How Much Longer O Lord!
By Grant Phillips
As the world we live in today keeps unraveling, we who know that Jesus has promised to return for His own keep wondering, “How much longer?”
I do hope that while we contemplate this question, we don’t fail to be busy for Him in getting the Gospel out to those who do not know Him. Surely when He does return, He will find us at work and not loafing. Unfortunately, the work crew seems to be diminishing in droves, while the crowd continues to grow around the water cooler.
As I and others have stated on numerous occasions, the signs of His return are so plentiful, it is difficult to zero in on just a few. In answering the disciple’s questions upon the Mount of Olives, Jesus briefed them as follows:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:4-8)
I believe this twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew is directed toward Daniel’s seventieth week that we commonly call the Tribulation, but I also believe we can see many of these signs forming now. Jesus stated clearly, “All these are the beginning of sorrows,” which leads me to believe they are being introduced now, in the present. If this be true, then the Rapture “may” not be far off. We’ll just have to wait and see. The important thing is that we are ready when it does occur.
Anyway, Jesus says that these signs are the “beginning” of sorrows. The “beginning” to me would be at the very front end of the seven-year Tribulation. “Sorrows” would indicate to me the dark times ahead during the Tribulation. These signs are definitely all around us, and increasing as time goes by. It’s something to think about.
If the Rapture occurs prior to the seven-year Tribulation, and I believe it will, then how close could it be? I don’t know, but it makes one want to look up.
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” (1Timothy 4:1-3 NIV)
Apostasy abounds. The church rolls are rapidly dwindling in some areas, and in others they are ballooning with followers of a false gospel. For any remaining who actually believe and practice the true doctrines of Scripture, the pressure of persecution is increasing. “These are old fogies,” says society, “out of touch with reality, dinosaurs,” and are condemned more and more by the apostate world.
Hatred for true Christian beliefs is growing at an alarming pace. True Christianity is no longer the norm in this country I once knew. It is no longer kind or acceptable to those of Christ, but mocks all and hates all we uphold for our Savior and Lord. If the Rapture were to occur today, many would be glad to see or hear of us no more. We are like a splinter in their finger that would be better removed.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7 NIV)
Wow! Since these earmarks that Paul mentions are ALL prevalent today, I can’t imagine their intensity during the Tribulation. Any true Christian with but a mere ounce of Biblical sense can surely see all of these types in our society today. If you can’t spot every single one of these in abundance, God help you.
Having so many years to look back on (born in 1947) I can very easily see a sharp decline in human behavior and acceptance toward anything of God. The rise of evil over these years is astounding. Has evil existed before? Of course it has, but not with the degree of today. It isn’t just a blemish here and there. This world is literally saturated with these that Paul speaks.
Could this be an indication that the time is near for the Bridegroom to come? It could be. We’ll have to wait and see, but let us be ready.
Since the reality of Psalms 83 may be prior to Ezekiel 38-39, it is obvious that the nations are formed and ready to go. One would think that in regards to Psalms 83 the soldiers are mounting their horses. In regards to Ezekiel 38-39, could it be the national leaders are sniffing the wind? Could these two prophecies be one and the same? Some would argue they are, while others would say they are not. One thing is sure. Only a fool would say we are living in peaceful times and ignore the clear warning of Scripture.
In our own country we have been provided a preview of one who has given us an indication of the Antichrist personality. When the Antichrist does come upon the world scene, after the Church is gone, he will be a megalomaniacal narcissistic egotist. I used to have a problem thinking that people would actually be stupid enough to follow the Antichrist. Now I don’t. I’ve seen with my own eyes, how people can be duped by Satan to follow just about anyone.
The sad part is that with every generation, each generation is more acceptable of the sinfulness that abounds on this earth than the generation just prior to it. As an example, with each passing generation homosexuality is accepted more and more. The world is becoming more and more corrupt.
We, society, are as they were in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. We live our lives as unto our own greed and entertain no thought of God, unless it is negative. We hate all that is good, and dive head first into every distraction that will damn our souls to hell.
We, the Church, ask, “How much longer O Lord?” Could He be saying, “It won’t be long now, the cup of their iniquities is almost full.”
“…Even so, come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20 NIV)