The LAST DAYS are generally referred to in the Bible as the time between the first and second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But more specifically, the Bible indicates that prior to the Lord’s second coming (the LAST of the LAST DAYS) there will be rampant lawlessness, blatant idolatry, and pervasive deception. This is probably why nearly every generation of Christ-followers have eagerly anticipated the Lord’s return in their own day; each saying, “It’s never been this bad.” So, are we living in the LAST DAYS? Yes. And yet we cannot know the day or hour of the last day (Matthew 24:36).
According to the Apostle Paul, one of the distinct features of the end of human history will be utter confusion about truth and reality. He wrote that just prior to the Lord’s return the world would be marked by a wicked deception on those who are perishing because they refuse to love the truth and instead take great pleasure in all kinds of unrighteousness. They will wistfully call evil good, and good evil. They will deny what is true and promote abominable lies. As a judgment, God Himself will send a strong delusion on them so that they will believe what is false (1 Thessalonians 2).
How do the people of God fortify themselves against the whelming flood of lies and deception of the LAST DAYS? Only one way. While resting in the grace of God to save us through Christ alone and to protect us through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our part is to love and obey His word. Paul told the Thessalonians to stand firm in what they were taught. Stability in a world of deception depends on a foundation grounded in the Word of God.
Jesus’s prayer to His Father in John 17 reflects a similar theme for His disciples who would soon face crushing tribulation and martyrdom: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” He faced his own trial of temptation with the words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He knew “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
Too many professing Christians do not know – or believe – this. And I worry that the church is unprepared to withstand deception on such a scale. As evidence of a prolific demise in biblical literacy, the Barna Research Group reported in recent years that only 60 percent of American adults can name even five of the 10 Commandments; 12 percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife; and 50 percent believe Sodom and Gomorrah were married. We’ve become a society that prefers to swipe screens more than read a Bible. This ignorance won’t end well.
Of course, the point of this is not to simply know the facts of the Bible, but to be shaped by it. To let it be a lamp to our feet and light to our path. To see it as a source of spiritual nourishment for growing up in respect to our salvation. We need the Bible because it leads us to God. Neglecting it, we will drift.
Here are three simple suggestions for restarting your Bible reading plan:
- Read a chapter of Proverbs daily. 31 days a month; 31 chapters of Proverbs. The wisdom gained in this brilliantly inspired poetry will help you not be fooled in life.
- Read the Psalms, two a day, to give voice to your joys, sorrows, laments, and praise.
- Read the four gospels. One a month, three times a year, traveling through the life and words of Jesus, who told us to observe everything he commanded.
The Old Testament prophet Amos said: “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Is there a worse predicament than not being able to hear a word from God? Let this judgment not be true of us. We cannot live without God. We cannot be grounded in what is really real – without His truth. Let us be as the Bereans, who were “were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (Acts 17:11).
With you on the journey!