Genesis 6:5 (NASB) Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Consider the conditions surrounding the composition of our Canon [the Bible] in the first century. How do the religious leaders of our day (Dobson, LaHaye, Falwell Stanley, Colson, Swindoll etc.) stack up against the contemporaries of Jesus? Is there truly any comparison?
Matthew 23:33-36 (NASB) “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Would you like to exchange places with the Apostles? Ten out of the twelve were brutally murdered, one ended his own life, and we believe the other was banished to an island prison. Association with Christ meant certain death. On one side were the Jews, who regularly, according to the writer of Hebrews, plundered the goods of Christians…and on the other side were the Romans who fed the Christ-followers to the lions or strung them up on posts, tarred and lit them on fire in order to light their grounds for dinner guests.
I’m not suggesting that we live in a perfect world…far from it. We have incredible challenges up ahead. What I am attempting to get people to think through, is the misconception that things are bad, getting worse, and will continue to worsen until a cataclysmic end. Not only do I think this is unBiblical, but it is far and away relegating the Gospel to ultimate failure.
Consider our progress. Consider our potential through Christ. We have never had this kind of unabated access to the Word of God and the communication ability to spread the good news to every person on this planet. I think we are extraordinarily blessed to live in these amazing times! Yes, man is born into depravity today just as he has been since the fall of Adam. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that the resurrection of Christ has had and will continue to have a dramatic effect on our world. Everywhere the Gospel has been proclaimed that part of the world has been significantly altered.
It is my opinion that we MUST change our perceptions in accord with the expectations of Scripture. I continue to hear of the impending “New world Order”, and I don’t doubt there are nefarious individual at work who’d like nothing better than to control the masses. But I want to know where in the NT do we find an antiChrist led one world government? It’s simply NOT there.
In the latter 60’s AD, we find the writer of Hebrews refer to the Old Covenant as “becoming obsolete“, “growing old” and “ready to disappear“. (Heb 8:13) The New Covenant was a “new world order” in which the righteousness of Christ would dwell.
Revelation 21:3 (NASB) And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,
This is exactly the what we have right now! Consider the exhortation from John’s 2nd epistle.
1 John 4:4 (NASB) You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 5:4-5 (NASB) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
These words were written 2,000 years ago before the destruction of the Temple and the elimination of the Old Covenant sacrificial system. So how is it that we have developed such a glass half empty mentality? Why has it become so fashionable to believe that we’re supposed to lose to evil? It seems odd that God would forcefully advance His Kingdom for 2,000 (the sprouting of the mustard seed) only to allow it to be overcome.
Sadly, I believe the prevailing eschatology of our day (that many aren’t even well-versed in) is like the tail wagging the dog of our expectations. Where in Scripture do we find evidence that the Gospel is supposed to be defeated by the evil forces of an antichrist, that was already in the world 2,000 years ago? It should not escape our notice (as it did mine for too long) when these words were written. With Christ all things are possible!
1 John 4:3 (NASB) and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
1 John 2:18 (NASB) Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
For a point of reference, below is the Apostle Paul’s warning to Timothy. Remember, this was written in the mid 60’s AD and warned the Christians at that time what was on the horizon for the “last days”, which both Peter and the writer of Hebrews made clear was in their day. (1 Peter 1:5, 20; Hebrews 1:1-2) Have you ever considered the fact that, if, for the past 2,000 years, “evil men and impostors” have been “proceeding from bad to worse”, there would be few remaining survivors? It simply makes no sense whatever to uproot this passage from it’s context and force it as a fait accompli in our day.
2 Timothy 3:1-13 (NASB) But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.