The Word of God is eschatological. The story of redemption is moving forward towards a point in time when God will right all the wrongs and renew the world into a utopian, bliss-filled society. This new heaven on earth will be reserved for those that have chosen to align themselves with God’s Messiah and His Messianic Kingdom. Excited by that promise, the original disciples asked Jesus when this would occur and what would be the signs of its coming.
According to Matthew, Jesus tells us that there would be many signs: wars, rumors or wars, famines, earthquakes, and the rise of false prophets. Jesus said that many will turn from the Way, and many who are faithful to the Way will be severely persecuted. Wickedness, unrighteousness, and immorality will increase.
For many conservative Christians in America this is their rallying cry. We have to turn this immoral country around. We have to fight to change the abortions laws; we must organize against the homosexual agenda to protect the sanctity of the bonds of holy matrimony; we must stop the wicked influence of the media on our families; and, we must defeat evil around the world. The militancy by which many conservative Christians contend for the faith today and our aggressive reaction to the decline of Christendom is noteworthy.
Jesus said that one of the main signs of the end times would be the loss of love among Christians: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold …” (Matthew 24:12). If Christians, who are to be known by their love, lose their love of God and their neighbor this sign will become a key indicator of the end of the age. Michael Wilkins, in his commentary, says, “The chief characteristic of spiritual death is that it causes love to grow cold.”
As Christians we could focus on the immorality of the world and speak against it; we could constantly point to the imminent danger of worldwide terrorism and create an atmosphere of fear and isolation; and, we could continually blame others, even in the Church, for their lack of biblical truth. But when we do that without love, our witness becomes offensive noise to God and others. When we focus on the negative things happening around us and react against those signs, instead of asking ourselves how can I express God’s love to these lost souls, we no longer become a light in the darkness, but a sign of the end of the age.
In this era when only the conservative Church holds the precious Truth in their hands, how we wield that Truth can be either a sign of the end of the age or a sign of the love of the Cross. It is our choice.
Unfortunately, I hear Jesus saying to the conservative Church: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Rev. 2:2-4).