End-Times Eschatology

"A Biblical Study Of Last Things"

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Why Christians Backslide

Posted by Brian Simmons on March 29, 2015

imageI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the temptations that Satan uses to lure Christians away from serving Christ.  We all know some believers who seemed to start off well, but somewhere in their journeys fell off the wagon, so to speak.  I mean, they trusted in Christ.  They read their Bibles every day.  They prayed daily.  They kept themselves free from sin and worldliness.  And then somehow, they seemed to lose all interest in the things of God.  Their fall was probably not immediate; it was certainly gradual.  But where are they now?

There are at least three people I work with who profess Christ as their savior.  Neither of them now shows any signs of being genuine, but there’s one guy who seemed to be going strong for awhile.  He was not afraid to confess Christ before others.  He never used to cuss or swear.  He would pray before every meal.  He obviously trusted in Christ.  Now he takes the Lord’s name in vain on a regular basis.  He no longer prays before lunch.  He hangs around with mockers and vain persons who have no interest in salvation through the blood of Christ.  He has evidently backslid.  But why?

When I look back at my own backsliding period, and trace the cause of my downgrade, I find that it all started with an occasional drink.  What seemed to be quite harmless was something that Satan used to get his foot in the door.  Once his foot was in the door, it wasn’t long before he was in my house, tearing stuff up.  I know of other Christians who have started their backslide in a similar manner.  It may start with something as morally poisonous as a pornographic image on one’s computer screen.  Or it could start as something so seemingly God-sanctioned as a promotion at work.  One opens the door to lust and adultery; the other to pride and the temptation to cheat and lie for our employer.  In all events, we need to keep ourselves watchful; because the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8).

People backslide because they allow idols in their life.  An idol doesn’t have to be a painted image.  It is anything that takes us away from God, causing us to put our trust in the things of this world.  It is something that we sacrifice to: not necessarily our money, but our time and our thoughts and interests.  A wedge can be a powerful tool, though it looks small and insignificant.  Once you get it under the door jamb, that door will remain open to whatever you decide to let in.  You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 5: 22-24).

We’re living in times right now when apostasy and backsliding are at their height.  Regardless of how strong you think your walk with Christ is, nobody is immune from backsliding.  Yes, Christ will keep His own unto the end; but the only way God’s grace can flow down to us is through faith (Ephesians 2: 8).  And it is faith in all that the Father has revealed to us through the Scriptures.  If we start putting our trust in idols, then our eye is no longer single, the body becomes full of darkness, faith ceases to effectually operate, and God’s grace is cut off.  As fruitless branches we fall from the vine, and are profitable for nothing (see John 15: 1-6).

Sooner or later The Lord will descend into the air to inaugurate a period of judgment upon the world.  Born again believers who have kept the word of His patience will be, like Enoch and Lot, raptured into His presence; whereas those who have backslidden and chased after things that do not profit, will be left to endure the tribulation.  If you think Satan and his engines of war to be formidable now, wait till God’s judgments sweep the world, for then the tempter will have free rein (Revelation 12: 12).

Christians backslide because they forget they are pilgrims called out of Egypt and traveling to a better country (1 Corinthians 10: 11).  They forget that this world and its baggage are all temporary, and could end tomorrow. Hast thou trusted in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection on the third day to save thee?  Thou hast done well.  Trust also in His power to lead thee through the wilderness of this sin-sick world, knowing that Canaan and it’s promises are right around the corner.  Blessed are all they who follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth.

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor” (John 12: 26).

Posted in Devotional | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lot’s Deliverance A Type of the Rapture

Posted by Brian Simmons on March 28, 2015

imageFor some years I’ve held to the view that the rapture of the church will not be enjoyed by all who call themselves Christians, but will be the special privilege of those who are spiritually prepared to meet the Bridegroom when He descends into the the air to set up His tribunal over earth.  This will occur at some point before the Great Tribulation.  It could even occur prior to the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week, however the Scriptures clearly posit the middle of the week as a decisive point in time.  More on this another time.

The majority of today’s evangelical commentators tell us that anyone who is born again before the rapture takes place will be raptured.  It doesn’t matter whether they are watching (or not) for our Lord’s coming, walking in the spirit or in the flesh, or even if they believe in a rapture at all.  Those teachers insist that to hold otherwise is to fall into dangerous error; while they avoid the clearest Scriptures that continually hold forth rapture as a reward that only those of a high spiritual caliber will attain.  See Philippians 3: 14.

To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of dialogue on this issue, because I don’t believe it’s worth arguing about.  We’re nearing the eleventh hour at a breakneck speed (in case you haven’t noticed), and soon we’re going to find out who’s right and who’s wrong.

