Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Global Economic Crisis: Fear is Your Worst Enemy
Kato Mivule | April 27, 2009

There is no doubt that we live in the last days and there is a lot that is going on around the world besides the current global economic crisis, not to mention the ‘Swine Flu’ epidemic. However, paranoia, irrationality, anxiety, and sensationalism are the driving force of fear especially among some Christian circles.

Matthew 10:29-31
(29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
(30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
(31) Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

I decided not to post articles on the latest news about the economic crisis, terror attacks, earthquakes, swine flue etc, not because the stories are not important but the perspective is lost as Christians especially in the so-called End Time Prophetic circles get overly sensational and lose all rational and basically become frivolous as anxiety becomes the main driver of their eschatology.

Yet fear itself has serious consequences and it is time that those so-called End Time Prophets in the Evangelical Blogsphere who keep fear mongering to reconsider because when one studies the subject of fear in the Bible, The Lord does not condone fear mongering. This does not mean Jesus Christ is oblivious to reality; on the contrary, He calls us to a life of Faith and Trust in Him.

I pick out End Time Bible Prophesy teachers/students in evangelical circles because they are the most purveyors of irrational fear and paranoia in their communications that Christians lose perspective of their call in Jesus Christ and what the Church is supposed to do in times of Crisis.

Bible Eschatology has been hijacked by a few ill motivated persons to generate fear and paranoia and with sensational backing, they inject their own doctrines and teachings to captivate and hold hostage the minds of undiscerning Christians that the end of the world has come and therefore the only way out of the unfolding global catastrophes is to pay heed to the End Time Prophet who alone has the ‘revelation’ about other things to come.

I repeat and warn fellow Christians again as I have done before that cults and cultish leaders tend to come to prominence and gain followers in times of crisis and catastrophes. The reason is that the crisis offers an opportunity to use fear to promote one’s eschatological view as correct and sensationalism is added to the mix with current news events supporting the supposedly correct eschatological view…brethren be aware.

There is no doubt that the many events happening around the world point to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ told us about this in Matthew 24 and we as Christians should be well aware that we live in the last days. However, we need to keep all things in perspective and know that many of the global crisis events happening across the globe are just the first birth pains and not the end of the world.

Matthew 24:6-8
(6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
(7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
(8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Many so-called bible prophecy teachers have engaged in sensationalism by using current affairs to project future events… However, these events are just the beginning of sorrows and not the end of the world or rapture of the Church.

Yet at the same time I am not calling for a neglect of Bible Prophecy and deliberate ignorance of reality by some Christians and preachers. Many Christians have neglected the watch of The Lord and instead get caught up in the Ostrich mentality of hiding their heads in the sand, thinking that the current global events will whatsoever not have any impact on their livelihood.

Matthew 24:42-51
(42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
(43) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
(44) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
(45) Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
(46) Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
(47) Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
(48) But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
(49) And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
(50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
(51) And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Those who reject the watch of The Lord will not know what hour we live in and events of global turmoil will catch them unaware. Secondly, those who ignore the fact that we are in the last days cannot take the issue of discernment seriously, when false Christs and false prophets appear, they are welcomed in some churches as the preachers and pastors fail to discern because they deliberately ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

I remember a Pastor in Africa who was so much caught in the Prosperity Gospel that he told me to stop teaching about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the end times as it useless and we don’t need to “think about those things” – he was referring to Bible Prophecy. But such folks and their Ostrich Mentality is the other extreme of the end time bible prophecy fear mongers.

There is no doubt that we live in the last days. There is no doubt that the current global economic crisis is moving the world slowly but surely to a One World Government, New World Financial Order (The G20 Summit said it in the UK, not me…) and Religion.

There is no doubt that Christians must watch as these events will have an impact on Christianity in general but our watch is not out of fear, irrationality, and paranoia but looking to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with all patience and endurance.

Yet the Jesus Christ warned us to watch and we must watch with the perspective of Jesus Christ, knowing that He is Lord of All and nothing takes Him by surprise…and in that way, we seek to do His will by living a pure Christian life and being His Witnesses in the midst of global turmoil.

