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There’s a lot of speculation going around about where America is headed as a nation. Those who see the eroding of our freedoms tend to believe we’re on our way towards a totalitarian government, the likes of which are depicted in books and movies that predict a dystopian future. And while we may arguably appear to be off the rails lately, with wars and religious persecution on the increase and personal liberties seeming to vanish as each year passes, it’s important to maintain the right perspective.
First, let’s look at what the Bible says about the end times. I’m going to be focusing on Luke 21 during this episode, so follow along with me if you like.
Luke 21:10-19 > Jesus Foretells Wars and Persecution
10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
Here, we clearly see that Luke is encouraging us to keep our focus on the opportunities that present themselves during these troubling times. Instead of going into a panic or participating in a frenzy of buying up all the milk and bread and toilet paper from the stores, we should be demonstrating our faith by living without fear and by witnessing to those around us with the joy and confidence that comes from knowing God is in control. Not everyone will be able to appreciate that kind of faithful living, and many people will despise us for our confidence in Christ. But as we endure these times in faith, our lives are safely within the hands of God.
Luke 21:20-24 > Jesus Foretells Destruction of Jerusalem
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
We are already seeing a lot of this happening today. Israel is surrounded on every side by militant enemies. There’s fighting and bombing going on there, and many of us see it unfolding on TV without really thinking too much about its significance. After all, we have enough insanity going on here at home.
Here in America, we have been spoiled by the amazing liberty that we enjoy. We take for granted how blessed we are, and when things appear to be turning towards tyranny, we automatically assume it’s the beginning of the end. Maybe so, but maybe not. There is real oppression and authoritarian rule in other parts of the world – so, what if it’s merely our turn?
Or consider that what we’re seeing happen in our country now is a natural progression of the prideful, sinful, corrupt nature of man. In the midst of great blessing, we forgot Who had blessed us. We removed God from so many aspects of our lives, and in so doing we gave up His blessing and protection. We’ve allowed heinous and egregious acts to fill the vacuum created by the elimination of God from classrooms. Drag-queen story time in our elementary schools, sexually explicit school projects in some places, and dare I mention the millions and millions of unborn children who’ve been murdered because self control and responsibility are just too hard! Does it not then stand to reason that the next logical step is for us to reap what we’ve sown?
Whichever is the case, fear of what the future will bring should NOT be the reigning thought in our lives as Christians. All the appearances of rising tyranny should not frighten us, but rather embolden us. Our freedom has never been derived from our government. Even the US Constitution recognizes that our freedom comes from our Creator. That document doesn’t grant us rights, it acknowledges our God-given rights and says that the government should never infringe upon them. But even if government fails us, God never will.
Luke 21:25-28 > The Coming of the Son of Man
25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
So, seeing signs of the end coming is reason for us to be GLAD! Our liberty as Christians is afforded to us through the blood of Jesus Christ, not through some legislation or government program. And despite all the fear-mongering going on today, despite all the signs pointing to some looming threat of communism, and despite any appearance of a collapse or implosion of our way of life being on the horizon – no, our future is NOT dystopian at all. We are not without hope. Indeed, as followers of Christ, ours is a glorious future! We have a hope that cannot be taken away – the hope that is found in Jesus alone.
Still, we seem so shocked to see things happening in our country that we thought we were protected from. Things we thought could never happen in America start to happen, and we freak out. Hey fellow believers, Jesus warned us about this…
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation (wasting time with self-indulgence) and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Yes, we’ve been very blessed here in this country – so much so that truly troubling times seem to catch us by surprise. But these things should NOT come as such a shock to us if we’ve been paying attention at all to what God’s Word has been telling us all along. Jesus even told us that, in this world, we will have trouble – trials – tribulation. But He overcame the world, and through Him, we are overcomers as well. Let’s not forget that! Even the hard times, the struggles, and all the things that satan would use to destroy us – God can turn all those things around and use for our benefit, our good, and our victory. And we don’t have to face any of this stuff alone. Jesus assured us that He will be with us, even to the end of this world.
After that, what comes next is the real icing on the cake! See, this world will come to an end. It will pass away. But we who are in Christ will live on through eternity with God in new, glorified, incorruptible, and perfect bodies. There will be no more sickness, no more sorrow, no pain, no doubt about tomorrow, no worries, no threat of tyranny, no fears of any kind. That’s what our future holds when God holds our future. That’s what we have to look forward to.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
So stop looking so intently at your present struggles. Lift your vision higher. If you get caught up focusing too much on your circumstances and start fearing what is about to happen next, remember the promises of God. Let your faith conquer your fear, and let Jesus be King in your life. Allow Him alone to rule your thoughts, your attitude, and your outlook. Begin to embrace your future with confidence, and welcome the glory that is to come.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just sayin’.