Whenever I mull the issue over, I consider those letters that Jesus Christ wrote to the churches of Asia (Revelation 2-3).  I am convinced that these letters have the final answer, because they are Christ’s last words to His churches.  In these letters our Lord is telling us that those whose works are not worthy of their high calling, or who have become lazy and unwatchful, will have to endure the tribulation; while even those who “have a little strength” but have kept His testimonies and not denied His name, will be given an exit through that open door in heaven (Rev. 3: 8; 4: 1).  He said the same thing in some of His other parables and teachings (see Matthew 7: 24-27; 25: 1-13; Luke 12: 35-40; 42-48). But the majority of today’s teachers fail to get the point.

This brings us to the issue of Lot as a type of Christian rapture.  I read in a article not long ago, that Enoch and Lot are both types of that “blessed hope” for which we should be looking.  This point is agreed.  After all, we know that God could do nothing to Sodom by way of judgement until Lot had made his escape (Genesis 19: 22). And I think the parallel between Lot and the rapture becomes all the more clear when we remember what Jesus Christ said in reference to His own return from heaven: that it would come at a time in human history which would be like the days of Lot (Luke 17: 28-30).

The commentator spoiled the analogy, though, when he said that Lot is a type of the “carnal Christian” whose heart and interests are in line with Sodom.  That is, someone who was born again but has since backslid into sin and worldliness. The writer was trying to prove that even carnal Christians will get delivered from tribulation when the thrones are placed (see Daniel 7: 9-10) and our Lord prepares to judge the earth.

I’m not denying that it’s possible for a child of God to backslide.  We’ve all had times when we knew we were not living according to Christ’s will.  But that’s where the New Testament warnings should have kicked in to get us back on track.  Because there are different types of soil where the Word of God is spread, it is essential that we make sure we are the “good ground” in which the Word bears fruit, and not the ground of thorns or rocks (Matthew 13: 3-9).  As Peter said “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1: 10).  He wouldn’t have taught that if every believer was on cruise-control.

Peter knew what he was talking about.  That Lot was not the type of a “carnal Christian” he himself wrote when he detailed the false teachers of the last days, using Lot as an example of those whom The Lord will deliver from “temptation” (=tribulation).

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Peter 2: 7-8).

In all truth and fairness, does this sound like someone who had backslidden?  According to the above mentioned commentary, Lot’s heart was in Sodom.  Why, then, would he be vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked?  That does not sound right.  On the contrary, I believe Lot was a God-fearing person who had (like ourselves) the misfortune to live in a last-days society where wickedness was a way of life.  His portrait, as painted by Peter, describes precisely that attitude Christians who expect the rapture should have as they see these end times coming to a close.

We need not be fooled into thinking that unripened grain will be gathered into the garner when our Lord returns.  That which is not fit for harvesting will have to ripen under the hot suns of tribulation.  True, faith in Christ crucified for our sins and risen for our justification does indeed “save to the uttermost” them who call on Him.  However, the Gospel call clearly requires obedience (Romans 1: 5; 2 Timothy 2: 19). This always flows from a real saving faith, and is in fact that the real proof that we are saved.  Otherwise we are just spinning our wheels.  So Lot was delivered from Sodom.  And Christians who are spiritually prepared and watchful will be saved from the tribulation.

So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9: 28).

Posted in Devotional, End of the Age, Eschatology, Imminency, Parousia | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Christ Is Still The Answer!

Posted by Brian Simmons on March 21, 2015

image   I currently work at one of the major private universities in the U.S., in one of the most conservative areas of the U.S. (Dallas, Tx).  The college at which I work was once a bastion of Christian thinking, but has since turned into a hatching place for liberals and freethinkers. I don’t know whether this is keeping pace with the greater changes happening all across America.  But one thing I can say is, once an institution leaves its avowed Christian foundations, nothing of lasting moral value will ever be birthed therefrom.

In his last written epistle, the apostle Paul informed Timothy that in the last days perilous times would come.  Men would be lovers of themselves, and of pleasure more than of God (see 2 Timothy 3: 1-5).  I see this all around me: from the latest pop song which glorifies the flesh, right down to the very ethics of modern business, which encourages trampling of the rights of the poor and a cutthroat mentality (James 5: 1-6).  This is truly an age of spiritual wickedness, when Satan and his kingdom seem to be getting the upper hand.

Even in the church ministers are finding ways to circumvent preaching the truths of God’s word so that they don’t offend the itching ears of those whose hearts are rooted in the world, and who have no taste for the teachings of Christ and His apostles.  As the wild olive branches every day seem in danger of being cut off (Romans 11: 21),  the Jews make renewed efforts to hold their footing in the Holy Land.. All the while Islamic radicalists scheme and cajole behind the scenes to destroy forever the seed of Abraham.

On a human level, hearts are surging with despair.  Each day I pass people whose faces are etched with lines of grief and dissipation.  I know they are miserable.  They know they are miserable.  But yet they continue to reject the only remedy that can bring them health and healing: faith in a crucified and risen Christ.

