The blog posts that I write are not intended to be pastoral in nature; they are written on behalf of a for-profit entity and don't represent any of the ministries I'm associated with. Nonetheless, religion and politics sometimes intersect, and it's inevitable that my writing will sometimes reflect that intersection.
As a trained sociologist who is deeply anchored in biblical truth, I am beginning to wonder about the commonality of current events.
A secular-minded sociologist will view our current period in history as just another time when social and economic forces have conspired to provoke enormous global, political, and economic upheaval.
Conversely, some mystics point to what is known to be the end of the Mayan calendar and expect that a global upheaval is upon us. There is perhaps no society more secular than Australia, and yet, the Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that 1 out of every 10 Australians believe the world will end on December 12, 2012. Amazing!
The dramatic fall of many dictators in recent years, along with the apparent near-future demise of others, has caused some to wonder if the fall of those despots is a preparation for the rise of the ultimate despot.
The Bible indicates that a world-dominating character will rise at some point. That person is often referred to as the Antichrist.
The Antichrist has certain characteristics that appear to fit many past despots, which led some to speculate about Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein, for example. But speculations are not very helpful. Because of contradictory elements within suspected people, it will be very difficult to predict the Antichrist until he actually appears on the scene and identifies himself publicly.
The Antichrist will show up at a time when there's true global, political, social, and economic upheaval. And people will believe that he is the only one capable of solving those seemingly insurmountable problems.
He will be charismatic and affable, and he'll mesmerize people everywhere. Even those normally at odds with each other will be united in liking and following him. He will win global approval by his sheer ability to identify with people of all religions and of no religion at all. Only after he is able to receive adoration from the masses will he reveal his true character and intentions.
The followers of Jesus worship Him out of gratitude for His indescribable love, for his dying on a cross, rising again, and giving them eternal salvation. But ultimately, the Antichrist will demand the worship that is only reserved for Christ. Hence, that is the source of his name, Antichrist.
As current events unfold, believers need to be on their guards. More and more people today, including many churchgoers and professing Christians, view salvation as earthly salvation. A vast majority of people believe that missions should only be about alleviating human suffering in merely physical terms.
The growth of such beliefs, along with the fall of so many despots, makes me wonder. Is this indeed a time of preparation? Is the vacuum now being created so that the antichrist will appear to fill? It gives us something to ponder. It is something to take to heart and be warned about.