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Signs of the end

 

 

The signs of the end of the age and of His return seem to be in place.  Deception is rampant and there are many who proclaim themselves to be divine.  We are now engaged in World War III as a struggle against Islamic fundamentalism which seeks to literally destroy the nation of Israel and its people along with the United States which is considered to be the “Great Satan.”  We have seen an unprecedented rise in natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes.  The last century was the bloodiest century in the history of the world.  Africa is dying and now the world shudders at the thought of a pandemic caused by the Avian flu.  Many have turned away from the faith of their fathers and there is an outright assault on the Christian faith.  You can’t discriminate against anyone except a Christian; that is perfectly acceptable.  We are polarized as a people due to the sovereignty or illegal immigration issue and our leaders seem ill-equipped to deal with the problem.  Evil reigns, wickedness flourishes and apathy rules.  Many despair and wonder how all of this could happen, especially now when we, as a people, have advanced so far.  So what is it that we should really be concerned about?

Ephesians 6:12

** New International Version

King James Version

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

 

 

We are engaged in an eternal spiritual struggle and that struggle will determine the final chapter for all mankind.  It is a war, a war that fully engages our very being but a war that many fail to perceive.  It is a war that leaves many wounded in its wake.  It is a war that is strategic and calculating and involves every person everywhere.  It is a war that is orchestrated by a realm that we do not often see directly but only indirectly.  It is a war that has an antagonist and a protagonist.  It is a war led by the most devious and evil mind every created; that mind is the spirit of the antichrist or Satan himself.

The good news is that we can recognize what is going on around us.  It is within our purview to test everything we hear, everything we see, everything we experience.

1 John 4:1-3

** New International Version

King James Version

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

 

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

 

This passage is clear that Jesus Christ is the standard; Jesus Christ is the test.  Unless that spirit, teaching or belief has Jesus Christ as the Son of God at its center, it is false and is the spirit of the antichrist.  This spirit was and now is in the world today and it manifests itself as evil incarnate.  It leaves a path of destroyed lives, ruin and anarchy.  The problem is that it disguises itself as concepts or ideals that, at first blush, seem harmless or even beneficial, e.g. equality of ideas, tolerance of lifestyle, open-mindedness and acceptability.  However, depending on the context, these ideas can be anything but harmless.

God also provides the protection and the weapons to deal with these ideas.  It is clear, according to scripture, that we are in a fight for our spiritual lives and the spiritual lives of those around us. 

Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-18

** New International Version

King James Version

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  * * * 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  * * *

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

 

 

 

It is a mighty battle and in the end, there are no neutral parties.  Therefore, each and very day we need to gird ourselves with the full armor of God:  truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith and salvation through Jesus Christ, our Deliverer. 

There are two offensive weapons listed in this passage:  the sword of the Spirit being the Word of God and prayer.  Prayer is emphasized as a weapon to be utilized at all times and on all occasions for “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16).

We are at war and that war is with the spirit of the antichrist.  This war takes no prisoners and no truce will ever be offered or accepted.  There can only be one final outcome.  Fortunately, the outcome is foreseen and we will overcome through the power of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but in the meantime, we need to understand what we are up against.  If you have been on the sidelines and observing what is going on, you need to get in the game.  Time is growing short; the end is near; and, the outcome is crucial.  Won’t you do it before it is too late?

 

 

By John  Funk

 

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