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FROM THE PULPIT: Is this the end Christians are anticipating?
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FROM THE PULPIT

FROM THE PULPIT: Is this the end Christians are anticipating?

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James Pence

James James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

Coronavirus. Murder hornets. The frozen sun event. Racial tensions, riots, and demonstrations for social justice. Unrest in our country and an electorate divided like never before. We dare not ask what else can go wrong with 2020.

Like you, and not a few of my colleagues, we of the religious persuasion have asked is this really the beginning of the end? I am certain when the Spanish Flu came in 1918 and was followed by World War I and then followed by the Great Depression, which ultimately led into World War II people thought the stage was set for the end then also.

I remember my Grandmother telling me they even thought Hitler was the Anti-Christ during that time.

If Hitler and the Axis of evil had their way, we would be living in a world we would not want or desire. That much is certain.

Many Bible scholars point to Matthew 24:15-16 telling us about the end of time. Matthew writes, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel — let the reader understand — then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

We know, historically, this came about in 70 A.D. when Roman armies burned down the temple in Jerusalem, and the streets literally ran red with the blood of the slaughtered. The destruction was that great.

And yet this passage, along with passages in Daniel and Ezekiel and Mark 13:14 also serve as a reminder of the kind of things that will happen at the end of time, as Jesus returns to earth to pronounce judgment against all unrepentant sin. Many believe, the temple, and Israel, recognized as a nation in 1948, will fall once again in the future, and as Israel goes so will the end of the world occur.

But prophesy is always best understood in hindsight. We will know how it all happens if we are here when it all comes to pass.

I believe, from what I gather from Scriptures, that we may really be seeing the true beginning of the end unfold. Whether that happens in seven years or tarries another 1,000 years remains to be seen. I don’t see how it could be that long, but the Bible reminds us that God is patient, not willing that anyone should perish but that all come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9.

Why do I say that? First, let me clear on one thing. We have been living in the end times, since Christ ascended to the father and the church age began. For more than 2,000 years we , as Christians, have been longing and anticipating the return of the Lord.

Secondly, I believe the stage is being set because we are as divided as never before. The political and social unrest the diseases coming upon us, and the direction the country is headed in being divided instead of united is a recipe for the fall of our great country.

That would agree with Biblical prophecy which mentions Israel, Rome, Iran, Iraq and Middle Eastern countries at the time of the anti-Christ, but you find no mention of the United States being a world player in the end. Some speculate we will become part of a New World Order, taken over by European countries as we all face the final enemy at the battle of Armageddon.

Who would have believed that just four months ago an economy that was booming more than it had in at least 20 years was shut down?

Who would have thought that churches would be closed, schools would be out for the summer, and we would have to think of ways to live in a “new normal” because of a world-wide pandemic?

Who could have guessed that racial tensions would hit a turning point and threaten to divide us further as a nation of Blue and Red states? Make no mistake. There is a warning here for believers in Christ. The warning is clear.

This could be the beginning of the “birth pangs” the Bible speaks of that will result in America’s fall and not being mentioned in the book of Revelation.

During a great Civil War, Abraham Lincoln quoted from Mark 3:25 when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Are we not seeing the fallout of decades of such division coming home to roost?

I have no crystal ball and won’t begin to say who will win the presidential election in November, but whoever he is will have a lot of fence-mending to do if we are to even hope that this nation is united and as one again. I have hope that it can happen, but every day of further unrest and political division makes that hope grow dim.

So how should the Christian respond? If it truly is the beginning of the end, then like the early Christians, “Maranatha” should be our song: “Even so, Lord Jesus come quickly.”

Though it will be hard, painful and arduous as we live through it, this is what generations have longed and prayed for. Now, to those who do not believe and trust in Jesus as their Lord and personal savior, I would say this is not a time that needs to terrify you.

It is a warning, an invitation, a chance to get your life right with the Lord. The patience of the Lord is to ensure that many will come to him and receive him as their Lord and savior, repent of their sin and be immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of those sins.

We should all be living for a savior who has an eternal home where there is no more pain, no death, no division, no crying, no inequality and just one, bright eternal day.

James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

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