Is This How It All Ends?

Are we now in the end times Scripture speaks about?

Just a few days ago I was asked if I thought we were living in the last days. I get asked this quite often. I replied as I usually do by saying four brief things: In one sense we have been living in the last days for 2000 years now; Jesus said, ‘Occupy till I come;’ yes, things certainly do seem bad right now; and it is possible Jesus could return today, or perhaps in a hundred years.

Since this conversation took place at a second-hand Christian bookstore in Melbourne’s outer east, let me mention something I read in one of the books I purchased there on the day. But first, here is a website for this terrific bookshop:

One of four books I got there (and all four were on my most wanted list) was an older volume I have been looking for some years to get a second hand copy of: Mark Noll’s 1992 volume, A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, a magisterial work of 600 pages.

Sure, a second edition appeared last year, but I am more than happy to have this one. Noll is a top Christian historian, and I have a dozen of his books. I also took a course with him at Wheaton College some decades ago on de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

But one of the things that stood out to me as I read through the book was this remark as Noll was discussing the fundamentalist-modernist controversy in the early twentieth century. He wrote: “The fundamentalists who battled liberals and moderates in the 1920s had an ambiguous attitude toward the United States. Sometimes they spoke of it as ‘Babylon,’ far gone in its sins. Sometimes it was ‘God’s New Israel,’ still at least potentially a light to the nations. Often in the 1920s fundamentalists affirmed both.”

This got me thinking. One, just about every generation of Christians over the last 2000 years thought they might be living in the end times, and that their period was the worst. But two, I thought that yes, there have always been bad periods. But in the West, are not things really getting out of control?

In the West we never before had this major war on God’s institutions of marriage and family. We never before had this normalisation and legalisation of so many forms of evil, including sexual radicalism and the culture of death. We never before had this widespread availability of pornography.

We never before had this increasing Statism and curtailment of freedom. We never before had this wholesale attack on biblical Christianity, even rendering those affirming the faith as criminals guilty of hate speech. We never before had this situation where evil is called good and good is called evil, and so on.

So in one sense things really do seem much worse than before – at least in the West. And three headlines that I just came upon moments ago demonstrate this even further. These three articles all are making the same case: The West is going down the tubes fast, and this indeed may be how it all ends. The first piece deals with the radically liberal and leftist church in Sweden:

A new translation of the Holy Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek for children in Sweden is set to also include perspectives on diversity and gender. The new translation is the first in 25 years and will be undertaken by Church of Sweden Bishop Sören Dalevi, who assumed his role as Bishop of Karlstad in 2016. “The starting point was to make a Children’s Bible that has not existed in Sweden before for a very long time. Namely, one that has both the stories, the hymns, the most famous prayers and the Swedish children’s book illustration style, which is very unique,” Dalevi told broadcaster SVT.

While most Swedish children’s Bibles in the past have been translated from English, this new children’s Bible will be translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. According to Dalevi, the new translation will also include diversity among the various characters who he claimed were all portrayed as being white in prior children’s Bibles and that there will be a so-called “gender perspective.”

Dalevi told SVT that among the gender perspectives will be the notion that man did not perhaps come before woman in the story of Genesis despite the Book of Genesis Chapter 2, verses 21 through 24 being reasonably clear on the point. The Church of Sweden is known as one of the most progressive liberal Christian churches in Europe and has long supported various causes such as the LGBT movement.

Last year, a church in Malmo came under criticism after unveiling an LGBT altar painting which depicted same-sex couples and transgender individuals set at the scene of the Book of Genesis.

And Jonathon Van Maren just recently looked at the bigger – and quite depressing – picture in Europe. The article begins:

Over the past several months, pressure on Christians has increased as the beliefs that form the foundation of Western civilization are relentlessly attacked as hateful and bigoted. Norway has just banned “transphobia”; a Finnish parliamentarian is under police investigation for defending traditional marriage; Dutch Christian schools are under attack by the government for teaching the biblical view of sexuality; a German pastor was fined 8,100 euros for statements against LGBTQ ideology. The list goes on. European Christians are increasingly trapped between the pincers of radical secularization and radical Islam.

