When I was a freshman in college, which was in 1966, one of my favorite classes was ancient history. I had never had a liking for history until I had a good history instructor in my sophomore year of high school, which was in 1964. My high school U.S. history teacher had a gift for teaching and I was soon hooked—not only on U.S. history, but history in general. The class I was in was particularly difficult due to the fact that many of the best varsity football players were in the class as well as the cheerleader squad. The biggest challenge however was not part of either. He was just a very funny guy who could not seem to keep himself from doing something that would cause others to lose control with laughter. His name alone will probably give an indication. This cut-up’s name was BORIS! If you could see his round mischievous face, with the grin he usually had, you would likely get the picture clearly!
The love of history and gift for teaching my high school instructor had carried over for me into my freshman year in college. My professor there was a woman named Grace Flint. My story of Boris and the high school history class I shared with him was just a little detour from what this article is all about, but served as a way of introducing my love of history that was developed in me through a couple very special instructors.
I was working the graveyard shift in a plywood mill at the time I was in my Ancient History class. This is how I paid my way through college. I worked 48 hours a week (including a double shift on most Friday / Saturday shifts and so worked from 10:20 at night until 7:00 am—or 3:20 pm on Saturdays on my double shift days. My Ancient History class started at 7:00, and so I was always about seven minutes late. I invariably had a hard time staying awake because in the winter time I was used to being in the cold mill all night and then going straight into a room that was at least 70 degrees. I was embarrassed a few times by falling asleep.
I was blessed with a very patient and understanding instructor. She knew the shift I was working and was pretty easy on me. I did learn a lot from her class though and even this many years later, still think back to my times and see her teaching up front. In spite of my short “power” naps on occasion, I did real well in the class and always came out with top grades.
When professor approached me after class one day and said she had a book to recommend for my reading, she had my full attention. She said she had been listening to the comments and questions in class. She said she had a special book to recommend for my reading that she rarely recommended to anyone. She said that the author tackled subjects that most theologians wouldn’t touch; in fact, most would reject due to his thoughts and conclusions. Mrs. Flint said that my tendency to think out of the box, and my lack of fear to sacrifice some “sacred cows” would be of benefit in my future—if I had the nerve to continue swimming upstream in some theological areas. Mrs. Flint also pointed out that the book had been printed in the latter half of the 19th century and so was way ahead of its time. It was written by a British theologian named G.H. Pember. I was immediately interested and bought the book. I have since purchased it ten times or more due to the fact that I would loan it out and then forget who it went to! It’s no matter because it was a good book and I didn’t mind continuing to buy it as many times as necessary. In fact…it happens to be on loan today and I have no idea who I sent it home with!! I’ll get another; maybe two this time. The unabridged updated version which Pember’s family has made available is well done and didn’t sacrifice any of the original “meat” intended to rock people’s “religious” thinking.
The book she introduced me was titled “Earth’s Earliest Ages and Their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy.” The author’s full name is George Hawkins Pember. Now I had better get to what I intended to write this article about to begin with “Seven Signs We’ve Arrived At The End Of The Age”. I pray that you can see what G.H. Pember already saw all those years ago. I also pray that my comments give you something to think about in the day we find ourselves in.
SIGN #1: An overemphasis on God’s mercy at the expense of His holiness.
When this point is brought up, many people are immediately up in arms. How could I possibly question the depth of God’s grace and mercy? I have found that for the most part, it is here in the west that we take great offense to a statement like this.
It is pretty amazing to me to see that the claws of humanism had already gotten such a stronghold late in the 19th century. People already didn’t like the concept of human sinfulness, and the burgeoning “new age” concept of a total rejection of hell was eagerly accepted. After all, how could a God of love condemn the human race to a literal eternity in hell? Didn’t the death of Jesus (if one were to believe that he really was the Son of God), really pay the whole price? The teachings of the radical “fire and brimstone” preachers must be allegorical, just symbolic, and not reality?
According to what I find in Scripture, the hard hitting evangelists like A. A. Allen, the Wesley Brothers, William Booth, as well as David Wilkerson in our own generation; spoke the Word of God much as the Old Testament prophets did—and they got results much the same. People don’t like the message because it doesn’t provide the coddling so many churches give their people today. People want to hear a message that says that they are doing just fine! God’s truth however is not up for a vote. There is only one way and it is the only way to freedom from sin and the doom man will experience unless he bows his knee before his Creator to ask and receive forgiveness. So easy and yet so hard because of the pride that rules most of our lives.
It is also not only Protestants that are fighting this battle. Catholics have had the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ replaced by the politically correct “Vatican II”. Changing doctrines from the very top are replacing the need for the Only Begotten Son of the Father with many roads to finding God; many replacing the Messiah Jesus completely. The revelation which came from Jesus “The Way” has been replaced by a plethora of ways which do not require the atonement of Jesus’ Blood. Unfortunately, most Catholic people have no clue to the heresy becoming accepted Church doctrine…and it gets worse; much worse. It will need to be covered at another time.
We have only seen the beginning of the “Great Deception”, but it has formed to a much greater extent than most realize. The year 2013 will be a year of great revelations—not necessarily good ones.
