(This is a short panorama of the sudden rise of the Church of Jesus Christ, followed by the fall of the errant, compromised and false church and the rise of the Antichrist in these latter days.
Do not despair at what you are about to read. This is all part of God’s Glorious “Plan of Perfection”. We have an important part to play and we must fulfill our role. The End is nearer than you think. Rejoice!).
God’s plan is unfolding exactly as He purposed; from The Creation, through the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man to the Great Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus from Egypt, the possessing of The Promised Land, the Destruction of the First Temple and the Jewish Captivity in Babylon, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Destruction of the Second Temple, our steady march through time has been exactly as Bible prophecy has foretold. We have entered an era leading to the destruction and, eventually, a rebirth of the heavens and the earth.
The Purpose of God’s Eternal Plan is “Perfection”. He is maturing and perfecting His people into His image, ultimately to live in Perfect harmony with Him and with one another, in a New and Perfect heaven and earth.
“Because by a single offering He has made perfect for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
Each and every chapter, verse and word in the Bible, when viewed within this context of God’s Eternal Plan of Perfection, begins to make perfect sense.
The advent and rise of Christianity were sudden, dramatic and explosive despite being birthed in a crucible of severe, violent and bloody persecution. (Despite the risks, the early Church did not, shrink back to destruction, but followed Jesus in faith and practice for they had faith for the safekeeping of the soul. See Hebrews 10:39)
What was it about early Christianity that led so many to sacrifice everything, including their lives, in order to become a follower and a disciple of Jesus?
It was both a promise and a hope. A promise of forgiveness of one’s failed and sinful past. A hope of a future worth living, now, and an eternity with God in heaven. The promise and hope were played out in people’s lives through demonstrable love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God within you. (The early Church knew this and practiced it; the postmodern church seems to have forgotten.)
The Christian community was becoming known for its generosity, its humility and its commitment to a quiet and humble lifestyle of faith. The Christian community selflessly cared for one another and for others, giving and expecting little in return. (This was the way of life for the early church; the postmodern church has forgotten and has become self-serving in many ways.)
The greatest criticism of Jesus and His Church, (the Christian Community), was who they ministered to and kept company with the sick and the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed and the outcast. Jesus responded, saying “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” (This was the model and the way of the early church; today, the practice of this teaching and example of Jesus is sporadic at best.)
Although the penalty for becoming a Christian in the early church was often a beating, stoning and death, the Church grew exponentially. The Church was a movement of God.
Then something tragic happened.
AD 313 The Church expanded into Rome, and it gained recognition. It grew in power and popularity. It obtained wealth, buildings, property and influence. It became an institution.
AD 380 The Church expanded into Europe. It was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It grew in wealth, stature, power and influence. It had become a culture.
AD 1607 The Church reaches America.
AD 1681 The Church became corporate. It had become a business and incorporated. It became regulated by the government.
The Corporate Church grew. It needed money to support growth and expansion, which meant the Corporate Church needed more people.
AD 1777 The state of Virginia granted tax exemption to houses of worship.
AD 1894 The corporate church was granted tax exemptions by the Federal Government.
AD 1954 The Federal Government regulated what a church could and could not say in order to retain tax-exempt status.
The church continued to grow, and in order to attract more people the Corporate Church lowered its membership and doctrinal standards. More people became ‘members’ and gave more money to support more growth.
The Church corporation is complete with leaders, boards and membership and a business model.
Local churches compete against one another for members (customers). The church is selling itself in “three-line slogans”.
The Church members now have choices and have become religious consumers. Church people can shop around for the religious brand and standards that best suits them. (2 Timothy 3)
The Leadership (pastors and preachers) have become CEOs, disciples have become church leaders, growing their 501(c)(3) business models.
Record numbers of pastors quitting because of stress, burnout or are being fired by their congregations (some stats say 1500 – 1700 leave “the ministry” each month).
Church debt in America soars; church foreclosures soar.
AD 1968 The church ordains homosexuals as clergy.
AD 1972 The United church of Christ ordains homosexual clergy
AD 2010 The Lutheran church ordains homosexual clergy
AD 2012 The Presbyterian church ordains homosexual clergy
Internationally, churches that have ordained openly lesbian or gay clergy include the Church of Scotland, the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Church of Sweden, the Church of Norway, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Iceland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Methodist Church in Britain, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the United Protestant Church in Belgium, the Swiss Reformed Church, the United Protestant Church of France, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Anglican Church in Canada, the Old Catholic Church, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church and the United Church of Christ in Japan.
AD 2020 The church is losing and has lost influence. The church in 2020 is losing members.
AD 2021 The church-at-large is teaching and living a different Gospel than that of the Apostles.
A new and revolutionary message known as the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been largely abandoned, and as Aristotle postulated, “nature (and the world) abhors a vacuum”. This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics and are soon filled. The same could be said to be true about human nature.
The teaching and practices of Jesus and the Bible were abandoned or replaced by self-serving methods of commerce, entertainment, comfort or exploitation people felt betrayed and they dropped out or rebelled. A void had been created.
