Is modern society really going to get better? What lies ahead in our moral and spiritual future? You may be in for a shock!
WHAT is really going to happen over the next decade or two? Are we going to witness a spiritual revival of brotherly love among men and nations — and therefore a sharp decline in crime, violence and wars? Or will it be just the opposite? Many sincerely religious people are hoping for what they call a "religious reawakening in our time." They think that somehow, by prayer and zealous efforts, the churchgoing people can win over the rest of the world to an acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, and thus bring about peace and tranquility among all men everywhere. But what does the Bible say? How does Almighty GOD through his Word — describe the religious future of this world, which is absolutely CERTAIN to come?
In America, despite an increase in church attendance and religious interest during the 1970s and early 1980s, crime, violence and illicit sex have increased at a rapid rate. As reported in a recent edition of U.S. News & World Report magazine, serious crimes per thousand persons were way up in all major U.S. cities. In New York City, serious crime increased 47 percent during that period even though population was down. Chicago's serious crimes increased 61 percent, in Los Angeles the increase was 74 percent and in Philadelphia the figure was up 143 percent! In addition, United Press reported that the number of children born out of wedlock in the United States increased by 431 percent from 1970 to 1982. In 1980, unmarried women accounted for nearly one in five births. Some may ask, "What do crime statistics have to do with religion?" They have everything to do with true religion. For TRUE Christianity is not a dead belief, but a vibrant way of life that deeply affects our standard of conduct. Think about it. Would a genuinely "Christian" nation — a nation that truly followed Jesus Christ — have the shocking crime statistics just cited? Would it have the surging growth in the numbers of illegitimate children being born? And what about other nations? In Britain, the New Standard of June 24, 1981, reported: "The necessity for action gets more imperative by the day. For 10,000 girls under the age of 16 — the legal minimum age for marriage — now become pregnant every year. Abortions to girls under 16 have more than doubled in the past 10 years to 3,500 a year and unwanted pregnancies among girls aged between 15 and 19, after a drop in the mid-1970s, are on the increase again." From the Times of London, this excerpted article from their Paris correspondent: "'Drug addiction in France and the traffic of drugs have reached, in Paris at least, catastrophic proportions; medical institutions and the police are submerged by a veritable rising tide.' So begins the 1982 annual report of the Marmottan drug addiction centre in Paris. "Drug offences in the Paris region doubled last year, latest police figures show. At the Marmottan centre there were 2,439 new cases of heroin addiction — an increase of 17 percent over the previous year; in the last four months of 1982 the number of new heroin cases rose by 30 percent. "The traffic in heroin is booming and [heroin] addicts now account for 40 percent of all drug addicts in France, compared with only 6 percent six years ago." Is France then a Christian nation? And, summing up a speech given by Britain's Prince Philip, the Daily Telegraph reported in October 1977: "In a free-wheeling condemnation of the proliferation of crime, pornography, violence, international terrorism and other social ills, Prince Philip yesterday suggested that modern society was tolerating moral and behavioural standards of a colony of monkeys.'" Are these horrifying conditions prophesied to get better? And are we going to have a true religious reawakening? Or are we going to have merely an increase in religious CONFUSION and CHAOS accompanied by the greatest outbreak of crime, violence, corruption, lust, madness and physical and spiritual degeneracy in the entire history of this earth?
What Almighty God Prophesies
Facing up to the real truth is often a very sobering experience. And so it is in the present case. But if you want to understand what is really going to take place, you need to study and believe the literally dozens of scriptures in the Bible that directly describe the religious future of our entire Western civilization. And it is important to note that ALL these prophecies say the same thing! Jesus Christ set the keynote himself in his Olivet prophecy when his disciples asked him what would be the sign of his coming, and the end of the age. Jesus answered, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:3-5). Notice that Jesus said MANY not a few, but MANY — Would come "in his name." These men do NOT come in their own name, but in the name of Christ! In plain language, then, they are so-called Christian preachers — telling people about Christ. But they are evidently not preaching his message, for Jesus went on to say that they "shall DECEIVE many." Then Jesus listed four more conditions leading up to his Second Coming: wars, famines, pestilences, and persecution on his servants. Describing the latter, Jesus Christ said, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.... And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (verses 9, 11-12). Here is a clear description of the fact that false prophets were to arise soon after Christ's time. But it also indicates that there will even be an increase in these false prophets right at the time of the end the time in which we NOW live! And please notice that in every case it is the MANY who are deceived not the few! Even in what is commonly called the "sermon on the Mount," Jesus prophesied this same condition. He said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go
Are we going to have a true religious reawakening? Or are we going to have merely an increase in religious confusion and chaos...?
in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:13-14). Can we believe that Jesus Christ really KNEW what he was talking about? Jesus continued this warning: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits... " (verses 15-16). Here our Savior warned that the false prophets do not look like false prophets, but rather like sheep. But to really know how God regards them, you have to look to their fruits — the results — what they bring forth just as a tree brings forth or produces fruits either good or bad.