SIGN #2: A disregard for gender roles and contempt for marriage
At the time that H.G. Pember wrote this warning, it was hardly conceivable what we would see in our day, but here we are! If anyone took a trip on a time machine and saw what we are witnessing today, it would seem like the worst hellish nightmare imaginable. Our world has gone totally out of whack!
It’s amazing what has happened to the divorce rate since 1870, without even considering the more bizarre things we are seeing today. In 1870 the official divorce rate was 81 out of every 100,000 marriages in the United States. That is only about 8%, but was considered horrid in Pember’s generation. Today the divorce rate is at least 50% ending in divorce, and the rate between Christian people and non-Christian hardly has a noticeable difference.
Generations X, Y, and Z hardly consider marriage at all. It is preferable to go through a trial period to see if a couple is compatible. The God who created mankind hardly agrees with man’s solution to the problem of people not getting along. We have forgotten how to discipline ourselves as God originally prescribed. How do arranged marriages make it? Of course there are some really bad marriages; many of them with abuses never disclosed, but that is not the norm. People just don’t accept God’s standards, and as a result are reaping the results of the marriage relationship breaking down in our society. Somewhere between 50-60% of all marriages begin with a couple shacking up. Does God forgive? Of course! But, the sin of breaking God’s preset laws of the relationship of marriage has its consequences regardless of God’s forgiveness. Breaking His laws always bring great damages with an institution that was created to be perfect. Statistics show that about 67% of couples who cohabitate before marriage, end up divorced. The ones damaged the worst are always the children.
This is only the beginning of what has happened to the gender roles. If I were to do the subject any justice at all, I would have to write a book! The subject is also a road full of land mines as one finds themselves having to be very careful what they say. Even among those that claim to be “Christ-followers”, a comment wrongly worded can start a firestorm! This is however mostly the case in the western world.
We live in a world with a high percentage of single mothers. Because of this, we are likely to find women running heavy equipment, and then men employed as receptionists in professional offices. Am I saying that men and women are not capable of doing either job? Hardly. We do have an unemployment rate which leaves many hundreds of thousands out of work—both men and women. It is an interesting study to see the difference between our day in 2013 and the 1950’s.
Another major issue in our world today is the growing percentage of people who are paying to change genders. This is bringing up greater and greater social issues. Now we have boys wanting to shower in the girl’s showers in school because they either feel they are really female within their psyche, or they have already had a sex change operation performed. I won’t go any farther with this because this article is already going to be pretty long.
We also have a major attack on God’s original design of marriage with the growing gay population. Well over a dozen states in America now have legalized marriage between same sex individuals. Once again, this is something that could not even have been imagined back at the time when Pember gave his list of seven things to watch which would give a strong warning that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. As with warning #1, we are there.
SIGN #3: How technology and entertainment entice man away from worshipping God
Jesus told us that the thief would come to steal, kill, and destroy. This powerful fallen angel has innumerable ways of accomplishing this. We usually think of this in terms of war, pestilence, famine, and other forms of violence thrown into the human existence on this earth.
How many of us think of this warning in terms of all the technology that the human race has been inundated with in the last few decades? In our age, there is so much technology available that it is destroying the minds of our young.
Technology itself is useful, and can be used to further the cause of the Gospel of Jesus, but the opposite is also true. Most teenagers are totally glued to their i-phones, smart phones, computers, and so much more. In fact, many teenagers are infuriated if they are not supplied with what their friends are. I am convinced that all of this technology—if it is not being controlled in a positive way, is rotting the brains of our kids and turning them into mental zombies. It is now showing up in the lack of ability kids have in being able to follow through normal thought patterns that are needed to think a problem through to conclusion. It is much easier to get one’s mind lost in a video game, social media interaction, texting by the hundreds or in many cases by the thousands a month.
The technology has also opened pandora’s box with the high-definition cameras most phones have now, which makes it very easy to get caught in the trap of “sexting”. This presents many problems, not the least of which is the competition between teens to see who can send the most graphic photos. Most teens don’t realize that these photos never disappear. They are always recorded somewhere.
The technology has also made it way too easy for people in general, not just teenagers, to access pornographic sites. This has become so common now that it is being considered the norm for modern life. Porno is billed as something that can renew the excitement of a couple’s intimate relationships. What a deception this is! Once again, I could go on, but will leave it right here.
I will say this: The enemy of our souls will do anything necessary to keep us from spending normal family life, reading, especially reading the Word of God—which happens to be the only true road map through this mine-infested world we live in. How many Christians would rather spend hours glued to video games rather than even a few minutes reading the Bible? The same goes for all the other means of entertainment we’ve been provided. Even football can become our “god”! Music as well…or our career; our investments; even our busy church life—which often is more busy-ness than it is a true service to the Lord through the intimacy of relationship with Him.
We are so very close to the call home—at least for those that have the intimate walk with the Spirit of God given as an example in Matthew 25 with the five wise virgins! The imminent call home, when the Bridegroom steals the Bride away is a ONE-TIME event! God’s Word makes a point of urging us to preparing ourselves so we don’t miss it! God could not have been more clear in His Word.
To Be Continued…
KEEP LOOKING UP,