As though Jesus were reading a news summary of recent years, His prophecies of two thousand years ago clearly describe our times. Thus, we are compelled to discern accurately the significant era in which we live. Indeed, of the many prophetic fulfillments of our day, one in particular rises with undimmed candor. I am speaking of what the Bible calls the “apostasy.” Recall Paul’s warning:
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first” (2 Thess. 2:3).
The apostasy has traditionally been described as a time of deception and massive falling away from authentic faith in Christ. Depending upon your specific view, sometime before or after the apostasy the rapture of the church will occur. However, the concept of apostasy as merely “a falling away” is incomplete. The original Greek word for apostasy, apostasia, when used in classical Greek literature, meant “a political revolt.” From this we understand that the end-time apostasy is not just a time of sinfulness or large scale backsliding; it is actually a time of open defiance and warlike aggression against godliness in general. In other words, the apostasia is a political insurrection against the laws of God.
This interpretation of the apostasy is not an isolated view. The New International Version, Revised Standard Version, Phillips Translation, and New English Bible all render apostasia as “the rebellion.” The Living Bible interprets the apostasy as the “great rebellion,” while the Jerusalem Bible assigns a proper name to this era: “The Great Revolt.”
As we consider the fulfillment of so many other prophecies, let us carefully observe: mankind has entered an era of open revolt and outright rebellion — an apostasy — against the moral standards of God.
Today, we are witnessing a large-scale rebellion against traditional moral values. Indeed, this brazen attitude has had a name for itself since the 1960s: the sexual revolution. And “revolution” is exactly what it is. Our moral standards have not only been challenged, they have been replaced by a nonstandard. Indeed, the great rebellion seeks to legitimize and then mainstream every perversity known to man!
There is much to say on behalf of those trapped in perversity and who hate sin’s effect on their lives. We must be compassionate toward them and not strident; many are sitting in our churches afraid to even speak of their need lest they be disowned. I am not speaking with reference to the victims of this advance, but of those who are engaged in a mutiny against the sway of God in our nation. They argue the only standard Americans have is the standard of individual freedom. In their view, freedom itself is the “god” ruling America, with self-indulgence sitting as prime minister.
Yet the God of Heaven desires the nations of the world. Though the apostasy will certainly intensify, we must remember it is only one of many prophecies unfolding in our day. The same divine Word that warned of the Great Rebellion also assures us that ultimately God’s kingdom shall crush the demonic influences in our world (Dan. 2:44).
Yes, evil shall mature into full rebellion, but good is also ripening into full Christlikeness! (See Matt. 13:40-43; John 17:22-23.) True, the apostasy shall reveal the nature of Satan, but the true church shall manifest the nature of Christ! Our King is not only coming in the skies, He is coming “to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed” (2 Thess. 1:10). What seems to be Satan’s hour, full of darkness and rebellion, is simply the opportunity for grace to abound to the glory of God in the church!
Seated with Christ!
The Second Psalm, perhaps more then any other Bible text, accurately portrays the spirit of our time. Indeed, it also proclaims our correct response to Satan’s bold advance. Although it was quoted by the early church (Acts 4:25-26), God has set its full realization for the end of this age.
“Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!'” (Ps. 2:1-3).
Although “the rebellion” reveals itself worldwide in many ways, in America many of our leaders have certainly been counseling together “against the Lord” in their decisions. We see it in the efforts to mainstream perversion and give shelter to satanic rock music. Again, our anti-censorship laws, like armor plating, in many ways now defend sin against the Lord. The virulent cry of those in rebellion hammers relentlessly upon the fetters of moral restraint!
This railing against God has not gone unnoticed in Heaven. Is the Almighty confounded? Has fear concerning recent developments gripped the Lord’s heart? No. The Psalm continues:
“He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury” (Ps. 2:4-5).
The Lord laughs at the foolishness of those in full revolt, as they imagine God’s judgments cannot reach them. Why then, you ask, does the Lord delay His full judgment? In part, the Lord waits for us, His church. For while the world shall demand, and receive, the reign of hell, the goal of the praying church shall be for the reign of Heaven.
You see, all prophecies shall be fulfilled: not only those concerning evil but also those concerning righteousness. The Lord has purposed to have a “bride without spot or wrinkle” and a “kingdom” of wheat without tares. The transformation of the church will be fulfilled as surely as every other prophecy occurring before the Lord’s return.
Thus, with great fear and holy trembling, we must review what God has promised concerning us. Let us remember, the Lord is not alone in the heavens. According to His Word, He has “seated us with Him in the heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6). It is time for our identity as Christians to shift. Our nationalities only define our ambassador status; our true citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20). And if God is laughing at the mocking of those in the rebellion, let us also, as His subjects, share His confidence!
Thus, He commands us to sit with Him in the completeness of His purpose. He requires us not only to live without fear but to stand in prayer for these very nations that defy Him!
Listen again to this Second Psalm, for in the very context of worldwide rebellion against the Lord, it records the most remarkable discourse: “Ask of Me,” the Father says to the Son, “and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession” (Ps. 2:8).
When I first came to Christ in 1970, churches in America were deeply divided and rather cold in organized prayer. Today, leaders of denominations are working together, and it is estimated that more than a quarter of a million American churches are moving toward deeper unity and increased prayer for this nation. Jesus has asked the Father for the United States, and in response, the prayer movement has been born!
As Christ’s church, we do not deserve a national revival, but Jesus does! As His representatives, in His name and virtue, we ask of the Father for America! We stand in prayer for the church to become one, filled with Christ followers from every ethnic background! Our prayer is not only an act of faith, it is an act of obedience: we are commanded to ask God for the nations!
Therefore, while the perverse strive toward complete rejection of God, even as their mocking words fill the air, the Almighty’s unchangeable promise to His Son (and by extension, His church as Christ’s body) is “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations!”
As violence, New Age religions and witchcraft flourish in our schools, ask God for this nation. While all restraint is removed from the entertainment industry, ask God for this nation! While perversity dresses in normalcy, ask God for America! While abortion remains protected by laws, ask God with confidence, with boldness, and with faith for our land! Where you see injustice in any form, ask God for His kingdom to manifest on earth!
“He who sits in the heavens laughs.”
Put away fear and discouragement; repent of fretting. The more we accept our place in the divine plan, the more we shall laugh at the enemy’s plans. The faith that relentlessly asks God, pleases God. Now, as the fullness of the times unfolds, as the world around us clothes itself in prophetic fulfillments, let us put away unbelief; let us repent for withdrawal. It is a time to boldly ask of God. As He has promised: He will give the nations as an inheritance to Christ!
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus, how blessed we are that as evil matures into full rebellion, Your church matures into full Christlikeness. Teach me to pray for my inheritance, my nation. Use me to stand in the gap until my people become Your people.
Adapted from Francis Frangipane’s book, The Days of His Presence, available at http://www.arrowbookstore.com.