About These Bible Studies
Last week I started a series of Bible studies attempting to show why I believe Christ's Second Coming is going to be soon; that there are signs of the times everywhere we look. How do we know for sure we are living in the "last days" prophesied in the Bible? Because there are certain things recorded in the ancient prophecies that, until recent times, didn't make a whole lot of sense. Now they do.
By Way of Review
So far, we have seen that apart from the regathering of the nation of Israel (1948), all the other pieces of the puzzle don't fit. You can't have Jesus returning to the earth to set up His kingdom (as the long awaited King who would sit on the throne of David) if there is no nation of Israel to come back to! The establishment of the modern state of Israel is the first in a series of key events that must take place before all the other end time prophecies can unfold. Yes, the first piece of the prophetic puzzle is definitely in place.
What else happened in 1948?
There is another key component of prophecy that I believe we are also starting to see unfold in our lifetime. Ironically, this one also dates back to 1948: namely the founding of the World Council of Churches. Why is that so significant? Because the WCC is the "broadest and most inclusive fellowship among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement" (from their website). The World Council consists of 345 member denominations from 110 countries of the world, and has endorsed such liberal theological ideas as the ordination of women, the ordination of gays and lesbians to ministry, and the acceptance of homosexual relationships as equivalent to traditional heterosexual marriage. All these controversial issues were addressed in their 1998 annual conference. To say that the WCC has been taken over by left wing liberals instead of conservative Christians would be an understatement.
How is that prophetic?
Let me cite three important Bible prophecies regarding the "last days". First, it says in II Thes. 2:3 that "that day shall not come until there is a falling away first". In other words, the Second Coming of Christ would be proceeded by a major departure from Biblical truth, or a falling away from Scriptural doctrine. The Greek word for falling away is APO-STASIS, from which we get our English word "Apostasy". Second, according to II Tim. 4:3-4, there must be a "turning away" from the truth in the last days. We talked about this in our very first blog (see "Signs of the Times" article posted a month ago). And finally, in I John 4:1-3, those living in the last days will witness a phenomenal increase in "anti-Christian" religion as evidenced by the rise of ISLAM and the number of cults.
The Pressure to Conform
There is increasing pressure on Bible believing Christians to conform to the liberal, unbiblical views that are so popular in our world today. There is a growing hostility towards conservative, traditional Christian teaching. Can anybody deny that? Bible believing Christians are neither popular nor "politically correct". But we shouldn't be surprised. Jesus said to His disciples that we would be "hated by all nations for His name's sake" (Matt. 24:9).
Where is all of this heading?
We know from the Bible that after the rapture of the Church, the Anti-Christ and the false prophet will set up a one-world-church. It will be the final triumph of ecumenism. Everyone will be forced to worship the "Beast" (Anti-Christ) or else they will be killed (sounds like what radical Islamic extremists are already doing!). The rise of the modern ecumenical movement, along with its increasingly liberal theological positions, is truly a sign of the times. And it is paving the way for the future one-world-church. You can count on it.
So what should I do?
Stand fast in the faith. Don't compromise your conservative Christian convictions. Don't bow to the pressure of conformity. Stay true to the Lord and to the Bible. "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught" (II Thes. 2:15).