Is it the End of the World?

I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. (Joel 3:2)

I disagree with Ed Stetzer about many things, but to list them here, now, would take away from the power of what he tweeted last night.

Stetzer, senior fellow at Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center, is a leading voice among evangelicals today. Few have networked as extensively as Stetzer.

As the death cult in Palestinian society continues to slaughter Jews in Israel, the silence from American evangelical leaders grows. Granted, their first priority should be shepherding their flocks and advancing the Gospel. Yet in bygone days, their voices in support of Israel were important.

Today, the most famous Christian celebrities sanitize Israel from their conversations and proclamations. At best. Often, they criticize the Jewish state, and in so doing join the Spirit of the Age.

Stetzer, however, tweeted last night that the terrorism being unleashed in connection with the Temple Mount is not acceptable. It’s an important statement, and one he should be commended for making.

The anti-Semitic UN monitors Israeli activity from Jerusalem's Old City.

The anti-Semitic UN monitors Israeli activity from Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Bible says that God will judge the gentiles for the way they treated His people, the Jews.

I’m not at all sure today’s evangelical leadership believes that.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(2 Timothy 4:1-4)

In 2 Timothy, Paul is preparing to die, and says he will have a crown of righteousness one day for fighting the good fight, and that all those who do that throughout history will have a crown, because they “love his appearing.”

In my view, today in America too few Christians “love his appearing.”

“His” of course, is Jesus Christ.

In the 40 years or so since Hal Lindsey’s Late, Great Planet Earth was published, the teaching of Bible prophecy in American churches has fallen on hard times. For a variety of reasons, including self-inflicted wounds, Bible prophecy teachers are trying to navigate a new and bleak frontier.

I remember more than a dozen years ago visiting a prophecy teacher based at a Christian college. He told me that well-funded conferences he was committed to had not really panned out in terms of opportunities. The bottom-line was that Bible prophecy teaching had fallen out of favor in this country.

I was stunned at that time, not so much now.

The self-inflicted wounds continue. Since January, too many prophecy students and teachers have pointed to September of this year as a possible return date for Christ.

This is folly. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus said that no one knows the day or hour of His return, but the Father only. That’s pretty straightforward.

Too many prophecy teachers in the past few decades have chosen to pick dates, all of which come and go. This has damaged the reach of prophecy teaching greatly.

A larger problem, in my view, is actually—ironically—a fulfillment of prophecy. Some astute observers of New Testament prophecy have long believed the scriptures that point to apostasy. Apostasy simply means a falling away from the faith.
Catalyst stage

I am certain that apostasy is upon us, right now. It’s not coming. It’s not on the horizon. In fact, the seeds were planted decades ago, mostly in the seminaries. Today they have reached full flower, even (especially?) in the evangelical churches.

A typical “sermon” on Sundays in this country will focus on marriage relationships, financial discipline, or how best to raise children. Topical and, if we are honest, full of self-interest. There is little discussion these days of holiness, repentance, the Gospel itself.

There is even less discussion of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Truly, many/most have left sound doctrine and want to hear only what tickles the ear. We must at all costs be comfortable today in the modern church.

Yet there are mountains of evidence that even within Evangelicalism, the wheels have come off the wagon. Some, like Wheaton professor Ed Stetzer (a self-styled “missiologist”) have a vested interest in getting us to believe the American church is in fact healthy. Not without challenges, but relatively healthy. But especially via social media, Stetzer networks with progressives who intend to take down the traditional, conservative church, such as the writer Jonathan Merritt.

Whole networks of progressives work day and night to fundamentally transform religion in America, much like their hero Barack Obama transformed (past-tense) America politically.

Popular author Jen Hatmaker can advocate for overturning views of traditional marriage and very few Christian leaders push back. She will grow more popular.

Author and professor Tony Jones can jettison belief in Original Sin and nary a peep is heard.

Catalyst conferences actively push contemplative spirituality and New Age concepts. Silence from evangelical leaders.

The few remaining Christian bookstore chains heavily promote deeply flawed books like Jesus Calling. Millions more copies sell.

In fact, these sources mentioned are important for evangelical leaders of some repute to maintain the brands they have carefully built. Networking and cross-promotion is critical today in a competitive publishing market and speaking market; if you fawn-over Hatmaker on social media, she might agree to promote your book.

That’s how it works.

