn’t put them high enough in the cupboard so she couldn’t reach them. I wanted to be mad, but it was too good for me not to chuckle, albeit under my breath.

Generally speaking, the godless would rather lose an eye than take responsibility for their actions. Essentially, they are six-year-olds in adult bodies, and whatever twisted logic they have to use to conclude they’re not responsible for where they are, they will use it with the utmost haste.

What makes it worse is that they’re no longer held accountable for their bad choices and decisions because the vultures in power have realized that if they grease the wheels a smidge and forget some college debt here, some credit card debt there, make murdering babies free and easy, the irresponsible among us will turn out in droves and keep them in power. When the only issue by which a substantial portion of a given nation decides whom to vote for is which Santa has the bigger bag, that nation is well on its way to unsustainability and collapse.

Besides the many who will be offended and shake their fists at the heavens because the machinations of their preferred ear tickler turned out to be blatant deception, the godless will perceive those of the household of faith to be the perfect scapegoats for the mess they’ve created, and the chaos that will be unleashed upon the world.

Because those in power understand that the most dangerous thing for them is for the peasants to realize that their policies facilitated the dystopia the average citizen is living through, they’ll be more than happy to lend their voice to the vilification and condemnation of the church.

It’s those pesky Christians and their rejection of such wholesomeness as drag queen story hour in churches or sexually mutilating underage children en masse that led to the societal collapse. It’s those pesky Christians who stood in the way of progress and kept us from reaching our goal of gender neutrality for everyone. They wouldn’t even give grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts a try, and when anyone dared to bring up the benefits of cannibalism, well, they just went apoplectic.

Granted, it wouldn’t be an original position. Nero blamed the downfall of Rome on the Christian community in the city. Those pesky Christians, it’s all their fault, and if we could just get rid of them, we can sail into the wild blue yonder, carefree and full of bliss.

As the saying goes, history doesn’t always repeat but often rhymes. The devil’s minions will find a way to blame the church for what ails the world, and they will conclude that doing away with believers is the only means by which we can rectify the situation.

Make peace with the reality that the world will never love you, accept you, or see you as an equal. If you are a follower of Christ, you are by your nature stunted and mentally underdeveloped in their eyes. You believe in spaghetti monsters and zombies. You can’t be reasoned with or made to see the wondrous beauty of pronouns and dendrophilia. In case you were wondering, that’s the practice of having physical relations with trees. Yeah, I know, but we’re the crazy ones. We’re the fools and the Neanderthals. We are the problem if we serve Jesus, and being rid of us is the cure-all for what ails the world. It’s not Zippy, the snake boy who tattooed his entire face and split his tongue down the middle to resemble a reptile, or the furry copping a squat on his neighbor’s lawn in full daylight because he identifies as a labradoodle.

I’m sure the mechanophiles are feeling left out, but their day will come because one perversion begets another, and who among us hasn’t looked at a shiny new car with a gleam in their eye? You may be rolling your eyes and chuckling at the absurdity of it all, but think back no more than a decade ago at all the things we rolled our eyes at and believed to be outliers that have now become mainstream and are being pushed on our children as not just normal, but superior, special, brave, and preferred.

The chasm between ‘that could never happen’ here and ‘it’s happening everywhere’ isn’t a chasm. We’ve just convinced ourselves that it is because it lets us sleep better at night while we marinate in our indifference. It’s not even a skip or a hop anymore. It’s the natural progression of evil when it goes unchallenged by the godly. As Edmund Burke so eloquently put it, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is that good men do nothing.

What is keeping the church from being the church? Is it cowardice, indifference, distraction, or the unwillingness to endanger the lifestyle to which it has become accustomed? Evil is gaining ground because good men are doing nothing and those who dare to say anything contrary to the narrative are bludgeoned into silence by their own. It’s preachers and evangelists, pastors and elders who will be the first to denounce those who stand for righteousness, hoping they’ll garner the favor of the godless by vilifying one of their own.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Nothing is what the church has been doing for decades, and what’s worse, many have capitulated and joined the dark side themselves. But sure, let’s keep telling ourselves God’s got an army marching through the land. I guess we conveniently fail to mention that this supposed army is waving rainbow flags and offering their children up to be groomed and sexualized all because they want to fit in.

It’s akin to throwing an ewe lamb into a cage with a wolf and hoping the wolf doesn’t devour it. They hope a wolf will go against its nature and are shocked when it doesn’t. It is the nature of those whose consciences have been seared to pervert, befoul, and corrupt innocence. Just as a wolf can’t help being a wolf, those given over to a debased mind will act in accordance with what they have become.

