Apostasy in the Church


Apostasy in the Church

How it is accelerating and how it relates to the return of Jesus.




Apostasy in the Church
(Note: This article is a highly abridged version of a chapter from Dr. David Reagan's new book, Living for Christ in the End Times.)

The Bible clearly prophesies that the Church of the end times will be characterized by apostasy. Paul said that the Antichrist will not be revealed until "the apostasy comes first" (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Jesus prophesied that "many will fall away" and "most people's love will grow cold" (Matthew 24:10, 12).

In the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, the Apostle John records seven letters of Jesus to seven churches in the area of modern day Turkey. Among other things, these letters present a panoramic prophetic survey of the Church in history. The last of the churches mentioned, the one that represents the Church of the end times, is the church at Laodicea. It is pictured as a church that is neither hot (healing) nor cold (refreshing), but rather is lukewarm or tepid (Revelation 3:15-16). In short, it is a church that is apathetic. Jesus also pictures it as a worldly church enamored with its wealth (Revelation 3:17). The Lord is so dissatisfied with this church that He declares, "Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16).

Clues from the Apostle Paul

Paul supplies us with some strong clues as to why the end times Church will be weak, vacillating, and full of apostasy. One of those clues can be found in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 which says that "the time will come when they [Christians] will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths."

Another clue is located in Paul's famous prophecy about end time society, the one in 2 Timothy 3. After describing in graphic detail how society will fall apart in the end times, Paul adds that the basic reason will be due to people "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). There will be no lack of religion, says Paul, but people will deny the true power that is able to transform society for the good, producing peace, righteousness and justice.

What is that power? First and foremost it is the power of the blood of Jesus. It is also the power that comes from accepting the Bible as the infallible Word of God. It is the power of believing in a Creator God with whom all things are possible. And certainly it includes a belief in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today, these essential beliefs, which constitute the power of Christianity, are being subjected to an unparalleled assault from within the Church itself. The Bible says that in the end times people will mock the promise of the Lord's return (2 Peter 3:3-4). What is so shocking is that most of the mockery is coming from within the Church!

The Root of Apostasy

How have we reached this crisis point in the Church? It is rooted in the German School of Higher Criticism which invaded this country big-time in the 1920's. According to the "scientific approach" of this school of skeptics, the Bible is not the revealed Word of God. Rather, it is Man's search for God, and therefore it is filled with myth, legend and superstition.

Today this viewpoint dominates the seminaries of America. The Bible is studied not to be believed and obeyed but to be analyzed, dissected, and criticized. The result is that the Scriptures have lost their authority.

Apostate Leaders

John Spong, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey, has written books in which he denies the virgin birth, denies the miracles of Jesus, denies the resurrection, denies the Second Coming, and argues that Paul and Timothy were homosexual lovers. Bishop Spong has become so enamored with other religions that he has announced he will no longer witness to those caught up in the spiritual darkness of pagan faiths!1

Similar apostate thoughts were mouthed by Norman Vincent Peale in 1984 on the Phil Donahue program. Peale announced, "It's not necessary to be born-again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine... I've been to Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere."
Phil Donahue was so shocked that he actually came to the defense of Christianity. "But you're a Christian minister," he retorted, "and you're suppose to tell me that Christ is the way and the truth and the life, aren't you?"

Peale replied, "Christ is one of the ways. God is everywhere."2

Look again at Peale's incredible statement: "It's not necessary to be born-again." What did Jesus say? "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Who are we to believe?

Schuller's Apostate Gospel

Peale's leading disciple, Robert Schuller, has outdone his teacher with the development of his "gospel of possibility thinking." In his book, Self Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller states that the leaders of the Reformation Movement made a mistake in centering their theology around God instead of Man!3

Schuller teaches that the essence of Man's problem is low self-esteem.4 The Bible teaches it is pride. Schuller says that when Jesus referred in John 7:38 to "rivers of living water" flowing out of believers, He was speaking of self-esteem.5 The very next verse says He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. Schuller argues that sin is anything that robs us of our "divine dignity" (our "divine dignity"?).6 The Bible says sin is rebellion against God.

The Response of Christendom

Schuller's book calling for a "new reformation" caused a firestorm of controversy. The Evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, invited readers to give their opinions of the book, and many people wrote in to denounce it. One writer referred to Schuller as "a modern-day apostle of humanism."7
The letters continued to pour in for weeks, and they were so critical that Dr. Schuller decided to respond to them. In a long letter published in the October 5, 1984 issue of Christianity Today, he made an incredible comment that has haunted him to this day:8 "I don't think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition."
As a writer for Time put it in an article in 1985, "For Schuller, an acknowledgment of self-worth, more than a confession of sinfulness, is the path to God."9

Further Evidence of Schuller's Apostasy

In an appearance on the Phil Donahue show in 1980, Schuller tried, incredibly, to portray Jesus as an egotist! Here's what he said:10 "The Cross sanctifies the ego trip. That's very significant. In other words, Jesus had an ego. He said, 'I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to me.'" Wow! What an ego trip He was on!

What blatant blasphemy — to accuse the One who was the very essence of humility of being an egotist!

