Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXXIV

 The hope of His returning must be such a fundamental reality in the hearts of believers that it transcends hope itself, becoming a certainty. We can hope we don’t run out of gas until the next station, even though the light has been on for forty miles. We can hope that it won’t rain even though dark clouds are on the horizon, but we know that the Christ will return, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.

Our faith in His return is substantive. We know that we know that we know He will return for He has promised it, and we serve a Lord who keeps His promises to His own. The absolute knowledge of this event, rather than the signs preceding it, must be our focus, foundation, and anchor in the storms to come. If our gaze is not firmly established upon Him, if we allow events, circumstances, or other voices to distract us from Him, our reaction to the things that are about to unfold will be akin to those of the world.

Because we are His and have been born again, redeemed, and sanctified, we cannot possess the same mind, outlook, or fear that those of the world possess. We have the mind of Christ. Therefore, we are fearless, bold, surefooted, and at peace.

I can sit here behind the safety of my keyboard and pretend to be braver than I am and say that I’ve not given the events of the last days of the world a second thought, but I’ve always been one who’s insisted on being honest with myself first and foremost. I am not superhuman, and neither were any of those who came before us who seemed to be from the outside looking in.

Yes, I’ve thought about the future, not so much for myself but for my daughters and my wife. Although there is an undeniable inclination to dwell on these things, to go down rabbit holes and attempt to do all that I can physically or materially to mitigate the effects, I’ve come to realize that for me and my house, trusting God is not only the best course of action but the only course of action.

Trust is a choice, as is who or what we place our trust in. If we trust someone or something and that trust is betrayed, then continuing to trust them is foolhardy and unwise. As the once infamously botched quip by a former president goes, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.

Ever since she could scrape together a sentence, my youngest has been fond of climbing the highest possible thing in the house, whether a couch, a counter, or a table, calling for me, and when I come to see what she wants, with a beaming smile and arms outstretched, she says, “catch me, daddy,” then proceeds to jump. I’ve caught her every time, and each time, she wraps her arms around my neck, kisses my cheek, and says, “Thank you, Dad, I knew you’d catch me.”

I’ve tried telling her it’s dangerous, but she would hear none of it. “Why is it dangerous? You’ll always catch me, so that’s just silly talk.”

My daughter’s trust is implacable. There is no shadow of doubt in her heart that I will not catch her when she jumps, and so she does not fear the hard ground or the tile floor below.

Had she tried to jump into my arms, and I refused to catch her once, twice, or three times, then her trust would rightly have been shaken, and she likely wouldn’t jump with such abandon anymore. My heart won’t allow me to let her fall to the floor just to teach her a lesson. I will always catch her, even though she’s no longer as small or light as she was in years past.

I view my trust in God in much the same manner. He has never failed me when I’ve put my trust in Him. He’s always been there and has always made a way, even when a way seemed impossible. Why would I not continue to trust Him when He’s never given me a reason not to? Why would I not continue to trust Him when He has never betrayed my trust or failed to catch me?

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt are impediments to our ability to fully trust God. When we spend our days fearful about tomorrow, we focus on things we can’t control rather than take that time to build up our most holy faith and learn to walk in full assurance that God will make a way no matter how grim tomorrow may seem. He is a good Father. He will not let you fall. He will never be disloyal or betray your trust.

Uncertainty breeds hesitancy and erodes our trust in God. Those who walk in the way and do not attempt to blaze their own trail or find shortcuts to a relationship with God will always be more surefooted than someone who approximates their course. Maps exist for a reason. Their purpose is to show you the road available to you between two points.

Likewise, the Bible exists for a reason: to show us the way we must go to reach our destination. If we disregard the Word or convince ourselves that one path is just as good as another and will eventually lead to the same place, then we have no one to blame but the individual in the mirror when we find ourselves wandering through the desert in circles.

When doubt creeps in, it undermines our confidence, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not. It is one of the most powerful weapons the enemy has at his disposal, and he uses it liberally. In order for doubt to manifest in the hearts of men, it needs to germinate. There is always a latency period after the seed is planted before it can take root and sprout. This is the greatest danger giving heed to unscriptural voices poses, especially when it comes to their insistence upon needing to see certain things unfolding that the Bible never said would.

The devil is patient. His purpose is to draw men away from the truth, and he’s willing to wait in order to accomplish it. Every time some date comes and goes on which men were certain something, or another would occur, every time we see events unfolding that we were told we would never have to see, it is an opportunity for doubt to lay hold of our hearts and undermine our confidence in the omnipotence of God.

Cling to Jesus as though He were your lifeline because He is. Cling to Him as though He were your singular hope because He is. Cling to Christ as though He were the only truth, way, and life because He is all these things and more.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, June 29, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXXIII

 Understanding what is about to descend upon the world can be overwhelming if our hope is pinned on the things of the world. However, if we have come to the knowledge that we have no lasting city here but seek the city that is to come, we will take the events of the last days in stride, learning to walk by faith and trust in the hand of the Almighty who is able to preserve and protect those who are His.

The signs that we are nearing the last days of the world are undeniable and unmistakable, and this should serve as an impetus for us to draw ever closer to Christ, the giver of life. In the end, that is the underlying purpose of discussing the events of the last days. It’s not to stir fear in the hearts of men; it’s to stir in them the need to prioritize their walk with Jesus and take it more seriously.