I have been talking to a lot of people like me, whose opportunities for speaking and distributing books are drying-up faster than a stream in the desert. I do believe this delights our ideological opponents, but I also believe in being realistic and honest with the public.

Simply put, conservative Christianity is “losing” in our culture. The secular world has always had contempt for the pure Gospel, and now many evangelicals do, too.

But if this is the landscape we are in today, one with lengthening shadows, it also affirms the validity of Bible prophecy. This is amazing! It is cause for reflection, as we balance watching the erosion of the Christian faith in America with the long view, that we are in the last days and sooner rather than later, Christ will indeed return and a new and perfectly just world will be ushered-in.

I am fervently looking for His Appearing. That is a miracle and a blessing.

The explosion of violence in Jerusalem’s Old City is disheartening.

More Jews were murdered by Palestinians this week in Israel, and the Palestinian Authority continues to use that to incite violence. Israeli decisions to install metal detectors at the entry points to the Temple Mount (in direct response to Israeli police being murdered there by Palestinians) have—in our morally upside-down world—emboldened the Palestinians to complain about it!

This has led to renewed calls to “defend Al-Aksa [mosque] with our blood,” an absurd, murderous, and counter-productive mantra encouraged by the PA.

Israeli police in Jerualem

Israeli police in Jerusalem

I was in Jerusalem last month and couldn’t visit the Temple Mount because the Palestinians were celebrating Ramadan. This anti-freedom-of-religion stance is unacceptable. It is also a core teaching of the Koran, but nobody wants to say that out loud.

One day soon PA President (for life) Mahmoud Abbas will stand before his Creator to answer for his complicity in murder. I hope that day is soon.

Many won’t like my view here, but they are also the same people who sit on their hands when Jews are murdered. Jewish and Israeli life is cheap across the globe.

I literally pray that stops as soon as possible.

I frankly wish the Palestinians had their own state somewhere outside the borders of present-day Israel and the “West Bank.” Get them out of there, and if you don’t like that, share with me a description of your moral model that sits idle while Jews are murdered.

If you don’t like my view, I don’t care. Further, shut your immoral mouth.

Many biblical prophecies of the last days indicate a world in which Israel is increasingly without friends and isolated. That day is coming into view.

I literally pray today that no more Jews will be murdered in the world.

Americans and the global Jewish community have a long, rich, and warm history. This fact alone is unique in world history, as most civilizations have treated the Jews poorly, often with devastating consequences.

Ancient Near East powers did their best to rid the world of Israel.

Middle Ages pogroms, followed by the stain of Spain’s expulsion of the Jews were a seamless bridge to the Holocaust.

Yet, for a few historical moments during the American Revolution, the stage was set for a great power to arise that would welcome Jewish immigrants—almost all of whom have helped make this the greatest country in all of history.

Most know at least a bit of history from the Revolution: the rag-tag Colonial Army is about to be swamped by the powerful British. In those days especially, vulnerable governments needed some type of aid from a foreign power to at least be competitive. During the Civil War, the Confederates received some aid from European countries.

Haym Salomon

Haym Salomon

But in the earliest days of the American Experiment, Washington’s Colonial troops needed an infusion of arms, clothing and…cash.

Enter Polish immigrant Haym Salomon. The financial broker, now living in New York City, helped finance our war efforts, thus providing the critical piece necessary to stare-down the world’s then-only superpower.

Salomon risked it all. He joined the Sons of Liberty and was arrested twice and escaped execution. From his fundraising efforts and his own fortune, Salomon gave the Colonials $650,000—almost $17 million in today’s dollars.

At the pivotal (and final) battle at Yorktown, Washington’s army was completely out of money, but had the army of Cornwallis trapped and ripe for defeat. Incredibly, the Colonial Army had no credit options, so Washington sent one message: “Send for Haim Salomon.” The Polish immigrant provided the funds, and this helped open up the famed America Horizon.

I enjoy thinking that my visits to Mt. Vernon were made possible in part by this wonderful Jewish benefactor. In truth, his generosity and farsightedness have opened up countless opportunities for all of us who are privileged to live in the great United States of America.

Today, the Jewish people continue to be our great ally and warm friend. Salomon’s brethren in the state of Israel help us in ways most of us will never know—and we return the friendship.

On this 241st anniversary of the American Experiment, let us remember our great friend, Haym Salomon, and our eternal friends and Greatest Ally, the Jews.