Schuller gave a speech at the headquarters of the Unity Church in Lees Summit, Missouri and shared with their pastors his church growth principles. This is a cult that denies the deity of Jesus and which teaches reincarnation! He also dedicated a new Unity Temple in Warren, Michigan, in spite of warnings from a local Baptist pastor not to do so because of the errors of this cult.11

In a recent speech honoring an Islamic spiritual leader named Alfred Mohammed, Schuller said that if he were to come back in 100 years and find his descendants to be Muslims, it wouldn't bother him!12

An Apostate Seminar

Another modern day apostate is Robert Funk, a New Testament scholar at the University of Montana. He is the founder of the notorious Jesus Seminar which began operating in 1985. The avowed purpose of the Seminar was "to renew the quest for the historical Jesus."13 The Seminar conducted this quest in a very unusual way. Meeting twice a year for six years, the group voted on each of the sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. They voted by dropping colored beads in a box. A black bead meant Jesus definitely did not make the statement in question. A gray bead meant He did not say it, but it might have represented His thinking. A pink bead meant He probably said something like this, but not in the words recorded. A red bead meant He definitely made the statement.14

As you can see, the very approach expressed contempt for the veracity of the Gospel accounts. What a spectacle this must have been to the Lord as He watched these so-called scholars vote on passages from His Word. "Professing to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).

The final product of the Seminar, published in 1993, was a blasphemy of God's Word. It was titled, The Five Gospels.15 The title comes from the fact that the Seminar decided to grant the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas equal standing with the four traditional Gospels.

Only fifteen sayings of Jesus made it into The Five Gospels in red! In Matthew's account of the Lord's Prayer, the only words that made it in red were, "Our Father." Only one saying in the entire book of Mark was colored red. It is the statement of Jesus in Mark 12:17 where He told His disciples to "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Likewise, only one statement from the Gospel of John qualified for the red coloring: "A prophet has no honor in his own country" (John 4:44).

The chilling thing to keep in mind is that the men who produced this spiritual pornography are professors at seminaries across America. They are the ones who are training the current generation of pastors and teachers.

Apostasy in the Denominations

The apostasy is not confined to the seminaries. It is pervasive. It can be found in all denominations. Consider the following examples.

In 1997, on the eve of Lent, the Right Reverend Alan Smithson, the Bishop of Jarrow (Anglican Church in England), held a press conference in London. He announced that it was traditional for Christians to give up something during the forty days of Lent. He then dramatically announced that he had decided to give up Bible reading! He went on to explain that he was going to devote his time during Lent to reading the Koran, because he felt like the Muslim scriptures would make him "more understanding, more compassionate, and more fully human."16

R. Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer University, a school heavily supported by the Georgia Baptist Convention, "denies the infallibility of the Bible, the unique power and authority of God, the validity of the Gospel's account of the life and teachings of Jesus, the efficacy of Christ's atonement, and the uniqueness of Christ as the only Savior."17

In 1997 the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church sponsored a meeting in Kansas City that attracted 4,000 participants from all over the world. Called, "Global Gathering III," the conference featured a parade of speakers who attacked the fundamentals of the Christian faith. One speaker declared that the crucifixion of Jesus reveals an "abusive Heavenly Father who is not fit for Christian worship." The speaker urged instead that the Church revere all the world's children as little messiahs equal to Jesus.18

Apostasy in Local Churches

The spreading cancer of apostasy in the Church is not confined to theologians and church conferences. It can be found at the grass roots level, in local churches.

Consider, for example, The Episcopal New Church Center in Walkersville, Maryland. This church hired a public relations firm to develop a print and television advertising campaign. One of the first ads in this campaign carried a banner headline that read, "To Hell With Church!" It showed a man thinking, "If I want to feel guilty, I'll eat some cheese fries." Another ad in the series showed a painting of Christ nailed on the Cross. Scrawled over the painting were the words, "Of course people with pierced body parts are welcome in our church."19

The Maryland church really went wacky when it moved to producing TV ads. They hired a fellow known for the kinky cartoons he produces for Saturday Night Live. His first ad for the church opened with a father and son tossing a baseball to each other in the front yard.

"Guess what, Timmy?" the father asks. "Tomorrow your mother and I are going to take you to church." The father continues, "Not only will you be able to learn about the wages of sin and eternal damnation, but you can play fun games like 'Bible Sword Drill' and sing inspirational songs like 'Kumbaya' and 'I've Got Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart.'"

Dejected by this prospect, little Timmy walks into the middle of the road and holds up his hands in surrender as a semi-truck blows its horn and bears down on him.20
Not only apostate, but sick.

Inter-Faith Apostasy

The big move at the grass roots level these days is interfaith worship services. I'm not talking about inter-denominational — rather, the emphasis is on inter-faith. Christians are inviting Muslims, Jews, Hindus, American Indian practitioners of "native religion," and others to join in worshiping "the one true god, regardless of the name you may give to him or her."

Pope John Paul II got caught up in this inter-faith fad in 1986 when he invited the leaders of the world's religions to come to Assisi, Italy to join him in praying for world peace.21 One hundred sixty representatives came, including the Dali Lama (who considers himself to be a god). Each representative prayed to his own god at the Pope's request! Did the Pope believe their gods were real? Or did he believe that they were all praying to the same god, but under different names?

