Over the years I have heard many proclaim from the pulpits of local churches and on TV and radio that there was a great revival coming to America. Oh, wouldn’t that be awesome if that were to happen! I’ve been in places where God was moving in a powerful way among all those in attendance, I’ve heard of the great revivals of the past, and I would love to be a part of another one. Wouldn’t you?
When I first heard these people proclaim a great revival yet to come, I was one that was excited and looking forward to it. But in recent years I’ve begun to view things from a different perspective, wondering if the great revival some are talking about would be post-rapture. When I look at the Biblical description of the end times, the last days, I don’t see a great revival taking place before the rapture. Instead, the Bible is very clear that those days will get bad, and it’s not just referring to the world at large. We also read that there would be a great falling away from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12), not the revival that is so often times promoted.
Several years ago it was easy to believe for a great revival coming to America, partly because America appears to be absent from Bible end-time prophecy, and partly because no one would ever think that the persecution experienced in other countries would ever come here in any form. Well, we live in a very different America now compared to just 10 years ago. We’re seeing the very liberal, anti-Christian movement infiltrate every aspect of our society more and more all the time. The very real threat of both domestic and foreign terrorists is growing every day, not to mention that there have been reports of ISIS within our borders. We’re experiencing an exponential increase of illegal aliens cross over into our country relatively unhindered, tremendously increasing our vulnerability to terrorist’s attacks within our borders, greatly increasing the threat of uncontrollable and incurable diseases to our citizens, creating an overwhelming demand on our economic system and financial stability, all of which could mark the end of America as we have known it to be since its inception in more than 200 years ago. This doesn’t take into account all the other aspects that seem to be tearing away at this great nation we call America, chipping away at it with greater enthusiasm than we’ve ever known before.
Despite all these things, I find it interesting and disheartening at the same time that many not only proclaim great revival is on its way, but also that things are going to get much better. They proclaim that things are going to get better, prosperity will increase for the believers, and that the threats facing America will suddenly be defeated by God before America is destroyed.
I’m reminded of Hananiah the prophet in the Old Testament. Do you remember him? In Jeremiah 27, God told Jeremiah to put yokes upon his neck to signify the bondage and captivity of Israel under King Nebuchadnezzar. We also read that God spoke with the kings, the priests and all the people that they were to be under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule until God said otherwise. God also told them that if a prophet, or someone else, were to tell them the time for them to break the bonds and come out from under the bondage of Nebuchadnezzar had come, that they were not to listen to them because that was a lie that did not come from Him. In Jeremiah 28, the prophet Hananiah came to rest of the prophets, the priests, and all the people telling them that the time of their bondage would end within two years. Because he was a prophet everyone took notice of what he had to say, including Jeremiah. Hananiah went even further by breaking the yoke that was around Jeremiah’s neck to symbolize that the time of bondage was about to end. It wasn’t until Jeremiah left and went his own way that God spoke to him letting him know that the words of Hananiah was not His words. So Jeremiah went back and confronted the prophet Hananiah, telling him that because he misled the people of God into thinking a lie as though it came from God, God would take his life within a year. I say that to say this, it doesn’t matter who it is that says it (a pastor, a teacher, a prophet, etc.), if they are proclaiming things that are contrary to what God says in His word, then it’s not from God and we ought not to listen to it.
Whether you look at Matthew chapters 24-25, the book of Revelation, or even some of the prophets of old who prophesied regarding these last days, and we are in the last days, you will find that the days we live in only get worse as time goes by until Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation period to defeat His enemies and establish His reign here on earth. The people that promote the idea that things are only going to get better are either “sticking their head in the sand” regarding what is in the news and happening all around them and how it all relates to Bible prophecy, or they’re reading from a different Bible. The difference between what they are promoting and what the Bible foretells about these last days is great.
I’ve recently became aware of a theology embraced by some that says it is the churches responsibility to overcome the enemies of Christ in any way they can, primarily through the government system, and that Christ cannot return until they do so. Obviously this group of people seems to think that things will get better because it has to in order for Christ to return, but there is a problem with this way of thinking. To begin with, they are not referring to the rapture, or the catching up of the Bride of Christ, because they don’t believe in it. So when they talk of Christ’s return, what they describe lines up with what we know to be Christ returns at the end of the tribulation period. Second, their idea that the church must first overcome the enemies of Christ before He can return is faulty and flies in the face of scripture. In Revelation 13:1-10, in the midst of the tribulation period, the Apostle John tells us that when the beast arises from the pit he was going to be given power and authority for 42 months, and with that he will be given the power and ability to not just make war with the saints, but also to overcome them. Third, in Revelation 17:12-14, John also tells us that when Christ returns the beast and those who are with him will make war against Jesus, but when they do Jesus will overcome and defeat them.
When the disciples asked Jesus regarding the signs of His return to set up His kingdom, and the signs of the end, the first thing He told them was to not be deceived (Matthew 24:3-5). A lot is said in the New Testament about being deceived, but for Jesus to indicate that is the first thing to watch out for tells us how bad the deceptions will be in these last days. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 that people will not listen to sound doctrine, but instead their own desires and because of their itching ears they will heap upon themselves teachers, turning their ears away from the truth and to fables. When I think of some of the things that people are saying in the times we live in, how that things are going to get better and things will be restored, including America, I can’t help but wonder if it is merely wishful thinking and having itching ears to those who support that wishful thinking. Yes, I would love to see God stop the surge of wickedness in all its forms and restore us into what He would have us to be, individually and as a nation, but the Bible tells me that is not the case for the days we now live in.
What does this mean for Christians? What this means is that we are in for some very rough days ahead, but we also have that blessed hope of His return for us, and if not then most assuredly on the other side of eternity. Some people like to scoff or attempt to discredit what the scriptures say about a rapture of the church, saying it is a doctrine of escapism, and I would like to know what is wrong with that? Jesus told us in Luke 21:34-36 to watch and pray that we’re counted worthy to escape that which is coming to pass. In Revelation 22:12-20 we read that the Spirit and the Bride both say “come quickly!” to Jesus, which must be a cry made before the rapture since the Bride will be with Him forever more from that time on. What we need to remember, though, is even though we are watching for His return to escape that which is coming to the earth, it is also important for us to be about the Father’s business while we’re here. Be mindful of the signs pointing to His return, and reaching out to others as His ambassadors until He returns. This is what we must be doing, both to be watching and praying and also to be working for the Father.
The good things that we’re hearing promoted and proclaimed regarding revival and the restoration of America, is it for itching ears?? I wonder.