1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Whether it’s the love of the world, the lust of the flesh, or the pride of life, these things are meant to weaken your spiritual man and take your focus off Jesus. The world is passing away. From institutions that men thought implacable to safety nets people thought secure to the very fabric of society and what keeps it together, the cracks are showing, and the foundation is crumbling. The believer’s reaction to all these things isn’t to bemoan the fate of the world, for it is made clear that it is passing away, lacking permanence of any kind. Our reaction must be to deepen our relationship with God, grow daily in Him, learn to boldly walk in His ways, and know that if we remain under the shadow of His wing, nothing will by any means harm us.

Focusing on the things of this earth, loving them, or prioritizing them is akin to building sandcastles during a hurricane. It doesn’t matter how grand and elaborate your sandcastle might be; the storm will come, the winds will howl, and all the time and exertion you’ve put into it will be for naught.

When our minds are set on the things above, the things of this earth and all that they entail are put into the proper context. We are here one minute and gone the next. Then, eternity. That’s how quickly it happens, and all the well-laid plans we had for ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road, all the trinkets and baubles we amassed that were such a source of pride either get sold off for pennies or end up in a landfill somewhere to be picked up by scavengers, whether winged or bipedal.

As a side hustle to my side hustle, I frequent estate sales on the weekends. Usually, the homeowner has passed, and their kids just want to sell the home and pocket a nice chunk of cash. You walk through some of these homes and see a lifetime’s worth of accumulation, from art hanging on the walls to sculptures sitting proudly on side tables to smaller things that once held value but now get haggled over because nobody wants to pony up the dollar, but they’re willing to pay fifty cents, even though the retail tag on it is well north of a hundred.

Few things exemplify the futility of focusing on this present existence more than walking through a home brimming with all manner of things and realizing that the individual who spent their life accumulating them is no longer there to enjoy them. Ultimately, we all get the same thing: a box, a patch of dirt, and, hopefully, a handful of friends and loved ones to remember that we were once among the living.

I heard a quote some time ago of such deep profundity that it was hard to believe it came from the mouth of a late-night comic: Eventually, all our graves go unattended. Six little words that resonate and perfectly encapsulate the vanity of keeping our focus on the here and now, the things of this earth, and the pride of life.

Eternity is our aim, goal, and purpose. Anything that tries to distract from this principal goal must be excised and done away with, recognizing it for what it is. We can either focus on the events leading up to Christ’s return or on the undeniable reality that there is an end in sight, that He is returning, and that one day He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 24:32-33, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!”

Staring at the fig tree will not make it bloom any faster. We can ascertain where it is in its cycle by seeing that it’s putting forth leaves and even budding, but the tree should not become our obsession. It’s a means of gauging the closeness of the hour, not the focus of our existence. By all means, be aware of the times you’re living in, but don’t let it become your defacto religion.

If we’re spending all our time staring at fig trees and not growing in God, cementing our faith, and telling those who would hear about Jesus, we’re wasting the most finite resource we’ve been given and will be called to account for it one day.

Yes, chaos is about to be unleashed. Yes, the last days of the world are upon us. Yes, events will begin to unfold at breakneck speed that will shock the world and the inhabitants thereof. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Friday, June 28, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXXII

 Those who dismiss Christ’s words regarding the last days of the world, because they don’t like the implications, have yet to offer a logical explanation as to who His targeted audience was and why it does not apply to believers but rather is a roadmap for the godless who are left behind to witness the events of the last days. Jesus was speaking to His disciples, as well as to all who would, throughout time, be His. His words were not targeted at the world at large but to believers whom He wanted to forewarn of the days to come so that they might prepare, be vigilant, and not fall for the snares of the enemy.

No matter how detailed the foretold events of the last days were, the godless would not believe them, for their eyes are blind to the truth, and their hearts are turned against it. If Christ’s discourse were targeted toward the godless and those who live in darkness, He would be going against His own exhortation to not cast pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet.

He has told us, warned us, and pleaded with us to remember the things He said so that when we see these events unfolding, we might not be shaken, troubled, or afraid.

Matthew 24:30-31, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

When’s then? That is the fundamental question that modern-day Christians are going round and round about, even though the text makes it clear as to when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. It’s just that we don’t like the answer, so we do our best to try and come up with another one that won’t be as taxing on the flesh.

Given a choice, would I prefer it otherwise? Most assuredly. However, God will not change His timing based on my feelings or yours, nor will He be swayed by the results of polls taken among believers as to when they would prefer the return of Christ to take place. Jesus warns of the events of the last days of the world for a purpose. That purpose is to reassure us, guide us, and encourage steadfastness and endurance in the hearts of believers living through these events, knowing that His return is not a matter of if but when, and it is near.

Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

What if you’re wrong? What if we all get caught up before any of these things occur? Then Hallelujah, praise the Lord, and glory to God in the highest. The problem is that if I do not prepare to endure to the end and discount the words Christ spoke regarding His return and the events that will precede it, my faith and hope will slowly leech from me with each passing day. If I expected that I would see none of these things, then with each thing I do see, doubt gains a greater foothold in my heart to the point of echoing those who say, my master is delaying His coming; might as well do as everyone else is doing.

