The Signs of the Times; Are You Truly Saved?

If you’re pressed for time, or if you already understand the biblical signs of the times, I invite you to skip to the end of this post to the prayer so that you can commit or recommit your life to our Lord.  The best protection for peace, safety, and provision you have in this scary and uncertain time is by pressing into God and studying His Word.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of misinformation thrown our way, mostly in politics, but also in science and, unfortunatly, theology and religion.

In my opinion, this misinformation is the root of the unrest, unhappiness, and flat out hatefulness being manifested today. As Christians, however, we should not be surprised at misinformation or, frankly, at anything happening in the world today. Indeed, the Bible talks about some signs of the times as an indicator of the end of our current world, and I believe we’re seeing many of these Biblical signs today. 

Simply take a look at Matthew 24:4-14, with a few of my notes in parenthess:

Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 

(We see deception and lies running rampant, and we’re being warned here to be on guard.  We’ve also heard some political-Christians and others refer to some political figures as a savior or even “The Savior,” conjuring notions of Jesus, which is frightening on its own. Frankly, until the last four or five years, I never quite understood various biblical passages describing people who see but don’t perceive, hear but don’t understand. These days, I see it happening all the time. What, exactly, are we to do when some public figure actually tells us not to believe what we see? Some commentaries say that messianic pretenders don’t have to say they’re Jesus — merely that they represent Jesus – in order to deceive and to “sanction lawlessness.” (Baker))

You will hear of wars, and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 

(We’ve heard about wars and rumors of wars for many years, but in my opinion, the calling out of nations and kingdoms here seems to intend to encompass more than just what we normally think of when we think of “nations against nations.”  Even secular dictionaries have defined a “nation” as a specific ethnic group, or a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own. So, when looking for an intensifying of “nations against nations,” we look not only to traditional international conflict, but also within our own borders, such as what is happening with the controversy surrounding the 2020 election and the division of the people in the USA.)

There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

(We’ve had more extraordinarily severe natural disasters in the past several years, and this is exactly what Jesus meant – not that we’ll see things we’ve never seen before, but that there will be an intensifying of these things that will be noticeably worse. And, indeed, what we’ve seen has been noticeably worse, if not altogether unprecedented in severity, with destruction from fires, volcanos, floods, tornados, in addition to changes to global climate, drought (which tends to precede famine), pandemics, cyber-attacks, and yes, earthquakes.  All of these are the earth telling us that it is suffering and we suffer as well.)

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.

(According to at least one media outlet, Christian persecution increased in 2021, with over 340 million Christians affected. This means that about 1 in every 7 Christians has experienced or is experiencing persecution. This increase is due, in part, to the need caused by various natural disasters to sort people for various benefits; for example, with the pandemic came an opportunity to overlook Christians when it came to food and aid distribution.  And note the subtlety of the persecution. It’s not what you might think, with Christians being jailed or tortured. It’s often simply people disregarding or ignoring Christians for various reasons simply because they are Christians. Some of this is self-inflicted. Right now, we have a fairly large division in the Church, with at least one side seemingly in an open war of hate and unloving actions against the other. And that’s within the church! Look, I’m not going to mince words. If you see someone post something on Facebook about loving God within minutes of posting another thing about “hating libs,” you know there’s something really wrong with the church.)           

 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 

(Where do I start? The years 2020/22 may as well be called the years of the false prophet. False prophesy about the pandemic, about the election, about a “new revival.” Let’s face it –prophets can get things wrong. But what this latest series of prophesies shows us is that these so-called “prophets” – even when wrong – do nothing to apologize, repent, or otherwise alter their original prophesy. In fact, in one notable case, a pastor who dared to repent and recant his prophesy over the election was actually attacked by his own flock for “giving in.” Eventually, he abandoned his ministry altogether due to the unprecedented hatred to do merely what the Bible says a prophet should do. And yet, there appears to be no end to the number of people lining up to announce that they are “prophets of God” with an important worldly message for all Christians. Look, I believe in modern day prophets. But if you hear from one, you really, really need to check and re-check that prophesy by assessing what they say – and how they react to being wrong – with the Bible.)

