2 Thessalonians 2
I don’t like talking about the “last days” very much.
First of all, it’s terrifying. Who wants to be here when the world is at its worst? Various conjectures exist regarding if and when Jesus will return, but the Christian will still be subject to plenty of corruption and suffering, no matter when the Lord makes His reappearance.
While this suffering is inescapable, the appointed hour of return is certainly not our call. Several modern false prophets have predicted the date of the world’s demise. So far, their success rate is 0%.
But in the context of the end of the world, there are some things we should be looking for, perhaps not as obsessively as the fanatical doomsday preacher, but as one that is observant of the seasons and holidays. Even more so, there is specific instruction on how to behave in contrast to everyone else’s conduct.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A falling away
Perhaps you go to a church that provides sound instruction from the Bible, accountability, selfless service, and Spirit-driven decision-making. That’s awesome.
But perhaps not. Your church might be what Paul is referring to: even the lip service believer will be drawn away and deceived. Whole congregations will swing their vote to worship the false god in the temple, for he will proclaim to be god, doing miracles and whatnot, and people will notice and be enamored.
Be careful not to be consumed; be vigilant. Especially in the world of firestorm rumors via social media, many will be willing and susceptible to be swept off of their feet.
One who puts himself above all that is called God
People already don’t like the idea of God, the concept of an invisible being that floats around and tells you what to do. We’ve already fictionalized the Lord in our society, and bringing it up draws doubts and ire among unbelievers, especially if one is sincere about their faith.
This man in the temple, however, will say he is God — not outright, but he will — and show himself as an earth-changing power. People are waiting for a guy like this to show up, some world leader to take over and finally set everything straight for good. Beware of this, for the Lord will not unify this world, but divide it with a sword.
If a man props himself up and says he has all the answers, beware.
Pleasure in unrighteousness
This seems obvious, but many Christians already go about sin lightly, continuing in their behavior because they know they can just do another cannonball into the sea of grace.
But corruption begets further corruption. It’s contagious. The results are inevitable — the compromising Christian will eventually forgo the truth and embrace the pleasure of unrighteousness.
In my opinion, this is the most compelling case for the last days being nearer than ever.
WHAT TO DO
(Sanctification of the) Spirit and (belief of the) truth
How must we respond? Like a man clinging firmly to a ladder, gripping the rungs and keeping each foot planted.
Lest we get terribly excited about the demise of the adversary, our foundation must be secure, not wavering or uncertain. Christ shall remain Lord, we shall remain obedient, and the Word shall remain the truth in all matters.
It will be easy to get swept into lawlessness,for all things will be nearing an end, and moral behavior will be distant in the mind of humanity; it becomes so much more imperative to be resolute!
Stand fast and hold onto traditions
Do you have some good habits? Do you pray and scour the Word regularly? Keep it up.
The foundation of these habits cannot be anything other than the Lord’s instruction, by spoken word or written letter, and not adages provided by trendy Christianity. Check with the Spirit and with the Bible, not your conscience or your heart, to see if your faith is solid. In a corrupt world, this will make all the difference.
The Lord Jesus shall comfort you
Above all else, even in failure, the Lord Jesus is present. He is alive and desires to comfort His children. Take heart, even when this world is shattering, that His strong arm is still capable of saving you. We must remain firm in this. “Take heart, I have overcome the world,” He said. And even in turmoil and despair, He will overcome and comfort His own.