Hi Bruce. The tension I see in the church today is somewhat twofold. On one side most of the church today does not see end times in play. On the other side they do. There is always a danger on either side to be overly fixed on their views and convictions. This is something I have noticed over many years.
My belief is that we are in or moving toward end times. Even though I disagree let’s say with the reformation church in how they don’t see end times at play, I do admire much in what I had seen with their intense focus to be about the Fathers business, and have minds soberly fixed on the task at hand. Amen. And on those who do see end times I perceive too a good thing in warning (which you may not share so much). I have seen plenty of error in teaching and hermeneutics on the reformation side. Something most of the world or at least the Christian world has little push back or insight even to notice. So in some ways there is a wide sense of shortsightedness to go around.
A further tension of the role of Satan in the end times seems to also to be an issue of great concern for the church today. And in that, I do have concern as well. For many are preparing for mass deception thinking that the strong delusion in 2 Thes 2 is how the tribulation starts out. Whereas I see there and in Matt 24:24 that it belongs to a period where antichrist is demonstrating miracles at the midpoint. So I do see your concern, although as one seeing end times unfolding. My take is that CV will fade and things will likely be moving away from liberalism to conservative strength. My take is that I am open to the strong potential that the tribulation approaching starts off with an empathy from God of what is about to come upon the earth. A “revealing” more than a “deceiving.” Although deception today seems to be a rule of thumb rather as there is so much fake news about.
In all of that I do have concern that a sense of awe toward demonic deception is at a higher premium these days than a sense of awe in what God might also be doing in such a day as ours. So, even though I do not agree with Pastor JD Farag on all points, in a way, him seeing a sense of awe (that you see perverse) is perhaps something I would receive gratefully as at least Pastor JD sees the hand of God upon our context…which I think is far more what is going on than not. So what you might see as a perversion, I am grateful that at least in some senses the church may think upon the act of God our Father in all that is occurring.
I have a friend in the hospital from COViD. He almost lost his left leg due to blood clotting caused by the virus. He is doing well. Even though he sees America as finished (I would disagree there) and the end near, he did leave me a voicemail that was something in sentiment I share in as well. Here is that voicemail:
Praise him with everything we have. Serve him with every ounce of energy we have because He is so good. This [COVID] is really all about Him. This is really about God putting Himself on display. And to the church…this is a way for God to highlight the trinity. To actually give us the straight shot of God’s glory. God’s glory really should press on us…really should help us shake out the jams. God’s glory should help us think differently about ourselves in relation to God so that we can partake of His glory. This isn’t about kingdom politics. This is about kingdom glory. Its an amazing thing to have a glimpse of this. I have never had this glimpse before. I had never dug deep enough until the COVID isolation. But it really wasn’t until I saw my body being attacked aggressively by the disease that I wanted to press further and further toward the Lord.
When we get the real vision, when we get the real deal of how much the Lord loves us, how much the Lord loves His church, His bride, how much He loves His agency upon the earth—that I believe right there would bring Christians into deeper service because we see that it is all about Him. And he is overwhelmingly good/sovereign. That goodness is overwhelming. That goodness pervades into everything. That goodness is even more pervasive than COVID. The Lord, I believe, has orchestrated a move on all of us to highlight His church…to highlight His goodness…to put a big fat focus and stamp upon His sovereignty. And show everybody, believers and unbelievers alike, just how great God is. This is a wonderful time in church history, Teren. It’s a wonderful time to be a Christian. And I’m not saying its not hard. It’s very hard. But because the Lord is who He is, He’s gonna shine greater than any wonderful thought that we have of Him.
One final note I might add. Yes we have had pandemics before. But what is note worthy about this one is, we never saw the world economies shut down before like we had. Nor did we ever see worldwide tourist zones vacant. Omega Man-ish like. Including Mecca. Whatever that was, it kind of reminded me of a concept: The Day the Earth Stood Still.