Many point out that it seems the world is getting worse with more natural disasters, wars, violence, & moral corruption than ever before. So these must be the “last days” as foretold in Scripture. But is that really the case? Yes & no. We’ve actually been living in the last days ever since Jesus first appeared! The “end times” includes the entire Church Era until the Second Coming of Christ (which could be anytime!). All those terrible things have been happening throughout history. So is it really worse, or does it just seem worse because we’re more aware of bad things going on due to media coverage & the larger populations affected?
In some ways hasn’t the world actually grown better? Some dreadful diseases have been wiped out. Medical & technological breakthroughs have improved the quality & quantity of life. Christian principles are accepted standards in many nations, even if they’re not consistently practiced. Slavery & polygamy have greatly been diminished even if not eradicated. Even though there’s still human trafficking & forced child labor, the status of women & children has been improved immeasurably in most places. Social & economic conditions in almost all nations are far better than they used to be. There’s more missionary activity than at any time in the past. Bible societies circulate more Bibles each year than were circulated in all previous centuries combined, & are made available for free online. Christian teaching is spread over the internet, radio, TV, & publications.
There have been numerous times when things seemed much worse than now & that the light of the Gospel may go out: the Barbarian invasions & the fall of Rome in the 5th century; the Dark Ages; the Inquisition when tens of thousands of believers were tortured & executed by the political church; the Muslim invasions of the 7th & 8th centuries; the Black Plague in the 14th century wiped out a third of the population; the 30-Years War devastated much of central Europe in the 17th Century; & two World Wars.
Yet, much of our “culture” has thrown off restraint & become senseless (no “common sense”) & lawless. It has flipped truth & morality upside down. How did everything get so twisted? How do you explain our culture’s embrace of so much evil? It has to be more than “natural” causes at work because it’s happened so dramatically & quickly.
Essentially, our culture began kicking God out of society 60-some years ago. When God goes out the door, it leaves a vacuum where demonic spirits can rush in (Matt. 12:43-45). There can be no such thing as a “secular” or neutral public square. There can be no “values-free” values. I believe we’re seeing what Scripture warns about—God giving rebellious people over to a reprobate/depraved mind (Rom. 1). Yet, it was also happening in the first century as it is happening now.
Deception is everywhere & more pervasive than ever. We don’t believe the government anymore about anything. We don’t believe the media or the corporate news. The internet is a wasteland of “misinformation.” Artificial intelligence threatens to ratchet it up to unprecedented levels. We’re being brainwashed & gaslighted to believe the most obvious & ridiculous lies which you’re not allowed to question or disagree with. Yet, long before Christ, the world was under the deception of vile & cruel religions, mythologies, occultism & superstitions. It’s nothing new.
The recent explosion of wickedness has turned our culture into a far different one than even just a few years ago. Vice is now virtue, & virtue is now vice (Isaiah 5:20). Perversions & degeneracy are no longer secret, shameful things, but are openly promoted & applauded. Everyone from children to churchgoers are deluged in voyeuristic images & digital prostitution. The marketplace is obsessed with it. How do you explain the sudden embracing of deviancy & androgyny by all levels of culture from the government to the schools to the corporations? How do you explain the devaluing of children’s lives & innocence? Drugs, gambling, vulgarity & f-words are mainstream & commonplace. Yet, ancient cultures also were awash in wickedness, debauchery, & human sacrifice.
Persecution of Christians & martyrdom is happening in many parts of the world & ramping up elsewhere. More Christians have been put to death in the last century than all previous centuries combined. You might think it can’t get any worse than it is now—but it can! Back in the time of the Apostles, it might mean being thrown to the lions or set on fire. However, Christianity in the “free” West seems to be experiencing a “great falling away,” a time of departing from the faith to follow deceitful spirits & demonic teachings (2 These. 2:3, 1 Tim. 4:1). It’s even happening in some “Christian” denominations & congregations.
Deception, wickedness, & persecution are the marks of demonic dominion. Can things get worse? Oh yeah. The younger generations are being brought up as natives to this “culture” & not even being exposed to the Bible or church. It’s like the days of the Judges of the Old Testament—by the time Joshua & the following generation had died off, “another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (Josh. 2:10). In the past, when things have gotten bad, our culture generally chose the road to revival instead of the road to ruin. Maybe not this time, yet I’m still hopeful the right path will be taken.
But if not, what can we do? Stand firm on the solid rock of Scriptural truth. “Culture” is always temporary & forever changing because it’s built on shifting sand (Matt. 7:24-27). Come out of the corrupt world under the sway of sin & Satan. Be separate & live differently—in the world but not of it (2 Cor. 6:14-18, John 17:15-16, Rev. 18:4-5). Be light in the darkness—a city on a hill (Matt. 5:14). Get your life in order & let the Church be the true alternative society (1 Pet. 4:17). While we can affirm our identity as “the remnant”—a small minority still living full-out for Jesus—we cannot settle for it. We will be like those in Acts 17:6 who caused trouble & turned the world upside down by bringing the Good News of Jesus!