It is amazing that when one studies Matthew 24 carefully you notice that false prophets and false Christs rise up after the wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and pestilences, in Matthew 24:11 – way after the catastrophes.

Matthew 24:11
(11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

I am not stating that this is the ‘must be’ order of events but worthwhile interesting that Jesus Christ mentions the rise of false Christs and prophets after the wars, earthquakes, and global pandemics.

Christians besieged by Fear…
If there is anything that Christians need to be more concerned about today, it is fear, fear of the unknown, fear of man, and fear of reality. Yet the bible addresses all these things and equips us as Christians to be able to stand in the day of evil.

Fear of the unknown…
Many folks fear the unknown and even when they become Christians, they continue along that path of a fearful life in which they dread anything future. Yet our future is in Christ Jesus regardless of what we have to endure and go through.

It is this fear of the unknown that some end time bible prophecy teachers and preachers capitalize on. The prey on Christians who are hungry to know the future, then they captivate their minds by telling them that they the end time teachers are the only source of knowledge and revelation for understanding scriptures that pertain to the future.

Scriptures are twisted to suit the end time bible prophecy teacher’s line of thought. At the end of the day you have a group of people following ‘one man’ and his teachings. Many times the political views of this ‘one man’ become the views of his followers, if he is a survivalist, then all followers get into that mode and stock up on weapons in order to fight the ‘New World Order Fascists’. Yet what drives such groups is nothing but paranoia and many Christians in America are getting caught up in such.

I remember some time ago, I was sharing with a Christian in the USA about Obama, the election, and what that meant to Christians. This particular Christian boasted to me how their ‘county’ is well stocked up with weapons and if Federal Government came to take away their guns, they would fight tooth and nail… This particular Christians truly loved Jesus Christ but was caught up in fear and paranoia that survival depended on the guns they got. Yet scriptures are clear that if you live by the sword, so will you perish by the sword…

Matthew 26:51-54
(51) And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
(52) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
(53) Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
(54) But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

The Fear of Man…
The other ‘fear’ worse than the fear of the unknown is the fear of Man. Many Christians are caught up in the fear of Man. This type of fear has destroyed churches and ministries as men seek to please man and get justified by Man.

One of the reasons that false doctrines persist in churches today and go unchecked by church leadership is the fear on man and what man can do to none submissive fellow men. Many fear their fellow men and what they will say if they follow Jesus Christ.

In these last days, false prophets and false Christs will use threats and fear to control and manipulate. The worship of the antichrist and false prophet will eminent partly out of the fear of man. Those afraid to die for their faith will find it satisfactory to please man.

Yet this is not a call for arrogance, haughtiness, being puffed up and conceit but rather in humility we choose to fear and obey God rather than fear man.

Matthew 10:28
(28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Hebrews 13:5-6
(5) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
(6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

The Fear of Reality…
Still yet another type of fear that Christians have to deal with is the fear of reality. Every one of us is prone to this type of fear and it is only The Lord by His Grace who can help us overcome such fear.

Take for instance a man who has to come to grips about the loss of his job, or the loss of a dying child or parent…such events are real and many Christians do not want to confront them head on. Yet it is in such events of life that our faith is made strong in The Lord.

Imagine the church of Smyrna in the book of revelation that Jesus Christ told that they would have to suffer and die for Him. Persecution and death was in their way yet Jesus Christ tells them not to be afraid.

The current global economic crisis is real and affecting real people including many Christians. The reality is that the days of excess and word of faith ‘name it claim it’ gospel are gone and we now have to live with in our means. That is the reality and many Christians are afraid to confront such realities by faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Matthew 14:24-33
(24) But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
(25) And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
(26) And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
(27) But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
(28) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
(29) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
(30) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
(31) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
(32) And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
(33) Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The reality was that there was a storm and Jesus Christ first dealt with fear in His disciples by telling them not to be afraid but be of good cheer. Yet Peter asks The Lord if he could walk on water towards Jesus Christ. Yet again Peter is taken over by the realities of the storm and doubt enters his heart and he beings to sink. The Lord rebukes the doubt in Peter.

The fear of realities of life is real and we can only overcome such fears by trusting and placing our faith in Jesus Christ regardless of if we receive our answers or not.