What the world needs right now is a mighty wake up call.  And it cannot start with the secularists or new-age moralists, or even the universities, whose business is to equip young people to “change the world.”  It has to start with Christians.  And it has to begin now.

I believe strongly that each Christian can and must do his/her part to advance the cause of Christ before He returns the second time to bring judgement on the world.  Of course, we must be walking in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1: 7) before we can hope to make any positive impact.  The main reason Christians so often fail to give a meaningful witness, is that they are personally caught up in sin and disobedience, which hurts their testimony.

None of us is perfect.  However, we have to clean up our own houses before we can tell other people how dirty theirs are.  If that means getting rid of our TV’s or deleting our Facebook accounts or dissociating ourselves from questionable friends and activities, then it has to be done.  Because Christ told us we must strive to enter in at the strait gate (Luke 13: 24), we know some labor is involved.  We’re not working for salvation, but we are working because our faith is the real kind that results in obedience, and not that of lip service only (see James 2: 14-26).  As Christ said: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, Ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5: 20).

Soon The Lord will set His throne in the lower heavens, and will call to those who have watched and waited for His coming to “come up hither” (Revelation 4: 1; cf Gen. 7: 1).  Those left on earth amid the storms of Tribulation will have to weather their faith as best they can.. But never will they get another chance to witness for Christ with such privileges as they have today.

Yes, Christ is still the answer.  But we have to be ready to present that answer to all men: both by our words and actions.  We have all slipped astray at some point in our Christian walks.  But that doesn’t mean we need not be ready at some point to cast away the weights that hinder us and run with patience the race that is still before us (Hebrews 12: 1). Forget what is behind and reach forward to those things that are before (Phil. 3: 13).  The world needs your testimony right now.

Posted in Apostasy, Devotional, Faith, Gospel, Parousia | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Back To The Battlefront: An Update.. With Some Practical Observations

Posted by Brian Simmons on March 20, 2015

imageSometimes in life we get so caught up with a project, a cause, or a passion, that we lose sight of the real reason we’re here.  As a Christian, I’ve learned all too well the importance of seeking spiritual R & R when the forces of Apostasy hold sway.   The last five years have proven the truth of that.

When I first launched this blog in 2008 it’s main purpose was to combat certain false views of eschatology that were becoming increasingly vocal.. Particularly that heresy which holds “the resurrection is past already” (2 Tim. 2: 17-18).  After two years of actively fighting against heretics, I realized that nothing I could say would ever change a heretic’s mind or make him/her magically go away.  After all, heresy is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5: 20); and the carnal man is enmity against God (Romans 8: 7).  So how could arguments from the Holy Scripture ever prevail?  I was rating my apologetics skills too highly.

Also, I had to remember Paul’s teaching that there must be heresy in the visible church, that they which are approved may be made manifest (1 Cor. 11: 9).  That is, heresy exists to try the faith of God’s elect.  Nothing we do to root it out will ever get rid of the fact that it must always rear its ugly head.  But really, my conflict with heresy came to a head in September of 2010 when I saw that it was eroding my walk with Christ.  And so I decided to bow out.

During the next few years, I focused mainly on my music (I’m a guitarist and songwriter) as well as my career, which has taken up so much of my time that I’ve found little opportunity for blogging.  But in the rush and hustle of it all, I always kept this project in the back of my mind, remembering how in past years my articles were used to bless others and strengthen their faith in Christ.  But I needed a sufficient impetus to get me going again.. for I wasn’t about to get back into the dismal labyrinth of Christian apologetics without some sustainable thread of purpose.  I found it in the real world.

Last year was, of course, a pivotal year for anyone not living in an underground fallout shelter.  The rise of radical Islam, the Ebola scare, as well as an increase in lawlessness across all sectors of American life, made me realize in my moments of rest and reflection, that the last days were here; and that the time of Christ’s parousia nearer than ever.  I needed to stop sitting back like an old retired soldier and start doing something again.  But what would I do?

The answer is obvious.  The best I can do is follow my calling as a humble teacher of God’s word, and offer spiritual and Biblical insight into the challenges facing us in these end times.  I don’t expect (at least not at this time) to be as active as I was from 2008-2010.  My schedule makes that impossible. But I do feel some kind of obligation to continue these studies, to share my Scripture-gleanings with others that they may be refreshed both in mind and spirit.

Of course, there is good news to share as well.  Most of the heretics I combated in years past have dropped by the wayside.  Whole websites have been pulled down, many of the foremost apologists of error having dropped off the radar completely.  The view that Christ’s second coming occurred in A.D. 70 has become more and more marginalized, and is now generally recognized as a distortion and parody of New Testament teaching.  Wherefore I have no more need to hold its teachings up to the light of Scripture.  That phase is done with.  Now I can move onward into fresher fields of endeavor.

Posted in Apostasy, Devotional, Doctrine, Faith | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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