To those who insist that being here for longer than they believed wouldn’t shake their faith or negatively affect their walk with Jesus, I would submit that the assertions do not coincide with the actions. If it’s all the same, why the unbridled vitriol? Why the insistence upon warning people that if they don’t believe it your way, they’ll get left behind just to be taught a lesson? We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, not by whether or not we believed in the pre-tribulation rapture.

I cannot ignore what Jesus said because I would prefer He’d said something different. Is the timing of Christ’s return a salvific issue? No, it’s not, yet some who hold to a particular viewpoint insist that it is so. If you do not believe as they believe, then Jesus will leave you behind either out of spite or to teach you a lesson. Unless you can prove that position biblically, then I put as much stock in your opinion as I do in people who claim to have been abducted by aliens or those who insist they were teleported to heaven while in a porta potty to counsel God on how He should administer the universe.

Why won’t you give them the benefit of the doubt, brother? Because Jesus warned me to take heed that no one deceives me. Because I’ve seen the theories, machinations, and declarations of men come to naught, proven false, and baseless one too many times to waste my time on anything not tethered and anchored in the Bible. It’s the same reason I don’t go looking for gold dust in my Bible every morning or check my head for eagle feathers upon waking.

Prophecy, healing, and the work and gifting of the Holy Spirit are biblical. Gold dust, gold fillings, feathers, tingles in my extremities, astral projections, and a myriad of other things that pass for biblical aren’t.

What some are trying to convince the household of faith today is that although the things the Bible mentions as the ways and means by which God strengthens, builds up, directs, corrects, and instructs in righteousness are nowhere to be found in their daily lives, these other esoteric things the Bible never speaks of are; therefore they must be on the right track.

The devil is not without power, and neither are his minions. We have yet to see the great signs and wonders the false christs and false prophets will perform, yet we are already drawn away from the truth and the light by what amounts to the opening act. If the warm-up act can sway you and cause you to doubt or fear, then the main attraction will be irresistible.

When the precepts and principles of the gospel are no longer preached, when the difference between the truth and the lie cannot be readily spotted or worse still deemed interchangeable by those who speak them, when everything becomes relative, and nothing is absolute, when those who are tasked with rightly dividing the word are doing their best to twist it so it no longer resembles the original either in meaning or intent whether implicitly or explicitly, it’s easy to see how many will be deceived.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXXI

 A servant has one function—to serve. Whatever the title or distinction given to a servant might be, or however powerfully they are used, it does not alter the servant’s primary function, nor does it make him greater than his master. It’s not as though a servant who is entrusted with much can ever eclipse his master or choose to withhold obedience because they deem themselves in authority to do so. Everything a servant has comes via the good pleasure of his master.

If he is loved by his master, the servant can entreat the master regarding certain things, but never from a position of demanding something of him but rather from one of request and petition. There is a stark difference between ‘ask, and it shall be given to you’ and ‘demand it, manifest it, speak it into existence, stomp your feet, and hold your breath until you get everything you want and a little extra to boot.’

God’s will is sovereign, and whenever we encounter situations we can’t understand in the moment, we must defer to the promise that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are the called according to His purpose. Yes, that includes persecution, sometimes even martyrdom, and it is not within our purview to decide what the good is. Rather, it is within His.

The only choices we have at our disposal are to either submit to His will or resist it, thinking we know better than Him. You are a vessel of honor, set apart, to be used by the Master in whichever way He sees fit.

Servants cannot have fundamental disagreements with their master and still serve him dutifully, faithfully, and wholeheartedly. Likewise, a servant cannot undermine or ingratiate themselves to their master’s enemies while maintaining that they are loyal, faithful, and true.

When we disregard what Jesus said about the timing of His return because we want to believe something more palatable to the flesh, it opens us up to deception and to the voices crying He is here, or He is there. Jesus already told us not to go. He already told us that they would be false christs attempting to distract us from the singular purpose of walking faithfully with our God, but for far too many, the heart wants what the heart wants, and since we so readily disregard the words of Jesus, ignoring the words of Jeremiah is even less difficult or troubling.

The second time a servant disregards his master’s warnings or commands, it’s always easier than the first, and the third is easier than the second. Because there was no immediate chastisement or rebuke, the servant surmises that the master didn’t notice or he was too busy with other things to take notice of the disobedience or rebellion. That in itself is a deception perpetrated by the enemy, and the more acts of disobedience and rebellion a servant is talked into performing, the easier it becomes. The size and scope of the offense toward the master also increase with each iteration because the more an individual is drawn away from the light, the greater the darkness in their heart.

Deception is not benign. One small deception will lead to ever greater ones because the purpose of deception is to ever so slowly draw you away from the truth to the point that there is more darkness than light, and what you believe becomes less and less harmonious with what the Bible says.

Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Given the technological timeframe we live in, we can more readily understand how the words of Jesus could come about in our day than the disciples could have perceived in their day. Even so, they didn’t arch their eyebrows or ask how this could be. They didn’t discount Christ’s words because they couldn’t explain how what He said could come about; they took Him at His word and believed.

