THE LAST DAYS OF BABYLON Part 1, THE END OF FAITH

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"Is it not the will of God the Almighty that the laboring of the peoples should end in fire, and the toiling of the nations come to nothing?." ---Habbakuk 2:13

CHAPTER 3

A Time of Warning

"'Take care not to be deceived,' Jesus said 'because many will come using my name and saying "I am he" and, "the time is near at hand". Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.'"

Lk.21:8-11

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The warnings that now surround us
have been placed here for our salvation, not for our destruction. Scripture's admonitions tell us that while we still have time to make our peace with God, that time is running out. In a short time it will be too late.

The Day of Armageddon which the Bible talks about is coming. In our own lives, it might arrive today and it could come tomorrow. Jesus told us to be constantly prepared because He promised to come into every life, and at a time all of us least suspect.

Christ's words show us that there are two ends in scripture -- two Armageddon's. One arrives the moment we die and the second will occur later when the world dies. Like bookends, they are identical as far as we are concerned. But there is a difference between them. If there were not, Jesus would not have told us that "the end is not so soon" in the quotation that leads this chapter.

While our own end could be imminent, the earthly end will not occur until the pre-ordained conditions for it have all been met. These are events defined by Jesus principally in the Books of Matthew and Luke. They show us that what is much closer to us than the end of the world is an event the Bible calls the 'wrath'.

The wrath is a violent hostility on earth that has been fore-ordained by the Gospel, and which many Christian's call the 'tribulation'. It is being held back by the reign on earth of Christ's church.

The reign of the Church is not a political governance. It is a spiritual rule -- a rule of the heart that began building at the time of the Apostles and quickly swept across the civilized world, capturing the entire Roman Empire in its grasp only 300 years after it was launched. For almost 2000 years it has kept the world focused on the star of Bethlehem.

But with Christianity's rule now in shreds, and the hearts of the world hardening against it, the hoofbeat's of the wrath's minions can be heard in the prophet's voices as they gather at the portals of the coming century. Broadcasting the far-off clattering of those horsemen is what current prophecy is all about.

This time of Anger that is approaching is not the end of the world. Nor is it the judgment. Nor does it come from God. It comes, instead, as a result of a penalty written into the law of creation. It comes from sin.

Natural law precedes the judgment because God wants to save the world, not destroy it. For this reason, God has surrounded sin with a harmful aura. Little by little, because of its presence, correction occurs by natural order, admonishing those who pursue a wicked course, so that the destination of that course might be altered by change. The tribulation is the worst and final part of that natural correction.

No right-minded Christian would go out on a busy freeway and begin to play handball thinking that faith will block the speeding cars. God has made it plain that we are not to put Him to the test with respect to nature's rules.

If we touch a hot stove it will burn our hand. But as painful as that wound might be, there is no judgment in the burn. It happens as a result of natural law. If we stand in a room full of sneezing people, chances are we will get sick. The rules of nature make it so. If we have been inoculated with a flu vaccine, perhaps we won't get sick. This, too, is the result of the laws of nature. These conditions follow laws built right into the schematic of the creation.

Just as real are spiritual laws that govern the hot stoves we cannot see. The Bible tells us what these objects are and warns us of their presence. They are red hot spiritual objects which the Gospel calls sins. Their searing heat comes from the fact that intense physical manifestations always surround them: calamity, violence, hatred, wars, famine, disease, poverty, even natural disasters.

Prophesy exists to alert people to the presence of those harmful objects and to guide the people of God around them. In times like these where the spiritual toxins are multiplying, the job becomes more critical and so there are more voices. But there is a caution here.

The faithful minister works for salvation, not for judgment. And that salvation comes only from Jesus Christ. Any minister or prophet who tells you that the world is about to end and that you need to follow him to be safe is a liar.

Those who followed Jim Jones to the jungles of Guyana or David Koresh to the plains of Waco made this discovery too late. Jesus said that many would come using his name and saying that the 'time was at hand' (for the end) and He warned us not to follow them.

In the 1840's a Baptist writer named William Miller claimed that the world would end in 1843. It didn't. Undaunted, he said it would happen in 1844. He was wrong again. When the earth was scheduled to pass through the tail of Halley's comet at the turn of this century, many preachers warned that the world would end when the two collided. Nothing happened.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have claimed several dates for the end of the world and all have come and gone without incident. Christians have been warned by God Himself to turn away from such declarations. (Lk.21:8).

No one knows the time or date of the end. But there are signs of its approach. When Jesus cautioned against the preachers of the end times, He was not telling us to ignore books of scripture like Ezekiel, Daniel or the Book of Revelations. These writings, inspired by God, are filled with the signs of all that is coming.

God put them there so that we can read them and watch their prophecy's come to life. And as each of their predicted events occur, we are reminded that, while there is still time to renounce the sinfulness of our lives, that time is quickly running out.