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 

(We see the love of people for each other has grown incredibly cold in the many actions that we are witnessing on airplanes, in restaurants, in grocery stores, and in hospitals. You only need to look as far as your social media account (I suppose mine is mostly FB) through the constant posting of hateful memes ungodly discussions when someone merely disagrees with another. I suppose isolation and the increased anonymity of the Internet have some part to play in all this, but that just means we must work to make sure our own love does not grow cold.)

but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

(Now to our HOPE.  Those of us standing firm will be saved.  Standing firm means operating out of obedience to God and his main commandments as stated in Mark 12:30-31; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”  Those of us who are dedicated and have committed ourselves to God and who practice operating out of love will be and are saved!  Are we always perfect in operating out of love?  No, I wish we were, but we should be striving for perfect love to all of God’s people – regardless of personal preferences, political or religious affiliation, cultural heritage, etc.)

I’m not saying that the world will end tomorrow – but what if it did?  In fact, when people ask me worried questions about eschatology – i.e., “End Times” (including notions surrounding the book of Revelation, the tribulation, resurrection of the dead, etc.), I often tell them that they should be far more worried about their own personal end time. And that could happen at any moment. After all, people have been predicting the end of this world for a long, long time, and those people have all passed. So, are you absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of any doubt that you are in good standing with God?  Whether you are or not, I invite you to pray this prayer, out loud and activate your future with the Lord.  Then get out your Bible and try to read it for a few minutes every day and see what new insights and blessings the Lord shows you.

PRAYER:

God, I come to you today and I admit that I have fallen short of your plans and expectations for my life and I ask for your forgiveness. Lord, I admit that I know that you sent Jesus to come into the world in human form to die on the cross for my sins and to fix my relationship with you, and I know that Jesus doing so is the only way a person like me could ever be in a right relationship with a perfectly holy God. I know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead and is now seated next to you in Heaven. Thank you Father that you wipe every sin away and that you love me. Lord, your word says to love others, and so please show me how to love your people here on earth. I want to live my life for you and to be a blessing to others. I want to follow your commands. I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

If you’ve prayed this prayer, I invite you to messenger me or post it here so that I can specifically pray for you for all of the blessings promised to us and for wisdom, knowledge, peace and safety during this time we are in today! 

Feel free to pray this prayer often — even every day — as each day brings not only new challenges, but also new opportunities for overcoming those challenges and to bless others.

Look After the Foreigners

God spoke through Zechariah regarding justice, mercy, and compassion when he said, “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” (Zechariah 7:9-10).

If we accept that the Bible (aptly called the Basic Instruction Book for Living on Earth) as the word of God and as a true guidebook describing how Christians are to act, then how does our treatment of foreigners line up?  Are we taking care of immigrants?  Are we recognizing and remembering that we built our nation on immigrants fleeing persecution and danger in other countries – or even just taking up America’s sincere invitation for a better life – so they could live in peace and strive for the American dream?  Do we remember our own ancestry?  And what about foreigners still living in foreign lands? Do we honestly want these folks to have a better life, or do we ignore them, degrade them, and wish them ill?

When I hear people talk about foreigners, I hear a lot of “absolute” statements. You know what they are, and they’re funny things. Absolutes are statements that assume certain facts, use words like “always” and “never,” and, psychologically speaking, provide comfortable shortcuts to help us make sense of a complex world. Most writing sources warn against using them, and, in fact, when used in a purely world setting, absolute statements are almost always wrong.

Take immigration for example. That’s pretty complex, and so we hear a lot of absolutes floating around, like, “They’re all criminals,” and “they’re taking our jobs.” The truth, of course, is far messier. There may be a few so-called “criminals” coming over the border, and still some more who try to evade authorities (making them criminal, perhaps, in the sense that they are in the U.S. unlawfully, though this still must be proved in America through a trial process). Mostly, though, people come over knowing that they’ll be immediately arrested and subjected to the legal processes of the immigration laws, which allow for folks to do exactly what they’re doing – crossing the border and turning themselves in. According to David Bier of the Cato Institute, “It does seem like the majority of people who are crossing the border now are doing it to turn themselves in (seeking asylum).” For purposes of this post, though, I’m going to claim it doesn’t matter because for purposes of the Bible, it doesn’t matter.