The Challenge

Englishman William Booth (1829-1912), who founded the Salvation Army, was a man with a great zeal for the Lord and a passion for lost souls. He was also a man of vision. On the eve of the 20th Century when Christendom was caught up in euphoria about how the Church would soon take the world for Christ, Booth predicted that the Gospel would not fare well in the new century. Specifically, he prophesied that by the end of the 20th Century, much of the Church would be preaching:22
  • Christianity without Christ
  • Forgiveness without repentance
  • Salvation without regeneration
  • Heaven without Hell
That's exactly where we are today. Because of it, as we begin the 21st Century, Christians are faced with unparalleled challenges from the decay of society and the apostatizing of the Church. Increasingly, many are going to give up hope. Some will express this hopelessness by withdrawing from society and assuming a siege mentality. Others will throw in the towel and adopt the attitude, "If you can't lick them, join them."

Considering the magnitude of the challenge, is there any hope for triumphant Christian living? And if so, how then shall we live?

(Note: Dr. Reagan proceeds to respond to these questions in his new book by presenting ten chapters of down-to-earth guidelines for living as a victorious overcomer in these end times.)


  1. John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture (San Francisco, California: Harper, 1992). Another revealing book by Bishop Spong is Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile (San Francisco, California: Harper, 1999). A good summary of Bishop Spong's views can be found on the Internet in his "Call for a New Reformation,"
  2. Dave Hunt, "Revival or Apostasy," The Berean Call, October 1997, p. 2.
  3. Robert Schuller, Self Esteem: The New Reformation, (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1982), p. 39. An insightful review of Schuller's writings can be found in an article by Joseph P. Gudel entitled "A New Reformation?" It was published in Passport Magazine, January-February 1988. It is available on the Internet at

    There are other excellent summaries of Schuller's thought that can be found on the Internet. One is an article by David W. Cloud entitled "Evangelicals and Modernist Robert Schuller" (http://cnview.com/on_ line_resources/evangelicals_and_modernist_robert_schuller.htm).

    Another good analysis is entitled, "The God of the Bible Versus the God of Multi-level Marketing: Positive Thinking," (http://www.users.fast.net/~gospeltruth/positive.htm).
  4. Ibid., p.19.
  5. Ibid. p. 80.
  6. Ibid. p. 14.
  7. Hugh Cantelon, "More on Schuller," (letter to the editor), Christianity Today, October 19, 1984, p. 11.
  8. Robert Schuller, "Dr. Schuller Comments," (letter to the editor), Christianity Today, October 5, 1984, pp. 12-13.
  9. Richard Stengel, "Apostle of Sunny Thoughts," Time, March 18, 1985, p. 70.
  10. The Phil Donahue Show, transcript 08120, August 12, 1980, p. 10.
  11. Rick Miesel, p. 5. Schuller's support of the Unity Church is also documented in an article by Dave Hunt published in the CIB Bulletin, January 1988. In a letter to the author, dated January 24, 2000, Dave Hunt states that he has a tape recording of the speech that Schuller delivered to the Unity pastors about church growth principles.
  12. Dave Hunt, "What's Happening to the Faith?" The Berean Call, May 1998, p. 1.
  13. "The Jesus Seminar: The Search for Authenticity,"
  14. In April 1996, Time featured the Jesus Seminar on its cover under the title "The Search for Jesus." The cover article presented a comprehensive survey of the seminar's organization, methodology, and conclusions. See David Van Biema, "The Gospel Truth? — The iconoclastic and provocative Jesus Seminar argues that not much of the New Testament can be trusted. If so, what are Christians to believe?" Time, April 8, 1996.
  15. Robert W. Funk and Roy W. Hoover, The Five Gospels (San Francisco, California: Harper, reprint edition, 1997). A good review of this book can be found in an article by D. A. Carson entitled "Five Gospels, No Christ." The article appeared in Christianity Today, April 25, 1994, pp. 30-33.
  16. "Bishop gives up Bible for Lent" unsigned article, Daily Mail, London, England, February 14, 1997, p. 31.
  17. Dave Hunt, "What's Happening to the Faith?" The Berean Call, May 1998, p. 1. Dr. Godsey's views can be found in the book, When We Talk About God, Let's Be Honest, (Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing Co., 1996). The Georgia Baptist Convention adopted a resolution of censure in November 1996 in which it asked the trustees of Mercer University to consider whether Dr. Godsey should be continued as president of the institution. The trustees voted to affirm his presidency.
  18. Mark Tooley, "Church Gathering Features Radical Speakers," AFA Journal, June 1997, p.19.
  19. John Kirkpatrick, "Ads fish for churchgoers with irreverent approach," Dallas Morning News, April 18, 1998, p. 1F.
  20. Ibid., p. 11F.
  21. Richard N. Ostling, "A Summit for Peace in Assisi," Time, November 10, 1986, pp. 78-79.
  22. Joseph Revell, "The Salvation Army Revisited," Report from the Wall, (an Internet daily devotional message sent from yosef@gulf.net), December 18, 1998, p. 2.

The Future Has Arrived! The Fulfillment of Prophecy in Our Day and Time


The Future Has Arrived!

