Friday, July 21, 2017

How can I know that we're *REALLY* in the last days?

Question: Pastor Keith, I've heard it my entire life that "We are in the last days, repent now, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!".  To be honest, I'm quite tired of hearing it and I just don't believe it.  Too many years of "Chicken Little" have soured me on the whole idea.  Can you offer me any proof or any persuasion at all, that the "last days" are really here?

Answer: Oh yes I can!

You know, it's interesting.... There are literally 100's of references in both the New and Old Testaments that can help us, guide us and indeed show us what we want to know about the "last days" or as some call them, "the end times".

I could do a whole study on this, it could take hours and hours and at the end, maybe you would get it and maybe I would have just talked a lot.  Instead, how about I skip ahead to the "here and now" and show you how Biblical Prophesy is literally happening all around us, AT THIS VERY MOMENT!

Paul's letters to both Titus and Timothy are referred to as the "Pastoral Epistles", meaning that they were letters Paul sent to them, to teach them how to better Sheppard the flock.  Paul offers us something that is so REAL and so SHOCKINGLY simple and obvious, that we really can't compare this Prophesy to any other time in human history.

I'll give you the scripture and then I'll break it down for you:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 - But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
  1. Perilous Times - Google defines "peril" as: serious and immediate danger.  If you turn on the news, not only is the world at peril of the leader of North Korea with his ICBM's tipped with Nuclear warheads, not only is the world at peril of the Islamic leadership of Iran with their Nuclear warheads, not only is the world at peril from the Islamic State with their constant and barbaric Terrorist Attacks all over the world, but even our school children in many places in the world are being taught ungodly things, such as the "good' and "decent" and "loving" behavior and "rich and wonderful history" of Homosexuals.  Have you ever seen what happens when a parent tries to correct something that a child learns in school?  The parent is discredited by the teachers and made to feel and seem like a "crazy conspiracy theorist, fascist christian fundamentalist who hates everyone".  @_@???  You might think that's rare, but not at the rate that I hear about it from those who've been effected.

  2. Men will be lovers of themselves - Many Christians have been taught that this is a direct teaching against Homosexuality, but I'm not convinced of that.  I believe this is a direct commentary about the LEVEL OF selfishness and conceit that people will have for themselves in the "last days".  Let's look at some evidence: Selfies, Selfie-Sticks, VLOGS, BLOGS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, QQ, WeChat, Google+, Instagram, Viber, Tumbler, Snapchat, Reddit, Line, Telegram, StumbleUpon, FourSquare, MeetMe, MeetUp, CafeMom, NextDoor, Vine, Classmates, Habbo, LiveJournal, YouTube, Fitbit, and about 100 more online services that ENCOURAGE YOU to become more ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!  Some of those services even give you a percentage bar, helping you to know when you've given them every last conceivable piece of information about yourselves.  To what end?  Social networking or Attention Seeking Behavior?  People love to love themselves, instead of loving He who created them!  God tells us that we should HATE our life, in comparison to how much we love Him! (Luke 14:26)

  3. Lovers of Money - Everyone needs money to live and eat, but that's not the issue with this piece of scripture.  Paul is talking about the LOVE OF MONEY.  The non-stop, never-ending quest to have more, More, MOre, MORe & ever MORE of it.  What's the problem with having a lot of money?  There is no problem at all.  If the Lord blesses you with the money, that's great.  However, when you place the VALUE of your money as GREATER THAN the value of your relationship with God, then you have a serious problem.  In Matthew 6:24, Jesus Himself tells us that "You cannot serve God and mammon".  What's my proof that this is a problem?  Whew, where do I begin?  Churches fleecing the flock, using YouTube to try to become "viral" so they send you lots of money for doing "nothing", endless pyramid schemes, endless reseller schemes, BitCoin mining, and the list goes on and on.  People continue to create more and more of these false, meaningless and hopeless"opportunities" to try and convince the weak-minded to give them their money.