Nevertheless, these absolutes persist, and so I see lots of Americans wanting to get armed, build walls, immediately lock everyone up (which, by the way, goes against American law in that we actually use bail – or some sort of pretrial release – even in immigration cases), or more heinously, separating parents from children or threatening to shoot them. Don’t look shocked – I’ve even seen this sort of rhetoric on my Facebook feed. All of these statements foment hatred against anyone even remotely looking like a foreigner, including folks with long American genealogies.

And that’s just the folks actually trying to become American. Lately, we’ve seen a similar trend of “nationalism,” which, by most definitions, causes people to back certain ideas that dismiss, disrespect, and might even harm people from other countries. Once again, for purposes of this post, a foreigner is someone here or there, and I’m going to claim it doesn’t matter because for purposes of the Bible, it doesn’t matter.

But here’s the funny thing about absolutes: God actually uses them all the time. God loves everyone. All persons sin. We are to love and treat all persons equally and as we would want others to treat us. Jesus takes away all our sin. He died for everyone. You get the gist.

So, to me, there appear to be two ways to use absolutes. The first way, apparently needed by us finite creatures of limited knowledge, is to make sense of a complicated topic, which is fraught with the danger of coming off as non-biblical, if not outright prejudicial or hateful. The second is a way for an infinite, all-knowing God to instruct us to act in ways that follow his will on topics that God doesn’t see as complex at all. Which way seems right to you?

For me, the only right way is God’s way. He, alone, can use absolutes without fear of being “wrong.” He, alone, can tell us not to oppress any and all foreigners, no matter who they are or what they’ve done, and we, his creation, have no good argument for why we should disobey.

And this, of course, points us to the Bible, because that’s where He’s written it all down. Like all things, even the most complex matters can be solved by simply looking to the Bible for God’s answer. And in this case, that answer is clear. God wants us to use mercy, compassion, and empathy for the foreigner, and so I believe that there must be a humane and reasonable solution to the southern border immigration issue. Just like there is a more compassionate and humane way to speak of foreigners living abroad. We simply have to resist the worldly urge to use our own mostly negative absolutes simply because they make us feel a bit more in control.

With prayer, and with our leaders working together as humans (versus crass politicians), a solution can be found that glorifies God and his creation at the same time. I believe that God created all of us in equality. In his masterful, all-knowing way, he created us to be different, to look different, and to have different cultures. Apparently, this is the best possible way to create his vision of the Kingdom, and so I’m not going to complain about it. Instead, I’m going to embrace it.

Would you want to live in a world where the only color was green?  I wouldn’t, and I relish the ability to learn from others with different cultures, life experiences, ideas, creativity, and God given gifts. I love the texture, color, and fabric of our differences that make up the masterpiece of God’s creation.  

So that’s it on foreigners. Don’t get me started on the widows, the fatherless, and the poor – that’s for another day.

Discounted Citizenship

Did you know that as Christians our true citizenship is in heaven?  Philippians 3:20-21, states “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” What, exactly, does this mean? And do we act like we really believe it? How should we act if we really believe it? I think it goes to our allegiance.

The Lord keeps putting this notion in my mind as a reminder that my true allegiance is first and foremost eternal, to heaven and my King and Lord, and not to the USA, England, China or any other earthly nation, power, or human. It’s not that these other things can’t get and keep my attention; it’s just that when it comes to all things, my first thought needs to be, “How does this play out in the Kingdom of God?” That is my true heritage, and so I must always try to keep it intact.

Nevertheless, when followers of Jesus put other things – like their “patriotism” – ahead of heaven, they discount their true heritage and citizenship and they dishonor their Lord. This also happens when they mix up their true heritage with other worldly things, like notions that are part of “Christian nationalism” or politics.

Indeed, as followers of Jesus, our eternal citizenship is far more powerful than any earthly citizenship. That’s because we’re not only citizens of heaven, we’re literal heirs to God’s Kingdom. Paul wrote this often, such as to the Galatians (3:29, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”), and to the Romans (8:16-17, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”).  If you were an actual heir to an earthly kingdom, such as Great Britain, would you even consider being citizen of some other worldly place? No way! Being an heir is far more powerful than simply having citizenship. So, if we know and believe we are also heirs to the Kingdom of God, why would we align or put our allegiance anywhere else? Well, we wouldn’t. And we shouldn’t.