The Fulfillment of Prophecy in Our Day and Time


Bible Prophecy For Our Time

I am constantly running across articles by Dispensationalists in which the argument is presented that in order to be a "consistent futurist," you cannot contend that prophecies are being fulfilled today. Instead, it is argued that all end time prophecy relates to Israel in the Tribulation and Millennium. Therefore, all we are seeing today is "stage setting," but not the fulfillment of prophecy.1

I strongly disagree with this viewpoint. First of all, there are four end time prophecies concerning Israel that were fulfilled even before the 20th Century began. They are:
  1. The dispersion of the Jews worldwide — Deuteronomy 28:64.
  2. The worldwide persecution of the Jews — Deuteronomy 28:65-67.
  3. The desolation of the Jewish homeland — Deuteronomy 29:22-28.
  4. The preservation of the Jewish people — Jeremiah 30:7 and Jeremiah 31:36-37.
Some might respond by saying these are not end time prophecies, but they are. The end times or the "last days" began at the Cross. The writer of the Hebrew letter referred to his day and time (the First Century) as the "last days." The Apostle Peter also called the time in which he was living the "last times" (1 Peter 1:5 & 20). And in the same letter he stated that "the end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). The "end times" began 2,000 years ago. We are currently in the end of the end times, and we know this because God's Word gives us signs to watch for that will mark the end of the age.

The fulfillment of the prophecies listed above makes it clear that all future prophecies in the Scriptures regarding Israel do not relate to just the Tribulation and the Millennium. Additionally, there are other futuristic prophecies in the Scriptures regarding Israel that were either fulfilled in part or in whole during the 20th Century, and they are prophecies that point to the soon return of Jesus.

Current Fulfillment of Prophecies Related to Israel

Consider, to begin with, the most prolific futuristic prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures — namely, that in the end times the Jewish people will be regathered in unbelief from the four corners of the earth.

This regathering began in the late 19th Century when Theodor Herzl wrote his book, The Jewish State, in which he advocated that the time had come for the Jews to return to their homeland. In 1900 there were only 40,000 Jews in Israel. By the end of World War II this number had risen to 800,000. Today, it stands at nearly 6 million. The Jews continue to come, but there is no doubt this is a prophecy that is being fulfilled before our very eyes.

Or, consider the re-establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. This was a clear and definite fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It is an accomplished fact, and it is a miracle of God. It is not mere "stage-setting," it is a play that has already been performed in full.

Another accomplished fact is the revival of the Hebrew language from the dead. When the Jews were scattered from their homeland in the First and Second Centuries, they stopped speaking Hebrew. The Jews in Europe mixed Hebrew with German and created a new language called Yiddish. The Jews in the Mediterranean Basin mixed Hebrew with Spanish and created a language called Ladino. But the Bible prophesied that the Hebrew language would be revived in the end times (Zephaniah 3:9), and that is exactly what happened in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries through the efforts of one man — Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Today, the people of Israel speak biblical Hebrew.

Equally certifiable is the reclamation of the Jewish homeland. As pointed out earlier, the Bible prophesied that it would become a desolation after the Jewish people were expelled from it. But the Bible also prophesied that when the Jews returned to the land, it would once again become a land of milk and honey:
"The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passed by. And they will say, 'This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.'" (Ezekiel 36:34-35)
When the Jews started returning to their homeland in the late 19th Century, it was a total wasteland. Nearly all the trees had been cut down and the soil was badly eroded. The land resembled a desert. Most of the valleys had become malaria-infested swamp lands. The Jewish pioneers began planting trees, reclaiming the soil, and draining the swamps. Today, Israel is the bread basket of the Middle East.

Another prophecy that has definitely been fulfilled in our times is the resurgence of the Israeli military. Zechariah 12:6 says that in the end times, God "will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples..."

The fulfillment of this prophecy can be seen today in the incredible military power of Israel. It is one of the world's smallest nations, yet it is ranked by all experts as one of the four top military powers in the world.
Finally, with regard to Israel before the Tribulation begins, the Bible prophesies that Jerusalem will be re-occupied by the Jews (Zechariah 12:2-3 & 6) and that it will become the focal point of world politics (Zechariah 12:3). The Jews returned to the city when it was captured in the Six Day War in 1967, and today, all the nations of the world are coming against Israel over the issue of who will control Jerusalem in the future.

Current Fulfillment of Non-Jewish Prophecies

But end time prophecies regarding Israel are not the only ones we see being fulfilled in whole or in part before our very eyes. Daniel prophesied that in the end times the old Roman Empire would be revived (Daniel 2:31-45), and we can see that being accomplished today in the creation and expansion of the European Union.

The Bible prophesies repeatedly that in the end times there will be a great apostasy in the Church (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:1 & 5, 2 Timothy 4:3-4). We are up to our ears in that apostasy today as major Christian denominations ordain homosexuals, approve same-sex marriage, deny the deity of Jesus, and mock the inerrancy of the Scriptures.

In like manner, the Bible prophesies that "in the last days" society will disintegrate into a cesspool of immorality and violence (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Can there be any doubt that those days have arrived?

Daniel was told that the end time prophecies would not be completely understood until the end time — that is, until the time comes for their fulfillment (Daniel 12:8-9). That time must be upon us for we are living in the time when ancient prophecies are being understood for the first time ever, due to historical developments and technological advances.

Taking the Signs of the Times Seriously

I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point. The future has arrived! End time prophecies are being fulfilled today. What we are witnessing is much more than "stage-setting." God is clearly fulfilling promises He made thousands of years ago to the Jewish people. And God is orchestrating the fulfillment of end time prophecies that are not related to the Jewish people.

It is exciting to see these prophecies fulfilled, and I am tired of seeing people attempt to depreciate their importance by flipping them off in a cavalier way as nothing more than mere "stage-setting."

