As the world guardedly enters into a new year, many, from all corners of society, are wondering just what kind of future lies ahead for everyone in 2022 and beyond. Moreover, prophetically awake Christians, are wondering how much worse things will become as we draw closer to the end. If the general sentiment is anything like the meme that is making its rounds these days, the forecast does not look promising.
Although done somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it makes sense that as the signs of global decomposition are becoming more obvious, even the non-prophecy-watching population is starting to notice that something is terribly amiss. Even the secular news pundits are reporting on the storm clouds building on the horizon and are starting to panic. They, like many in the prophecy-watching community, are beginning to say that the coming tough times are all but unavoidable. For the record, yes, things will get worse before they get better, but worse in ways that most people can't understand...and that confusion is by design. Nevertheless, as things move from bad to worse, two major themes are beginning to emerge amongst the Christian-Eschatological community.
The first narrative says that we (i.e. Western Christendom) are about to enter into a time of great persecution. A time which will include the intensification of persecution against the body of Christ writ large, which will mirror both what Christians outside of Western Civilization are presently going through, as well as what Christians have historically endured over the last two thousand years.
The second narrative being expressed by a growing number is that we are on the verge of a Third Great Awakening. This view is gaining momentum because historically, it has been true. When times of great persecution and tribulation occurred, the Church exploded like a wind-driven wildfire. The proponents of this view believe that out of the tribulation will arise this ‘church victorious’ where hundreds of millions come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Let me just say up front that both of these narratives are in fact, wrong. Tough times and targeted persecution are two different things. Furthermore, the hope in a third great revival sounds good in theory, but it does not line up with God's prophetic word.
Here is why.
Modus Operandi (the WHY)
First let me say, while I’m no fan of Satan, I don’t want anyone to make the mistake of underestimating him. He is the most powerful and intelligent being ever created. He’s had thousands of years to study humanity and most likely has a perfect working knowledge of all aspects of our physical universe. As such, Satan knows and uses three things very well to kill and destroy his enemy:
Asymmetric Warfare-He is clever enough not to go after Christians directly. He learned his lesson after the first two centuries of the early Church that the more he attacked Christianity, the faster it spread. Therefore, he will never allow an obvious frontal assault on the body of Christ to happen again unless he has no other recourse. Thus, he will devote the majority of his time attacking the issues Christians care about most while avoiding attacking Christians directly. The last thing he wants to do is create anything Christians can rally around this close to the end (i.e., the Chick-Fil-A effect).
War of compromise- He will influence the global leaders he controls to increasingly put barriers in between one’s faith, and one’s ability to live or earn a living. He is heavily invested in the war of compromise, because he knows if he can get churches and believers divided over smaller issues, then it will be much easier to get them to compromise on the big things. In so doing, he can divide up the Christian population, undercut the ethical foundations for Christianity stands for, and then promote this Luciferian agenda all the while avoiding triggering tens of millions of fired-up, Holy Spirit-filled believers.
Whispering campaign- Satan has mastered the art of subtle persuasion and has favored this approach going back to the Garden of Eden. When Jesus said ‘he was a liar from the beginning,’ He was speaking to Satan’s inability to speak the truth because of his blind hatred for it (John 8:44). But let’s not mistake his shortcomings as weaknesses that we mere humans can exploit. Satan's goal now is not to outright ban Christianity, but stigmatize it so much that no one wants to talk about it in "good company."
Again, Satan is far too clever to go and paint a bulls-eye on just Christians this close to the end, because he knows what will happen. Let's review Satan's greatest backfires:
Deceives Eve- introduces sin and death; God promises a deliver through her lineage
Corrupts the world; God floods it and starts again with his hand-selected family
Convinces man to build a tower; God separates man so thoroughly it would take four millennia to recover
Tries to have Moses killed; God uses Moses to deliver the Israelites
Tries to kill Esther; uses her to save the Jews
Has the Messiah crucified; Opens up salvation for all mankind
Tries to crush the early church; causes it to spread globally
Tries to wipe out the Jews with a Holocaust; Israel becomes a mighty nation again
Despite his flaws, Satan is still smarter and far more powerful than we are in our own strength. He loves to lie and plant seeds of doubt and confusion anywhere he can. He has been very successful in using these subtle tactics to destroy billions over the history of mankind. Interestingly, the fact we are seeing much more aggressive posturing by him here in recent years is telling. It tells us that he realizes he is running out of time, and he (and his forces) are stepping up their campaign of chaos and destruction.
Why you might ask?
IMG Source: Ray Stedman
Because Jesus is not the only one building His Church.