Still, during this past year I’ve seen a rise in the United States of what many people are calling “Christian nationalism” – or, as Tim and I call it, “political Christians,” meaning people who identify a particular political party with Christianity or who have generally allowed politics to get all mixed up in their theology. In short, they’re putting their allegiance somewhere beside the place of their true citizenship – the Kingdom of God.

We’ve written about this dangerous way of thinking before, and it appears to be uniquely American. Only in our country do some of us believe that WE, the people, have to vote a certain way and pray the right man into leadership, and that if he doesn’t win it is a “stolen election,” against God’s will, and driven by Satan. This isn’t only dangerous to the democracy in the USA, it’s also discounting the Truth of the Word of God. As Tim and I have often written before, if you think God is so weak that He needs you to vote a particular way for Him to achieve his ends, then – at the very least – you don’t believe in the complete sovereignty of God, which is a central tenet of what we all proclaim to believe as Christians. Noted Christian apologist, R.C. Sproul, was fairly harsh on this matter; to him, if someone didn’t believe in God’s sovereignty in all things, he was likely to call them an atheist. Now, this was mostly an outrageous statement designed to get people’s attention. But, to Sproul, questions about God’s sovereignty didn’t distinguish between, say, Christians and Muslims or between one Christian denomination with another. They distinguished between theists and atheists. Ouch.

Of course, all this leads to a more refined discussion on free will, prayer, and other complicated notions like determinism, but that’s left for another day. My point on this day is that whenever you discount something as fundamental as the sovereignty of God, you also discount your own citizenship in His Kingdom, which should have led you to trust in God all along. You do so especially when you show an allegiance to some other entity or philosophy vying for your “citizenship,” such as a political party. Our true citizenship is eternal and heavenly, and in that realm (and, indeed, in this, His created realm) God needs no help whatsoever. Knowing that, why would you ever shift your allegiance?

But I see people mixing their citizenships and shifting allegiances all the time. Recently, I had an encounter with a neighbor while I was gardening in front of my house. Usually, when I meet someone, I always try to test the Spiritual waters of that person, and so I often mention God, Jesus, or Christianity in passing. This time, the person actually said, “Oh good, you’re a Christian. There are a bunch of us at the end of the block and we’re all Republicans, too.” Stop! Did you notice that? A complete mixing of theology and politics.

I was immediately disturbed. First, I was disturbed for her to associate a particular political party to Christianity – indeed, to the exclusion of other people (parties) like Democrats and Independents. Jesus was Not political and, indeed, his apolitical ways were one reason why the religious leaders of his day wanted to arrest him as he appeared a clear threat to their own political power and way of life. But, second, I was disturbed because I think it signaled that she had discounted her heavenly citizenship. She was shifting her allegiance right before my eyes.  

The fact is that having an eternal, heavenly citizenship is bound to lead to being a bit of an outcast to everyone else in the world. If you truly believe you are an heir to God’s Kingdom, then you’ll probably be both disappointed and encouraged (and thus, likely be both correcting and praising) various aspects and positions of all political parties. If those positions don’t line up with the Bible, then they simply aren’t a part of the place to which you enjoy citizenship and, indeed, are an heir.

You may recall that Jesus admonished and rebuked the religious leaders of his time, the Pharisees and Sadducees, for taking Gods’ word and applying it in an overly-humanistic and religious manner, while forgetting what the intention of the word was in the first place.  Specifically, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for parading themselves in ostentatious clothing, demanding to be addressed by titles, and requiring the best seats at banquets. He called them out for hypocrisy and lying. Sound familiar? How many of our “Christian” leaders are just searching for recognition, forever trying to be photographed with some important person, and hoping to find a platform where many people can see them (and, of course, pay them). The Sadducees, on the other hand, were the political religious leaders. Aligned with Rome, they had a tremendous amount of political power that they used to accommodate the Romans in maintaining the status quo. They had their hands in everything going on in the temple, and they displayed alarm at Jesus’ ministry. Sound familiar? How many of our “Christian” leaders are overtly political, bound up in the workings of government? How many issue prophesies over elections? Indeed, how many would be alarmed at a ministry like that of Jesus were it to surface today?

