In this video, Reverend Ron Davidson discusses the question, “Are we living in the end times?”
Some of the key points include:
- A review of Jesus’s message from Matthew 24
- The story of repentance from Daniel 8 and 9
- Two Ways God Deals with the Unfaithful
- How believers should respond to current events
Also, you can read a written version of the video below, lightly edited for clarity.
Are we living in the end times?
The question was asked of me “Of all that is going on with COVID-19, the election, and everything else, are we living in the end times?”
I’ve listened to a number of different pastors discuss this very question. In fact, a pastor in our Central VA community said that the vaccine was the Antichrist. (That’s as foolish as anything I’ve ever heard.)
I’ve listened to “prophets” on YouTube saying that is the problem we’re having right now. Quite honestly, I think most of the prophets I’ve listened to don’t know what they’re talking about. (And I guess, I’m going to be another one of those who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.)
In Matthew 24, it says, “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.” (RSV)
And then in Matthew 24:15, it says, “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak”. (RSV)
It says in parentheses, “…whoever hears these things let him understand…”
The Temple in Jerusalem
I want to go back and look at the temple because it was the holy place. At the back of the temple was an area covered and separated from the people by a massive cloth. Behind that cloth is what we believe to be the Holy of Holies where God resided. There was only one time of the year when the chief of the priests could go back to the holy of holies to clean that area. He had to go through 8 weeks of purification. They would put a veil on this priest and a rope on his foot. So, if he walked in and there was any sin in his life he would fall down dead. There were several cases in the Old Testament where this happened. Anyone that walked in there had to be purified to the fullest extent.
The temple was where people came to provide sacrifices for the sins of the nation of Israel. They also offered for their own personal sins and the sins of their family. We’re told by Josephus, a great Roman historian, that it took eight years and over 10,000 men a day at work to build this magnificent place.
To give you an idea, it was 250,000 square feet. It was a gold inlaid, the most magnificent thing that was ever built. They finished it 19 years before the birth of Christ. Nothing in the entire world would match the magnificence of this temple.
In fact, Josephus said that when the sun shone on the gold plating that it would blind the whole community. We’re talking about a magnificent place. The temple existed from 19 years before Christ until 70 years after Christ. So, it was around eighty years that the temple existed.
Persecution by Titus
A general by the name of Titus became the emperor of Rome. In 70 AD, Titus brought in thousands of Roman soldiers, a legion. They killed tens of thousands of people. They were also ordered to destroy the temple and literally not leave one stone on top of the other. We know where the temple was located. Remember that the blocks that made up the temple weighed about 500 pounds. So, you’re looking at thousands of these blocks, including the fence around the temple. When Titus and his army left Jerusalem, they totally destroyed the temple. They didn’t leave one stone on top of the other. They destroyed the temple. They killed every Christian in the community that they could find. They literally killed whole families. Anyone of the Jewish or Christian faith was killed. It was thousands of people that died.
The significance of that is found in Romans 24:8, which says, “Take heed that no one deceives you…”
I would say to you as far as what is going on in today’s world, see that you are not troubled. God is still on the throne. He is still the author of life. He is still the most magnificent of all. Nothing will happen to us as believers that God will not be in the midst of it. See that your soul is not troubled.
Daniel 8 and 9
Now the section continues, “…the abomination of the desolation…spoken of by Daniel the prophet.”
It took me a lot of research to go back and see what Jesus meant when He said, “Let the reader beware.” I went back into Daniel 8 and 9 to understand what Daniel was talking about.
In Daniel’s time, there was a group of people who were believers in God. They actually had a worship center set up. But, the people stopped listening to God. They stopped caring about what God wanted them to do with their lives. God spoke against them. The people began to see that they were destroying themselves.
Message from Gabriel
It was not that God destroyed them. It was that they were destroying themselves. And the angel Gabriel, the highest of all the angels in heaven, came down with a message for Daniel and the people.
Daniel began to repent because the people had turned against God. He asked for God’s forgiveness. He asked for God’s mercy and grace. He asked for God not to destroy the people.
God sent Gabriel back to Daniel to affirm that God is a God of grace. He promised that He would not destroy them. But, He told them that for their life to be fulfilled, they had to turn back and worship God. When you look at the abomination of the desolation, Jesus is talking about something bigger. When Jesus was crucified, buried, rose again, and went to heaven, the temple changed. It was no longer a building built in Jerusalem.
The New Temple
The temple of God is the soul of any man that believes in God. When you are talking about the abomination of the desolation it is discussing the heart of the believer becoming cold. Hearts will become so cold that they will not care what God says. They don’t care what God has said about life. They don’t care about their judgment. They won’t care about the Word of God.
When it says, “Let the reader beware” it’s talking about a time when even those who are believers will turn their hearts against God.
