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We have a duty to oppose all works of Satan, whenever we can. Let’s tackle societal evils like we assume the World isn’t ending. Let’s have as much energy for societal reform as we do for personal reform.


Previous End Times Post


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another Friday post.

In my previous post, I wrote about an idea from C.S. Lewis’ classic book, Mere Christianity. I wrote about his idea that Christians are behind enemy lines, fighting a “great campaign of sabotage.” We fight this guerilla war while awaiting the return of the True King, Jesus Christ.

Then I wrote about how we are to fight this campaign. I said we do that by living out the Gospels, which seems simple, but isn’t easy. But the Gospels are our battle plan for this guerilla war, and Christian love is one of our most potent weapons. With love, we can sabotage and undermine the works of Satan, which are built on hate and fear.

Today’s topic is a continuation on from that. Today I’m talking about how as long as we live, we have a duty to wage this great campaign of sabotage.

Always at the Ready

Now we all know that no one knows the day nor the hour of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:36). We do know the season though, because Christ told us in Matthew 24 what to look out for. When we see these signs, we know He’s coming soon. Jesus is coming back soon. Very soon. That much is clear, it’s the main topic of this blog.

But how soon is soon? Is it tomorrow? Next month? A few years from now? Ten years from now? Fifteen, twenty, fifty years from now? We don’t know. Nobody knows. Only the Father knows and no one else, not even the Son (Matthew 24:36). So we need to be ready all the time. We need to follow Christ’s teachings all the time, and be the diligent servants who are ready for His return. I wrote about this all the way back in Part 6.

So if we’re going to do that, then it means we always have a duty to wage the great campaign of sabotage. It’s our duty to undermine Satan how we can. Even if we aren’t the ones to deliver the final victory, that’s irrelevant.

Allow me to try to explain. I hope God will give me the right words to explain what I mean. I have to try and explain no matter how hard it may be. So let me try.

Fix it so He Will Return? Or Wait for His Return so He Can Fix it? Premillennialism vs. Postmillennialism

I’ve been thinking about this since I read an article in Sojourners Magazine. It explained how focusing too much Christ’s imminent return can cause us to neglect our duty to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s a fascinating take. Let’s take a look at it right now.

The article is entitled, “Conspiracy Theories, Apocalyptic Rhetoric, and the Evangelical Embrace of Premillennialism” by Randall Balmer.

First he lays out the background of the topic. At one time, evangelical Christians in America were focused on improving society and making it more just and fair. More Godly, more Christian. They started with a burst of energy and were quite motivated. But they lost this energy over time. What happened? Let’s take a look.

The word “declension” means “a falling off or away, deterioration”

In our description of the long declension from evangelical social activism in the 19th century — social reform almost invariably directed toward those on the margins — to the evangelical embrace of Donald Trump, we encounter the speed bump of apocalypticism beginning in the late 19th century and continuing well into the 20th. The story, albeit in abbreviated form, looks something like this.

In the wake of the Second Great Awakening early in the 19th century, evangelicals plunged into the enterprise of social reform, including common schools, peace crusades, the abolition of slavery, temperance, prison reform, and women’s rights. What animated their efforts was the conviction that they could reform society according to the norms of godliness and thereby bring about the kingdom of God here on earth — and, more particularly, here in America.

Theologians call this postmillennialism, the doctrine that Jesus will return to earth after the millennium, the thousand-year period of peace and righteousness predicted in the book of Revelation. The corollary was that it was incumbent on the faithful to reform society and pave the way for the “second coming” of Jesus.

This right here is the critical element of the postmillennialism theology. The idea that it’s on us as believers to make society more Christian and pleasing for Christ, so that He will return. To do this means tackling the evils mentioned above: slavery, lack of education, war, gender inequality, and more.

Sounds good so far. But what happened next?

Those efforts at social reform were remarkably fruitful. Evangelicals succeeded in shaping the conscience of the nation in the early decades of the 19th century, and their persistence eventually drove an angry South to secession. But the Civil War itself began to prompt a reconsideration of postmillennialism. The battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam and Manassas, not to mention the horrific tally of casualties (historians now estimate something close to three-quarters of a million), prompted evangelicals to reexamine their postmillennial optimism about the perfection of society.

The ensuing, postwar decades provided little encouragement. Industrialization and urbanization began to reshape American society. The arrival of non-Protestant immigrants, most of whom did not share evangelical scruples about temperance, came to be seen more as a threat than an opportunity. Teeming, squalid tenements, roiling with labor unrest, hardly resembled the precincts of Zion that evangelicals had so confidently predicted earlier in the century.

Evangelicals began, in greater and greater numbers, to appropriate the ideas of John Nelson Darby, a member of the Brethren (later known as Plymouth Brethren) in Britain. In his writings and during his visits to the United States, Darby informed American evangelicals that they had been interpreting the Bible incorrectly. Jesus would not return to earth after the millennium; he would return before the millennium, which meant that Christians could anticipate the second coming at any moment, at which time they would be “raptured” into heaven and those “left behind” would face divine judgment.

The consequence of Darby’s premillennialism (Jesus would return before the millennium) was to absolve evangelicals of responsibility for addressing social ills. If Jesus was going to return at any moment, why bother with making this world a better place?