It may be that these earlier groups didn’t really understand why Jesus rebuked them. They likely thought they were doing everything right by following their own notions of Jewish law and the realities of Roman rule. But they’d never seen anything like Jesus. He was like some sort of alien. His citizenship was eternal. His allegiance was to the Kingdom.   

My question to us today is, where is our true citizenship?  Where do our hearts reside?  We’re either 100% Christian and citizens of heaven or we’re not. Accordingly, we must remember our allegiance, and must never discount our true citizenship by even one percent.

Subtle Spiritual Warfare

As you may recall, my heart’s been very grieved this past year with all that’s been happening in the world, our country, and the church, and yet I’ve been prevented in the past couple of months from telling you what’s going on. Not prevented by God, but prevented by the enemy through a bit of spiritual warfare. This particular warfare has focused on making me question my worthiness to speak my heart and the heart of God to all of you. I know it’s wrong, but please forgive me for succumbing to these lies and leaving you without a word these past many weeks. Nevertheless, it gave me an idea of a topic.  

So, today I want to talk about the subtly of spiritual warfare in preparation for a series of posts about false prophets and what’s happening in the church and the supernatural. What I hope, in the end and based on my own recent experience, is that we can learn a bit about how to grow, press in, and sharpen our spiritual discernment about what we’re facing when we seek to do God’s will.

I’ve always believed that when I encounter “overt” spiritual warfare that I should – counterintuitively – be happy about it. That’s because overt spiritual warfare doesn’t happen to me unless I’m doing something really good that the enemy does not want me to do or accomplish. Sometimes this knowledge, by itself, gives me the courage and faith to stay the course or press on. 

You may also recall from my previous posts that I’ve spent much of this past pandemic year studying and immersing myself in education in the biblical principles, the supernatural, and specific books in the bible, including many classes on the Book of Revelation.  Throughout this entire time, I never really experienced any overt warfare – something that other followers of Jesus told me they were experiencing – and so I often wondered if I was doing something wrong or if God had just placed me on a shelf for a while.  What I mean by “overt” warfare is warfare that is SO obvious, like illness, financial despair, relationship difficulties, stress, tragedy and calamity, that you immediately know it to be what it is. Basically, it’s warfare that’s designed to stop you in your tracks and make you retreat inside of yourself or to stop doing what you are doing. You know, like quit! Or worse, question your own faith. I didn’t have any of this, and I’ve been very grateful to be able to rest in the peace of the Lord by not experiencing these types of things. Nonetheless, I occasionally wondered why I felt a bit “spiritually off course.” Turns out it was due to “subtle” warfare, which, in many ways, can be more insidious and deadly to the Spirit of God. 

The whole notion of “subtle” warfare automatically makes it harder to discern. It’s like putting a frog in a pot of water and bringing up the temperature until he’s boiled to death before he even knows it. In my case, it was the enemy planting tiny seeds of doubt into my brain such as, “Who says I know enough about God to speak about Him? Am I really worthy to be used by God to teach others? Is the Lord really giving me a gift to develop, or am I just fooling myself?” Subtle warfare involves the enemy whispering into one’s brain, but also using the business of “world” things and life (cleaning, organizing the house), TV, Internet, news, procrastination, and weariness as distractions from one’s learning, developing, and fellowshipping with the Lord.

The bottom line is that all of these things – doubt, procrastination, distraction – can be held up to the Word of God and assessed for what they are, which is an attempt to keep someone from spending precious earth time with their Father in Heaven. Basically, if it doesn’t point to God’s glory, then it’s likely coming from some other place that you’d rather not be. Moreover, even if the source is benign, the enemy will be right there to twist it in your brain so that it affects you in way most likely to harm you. The key is to see it all in real time, and without some long reflective period that wastes a lot of your spiritual time and energy.

