True Unity in Light of the Grim Reality of These Last Days

by Mike Ratliff

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)

These are incredible times. Before I left on my trip to Oklahoma, I watched a special on the National Geographic HD channel about the recent earthquakes and following tsunamis in Japan. There was an actual video of the approaching tsunamis coming into the bay of one of the cities that had the highest barrier built to protect it from them. However. The people on the highest points were screaming that they could tell that the waves were much taller than the walls meant to keep them out. There were four waves, one after the other, that simply washed over the barriers and inundated through the city devastating everything and killing thousands. In places, the waves made it over 5 miles inland.  Repeatedly, the people were wailing, “Everything is gone, everything is gone!”

The night before we left for our trip, the tornados came and ravaged through the south, wiping out everything in their paths and killing hundreds. What I found so surreal was that in some of the interviews I saw on television with some survivors was eerily the same as what I heard in that documentary about the Japan Tsunami disaster. I heard repeatedly, “Everything is gone, everything is gone!” 

About that same time, instead of keeping up with the news, I was listening to a sermon by John MacArthur titled The Grim Reality of the Last Days. In that sermon, John MacArthur preached something I had never heard before, which compared the eschatology of Islam with that of the Book of Revelation from our Bible. The main character in Islam’s eschatology is called the Mahdi. Also, according their eschatology, Allah sends Jesus back to Earth to serve as the Mahdi’s greatest servant to convert the world to Islam. John MacArthur shows in his sermon how all of this lines up with the Antichrist and the False Prophet. Toward the end of their reign on earth, a false prophet comes to earth who opposes them and there is a great war. In Muslim eschatology, they win and this false prophet is overthrown, but as we know in the book of Revelation, This “false prophet” is the real Jesus Christ who will win that war.

My summary pales in comparison to Dr. MacArthur’s fine sermon. I suggest you listen to it. Also, here is another link to a discussion of these things including the Mahdi. Osama Bin Ladin was assassinated yesterday. I can’t help but think that this will only do more to usher in the time of the Mahdi.

I did relax some on my trip, but I also did some meditation and on Sunday, I attended a small country church before making the trip home. I enjoyed the sermon, but I was disturbed in the lack of concern I witnessed all around me for these things in all of the professing believers not only there, but all around me here, at work, et cetera. It is as if these things do not affect them directly, it means nothing to them.

We have studied “unity” here on this blog before and my teaching on that has not changed. However, we have only looked at it from a discernment viewpoint or in the light of separation. In the passage I placed at the top of this post, Ephesians 4:1-3, the word “unity” in v3 translates the noun ἑνότητα, which is the accusative singular of ἑνότης or henotēs, which means “unanimity and agreement.” However, this unity is not according the wisdom of the world applied to Christianized thinking. That is rampant today. This false unity is based upon experience or human reason. The former goes something like, “We’ve all experienced the same thing, so we’re all in this together…” The latter says, “ To accomplish more, we’ll get rid of our doctrinal differences…” The world and our fallen human nature would look at both of those and applaud them as noble, but neither is biblical.

True Biblical unity is this and this alone, “the unanimous agreement concerning the unique revelation of God through Jesus Christ.” Unless we can agree on the person and work of Jesus Christ, there can be no unity. Therefore, those like Brian McLaren who are saying that we must unify with Islam are attempting to unify Christianity with that which is completely non-Christian. This and this alone should show us what a heretic he and anyone else who espouses the same thing are.

The Islamic world is very excited about the time of the Mahdi. The Visible church has become “visible,” but that is about it. The real church is still in place, of course, protected by God. However, when the Mahdi and this false Jesus come to make the world Muslim by showing the world that that Christianity was wrong about Christ, those who are Christian in name only, will not be able to stand against that. Only those of us who are truly in Christ will have the supernatural ability through the power of the Holy Spirit to withstand that. Come soon Lord Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria!

16 thoughts on “True Unity in Light of the Grim Reality of These Last Days

  1. Hi Mike–

    Glad you were able to get a bit of rest!!

    Amen to this and especially to your last 2 sentences. It reminded me of 1Peter 1 speaking about our hope in Christ and verse 5 where he talks about us “who through faith are shielded by God’s power…” Shielded, guarded, protected. God is doing this.

    Like you said- He will keep us!

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  2. Amen and amen Mike. Here in Australia, my christian friends are all in unison that we feel we are poised on the brink of “something happening”. Interesting times indeed – and sobering ones too – are we all personally “ready”????

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  3. Well said Mike; I am amazed that more believers are not alert as to the happenings all around us and the season in which we live. I too listened to John MacArthur’s sermon and was somewhat alarmed by what he presented. Time is short brother, we need to be awake, alert, and watchful, also being much in prayer as well as in His word.
    I am concerned over the killing of Bin Laden and see no reason to celebrate or chant USA! God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked: I praise our Eternal Majesty because He is righteous.
    Bless you,
    Lyn

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  4. “Not Too Many Days”, Mike!!