These signs are not meant to lead us out of our church or send us into some other church. Crying out for our repentance, they beg us to pay more attention to our own church -- to take more seriously the Gospel we have already heard. "Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear these words behind you, 'This is the way, follow it'." (Is.30:21).

God had Isaiah use the words 'behind' us to show that these are sunday school words -- a Gospel message from our past -- one that we first heard as children. And it proves that all these signs of an ending world are God's louder plea to ears that are growing increasingly deaf.

And because that deafness has multiplied sin, the universe is about to kick in with its own warnings. This is not idle talk or fear-mongering. The Bible has communicated the future to us in clear, and uneqivocal terms. Our responsibility is to hear these words and make the conversion that will prevent this future from being fulfilled in our own time.

Scripture teaches that lawlessness will cause the destruction of the world. "So lawlessness will bring the whole earth to ruin and evil-doing bring the thrones of the mighty down." (Ws.5:24). This is because the universe that God has created works on the side of righteousness. "God will arm creation to punish his enemies; he will forge a biting sword of his stern wrath, and the universe will march with him to fight the reckless." (Ws.5:17-21).

These verses, and many others like them in scripture, prove that creation has within itself the power to react antagonistically to sin. And it is because nature has been fore-armed during its creation to counter godless behavior in this way that we are able to observe and predict relationships between sin and the diseases, pestilence and other disasters which follow it.

"Because their foolish and wicked notions led them astray into worshipping contemptible beasts, you sent hordes of mindless creatures to punish them and teach them that the instruments of sin are instruments of punishment." (Ws.11:15-16).

We live today in a time filled with severe warnings from heaven. Most people, of course, do not believe this. Few draw any correlation between sinfulness and the disasters which follow such behavior. "'God sees nothing,' they say...You most stupid of men, think this over and learn some sense. Is the inventor of the ear unable to hear? The creator of the eye unable to see? The punisher of the pagans unable to punish?" (Ps.94:7-10).

When we view the current world and all the plagues that have arisen within it, it is clear that these words were written for us and for our times: "And indeed your all-powerful hand -- the hand that created the world from formless matter -- did not lack the means to unleash a horde of unknown beasts, newly created, full of rage, exhaling fiery breath..." (Ws.11:17-20).

God did not send the newly created plagues of this century to torment wrongdoers; there is a day scheduled for that in the future.

Rather, these pestilences are a result of sin, they are not the punishment of sin. They come in the same way that a drunk driver kills innocent people, or in the way that lawlessness will one day bring the whole earth to ruin. It is a rule of the kind of nature that God has created. A nature that obeys God's rules to the letter.

In God's creation, law and order go together. Righteousness brings health and life, but sin manifests disease and death. This is programmed right into nature itself so that it happens naturally. "Creation is maintained by your rulings." (Ps.119:91). Outside of these rulings, creation comes apart, and chaos takes it's place. We saw this happen in the time of Noah, during the flood.

Because of sin, everyone has to suffer -- good and bad alike. In the same way that the the sin of the drive-by shooter snuffs out the life of the innocent child, it is sin that is going to bring the whole world to destruction. The diseases and plagues that we have had to bear, as bad as they are, are only warnings of something much worse to come. This is what Christ came to warn us about -- not just the terrible wrath about to consume the future, but the time of judgment and fire which will follow it.

God does not have to wait or give us this warning. It is only because of His great mercy that He has held back the tribulation of the last days to give us this window of escape. He has it within His power to sweep all mankind off the earth with a single breath right now. Therefore, the reproofs which come now are designed to bring us all into repentance, not to destroy us.

"But even without these, they could have dropped dead at a single breath, whirled away by the breath of your power. But no, you ordered all things by measure, number and weight." (Ws.11:21). "You are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook men's sins so that they can repent." (Ws.11:24).

"Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend; you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord." (Ws.12:1-2).

In the end, however, the Bible says that these warnings will not be heeded. In the last days, we are told, the people of the world will harden their hearts against God and refuse to see Him in nature's reprisals no matter how harsh and disastrous they may become: "Men were biting their tongues for pain, but instead of repenting for what they had done, they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores." (Rev.16:11).

With great restraint, God has held the reign of terror back, but instead of seeing His mercy in the current calm, most of the world's people have mistaken Christ's offer of peace as a sign that the world will go on forever just as it is. "Well, where is this coming? Everything goes on as it has since the Fathers died, as it has since it began at the creation." (2 Peter 3:4).

That is why so many people today can look at the Revolt raging around them and not see it. To them, the carnality of our age -- the sex, the bathhouses, the pierced nipples, the nudity, the bestiality and the drug obsessed rock stars are simply stages in a continuum they feel can go on forever without end.