So, I’ve been praying for the strategies of the enemy to be revealed to me immediately, and I’ve realized that when he can’t get you off track with overt warfare, he will resort to trying things to throw you off more subtly. Let me ask you if you’ve ever had these thoughts or feelings.

  1.  Weariness, tiredness or short attention span reading the Bible or in any biblical teaching?  SUBTLE WARFARE!!
  2. Sleeping past your set appointment with God?  SUBTLE WARFARE!!
  3. Distractions due to household things (laundry, cooking, cleaning – ugh) when you’ve set aside time to study or pray!  SUBTLE WARFARE!!
  4. Finding yourself surfing the internet or some social media site before you logon to watch a Godly program or speaker? SUBTLE WARFARE!!
  5. Just not “feeling” like opening the Word or praying!  SUBTLE WARFARE!! Your flesh is in control here – not you! Take charge!
  6. The lie that you’ve been studying so hard, you deserve a break.  SUBTLE and a LIE! I mean, really, a break from what?  Doing something I love to do and spending time with my Lord whom I love? 

These might seem like the kinds of thoughts we have constantly in our lives. And so, we have to keep reminding ourselves that nobody said this whole following God thing would be easy. We are aliens in a strange land –indeed, we’re behind enemy lines – and we shouldn’t be surprised if even the most mundane of thoughts can be used against us to slow our walk with God.

By the way, a good biblical example of this kind of subtlety is found in Luke 10: 41-42, when Jesus was at the house of Martha. One translation writes, “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Martha may not have seen her distractions as subtle warfare, but all the hallmarks are there. It probably seemed important at the time. Indeed, good stewardship of one’s home is important. But at that very moment, her distractions took her away from Jesus himself, and even he recognized the problem.

Okay, so we’ve seen that warfare doesn’t have to be some horrible disease, some scary nightmare, some incredibly anxious feeling about how to proceed in the world. We’ve seen that it can take the form of the small, but not insignificant mental hurdles that come every day to hinder our attempt to press into God. So, what in the world do we do?

Well, on the assumption that Satan or some demon will likely be involved in messing with me on a daily basis, I start each day by thanking God for my authority to bind the enemy’s plan and then by forcefully binding these feelings and distractions. Basically – and I do this is out loud, mind you – I tell the enemy that I’m spending time seeking God and that I simply won’t allow him to thwart that effort in any way. Like overt warfare, I remind myself that the simple fact of having these distractions placed upon me is a sign that what I am trying to do – sans distractions – must be important to God or the enemy wouldn’t bother with it at all. None of this life is easy, and the battle that goes on inside our heads is the one place that Satan can create the most havoc. Remember that David wrote: “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13:2.

When we read this, we may think of ourselves, but pursuant to the word, the answers are pretty clear.

How long must we wrestle with our thoughts? If we’re doing God’s will, then as long as we’re still living behind enemy lines, we’ll be waging war. We’ll likely wrestle with them for our entire earthly lives. 

But, how long will our enemy triumph over us? No longer. In fact, with Jesus, our enemy is already defeated, and all we need to do is exert our authority to stop all warfare, subtle or not. With Jesus, Satan’s attempts at warfare are desperate, pitiful, and ineffectual, and so he won’t be allowed to triumph not one second longer!  He is revealed and rebuked!

Peter encourages us, writing: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Pet. 5-8. Lions, too, can be overt in their attacks, coming at someone with great fury. But they can also stalk people, messing with their minds by “playing” with them and subtly tormenting them. Either tactic must be recognized for what it is, and fought with equal vigor. 

Complicity of the Church Today

There is complicity among large parts of the Christian Church (not my particular church, the church as a whole) in the events of January 6th insurgency at the Capitol of the United States. To illustrate this, I want to focus both on the fact that Jeremiah Johnson, a Christian leader and self-proclaimed “prophet,” recently decided to apologize for his role in making people think that their Christian ideals should be sacrificed for a political candidate as well as on the Christian “response” to that apology.  

As you may know, when Donald Trump won the Presidency, he was embraced (to an almost unnatural level) by mostly white, evangelical, Christian churches. Leaders from those churches solemnly yet gleefully stood with hands on the President, saying he was chosen by God to lead America to a revival of holiness. Slowly, the gospel of Trump was preached in church buildings across our country, and it was fully embraced as some sort of divine will – like an addendum to the Bible – by the Republican Party. One prominent Republican actually told Trump that he was “the chosen one,” apparently meaning at least that God had picked him to lead America into revival, and that no earthly event could reverse that decision.  

