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The Last Days Of The World XVIII

 Details matter—they always have. The difference between a mediocre artist and one whose name is remembered long after they are gone is the ability to capture features, expressions, and emotion, all with the stroke of a paintbrush and some paint.

Some time ago, a local town was having a centennial celebration of its founding, and they brought in a few rusty, rickety rides, carnival games, someone selling fried Twinkies and cotton candy, and a supposed artist who drew your portrait while you waited. The price point is what got me. Fifteen bucks for a portrait is a deal I couldn’t pass up, so I sat in a plastic chair that groaned in protest to the point that I dared not get comfortable in it, and away the artist went. Fifteen uncomfortable minutes later, seeming satisfied with his work, he said, ‘Done,’ then flipped the paper around to show me something that looked like a lightbulb with furry eyebrows and a set of spindly arms and legs. If I looked like that in reality, I likely could have gotten a job with a traveling circus, but then again, it was fifteen bucks, and the man seemed proud of his accomplishment.

Creation itself declares that God is detail-oriented, almost obsessively so. In fact, He is meticulous about subtle nuances and leaves nothing to chance. Keeping a running count of how many hairs you have on your head isn’t something someone who is inattentive, imprecise, and careless is likely to do. Although, for us, as creations, perfection might be the enemy of good, to God, perfection is the standard. There is nothing we can point to in this great big world and say God was just phoning it in on that day.

When it comes to Jesus, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and so when He says a certain thing in a certain way, or there is a turn of phrase that stands out, we would do well to meditate on it and understand the wondrous reality that Christ was speaking of a future time and events that would occur within the span of one generation, and the end of time when He would be returning for His bride.

That men choose to conflate the two and draw conclusions based on the faulty premise that Jesus was speaking about one event, even though there is a clear and undeniable distinction in what He was describing is on them and not on Him.

Before my wife switched careers, she was a school teacher in Romania. Her biggest frustration day in and day out was that while most of the children in her class grasped the concept of simple math, the alphabet, or scrawling their names on a piece of paper easily enough, a handful of them just weren’t making any progress. She blamed herself, thinking she was failing them somehow.

Seeing that she was constantly troubled by this notion, I sat her down one day and asked her the obvious question: Was she teaching that handful of kids who weren’t getting it any different than those who were? Her obvious answer was no, and she even devoted more of her time to those falling behind than the ones who were excelling.

“Then, by the power vested in me as your husband, I absolve you of all guilt in this matter,” I said, smiling. It wasn’t her fault that some of the children in her class weren’t keeping up. She hadn’t singled out that handful of second graders and refused to teach them as thoroughly as the rest of the class. Whether due to inattention, intellectual capacity, unwillingness to learn, or failure to devote enough time to studying outside the classroom, it was their failure, not hers.

How is it that Christians living in the nation with the single most access to the Bible in the world are the most biblically illiterate? Once in a while, a video will pop up in my feed of street interviews with college students asking them basic questions such as how many states the United States is comprised of or if they could name three countries besides America. The answers would be the epitome of hilarity if they weren’t so sad.

If the same sort of street interview took place as people were leaving church on a given Sunday, you’d get much the same answers.

Ignorance of Scripture is fertile soil for deception. Ignorance of what the Word of God says about the last days of the world is fertile soil for men claiming to be sent by God to sow deception, doubt, fear, and bitterness.

If the average Christian today believed that the message of the cross is, as Paul stated, the power of God, would they not do their utmost to consume it and spend time growing in it daily? Would spending time in His presence not become the singular pursuit and desire of their heart? But that’s the thing. We say things we don’t mean, parroting what we hear from others because it makes us feel like we belong. We lie to ourselves about our level of commitment; we deceive ourselves concerning the level of our faithfulness; we sing lies every other Sunday about all of me, all of me, you’re going to have all of me because You’re worth all of me.

When? When is He going to have all of you? As it sits, the general consensus is that all He is to far too many is a convenient escape from the things He said are soon to come upon the earth.

We’ve transitioned from nothing wicked or defiled will enter His kingdom to sin is just a construct, or God is bigger than my sin, and so He’ll look the other way even though I’m unwilling to part with it. The holiness of God and the wickedness of man are two opposing forces. They’re like two magnets with the same polarity; they repel each other. It doesn’t matter how much one might try to insist that sin and holiness can share the same space; it is an impossibility.

What does that have to do with the topic at hand? What do duplicitous believers have to do with what Jesus said about the last days? It explains, and clearly so, the reason for the hearts of many growing cold and tells us that those words were not spoken in reference to the early church but rather to what would be called the church during the last days.

There is no historical evidence that a preponderance of believers fell away or denied Christ during the early church, even when faced with the prospect of martyrdom. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul mentions one man named Demas who forsook him, not for fear of persecution but for having loved this present world.

Other than the Bible, I believe that Foxe’s Book of Martyrs should be required reading for every new Christian. Nothing humbles you to your core quite so quickly as reading what other believers had to endure for the name of Jesus and what they were willing to face in order to remain faithful to Him. I get it, though. It is traumatizing and akin to suffering when the coffee shop in the church lobby is out of soy milk, or you have to park two rows down from the entrance, so believe people when they tell you they know exactly what persecution feels like and that they’re ready to endure it.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Posted on 11 June 2024 | 10:29 am

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