Modern-day scientific models have concluded that in case of nuclear war, some 99 percent of the sunlight would be absorbed by the smoke and soot introduced into the atmosphere. What Jesus was referring to was not an eclipse but something far more detrimental to humanity. Not only would the sun be darkened, but the moon would likewise not give its light. This will not be some astrological event, like a planetary alignment or an eclipse, but rather something that would bar both the illumination produced by the light of the sun and moon.  No sunlight would mean no crops, no crops would mean worldwide famine, and what mankind thought was terrible would turn downright nightmarish.

On the heels of the wars, pestilences, earthquakes, famines, and fearful sights and great signs from heaven, while those who are still left are roiling from the aftermath of these things, the addition of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light will be another sign.

Cataclysmic doesn’t begin to do it justice if we read the words of Jesus and understand them through the prism of modern-day warfare and man’s ability to utterly destroy everything with the push of a button. What seemed improbable, even impossible, two thousand years ago is within the realm of possibility today.

This also brings understanding to Luke’s description of the last days of the world wherein men’s hearts will fail from fear and the expectation of those things that are coming on the earth. It has become apparent that certain governments are slow-walking the world to the next global war. Even those who don’t keep up with what’s happening in the world are starting to take note, and those who think that the next world war will be akin to a video game, with drone against drone somewhere over an unpopulated desert have yet to take into account the words Jesus spoke, and so fail to understand the magnitude of what will be.

Everything’s a sign for those looking for a sign unless the sign contradicts their preconceived notions or worldview. Then, even though the sign might be something Jesus said we should be on the lookout for, we try to explain it away and justify our unwillingness to gauge how close we are to the end. It’s an odd dichotomy that can only be remedied by individually walking humbly with our Lord and knowing His Word and His voice.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXX

 Despondency does not occur when you’re seeing what you expected to see and experiencing what you were expecting to experience. Despondency becomes overwhelming, however, when what we have expected does not materialize, and what we are experiencing is contrary to what we were promised by men whose interest was to keep the sheep mollified, placated, appeased, and pacified.

It goes against their best interest to have a church body that reads the Word and believes it because, sooner or later, the church body realizes how little of the Bible is being preached from the pulpit. The little that is being preached is so mangled and twisted that what’s being said and what is written look nothing alike.

It used to be that men deferred to the Word of God, and beyond all the debating and the back and forth, it was the final authority in any matter of spiritual consequence. Nowadays, if we don’t like what the Bible says, we shrug our shoulders and make up new doctrine on the spot, justifying our recklessness with tropes such as it was a different time; they didn’t understand modernity; love is love; we have to change with the times otherwise we’ll get left behind, and countless others.

Those excuses might look good on paper and convince those who are already biased toward believing lies because they are harder to swallow than the truth, but sin is still sin, God is still God, and His word is true no matter how many people insist otherwise.

Walking humbly with your God and working out your salvation with fear and trembling might not be as exciting as being an accredited prophet to the nations, a leader of leaders, a spiritual life coach, or whatever made-up title people like to give themselves nowadays, but one is biblical, and the other is not!

But brother, you don’t understand. The Lord is doing a new thing so we can usher in the great end-time revival. Two problems with that: first, the new thing the Lord is supposedly doing isn’t focused on Jesus, repentance, sanctification, or holiness, and second, if we’re trying to manufacture something God has not sanctioned or initiated, then we can’t blame Him when it crumbles under the weight of our own hubris. Behold the fallout and glorious ruin of man-centered movements and celebrity preachers. As the Carpenters once crooned, we’ve only just begun, for everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and the shaking will begin within the church.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the third thing. The Bible warns of a falling away rather than an end-time revival, but that doesn’t animate the lifeless corpses sitting in pews half-listening to a sermon while they’re scrolling through Facebook, hoping the preacher doesn’t go over his allotted twenty minutes, so we’ll just ignore it.

A large swath of professing believers will go from disappointment to doubt to bitterness to all-out hatred and rage because what men have promised them never materialized. Even though they could have saved themselves all the heartache by reading the Word and believing it as it was written and not as they would have liked it to be written, they will find a way to blame God, joining the ranks of the mockers who will be ever-present during the last days.

It’s not God’s fault that you didn’t heed the words of Christ when He said beware that you are not deceived. It’s not God’s fault that you didn’t heed the words of Christ when He said all these things must come to pass, but the end has not yet arrived. You chose to believe the whispers and the fables rather than the truth because the whispers and the fables required nothing substantive of you. Nothing needed to change. You could remain as you were, enjoying what you’ve always enjoyed, and for the low price of a few bucks in an offering plate, you got fire insurance, eternal security, and the promise of inheriting the wealth of the wicked. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.

We’ve gotten so used to having it our way that we’ve come to believe God has likewise changed with the times and must, therefore, appease us somehow. He’d better. Otherwise, we’ll leave Him a scathing review on Yelp. If you want it your way, I’m sure there’s a Burger King within driving distance of where you live. God is God! He doesn’t pander, placate, or otherwise become permissive of things contrary to His nature just because enough people have a hissy fit about it. Even if a majority wanted something different from what God established, God is not beholden to majority rule either.