Throughout the term, these churches became more obvious in their idolatry of a political candidate over the person they claimed to worship, Jesus. On many occasions, I tried to point out how they were showing both bad theology and a hypocrisy that was actually deterring people from seeking God. As 2020 neared, though, they became only more brazen.

Indeed, as 2020 neared, many of these leaders “prophesied,” saying that they were told by God that Trump would win again to finish the job. Some were very specific, providing exact dates and saying that he would win by a landslide. I’ve seen lists of as many as 50 of them. Jeremiah Johnson was one of them.

Accordingly, after Trump lost, people (including me) were hoping these so-called prophets would repent and apologize for being wrong. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do – even the prophets know that. But only one did, and even he withdrew his apology due to political pressure from his own congregation.

All of the others kept saying, “Just you wait,” “It isn’t over yet,” and “You need to keep praying so that God will show his mighty hand against these evildoers (meaning, I suppose, people who didn’t believe the election was stolen).” Some prophets began to backpedal, saying that maybe God didn’t mean Trump would win this time – maybe he would win next time, in 2024. Others began to re-define their terms, like saying that the “landslide” they mentioned was a landslide of evidence that would eventually show fraud in the election. All of this was being broadcast, announced, and otherwise posted to Christians across America right up until January 6.

After the January 6 insurrection (and it was an insurrection by any definition, but especially as it is used in the federal criminal code), Jeremiah Johnson decided to repent, apologize, and warn Christians to repent of their own idolatry of Trump. Sure, it would have been nice if he had done it earlier, but I chalk that up to him not completely understanding how the political process and the law work. Nevertheless, he wrote: “I would like to repent for inaccurately prophesying that Donald Trump would win a second term as the President of the United States. I refuse to blame the saints and say, ‘It didn’t come to pass because they did not pray enough.’ Nor will I proclaim, ‘Donald Trump actually won, so I was right, but now it has been stolen from him.’”  

Okay, I can get behind that. And you’d think a healthy Christian church would understand the need to apologize and repent.

Yet, a mere three days after his apology, he had to write, “Over the last 72 hours, I have received multiple death threats and thousands upon thousands of emails from Christians saying the nastiest and most vulgar things I have ever heard toward my family and ministry.”

To his credit, Johnson wrote: “If I helped to prop up this ideology concerning [Trump], I will need to repent again and stir up even more hell.”

Start repenting again, Jeremiah, because you did.

But you so-called Christians who threatened Johnson and said all those vulgar things to him need to repent as well. Maybe you were misled by people like Johnson, but that’s no excuse.

The reason that the “Christian” church of which I am a member is fully complicit in causing a treasonous insurrection against our Constitutional system is because it’s allowed politics to become dangerously intertwined with its theology. You can tell it’s true by merely looking at the pictures of the riot, which seemingly has equal numbers of Trump and Jesus or God flags flying above the chaos. It’s clear now that in many places in America, the church’s teachings are flawed, its theology is wrong, and its use of the term “evangelical” is laughable due to its actions, which are actually driving people away from God and the Bible. And we’re able to point to a clear culprit, which is politics.

The church is obviously split, because I (and others) railed against it for the last four years.  It’s time for the church (the body of Christians) to repent for sin and idolatry and come back into healthy and theologically correct teaching.  And it’s time for church members to kindly guide their church leaders toward a more biblical view of life and the world. If your pastor or church leader is preaching a primarily political message – subtly or overtly – without teaching our role as followers of Jesus as aliens in the natural world, then confront him or her for their own good. If they refuse to respond, then leave and find a church leader preaching/teaching the True Word of God and worshipping Jesus alone.

Note: After I drafted this, Sid Roth (It’s Supernatural) also “apologized,” but it was actually more of a justification than an apology. Moreover, despite seemingly understanding his error, he still couldn’t help himself from making overt political statements. There are good and true prophets out there, but you’ve got to use your discernment to find them.


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