Updated: Oct 23
How Much Longer?
Originally published March 19, 2018
Author's note: I asked this question over five years ago when I began rev310 on my old WordPress site, which in hindsight, seems like a lifetime ago. But just think about how much has changed in the world since 2018. The events of 2020 with COVID, race riots, and a stolen election. The failed US pullout of Afghanistan. The war in Ukraine. The race toward digital currencies and global government. The present war between Israel and Hamas.
While it's hard sometimes to see the forest for the trees, when we step back a little, we can definitely see the world racing headlong toward Armageddon. In fact, these birth pangs will not slow down but will increase in both frequency and intensity until Jesus comes back for His Church. This means the chaos will continue to escalate exponentially with each passing day until our deliverance. However, we are not given a spirit of fear, but of our blessed hope (Titus 2:13). We know that as bad as things are now, and could potentially become, we will be kept from the very hour of the time of testing which shall come upon the whole world (Rev 3:10).
I bet everyone reading this has asked God that very same question at least once or twice. How much longer will this current world-gone-mad continue? It feels like we are at the end, but then days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months into years. But why then does last week, feel like last month? Last month like last year? Why does last year, feel like last century? Everything seems to be speeding up, but at the same time never culminating into anything tangible. What if 2018 comes and goes and we are still here? All the while, the world continues in its never-ending crush to grind down everything good and decent. It feels like the insane have been given the keys to the bus and are hell-bent on driving us off a cliff.
If you have ever had any of the above thoughts, you are not alone. The answers to all of these questions are summed up in two key thoughts:
Can we trust God?
Can we trust the Bible?
If the answer is yes to both, then we must understand that God does not do anything unintentionally. Although we may not know the future, it is not hidden from God (Isaiah 46:9-10). However, I know how you are feeling. Acknowledging God’s sovereignty and omniscience is not the same thing as understanding when He is going to exercise that authority and take us home. It certainly does not make anyone feel any better about being here longer than we expected. That is why God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us hope. Hope which is exercised by faith in the person of His Son and His unfailing prophetic word.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3
At the cross, Christ's sacrifice not only conquered death and hell providing an escape from eternal damnation, but also made it possible for fallen and sinful men who would but trust in His shed blood, a means by which justification is possible before a Holy and Righteous God. In other words, His sacrifice would provide the necessary justification allowing for our redemption (both physical and spiritual) which would make us not just recipients of this already gracious gift, but family. When we accept this free gift of salvation, we also become sons and daughters of the Most High; heirs to the kingdom.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:14-17
Since the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and Christ was sinless, the grave could not hold Him (Revelation 1:18). For believers, this translates into those of us who are born again, also not being subject to the wages of sin, since ALL of our sins are paid for by Christ's perfect sacrifice at Calvary (John 6:37, Rom. 3:23-26, Eph. 2:8-9, Col. 2:13-14, 2 Cor. 5:17-21). Furthermore, as heirs of God through Christ, not only do we not fear what comes after physical death, but we are to live confidently in the present proclaiming the Good News that Jesus paid it all, if any hearing would but believe it so as to be saved.
Even the confidence we are to take on as sons and daughters of the Most High, is a gift.
It is a gift given both by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, sealing us until the day of redemption (Eph. 1:21-22, 4:30), and also in the form of His living word the Holy Bible. Its pages, contain the God-breathed words of life and truth, making it possible to have a living hope in a fallen world, by the renewing of our minds.
Since God is not constrained by time like we are, He can see the past, present, and future simultaneously and nothing is hidden from His sight. Even more graciously, He understands our limitations and lack of faith and has ensured that upwards of thirty percent of His word would be prophetic. It is the only book in the world that can tell the future with 100% accuracy.
For our hope is not a “blind hope.” Our hope is rooted in truth. It is grounded in the historical, geological, geographical, theological, and ethical reality. Furthermore, our hope is outlined by God’s prophetic word. The same word He places even above His own name (Psalm 138:2).