Jesus is coming soon. The signs of the times attest to that fact. God expects us to take those signs seriously because He is about to pour out His wrath upon this world in the Great Tribulation, and He does not desire that any should perish. The fulfillment of prophecy all around us today is God's way of waking us up to the fact that we are living on borrowed time, and we need to use the remaining time to commit ourselves to holiness and evangelism.


1) A good example of the Dispensational viewpoint on this issue is an article by Ron J. Bigalke, Jr entitled, "Prophetic Fulfillment".

Jesus is Coming Soon! We are living on borrowed time.



Jesus is Coming Soon!


We are living on borrowed time.




Jesus is Coming Soon!
Many people believe there is nothing that can be known about the timing of the Lord's return because Jesus said He would return like a "thief in the night" (Matthew 24:42-44).
But Paul makes it clear in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 that Jesus' statement does not apply to believers: "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief..." He then proceeds to explain why: "for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober." Paul is referring, of course, to the light of the Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers and who can enlighten us through our study of Scripture to know the season of the Lord's return (1 John 2:27).

God's Attitude

As a matter of fact, God is obligated by His character to warn the world of the imminent return of His Son. The reason is that Jesus is returning in great wrath to "judge and wage war" (Revelation 19:11), and God never pours out His wrath without warning.
God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should be brought to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, God always warns before He executes His wrath. He warned the world through Noah for 120 years. He warned Sodom and Gomorrah through Abraham. He sent Jonah to warn the pagan city of Nineveh, and He sent Nahum to the same city 150 years later.
Likewise, God is warning the world today that His Son is about to return. He is calling the world to repentance. The message of the hour to unbelievers can be summed up in these words: "Flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now." Jesus came the first time as an expression of God's love; He came to die for the sins of Mankind. But when He returns, He will come in vengeance to pour out the wrath of God on those who have rejected God's love and grace.
The soon return of Jesus also carries with it a message for believers. Lukewarm Christians and carnal Christians are being called to commit their lives to holiness: "The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Romans 13:12-14).