Satan is building up his church as well. He needs this division between the "wheat and tares" completed as much as possible before the Rapture happens, so when it does, his "Mystery Babylon" will already be in place. Satan knows the Rapture will happen, and he knows it will happen before the seven-year Tribulation. He also knows that he will only have a few years and he's not going to waste a second of it allowing any of those left behind to wonder about the Rapture they just missed out on. He wants a system in place, ready to go, to be able to perpetuate the great delusion that will come upon all those who dwell upon the earth. (2 Thess. 2:8, Rev. 17)
Gray War Strategy (the HOW)
Here is where the spiritual spills over into the geopolitical and cultural realms. Like the color revolutions of the recent past, Satan loves to sow confusion. This is where he thrives. Where do you think people like George Soros and Saul Alinsky learned this from? What we are witnessing now is three wars (in both the physical and spiritual realms) being conducted upon us simultaneously. And while these are all forms of war, they manifest themselves in distinctly unique ways. Taken together, they form the strategy of a Gray War which is waged just below the threshold of open active warfare.
Cold Civil War
a. Where an entity is divided either organically or artificially and pits two ideologically opposed sides against each other
b. Regardless of who wins, the unit as a whole is now much weaker
Cold War Tactics
a. Where two ideologies oppose each other over economic, cultural, religious, and geopolitical differences (ex. free-market capitalism vs. communism)
b. Neither side fights each other directly, but battles through proxies (media, pop culture, legislations, etc.)
c. This conflict relies heavily upon the use of espionage, spycraft, and subterfuge to destabilize the other side (Deep State double-agents embedded in traditional government positions)
d. Relies upon a Fifth Column media acolytes to conduct information and misinformation campaigns
Spiritual Color Revolutions
a. Cold War tactics utilized in the spiritual realm, not against God, but against Christians. Just take the chart below and apply it against the Church
b. Relies heavily upon spiritual subterfuge and deception campaigns to demoralize, sow confusion, divide and conquer churches
c. Use of proxy entities (nations, businesses, leaders, media, etc.) to conduct "hard power" operations (i.e., persecutions and provocations) against the body of Christ
d. Use of proxy entities (nations, businesses, leaders, media, etc.) to conduct "soft power" operations to force or coerce compromise on positions of doctrinal essentials
Regarding the upcoming American mid-term elections, Satan (and his human puppets) will be more concerned about controlling the narrative rather than attacking Christians outright. In other words, it is a far more effective tactic for him to continue to discourage and confuse the Church than it is to have them thrown into FEMA camps. He wants the body of Christ confused, divided and demoralized as we move into the final stretch, not rallying around some perceived targeted persecution (i.e., martyr complex).
There are numerous places in Scripture that point to Satan's current authority on this earth. The first is in Luke 4:5-7, where Satan tells Christ (without rebuttal) that the kingdoms of the earth are his to give to whom he chooses. The second is in 1 John 5:19, where John states that the whole world lies under the sway of the devil. Jesus refers to Satan as the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31). Paul refers to him as the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2) and the "god of this age" (2 Cor. 4:4). Jude makes a brief comment that even Michael the Archangel dared not bring a "reviling accusation" against Satan, but simply rebuked him in Jesus' name (Jude 1:9).
Still, Satan knows there are still enough institutions and organizations in the West that will fight back against authoritarianism if pressed too hard too fast. He knows westerners still have too many avenues to push back against the rising tyranny in places like the US, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and even Canada.
The bottom line here is, as bad as things are in places like Australia and California, they are still not as bad, as say, North Korea or Afghanistan. Neither will it get that bad in the few weeks, months, and years we have left before the Rapture. We have the genius of our Founders building in the separation of powers.
The Church of Last Days
Satan's greatest enemy on the earth is the blood-bought, born-again Church. This is why he is using these gray war strategies against us. And if I am correct, then Scripture should confirm my theory regarding the state of Christendom in the last days.
Jesus Christ addressed seven letters to seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3. Yes, they were real historical churches in John's day, and yes, the condemnations/commendations are applicable to all churches of all ages (he who hath an ear, let him hear). However, the order in which they were given to us, prophetically outlines the predominant churches of those particular ages. This is why the first letter given is Ephesus and not Laodicea. In particular, is the distinction between the first three churches, and the last four, which have the endings of each flipped which I believe means they will exist concurrent with each other. Tell me if this doesn't sound exactly like where we are today:
The apostolic church of Ephesus (first-century church)
The persecuted church of Smyrna (second-third century church)
The corrupted church of Pergamos (third-sixth century church)
The global yet corrupted church of Thyatira (6th- present-day Roman Catholicism)
The spiritually dead church of Sardis (16th century- present-day mainline Protestantism)
The faithful w/ little strength church of Philadelphia (18th century- present-day Bible-believing fundamentalism)
The lukewarm and nauseating church of Laodicea (19th century - present-day emergent, Seeker Friendly, Prosperity Gospel, Social Justice Gospel, pseudo-Christian, ecumenical liberal, and progressive churches)
So ultimately (and this is a big picture view here) Christendom will be divided into three major camps (consisting of the last four churches) going into the last days.