  4. Boasters - Connected VERY closely with #2 above, people love nothing more than to brag or boast about their possessions and accomplishments.  LOOK AT ME, LOOK WHAT I DID, LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM.  Seems too many people have a case of what I call the "ME-ME's".  Definitely a variant of #2.

  5. Proud - It's one thing to be proud of your son for doing well in school, it's another thing to be so prideful that you can't even find it inside of you to apologize for the things you've done wrong to others.  There's a teaching that's been going around for the last 10 years or so that goes like this: "NO REGRETS & DON'T APOLOGIZE".  @_@???  Whew, Another variant of #2?

  6. Blasphemers - Some of you might not know this word.  Google defines "blaspheme" as: Speak irreverently about God or sacred things.  For those of you who don't know what "irreverent" means, Google defines that as: showing a lack of respect.  Summed up, it means "Speaking badly about and showing a lack of respect for God".  Hmmmm.... I wonder what proof I can find for this one?  Oh wait, I know!  90% of the people who identify as "Christians" don't pray, don't read their Bible, don't seek repentance, don't care one little bit that their life is indeed "in peril" of receiving the judgement.  Need some more?  Alright!  There have always been Pagans around, but now we have Atheists.  It's one thing to not believe in God, it's quite another to become a "Militant Atheist" and travel the world seeking to discredit the Bible and convince people to follow you instead of the One Living God.  Richard Dawkins anyone?  It takes an awful lot of #2 to achieve this.

  7. Disobedient to Parents - Throughout all of recorded history children have been disobedient to parents.  Why was this added to the list?  Because it's not about the bad behavior, it's about the LEVEL OF BAD BEHAVIOR.  Children the world over, but more specifically in the United States are learning to question their parents, judge their parents, berate their parents, discredit their parents and indeed severely rebel against their parents.  Who is teaching them this?  The parents?  Of course not!  They're being taught this by their teachers in public schools.  How can this be?  It's easy!  All you have to do as a parent, is continue electing liberals to public offices and we will continue to give children "rights and privileges" that they don't need and certainly don't deserve.  Another dose of #2 for sure.

  8. Unthankful - Never in my life have I seen more people who don't even bother to say THANK YOU when you hold the door for another person.  I went to a restaurant the other day and I gladly held the door for the family that was right behind me.  Wouldn't you know it, within seconds about 8 more families just dropped out of the sky and all continued to allow ME to continue to hold the door, as family member after family member walked by me, not one of them offered to take the door holding duty, not one of them offered me a thank you either.  Don't get me wrong, at the end of the day I don't care if those people thanked me or not, I know my thanks come from somewhere more important.  The fact that these people put their unthankful behavior on display is quite honestly appalling to me.  If they can't even be bothered to thank another person, how on Earth will they ever figure out how to thank God?  More #2 anybody?

  9. Unholy - Look, nobody walking around on the planet is "holy".  Not me, not you, not your sainted grandma, nobody.  HOWEVER, with that said, God tells us that "We are to be holy as He is holy".  What God meant (I am not making this up), is that we are to be SANCTIFIED, which really means "set apart from the world".  I cover the process of sanctification at length in my yet to be released book "But is it Biblical?".  With all of that said, depriving yourself of pleasures and acting like you're perfect are NOT what God had in mind.  It's another one of those times when having the original languages that the bible was written in can be a big help.  Fact is, never in the history of Christianity has there ever been a greater "falling away" as there is right now.  And yes, the "Great Apostasy" is what I'm referring to.