God's Method of Warning

God is alerting believers of the soon return of His Son through what are called "signs of the times." These are prophecies concerning world events that we are told to watch for, prophecies that will identify the season of the Lord's return.
The Bible is full of these signs. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the Second Coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses is concerned with the return of Jesus.
In fact, there are so many signs that it is difficult to grasp all of them. The best way I have found to do this is to put them in categories:
1) The Signs of Nature — We are told to watch for earthquakes, famine, pestilence, and signs in the heavens (see Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11).
This is the least respected category of signs for several reasons. For one thing, many people simply shrug their shoulders and say, "There have always been natural calamities, so what else is new?" Note that Jesus says these signs will be like "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:8) — that is, they will increase in frequency and intensity as the time draws near for His return. In other words, there will be more intense earthquakes and more frequent ones. That is exactly what is happening today.
Another reason these signs are given little respect is because most Christians are so rationalistic that they do not really believe in the supernatural, and they therefore find it difficult to believe that God speaks to the world through signs of nature. Yet, the Bible teaches this principle from start to finish.
God dealt with the world's sin through a great flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 6). He called the nation of Judah to repentance through a terrible locust invasion (Joel 1). In like manner, He called for the nation of Israel to repent by sending drought, wind storms, mildew, locusts, famine and pestilence (Amos 4:6-10). The prophet Haggai pointed to a drought as evidence that God was calling the people to get their priorities in order (Haggai 1:10-11).
The New Testament begins with a special light in the heavens marking the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:2). On the day that Jesus was crucified, there was three hours of darkness and an earthquake (Matthew 27:45-51). And when Jesus returns, the earth will experience the greatest earthquake in its history as every mountain is lowered, every valley is raised, and every island is moved (Revelation 16:17-21).
God has always spoken through signs of nature, and He continues to do so today. We had better pay close attention to them.
2) The Signs of Society — Jesus said that society will become increasingly lawless and immoral as the time approaches for His return. In fact, He said it would become as evil as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:12,37-39).
Paul paints a chilling picture of end time society in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. He says it will be characterized by three loves — the love of self (Humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure (Hedonism). He then points out that the payoff of this carnal lifestyle will be what the philosophers call Nihilism — that is, a society wallowing in despair. Men's minds will become depraved (Romans 1:28), and people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).
We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled before our eyes today as we watch our society reject its Christian heritage and descend into a hellish pit of lawlessness, immorality, and despair. Even worse, we are exporting our nihilism around the world through our immoral and violent movies and television programs.
3) The Spiritual Signs — There are both positive and negative spiritual signs that we are to watch for. The negative ones include the appearance of false christs and their cults (Matthew 24:5,11,24), the apostasy of the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3), an outbreak of Satanism (1 Timothy 4:1), and the persecution of faithful Christians (Matthew 24:9).
These negative spiritual signs began to appear in the mid-19th Century when Christian cults started forming. First came the Mormons, then the Jehovah's Witnesses, and then a great variety of spiritualist groups like the Church of Christ Scientists and the Unity Church.
The apostasy of the mainline Christian denominations began in the 1920's when the German school of higher criticism invaded American seminaries and undermined the authority of the Scriptures, teaching that the Bible is Man's search for God rather than God's revelation to Man.
During the 1960's Satanism exploded on the American scene and has since been exported worldwide through American movies, books, and television programs. Dabbling in the occult has become commonplace in the form of astrology, numerology, crystal gazing, transcendental meditation, and channeling. The whole trend has consummated in the appearance of the New Age Movement with its teaching that Man is God.
As society has secularized, true Christianity has come under increasing attack. Judeo-Christian values, once the foundation of Western Civilization, are now openly mocked, and those who still adhere to them are castigated as "intolerant fundamentalists" by the media.
The positive spiritual signs include the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world (Matthew 24:14), a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32), and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that have been "sealed up" until the end times (Daniel 12:4,9).
As with the negative signs, we are seeing these positive signs fulfilled in our day and time. Through the use of modern technology, the Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world in this Century, and the Bible has been translated into all major languages.
The great end time pouring out of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by the prophet Joel has also begun. Joel called it "the latter rain" (Joel 2:23), and he said it would occur after the Jews had returned to their land. The state of Israel was re-established in 1948. In 1949 God anointed two ministries that would have a worldwide impact — the ministries of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. Then, in the 60's, came the Charismatic Movement which prompted renewal in worship and gave emphasis to the continuing validity of the gifts of the Spirit.
The acceleration in the understanding of Bible prophecy began in 1970 with the publication of Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth. It seemed to open up to popular understanding many prophecies that had been "sealed up" until the end times (Daniel 12:4, 9). Remarkably, it became the number one best seller in the world — with the sole exception of the Bible — for the next ten years!
4) The Signs of Technology — The book of Daniel says that there will be an explosion of knowledge in the end times and that people will move about quickly (Daniel 12:4). There are many Bible prophecies that cannot be understood apart from modern technology. For example, how can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8-9)? Modern television satellite technology makes it easy. How can the False Prophet build an image of the Anti-Christ that appears to be alive (Revelation 13:15)? The answer, of course, is the science of robotics. How can the False Prophet require all people on earth to take the mark of the Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17)? It would not be possible apart from computers and lasers.
Jesus said that the Tribulation will be so terrible that all life on earth would cease to exist if He did not cut the period short (Matthew 24:21-22). How could all life be threatened prior to the advent of nuclear weapons? Another reference to nuclear power is likely contained in Luke's statement that men in the end times will "faint from fear" because "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:26). That certainly sounds like a reference to the splitting of the atom.
5) The Signs of World Politics — The Bible prophesies that there will be a certain pattern of world politics that will characterize the end time geopolitical map.
The focus will be the re-established state of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). It will be besieged by a menacing nation from the "remote parts of the north," the nation of "Rosh" — or modern day Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6). There will also be a threatening nation to the East that will be capable of sending an army of 200 million — namely, China (Revelation 9:13-16 and Revelation 16:12-13). A third source of danger to Israel will be the Arab nations that immediately surround it. They will covet the land and will try to take it from the Jews (Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:2).
Another key player on the world political scene in the end times will be a coalition of European nations that will form a confederation centered in the area of the old Roman empire (Daniel 2:41-44, Daniel 7:7,23-24, and Revelation 17:12-13). This confederation will serve as the political base for the rise of the Anti-Christ and the creation of his worldwide kingdom (Daniel 7:8).
Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), civil wars (Matthew 24:7), and general international terrorism and lawlessness (Matthew 24:12).
6) The Signs of Israel — The signs related to the state of Israel are prolific and very important.
The most frequently repeated prophecy in the Old Testament is the prediction that the Jewish people will be regathered from the "four corners of the earth" in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). The Bible states that a consequence of this regathering will be the re-establishment of the state of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8). The Scriptures say that once the Jews are back in their land, the land itself will experience a miracle of reclamation (Isaiah 35). The desert will bloom and people will exclaim, "This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden" (Ezekiel 36:35).
Another end time miracle will be the revival of the Hebrew language (Zephaniah 3:9). Most people are not aware of the fact that when the Jews were dispersed from their land in 70 A.D., they ceased to speak the Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe developed a new language called Yiddish — a combination of German and Hebrew. The Jews who migrated to the Mediterranean basin created a language called Ladino — a combination of Hebrew and Spanish.
Other significant signs of Israel that we are told to watch for in the end times include the re-occupation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), the resurgence of Israeli military strength (Zechariah 12:6), and the re-focusing of world politics on Israel (Zechariah 12:3).
All these signs have been fulfilled in this century. The nation has been re-established, the land has been reclaimed, the ancient language has been revived, the Jews are back in Jerusalem, and Israel is the focal point of world politics.
Jesus says in Luke 21:28 that when these signs begin to happen, we should "straighten up and lift up our heads" because "our redemption is drawing near."

The Key Signs

The most important signs are the ones that relate to Israel because God uses the Jews throughout the Scriptures as His prophetic time clock. By this I mean that very often when the Lord is revealing an important event that will take place in the future, He will point to the Jewish people and state that when a certain thing happens to them, the important event will also occur.
A good example of this principle can be found in Daniel 9 in the famous "Seventy Weeks of Years" prophecy. The prophet tells us to watch for a decree to be issued that will authorize the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He then says that the Messiah will come sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) after that decree is issued to the Jewish people.
There are two key prophecies which relate the return of Jesus to events that have occurred in Jewish history since 1948. These two events clearly established the period in which we are now living as the season of the Lord's return.