Examine the Fruits of Religion
Look about you in some of our Western nations. Have the peoples of these nations learned the way to peace? to happiness? to joy? What are the real fruits that their religion has produced in the lives of the people? Perhaps many of us have not looked at it that way before. But that is EXACTLY the way Almighty God looks at it! Jesus continues, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the WILL of my Father which is in heaven " (verse 21). Throughout the Old Testament — even from the time of Abraham — God required men to OBEY his commandments in order to receive his blessings. All ten of the Ten Commandments were in force and effect. But somehow, men reason, this is no longer the Father's will. Many argue that Jesus came to do away with God's law — to nail it to his cross. However, when a young man came to ask him how to inherit eternal life, Jesus himself answered, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP the commandments" (Matt. 19:17). Then Jesus showed which commandments he meant by naming some of the Ten Commandments (verses 18-19). Yet the popular doctrine today is that these commandments have somehow been done away so that we no longer have to keep them. There are many different brands of reasonings and arguments used to explain this idea. Some claim that Jesus fulfilled the commandments in such a way that Christians no longer have to keep them. Others say that the commandments were "nailed to the cross," and no longer binding. Still other denominations teach that nine of the commandments are still binding, but that one was nailed to the cross. And some groups even go so far as to say that all 10 of God's commandments were nailed to the cross, but that Jesus somehow brought back nine of them into effect — thus leaving one of them nailed up there! What CONFUSION! What reasoning men will use to get around obedience to the spiritual laws that God gave to man to keep him in the right knowledge of his God, and to teach him how to have joy and peace in his relations with his fellowman! Yes, as Jesus said, many cry out, "Lord, Lord," but absolutely REFUSE to obey the revealed will of Almighty God.
How Christ Feels About Lawlessness
Describing how he will have to deal with these self-appointed ministers when he returns, Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt. 7:22.) These ministers will tell Jesus how they used his name in preaching to great multitudes of people. They will explain how in the name of religion and Christ they overcame the "devils" of superstition and ignorance in their mission schools and in their dealings with primitive people. These men will wax eloquent in describing the wonderful works that they accomplished in the name of religion and Christ. They will inform Jesus of the great hospitals and clinics they established around the world. They will tell Jesus of the homes for unwed mothers and battered wives, the camps for wayward boys, the missions they have established to feed and clothe the drunks and down-and-outs in the skid row sections of many cities, and the Christmas baskets and similar gifts they take to the poor on their religious holidays. Is Jesus Christ — the Christ of the Bible — going to be pleased with all of these accomplishments in his name? He answers, "And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (verse 23). Jesus will say he never-never at any time — knew these men as his servants! He tells them to depart from him! But notice what he says about their "works." He says, "Ye that work iniquity." The Greek word here translated "iniquity" literally means LAWLESSNESS — disobedience to God's law! Their religion is a futile attempt to treat the effect of automatic punishment caused by disobedience to the law of God!
Substituting Human Devices for Obedience to Divine Law
In regard to the thousands of hospitals put up in the name of religion, the Christ you read of in the Bible supernaturally HEALED people of sickness and disease. And he did that without resorting to the terribly expensive and too often painful and unsatisfactory procedures now employed in this "enlightened age" in which we live. The help of skilled doctors and nurses certainly is at times necessary to perform some functions that do not interfere with the natural working of our God — designed bodies. But Jesus will call the ministers
True Christianity is not a dead belief, but a vibrant way of life that deeply affects our standard of conduct.
to account for not teaching their flocks real faith in GOD for the true healing that he had promised. And the medical community will be rebuked for neglecting to teach the people the physical laws that would prevent most sickness and disease in the first place! The rise of faith in man (and the demise of faith in God) to heal, caused too often by the limited and limiting knowledge of the religious and medical communities, is a tragic substitute for obedience to the physical laws of God that would PREVENT SICKNESS in the first place — or the divine healing if some unwitting infraction or carelessness does result in sickness or an accident. You see, God's laws would STOP most of our troubles before they get started! What about the homes for unwed mothers, the camps for wayward boys, the missions to take care of the derelicts? Christ's answer is that if every professing minister in the land would proclaim God's LAW as a way of life, there wouldn't EXIST the need for any of these things just mentioned! Illegitimate, fatherless or runaway children, who eventually often end up as derelicts, exist as a result of a lack of teaching of the basic biblical laws concerning responsibility to God, fellowman and to self! This is a LAWLESS age! The rebellion of our society against obedience to God's law is now reflecting itself in disobedience to all the laws of man and even the principles of human decency! It is a mockery to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ as "Lord" and then deny the message of obedience to the laws of Almighty God that he brought to this earth and on which he based his entire life and teaching! When will we WAKE UP? This type of lawless teaching is NOT Christianity! Rather, what we now see taking place in the breakdown of our society is the end result of a great APOSTASY from the truth of God, which was prophesied to occur in the Bible. Jesus warned of this falling away from the truth. Now let us notice a few more of the scores of scriptures that warn that a false "Christianity" would arise and submerge the real TRUTH of Christ and his apostles.
