What are we looking for? {Part 1}

What’s next?

As the days tick by, and I study God’s word, I find myself wondering which ticks on the last hour clock I’m seeing. Because I want to be seeing what’s really there – fitting current events into Bible prophecy, versus fitting Bible prophecy into current events (or jamming them in). I can only live in reality if I study God’s timeline with care and precision.

And I can say that, from what I’ve studied and observed, what I see in the world is lining up with many of God’s blueprints for the last hour (and what comes after).

Of course, the prophecies about Israel are being fulfilled in sparkling clarity before our very eyes, but what other Bible prophecies are we looking for?

Well, there are plenty I can see happening or getting ready to happen. Some seem to be specific, and some more general.

I touched on some of the general prophecies in my post Where in the Bible are the Prophecies? Most of the prophecies relating to the Church are of this variety, as well as many that relate to the world (although not all).

I think there’s a key word to spotting these general prophecies happening in real life: acceleration – in frequency and intensity.

The idea that the conditions the Bible describes in the last hour accelerate can actually be seen in the Bible:

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:11-14

They’re referred to as “labor pangs” (which we would term contractions now), increasing in intensity and speed as the end approaches:

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. I Thessalonians 5:2-3

When I look at the church and the world today, these verses really do describe both. Let’s look at some more verses that expound on these ideas of what it will be like in the last hour for the church.

{I’ll look at the world in the second part of this post.}

The Church:

2 Thessalonians 2: Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed

2 Timothy 3: But know this, that in the last days… all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Jude:  But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

I John 2: Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us… Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

Revelation 3: Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked

I won’t expound too much, because if you look at these verses and then at the church at large, their increasing fulfillment is pretty clear.

I see three categories in these descriptions of the church during the last hour:

  1. God is restraining evil and His judgment of it by His Spirit in believers until He and they are taken out of the way (2 Thess. 2).
  2. The church will be purified, with the true body of Christ being set apart from those who are falling away.
  3. There will be a falling away from the truth in the church, with many, many false teachers arising who entice professing believers away – false prophets (Matt. 24), imposters (2 Tim. 3), liars denying Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2), mockers who ridicule God’s word (Jude). It will also fall away when becomes puffed up, basing its success on its wealth (Rev. 3).

Restraining

Think of the true church – holding to the truth of God’s word as literal, real and completely from God – as a rubber band that is being stretched thinner and thinner as lawlessness expands. In centuries past, the rubber band was much thicker, when God’s word was considered inerrant and infallible in more church congregations, therefore making it’s restraining influence more impactful on the lawlessness in the world. But as more church congregations doubt the trustworthiness of ALL of God’s word, and fewer individuals put their faith in Christ alone, the rubber band’s width has shrunk. It’s the Holy Spirit in true believers that is actually doing the restraining, so the rubber band will never snap – before it is overwhelmed, God will take it out of the way, lawlessness will engulf the world and then He will pour out His judgment.

Do we see this? I do! Many friends of mine who believe that God’s word is without error and is actually the perfect word from God have a real struggle finding a church that teaches and functions according to that reality.

Look up doctrinal statements on church websites – how many say that the Bible is God’s inspired and inerrant word? How many actually have doctrinal statements? How many will capitulate to popular philosophies and movements so as not to offend the world? How many emphasize love and don’t tell people they’re slaves to sin and that Jesus Christ came to be their Savior? “All are welcome” – well, of course, because Christ came to save all people – but are churches with those signs on their buildings actually telling people so once they’re inside? One step further in this decay is seeing churches on my visits to the UK that aren’t even used as churches anymore – they’re community centers or clubs or even cafes. Where is the church being the church?

Specific prophecy: the falling away. Moving from general to specific, 2 Thessalonians mentions the falling away. What is this, precisely? I don’t have a definitive answer for myself, yet. So look for a post at a later date, once I’ve done some studying. It could be the culmination of the “falling away” process – but don’t quote me on that, yet. As I said, more studying (and a separate post) needed! However, it is clear from Scripture that there is also a general falling away.

The rubber band now is being stretched to the limit. (And we’ll get to the “lawlessness” of 2 Thessalonians 2 in part 2.)

But the band still there! And that leads me to…

Purifying and Falling Away

I lumped these two together because I see these two things happening at the same time. One could say that each produces the other.

The word for “falling away” in the New Testament Greek is literally translated “falling away, defection, apostasy,” and the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon adds “from true religion.” And once some people have defected, that means there are some remaining who haven’t, who are “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2); this is the church being purified. And it’s happening at a very fast rate these days!

Like John said: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us…

But where do we see these people going when they go “out from us”?

I see professing believers going for a myriad of teachers and teachings – all of which deny that the Bible is the literal, straight-from-God, without-error complete word of God. That’s what they all have in common, no matter how diverse the places are to which people are defecting – or falling away.

Now, teachings/teachers which question whether the Bible is inerrant and God-breathed have been plaguing the church from the beginning (Paul, John and Peter often correct erroneous teachings in their epistles), so how can anyone say that this happening in our day can be interpreted as ticks on the last hour clock?

We go back to the word acceleration.