The State of Israel

The first is the re-establishment of the state of Israel which occurred on May 14, 1948. Jesus singled out this event as the one that would signal His soon return.
His prophecy is contained in the fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35) which He presented in His Olivet Discourse. The day before He delivered this speech, He had put a curse on a barren fig tree, causing it to wither (Matthew 21:18-19). This was a symbolic prophecy that God would soon pour out His wrath upon the Jewish people because of their spiritual barrenness in rejecting His Son.
The next day Jesus reminded His disciples of the fig tree. He said to watch for it to bloom again. In other words, He said watch for the rebirth of Israel. He indicated that when the fig tree blooms again, He would be at the gates of Heaven, ready to return (Matthew 24:33).
Equally significant, He added an interesting observation: "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place" (Matthew 24:34). What generation? The generation that sees the fig tree blossom.
We are that generation. The fig tree has blossomed. Jesus is at the gates.

The City of Jerusalem

The second key event was prophesied by Jesus in the same speech, as recorded by Luke: "[The Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
The first half of this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D., forty years after Jesus spoke the words. In that year the Romans under Titus conquered Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews among the nations. Jerusalem remained under Gentile occupation for 1,897 years — until June 7, 1967, when Israel won the city back during the Six Day War.
The Jewish re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem is proof positive that we are living in the season of the Lord's return. Jesus said it would mark the end of the Gentile Age.

A Call to Action

There is no way to escape the conclusion that we are living on borrowed time. The signs of the times are upon us, and they are shouting for our attention.
Are you ready? If Jesus were to return today, would He be your "Blessed Hope" (Titus 2:11-14) or would He be your "Holy Terror" (Revelation 6:12-17)? If you have never received Him as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to act. Repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord that you might be saved (Acts 2:14-39).
And if you are a Christian, are you living as if Jesus might return any minute? Have you committed your life to holiness? Are you praying for the lost and witnessing for the Lord when you have an opportunity?
Are you yearning for the Lord's return? Can you say with Paul that you are a candidate for a "crown of righteousness" because you have lived your life "in the love of His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?

Jesus Came. What's Next?


Jesus Came. What's Next?

Further details on life during the Tribulation.



If you are reading this because millions of people have suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, then you are looking for answers to what has happened, why it has happened, and what will be happening next.

What Has Happened

First, as to what has happened — Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has returned.
For 2000 years the Bible has been proclaiming to the world that Jesus would be coming back. Jesus stated in John 14:3, "I will come back."
Because Jesus has returned, millions of people who have put their faith and trust in Jesus as Savior, accepting His free gift of salvation, have disappeared in an event called the Rapture.
You might be thinking that there was something mysterious in the sudden disappearance of millions of people, but the Bible has already explained this so-called mystery. Jesus said that when He came again, He would come for those who are saved. He said, "I will receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-4). The Apostle Paul put it this way: "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
The Rapture happened to those of us who accepted Jesus as Savior, both those alive and those who had died since Jesus was resurrected. Both groups — living and resurrected believers — were caught up to be with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
This all happened very quickly, like a flash of lightning. Jesus left as suddenly as He came, taking those who have accepted Him and His salvation, and leaving behind those who have rejected Him. And you, sadly, have been left behind.
Well, maybe you know a loved one who has disappeared — a wife, a husband, a child, a friend — and are wondering what has become of them. In that flash, as those who had accepted Jesus as their Savior were caught up to meet Jesus in the air, they traded their earthly bodies for bodies that are perfect, imperishable and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-55).
They sit with Jesus now in Heaven at a great banquet called the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19). They will live in great joy and know no sorrow. They will be with their King and live in love forever. They are well taken care of, and you don't have to worry about them.

Why It Has Happened

But, it is the why of the disappearances that is your cause to worry. For believers in Jesus were taken out of this world to spare them from the great wrath that has just begun to befall the planet (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9).
Jesus' return for all His true believers was just a prelude to His final Second Coming. The second phase of Jesus' return is to set up His Kingdom on earth. Jesus' Kingdom is why this whole thing is happening.
You see, we have come to the end of one age and will soon be beginning the age of Jesus' glorious reign right here on earth. But first, God has to deal with rebellion — sin — before setting up His Kingdom. God's going to use this intermediate time period you now live in to pour out His wrath on mankind for its continued refusal to accept His Lordship. The time you live in is called the Tribulation.

What It's About

What is the Tribulation all about? The unparalleled horror of the Tribulation is spelled out in detail in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. Isaiah wrote that it will be a day of "the terror of the Lord" when "the pride of men will be abased" (Isaiah 2:10,17,19). Zephaniah proclaimed that it will be a "day of wrath," "a day of trouble and distress," and "a day of destruction and desolation." Men will stumble around like they are blind and "their blood will be poured out like dust" (Zephaniah 1:15,17).
This dreary picture is echoed in the New Testament. Jesus said it will be a time of tribulation "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." In fact, Jesus said it will be so terrible that if it were not stopped at the end of seven years, it would result in the destruction of all life (Matthew 24:21-22).
The Apostle John states that the chaos will be so great that the leaders of the world will crawl into caves and cry out for the rocks of the mountains to fall upon them (Revelation 6:15-16).
Why is there going to be such carnage? How could a God of grace, mercy and love allow such an outbreak of unbridled terror and bloodshed?
One reason is to satisfy the justice of God. Yes, God is characterized by grace, mercy and love. God is a God of love. Jesus says so in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
But, God is also a God of justice. The Bible also says in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." It is God's very nature to love, but also in love to see justice done for evil.