It all boils down to obedience and to possessing the willingness to humble ourselves and submit to His authority. Since such things are anathema in many churches because we’d rather have our heads filled with fairy tales about how we’re going to be movers and shakers for the kingdom, we’ll cling to anything that we deem will make us special in some way, even though it never really does. Just so we’re clear, and there are no misunderstandings, neither you nor I nor any human currently living is on equal footing with God. It doesn’t matter who it is that appears out of nowhere and starts insisting that they are; it doesn’t matter what parlor tricks they perform in order to try and convince you of the veracity of their claims. They’re lying liars, and you should avoid them.

We’d rather spend years counting down the end of the Mayan calendar as if it were some oracle or divine prophecy than dive into the Word of God and see what it says about the last days. It never occurred to anyone that the guy working away with a hammer and chisel started getting hand cramps and just gave up his pet project. It has to mean something, brother. How readily we blend the sacred and the profane when it suits us. They are not interchangeable! Just because some gypsy guessed your age or weight does not make her godly. Just because some sweaty guy on stage guessed your puppy’s name does not make him a holy man of God. Godliness makes men godly; obedience and faithfulness make men godly; steadfastness and truth make men godly; being imbued with the righteousness of Christ makes men godly, not the exhibition of some extra-biblical talent or ability.

We’ll overlook the absence of godliness if the show is good enough. We’ll overlook the warning signs that things aren’t what they seem and something’s a bit off if the individual is enigmatic, charismatic, charming, and well-spoken. We shouldn’t, though, because we’ve seen the wreckage of what remains after men ignored the warning claxons on their way to deception.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, June 24, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXIX

 As time passes, as a species, we become worse and worse at following instructions. The notion of common sense has died a slow death by a thousand cuts to the point that pizza joints have to put warnings on their boxes telling their customers not to eat the box, and coffee shops on their cups informing them that the contents may be hot, so they should show proper caution. A few years back, some lady banked millions after suing McDonalds for burning herself with hot coffee. More recently, eating Tide pods was all the rage, and people of all ages filmed themselves doing it as though it were some great accomplishment. Throw people tasing themselves and licking toilet seats on airplanes into the mix, and you get the feeling we’re not raising a generation of Rhodes scholars and Mensa candidates.

The dumbing down of humanity is no longer a conspiracy theory; it is a provable fact, as studies have shown that the average IQ has been on a steady decline year after year since the 1970s. What’s worse is due to the little gadgets we carry in our pockets and have become dependent upon, we think ourselves to be among the brightest luminary minds ever to walk the earth, so much so that anyone attempting to challenge our preconceived notions or ideas is summarily silenced, mocked, and rejected.

The only thing we’ve gotten better at as time progresses is coming up with excuses for our actions and blaming others for our poor choices. Whether it’s society, the education system, the patriarchy, or feminism, we’ve become masters at passing the buck and laying the blame at someone else’s feet, but Jesus eliminates this possibility by pointing out that He told us all these things would come, He told us beforehand, and if we fail to heed His warnings, if we fail to walk in the way which He has made clear and prepare for the events of the last days of the world, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. It doesn’t mean we won’t try. It just means it won’t work.

Those who see the things Jesus warned of unfolding will not be troubled in their hearts or spirits because they knew beforehand that this was how it would play out. It’s like rewatching a movie you saw a few years ago and remembering the next act, the next scene, the twist, and the surprise ending. It may be a surprise to someone who’s never seen it, but since you have, you expect the big reveal and aren’t rocked by it.

Unlike watching a movie you’ve seen with someone who hasn’t, it’s not a spoiler to tell others about the events that will begin to occur in the world. There is no mandate or unspoken agreement keep them to yourself so you don’t spoil the ending. Granted, some won’t believe you and will even become angry because they saw it ending differently, but some will remember what you said, as well as how you were insistent upon the single most important takeaway, that Jesus was the only lifeline that would not fail them in the days to come.

Matthew 24:26-28, “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

When weighed in the aggregate, there are more warnings about deceivers in general, whether false teachers, prophets, or christs, than there are specifics regarding the last days of the world in Christ’s discourse. This should not go ignored or unnoticed. There is a reason and purpose in it, and if we fail to see it, it will be to our detriment.

Again, if being deceived were not a possibility, Jesus would not have spent so much time warning against deception in its many forms. The last one Jesus tackles is the idea of a secret, mysterious, unnoticed return. No matter who says it, if Christ’s return is not of such monumental proportions that it shatters the fabric of what many have come to believe as reality, it’s not the real Jesus, and He hasn’t returned.

You can’t ignore lightning. It draws the eye, it shatters the idea of normal everyone adhered to just moments earlier, and it’s something that cannot go unnoticed. Even the blind and deaf can feel the vibrations of a lightning strike in their bones and know something extraordinary is happening. That’s what He meant by the two examples He gave. There’s no such thing as secret lightning. When it strikes, you know it and have a reaction to it. The same goes for the second example He gave of the eagles being gathered together wherever the carcass is.

If you’ve ever driven by a field and seen birds circling a given area, you know that something once living breathed its last beneath them. Whether it’s eagles or vultures, once the sign of their circling is evident in the sky, the rest of the portrait materializes instantly.  