I recently spoke with Madeleine Enzlberger of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. Enzlberger, a native Austrian, has a background in conflict management and security politics and conducted field research in Iraq on the persecution of Christians and the promotion of International Religious Freedom Policy.

Are hate incidents against Christians on the rise in Europe?

Hate incidents are rising — not significantly in numerical terms, but the general culture is taking a shift. This means that we do have political and cultural changes that do not only affect Christians but individual freedoms in general. Areas like freedom of speech, conscience and religion are intrinsically linked to each other and restrictions on one can lead to limitations on one of the other freedoms.

Currently we can identify three main areas in which Christians are facing most pressure. The first category is violence, as in vandalism, which is considered a hate crime by the OSCE, against churches or Christian institutions. The majority of the cases we report fall under this category. Sadly, we also have actual physical assaults on Christians, like the recent tragic killing of Christians in the basilica of Nice, but they are very rare. The motive and bias of the perpetrators is very diverse. Among them we find anti-religious, radical feminist and LGBTQ+ groups, or radical Islamists.

The second field in which Christians face most adversities is radical secularization, which we can observe to take place on a political/legal level, but also a shift in general cultural attitudes towards Christians. Here we have cases of new hate speech or equality legislation, which potentially criminalize moral, faith-based arguments or the beliefs of Christians. In these cases, the basic human rights of committed Christians, like freedom of speech and conscience, are subdued under a new secular world view that claims moral authority.

Radical Islamists and radical Islamist groups are the third area of pressure for Christians. In these cases, Muslim converts, specially asylum seekers from the Middle East, are often targeted physically and mentally. Another new problem in this area is the growing phenomenon of hotspots in which radical Islamists or radical groups discriminate, marginalize or even attack Christians. France and the UK are among the countries who struggle most with this problem.

Lastly, to nicely tie all these major themes together (the decline of the West, the war on Christianity, and the possible nearness of the Lord’s return) John MacArthur just offered this warning:

Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur has warned that today’s world is “perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come” amid the chaos and “lawlessness” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. MacArthur, whose Sun Valley, California-based church has repeatedly sparred with authorities over COVID-19 worship restrictions, said on Sunday that world governments “have done something that’s never been done in human history” by making the pandemic issue and the response “global.”

“Now we are a global world. And that is a setup that we’ve been waiting for through redemptive history since the Lord promised that there would come, in the future, an Antichrist who would have a global government,” the 81-year-old pastor said. “We literally have such power over people globally that we can shut them down so they can’t function,” he said. 

“This suits the world of Antichrist. As you look at the book of Revelation, there’s the mark of the beast, the number, and if you don’t have that, you don’t buy, you don’t sell, you don’t exist. Everything about you, they know — the people who have access to all your data. They know all of it. You can go out of existence virtually any moment [and] somebody decides that. This is the kind of world that appears to be perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come, bring a certain amount of peace, [and] the world falls at his feet.”

The article goes on to say this:

The pastor said that while he’s not predicting that “the Lord is coming soon,” the unrest seen today reflect those prophesied in Scripture. “The Bible says in the End Times there will be lawlessness. And there is lawlessness [today] and an escalating lawlessness and an effort to create more lawlessness by taking restraints away,” he said. “This is a world that could find itself in such absolute chaos that the right satanic leader who promises to fix everything could be given the title of king of the world. That Antichrist, aided by the false prophet, is what we see in the book of Revelation.

So are we in fact just about at the end? It could be. But I will still stick with my four-fold response that I offered above. Yes, things are bad, but we need to keep working for Christ and the Kingdom until he does return. So remain faithful my friends, regardless of how dark things become.

As Christ promised us, the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.

[1734 words]

23 Replies to “Is This How It All Ends?”

  1. Hi Bill, again thank you for your faithfulness in keeping “The Body” informed and up to date with happenings in a sad, confused, and extremely anti-Christ world.