What Comes Next

So, what comes next? For starters, people are going to try to explain away the Rapture with all sorts of wild theories, like possibly Global Warming or UFOs. So-called "Christian" leaders are going to come out and say the Church is still around because they didn't disappear.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that they cannot be believed, for the times will be filled with false religious teachers. The greatest of these false teachers the Bible calls the False Prophet, and he will seemingly be able to do many miracles and will promote a one-world religion and leader (Revelation 13:11).
Amid all the chaos from the Rapture, the Bible teaches that the world will turn to a dynamic leader to bring order and peace (Revelation 6:1-2). He will succeed where no other person has been able in establishing a peace treaty for Israel (Daniel 9:27). That treaty marks the official beginning of the 7 years that the Tribulation will last.
But, the world leader, known to believers in Jesus as the Antichrist, is anything but peaceful. He will plunge the planet into nuclear world war, resulting in terrible famines, pestilence and mass death. Violence, disease and starvation will be a way of life. A quarter of the world population — almost 2 billion people — will die from this war (Revelation 6).
In Jerusalem, 2 men will appear and preach there for 3 1/2 years that Jesus is the Messiah the Jews have been looking for (Revelation 11:3). 144,000 Jews will call Jesus their Messiah and also preach about Him throughout the whole world. Millions will accept Jesus as their Savior — hopefully you will be one of them. But, many of those millions of believers will be killed by the Antichrist for not pledging their loyalty to him by receiving his mark on either their right hand or forehead. The persecution of believers in Jesus will be awful in the Tribulation (Daniel 7:21; Revelation 7).
Next, the greatest earthquake the world has yet experienced will devastate the planet (Revelation 6:12-14). Something falling from space will then burn up a third of all the world's vegetation. A second item from space, probably a meteor, will crash into the ocean and annihilate a third of the world's marine life and ships. A third object from space will taint the world's water supply, poisoning millions (Revelation 8:7-11).
The devastation to the atmosphere will block out most of the sun and moonlight so that the days appear shorter (Revelation 8:12).
Next, some supernatural "woes" will befall mankind. First, the holding place for a demonic hoard is opened and millions of locust-looking demons pour out and sting people like scorpions. The pain will last 5 whole months. Second, 200 million riders on horse-creatures will burn and impale, wiping out a remaining third of the people (Revelation 9:1-19).
Three and a half years into the Tribulation will see the 2 men witnessing in Jerusalem killed, but 3 1/2 days later come back to life (Revelation 11:7-12). It will also see the Antichrist supposedly killed and appear to come back to life as well (Revelation 13:3).
And that's just the first half of the Tribulation. As bad as the first half of the seven years is, the next half is even worse (Revelation 16).
Those who take the Antichrist's loyalty mark on their hand or forehead will suffer from painful boils. Those who don't take the mark will be cut off from commerce and hunted down, but the Bible assures (Revelation 20:4-6) that those who take the mark have made a decision that will last forever — eternal damnation — so don't take it!
The oceans and everything in them are totally destroyed, as well as all the fresh water. The heat from the sun will become scorching. The Antichrist's kingdom will fall into pitch darkness.
An even greater earthquake than the one 7 years earlier will flatten the earth and 100 pound hailstones will crush the inhabitants.
The Euphrates River in Iraq will dry up and a massive army from the East will cross and enter the Valley of Armageddon in Israel to fight the Antichrist's army. This is what the Book of Revelation calls the battle of Armageddon.
It is the moment that Jesus will gloriously return with all those who disappeared in the Rapture. Jesus Himself by just speaking will destroy the armies at Armageddon. Jesus will throw the Antichrist and the False Prophet into Hell, and Satan into a deep pit. Jesus will be victorious and all who continued to rebel will be put to death — all of them (Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-3). This is the Tribulation — the wrath of God.

What You Can Do

Now, you may be asking "God, why didn't you tell us all this before the Rapture so we could get ready." Well, He did. The Bible clearly teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning for He is a just and loving God who does not wish that any should perish. That is why God provided the Bible, the Good News about Jesus spreading across the planet, and the many signs alerting us to the fact that we were living on the threshold of the Tribulation and soon return of Jesus Christ. God gave the world every possible chance for 2000 years to repent of its rebellion and return to Him.
But, it's not too late for you to be with Jesus unless you've taken the mark. You see, this story has a happy ending. Jesus' return at the end of the Tribulation means great joy to those who love him. Jesus will cleanse the world of evil and the damages from His wrath and restore the planet to pristine condition. Jesus will rule from Jerusalem over those who throughout human history have put their faith and trust in Him (Revelation 20:4-6,9).
You can be one of those people. Whether you die in the Tribulation or not, it is where you end up eternally that truly matters. Everybody who does not accept Jesus as Savior during the Tribulation will go to Hell for their rebellion. Anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior, though their earthly bodies may die during the Tribulation, will then live forever in glorified bodies with Jesus in His love and glory.
Remember Jesus' promise in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Pray now for forgiveness for your sins and ask Jesus to be the Savior and Lord of your life. Don't delay!
In what little time you have in this life, get a Bible or download one from Bible.org, so you know God's will for your life. Download this and everything you can from our website at lamblion.com or others like raptureready.com so you can know more about Jesus and what is in store for you in the Tribulation and the glorious return of Jesus. Gather quickly with others who have accepted Jesus as Savior for support and to worship together.
If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, we will be waiting for you on the other side of this. May God bless you and keep you. Maranatha!
"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7 NIV)