Today I want to conclude this series on the Signs of the Last Days. While I believe these verses are indicative of the last days approaching, they also refer to what is going to happen following the rapture of the church.
Christians, while we are going to escape the Seven Year Tribulation period, we will NOT escape the suffering. Last week, I said that there were three signs, but there are really four. Look at what Jesus says in vv. 9, 10 as He gives us the sign of persecution. You’ve heard me say again and again that there have been more martyrs for the Christian faith in the last 100 years than in the previous 1900 years. We sometimes miss that because it isn’t happening yet in America. But it’s coming. We’ve seen persecution come to life around the world. It’s always been there, getting progressively worse in places like Russian, China, and North Korea. Now the Middle East is exploding in Christian persecution due to the rise of ISIS. And what we are seeing now in Great Britain, Canada, and beginning in the U.S. because of the cry for political correctness and equal rights is that Christians are being harassed, spat on, beaten, fined, arrested, and jailed for speaking the truth about sin and sinful men. Look at how Jesus put it: “many will be offended….” Sound familiar? But again, we haven’t seen anything yet because this political correctness is going to take hold in the church — not among true believers because the Bible says that true believers are secure in Jesus Christ. But there will be nominal Christians — those who say Lord, Lord, but Jesus responds to them with “depart from me for I never knew you” — who will join in the cultural battle cry, who will betray those who stand of the truth of God’s Word. And the love of many will grow cold. Look with me at 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3. Paul makes it clear. In the last days, there will be a great falling away. The word Paul used is apostasia, from which we get our word apostasy. And we often define that word as a falling away. We would use it to describe the trend that is taking place in our churches as evidenced by the research that is being done and by what is happening in the churches around us. But more than that, the word literally means “rebellion.” We are talking about an all out war on the Truth of God’s Word, a rejection of Christian principles we have held dear for generations. It’s bad now, but it’s getting worse.
After the rapture of the church, it will be even worse. Based on the book of Revelation during the first half of the Tribulation period as many as 3.65 billion people will die in the inescapable judgment of a Holy God. But Paul says in I Th. 5:9 that those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are “not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those who have placed their faith and trust in Him will be spared from this terrible Day of the Lord. But those who have never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior on that day will not be spared. And I believe that day is drawing near. No, the end is not yet, but it’s close. That’s why I believe it is imperative that we sound the alarm, that we spread the word, that we work, for the night is coming when men shall work no more. That’s why we must be about the Father’s business of reaching a lost world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.