  10. Unloving - Who could possibly be unloving?  Mothers are drowning their own children!  Fathers are abandoning their children!  Not 1 or 2 or even 10 or 20, but this has become almost commonplace.  Just yesterday, it was discovered that a few young black teenagers in Florida had videotaped a man drowning in a pond while they were busy smoking marijuana.  They can be heard in the video teasing the victim, taunting him, humiliating him, all while the man screamed and pleaded for help.  Not one of them called a parent, the police, 911, nobody.  After the man stopped screaming for help and struggling to live, one of them can be heard on the video saying, "He dead", and STILL didn't call anyone for help.  They watched, they ridiculed, they laughed, they joked and they didn't care one bit that they were responsible for the man ultimately dying.  These children didn't just show that they were UNLOVING, they also showed that #2 is alive and well.  After being questioned by the police, the police revealed that not a single one of them showed ANY REMORSE OF ANY KIND.  Think I made this up?  Feel free to READ the article and watch part of the video from CNN HERE.  Talk about peril!

  11. Unforgiving - I've heard people say "Only Jesus forgives, I want them dead".  Not only is that a shocking idea, but it's far from what the Bible teaches us.  While it is true that forgiveness of our sins can ONLY come through the redemptive power of the blood of Christ, forgiving others was something Jesus Himself told us to do.  When Jesus was teaching His Apostles HOW to pray, one of the examples He gave, was "please forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" (See Matthew 6, Mark 11 & Luke 11).  For those of you who don't know, simply put, trespass means "sin".  We are called to forgive others and to love our enemies as ourselves!  How can you call yourself a Christian if you can't forgive others of even SIMPLE things?

  12. Slanderers - If you don't know what "slander" is, Google defines it as: the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.  Anyone who has turned on the news in the last year has heard the media doing its best to slander President Trump.  He is continually accused of things that never happened.  Have you ever been asked to prove something that didn't happen????  Yeah, it's happened to me too.  It's nearly impossible.  Slander is something that is happening more and more and more these days, so much so that it's obvious it's not just your "ordinary occurrence", it's happening almost daily.

  13. Without self-control - Self control was one of the few things that atheist evolutionists say, is what separates us from the animals.  While I don't agree with their comparison of people and animals, I do find it interesting that even the Atheists would agree that being without self control is harmful to a society.  More than ever, too many people exhibit the character flaw that i'll call "addictive personality".  The idea is "how can i get more, have more, do more, live more, all at the sacrifice of everything and everyone else that care about and love them".  Man, I feel sorry for these people.  Let's pray for them.

  14. Brutal - Google defines this word as: savagely violent.  As of the date of this Blog entry, over the past 5 years, there have been close to 2,500 people murdered in Chicago, most of which were conducted with an illegally obtained firearm.  In most predominantly Muslim countries in the world, it's commonplace to murder your wife, your sister or your own daughter if you feel they have been unfaithful.  In some parts of the world if you're caught stealing, you can lose a finger, a hand, an arm or even your life if you continue to do so.  Recently a young man by the name of Otto Warmbier was visiting North Korea and took a sign that didn't belong to him.  His punishment wasn't a fine, wasn't the loss of a finger or a hand.  He was sentenced to 15 years of HARD LABOR!  The cost of the sign was estimated to not exceed $26 US Dollars.  It was his first offense EVER and it was 100% non-violent!  But that isn't the worst of it, because his jailers weren't good and just, it cost him the loss of his life - OVER A SIGN!  Believe me when I tell you, this world has become more brutal than most of you are aware of.

  15. Despisers of good - Clearly we know that there are many despisers of GOD, but how about despisers of GOOD?  In Romans 7 we find Paul at his wits end.  He's realized that no matter how hard he tries to be good, he's bad - and no matter how hard he tries not to be bad he fails!  He goes on to tell us "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find".  Today, most of us still have this problem, the difference, instead of taking the whole of the lesson that is in Romans 7 (primarily because they haven't read their Bible), instead people today would rather OWN being bad and reject any attempt at living the "holy" life we spoke about earlier in #9.  This is so much more common than you would think.

  16. Traitors - Over the past 5 years or so, the subject of traitors has never before in history been so regular.  For almost 200 years the only traitor that American school children ever learned about was "Benedict Arnold".  Today, the names Jane Fonda, Nidal Hasan, Edward Snowden, Reality Winner, etc are in the news almost daily.  In today's society, people really don't understand what LOYALTY means anymore.  Judas Iscariot anyone?