I call premillennialism a theology of despair because it allowed evangelicals to throw up their hands in resignation. At the same time that the Social Gospel began to take hold among Protestant liberals, based on the conviction that God can redeem not only sinful individuals but also sinful social institutions, evangelicals shifted their focus to individual regeneration.

[…] premillennialism shifted evangelical attentions from the collective ills of society to the salvation of individuals.

So here’s the debate. Fix the world now so Jesus will return? Or wait for His return so He can fix it? And where does our Christian responsibility lie?

Work on Ourselves or Work on Society?

Back in Part 7 I wrote about how this fallen world has always been unjust. It’s because of the fallen state of this world. Thanks to Satan, God’s original plan was corrupted.

Humans are imperfect and sinful. Society, groups of imperfect, sinful humans, is imperfect and sinful by default. We see this in the societal evils of inequality, prejudice, discrimination, poverty, and more. We see this in all societal ills. And the fallen state of this world means it won’t get better until God destroys the world and creates the next (Revelation 21).

So … should we throw our hands up and forget about improving society? Just give up on fighting the evils of inequality, poverty, and so on because we know we can’t get the job done?

No! Christ told us in Luke 12 to always be ready, to always be following His teachings. To always be working to serve the kingdom. He didn’t tell us, “only I can fix things, and you can’t, so let me worry about everything.”

All the societal evils mentioned so far are the work of Satan, and his demonic minions. The undying demonic spirits of the Nephilim. Fallen angels. Doing our part to eradicate those evils, even on a local, individual level, is doing our part to fight Satan. It’s how we undermine his kingdom.

We are always responsible for fighting these societal evils and trying to reform society. Doing so is resisting Satan and undermining his plans.

Of course “Individual Regeneration,” which is mentioned in the article I quoted above (but not in the part I quoted from), is important too. I often write about it here on my blog.

Ever since Part 1, I’ve often said that we must turn to Christ, put our faith in Him, and REPENT. This is the only way for us to be “safe” during the End Times. We’ll die, but it won’t matter. Death is nothing for us to be afraid of if we’re saved.

And along with my message to REPENT, I’ve also said we should ask Christ for help to overcome the sins we wrestle with. We want to get our lives right as much as we can, to the full extent of our human ability, before He returns. Although it’s a bitter struggle, with His help there’s nothing that’s impossible. Turn to Him!

And all this happens inside, in our own hearts and lives. This is “Individual Regeneration.” Of course this is important, it’s vital. We must have individual regeneration in our lives if we’re following Christ. That’s a sign of our growth. We should be getting less sinful as we mature in Christ. We must make the world a better place by taking our own sins out of the equation, as much as possible.

But none of this excuses us from our duty to improve society too. We have a duty to do what we can, when we can to fight against the societal evils caused by Satan. The social inequality caused by greed and pride, for example. Or prejudice and discrimination rooted in hatred and fear. These are the works of the devil.

We have a duty to sabotage and undermine these works, continuing the metaphor from C.S. Lewis. We have a duty to undermine Satan’s kingdom. That means doing our part (whatever that may be) to call out, resist, oppose, and finally tear down the works of Satan.

Working to eradicate poverty, injustice, racism, and so on is a crucial part of how we wage the great campaign of sabotage against Satan’s kingdom. As for the rest, I wrote about it in the previous post.

Our Duty Never Ends

We don’t know when the world is going to end, we only know that it will. We don’t know when Christ will return, we only know that He will. And when He does, it’s The End.

It falls to each of us to be ready by the time He returns, because at that point it’s too late. No one knows the day or the hour, so He could return tomorrow for all we know.

REPENT and make sure you’re ready! Turn to Christ and put your faith in Him! Confess your sins, and ask for His help to overcome your sins. Become as holy as you can with the time you have left. Become the best version of yourself you can be before The End.

This is called Individual Regeneration, and is a responsibility of ours as believers. It’s a sign of growth and maturing in Christ. We should be getting better and sinning less as we continue following Christ.

But that’s not where our responsibilities end.

We have a duty to oppose all works of Satan, whenever we can. Let’s tackle societal evils like we assume the World isn’t ending. Let’s have as much energy for societal reform as we do for personal reform. Focusing only on individual regeneration during the End Times means neglecting to focus on an area that’s just as important.

How can we really know which side in the debate between Premillennialism and Postmillennialism is right? How can we know that Christ’s Second Coming will happen without us “getting things ready” for Him?

My personal opinion leans toward Premillennialism. I think Jesus is coming back to end this world before we can “fix” things here. It’s also my belief that the imperfect, sinful human race is incapable of fixing what needs to be fixed. That’s always been out of our power, because only God can redeem this fallen world.

But although those are my personal opinions, I can’t prove that Postmillennialism is “wrong.” Even if I could it wouldn’t excuse me from the Christian duty to fight the works of Satan wherever I find them. Societal evils such as poverty, inequality, racism, and so on are definitely included in the works of Satan.

We have a duty to wage this great campaign of sabotage against Satan’s kingdom to the bitter end. We must do what we can to undermine all his evil works. Mere inconveniences like the end of the world are no excuse for staying out of the fight!


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

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2 comments on “Do Not Fear the End Times Part 18: Where Does our Duty Lie?

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