“Alas! What Shall We Do?”
By Tim Moore
[Elisha’s servant speaking when he realized that he and his master were surrounded by enemy forces.]
“Alas, master! What shall we do?”
Elisha answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with
us are more than those who are with them.”
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his
eyes that he may see” (2 Kings 6:15b-17a).
For several years, I have had the privilege of sharing the message that Jesus is coming soon. In Sunday School classes and church services and prophecy conferences, I’ve implored people to recognize the signs of the times. As foretold by Bible prophecy, they are multiplying all around us and are proclaiming that we are indeed living in the season of the Lord’s return.
Anyone who is conversant with prophetic themes knows that we at Lamb & Lion Ministries separate the signs into six categories: nature, society, spiritual, world politics, technology, and Israel. In fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy that the signs would be like birth pangs (Matthew 24:8), the frequency and intensity of the signs in every category is increasing.
A Survey of Signs
Nature — In September 2014, Governing magazine featured an article with the sub-headline: “Governments throughout the country are touting the need for resilience in the face of evermore-frequent natural disasters.” Do you think the editors realized that they were documenting the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11?
Spiritual — This category has some obvious positive fulfillments, including a leveraging of technology to share the Gospel in every tongue and nation. But there are negative indicators as well. One lament that many Christians express is the drift of the Church in America away from God’s Word. With rare exceptions, the trend has been to move away from the inerrancy of Scripture and the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus alone. Whether by adopting the naturalistic ideology of evolution or watering down the whole Word of God to minimize sin, judgment and hell, too many churches are preaching a different gospel, something Paul warned about in Galatians 1:6-8.
World Politics — The world’s attention continues to focus on Israel and Jerusalem. And, news stories throughout 2018 highlighted Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East and its budding alliance with Iran, especially in Syria. Those two nations are poised to unite against Israel in preparation for a key war of the end times.
Technology — Technological advances continue to be amazing. Aviation progress — from cloth and wood biplanes to transcontinental airliners that weigh over a million pounds — has all occurred in just 120 years. In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted that computing power and memory capability would double every two years, while cost would be halved. That has proven true — if underestimated. Regarding the explosion of information, some experts now claim that information is doubling every 12 hours! The Lord told us this would be the case in Daniel 12:4.
Israel — Israel has been recognized as a category unto itself because so many end time prophecies are tied to Jacob’s offspring. For many centuries, few Christians could imagine how God would orchestrate the regathering and re-ascendance of the Jewish people. But, in just the past century, God has indeed proved faithful. He is fulfilling every prophecy concerning the Jewish people, right before our very eyes.
The Most Pervasive Sign
I’ve intentionally left off one category for last. It is the category of society.
While the other categories of signs are evident all around us, some of them can be held at arm’s length by the average Christian. For instance, unless we are personally impacted by a natural disaster, the increase in frequency and intensity may be an academic reality instead of an experienced one. The advance of technology can be a blessing. And if a person attends a biblically faithful church, they may feel immune from the negative aspects of spiritual decline.
But, all of us live in a society that is deteriorating before our very eyes. The culture around us becomes the air we breathe — and if the Lord delays His return, His promise to come again will become increasingly polluted for our children and grandchildren.
Society — At one time, it required a prophet’s discernment to recognize looming threats in this arena. Men like Peter Marshall, David Wilkerson, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn identified cracks in the foundation and structure of the Christian West years before most people awakened to the trends. Like frogs in a pot, we find ourselves now boiling and wonder when it became so hot.
The hostility toward Christianity in formerly Christian nations has been well-documented. Publicly proclaiming the truths of Scripture regarding a host of social issues is criminally punishable in previously hospitable places like Britain and Canada. But it is here in America that the pace of cultural change is accelerating at such an incredible rate.
Al Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says that while, in the past, the sexual revolution’s encroachment on our culture could be measured year by year or month by month, recently it has become week by week and even day by day. This can be proven by considering the position of various politicians on the question of traditional marriage. Just 12 years ago, every leading national politician professed their support for marriage between a man and a woman. Now, the Democratic Party has rejected that definition as altogether unenlightened and unworthy of defending.
