Paul the Apostle told his protégé, Timothy, that in the very Last Days, or the “Acharit-Hayamin” period, that is, in the “End Times,” that “dangerous times” would come… You can read more about it in 2 Timothy 3:1-7.
I could write several different angles on this.
I did one already in my first book. I devoted a chapter of twenty-four pages to this subject. I covered some ground that no one else has. I have some more to say and write about this, and will cover some more facets of this intriguing prophecy in a future volume in my series.
I have been very busy with finishing up my Volume Two in my series.
Here is the “unofficial” book cover:
I think I have some interesting themes in this book. Here is the book blurb in more clear text:
“Much more… about End Time Bible Prophecy in this Volume Two of ‘Living in the End Times.’ You will learn about some contemporary prophecies…and their import for the United States…as America is not around in its current status, in latter End Time Bible prophecy! And what, the correct interpretation of the Fig Tree Parable means for us today… Plus, what the ‘End of the Times of the Gentiles’ means for you! …When it occurred, and what is happening since, as it is having a profound effect on everyone… NOW!
This fulfillment of a 2000+ year prophecy has created a whole new paradigm for living in our Post-Modern World. Be Prepared for this and more, as you are… ‘Living in the End Times!…’ “
I hope to have it finished soon as it is in final edit.
Meanwhile, we have been living in the End Times for over a generation.
This means that the very last full year of the Times of the Gentiles, which also ended over a generation ago, in which its end, that is, the “End of the Times of the Gentiles,” coincided with the start of the End Times; which coinciding, …seems to be a mystery to nearly all professed Bible scholars as they are wholly unaware of this nuance,… in which in that last year, we caught a glimpse of a feature of what is now known as “perilous times,” in many Bible translations.
But which I describe, as “dangerous or fierce times,” as the Greek word χαλεπός signifies.
I wrote about this particular feature in my chapter on this topic in my first book.
And, …the pressure has been on ever since…
Indeed, the root of this Greek word χαλεπός means to “reduce in strength, resolve, or fortitude.”
This is exactly what has been happening.
Things have been happening so fast, so quick, so bizarre, and so intense, overwhelming, and shocking to the human intellect and senses, that it is difficult and stressful to keep up with such events.
The intent of these rapid changes and events is to “weaken the resolve and strength of beliefs and convictions” of the world’s masses.
The Powers of Darkness, in conjunction, with the rulers of this world, whom the Bible describes in the Epistle of James, have been “ramping up the pressure” for some time now.
Christianity, particularly the Gentile version or application of it, has not been immune.
Indeed, it has taken some of the worse hits, if not the worst.
So much so, that Paul made it a point to Timothy in this text, that Christianity, that is, Christianity of the Gentile peoples in particular in this period of “dangerous times,” would “have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof…”
You can see this all around you in the United States.
In the country that I currently live in, you see a form of paganism instead, as genuine Christianity does not much of a foothold here. You can gauge that easily by the lack of commitment and belief in which you are supposed to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). Folks treat each other fairly badly here.
Christianity, a faith completely based on the phenomenon of miracles and the miraculous, and the still yet miraculous, is pretty much denied of such now by the majority of its churches or denominations, and adherents. It has become an embarrassment to acknowledge, for many, that Christ was born of a virgin, did mighty works and miracles such as walking on water, converting water into wine, raising the dead, and later himself was raised from the dead.
If you are a Christian believer, attending one of these “enlightened” congregations, Paul says that you need to withdraw yourself… like yesterday… specifically stating, “from such turn away.”
Things will not improve either in the near future.
Gentile Christianity is being systemically “weakened” by the onslaught of demonic instances, and fierce or shocking events, in the dangerous times, in which we live. The Gentile “church(es)” is/are being challenged in its/their resolve and convictions, of which if their faith is not based on the foundations of the belief in the miraculous, such institutions will fade away in the face of the continuing pressure.
For example, if you are not “born again,” or an active believer in the Gospel and faith of Jesus Christ, then you are part of the “form of ungodliness.”
Being “born again” in the Billy Graham vernacular is not enough, however.
You cannot be “born from above,” or “born anew” with saying what is known as a “sinner’s prayer,” or “accepting Jesus into your heart,” or adhering to the “Four Spiritual Laws,” that Campus Crusader Bill Bright came up with, or with any other type of nominal lip service.
No, you must have the confrontation with the miraculous.
You must be touched by God through the Holy Spirit.
Christ has to dwell within you.
Michaelangelo, although he was painting the creation of Adam, pointed to the creation of what in the New Testament, is known as the “New Adam,” or a spiritually reborn individual, with his famous image of God touching a human hand, on the left, with the divine spark.
Many famous Christians have testified of their conversion experience.
John Wesley, the Great Methodist Evangelist and founder, was a typical evangelical believer in his early days of what he called Methodism. He had an intellectual understanding and mental grasp of the Christian faith. He believed the Bible contained the Word of God. He conformed his life to the morality of the Bible.
he didn’t know God…
He hadn’t got the touch of God yet. He did not have the “divine spark.”
There are lots of Christian folks like Mr. Wesley in his early days.