Questioning the reliability of God’s word is everywhere! In the world and in churches. Like I mentioned before, finding a church which teaches the whole of the Bible as error-less, literal, and God-spoken feels nearly impossible these days. People take the word of science professors over the word of God, call the Bible racist, intolerant, colonialist, patriarchal, deny God’s promises to Israel and say they belong to the church, allegorize prophecy, mix Scripture with philosophy, write books and “translations” which don’t take God’s authorial intent into account, and on and on… Often the people who are spreading these un-Biblical teachings are affiliated with supposedly Christian groups – some are even pastors!

{Speaking of pastors, my very first pastor now has a ministry where he deconstructs false teachings of specific teachers and movements – by name. He’s Jim Steel, and you can find him at Standing True, on his YouTube channel and podcast, Biblical Minute! He truly loves Christ and His word, and does his research.}

Because of technology, never in history has the spread of defective teaching been so easy, or so fast, either. In the church of Acts, congregations had to wait for a parchment to be delivered. How fast could defective teaching spread using that method? Years, I’d say. But now a pastor can read a blog published 2 minutes ago, re-tweet it, and infect all of his followers (not to mention his congregation), who can then spread it themselves just as fast! Never in history has communication been so fast and easy. Again, acceleration.

And the fact that so much un-Biblical teaching has spread testifies to the reality that discernment is on the wane. People just don’t seem to detect when they hear something contrary to the word of God – especially because that old dragon, Satan, uses his favorite trick of mixing a lie with God’s truth. This what the Bible calls “leavening.”

The general falling away and the mystery of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2 are both leavening processes. It’s like when you mix ingredients for bread, including the yeast, and you set the timer for it to rise to a particular size – the yeast (formerly known as leaven) reacts with the flour, water, salt, etc. to expand the dough. That’s what happens when Satan mixes a little lie with God’s truth – it continues through human teachers to this day, until the false church and the lawlessness of the world are ready to be baked.

So, these are all things that you can actually see now.


Now, we don’t want to leave out the things that this acceleration is leading up to… Because God has end goals for everything that happens, and He tells us what those are!

  1. The church being purified
    1. Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
  2. The church being filled and completed
    1. …that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ… Ephesians 3:8
      1. Christ is being preached to the world until the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25).
  3. For the church to be ready for Christ’s coming for her
    1. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
    2. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21
    3. but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
      1. This hope and readiness is purifying!
  4. The church’s gathering to Christ
    1. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
  5. Escaping God’s wrath! We’re used to restrain now, but we’ll be out of the way one day.
    1. how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10

So, I want to challenge you a little…

If you’re in a church, do you see an acceleration of teaching that doesn’t have God’s word as the ultimate authority? Do you see those who hold to God’s word as such being ignored, sidelined, maligned or even attacked? Do you see the church’s influence on the world toward righteousness diminishing, and many pastors and Christians who are accepted by the world because they don’t disagree with it?

If you don’t, then it is absolutely vital that you take a good look around and ask God to help you see! This could save you from falling away yourself, and change you from a professing believer, to one who has an unshakable hope in Christ and the truth of God’s word! Or strengthen your faith in better understanding God’s truth.

If you do see it… I feel your discouragement! Believers standing on God’s word alone as truth can feel totally inadequate to do a jot to dispel the engulfing darkness of lies and shine the light of truth. Thankfully, that’s not our job! God’s truth can never be changed or undone or lose its power, even if the entire world rejects it.

  • John 16:33 is still in effect: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And Christ is coming back! He’d just told the disciples a couple of chapters before: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself (John 14:3). Now that is hope!

If you’re not in a church, 1) don’t let this stuff discourage you from seeking God’s truth, because if you just compare any church to what the Bible teaches, then you can find a real one. And 2) the mess and confusion of today’s church is Bible prophecy being fulfilled. So, 3) stop doubting God, because time is running out for Him to save you!

If the church is in this state – and accelerating – as the Bible warned us it would be, then it is a loud tick on the last hour clock.

But God isn’t done with the church yet! He’s still adding to it! Remember…

But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:7, 9

I’ll be doing a “part 2” of this post soon, all about what to be looking for in the world that show us we’re in the last few minutes of the last hour. So, check back or subscribe if you’d like to know when it’s up!

Thanks for joining me, and remember to keep your eyes on the clock! Until next time – unless the rapture comes first!

Published by ambassadoranna

My grandpa went to be with the Lord – My family's always been interested in Bible prophecy – So we all looked for hope in the rapture of the church, when we would see him again. And, boy, do world events seem to be lining up with Bible prophecy more than ever before! (Except when Jesus came the first time, 2,000 years ago.) It was always my mom who was interested in Bible prophecy and Israel and the events of Revelation and Daniel. In my Bible study, I've always focused almost exclusively on the New Testament truths of how free is our salvation through faith in Christ alone, and the unshakable identity we receive in Him. And, honestly, other things have claimed my attention throughout most of my Christian life... But now! The future promises of God to Israel, the Church and the world are MIND BLOWING – and they are just on the verge of HAPPENING! I can't get enough of Middle East news and what the Bible says about it, and what God tells us about His chosen witnesses: Israel and the Church. The "last hour" of 1 John looks like it is in it's last few minutes... Are we ready?

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