    Coming originally from Denmark, where, by the way, I think God is banned to rule, so it seems, because of their utopia of self-reliance, with the rest of Scandinavian Europe…

    Why I think we’re in the last days before God have had enough, is the following observation of willful sinning and rebellion, against God, and they are;

    1.Open hatred for God and all He stands for.
    2. Open sinfulness and selfishness.
    3. Worshipping of science and violent ideology.
    4. Disrespect for elders.
    5. Truth is taught as no longer the absolute, with all other implications.
    6. Family unit no longer aspired to.
    7. Futuristic mindset being the high achieving goal.
    8. Medical fraud and manipulation being accepted as “Norm”.
    9. Pantheism, where god is a force, in everybody and in everything (New Age)
    10. God is no longer relevant in a new and progressive society.

    We’re simply bankrupt and rebellious and unbelieving toward God, and even His church is now becoming that way as well, and that’s why I believe, we’ve never been in such dire strait, so COME quickly Lord Jesus!.

    Merry blessed Christmas to you and your family and readers, Bill.

    Eric Hansen

  2. Well done in pulling these themes together. The SCOTUS is appearing to be unhelpful for Trump, so we may well be on the slippery slide of a Harris presidency with all that will entail. Most certainly a recipe for vast changes world-wide.

    Your visit to the bookshop and the prizes found are most timely.


  3. Yes the eighth kingdom in prophecy is not prophesied to last very long and looking at the absurdity of what often passes for government these days plus the propensity to create laws based on fairly obvious falsehoods, to me this is not surprising. I can’t imagine we can go on the way we are for a very long time. The feet of clay are way too evident.

  4. Thanks for that Andrew. After 3 seconds of looking at the site, I thought I was looking at a WEF Great Reset site. And 3 seconds later I did see links to the WEF. Oh dear.

  5. In the Old Testament when the so-called people of God turned to idolatrous practices, their protection was taken away by God and they lost in battle. Today we see Islamic terror in the West and a bullying China. Obama too weak and .let China takeover South China Seas islands.

  6. Thanks Bill. Today our message was from Matthew 7. The wise bulider: the one who hears Jesus’s Words and acts on them ,built and put in practice, a like wise believer of Christ will be judged so on Judgement Dsy and the foolish builder who heard Jesus’s Word but did not put them into practice and heard on Judgement Day ” Get away from me evildoers ,i never knew you :(.
    You can hear our pastors message on Utube if you so wish ” buliding on the right foundation ( 13/12/2020: Horsham Presbyterian church. Plus I’m giving glory to God though Jesus Christ as we don’t have to wear masks in church anymore . To sing and praise our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God without our faces covered is literally a breath of fresh air . God bless you Bill and keep fighting the good fight. Carmel.

  7. Thank you again Bill for this fairly balanced view of the second coming.
    There are indeed many signs in our sad world that spell out the prophecies of end time circumstance, especially the persecution of Christians and the outrage against Christianity with all it stands for. Your highlights of John MacArthur’s “grace church” preaching on end times expressions, are very much in balance with what you reference. I love the way he does say that today we are definitely closer to the Lords return then yesterday.
    He also did a most interesting address in one of the recent evening services, where he give an excellent review of Covid 19 hysteria.
    Bill Heggers

  8. “As Christ promised us, the gates of hell will not prevail against the church”
    Could Christ have known that a leading contender for, or key sponsor of the Antichrist one world government would literally be Gates,
    with a capital G ie: Bill Gates?
    Strangely coincidental or highly prophetic?

  9. Has anyone noticed how everything that God has called good about His creation of man, has been turned into something “bad” during this Covid year. We are told to keep apart, hide our faces/identities, and are being treated like parasites on Earth, whether sick or not….

    That is indeed the work of Satan. In fact, the whole world has been tipped upside down onto its head! It reminds me so much of this verse from the Old Testament:

    “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) Heaven will prevail in the end, indeed.

  10. I ponder a lot about the end times. In Qld we have abortion up until birth (virtually) and we are about to have voluntary assisted dying thrust upon us because it is popular. Can things get much worse? I suspect they can and will. We must be prepared for martyrdom. That prospect will certainly seperate the sheep from the goats.

