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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Are These The End Times?

Genesis 6:5 the LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (NIV)

Matthew 24:36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Will we live to see the Lord’s return?
Will we go through the tribulation?
Will we know when the beginning of the end comes?
Are these the end times?

No one knows when Christ will return. However, we can begin to use our common sense to see what is happening to the world in which we live. We do not need to be prophets to see what is happening in the here and now. We do not need to be prophets to see what our world will turn into as current trends continue. Some material in today’s message was taken from "Ten Signs Of A Culture’s End" by J. Bradley Keena, July 9, 1999. Mr. Keena’s comments are italicized.

As we enter the end of what has been billed "the Century of America," our society is in the midst of a moral and cultural crisis unlike at any time in its history. Most Christians and persons of faith are concerned about the moral and cultural crisis of the world. What is not so apparent is how small of a minority persons of faith are in our civilized world. Our society, according to its current standards, is not in decline but is entering a new phase of freedom.

There are ten signs that depict the end of a culture. Great civilizations of the past were destroyed when people saw these signs but failed to act. Each of these indicators is with us today. The opposing view today is that our society is immune from any kind of destruction. The view today is that our technology and knowledge has become so power-laden we cannot be touched by any kind of moral issue. However, in just the last week, the AIDS crisis in foreign countries is now considered a matter of our national security, and the AIDS virus has, in large measure, been transmitted due to immoral behavior.

The first sign of the end of a culture is that of a society which no longer worships or acknowledges God. In 1998 it has actually become unpopular to advocate traditional Judeo-Christian values, such as the Ten Commandments. Thanks to Political Correctness, the popular culture ridicules those who worship God as the sovereign creator. Instead, it is popular to put our faith and trust in ourselves or in other creations of God. This message is being written on May 5, 2000. Matt Drudge reported on his web site a few hours ago that NASA has banned prayer day. Granted, banning prayer day is just a small ripple in a very big pond, but many small ripples will combine to form a tidal wave that will empty the pond.

A second indicator of the end of a culture is the decline of the family. Today, statistics show divorce is at an all time high in the United States. After 25 years, we are now seeing the consequences of no-fault divorce laws. It is now so common for young people to grow up in divorced households that the term "broken family" is now a forgotten expression in the popular culture. Fathers are living apart from their natural children. Mothers no longer stay at home, but work as a head of the household. As a result, women in our society have lost their feminine identity. As worship has declined, the spiritual values communicated by mothers have all but ended with a generation. The moral authority of fathers is undermined by a society that no longer embraces the structure of the family. Spiritual and moral values cannot effectively be communicated by a father who is not present. A mother who is so exhausted from being both a mother and father often does not have time or the energy to communicate spiritual and moral values. What is so prevalent today is that moral values have a much lower level of importance in our citizens and this level of importance keeps declining.

A third important indicator of cultural demise is a society's low view of life. Today, the popular culture now views abortion as a "right." The failure of our government to outlaw partial birth abortion demonstrates how intolerant of life the culture has become. Steadily, society's undermining of life has grown to include calls for legalizing euthanasia, assisted suicide, and scientific experimentation. But history warns no society can last without a high view of life. We have been desensitized to the gruesome ideas of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and scientific experimentation. We no longer treasure life. We consider life to be expendable, unless, of course, it is our own.

Another sign of the end of the civilization is the prevalence of base and immoral entertainment. In its last days, Rome had become a society with an insatiable appetite for debauchery and immorality. Perverted entertainment translated into perverted speech and behavior. The Roman society began to accept and encourage open homosexuality. The people turned away from God and forgot his commandments and precepts, and Rome crumbled. And today, our culture has begun to embrace the same kind of entertainment. In music, a song eulogizing a murdered rap star has held the top spot on the charts for two months. Many of our movies now feature heroes who triumph by copying the vises of the villains. Television has scuttled its family hour for more dramas and sitcoms that treat perversion as normal behavior. Wholesome entertainment is becoming a forgotten relic. We no longer consider dramatizations of violence and death repulsive. We are not horrified by those scenes that are truly horrible. What might be most disturbing of all is that what we would consider repulsive, horrible, immoral, perverted, and a turning away from God is now considered normal and/or acceptable.

Still another troublesome indicator of society's demise is the increase of violent crime among young people. Riddled with gang violence, many of our inner cities have become powder kegs portending future collapse. Today, young people think about death and dying more than any other subject. In fact, surveys indicate they think about death even more than they think about the opposite sex. There's a popular new sport called extreme fighting, in which combatants injure one another like the gladiators of Rome. The demise of the traditional family and absence of religion have combined to create a culture of children who are morally retarded. In the wake of this, our Politically Correct society offers young people no consistent arguments against violence. In the light of recent gun violence in schools, what commentators fail to address, is the immorality inherent in the hearts and minds of the shooters. Indeed, the shooters got a gun and pulled the triggers, but there was no operating morality within that person. The reason so many commentators avoid the moral question is because, in the media, morality is avoided as an issue.