    Lyn, I agree, I see and hear people (including “professing” Christians) say they are glad that Bin Laden is dead. Wow. How can we rejoice when we are pretty sure, unless the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ reached him, that he will spend eternity in Hell?

    Jesus is coming, SOON!
    Help me, Lord Jesus to watch and pray and faithfully contend while I am waiting for Your appearing.

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  5. What amazes me Sandra are those church folks who are so wrapped up in their churchianity that what we are talking about here is seen as an unwelcome intrusion to them. So, we must ask, are those who walk that way really ready? I know that those who walk with an eternal focus will be.

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  6. Lyn, I examined my own heart when I heard the news of Ben Laden’s assassination. I felt pretty much like I did when Timothy McVie was executed. Real justice will not be served until these wicked men stand before the Great White throne of God. I do rejoice that all in Christ have already have had their sins judged in Christ at the Cross. In any case, we must never forget that Ben Laden and those like him were men of war, not peace. The Mahdi will come on the scene as a man of peace and will even sucker the Jews in Israel to a peace treaty of some sort. The real carnage won’t start until the false prophet shows up and then forced conversions to Islam will start.

    You are right, our role is to be watchful, to be awake and alert and pray for our families and friends to come to faith in Christ for He is the only way of escape from what is coming.

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  7. It is as if these things do not affect them directly, it means nothing to them…”

    You put your finger right on it there Mike…

    What has so profoundly amazed me about the last several years is not just the fact that we are seeing the “birthpangs” occuring with greater intensity and rapidity, but also we can very clearly see the attitude of the World which Jesus described in Matthew 24:37-39…

    As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

    I believe it has already been proven true that no matter how many cities are wiped off the map, no matter how much distress and devastation is wrought upon the world, no matter how many signs of the End unfold and how much the words of Prophecy are fulfilled, the vast majority of people will continue to look ahead in anticipation of a bright and utopian future just over the horizon. So long as it’s not “my house” or “my family”, then people do not stop to let the dramatic events that are happening all around us sink in. We continue “marrying and giving in marriage” as though everything is going to continue on, as though all these incredible happenings are merely hiccups in the broader “evolution of humanity”…

    I think the Japan earthquake/tsunami was a rather profound moment for me, because it was the first time that I sat there watching something so immense, so devastating, and I was no longer “shocked”. It wasn’t like Katrina, or Haiti, where there was still a sense of “wow…” It was simply a matter of “yep, here we go again…”

    And so for those who believe, these signs only confirm the fulfillment of what we know the Word says, but for those who do not believe, somehow these dramatic signs only serve to harden their hearts and solidify their indifference… People watch on T.V. entire towns and villages being swept away, and then a minute later change the channel to hear about the latest goofy thing Charlie Sheen has said…

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  8. Daniel, I was in that little country church on Sunday and the preacher was preaching the Gospel. I was in the overflow area so I could hear him, but those around me were not paying the least attention to what he was saying. They were talking about Crappie fishing or farming or the weather or whatever. That was the seeds of this post. When you give those ol’ boys the look that you would prefer to hear the preacher than them, they just switch their conversation from the mundane to churchianity. Sigh, I really doubt it if our Lord will be impressed with whether these people were sitting just inside the door on Sunday playing church for an hour or were they in there being washed clean by hearing of the Word being preached like it is supposed to with all the emphasis going to God and His glory not on churchianity, organizations, or denominations.

    Also, in light of your comment about the obliviousness of most people to what is really going on, in the video I watched of the Tsunamis, there was one scene in which the wave had just cleared the first barrier and was was rushing through a street toward the center of the town. The Tusanami alarm had been sounding since the Earthquake so the people had a lot of warning, but just a few blocks from the wall was a major highway or busy road with many cars going in both directions. The wave was obviously heading right for it at racehorse speed. When it hit that road those cars were simply washed away. It was as if those people were oblivious to the flood that was happening all around them. Isn’t that analogous to the wrath of God that is getting ready to be poured out on this world?

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  9. Wow, that is such a crazy illustration…

    “Well, the alarms may be blaring, but I gotta pick up my dry-cleaning!”

    (listening to McArthur’s sermon now, thanks for the heads-up…)

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  10. As for any ‘new person’ in Christ having any ‘joy’ over another’s death:

    Ezekiel 18:23 and verse 32 (English Standard Version)
    23Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
    32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”

    Shouting for joy and cheering a false god of “USA” is nothing to do with a Spiritual walk with God.

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  12. To fellowship with those that deny important doctrine is participation in sin, and you see so much of it today. Mike it is so hard to find a God fearing, true Bible believing church today, they are few and far between.

    True Biblical unity is this and this alone, “the unanimous agreement concerning the unique revelation of God through Jesus Christ.” Amen Mike! Good to have you back.
    Cristina

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