Jesus says in Matthew 24 not to let your journey be on the Sabbath or certain days. The people who believed in God would build their houses and set them in a straight line. So, it was a house beside a house.
On the Rooftop
The significance of that?
If someone were to invade that community, the people could literally get on top of the houses. They could walk the length of the community from housetop to housetop.
They could escape the invasion by running from roof to roof. There are other rules about the Sabbath that I won’t get into right now. The part that Jesus was addressing matters.
He said that when destruction comes, you are to go onto the housetop. Then, come down at the end of the line of houses so that you can escape. The significance of that is that the destruction of the Israelite people was going to come from within their own community.
The Abomination of the Desolation
This is a major thing right here. To come within their own community, meant that people who claimed to be God’s followers would become so cold that they would not care about God’s will. Instead, they would literally turn against each other.
That’s part of what the prophecy of end times and the abomination of the desolation is about. The destruction of the faith in God will come from inside the believers.
Two Ways God Deals with the Unfaithful
I studied this in my own time and devotional time over the last few days. There were two different ways that God deals with the unfaithful.
The Nation of Israel
First, I studied Moses and the people after they left Egypt, and when they moved into the promised land. I found out that within a month or two from the time they crossed the Red Sea until they reached the promised land. Let me say that again. The walking time between when they crossed the Red Sea until they found the Promised Land was less than two months. However, it took them forty years.
Why did it take so long?
The answer is that they kept being disobedient to God. God would come to them and say, “Because of your disobedience, you are to go to this place and then another place.” The reason they wandered? They disobeyed God. And God continued to put obstacles in their way. They would repent for the life they lived. God would accept and bless them and take care of them. But, it was the disobedience of the believer that caused it to be 40 years instead of two months.
There are times when we are disobedient to God as a country, or even as a people of the world. God says, “You’ll pay for this disobedience.”
Hearts Grow Cold
There is a second way that God deals with disobedience. He just allows life to go on. This is what normally happens.
Let’s say that I am a believer and my heart grows cold toward God. It grows cold toward other people. I have no compassion. I have no empathy. I have no sympathy. I am just cold. There is nothing about me that shows any love at all.
And God says, “If you turn against me, I’m going to let the normal results of life take you one.” It means that I have to pay for what I do. If I’m no longer trusting in God, believing in God, He will just let me go on down my road.
God is Love
I made the comment last Sunday that God is not going to let anyone go to Hell. (I’ve been questioned about it and I still believe it). We condemn ourselves to Hell. God is love. It’s not a characteristic. It’s what He is. It’s who He is. It’s what He’s about.
He wants to give us everything we need in our life. He wants to give us peace in the turmoil. He wants to give us grace when we do things that are not appropriate in God’s sight. He wants to help us overcome negative impressions of ourselves. He wants to give us the right attitudes so that we feel good about who we are as the children of God. He wants to give us all those things. But, if we turn away from God, He just stops blessing us. He lets your life simply run its course. And it destroys you and those around you.
The final result of that may well be Hell.
You put yourself there because of the way you lived and because of your lack of faith in God. You put yourself in Hell. I’m going to add one piece to that. Hell is not just when you die and are removed from the presence of God. Hell is Hell on earth as well. People who turn against God live a life of absolute despair.
I’ve been checking in more on Facebook as I make my sermon videos. I’ve noticed five people, new Facebook friends, who are dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction.
There’s one guy (God bless him!) who is now 32 days sober. Every day he posts about his struggle. He also posts about what it’s like to be an alcoholic. His life was absolutely, totally miserable. And everyone around him was totally miserable. He destroyed his family. He wasted his money.
That is Hell on earth. He was living Hell on earth because he separated himself from God. If you want to know what Hell is, the worst of Hell is not the fire. It’s that you will no longer be in connection with God. You will no longer have the chance to change your life. That’s Hell at its worst. There are so many people today that are living a life of Hell on earth.
If they do not change and come to love God, they will live a life of Hell eternally.
Disobedience to God
Where am I going with this?
This is my opinion so you can do with it what you want. We’re living in a time right now where there is disobedience to God. People in the church (the Christian church) claim that they love God.
I love statistics and many studies say that 80% of people in America claim to love God. The book with the highest number of copies sold is the Holy Bible.
If we look at that and say, 80% of people believe in God and the majority of those have multiple Bibles. But, the truth is they don’t read them. Out of the 80%, 7-8% worship God in church. They claim to believe in God but, I want to see their actions be real.
Remember, Jesus told his followers to go up on the rooftop because the destruction of your community is going to come from inside. You run the length of the houses to get away from those who will destroy you.
The Church Today
It’s my belief that as a country, as a nation, even as we expand that into Europe, and other places, we are seeing the destruction of the Christian faith from within the Christian faith. We are seeing the politics of churches take over the spirit of the churches.