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:19-21
If all the above is true, then why doesn't the reality of God’s word appear to ring true in our world today? Why is God’s word under assault from every direction? Why can every belief, faith, and religious system in the world get a free pass no matter how egregious they are, but if you dare mention the name of Jesus in a public forum, everyone becomes unhinged?
For all these questions, we have the signs as mentioned by both the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus Himself. Aside from the supersign of the last days (rebirth of national Israel), these are the spiritual signs that prove we are in the time surrounding His coming for the Church.
Sign #1: The world would be given over to deception
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (my emphasis)
First note that the above passages indicate "the when." The "when" is at "the coming" of the lawless one. This means these would be the conditions preceding the public arrival of the lawless one. In other words, the Antichrist's arrival doesn't occur in a vacuum. The world's population is being groomed and conditioned even now for his entrance onto the global stage.
The Bible seems to indicate that once Adam and Eve fell into sin, man seemingly surrendered the title deed of the earth over to the fallen angel Lucifer. This is how Lucifer (titled Satan the Accuser) could legitimately offer Christ all the kingdoms of the world, because (according to Satan) this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish (Luke 4:5-7). Jesus did not dispute this point when being offered the world. Instead, He rebuked Satan using Scripture…Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ (vs. 8)
Jesus acknowledges at present, the ruler of this world is coming. Paul calls him the ‘god of this age,’ who deceives and blinds the whole world. Peter calls him the “roaring lion” who walks about seeking whom he can destroy. John calls him the Antichrist but also acknowledges that ‘many’ antichrists have and will come as well. This acknowledgement not only confirms the physical manifestation of the coming Antichrist but also the power behind him (Satan), who leads the fallen armies of angelic principalities and powers currently blinding this world.
What we are witnessing now in these final moments, is the culmination of this deception in the form of being "given over" to a debased mind. This means the unbelievers will accept anything and everything but the truth (Romans 1:18-32). While it is increasingly uncomfortable living in a world that is becoming more and more hostile to the truth of the Gospel, Jesus forewarned His disciples (and by extension us) that the world would come to view killing us as doing God’s work (John 16:2). Jesus later explains that the final three churches addressed in the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches (Revelation 3), come to three different situations based on this increasing demonic deception.
Sardis Church: called the ‘dead’ church for their dead faith. They are rebuked for this and exhorted to “watch,” or they will be caught unaware of His coming. Revelation 3:1-6
Philadelphian Church: refuses to give into the world, and as a result, has little strength. They have not denied His name and remain true to God’s word. For this, they receive no condemnation and will be delivered before the global hour of testing. Revelation 3:7-13
Laodicean Church: given over to the world, acquires abundant luxuries, and claim they need nothing. In reality, they are poor, blind, and naked. They neither confirm nor deny anything that would cause them discomfort. Their lukewarmness makes Jesus nauseous. Revelation 3:14-22
Because the Laodicean church seemingly becomes the final, dominant face of Christendom on the earth, their refusal to stand up for the truth (i.e., lukewarmness) results in an explosion of apostasy. Countless false teachers, false prophets, and false messiahs arise due to the church's inability or unwillingness to take a stand, and millions are led astray. [Matthew 7:13, 24:4-5, 11, 24; 2 Peter 2:1, Jude 1:4]
Sign #2: The days of Noah and Lot
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
Because the world is given over to this grand deception and currently lies under a veil of blindness, it (the world) is unable to accept the reality that our day is almost identical to the conditions of Noah and Lot’s day. Think about it this way: if God and the Bible are true, (they are), then why else is it so hard for people to accept Creationism as our point of origin? Instead, they willingly embrace the preposterous and completely unprovable theories like Darwinian Evolution or the Big Bang instead. The truth is that if the world acknowledged biblical creation, then they would also have to acknowledge Noah and Lot’s day.
Imagine for a moment, that we lived in a world where there was no spiritual blindness, and all the government and academic institutions actively sought to understand what the world was like before the Noahic flood. How much could we know? A lot more than we do now! Then we would come to understand that the conditions today (population, technology, intelligence, spirituality, etc.) are almost identical to what it was then.