Christ’s return will not be a secret event, nor will it be a hidden event. It will be undeniably evident, and anyone who claims otherwise must contend with Christ's words. He warned of the exact thing some are claiming today, yet nobody seems to take His words into account.

You just don’t understand because you’re Romanian. There’s this secret appearing, then the real one. Says who? Not Jesus. This isn’t a new restaurant doing a soft opening, hoping to get the bugs worked out before it goes live. Jesus doesn’t need to practice His return or rack up frequent flyer miles.

Due to our overwhelming desire to be out of here before things go sideways, we’re willing to believe men’s words over Christ’s words and not feel at all bad about it. On the contrary, anyone who points to what Jesus said gets lambasted and villainized because they don’t want to see the secret glorious appearing that will keep them from having their faith tested.

Why do you hate people? I don’t. I love them; that’s why I’m not trying to give them a false hope contrary to Scripture that will implode at the first sign of hardship. I would rather you hate me and prepare your heart to endure to the end than love me for giving you false reassurances that will never materialize and be shaken in your faith when the things Jesus said would come to pass, do.

Yes, there is a selfish component in all this: I don’t want to stand before God on the day of judgment with blood on my hands for not rightly dividing the Word and by my omissions having caused one of these little ones to sin.

Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

In case you were wondering who spoke those words, it was Jesus.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXVIII

 Given the inherent danger of deception and having come to grips with the reality that many will be deceived in the coming season, the paramount question we must answer is how we go about taking heed that no one deceives us. The sad reality is that if not for the slothfulness, indifference, and disinterest of many in the church today, this present generation would have the easiest time of any that came before it to keep from being deceived.

To say that we have the Word of God at our fingertips is an understatement. There is, however, a difference between having it near us and having it in us. The notion that if we download enough Bible apps, we never open or read enough inspirational one-liners that lean toward earthly wisdom rather than godly, it will keep us safe from deception is yet another seed the enemy has planted while no one was looking that has taken root and produced many fruitless trees.

If we’d bother to read the Word of God and devote time to its study, the answer to how we can avoid being deceived is clearly found therein.

Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

John 17:14-17, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Succinct, to the point, and revelatory. The Word of God must be an ever-present reality in the life of all believers, regardless of their station within the body of Christ. Studying the Word, hiding it in your heart, and being sanctified by it is not something reserved for leadership or those who teach and preach the gospel but for all who desire to be anchored in truth.

The Word of God is the standard, the plumb line, and the acid test for anything we might hear or anything we might see. A sign or a wonder in and of itself is not confirmation that the individual performing it is full of the Holy Spirit and the power of God. It’s whether the person in question speaks the truth of God’s word boldly and if what they assert is in harmony with the gospel.

A sign does not validate a false doctrine; a wonder does not approve a false teaching. We cannot overlook the conflict between a man’s words and God’s word because he’s been ‘mightily used’ no matter how hungry some might be for a sign. Jesus warned us beforehand. He made it a point to remind us of this.

Matthew 24:25, “See, I have told you beforehand.”

We are reminded that He told us beforehand for two reasons: first, so that we might not be taken in by those performing signs and wonders yet preaching another Jesus, and second, so that we might have no excuse when we stand before Him on that day of days.

But Lord, his words gave me a positive self-image, and he even pulled a rabbit out of his hat. How was I supposed to know he would lead me down the path of destruction? Because He told you beforehand what you should look out for and how you should gauge and assess those who come in His name.

It’s easy for deceivers to deceive people nowadays because they’re looking for an experience rather than a relationship. Whether it’s entertainment, some bombastic sign replete with fog machines and fireworks, or a newly minted secret teaching that, although contrary to scripture, puts them in the special people’s club, it’s not Christ they hunger for; it’s experiences.

But I thought you believed in miracles, signs, wonders, prophecies, dreams, and visions. I do, but that does not negate the fact that Jesus forewarned that in the last days, false christs and prophets would rise up doing great signs and wonders. It does not negate the reality that we must be vigilant and sober, taking heed that no one deceives us. I get that balance is a difficult thing to achieve nowadays, where everyone is polarized and must belong to one camp or the other, but my camp is Jesus, and the Word of God is my foundation. If this offends, so be it. I am at peace with choosing Jesus.

It’s easy to trick people when you’re giving them what they want and not what they need. Whether it’s validation or license to pursue the lusts of their flesh, a man-centered gospel rather than a Christ-centered one, whenever you tailor your message in order to suit your audience, you will be loved, adored, praised, and exalted. The only problem with this is that it’s the name of Christ that’s supposed to be adored, praised, and exalted, but why let the truth and details ruin the head rush you get when the standing ovation you receive when you say God no longer requires repentance goes on for minutes?

Yes, I know, everyone’s generally good, with pure motives, and pure of heart nowadays, even though the Word of God says it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. The sad reality is that many Christians today reject the truth because they refuse to allow it to change and transform them. We’re doing the devil’s job for him by downplaying the need for righteousness, spiritual maturity, and a well-grounded understanding of the Word of God.

The few who still insist upon these things, not because they want to be contrarian but because they want to remain faithful to Jesus, are singled out, marginalized, and demonized, not so much by the world as yet but by those of the church who fear the good thing they’ve got going will be jeopardized if the truth is allowed to be spoken.