We are seeing the churches become so liberal that they are outside of God and God’s will. You can see the denominational churches whether it’s the Greek Orthodox, the Lutheran, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist (any denomination), and we see the church being destroyed from inside.
We’re also seeing believers who are turning away from Christ. They’re not just the people who stop going to church because there are problems in the church. They’re people that have simply stopped studying the word of God. They’re not having prayer time and devotional time to understand what God’s will is. We’re seeing the church being destroyed from inside because we’re simply stopped asking God what God wants.
A Liberal Climate
We’re seeing a liberal climate that is taking place in the country and over the next few years will likely expand. They believe in things that I simply do not believe in. They have moved so far away from the Christian faith that we’re seeing some of the craziest stuff happen. We’re seeing people who are torturing themselves
We’re seeing more drug addiction and alcoholism that we ever dreamed could happen.
We’re seeing families destroyed.
We’re seeing children abused at a level that is beyond comprehension.
We know that one in three of our children are going to be abused before they are 15 years of age.
One in three.
And as Dr. James Dobson said, we are at a point as a country where we are simply consuming our children.
If you study the effects of alcoholism and drug addiction, you can see that at least half of the people in Central Virginia are addicted to something. That is destroying our families.
We’re seeing the majority of our children, almost 60% do not have enough food to eat on any given day. The parents are using their money for drugs and alcoholism and the children are not being fed. So, we’re seeing people move away from the word of God. We’re seeing people move away from the will of God. Even though we’re seeing people destroy themselves. Even though we’re seeing the church destroyed from inside, there’s going to come to a point where God says, “Enough. This is enough.”
Right now, He is letting it play out. People are suffering because they stopped trusting God. There is going to come the end times, and it’s not that far down the line, when God is going to say, “Enough is enough and you’re going to pay the price”.
We’re going to have to get back on our knees and apologize to God for not listening to him. God is the one of wisdom. We’re the people of foolishness.
We don’t even understand right from wrong. The temple of God is within us. It’s our responsibility.
Are We Living in the End Times?
If you’re reading this message, you know. You’re studying this question because you love God. I say to you, trust him. In the midst of all the stupidity we have going on, you are seeing God.
(Some people have asked me not to say “stupidity” but, I say you just can’t fix stupid. And I think it is stupid to walk away from God).
We need a church to love people. We need to take what we have learned as the heart of God and reach as many people as we can to draw them back to the way of God.
Specifically, our church is blessed to be in the community we’re in. I was at my church yesterday and sat down on the steps and just looked around. I drove around the local community and thought, “My Gosh what a beautiful place.”
I’ll add as far as getting to know my church family at Lebanon, I love my church members and I thank God that He has allowed me to pastor here. I want more people to feel what I have felt in Lebanon.
The only way to do that is to reach out and call people back to the God that loves them.
Friends, I have never seen a time in my life with as much pain as we’re seeing right now.
A Personal Story
I went to see a doctor this week. I love the man. He’s one of the most gentle spirits I’ve ever been around. He sat and talked to me for 20 minutes about his life and his marriage and the problems he’s facing. Yes, he’s even thought about taking his life. He’s a successful man with a heart that loves God. Yet, with everything in his life right now, he doesn’t know if he can even exist.
He didn’t know who he could talk to. He and I opened up the conversation and we’re planning to meet and talk with a cup of coffee this week. He needs somebody to talk to.
As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I passed the nurse and she said, “Ron, I want you to pray for my sister. She was at the Mayo Clinic having a six-hour surgery to remove a tumor from her spine. They didn’t know if when she came out of the surgery if she would be paralyzed or if the tumor would just be removed.
Duke University, Johns Hopkins, none of the other surgeons, and hospitals would touch this tumor. And she found one surgeon at the Mayo Clinic that would. This woman, that I just think the world of, was telling me about her sister in her 40s and not knowing if she’s going to make it.
Before I left that office, there were four different people who talked to me about the pain that was inside their life. There is so much going on that is against God’s will.
And they are asking us as the church to pray for them through what they are experiencing. As I left, I thought about several church members who have COVID-19 and all the people each week who are coming down with this illness.
So, my message to you is this.
Things are crazy.
We live in a time that I don’t even understand. But I know one thing. There’s a God. He’s sufficient. And when we love him and follow his direction as believers in Jesus Christ, we cannot be destroyed. We will be victorious. God will be victorious. God will bring things back to his will. He will call people back to the faith. One way or another He will get them there.
My admonishment to you today is to trust God.
Through all of this. In the end, God will make things right. It will be sufficient.
Stay in Touch
If you enjoyed this message, please stay in touch with us by subscribing through the form below. I regularly post video messages that answer the burning questions of faith.
Also, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Youtube. You’ll get a notification to see the latest videos.