By Donna Wasson
I am constantly astonished at the casual indifference the modern day church displays regarding end time events. Individuals who attend services, even faithfully, live their lives in some bizarre stupor, seemingly unaware of just how close we are to striking midnight on the prophetic clock. How can this possibly be?
It’s not as if they’re bereft of information on these last days. Anyone interested in learning about where events on this earth are headed, can find loads of books or DVD’s in Christian and secular bookstores, outlining what prophets through the ages have predicted about the times in which we’re living. In addition, there are enough websites and blogs dedicated to the subject to quench anyone’s curiosity, so a lack of data can’t be the issue.
So, what’s the deal? Why the apathy? It must be human nature; a defense mechanism against the realization of impending doom. Let’s use a small group of fictional passengers on the RMS Titanic as an example.
Let’s suppose the ladies and gentlemen seated at table seven in one of the ship’s elegant dining rooms, chose to continue eating, enjoying their conversation and live music, while ignoring the announcement that the ship had struck an iceberg. Were they so dazzled by the gorgeous place settings, fresh flower arrangements, gourmet food and fine wine, they were numbed to the unimaginable disaster and death that awaited them within a few short hours?
As the waiters pleaded with them to don life jackets, did they dismissively wave them away with a demand for more brandy? Why would they be concerned? After all, they were warm and comfortable inside the salon, enjoying an after-dinner cigar and playfully debating the politics of the day. They saw no imminent danger and failed to pay attention to the commotion outside on the decks, as the panicked staff frantically wrestled with the rigging on the inadequate lifeboats.
We all know the horror that followed. A short time later, those fictional passengers with their beautiful silk gowns and jewels, the handsome tuxedos, fine china and champagne bottles ended up on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, whose waters were so cold, most victims froze to death before having the chance to drown.
Why did this have to happen? After all, they were informed the ship was sinking with adequate time to make it into one of the lifeboats. A few hours of uncomfortable inconvenience, huddled with other passengers in a cramped little boat, wrapped in their furs to ward off the chill, and they would have been rescued by the crew of the RMS Carpathia the next morning. They could have lived. So, again, why? Why did they have to die?
Because they CHOSE not to heed the warnings they were given.
Oh, they didn’t form a suicide pact or anything like that. No, they chose to ignore the repeated warnings of impending disaster simply because they were having such a great time. Life was good! Staff members were no doubt tugging on their sleeves, begging them to listen. Unfortunately, they were too intoxicated by their luxurious surroundings and sensual comforts to give serious heed to the alarms, and as a result of their inaction, they died horrible deaths.
The very same disregard is happening today. Willful ignorance and hedonism are causing untold thousands of people in the so-called Christian community to shrug off the warnings given by the watchmen on the walls. Jesus saw these days coming and told the disciples about it in Luke 17: 26-33. In these verses, He detailed what life would be like when believers are instantly snatched home to be with Him.
He told us that society will be much like it was in the days of Noah and Lot. Before the flood, people in Noah’s time were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage. In the same way, life in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot resided proceeded as it had for years; its residents were also eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.
However, on the exact day Noah entered the ark the flood came and destroyed Noah’s neighbors along with everything that breathed air on the whole earth. Likewise, the very day Lot and his family fled to a safe distance, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven, destroying both cities. ‘Just as it was in the days of Noah (and Lot), so shall it be when the Son of Man is revealed.’
People in both of these examples were absorbed with their day to day lives and plans for the future, despite receiving plenty of warning from Noah and Lot that God’s punishment would surely fall upon the corruption and sin of those societies. Did anyone listen? Apparently not. Most people don’t seem to be listening today either.
Heck, let’s face it. Life in the Western world is pretty sweet, especially in America. Our average welfare recipient enjoys a higher standard of living than many high class citizens in other countries. The U.S. lifestyle is second to none in the history of the world, so there seems to be little to worry about. After all, “God Bless America,” right?
Even though most of us are aware that human civilization, in general, is declining morally and economically, we find it difficult to believe disaster might one day strike our home. That kind of stuff happens to other people. The worst we expect to suffer is the occasional flat tire, or being laid off a job we never liked anyway, or the slight possibility our kid would break their arm on the playground. But nothing terribly serious.
People navigate through their days, happily yapping on their cell phones, arranging to meet friends for dinner or a movie. Moms busily plan the next carpool to their child’s soccer game, negotiating whose turn it is to supply the cupcakes. Dad’s mind is consumed with that pending sales deal which might just allow him to buy the car of his dreams.
Millions get up on Sunday morning, dress up nice and drive to the Disney Land sized parking lot of their mega-church. They enter the cavernous auditorium, walk on thick carpet under the warm glow of chandeliers, greeting friends and searching out that week’s bulletin.
They stand for what seems like hours, singing meaningless stanzas of ‘worship’ choruses over and over and over and over again, accompanied by screaming guitars and enthusiastic, rock drummer wanna-bees, while colored lights flash and fog machines obscure the monitors on the stage.
Up next comes the sugary-sweet sermon of feel-good, seeker-friendly theology, congratulating those perching in the pews on what ‘good people’ they are, how much money they raised for the new community playground and that Jesus loves them and has a good plan for their lives. A closing prayer to the god of tolerance and acceptance for all people and philosophies, and everyone runs like heck for the exits, hoping to beat the crowd to Red Lobster for lunch.
Because they’re satisfied this fulfills their duty to God for the week, they feel free to subtly boast to friends and family what wonderful Christians they are, while turning their entire focus back to work, school and social planning. When they watch the evening news, manufactured by the mainstream media, they try their best to rationalize the tsunami of societal havoc coming their way. If they don’t pay attention, everything will be OK.
Those mega-churches aren’t pulling on the sleeves of their congregations, advising them of the danger that will strike any day now. They aren’t sending the deacons or teachers out with critical information regarding the impending rapture of the church. The elegant ‘passengers’ of America, with their picture perfect lives, French manicured nails, tennis teams, golf clubs and business meetings, are facing certain destruction and they don’t even know it.
Their pastoral shepherds refuse to acknowledge we’re living in the last days because that wouldn’t be good for church business; it might scare away seekers or offend members. As congregational sheep, they don’t bother reading the Word of God for themselves; therefore the vast majority is convinced they’ll go to heaven when they die.
They figure God must be happy with them because they believe Jesus really existed and they go to church every Sunday. They also give money in the offering, volunteer in the nursery every other month and don’t cheat on their taxes. They are ‘good people,’ right?
Some of them have weirdo, conspiracy theory, nut-case friends or family members who constantly sound the alarm of impending doom, as if the sky is falling and the end of the world is near. Those people are always harping on the cross and the blood of Christ and the need for repentance, which they find offensive and boring, so they smile and disregard the admonitions.
After all, life is good in the here and now, and they aren’t ready for Jesus to come back, as if that would ever happen, which they highly doubt! They have dreams they still want time to pursue and children to finish raising, so they graciously turn down the offers of DVD’s or books outlining salvation and end time teachings. It’s just too depressing to consider and things are going to be fine anyway.
Besides, the new President will fix the economy so their happy lives can continue, carefree as always. But, just like our fictional diners on the Titanic, they are headed for death and destruction. After the impending rapture occurs, they’ll be left behind to face hell on earth.
Because they are CHOOSING not to heed the warnings they are being given. The good news is they still have time to get into the lifeboat, but they’d better hurry! Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Email the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org