With love in Christ, 

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXVII

 For the life of me, I can’t understand how, having read the Bible, from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and the Galatians to Christ’s admonition to take heed that no one deceives us, to Jude’s warnings, Peter’s warnings, John’s warnings, James’s warnings about remaining steadfast in faith and not wandering, someone can conclude that they are above it all, and no matter how well-crafted or insidious, there is no danger, and no possibility of ever falling into the snare. Hubris comes in many shapes, but the hubris employed by some believers, who think that they can believe things antithetical to scripture while remaining in the truth, takes the cake.

It’s not as though the battlefield isn’t littered with the bodies of the fallen. It’s not as though there aren’t enough cautionary tales from no more than the past decade to fill a phone book. Yet, somehow, there are still those who, with the conviction of a zealot, insist that they neither have to guard their hearts nor take heed that they are not deceived. I believe it therefore, it must be right, is not the litmus test. I believe it because it’s in the Bible, is.

It's crucial to understand that signs, wonders, manifestations, visions, dreams, or self-aggrandizing prophecies about being a self-proclaimed prophet to the nations are not the indicators of true faith, despite what many may believe. The true mark of faith is obedience and faithfulness to Jesus. It's about daily denying oneself, taking up the cross, and humbly following after Him.

It's not a mystery why so many fall into deception; it's because they misunderstand what the church often considers a sign of faith. Men can mimic signs and wonders, and they have. They can make false prophecies or use their personal opinions as divine words to bolster their authority, and they have. But what they can’t replicate is genuine and enduring faith in Christ, even if it comes at a high cost, even if that cost ends up being life itself.

The moment sacrifice is required to call yourself a follower of Jesus, the threat of losing possessions and positions becomes a reality, and all the posers, conmen, grifters, and wolves will head for the exits, denying any association with Jesus or with the followers of Jesus.

Who, me? No, I was never a Christian. I was a spiritual advisor, a life coach, and a counselor to those who were seeking spirituality. However, as far as being a follower of Jesus exclusively, everyone knows there are multiple paths to heaven; I just encouraged people to find their path. That’s all; please don’t hurt me, confiscate my Porsche, or take away my McMansion with the indoor pool and sauna! Tell me what you need me to say. They trust me; I can sway them. Another jab, maybe? But just so you know, I have to use Jesus as a foil; they eat it up when I say it’s what Jesus would do.

You may think this is farfetched today, but give it a minute. It’s easy to point out the clowns and roll our eyes until we realize we’re living in a circus. It’s not as though we were given the option or that we bought tickets for the show. We all ended up in a giant circus tent with the circus clowns trying to keep the masses entertained for fear of seeing them fidgeting in their seats and heading for the exits. We sort of Hillsonged our way into it without realizing it. I know what you’re thinking: this would be a perfect segue into the frog and boiling water analogy, but apropos as it might be, I think we’ve all heard it one too many times.

The way the hearts of many grow cold and deception advances is the same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. Unless it’s smothered outright, a fire goes out one ember at a time, and if those tending it are not watchful, eventually, it dies out altogether.

I don’t mean to get preachy, but then again, I’m a preacher. It’s not God’s fault that the church is in the state it’s in. We’ve just done things contrary to the Word of God for so long that a falling away from the truth was inevitable. Rather than resist the devil that he might flee, we clung to the idea that we could coexist with him. Rather than preach the truth of the gospel unashamedly, we prioritized men’s feelings over what the Word said and omitted vital truths from our theology, doxology, and eschatology.  

The modern-day church is at a historical low point, spiritually speaking, due to a noxious and debilitating mix of the consequences of our choices and the cowardice of our spiritual leaders. If something is contrary to Scripture, it doesn’t matter how many leaders in a given denomination vote for it; it doesn’t make it scriptural. Man does not have the authority to override scripture! Yet, it’s done with such regularity that it’s no longer surprising. It no longer shocks the system when a given denomination embraces perversion with open arms or when some pastor or other waxes poetic on how Jesus was a misogynistic racist. We’re no longer shocked or surprised because it happens so often that it has become the norm.

The compromises, half-truths, whole lies, extrabiblical teachings, and the ever-increasing number of those who prefer to have their ears tickled rather than receive the truth have created the perfect environment for the falling away Paul warned of, and the deceiving of many Jesus warned of.

When you begin to understand the kind of pressure that will be brought to bear against the children of God, both spiritually and physically, a lot of the pieces start falling into place, and the picture that comes into focus is not a pretty one for the apathetic, halfhearted, duplicitous, or those averse to conflict.

We’re talking about the kind of spiritual battles that leave you with bloody knuckles, missing teeth, a busted nose, and bruised eye sockets, the type of battle where warriors are forged and names the enemy himself knows and fears are made, but also the kind of battle where many will be felled because they are ill-equipped and unprepared for the level of warfare that will be unleashed. Yet, the best we can manage is a dude that swallows swords shirtless while climbing up a pole and a man in a dress pretending to be little bo peep replete with a life-size candy cane crook calling himself a pastor.