Think about it like a spectrum. On the far left, you have the apostate church. In the middle, you have a mix of mainline protestants, Roman Catholics, and evangelicals who (in varying degrees) will be leaning to the left or right of center. Lastly, on the far right, you have the Biblical fundamentalists who adhere to a faithful rendering of God's word.
Western Christendom is no longer pegged to the right or even right of center. The needle is increasingly being pulled to the left, meaning the authority and importance of the Church is increasingly leaving those right of center out in the cold. Just look at our nation today which is largely post-modern, post-American, and post-Christian.
So while persecution is coming, and along with it, a great, global revival, it will not be coming this side of the Rapture. Thus, and to reiterate what I mentioned earlier, whenever Satan attempts to do some major move against God's people, it backfires and further progresses God's divine agenda. No, I think Satan is going to "stay in his lane" this time and continue corrupting and weakening the church as best he can until God divides us permanently at the Rapture.
But some will say, wait a minute. What about all the real persecution going on right now in places all over the world? Places like North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, and so forth?
Well, all I can say is selective persecution against believers (even against the Old Testament saints) is nothing new. Hebrews 11 reviews for us the long history of atrocities conducted against God's chosen. Persecution has been a mainstay in the human condition since Cain killed Abel. As such, persecution itself cannot really be used as a metric to determine how close we are to the end or else Christ would have come back in the 2nd century. I'm not making light of persecution, nor am I minimizing its horrors, I'm simply saying that persecution in and of itself has been one of the most consistent realities Christians have had to endure for all of history.
Bottom line is that the church of the last days will be more Laodicean, than Philadelphian, which is why Christ describes them as having "little strength."
What makes the days in which we live unique is the fact the West has spent the last four centuries, and at great cost, fostering liberty and the rule of law to prohibit things like religious persecution.
In order for those Church and Israel to suddenly be put under the knife again in the West something seriously wrong is going to have to happen. Granted, something seriously went wrong in World War II, but the world rallied and defeated the evil Nazi Regime. Satan doesn't need that again. He has been far more effective in corrupting the Church.
In the meantime, Satan is going to ratchet up the coercion and deception campaigns in the form of a 'blanket punishment' against all of Western Civilization. The reason for that is because Western Civ has its moral-ethical foundations largely built upon Judeo-Christian principles. This is why we are seeing the Satanic strategy of targeting norms, values, and truth on things like the family, the schools, sports, historical sites, history itself, free speech, abortion, marriage, medical mandates, peace, safety, gender, and corporate wokeness. While these are all things Christians care about, these are not "exclusively" Christian issues.
In closing, let's just keep a few things in perspective. Yes, the Bible says the world is going to continue to wax worse and worse, and will not get any better until Christ returns at the Second Coming (2 Tim. 3, 2 Peter 3, Matt. 24, etc.). However, in order for Christians in the West to undergo the kind of persecution many are now predicting, would require our entire system to collapse...and it will...at the Rapture. Nevertheless, things will continue to get tougher economically, politically, and socially before our deliverance.
Right now, we are in the time of the birth pangs, where there is an intentional intensifying period of lawlessness and wickedness. These two will have repercussions in the economic world, which may cause financial hard times and increased periods of deprivation. If you look at the intentional destruction of our current economic structure, they are doing it to pave the way for the coming mark of the beast system. Granted, the powers that be are not calling it that, but we Christians ultimately know that is where it is headed. The same goes for medical mandates. These are not the mark of the beast but serve as a form of conditioning to prepare this generation to accept it when it does come.
I'm not trying to make the devil out to be more powerful than he is, but neither am I attempting to minimize his cunning. Furthermore, we can see the purposeful ramping up of wickedness and lawlessness around the world. Where it used to be isolated in this place or that, now this lawlessness has become global in reach and depth. We can see the geopolitical winds shifting and the nations of the world are aligning themselves just as the bible says they would be. The economic problems in the world are both purposeful and are driving everyone to the same destination- a single, digital, global currency. Just as Satan is trying to pre-stage his "Mystery Babylon" religion, he is also pre-staging his economic "Babylon the Great" so that when the right time comes (i.e., the Rapture), he will have it ready to go.
So how much worse will it get? This depends on how close we get to the Tribulation. How close will the Church come to that watery judgment that is coming upon the whole earth? Even now we can see the storm clouds building on the horizon.
How close will the Church come to that fiery hour of testing that is coming upon the earth? Even now, we can see the soldiers loading the furnace and the smoke rising.
Well, if the OT foreshadowing still holds true, and I believe it does, then we will be like Daniel in Daniel chapter three or Enoch in Genesis six. We aren't going to be anywhere near there. This means the fact we are seeing the signs of this coming Tribulation already here, the deliverance of Christ's bride, the Church, will be all the sooner.
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Rev. 3:10
Post-Scriptum: Lord willing, I will be on live with Pastor Tom Hughes on his Youtube channel Monday 4:00PM CST. Hope to see you there!