Yet, the world we currently live in mocks and scoffs at the idea of biblical creation. They mock and scoff at the idea of a global flood. They mock and scoff at the idea of a place like Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed for sexual perversity. The world is given over to an intentional, demonic spiritual blindness that refuses to accept the truth. And because of this, like righteous Lot, we too are oppressed and tormented by the unrighteousness that currently surrounds us.
…and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment 2 Peter 2: 7-9
Sign #3: Faith fading
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8
Christ asked this rhetorical question at the end of the parable of the persistant widow and the unjust judge during His earthly ministry. In other words, He was not addressing the day He was in since He had already come. Nor does it seem to indicate the time surrounding His Second Coming since the whole world will see Him coming in the clouds with power and great glory (Matt. 26:64, Rev. 1:7). Seeing doesn't require faith.
We already know that Christ will not return at the Second Coming until the Jewish people cry out “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39). The Jewish people will not do this until this veil of blindness is lifted from their eyes and they realize that Jesus of Nazareth, was, in fact, their Messiah whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:25). As for the rest of the majority of the world, they are already committed to destruction who are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 13:8).
Jesus was speaking about the conditions of the world "after a long time" when He returns for His bride, the Church. Will He really find faith on the earth when He returns at the Rapture?
However, the conditions in the world at that time again marries up with the last three churches from those out of the Seven Letters.
Sardis: Church In Name Only: The dead church, not watching for His return
Philadelphia: Remnant Believers: The true church with little strength in a world satanically rigged to oppose them but faithfully watching for His return
Laodicea: The post-modern, post-Christian Church: The nauseating, lukewarm church concerned only with their present wealth and position
Therefore, it would seem that Christ’s question then rings true. The overwhelming majority of the world has either rejected Him and His word outright or does not care about His return. Only a small remnant is true to His name. These have little strength and influence in the world at the time of the Rapture.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (my emphasis)
I suppose the final sign should be the fact we (watching remnant) can look back with greater hindsight and see things becoming all the clearer. Imagine this is the year 1990 or even 2000, and we are looking back at all that had transpired thus far. We could see some coalescing and convergence, but it would still be a painful project to connect the dots. But in 2023, it's easy and becoming easier by the day.
The fact that we can also see the clear distinctions in the church today (dead, faithful, apostate) should motivate the believing remnant because these are the stages Jesus foretold we would go through. The United States is following Europe’s lead in becoming post-Christian very rapidly. As is becoming regrettably more frequent, supposed men of God (i.e., priests, pastors, and other “clergy”) are now openly endorsing female pastors and priestesses, homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, pedophilia, open borders, anti-Semitism, and other anti-Biblical positions with not a care in the world or fear of divine judgment.
They have lost their fear because they are blinded by the normalcy bias brought on by two thousand years of waiting for Christ to return (after a long time). Meanwhile, their ecumenical lukewarmness has opened the door for other apostate teachings and doctrines of demons to flood Christendom.
In reality, the only weapon the devil has at his disposal is deception. The world, and the universe, are all constructs that God created. For Satan to convince people to reject their Creator, he has to construct false narratives about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going after we die. If you think about it, the devil has to work far harder to keep the truth from bleeding through; then we do expose it. However, this does not seem very easy at present.
Thus, we (like nature) groan under the oppressive and antagonistic system we are under currently. The fact that we are witnessing an exponential increase in all manners of deception (cultural, theological, spiritual, intellectual, technological, etc.) today, leads one to the inescapable conclusion that we are in the final moments of this current age. So while we cannot say conclusively that we have X number of months or years left, we can easily know we are in the season of His return.
However, the question will not go away. How much longer Lord? How much longsuffering will you exercise to the unredeemed?
It nags at us.
It hounds us.
For those who are watching and waiting for His return, it consumes us.
As it should.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:20-23 (my emphasis)
Even So, Maranatha!