Planet Earth in the Midst of a Dangerous Paradigm Shift

imageBible-Believing Christians are getting a look at how things could play out in the last days–whether or not current events are themselves part of the end time scenario or simply what I call a “dress rehearsal.” Three realities are rising to the top.

A WORLD WAITING FOR PEACE

First, and interestingly, Donald Trump’s speech at the AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) convention demonstrated just how a treaty might look. In his speech, he was tough and very committed to making a deal between the Palestinians and the State of Israel. It doesn’t matter what one’s opinion of trump is. What is of interest is that he put it in terms of a “deal.” As I listened, I imagined what condition the world would need to be in for such a “deal” to have the impact the Bible says that it will. I pondered the escalation of radical, militant Islam and how impactful it would be if a man could broker a deal between the radicals engulfing the world and Israel. How the world would welcome such a deal if indeed the this radicalism continued to escalate to a global level! Such an agreement would be welcomed as one of the most significant peace accords ever agreed upon!

THE WORLD’S SECURITY FORCES BECOMING OVERWHELMED

Second, like everyone else in the civilized world, I awakened to news of a terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium, home of the European Union. As I listened, I heard commentary that described how the attacks had overwhelmed the Belgium police force, and how terrorism seems to be overwhelming security forces at a global level. Imagine Paris, and San Bernardino, and Brussels multiplying to London, Sydney, Washington D.C., Tokyo, Berlin, etc. (some of these have already had serious terror attacks).

THE SPIRIT OF ANARCHY

Third, and another reality the world is facing but particularly to be found in America, is the rise of anarchy. I say this because, it seems that at every point people are ready to revolt. A few years ago, Occupy Wall Street was a thing. I remember seeing some of the remnants of that movement as they demonstrated in Union Square in Manhattan. A man at a table was supplying literature on anarchy. While many laughed off this movement, it seems evident that the sentiment is still out there and growing. In a similar way, it seems that ISIS terrorists are able to hide in plain sight, protected by people who are sympathetic with them. I am suggesting that there is more at work than racism, classism, or even religious radicalism. There seems to be a growing thirst for anarchy.

THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS

Daniel 7:25 speaks of a spirit of anarchy that will mark the approach of the antichrist to the world:

He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.

Paul speaks of this man in vivid terms:

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed…The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing…God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (taken from 2 Thes. 2)

A DANGEROUS PARADIGM SHIFT

What we are presently experiencing in America is not temporary but is rather a paradigm shift and is part of a shift that is happening globally. This shift is setting the stage for the antichrist.

And Now a Word from Ralph Waldo Emerson . . .

 

Now society in towns is infested by persons who, seeing that the sentiments please, counterfeit the expression of them. These we call sentimentalists,—talkers who mistake the description for the thing, saying for having. They have, they tell you, an intense love of nature; poetry,—O, they adore poetry, and roses, and the moon, and the cavalry regiment, and the governor; they love liberty, “dear liberty!” they worship virtue, “dear virtue!” Yes, they adopt whatever merit is in good repute, and almost make it hateful with their praise. The warmer their expressions, the colder we feel; we shiver with cold. A little experience acquaints us with the unconvertibility of the sentimentalist, the soul that is lost by mimicking soul. Cure the drunkard, heal the insane, mollify the homicide, civilize the Pawnee, but what lessons can be devised for the debauchee of sentiment? Was ever one converted? The innocence and ignorance of the patient is the first difficulty: he believes his disease is blooming health. A rough realist, or a phalanx of realists, would be prescribed; but that is like proposing to mend your bad road with diamonds. Then poverty, famine, war, imprisonment, might be tried. Another cure would be to fight fire with fire, to match a sentimentalist with a sentimentalist. I think each might begin to suspect that something was wrong.[1]Emerson_seatededit

What grabbed my attention in this passage of Emerson’s essay, Social Aims, is the line, “talkers who mistake the description for the thing, saying for having.” Emerson called these people sentimentalists—people who “adopt whatever merit is in good repute.” For my purposes, it helps me to describe Christians who mistake their faith profession for the thing itself.

Unfortunately, modern Christian spirituality is such that if it expects anything to happen at all it expects it to happen instantly with little to no effort. Because of this, we frequently allow ourselves to be satisfied with our faith profession. That is, instead of pressing through until we receive an answer, we simply say, “Well, by faith I receive the answer,” and we walk away from the place of prayer unchanged. This . . . taps into our repulsion against anything that makes us feel inadequate or lacking in any way. We bristle against the idea that we are lacking in anything. Rather than allowing the pain of spiritual lack to drive us to prayer, instead we walk away with only our faith profession.

Now don’t get me wrong! I am not suggesting that we should not walk by faith. Nor am I suggesting that every time we go to prayer we leave the secret place having experienced every possible experience. But we must remember that, in prayer, we genuinely come into contact with the Living Lord! Prayer is not therapy or emotional catharsis. It is real and will have real results! Pray until you experience real results![2]

 

[1] Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims, (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1876), 94-95.

[2] Adapted from, C. Scott Fowler, Contending for the Habit of Daily Prayer, (Smithtown, NY: Issachar Imprints, 2016), 112.