  11. For the West especially America:

    I know you mean well but I wish people would stop saying he could be a hundred years away as it takes away the urgency one needs in these times. If he is coming quickly we best do our work quickly while we can but if he is a hundred years away people will feel they can take their time work more slowly and build towards something in the distant future. Urgency is necessary now more than ever. The signs are in place now which for a very long time they were not all or mostly there. Don’t let it be said of us we didn’t know the hour of OUR visitation.

  12. Thanks Paul. Whether I mean well or not of course does not really matter so much. But if I am being biblical certainly does matter. Some 2000 years ago we were told by the writers of Scripture that Jesus is coming quickly. See more detail on this here:

    So it is not me saying this, but the inspired writers of the Bible. And we ALWAYS are to live with a sense of urgency, not just when we think we might be close to the end. And true Christians have lived this way for the past 2000 years. Also, Jesus made it clear that no one knows when he is coming (Matthew 24:36, eg). So what I said is still true: we are to occupy till he comes, doing the work of the Kingdom urgently, regardless if he returns today of in a decade or in a century – or more!

  13. Thanks Bill, I agree with John MacArthur that today’s world is a perfect place for the Antichrist to come as the indicators are happening so fast or can happen so fast. Daniel 12:4 says “keep this prophecy a secret; seal it up so that it will not be understood until the end times, when travel and education shall be vastly increased.” Other indicators are that the gospel will be preached to all nations before Jesus returns Matthew 24:14; we now have nuclear power which is able to annihilate humanity Matt 24:22 and there will be a ‘falling away’ of faith and morals etc which is not hard to see as you and others have said.
    Also others have worked out from Bible geneology that from Adam to Abraham is approx 2000 years, from Abraham to Christ is approx 2000 years and from Christ to present is another 2000 years with the 1000 year reign of Christ the 7th thousand year of rest.
    Still others like Lamb and Lion Ministries have worked out that Jesus was baptized/started His ministry in apporx 27AD when He was 30 years old and was crucified 3.5 years later in the Spring of 31AD. They use Daniel 9;24-27 to work out that the 70 weeks means 490 years from “the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem Dan 9:25. After Jesus was crucified there were approx 3.5 years that the Believes with the Holy Spirit’s power did signs and wonders before they had to flee Jerusalem due to persecution by people like Saul. Thus there is approx 7 years involved from the start of Jesus’ ministry to its end in Jerusalem. I have heard that in the last days likewise the two witnesses with the Holy Spirit’s power will perform signs and wonders for 1260 days (3.5 years or 42 months) before the Antichrist comes and kills them and they remain dead for 3.5 days (which I’ve heard means 3.5 years while the Great Tribulation occurs) until they are called up to Heaven Revelation 11:4-12, equalling 7 years.
    So whether these last 7 years start in 2027AD like Christ’s ministry started 2000 years ago and ends in 2034AD with His return is what we will have to wait and see.
    If Biden/Harris win the US election then I’m sure that we are hurtling towards the end times, however, God may give us a reprieve if we keep praying as Sadhu Sundar Selvara says in this 5:58min youtube called ‘It’s not over yet.’

  14. In the past many thought of Western nations as Christian, with many laws built on principles from the Bible. The principles and behaviours of leaders set examples for others, and may provide an umbrella of protection for those under them. However, when the umbrellas have holes then others are impacted.

    Leaders include: politicians, corporates, media, educators

    Warnings from history
    In the Old Testament when the people, who had followed God, turned to idols then God took away their protection. Consequently, they lost in battle and were finally were taken into captivity.

    Neh 9:29-30 ESV And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.
    Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

    The rise of Islamic terrorism and aggressive and bullying behaviour by the Chinese dictatorship are indicators of the West losing its protection and continuing on its path to destruction.

    Communists had methods to weaken and overthrow …
    24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
    25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
    37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
    Interesting that Vladimir Putin, former KGB, is against homosexuality.

    Need for repentance, especially by leaders;
    2Ch_7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

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