Another key cultural indicator is the declining middle class. Politicians have discovered one of the keys to reelection is to advocate more spending and government programs for the poor. The traditional middle class is now defined as rich. The work of the federal government has become the business of redistributing wealth through taxation and new government programs. After years of bureaucratic growth over the last fifty years, the United States has witnessed shrinking numbers of middle class wage earners, many of whom have become the working poor. The family structure has disintegrated over the last twenty-five years in part because of the economic pressure for women to join the workforce. This has lead to the increased polarization of the working class and the wealthy. Earlier this century, Russia witnessed just such a polarization before a revolution ushered in the communist era.

The burgeoning lower class, trapped by low levels of literacy, lack of techno-skills, and low-income jobs, is being pushed into a state of anger, desperation, and lack of self-control. If we should have a down-turn in our economy putting low income persons out of work combined with the growing distrust and even disdain for government among middle to upper class citizens, then fuel would be added to an already explosive situation.

Yet another sign of cultural demise is that of an insolvent Government. The French Revolution occurred against the backdrop of a bankrupt government. Today, our government has not managed a balanced budget in nearly thirty years. Beneath the annual budget lies a debt of unmanageable proportions. History warns that a government rendered insolvent cannot quell its disenchanted masses. We are faced with an insolvent government and an insolvent nation of consumers. The generation that went through the Great Depression and retained the painful memories of those dark days has begun to die off. Today we have a nation of consumers that puts whatever it wants on a credit card until the credit card is maxed out. The ideas of frugality, conservative spending, and only buying what is needed are foreign to the electorate who elect our government leaders. Last week I posted an essay entitled "We Will Get What We Deserve" and we are getting what we deserve from Washington. For one and one-half generations young people have not been taught they are responsible and to be responsible. This cavalier attitude about personal responsibility is reflected in what we expect from our government and how our government treats us in return.

Related to this, a government that lives off of society's moral decay is another sign of the end of a civilization. The Roman civilization crumbled under the weight of an immoral and corrupt government. Over the years, our government has devised the creation of whole agencies that exist for no other reason than to manage some of the most immoral aspects of the culture. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Legal Services Corporation are examples of agencies that foster society's decline. Within the judicial branch of government, judges accountable to no one have helped undermine the religious freedoms that were once the centerpiece of our society. Our freedoms are being undermined because not enough people care enough. When the governed do not care about their government, then immorality, corruption, and a slackard mentality will prevail in that government. We have a population who are more interested in the immoral than the moral. Should we be surprised to see no concern over the inaction and inattention paid to the immorality of government officials?

One obvious indicator that a culture is in decline is when the ruling class loses its will. Our nation's leaders no longer see the world according to right and wrong. Instead, the objective of today's foreign policy Establishment is to maintain the status quo. In like manner, our elected leaders have lost their moral authority. Elected officials no longer seek office for the good of the country but instead seek reelection to further lucrative careers within the Washington Establishment. Also, our nation's defense Establishment has traded military readiness for social experimentation with a feminized military. At the time of this writing, May 5, 2000, there is an enormous and alarming arms build-up in China, Russia, India, and other parts of the world. Missile technology is being sold to the Chinese who have avowed the destruction of Taiwan and the United States. Does anyone care? Does anyone know? Is anyone listening? The United States has lost top secret data stored in laptop computers more than once in the recent past. Does anyone care? If you lived through the nuclear scare days of the 1950's, the cold war and the Cuban Missile crisis you might care but you are in a very small minority. The top priority for our country today is be sure they get to see "Who Wants To Be A Millionare?"

The final indicator of the demise of a civilization is the failure of its people to see what is happening. In nearly every case, citizens of past civilizations which ended witnessed all of the signs of demise but failed to act. Today, the popular culture has helped society forget the lessons of history. One of the reasons we do not connect history to our current culture is that history is now taught in light of the socialist agenda of the textbook publishing houses, the socialist nature of the national education system, and the lack of insight and concern of the teachers or professors. Those persons who make decisions that control the lives of others are quite smug and comfortable with where we are. Those persons in the lower class have been put in chains by expecting a constant safety net from the government. Welfare reform is working to try and wean people off the dole but the resources needed for upward mobility are not always readily available. In addition, the mentality to scratch and claw one's way out of poverty is lacking.

All of the signs of the demise of our culture are with us today: the hostility toward religion, the breakup of the family, the declining view of life, the appetite for immorality, the violence and crime, and the declining middle class are coupled with a federal government on the brink of insolvency, whose leaders are living off of society's moral decay leading to the loss of leadership and moral will.

In the days of Noah, God warned a faithless, immoral and violent civilization of the imminent catastrophe that was about to take place, but few listened. Tonight, our civilization is at the crossroads, but few are noticing the signs that are before us. It is time to take notice, and to pray for spiritual awakening in this country, before the light of our civilization goes out.

We do not know if these are the end times but what we do know is that these times reflect a lack of goodness, caring, compassion, and a true love of Christ. Perhaps we should ask a more direct question. The human race murdered God’s son, and now most of the human race is ignoring God. Is God happy?

 

  

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2009 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018