  17. Headstrong - For the most part throughout history, it's been the men who have been called things like cocky or headstrong, but with the recent advent of "feminism" (40 years ago) and things like "gay pride" (20 years ago), the sheer volume of headstrong, prideful and otherwise arrogant people is really off the charts today.  It's amazing when you look at where we were, to where we are now, you can truly see how all of a sudden, after centuries (indeed millennia!), only now is this particular "train" falling off the rails.

  18. Haughty - Here's a word that we don't see used too much anymore.  Google defines this as: arrogantly superior and disdainful.  Google defines disdainful as: showing contempt or lack of respect.  Directly related to headstrong, it's one thing to know something or be an expert at something, but it's an entirely different thing to be arrogant and showing contempt and a lack of respect simply because you disagree with someone.  Watch any amount of television reality shows and you'll see this happening in spades.  Listen to your average Atheist and you'll hear plenty of it.

  19. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - Throughout history, Pagans were known to be experts at loving pleasure.  Even during the time of the Apostles, they too had to deal with the Pagans and their false teachings.  Today, in addition to the Pagans (which are still around, albeit in much smaller numbers), we have even greater problems.  With Homosexuality being greeted with great fanfare and praise and Transsexuals in the military being given free gender reassignment surgeries (thanks to former president Obama), we now have other groups who were hoping to join in the fanfare and praise!  Ever heard of polyamory?  Back in the time of Christ, it was somewhat commonplace for people to have more than 1 wife.  Back in the 1800's the Mormons tried to resurrect that and now in the 21st century, there are groups of people popping up who want to do away with the notion of 1 man and 1 woman and make marriage open to an infinite number of people simultaneously.  So maybe 1 husband and 14 wives?  Maybe 12 husbands and 15 wives?  When heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual all begin to blur and the idea of "as long as it feels good and brings you pleasure" is the norm, is it any wonder that they would want broad acceptance of this lifestyle as being "normal"?  Of course if that's the case and there are no more "rules" about sexuality, then of course you have to throw God and the Bible away.  There's no room for God when you have that kind of mentality.

  20. Having a form of godliness but denying its power - And that brings us to our final one!  Continuing from above, if you want that type of lifestyle then the God of the Bible has to go NOW!  There's no room for Him!  He has rules!  He has laws!  He has moral absolutes!  He has social norms!  He isn't subject to the will of the people!  He won't change!  CORRECT!  He will not and indeed does not change!  So what's left?  You guessed it..... BOOM!  They make their own god.  That god they created has some things in common with God, but if you look at that pathetic, imaginary god and his weak and pathetic attributes, you can easily tell the real one from the counterfeit one.  The kicker, is they don't even realize that they created their own "god".  The thing they will never understand (until it's too late), is that their god is absolutely powerless.  He doesn't answer prayers, he doesn't give his blessings, he doesn't perform miracles or send Prophets or heal the sick, because that god is not real.  That god doesn't exist and therefore can't do anything.
...And from such people turn away!

Isn't it interesting, I bet you never thought that so much could have been said in only 1 sentence?  I had no idea that there were 20 specific ideas jam packed in there! @_@

Prophesies are not a joke, they're not a myth and they're not to be taken lightly.  God gave you the free will to CHOOSE whether or not to accept Him.  He's given you sovereignty, meaning he won't force you to make any decisions, the choice is 100% yours.

Believe me when I tell you that the Kingdom of Heaven is SURELY AT HAND (meaning that it's so close to happening, you should be able to taste it!).  If you haven't yet given your life to Christ, don't wait another year, another month, another day, another hour or another minute, because none of those are a guarantee for any of us!  If the Rapture were to happen in the next 10 seconds, would you be able to stand before a Holy God and be found blameless?  If you don't know, I beg you, please reach out to a Pastor, a local church or even me!  For the Love of God, please don't be found wanting when your time comes.

Matthew 24:36-44 - "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

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