“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24: 9-13 ESV
The verses above are the words of Jesus, painting a dim and foreboding picture of the end times.
They ring in the ears of those who watch current events unfolding in this country and see how well they fit what is going on.
How can we not?
Certainly lawlessness is increasing in this country, and around the world, by leaps and bounds.
I’ve even come across some Christians who seemed to have thrown up their hands and written it all off because, well, it’s the end times and this has all got to happen before Jesus returns.
But what if that’s not true?
What if that’s a lie from the devil designed (like all terrorism) to get us to give up and just let evil increase so he can steal and kill and destroy?
I’m sure many of you are thinking right now that I must be living in a rose-colored bubble, insulated from the nightly news and all the obvious evidence of an America in decline.
If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know that’s not true.
America most certainly is in a state of advanced moral decline. We have, indeed, turned our back on God time and time again. We are obviously engaged in sin and lawlessness and the enemy is having a field day here.
But, here’s the thing:
Our national ego—our pride and our hubris-- have blinded us.
News flash: The United States of America is not the center of the known universe.
Okay, before you jump right down to the comments section and start in with the richly-colored adjectives about my intelligence and my faith, hang in there with me for a few more paragraphs.
While we have serious spiritual problems here in the United States, the vast majority of the world is actually getting better and growing closer to Jesus Christ.
I recently found some fascinating information on this World Revival Network Blog: http://worldrevivalnetwork.blogspot.com/2015/08/why-you-have-been-duped-into-believing.html
Accurate numbers are extremely hard to come by for Communist China, but there is a very good possibility that in this country where Christianity is illegal, there may be more Christians in church there on any given Sunday than here in the United States.
In fact, Christianity is growing so rapidly in China that by 2030 it is projected that there will be 247 million Chinese Christians—more than in all the United States.
And, Africa is currently home to 472 million Christians—which is projected to be 670 million by 2025. Over two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa is now Christian. The increase of the gospel there is described as “stunning.”
Christianity has grown by 877% in Latin America since 1900. Brazil alone contains 109 million Christians. Latin America is said to be “literally exploding with the flames of revival.”
And in the Middle East, which we tend to think of as the exclusive domain of Islam, there are statistics that 667 Muslims convert to Christianity every hour! Missiologists in the Middle East and Northern Africa are reporting that more Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last 20 years than in the previous 1500 years. There may be as many as 10 to 15 million undocumented Christians in these predominately Muslim countries.
Journalist George Thomas notes that,
"A Christian revival is touching the northernmost reaches of Africa. In a region once hostile to the gospel, now tens of thousands of Muslims are following Jesus. As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, Muslims across Northern Africa are converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers… What experts say is that there is a profound move of God in the predominantly Muslim nations of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.
Meanwhile, while all we see around us is doom and gloom, since the end of the Cold War in the 1980’s, war-related deaths have been plummeting and are currently at an all-time low in all of human history.
Dr. Steven Pinker, Pulitzer prize-winning author and Harvard psychology professor said that “Today we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence.”
Despite what is paraded in front of us every day in the media, most countries have seen a substantial and marked decrease in homicides, sexual assaults, rapes, and other violent crime.
Pinker concludes: “The world is not falling apart. The kinds of violence to which most people are vulnerable—homicide, rape, battering, child abuse—have been in steady decline in most of the world. Autocracy is giving way to democracy. Wars between states—by far the most destructive of all conflicts—are all but obsolete. The increase in the number and deadliness of civil wars since 2010 is circumscribed, puny in comparison with the decline that preceded it, and unlikely to escalate.”
Likewise, life expectancy is rapidly increasing throughout the world while infant mortality is dropping to the lowest levels in human history.
Smallpox, malaria, and a host of other diseases are also dropping dramatically and have even been wiped out in some areas.
Even poverty is at the lowest level in all of human history. It is estimated that in 1820, somewhere around 90% of the world’s population lived in poverty. Today, the World Bank estimates that number at about 21%.
Granted, that’s still a huge number of people living in poverty and war and death and disease and destruction still exist.
And yes, there are still millions of people who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
If you look at the map I’ve included, you can see that Christianity is spreading more rapidly than populations are growing in the overwhelming majority of the world!
Yes, we have much work left to do on this earth, and it is absolutely imperative that we continue sending missionaries and doing all we can to alleviate suffering and misery on this earth until Jesus returns.
But it is an absolute lie that evil is winning and it’s just time to give up and pray that the end comes quickly.
From my perspective, all of this means we have some catching up to do with the rest of the world.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14 ESV