I’m not into the whole “end times” theological debates. I figure when it happens, it will happen. My time is better served ministering the gospel than calculating mysterious dates and parsing phrases that unlock secret codes.
I’m also not what you would call “charismatic”. By that I mean I don’t speak in tongues or practice any of the “spirit-filled” gifts. And the only time I have been known to fall down in an aisle is when I have tripped over my clown feet.
This Sunday as I was listening to our Pastor preach out of one of the prophets I could not help but think the message sounded familiar. As the outcast prophet Jeremiah preached to the “believers” of his generation so too do modern day outcasts speak to the Church. Like Jeremiah, they too warn us of some very similar dangers.
However, unlike in OT times I don’t think real prophets today hold the “office of prophet”. But I do believe that God uses people to speak His truth into their lives. When I was listening to Jeremiah speak to Israel I could not help but feel as though I have heard all of it before. A frantic search through the other prophets confirmed for me this fact: as a Church we have not learned well from our past. Not only do we continue to participate in the sins of the past (albeit sometimes disguised differently), but we do so with warnings right in front of us.
If you’re like me then at some point you have thought to yourself “how did the Jews not ‘get it’?” Or “how could the religious leaders not see Jesus for who he really was?”
Then Revelation 3:20 comes to mind. Almost always quoted out of context to refer to non-believers, this passage actually refers to believers as indicated by previous verses, Revelation 3:15-16.
The answer to the question of why is simple. When you constantly think in absolutes you always think you are in “truth”. Your inquiries simply become things you want to learn instead of self-evaluative. Your pursuit of knowledge replaces that of wisdom.
Who are these prophets?
I don’t know. Only God does. What I do know is this. I constantly see certain types of Christians vilifying others simply because they had the courage to speak out against those within the church that have power and control. They vilify them by convincing the masses that this type of person is a “false teacher” implying that they are not “one of them”. Some get fired from their ministry positions. Some are the target of hate speech.
Who do they speak against?
They speak against “modern Pharisees” who preach their messages of hate and ignorance by concealing the actual truth. They cleverly disguise the truth by simply attaching bible verses to their axioms of hate. These so called Christians use their power and influence to perpetuate a message that is neither truthful nor biblical. Unfortunately, just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time was unable to understand to what extent they were actually lost, so too do we see many Christian leaders today who are unable to submit to the authority of Christ by humbling themselves. Them who prefer to pray on the street corner, but who are far from God.
What is their message?
I see millions struggling to flee oppression around the world. When I see thousands of bodies discarded in the streets by the savages who murdered them or when I see churches in ashes and bodies still smoldering I can’t help but think we must be living in the end times.
When I see entire governments collapse and genocide across the world, I can’t help but think we must be living in the end times.
I can’t get them out of my mind. The bodies!
The image is vivid and haunting as I see dead bodies washing up on the shores of foreign nations. I see both children and parents. I remember seeing this picture of a little boy about my daughter’s age lying face down in the sand. His little shirt, pants and tiny shoes remind me of my daughters. Even as I write this I can’t hold back the tears.
I see boat loads of people struggling to flee oppression around the world. I see the desperation in the eyes of a father who grasps his child tightly while stumbling in the water just to reach shore. I have felt that same desperation before. Heart pounding so hard you think it’s going to come out of your chest. A pillow soaked in the same sweat dripping from your head proves how desperate you really felt. However, like many of those who share my freedom, I got to wake up.
All of my problems seem dwarfed in comparison to these other issues.
In America I’m concerned about my wealth. I want to live in a nice house and I want my government to be the economic leader for the world. And I am willing to do almost anything to achieve this. It doesn’t matter who I step on (or who people see me step on). Meanwhile there are others who were not as fortunate to be born into a stable middle class family and struggle to feed their starving children.
In America I’m concerned about protecting my religious freedoms. And by “freedom” I mean that I should have the right to force others to adhere to my narrow worldview. Meanwhile Churches are burning, and Christians are struggling to find a place where they can meet without fear of being killed.
In America I am concerned about whether creationism is taught alongside evolution to my children in public education. Meanwhile there are many around the world who would die (and some do) for a fragment of the education that we receive here.
In America I’m worried about “liberalism” or “conservatism” running our country and creating our laws. Meanwhile lawlessness runs rampant around the world and there are many who do not know if today will be their last.
I heard someone say once that America is kind of like a fantasy or a dream. There is really no other place in the world like it. It’s no wonder so many people want to come here. And yet we have put a virtual fence of hate and intolerance around Lady Liberty and said “we are full, there is no room for you here”.
I have always been under the impression that “the world” and it’s continued corruption would bring about the “end times”. However, more than anything I am convinced that it is not their disobedience that will bring about the end, but, like the Jews, it will be the Church.