Joe Biden once famously said, “Everything that should be up is down and everything that should be down is up,” when he and Barack Obama were campaigning the first time for the Oval Office.
In a sense, Joe Biden was right. We do live in a world that is increasingly Topsy Turvy. What most people once considered good is now called evil and evil is called good. Back when I was in school, homosexual behavior was considered immoral. In fact, sodomy was outlawed in all of the thirteen original colonies (although that was well before my time). Today the gay lifestyle is celebrated. Here in Chicago we even have a Gay Pride Parade every year and all the dignitaries turn out. If they don’t, they are accused of ‘homophobia,’ a condition that didn’t even exist before the 1960s.
When I was a child, pornography, although protected as free speech, was banned from public libraries. Now the Bible is banned from public schools and pornography is readily available on the Internet. Prayer, references to God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ are strictly forbidden in commencement addresses. At the same time, many schools are providing places for Muslim students to say their prayers.
Not so long ago freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to redress of grievances were guaranteed to all individuals under the Constitution. Now the exercise of those freedoms are denied to those whose opinions might offend some protected class like gays or women or Muslims or blacks. Crimes against one of these protected classes may also receive stricter penalties if the courts deem them “hate crimes.” So now you can be prosecuted for what you think. The Southern Law and Poverty Center has made a business out of branding Christian groups that support traditional values as “hate groups.” Look up the Wikipedia entries for organizations like the American Family Association, The Family Research Council, the Illinois Family Institute and you will see what I mean.
Most recently the government has announced that it will withhold federal funds from any public institution that won’t allow men who feel feminine into the women’s bathrooms. Only 0.3% of the population even support this position.
The Bible Predicted Our Day
The Bible describes our society this way, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Is 5:20).
Second Timothy 3:1-5 further characterizes the people of our day as, “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
Romans chapter 1 adds, “They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Rom 1:28-32)
The Coming Judgment
Jesus compared the days in which we live to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. God unleashed his wrath against those two cities in a hail of fire and brimstone for their sexual immorality. Interestingly, archaeologists have found burial grounds containing the charred corpses of over 1,500,000 people who were incinerated when these cities were consumed.
Jesus also compared our day to the days before the flood when he destroyed everything that breathed except for eight people and the animals they brought with them on the Ark. The people of that generation were totally unprepared for the judgment that was coming. “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Mt 24:37-39). Today scientists have found evidence of sea life even in the Himalayan mountains, the tallest mountain range on earth, proof that the ocean once covered the entire earth.
People today are also totally unsuspecting of the judgment that is coming upon them because they have never seen a display of God’s awful wrath. But they do have an innate sense that their end will not be pretty, as indicated by the popularity of apocalyptic films in the movie theaters. I have yet to see a movie where the earth just keeps getting better and better until we reach a final utopia!
No Champions of Justice and Righteousness
So “What has changed?” you ask. There has always been evil in the world. Hitler killed an estimated 11 million people, Stalin killed about 6 million of his own countrymen. Add Idi Amin of Uganda, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Omar Khaddafi of Libya, Mao Tse Tung of China, the Tutsi’s and Hutus of Rwanda and other modern dictators and the numbers rise to many millions more. But these were all regional atrocities. Nothing like this had ever occurred in free democratic states until abortion became an accepted and common practice. Now you can add places like the United States, Canada, and Western Europe to the list of mass murderers. In Europe, nearly a third of pregnancies end in abortion. That number is twenty-one percent in the U.S.. In Canada the number is thirty-one percent.
Historically, God has always provided a bulwark against the spread of evil. For the past one hundred years, it has been the United States. We stepped in to wage war on behalf of Europe twice when the forces of evil were about to overwhelm it. We also defended Asia against imperialist Japan and South Korea against their totalitarian neighbors to the north. But today America has withdrawn from its role as protector of the free world. Instead our leaders view us as the focus of evil in the modern world and seek to diminish our influence. And that deeply troubles people in other parts of the world who see us as the only remaining stopgap against evil.
I recently received a letter from the director the Illinois Family Institute. He met with some church leaders in the Sudan. They said they are very concerned about the direction our country has taken and are earnestly praying for our leaders. They fear the loss of American influence in the world will put the church in their part of the world in grave danger.
The Rapid Spread of Evil
Evil is growing at an exponential rate today not just because the forces that have restrained it are being removed, but the forces of evil are becoming more organized. They are embodied primarily in a couple of movements. One is the sexual liberation movement headed by gay rights activists and feminists and the other is Islamic terrorism. These two foes are gaining momentum as they never have before and are sweeping away all opposition.
Islamic terrorism is rearing its ugly head all over the world, posing an existential threat not just to the countries of the Middle East, but even to Europe and other parts of the western world. Even the city of Dearborn, Michigan here in the heart of America has come to be known as ‘Dearbornistan’ for its large Muslim population. London has a Muslim mayor. Sweden and Germany are about to collapse under the weight of hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants who are gang raping their women and insisting on Sharia Law. Even our own President recognizes the right of Islamic terrorists to the territory of Israel by referring to them not as ‘ISIS’ or ‘The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,’ but ‘ISIL,’ or ‘The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.’ ‘Levant’ is a term that refers to the entire region from Saudia Arabia to Iraq and includes Israel.
Not satisfied with simply ‘coming out,’ gay rights activists have insisted on all the privileges of matrimony. They are aggressively attacking those who refuse to participate in their ceremonies. Bakers and florists and photographers who deny them service have been driven out of business by huge lawsuits. Christian pastors who refuse to perform their weddings have been jailed. In the wake of their success, all forms of sexual perversion are being normalized. Incest and necrophelia have been legalized in Sweden. Bestiality has been legalized in Canada. Advocates of polygamy are now pressing their case in America. The president of the United States has just announced that the military will pay for sex change operations for those soldiers who request them.
How Should the Christian Respond?
Jesus warned of our day when he said, “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. When they sprout leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. So also you, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Lk 21:29-31) As Christians, we should be very sensitive to the nature of the times because we know the end of the story. But, if you look at the Facebook pages of many Christians, you get a picture of happy-go-lucky people riding in the back of the wagon that is headed for the cliff singing, “Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along!” It’s all about fun, food, family, and friends, with hardly a word about faith. Our preachers proclaim the love of God, but rarely mention his justice or warn of his judgment.
Jesus tells us that we should respond to changing times no differently from the way we live out our faith every day, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.” (Mt 24:45-47). We simply cannot go on presuming on God’s grace as though today will be just like yesterday and tomorrow will be just like today. We must turn our affections away from this world and set them on the glories of heaven. We should look forward with eager anticipation to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and warn our unsaved friends and family that they will one day bow their knees before him, whether they want to or not. We should begin to divest ourselves of this world’s possessions and give as much as we can to support the spread of the gospel. And we must recognize the myriad of opportunities our collapsing world presents for the advance of God’s kingdom as desperate people seek escape from the powers of darkness.