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2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

In the last three posts, we’ve been looking at an event that Scripture tells us must occur before Jesus returns: the coming of someone called the man of lawlessness or the man of sin. We’ve considered the truth that in the Bible lawlessness usually means moral laxity and sin, both of which are increasing in the world. We’ve also looked at passages in Revelation that indicate this man of lawlessness, called the second beast in Revelation, will make war with Christians, defeat them, and enforce economic control over the world. He will force people to worship an image he makes. We put forth the prediction that in order for an individual to be invested with such economic and political power, turning-the-world-on-its-head events must occur in order to precipitate that investment. People and nations do not easily give up their sovereignty. When the two beasts show up in Revelation 13, if the Book of Revelation has proceeded chronologically, some terrible things have already happened on the earth, catastrophic events: earthquakes and plagues to name only two. The world will be yearning for a deliver.

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2009-02-22_1157_Church

Last week, we looked at Jesus’ warning about the days that would precede His return. The concerns about wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes may dominate our thinking, but the first thing He said about what will happen during that time to come was, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray” (Matthew 24:4–5).1

And, we also considered this question Jesus asked: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).

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Confession time. I have been perplexed about how to pray for the Church in these last days.

Please allow me to explain.

The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus told us to pray, includes this statement of agreement with God’s will:

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done.”

We are to pray for God’s kingdom to come.

How do we do that? What I mean is, when I pray “Your kingdom come,” I am praying for Jesus to return, because He must return for the Kingdom of God to be established on the new earth. In order for God’s Kingdom to be established, many difficult events must occur.

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One of the most troubling passages for me concerning the last days is 2 Thessalonians 2:3: “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…” This word “rebellion” is the Greek word apostasia, and it has meanings of falling away, departure, and abandonment. Our English word “apostasy” comes from this word.

Is it true that before the Lord Jesus returns, the Church will fall away? Jesus said this: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:9–13).

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2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

Does anything about the Last Days upset me?

Yep. Plenty.

You may respond by saying, “Don’t worry, Jim! We win in the end!”

True, but here is a question Jesus asked that gives me serious pause, and it’s not about earthquakes or rumors of wars:

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I was perusing the internet this morning and saw this headline on the Drudge Report: “He can save us!  Polls show wave of optimism sweeping nation…”  And this: “Official: Obama ‘a major step’ for humanity…”

I understand the feelings of optimism.  Although, by God’s grace, our family hasn’t been terribly affected by this economic downturn, I’ve logged into some of these feelings myself lately.  They’re out there, that’s for sure.

But they’re scary.  That I think they’re scary has nothing to do with Mr. Obama himself or his racial heritage.  It would be scary no matter who the president elect would be.

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