With booming drums, crashing cymbals and flashing lights, the cathedrals have been replaced by casino's. Satan has hypnotized the world into thinking that the fate of Sodom and Gommorah were for another age and no longer apply.

Is there a point where behavior becomes so abhorrent to God that He simply pulls the plug? That is what the Bible says. The scriptures teach that catastrophe and sin are directly related -- that evil-doing will bring this world to an end so final that the debris of its existance will be reduced to mere fragments floating in space (Is.24:19).

Fortunately that End is not now. But the only reason why a gap in this relationship now exists, the Bible says, is because God wants to save those who would be saved. "The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises...he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways." (2 Peter 3:9).

But His patience has a limit. "The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, and the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up." (2 Peter 3:10).

Today there is little question that we are severely testing that limit. The spiritual conversion of Babylon which the apostles generated 1900 years ago has all but vanished. In its place are all the graphic images and wanton misconduct of a world gone completely and immorally mad.

Is it too late to halt the process of disintegration? The Revolt can be changed. But only by prayer, repentance and conversion into the words of Jesus. And it can only happen individually, one by one -- in the heart of each person. That, then, should be the message tirelessly and incessantly preached from every pulpit. But as of today few even know there is a revolt, let alone see a need to reverse it.

Repentance is at the heart of God's message of salvation. The forgiveness that Christ offered to the world as its escape from the punishment of the wrath is structured in repentance: "And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins." (Mk.1:4-5).

The forgiveness that comes through repentance is accompanied by grace to increase its strength and durability. But the apostles have told us that grace is a variable. We can grow in it or we can fall out of it.

Scripture carries a stern warning about this: the sword of catastrophe stands poised now, right over the top of the world. And the Bible shows that its destructive wrath is held back only by grace. Those who live in God are protected from the consequences of sin by God's grace, and their good lives make the envelope of grace stronger for all around them; but those who return to their evil ways, deplete the store of grace and hasten the time of wrath.

The grace that God has given us is a wall of protection for our journey in faith. "When God guides a man's steps he may fall but never fatally, since God supports him by the hand." (Ps.37:23). But God never meant grace to be used for apostasy. It is possible to fall out of grace completely.

For the last 2000 years we have witnessed a world living in the grace of the forgiveness of God because a part of it believed in the message of Jesus: "He was proclaimed to the pagans and believed in by the world." (1 Tim.3:16). But as the world turns away from God, the same rules apply to it that have always applied to each one of us: grace diminishes and the time of wrath is hastened by the fall.

That is why we see the end-time consequences approaching us with such great speed now. The Revolt is plunging the world into a fall from grace. Obsessed with personal pleasure and a thirst for violence, Babylon has allowed the millenium of Christian rule on earth to fade away. And in that fade, the world we once knew is about to collapse. All the politics and all the weapons in the world are powerless to change what is coming. Prayer and faith renewal are the only armaments that can change the planet's new course.

With the governments no longer ruling under the scepter of Christianity, the world reign of Christ is silently passing away. The nations of Babylon have a new kind of wisdom now and it has replaced their former faith. Through Satan's manipulation, these nations have joined in the Great Revolt, and in so doing, have given the devil the means to come back to power.

His return is a momentous event in the chronology of the last days. John stated in his Book of Revelations that God had imprisoned Satan in an Abyss, chaining him there in order to create Christianity's rule in the world. (Rev. 20:1-2). It was only this incarceration that allowed Christ's dominion over Babylon to occur at all.

At the end of Christ's thousand years, John wrote, he must be released and allowed to return to the earth to deceive the nations and mobilize them all for war. (Rev. 20: 7-8). If the millenium has already occurred, and stands now, at its very end, then the fulfillment of this prophecy must also be at hand.

The cleverness involved in the current deception -- the fact that Satan has been able to convince even most Christians that the separation of Babylon from Christ is a good move -- is a persuasive argument that he has left the Abyss already and is currently back in this world now.

His capacity to deceive is so powerful that God had to lock him up in order to create Christian rule on earth in the first place. To see it all suddenly end so quickly is a convincing demonstration that he has returned.

Satan has accomplished this deception even in the United States -- a country founded in Christian worship and conversion. This shows that we are living at a very crucial time in history because it is our generation which is bringing the millenium to an end.

Turning, instead, to secular government, the nations of the Christian past have finally broken free from the yoke of Christ. And in that rebellion, the world rule of the Christian Church -- a phenomenon almost 2000 years old -- has been quietly laid to rest..

So while the generation of the Apostles produced the millenium by bringing the Gospel to world dominion, our generation has been responsible for destroying their work.

Emboldened by a new-found wisdom, and chasing after the 'good life' the people of Babylon have pushed Jesus aside, allowing his rule on this earth to lapse -- a 'rule' most of the world failed to see in the first place, and one often held up to ridicule by those who should have known better.


The Last Days of Babylon


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