I am currently teaching through the Book of Revelation on Sunday mornings. The description of God’s wrath and judgment upon an earth that has rejected Him is staggering. As a biblical inerrantist I view the events of Revelation as literal. Which means that the book details the death of half the world’s population over the course of a seven-year period in the future. When one considers the world response to planes flying into buildings, or our national response to a gunman walking into a theater or a school, it becomes nearly impossible to wrap one’s mind around how individuals and society will process the death of 3.5+ billion people. By my way of thinking I would believe that human response would be to run to God crying out for mercy and salvation. We saw shades of this after 9-11 as churches and houses of worship were filled with people (not on Sunday) seeking God and answers. But Revelation paints a different picture. The canvas of the text clearly displays a human population that responds to God with a shaking fist and a curse. People who run from God rather than to God. People who fight the Creator of heaven and earth. It’s hard to fathom really.
But then there are shades of this attitude budding in the world today. Just this week I saw a news piece on a cable news network that explored media hostility toward religion in America. And while the conversation typically begins with the broad category of religion most all the examples of bias are anti-Christian in nature specifically. Culturally speaking we are witnessing the re-writing of the moral code of our society. Where the culture at one time was in agreement with biblical Christian mores, now what once was categorized as sin is redefined as “personal choice.” We live in a nation of hyper-tolerance and open-mindedness where it is politically incorrect and socially unacceptable to label any personal action as wrong much less sin. A final cog in this wheel of change is the decay of biblical authority among mainline protestant denominations and perhaps even within the Catholic church with the advent of Pope Francis (see my recent blog post, The Curious Words of Pope Francis). Traditional understandings of proper behavior, purity, and holiness are being jettisoned in favor of reading the Bible as a culturally progressive document where what was wrong then is not longer wrong now in light of societal evolution.
All of this is a set up for a fight. A fight against God. Those individuals and churches that hold to a literalist position of biblical interpretation, those who hold to a classical orthodoxy held by and stewarded by the church and faithful believers for over 2,000 years, will find themselves in a battle. Intolerant, bigoted, homophobic, radical, extreme, close-minded, haters, backward, etc. will be the language used toward those who hold to what was once the norm for all. We will be marginalized, blackballed, cast aside, reviled, ridiculed, and despised. This will not be a fight of words but of action as well. New government regulations will be followed by monetary fines. Lawsuits leading to the Supreme Court will come next. People will lose their jobs and some businesses will be boycotted and forced to close. And, yes, for some there will be prison.
According to biblical prophecy, the problem will extend globally. All of this will be precursor to a world where when things go from bad to worse, rather than running to God for salvation as was the posture of man in the past, the world will surely recognize God but shake its fist at Him, dig in its heels, and fight.