We’re weak, cowardly, self-serving, malnourished, ignorant of God’s Word, duplicitous, faithless, dismissive of holiness, and lacking any power or authority, but soldiers of the cross are we!

The righteous have always been few. The faithful have always been in the minority, and as the days grow darker, they will be fewer still because many failed to comply with the first rule of the last days: take heed that no one deceives you! 

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, June 7, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XV

 We can either establish and sanctify the Lord in our hearts and make the knowledge of Him our singular pursuit and desire, or hyperventilate each time we hear some new conflict has escalated or some new mystery illness is making its way across the globe with an almost, but not quite 1% mortality rate.

But that already happened; we saw pestilence. But Jesus said pestilences, not pestilence, and if you thought the test run was bad, just wait until they tweak the next iteration. In modern parlance, it’s called gain-of-function research; in reality, it’s finding new and inventive ways to make largely innocuous pathogens deadlier and more transmissible. It’s little weasely men in lab coats playing at being gods without the love and compassion the one true God has for His creation.

While the God of the Bible so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, these new gods, at least gods in their estimation, have no such empathy. It’s all about omelets and eggs to them and being unable to make one without breaking the other.

I actually heard a panel discussion between men of science once, lamenting the short incubation window of Ebola because it made it so difficult to spread. People just die too quickly from Ebola for it to spread effectively. It takes as little as two days for symptoms to appear after someone is exposed to it, and that’s not nearly enough time for them to travel to international hubs or busy metropolitan cities. Imagine the horror they could unleash on the world if they could push incubation to a couple of weeks rather than a couple of days. As the adage goes, there’s dying, then there’s dying of Ebola. I’ll spare you the details. It’s neither fun, painless, or peaceful.

Pestilences, outbreaks of contagion such as the bubonic plague, avian flu, leprosy, and smallpox, have occurred in the past, but they affected far fewer individuals than the most recent iteration, and the next iteration will be worse still, both in size, severity, and scope.

You can’t scare the world to a screeching halt with the sniffles again, but bleeding from their orifices might give most folks a reason for pause and reflection.

Nothing Jesus said regarding the last days is mundane. If something was mentioned within the context of His revelation, then there will be something special and unique about it when it is fulfilled. Whether all of them are happening in unison, their frequency and intensity being unprecedented, or the events spanning the globe rather than just specific regions, something will make them stand out and be readily identified as the things He spoke of.

To those insisting that everything Jesus spoke of during His Olivet discourse has already come to pass, you’re unoriginal and wrong. It’s okay to be wrong if you’re willing to acknowledge that you might be, but as far as being unoriginal, you’re two thousand years too late to peddle that particular whopper. Paul said as much and warned of those who would, by spirit, by word, or by letter, attempt to trouble and shake in mind the household of faith.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 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.”

Jesus was referencing the declarative statement He made at the beginning of the chapter while prophesying the temple's destruction and not one stone being left upon another when He said this generation would not pass away until all those things occurred. It didn’t. A generation is 40 years. Thirty-seven years after Jesus spoke the words He did, the temple was destroyed.

Those who remembered His words and saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies fled and were spared. Those who ignored or otherwise waved off His warnings were trampled underfoot.

Luke 21:20-22, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let no those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”

It is an incontrovertible historical fact that the early Christians fled Jerusalem for Pella before the Romans sacked it and the temple. There are manuscripts that survived from the fourth century by two independent sources that described their flight when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies.

We’re taking two separate events separated by thousands of years and attempting to throw them into the sloppy doctrine blender and give them a whirl. It’s easier that way, isn’t it? It all happened, and we’re just the fever dream within a fever dream of some spaceman with three mouths and six eyes.

What Jesus said would happen to the temple happened within the timeframe He said it would. The other things have yet to happen because He said they would occur prior to His return and the end of the age. If, perchance, a catastrophe on the scale of what Jesus spoke had occurred in 70 AD, it would be evident in the historical text since the temple's destruction and the sacking of Jerusalem were so documented. We’re talking cataclysmic events that would have been recorded, likely by more than one source, and that’s not even getting into individuals throughout Jerusalem and Judea mysteriously disappearing.

Some things, such as being persecuted and hated by those of the world, are not exclusive to one era or another but a running theme throughout both. While those of the early church were told to flee when they saw these things begin to happen because it was not yet their time, we are told that he who endures to the end shall be saved.

