I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life, except for my early years on the mission field, that the Bible has become so impactful. It seems every book I study, every verse I read can be applied to this day, this time, this situation in our world. I’ve written posts on glimpses of this in the past, but in the last week, several verses have come to the forefront. Through these, I hear the Spirit say: “Are you prepared? Are your spiritual defenses on high alert, or are you just meandering through the mire that will soon pull you down, if you’re not careful?”
For this reason, I want to share a few of my insights and welcome your thoughts on the matter. This is a conversation we need to be having with each other and with those who have not quite woken up to what’s at stake—our faith and our witness for Christ.
Without saying it’s happening tomorrow, as no one knows, I think few would argue that we are living in the end times. I know every generation can sense that, and I believe it’s true, so either way you look at it, the end is near. It’s nearer today than yesterday for sure. Daniel had visions of it, Jesus talked about it, and Paul wrote about it.
We need to be prepared:
- Because the goal of the anti-Christ and of Satan is to wear out the saints. Listen to these words from Daniel’s vision:
He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.Daniel 7:25 (ESV)
I chose the English Standard Version here because I liked the way they translated what is usually translated as oppress. He (the strong king that comes) will wear out the saints. How many of you can say you feel worn out today? The constant flow of noise in our phones, on our TVs, and in culture pulls us down and wears us out. Do you not see that this is a goal of the prince of this age?
If it’s Satan’s goal to wear us out, then what are we doing to stay strong? What are we doing to keep our spiritual tanks full? Are we in the Word, constantly in prayer, and finding time to rest in Him?
A worn-out saint is a useless saint for the Kingdom.
- Because not only will saints be destroyed, but the anti-Christ and Satan will make deceit prosper by his own cleverness or cunning. Let’s hear from Daniel again:
His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many.Daniel 8:24-25 (CSB)
We can all agree that believers in Christ have been and continue to be persecuted and killed for their faith. This is nothing new and is a continuous strategy that Satan employs. However, as the end draws near, the attacks will increase. Not only that, but deceit will increase as well. This anti-Christ, under the direction of Satan, will make deceit a common practice. Just like a magician’s sleight of hand leads to false belief in his abilities, so too will the anti-Christ use clever and cunning words to lead many astray.
If we know deceit is out there because Satan is active in our world today, what are we doing to stand strong against the deception? Are we testing everything in light of scripture? Are we doing due diligence in investigating what we hear and read to know if it is true before we share? Are we speaking truth at every opportunity?
A naïve saint is an easily deceived saint.
- Because evil will increase and with that increase, the love of many of the saints will grow cold.
I encourage you to read all of Jesus’s words about the end of the age in Matthew 10, because he refers to the visions of Daniel in that chapter, talking about false prophets and great distress. I think his warnings are the strongest we have to the reality of the struggles Christians will face as the world grows progressively darker and full of evil, as the verse says, “when good is called evil and evil good.” What is Jesus’s greatest concern for his followers? Not to lose their love for him or others, for this is the main goal of the Evil One.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:12-13 (NIV)
What are we doing to keep our love warm? Are we practicing acts of kindness, even toward our enemies? Are we praying for our fellow believers and even those who hate us? Are we seeing the person and not the sin?
A cold-hearted saint loses his witness for Christ.
Jesus told his disciples something that still holds true for us today:
No wonder the armor of God was so crucial in Paul’s mind. We must be well-armed mentally and spiritually against all that Satan desires to throw our way. We cannot be naïve. The days are short. We must be strong, working while it is still called day to spread the news that there is only one hope for our world—Jesus.
As you go, be prepared for a fight, because the prince of this age will not go down without trying to take as many as he can with him.
Grace and Peace