They are really, truly sincere folks. There are also a lot of ministers and preachers in the same way. I have also met many of such preachers. They all believe that they are Christians as well as they can.
Well, …they’re not…
In the Jewish faith, Jewish believers had a name for people like this, who were usually Gentile proselytes, into the Jewish faith. The Jews called them “god-fearers.” “God-fearers” may be a recipient of God’s greater blessing, but they were only in a process of believing.
That is what many thousands, if not, millions of nominal believing Christians are… “god-fearers.” They have a hope… but they have no certainty… the certainty that comes by faith.
Which faith has touched God, and in return, God has touched the heart of the born again believer.
So here was John Wesley. He was going to the American colonies to preach and minister the Gospel. He boarded a ship and set sail for the New World. But he was not a… New Being.
On this ship with Wesley, was another sort of Christian believer. His name was Peter Boehler. He presided over a group of Christian believers from Germany called the Moravians. Wesley struck up a conversation and friendship with Boehler and the Moravians.
Soon after that, a terrible tempest arose on the seas. Everyone was panic stricken, even the hardened sailors of the vessel. The waves poured over in the ship and as Wesley admitted, broke the mail sail into pieces. Wesley was terrified. Yet, the Moravians gathered together in a group and sang hymns. Wesley was amazed.
Afterwards, when calm prevailed again, Wesley asked Boehler if he was not afraid. Boehler explained succinctly, no, as nor he nor any of his brethren, including the littlest child, were afraid to die as they trusted in God.
Wesley was convicted in his heart. He was afraid to die.
Wesley knew then what he needed was what the Moravians had. Something from God that no storm, no tempest, whether in a boat, or in the waves of life, could shake. An assurance of faith.
Wesley needed the touch of God. Wesley needed this faith.
Wesley inquired of Boehler, and Boehler told him that he needed a God-given faith. Not just a faith of intellectual belief, but a heart felt confidence that only can come from a voluntary trust in… well, God.
Boehler told him to go ahead and take this faith by… faith. Start preaching this living faith… and then, after you receive it… preach faith!
That is how it is with God.
You have to believe before you receive.
The world says that “seeing is believing.” God says that faith, real faith, is “believing is seeing.”
That is a difficult concept for our natural minds to get around. We tend to fall back into our natural state of unbelief and think that is normal, when it is dysfunctional. We have to practice thinking the way that God thinks.
Wesley kept on preaching and believing and then heard a testimony from two brothers who had experienced the miracle of salvation. They claimed that “God could give that faith whereof salvation comes in an instant, as lightning from heaven.” Wesley immediately started to preach this experience as well, although he had not received such an experience.
No more than Wesley started preaching this however, he was no longer welcome at the churches that he had preached at, such as St. Lawrence, St. Katharine Cree, St. Ann’s, in Aldergate, St. John’s in Wapping, and St. Bennet’s.
This is the price you pay for trying to have the real “form of godliness.” Rejection.
Wesley was very discouraged, his heart heavy and wrapped in sorrow, but went to a Bible study where someone was reading Martin Luther’s preface, the Great Protestant Reformer, to Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Coincidentally, Luther had written in this preface how God works a change in the heart through a voluntary trust by faith in Christ.
At that moment, Wesley “felt my heart strangely warmed.” From that point on, Wesley had received the conviction of faith that his sins were forgiven, and had experienced salvation from death unto life.
Wesley experienced the miraculous. He had felt it entering into his heart, that is Christ taking up an abode there by the Holy Spirit, and had received a supernatural faith that confirmed a supernatural revelation that he now had peace from God and no longer experienced the condemnation that comes from sin.
No more than he confirmed his experience with Boehler and other brethren, that he was preaching at St. Thomas’ Parish and was confronted by a young, demoniac woman. Wesley addressed her and in the moment that he did, well, a miracle occurred. The young lady became still, when before she was raving mad and screaming, and with tears running down her cheeks, Wesley told her that Jesus of Nazareth was delivering her from her torments.
Yep, this is the kind of Christianity that I am talking about. The kind that works miracles and turns demoniacs into Christian converts.
Do you where any of this kind of Christianity is?
If you do, then it is a genuine “form of godliness.”
To finish my story of real Christianity and John Wesley, he was constantly challenged by the organized Church in their saying to him, “How can these things be?”
Wesley could only point to more miracles.
Wesley pointed to miraculous dreams and visions, in which the subjects saw Christ in some manner or form, on the cross or in glory. The revelation of such wonders wrought tremendous personal changes in the individuals having these supernatural experiences. Wesley testified that he could “show you drunkards once roaring like lions, now exemplarily sober in the manner of a lamb. The whoremonger that was, now in abhorrence of such conduct” who were living arguments of what Wesley asserted: “that God does now, as in the past, given remission of sins and the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (This excerpt and others from The Heart of Wesley’s Journal, pages 41-52).
And, that is just the example of John Wesley.
We may be living in “dangerous times,” but we can still serve and know a God who will protect us from every sort of evil and preserve us to His Kingdom and for His purpose in this life.
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2015. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.