Attitudes on life also demonstrate the abandonment of a biblical worldview. A generation ago the liberal mantra regarding abortion was “safe, legal and rare.” In just the past several months the progressive Left has decided to advocate for abortion that is “safe, legal and free.” Never safe for the unborn baby, this procedure is being touted as a non-negotiable position. States like New York, Illinois, and California are eagerly rushing to lock in the most abortion-friendly laws imaginable and mandate taxpayer funding for unlimited abortions.
Is it any wonder that Christians and casual secularists alike are asking, “what in the world is going on?”
Keeping Societal Decline in Perspective
First of all, we can take great comfort in recognizing that these trends and social changes were foretold in Scripture. Bible prophecy tells us that society will break down in the end times. Jesus said, “the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). Genesis 6:5 & 11 records the nature of society in Noah’s day:
- the wickedness of man was great upon the earth
- the earth was corrupt in the sight of God
- the earth was filled with violence
Recognizing that reality in our own day proves that Jesus is coming soon. Or, as Adrian Rogers once said, “The world is growing gloriously dark.”
The culmination of all the signs is another proof that we are living in the end times. If any one category of signs was being manifest before us, that would be remarkable. But all the signs are converging simultaneously. Jan Markell is right in saying, “the world is not falling to pieces, rather the pieces are all falling into place.” Do you believe that? Do you cling to that positive hope in the midst of discouraging trends?
Rita Springer’s beautiful song, “This Blood,” contains a line that says, “So I come to tell you He’s alive.” Imagine the first people to hear that glorious news — two women who came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ decaying body. While they rejoiced, the disciples gathered in gloomy dejection, wondering how Jesus could have allowed Himself to suffer the indignity of death, and pondering their own uncertain future. Like some of us, their immediate frustration and sadness overwhelmed their ability to grasp Jesus’ promises yet to be realized.
Similarly, like a person tempted to fixate on the tragedy of an automobile accident as they drive past, we can become consumed with evil to the point of distraction. Certainly, some of us who have opened our eyes now see the spiritual dimension of forces raging about us. We realize that the decline of our culture and society is a fulfillment of ancient prophecies. Like Elisha’s attendant, we are alerted to the dangers multiplying around us. But, tempted to despair like him, our prayer may be, “Alas, my Master! What shall we do?”
In the months to come I will return to this question. I will address some specific attitudes and actions we should undertake as we live and serve in such a time as this. Generations of Christians have aspired to witness the manifold fulfillments of prophecy we take for granted. They have passed on the baton of faith to us and it would not do for us to falter at the finish line.
There is another reason I am compelled to offer this word of encouragement. When I was deployed to the Middle East during the war in Iraq as an airlift pilot, there was little doubt that we would win the war militarily. That did not lessen the need to uphold the morale of those fighting for good. Embroiled in a stressful daily grind and longing to be home, it was tempting to become discouraged. Good commanders recognize that threat and regularly offer their troops insight to the big picture and assurance of victory. This is why Revelation contains several asides to reassure readers that victory is certain. As we await the ultimate “airlift” from the battlefield at hand, let’s not lose focus.
In future articles, I will draw other lessons from the life of Elisha. This great prophet followed in the footsteps of another. He was used mightily by God to speak truth to his own generation and down through the centuries to us today. Our actions likewise must have a contemporary and a lasting impact.
But, my prayer today follows after Elisha’s. He asked that his attendant’s eyes would be fully opened. Scripture says, “And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). Hope quickly surmounted what had seemed a hopeless situation.
I pray that your eyes will be open. In addition to comprehending the obvious forces of evil multiplying all around us, infecting our society, and threatening to undermine the freedom and faith of our posterity, I pray that you will realize that the armies of heaven are on the move.
Speaking of the signs of the times, Jesus said, “When you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33). While the darkness may be deepening day by day, soon and very soon the Father will send forth His Son to claim His bride, the Church. From that moment for the rest of eternity, we will realize the fulfillment of His first words: “Let there be light;” for we will never know darkness again.
Amen and Godspeed!!