The last several decades have witnessed a remarkable emergence and growth of forces hostile to biblical truths and Christian beliefs—especially among more affluent, educated members of society. While some view this change as the inevitable result of social and intellectual progress, Bible prophecies have long foretold that this would be a sign that the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ are near. These ancient prophecies are coming alive in our modern societies today!
When Jesus was asked by His disciples, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus warned that “Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:3, 11). The Apostle Paul echoed these same warnings on several occasions, when he warned, “…in latter times some will depart from the faith [abandon, rebel against the faith], giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy” (1 Timothy 4:1–2), and “in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves [fond of their own ideas]… blasphemers [arrogant, contemptuous of others]… unholy [irreverent, without piety, irreligious]… slanderers… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1–4).
The Apostle Peter issued similar prophetic warnings, “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies… and many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2 Peter 2:1–2). Peter predicted that “false teachers” [teachers of falsehoods] would “speak evil of [scoff and sneer at] the things they do not understand,” and they would “speak great swelling works of emptiness [arrogant nonsense] as they appeal to the sensual desires of people (2 Peter 2:12, 18). Peter clearly placed these warnings in an end-time context, “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3). Jude, the brother of Jesus wrote, “remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they told you that there would be mockers [scoffers] in the end-time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts (Jude 17–18).
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states that Peter is predicting, “the appearance of scoffers in the last days, who deny biblical truths and live in an ungodly way… who deny a future eschatology [an end-time fulfillment of these prophecies],” and “Mocking the faith of Christians, they support their own position” by ignoring events have any prophetic significance (see comments on 2 Peter 3:3–4, pp. 284–285). However, the remarkable changes that have occurred in recent decades and are occurring today are significant and definitely in line with numerous end-time prophecies recorded in the New Testament.
One of the most surprising developments in recent times in the “Christian” nations of the West has been the rise of militant atheists and agnostics who have launched a determined attack on Christian beliefs and the Judeo-Christian values that form the foundation of Western civilization. Books, articles and Web sites have appeared to ridicule the Scriptures, mock the God of the Bible, trivialize the idea that Jesus will come again, and make fun of Bible-based moral instructions (“Secular and Proud of It,” Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2015). These self-appointed critics and teachers of humanity claim that “God is Imaginary” and that entire books in the Bible are fabrications written by unknown imposters. In spite of the fact that the majority of citizens in Western nations claim to be Christian, atheistic organizations have filed lawsuits to remove displays of the Ten Commandments in public places, eliminate prayers in classrooms and prevent any form of Christian education in state-supported schools—yet encouraging students to learn about and practice pagan religions!
Foundations have been established to educate the public about atheism, agnosticism and non-belief and aid clergy who want to leave their faith. Rallies have been conducted to promote atheistic ideas with attendees waving signs that “God is a myth” and “We’re godless, get used to it” (“‘Godless’ rally for recognition,” Washington Post, March 24, 2012). At a rally in Washington, D.C., British atheist Richard Dawkins urged a crowd of some 10,000 people to “confront believers regarding their ‘most absurd’ beliefs” and to “mock them, ridicule them in public.” Another speaker led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance—deliberately omitting the phrase “under God” (“Richard Dawkins to atheist rally: ‘Show contempt’ for faith,” USA Today, March 25, 2012). It is sobering to see modern militant atheists demanding “freedom from religion” in western nations that have long allowed “freedom of religion.”
The American colonies were settled primarily by British dissenters seeking religious freedom. The early colonists were 80 percent British and 98 percent Protestant. They spoke a common language, professed the same religion and shared a common set of values—and they firmly believed that lying, stealing, drunkenness, committing adultery, divorce and homosexuality were sins as described in the Scriptures. The French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville observed in the 1800s that “the entire destiny of America” and its Anglo-Protestant culture was shaped by Puritans from England and their view of the supremacy of the Bible as a guide for human conduct (Who Are We?, Samuel Huntington, pp. 18–19, 64–65).
However, in recent decades, all this has changed—in Europe, Britain and in America—with the rise of forces hostile to this historic Christian heritage. Behaviors that were once condemned as sinful are now accepted and promoted as normal. Laws now prohibit prayers and the mention of God’s name in school classrooms. Divorce and killing unborn babies are sanctioned and rates are growing. In nations that once called themselves “Christian,” militant atheists, agnostics and homosexuals now parade openly and mock those who actually believe in the Scriptures and the God of the Bible. East Anglia, where the Puritans came from, is now considered “the atheist capital” of England and a “pretty godless place” (“We do things differently in Norfolk,” The Guardian, March 3, 2009).
What many fail to realize today, is that God does exist and Bible prophecies that foretold the rise of unbelief and end-time hostility to the Christian faith also reveal that judgment will come on nations that turn away from their biblical heritage. Over three thousand years ago, Moses prophesied, “in the latter days” the Israelite-descended nations will turn away from God and become “utterly corrupt” (Deuteronomy 31:29). The prophet Jeremiah warned that Israelite peoples would “forsake” God and turn to idolatry and the “noble seed” would become a “degenerate plant” (Jeremiah 2). The prophet Hosea foretold, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected Me, I will reject you… because you have forgotten the law of the Lord, I will forget your children… I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds” (Hosea 4:6–9). We are watching these ancient prophecies come alive today!