The difference between then and now is that we will have nowhere to run to. The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. When the noose begins to tighten, and the children of God are persecuted even in places they deemed safe havens, all that will be left for them to do is endure.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XIV

 The genuine desire of a man’s heart is made evident in what he does, not what he says. Your actions rather than your words confirm whether you love, value, or cherish someone. Your actions rather than your words will reveal whether your heart yearns for God or the things of this earth.

Many today say they love Jesus with their lips, but their actions betray how little they think of Him, how little they prioritize Him, and how unwilling they are to obey Him. Perhaps it’s because men’s desires revolve around their flesh, their ease, and their momentary comfort that so many are unwilling to allow for the possibility of hardship, persecution, and even martyrdom, even though Jesus warns that we will see all these things.

When the excellence of the knowledge of Christ is your singular goal, everything else becomes as dross. All the things you once pointed to as having attained, achieved, or otherwise conquered will seem as impressive as those plastic trophies you used to get for breaking a pre-cut board at the local rec center because a guy with a beer gut and a graying ponytail who watched too many Bruce Lee movies was trying to get your parents to pony up the thirty bucks a month it would cost for him to teach you how to be a lethal weapon.

We’ve fallen for the nonsense that Jesus does cartwheels and exhausts His supply of confetti poppers just because you decided to show up once a year or allowed yourself to be dragged to church by your mom or your spouse for some special service or another. He’s so flattered by your presence that He’ll take you any way He can get you and overlook the divided loyalties, duplicitous heart, and absence of faithfulness to Him and His word. That whole thing about denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Him is for everyone else. It’s for the lowly peons. For those without fame or a following. You’re special. You get an exemption. Come right in, we’ve got a seat on the first row reserved just for you.

The angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents, not over one sinner who remains a sinner and just warms a pew.

People who were broken used to desire to be fixed. They acknowledged their brokenness. They came before God in humble repentance and surrendered themselves to His will. Nowadays, broken people want to stay broken but have someone tell them that they’re fixed. They want to remain in the mud but have everyone around them pretend as though they are nevertheless resplendent, fully attired in white, and ready to meet the bridegroom. Essentially, they want to be lied to and are willing to be absurdly generous toward anyone willing to do it.

We all come to Jesus as we are, dirty, hopeless, broken, wounded, bleeding, and dead in sin, but we cannot leave His presence as we came or resist Him when He attempts to wash us clean and make us whole. We must be born again; it is a fundamental absolute of the Gospel, yet those words are rarely spoken by people with platforms and megaphones. There will always be more sinners than saints, so catering to them makes more financial sense. It’s a numbers game, and insisting upon righteousness and holiness unto the Lord doesn’t make the numbers pencil.

At some point, they realized that a narrow way with few finding it didn’t make for a great business model. You can’t build billion-dollar ministries with the few the Word says will find the narrow way, so rather than be content with a smaller ministry, they brought in bulldozers and work crews and widened the path. After that, it was easy to convince people that they’d found it. Touch your television screen, and presto-changeo; you’re saved, sanctified, and on your way to the pearly gates with a ticket in hand. What about no longer being conformed to the world or being transformed by the renewing of your mind? If you get around to it all fine and dandy, but first, before you forget, pick up your telephone and dial that number on your screen to make the biggest love offering you can.

But if I’m already saved, why would I get around to not being conformed to the world or being transformed by the renewing of my mind? What if my new mind doesn’t enjoy the things the old me enjoyed? What if not conforming to the world will mean that those of the world will hate me and reject me? I mean, I’m saved anyway; why rock the boat?

Discount Jesus will tell you that knowing Him will cost you nothing. The Jesus of the Bible insists that knowing Him, following Him, and obeying Him will cost you everything. What those peddling discount Jesus don’t tell anyone is that their Jesus is a construct of their own vain imaginings, without the power to save, restore, or reconcile unto God. A fake Jesus will not sustain anyone through the storms of this life. You can think the gold coin you got at the zoo for a dollar is real gold until you try to cash it in and realize it has no inherent value. Many cling to an unbiblical Jesus only to realize they’ve been clinging to an illusion when they need him most.

How will such individuals react when they realize that the easy path they were promised by the wolves and the deceivers was illusory and held no substance or permanence?

Philippians 3:7-11, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also counted all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

If you are here, and by here, I mean in this frame of mind, if this is your outlook and mindset, you will not be troubled by the things that are about to come upon the earth. If you’re not here, get here because time is short, and by not being able to count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, we reveal ourselves to be unworthy of Him.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.