Enemy in the Gates By Pete Garcia In the winter of 367, the Roman garrison…
By: Pete Garcia
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:10-12)
We have terrorists in Boston, explosions in Texas, possible nuclear war with North Korea looming, and the Middle East is a tinderbox waiting to explode. There are volcanoes burgeoning and threatening in El Hierro, Yellowstone Park, and Iceland. Earthquakes and sinkholes seemingly popping up at random places. Extreme weather and solar storms battering this world left and right, and somehow it is still all President Bush’s fault.
Pop stars and politicians are joining forces to showcase their incompetency by enacting idiotic and illogical legislation. (You know we’re in trouble when the administrations Brain trust consist of actors and musicians).
If you’re a conservative politician and you get a parking ticket, you better believe that ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN will be there to provide non-stop coverage of the event. If you’re a Democrat politician and you’re caught with under-age prostitutes, you might as well be in the Witness Protection Program for all the coverage we’ll see about it. There are Senators and Congressmen, who either through too many drugs, or too much political correctness, can’t string a simple sentence together…yet are the same ones charged with writing the laws in which the rest of us have to follow.
There are random mobs of violent teens robbing stores and beating up the elderly for fun. Mass-murdering abortion doctors with tales so gruesome, it still manages to be ignored by the media. Lone gun-men and left-wing extremist tragically shoot up random civilians and get lots of media coverage until the media finds out they’re really left-wing liberals, and then they too are ignored.
It would seem that there is an evil agenda afoot. Furthermore, it seems that something terrible is on the horizon, and the longer we wait for it to happen, the more devastating it will be when it finally does.
We are giving money we don’t have to countries who hate us (Egypt & Saudi Arabia), but forcing our friends (Japan, South Korea, & Israel) to come begging on their knees for a few handouts. It’s illegal to ask someone for their ID card to vote, but you have to have background check, DNA and urine samples, and a credit check to buy a shotgun. Gas is up, unemployment is up, misery is up, and it seems as if the nuts are running the nut-house.
Have you looked around lately? The world is in desperate need of a superhero.
Don’t worry though, Hollyweird has plenty of make-believe Supermen and Batmen to go avenge us. If for nothing else, it distracts for a few hours so we don’t have deal with the real world.
But just because our culture has been so utterly desensitized to violence and sex over the last 40 years, don’t worry, it has NOTHING to do with how our kids have turned out. Neither does violent video games or prescribing a whole cornucopia of psychotropic drugs to children play any role in the uptick in violence in our society. Between the movies and the drugs, I think most people prefer the distraction to what’s really going on in the world…I mean, who can blame them? This world is taking the Looney boat to crazy-town…at ludicrous speed. Up is down, black is white, and right is wrong. Bread and circuses anyone?
The Purposelessly Driven Church
It would seem though, that at a time when the church was destined to make its biggest impact on a lost and dying world, it instead fails majestically. God gave us prophecy ahead of time, so when the time does come, we can say ‘look here, God already told us that this was going to happen!’ But we don’t.
Most churches today don’t even know what Eschatology even means let alone any of its tenants. Most churches are lulled back into the comfortable cradle of a spiritual-coma by well-meaning and smiling pastors and pastrix’s who psycho-analyze the symptoms, rather than giving you the cure. America’s “Pastor” Rick Warren in his multi-million selling “Purpose Driven Life” book states:
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!” (PDL, p. 285)
But most churches (the 501(c) 3 types) are more concerned about adding new extensions to their church compounds than they are risking losing their congregations by preaching a message of repentance. Pastors are more caught up getting television shows and book deals on how to live your ‘best life now’, rather than teaching about the real ‘catching up’.
Admittedly, I’m painting with a broad brush here, because there are still a few churches out there who preach the word. But more and more, people want their churches like they want their movies…new and exciting! Somehow we’ve come to equate comfy pews and grand buildings for spiritual maturity. If we aren’t here to be the salt and the light, what good are we?
The few Christians who are awake, look around the world and see the persecution of Christians skyrocketing. Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Sudan, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and Indonesia have all but declared war on Christianity. Yep, the world is in a fine old mess which is why many of us now are groaning, crying out “Maranatha” with ever more intensity. Would we but look back in time to another group of elect who increasingly came under the oppressive thumb of the world as it was then.
“Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” Exodus 2:24-25
The Jews spent 400 years in Egypt. It is unsure how long they had it good there under Josephs ‘protective care. But at a certain point, the Egyptians grew envious and frightened of the children of Israel…and then enslaved them. But that wasn’t a surprise to God. God had already foretold all this to Abraham hundreds of years prior.
“Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:13-16
Back to the Future
Like the Jews in bondage in Egypt who had come to the point of groaning to God, our pleas for deliverance today do not fall on deaf ears. Jesus told His disciples (and by extension us) at the Last Supper, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3
It has been 2,000 years since Christ left Terra Firma. Jesus told His disciples that He is coming back again to deliver us from the bondage of this sin-stricken planet.
Death is the consequence of sin, and we all sin, thus death of all types and manners of delivery have plagued this planet since the days of Adam. Not only do we struggle with death, but with the corruption of man and society in general. We are witnesses to a world falling apart and helpless to affect any change in this whole mess…or so it seems.
Similarly, Muslims share a similar sense of moral indignation at this corrupted world…by which they mean the USA. I mean, they don’t call us the “Great Satan” for nothing. Our politicians lie and cheat with increasing brazenness. Our entertainment industry pumps out so much filth, that were it carbon based, they’d have been shut down back in the 80’s. But their “holy book”, the Koran, does not effectively stamp out the root of said evil. They seek to affect change by acts of violence because that’s all they have at their disposal.
• Qur’an 47:4: “So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.” (Source)
As Christians, our battle is not fought with bombs and bullets. Our battle is a spiritual one because Satan and his demonic hordes are the ones behind all the wickedness and wicked people that so frequently turn our world upside down:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Being in battle is an exhausting ordeal. Many of us who battle daily in prayer, pleading, sharing, witnessing, and living out our faith are tired. We are groaning under this burden, but we need to take comfort in knowing that our groaning is not in vain.
Our Lord hears us and knows our struggles. He knows our frustrations and our pain in living in a world that is upside down and falling apart. We are in contact with our heavenly Father who created this universe, and He knows exactly when He will send His Son to return for us. That day is coming. But know this, that even though 2,000 years has transpired, no deed or misdeed has escaped His attention. He will exact perfect justice and judgment upon a Christ rejecting world.
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
Even though it may feel like we live in a topsy-turvy “wonderland” where increasingly, nothing makes sense. We should as much as possible, live at peace with those around us. Live out your faith as a testimony to a lost and dying world. Share not only the Good News that Jesus Christ died and rose again to give them eternal life, but that all this craziness has already been foretold and actually works out to be good news as well…because it means Christ is coming soon.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:12-13