Now, that void is being filled. Enter, Critical Race Theory. WOKE ideologies. The Emergent Church. Transgenderism. LGBQT ‘rights’. BLM. Gender Neutral ideologies. The ‘new Marxism’. Abortions-on-demand. Euthanasia of the elderly.
The popular cry from Christians in the postmodern 21st century is to “put prayer back in schools” or to “return to the Bible”. But until we, Christians, forsake sin and return to the ways and attitudes of Jesus, no outward practice will bring us a saving relationship with God; we are saved only by God’s grace, through obedient faith in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24:3, records, “And as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Then, in Matthew 24:4, Jesus recounts to His disciples, the breaking of the first four Tribulation Seals which had begun in or around A.D. 30 and would continue to intensify and overlap with one another and the 5th tribulation seal, until the arrival of The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord (The 6th Tribulation Seal).
“And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. Verse 5. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. Verse 6. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. Verse 7. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Verse 8. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.
It is urgent that “The Church”, that is the members of Christ’s Body, you and I, must turn away from the apostate church and surrender ourselves as bondservants of Jesus, in His service, as did the early Church. The time is short.
Jesus continues in Matthew 24: 9, describing a great persecution of the church, the great apostasy and the rise of false prophets and the spirit of antichrist. “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. Verse 10. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. Verse 11. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. Verse 12. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold”.
The point is that God will finish what He had started: The Perfecting of His Church, through purging, cleansing and purifying by way of the first half of the 7 yeare tribulation period (beginning with the breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal.
Then comes judgment of all the earth, beginning with the 7th Trumpet Judgement. We need to be ready and understand what God is doing in these last days leading up to the breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal and the rapture of the Church.
Read Daniel 12:5-12,“Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the stream and the other on that bank of the stream. And someone said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time (12 months), times (12 months), and half a time, (six months, or a total of 42 months = 3.5 years; the first half the 7 year tribulation period); and as soon as they finish smashing the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. But as for me, I heard but did not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words will be kept secret and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who is patient and attains to the 1,335 days! But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will rest and rise for allotted portion at the end of the age.” These are of Daniel’s 70 Weeks.
NOTES: For clarification, please first read Daniel 9:27, “And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.”
The “seventy weeks” prophecy is one of the most significant and detailed Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. It is found in Daniel 9. The chapter begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging the nation’s sins against God and asking for God’s mercy. As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him a vision of Israel’s future.
The Divisions of the 70 Weeks
In verse 24, Gabriel says, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city.” Almost all commentators agree that the seventy “sevens” should be understood as seventy “weeks” of years, in other words, a period of 490 years. These verses provide a sort of “clock” that gives an idea of when the Messiah would come and some of the events that would accompany His appearance.
The prophecy goes on to divide the 490 years into three smaller units: one of 49 years, one of 434 years, and one 7 years. The final “week” of 7 years is further divided in half. Verse 25 says, “From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’” Seven “sevens” is 49 years, and sixty-two “sevens” is another 434 years:
49 years + 434 years = 483 years.
The Final Week of the 70 Weeks
Of the 70 “sevens,” 69 have been fulfilled in history. This leaves one more “seven” yet to be fulfilled. Most scholars believe that we are now living in a huge gap between the 69th week and the 70th week. The prophetic clock has been paused, as it were. The final “seven” of Daniel is what we usually call the tribulation period.
Daniel’s prophecy reveals some of the actions of the Antichrist, the “ruler who will come.” Verse 27 says, “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’” However, “in the middle of the ‘seven,’ . . . he will set up an abomination that causes desolation” in the temple. Jesus warned of this event in Matthew 24:15. After the Antichrist breaks the covenant with Israel, a time of “great tribulation” begins (Matthew 24:21, NKJV).
From this we can find the answer to the question in Daniel 12, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” In the middle of the ‘one week’ which is equal to 3.5 years, the wonders of purging, cleansing and refining of His Church is completed, the abmonination of desolation will take place, and the begins the second 3.5 years of the Tribulation period when God will pour out His Wrath, cast Satan, the Beast and those not found in the Lamb’s book of life, into the eternal lake of fire.
The breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal will usher in the final 7 years of the Great Tribulation, also known as Daniel’s 70th Week. (See Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again.
And Matthew 24:29-31, tells us, “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET BLAST, and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
It will be at the end of the Age that Jesus will have defeated the the Antichrist and the beast and cast them into the eternal lake of fire. God, then will create a new heaven and a new earth. The walls will be jasper; and the city will be pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall will be decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone will be jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates will be twelve pearls; each one of the gates will be a single pearl. And the street of the city will be pure gold, like transparent glass.
There will be no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city will have no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God will illuminate it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:18-27).
Rather than pointing out the state of the church in this postmodern age, I am appealing to you to come out of the church lethargy that is so prevelant, and enter the ministry God has given you; discover and employ the Spiritual Gifts given you by the Holy Spirit.
Your Brother and Friend,