Part 3 of 3:
The Present and Coming Events
We recognize the evil we see today. The sinful evil nature in man is being fully unleashed and exposed as …
“… the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. (being) by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:3)
Satan, the “ruler of darkness” and “the prince” of this world, knows his time is now short. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES.” (Ephesians 6:12 )
The shifts we note touch man, the church, and society in general.
- Mankind — love for one’s family and fellow man will grow cold, replaced by a love only for oneself. See if you recognize today’s society in these words below.
“This know also, that IN THE LAST DAYS perilous times shall come. 2 for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of god 5 Having a (empty) form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
- The church — in the last days the church will primarily be defined by its apathy and falling away from “the truth” of sound doctrine (apostasy), being willing to believe a lie.
“For the TIME WILL COME WHEN THEY (the church meeting attendees) WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE (truth); but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
- Society — ultimately, after the catching away (rapture) of “the body of Christ,” society will continue to devolve morally back as it was in “the days of Noah” (Luke 17:26; 2 Pet. 2:5). Then the flood of God’s judgment and wrath will be poured out. Time in this age of grace is running out. Man has long declared war on God but God in His mercy has held back His wrath to allow time for men to be “saved by grace (the free gift) through faith” in Christ’s work on the cross to bear our sins.
“And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the son of man (Jesus).” Luke 17:26
“and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:5)
Though these tragic signs of these times point to the soon return of Jesus Christ to Rapture His church, we still don’t know if "that day" will come in days, months, or even years. In the meantime, we have to live on, continuing to be lights in the world, walking in union with Him. We stand for what’s biblical, moral, and God-honoring until the rapture of “the church which is his body (Eph 1:2b-23a) – “the body of Christ.” At that time we, with Christ’s “Spirit of life” dwelling within us, will take our place in the co-rulership of “the heaven.”
Several years after the Rapture of “the church,” which is “the body of Christ,” Jesus himself will literally visibly return to earth and victoriously set up his glorious kingdom of peace and righteousness on “earth”; to be ruled by Christ through
, as his agency upon “the earth.” Israel
Thus we are approaching the consummation of the ages that Paul calls “the dispensation of the fulness of times” in which God will have recover both “the heaven and the earth,” as He intended for Adam in the beginning.
Ephesians 1:9-10 having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 that IN THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULNESS OF TIMES HE MIGHT GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, BOTH WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN, AND WHICH ARE ON EARTH; EVEN IN HIM:
Paul says we may be “comforted” by knowing the Lord’s plan wherein the Lord will gather us unto Himself; that we will be with Him eternally in the heaven – this is our “blessed hope.”
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep (have died) in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 WHEREFORE COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
We as members of “the body of Christ” are not as those who have no hope…we look for His “glorious appearing” in the cloud, when we will meet Him in the air.”
Thus we are those who are… “Looking for THAT BLESSED HOPE (confident expectation), and the GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13-14)
Peter, as “the Apostle to the circumcision (Israel),” wrote this (below) of the very “last days,” after the Rapture of “the body of Christ” and before the 2nd coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth to set up His Millennial kingdom on earth.
“To begin with, you must know and understand this, that SCOFFERS (MOCKERS) WILL COME IN THE LAST DAYS WITH SCOFFING, [PEOPLE WHO] WALK AFTER THEIR OWN FLESHLY DESIRES 4 AND SAY, WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation. 5
For they willfully overlook and forget this [fact], that the heavens [came into] existence long ago by the word of God, and the earth also which was formed out of water and by means of water, 6 Through which the world that then [existed] was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until THE DAY OF JUDGMENT AND DESTRUCTION OF THE UNGODLY PEOPLE.
8 Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not DESIRING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD TURN TO REPENTANCE.
10 But the DAY OF THE LORD will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities,
12 While YOU (THE BELIEVERS OF ISRAEL) WAIT AND EARNESTLY LONG FOR (EXPECT AND HASTEN) THE COMING OF THE DAY OF GOD by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire? 13 But we look for NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH according to His promise, in which righteousness (uprightness, freedom from sin, and right standing with God) is to abide. 14 So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by Him [at His coming] without spot or blemish and at peace [in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts]. (2 Peter 3:3-14 AMP)