If you thought the last few years were tough as far as pressure being exerted by bureaucrats and big pharma pimps, imagine it on steroids amplified by an exponent of fifty. This time, it won’t be about a jab or a prick; it will be about denouncing Jesus, denying Him, and swearing allegiance to another.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, June 21, 2024

The Last Days Of The World XXVI

 Matthew 24:23-25, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”

If you thought we were cooking with gasoline up to this point, buckle up; we’re about to go fishing with hand grenades. This is where I’m going to lose some of you. This is where the angry retorts will likely commence, but as I’ve said in the past, being a Christian does not mean you forfeit your critical thinking skills or that you can ignore large swaths of Scripture just because doing so makes us more at ease or comfortable. It's crucial to engage with the text and understand its deeper meaning.

While everything that can be shaken is being shaken, while men’s hearts are failing them from fear and the expectation of those things that are coming upon the earth, the enemy and his minions will be up to their old tricks. It’s not as though they decided to take a break or downshift their aggression; rather, they will amplify it. In addition to false prophets and false christs rising up, Jesus warns that this new iteration will show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Some have taken those words to mean that the elect are beyond being deceived. If this is the case, then either the disciples He was speaking to were not part of the elect or Jesus was being inconsistent. He began His discourse by saying take heed that no one deceives you, and He was speaking to His disciples.

I know. Logic and rational thinking. It hurts, momma, it hurts.

We know that Jesus wasn’t being inconsistent. He is Lord, not some fledgling politician vying for votes telling people what they want to hear. We likewise know that His disciples were part of the elect, chosen by Christ and appointed by Him to go and bear fruit. If they were not part of the elect yet were going out trying to preach the gospel, thereby making disciples who would become elect, it would be akin to a vegan trying to sell steak door to door. When asked if the beef was tender or if the ribeye had enough marbling, the people they were trying to convince would be met with a blank stare and an admission that they didn’t know because they were vegan. Although they occasionally had a soy burger, they couldn’t offer an opinion on the beef.

John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

So, how do we explain this supposed paradox? How can we make sense of Jesus warning His disciples to take heed that no one deceives them, then read ‘to deceive, if possible, even the elect’ in the same discourse a handful of verses later?

Glad you asked.

The key to proper understanding is to view the entire discourse regarding the signs of His coming through a chronological prism. First, many would come in His name claiming they were the Christ, deceiving many. Then, many false prophets would rise up and deceive many. Finally, false christs and false prophets would rise up, showing great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So what happened between false prophets rising up and deceiving many, and false christs and false prophets showing great signs and wonders no longer being able to deceive?

By this third and final wave of deception that would crash against the household of faith, those who remain are battle-tested and battle-hardened. These will be the grizzled veterans of spiritual warfare on a scale the world has yet to see. They will have been betrayed by family and friends, brothers and sisters, threatened, maligned, imprisoned, persecuted, and hated; they will have resisted both deception and deceivers, and their faith remained intact.

The lukewarm will have long since distanced themselves from Christ and the cross, those clinging to aberrant teaching will have already succumbed to deception, being dragged into the deep as though by quicksand, and those who remain steadfast and true will have the scars to prove their faithfulness.

By this point, they’ve seen it all, endured it all, and watched repeated iterations of false christs and false prophets rise up to deceive many. They’ve learned to be ever vigilant, aware of the devil’s schemes and devices. Neither signs nor wonders will sway them, for they will be fully established in truth and will have sanctified the Lord in their hearts. Those who remain will not spend endless hours riffling through the Word hoping to find an excuse for their compromise and duplicity; rather, they will be fully committed to enduring to the end and trusting in the providence of God to see them through. If it were not possible to be deceived, as some claim, why would Jesus instruct His disciples to take heed that no one deceived them?

It’s not that believers are beyond being deceived if they do not remain in Christ and make the Word of God their one and true foundation, but by this point, they will have become immune to the wiles of the devil, even when he introduces great signs and wonders into the mix. They will have become inoculated against it, and the enemy’s plans will fall flat. There is no curve ball the enemy could throw that could blindside those who endure to the end, and there are no works he could perform, including signs and wonders, to draw them away from the truth of Christ and what He said.

There’s a saying that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled is to convince the world he doesn’t exist. Perhaps the second greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing Christians that they couldn’t be deceived or were above being deceived.

If it were impossible for the devil to deceive believers, he would’ve given up on the scheme long ago. If the constant barrage of false doctrine, teaching, teachers, prophets, and christs showed no return on his initial investment, the devil would have gone on to some other plot or scheme. The reason it persists and continues to this day is because it works, it’s effective, and twice during the last days, before the third attempt fails utterly, Jesus warns that many will be deceived.

One doesn’t have to search far to see the depth and width of deception currently blanketing the Christian world. You have major denominations who once held to the tenets of the faith, encouraging, validating, and celebrating all manner of evil and aberrant behavior, with supposed leaders demonizing and vilifying those who would dare to affirm that murdering babies while in their mother’s womb is evil and sinful. None of these people see themselves as deceived, although they are, and if anyone dares to broach the topic, they’ll be quick to insist that the elect is beyond being deceived. Ergo, since they consider themselves to be elect, they can’t be deceived in their own eyes. Circular logic at its finest, but wholly unbiblical.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

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.