Great Apostasy Prophesied
While he was yet on earth, Jesus warned his apostles, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying [they killed him instead], they will keep yours also" (John 15:20). Then Jesus warned his apostles of even worse things to come: "... the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2). The truth of God and message of Jesus Christ has NEVER been popular! History tells us indisputably that the early apostles of Jesus were persecuted and most of them killed. The world did NOT accept the true message from them any more than it had from Christ himself. Even within God's true Church, the apostle Paul was inspired to write of a coming apostasy from the truth: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30). Here Paul was warning the leaders of the Ephesian church that others would infiltrate and that even some of their own number would apostatize and lead many off into false religion! Notice the apostle Paul's inspired description of these false ministers: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his [the devil's] ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15). Paul says these false ministers APPEAR to be righteous. But actually, Satan is the master deceiver and these are his ministers! These false ministers teach a doctrine of "no works" — no obedience to God's law. But Paul said they are going to be judged by the very thing they DENY! For their "end" shall be "according to their WORKS"! Paul also showed the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord could not come until a great apostasy took place. He wrote: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin [or lawlessness] be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thess. 2:3-4). All reputable Greek lexicons or interlinears will show you that this "man of sin" should be called the "man of LAWLESSNESS" — for the original Greek word means "opposed to law" or "lawless." Speaking of that very time, Paul said, "For the mystery of LAWLESSNESS doth already work" (verse 7, Panin translation). Yes, even in Paul's day, a form of Christianity was beginning to develop within the Roman Empire! It was based on accepting the NAME of Jesus — but teaching a doctrine of lawlessness and denying his command and example to obey the commandments of God. The Bible shows that this false religious system — this false "Christianity" — will continue to develop until the end of this age. "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (verses 8-9). Here is a clear description of what culminates in the time of Christ's Second Coming: a GREAT APOSTASY that shall have seduced the world (verses 10-12).
The "Little Flock"
The last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John, also tells the same story. In Revelation 12, we find a description of the true Church. It existed through the centuries as a small, persecuted Church, which had to flee for safety (verse 6). But at the time of the end there is to be a war in heaven: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (verse 9). Here Satan is clearly described as deceiving this ENTIRE earth! Can we believe that the Bible really means what it says? Then follows a description of how the people of God's true Church the "little flock" of Jesus (Luke 12:32) — will be protected from the final tribulation — a persecution in the name of religion. Satan is angry with this small, but obedient Church — for its members obey God's law. "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17). Notice that the Church that is to be protected by — God is an OBEDIENT Church — obedient to the commandments of God. But the description obviously implies that it is small and persecuted — NOT a great denomination or movement bringing about a great, world-shaking spiritual awakening in our time.
Prophesied to Happen
No. There is NOT going to be a great spiritual awakening to God's TRUTH before Christ's Second Coming! Rather-unless our peoples repent of breaking God's law — we will see the greatest revival of sin and degradation and lawlessness in the entire history of this earth! Though worldwide we are witnessing the reuniting of long-divided churches, and even growing interdenominational rapport, these will pale into insignificance in the face of a truly earthshaking religious revitalization that will take place on the European continent! It is NOW taking shape! It will be a religious-political revival of the ancient Roman Empire with its ancient church-state-military combination. It will at first appear harmless — in fact, even beneficent. On attaining power over the coming Roman Empire, its leader will appeal to the masses as their Savior against atheistic communism and from the religious confusion and hedonism into which America and the British peoples have fallen. This coming religious revitalization in Europe will bring punishment upon America and Britain because we have forsaken our God and his commandments! It is nice to think sweet thoughts and hope for some worldwide spiritual rejuvenation. But what you need to do is to face up to the truth! It is high time you realized that something is terribly wrong with the confusion of denominations that is being palmed off as "Christianity" today. It is time we learned that the modern religious philosophies that deny God's law and authority are condemned in the Bible as evil. It's time we all changed and began to study and believe what is in the Bible!