The Paralysis brought about by Fear…
When men get caught up in fear of the unknown, fear of man, and fear of reality, then they get caught up in a paralysis and inaction. No one seems to know what to do. Rationality is thrown out of the window while life-saving solutions that are close by are overlooked. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ in the midst of the storm.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is hope…
One of the reasons for Jesus Christ teaching about events in the last days in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 2 is that we would have hope in Jesus Christ and see the end of the story as being redemptive and victorious for those who trust and believe in Jesus Christ.

The book of Revelation begins with Jesus Christ in all His glory as was seen by John the apostle and ends with Jesus Christ returning in all His Glory as King of Kings.

Revelation 1:1-8
(1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
(2) Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
(3) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
(4) John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
(5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
(6) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
(8) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Interestingly in this introduction John the Apostle speaks about ‘Peace’…that grace and peace to you from Him – Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega. Our peace in times of global turmoil is only in Jesus Christ and yet that does not detach us from reality. Reading the Book of Revelation should bring about a sense of Peace in Jesus Christ that at the end of the story is Jesus Christ and He is in control.

Even when John the apostle had an encounter with Jesus Christ, the first thing that The Lord addressed was fear by telling John the apostle to “Fear Not”…

Revelation 1:17-18
(17) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
(18) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

We see that The Lord addressed the issue of fear that John had to deal with when He encountered The Lord. The Lord introduced Himself as one who holds the keys of hell and of death – He is in control. Therefore those so-called end time bible prophecy watchmen who engage in fear mongering are placing stumbling blocks before Christians so that they cannot fully Trust in who The Lord is.

Jesus Christ not detached from Reality…
Make no mistake about it, the Bible is not out of touch with reality, Jesus Christ is not oblivious to reality or what the future holds, the Bible is not telling us to keep to an Ostrich mentality by hiding our heads in the sand. Rather we are called to boldness, courage, strength, and hope in Jesus Christ and to continue being His witnesses in times of Crisis, to be a light that shines in darkness; yet this noble call is what the fear mongers are obstructing.

It is interesting that Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation tells the Smyrna Church not to be afraid but then tells them that they were to face persecution. The reality was that persecution was coming but there was no need for the saints to be alarmed as this was expected. They were not to fear any of those things which were to come.

Revelation 2:8-11
(8) And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
(9) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
(10) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
(11) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

If you were part of the Smyrna Church what would you do? The reality today is that the current global economic crisis is hitting hard at Christians and many are losing their jobs and homes.

This does not mean that The Lord cares not about what we have to endure. He knows very well what we must endure but with grace, peace, perseverance, and patience, we must endure. We cannot give ourselves over to a spirit of fear and become a hopeless people…that would mean that we do not trust in The Lord.

The truth of the matter is that even worse days are coming ahead as we have always warned… Worse economic times will come, global wars, earthquakes etc…these things will increase in intensity as The Lord’s coming nears. Yet we are not to sit back and hold our heads in fear and despair. We have a purpose and that is to preach the gospel and live the life of Christ Jesus on earth being faithful until the day He comes back in all His glory in the clouds.

At the end of the book of Revelation, The Lord gives us a warning against fear that the fearful will be among those cast into the Lake of Fire. Those who promote fear mongering condition people not to Trust in The Lord but doubt The Lord’s Sovereignty. Biblical Eschatology has nothing to do with fear and fear mongering but a living hope in Jesus Christ that regardless of what we go through The Lord is in control and He will see us through, He will be with us to the very end.

Revelation 21:5-8
(5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
(6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
(7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
(8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Brethren, as we continue our daily walk with Jesus Christ in these last days, let us not give room to fear but let the perfect love of Jesus Christ that led Him to give His life for us on the Cross reign in our lives. For perfect love casts away fear.

1 John 4:18-19
(18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
(19) We love him, because he first loved us.

In Christ Jesus
Kato Mivule

2 Comments:

Anonymous Kristi Shawhan said...

You are right Kato, people look at the end time prophecy with fear. The truth is Jesus is coming to bring a new heaven and a new earth. . .He will wipe every tear from their eyes. . .Jesus said "I am making everything new!" Revelation 21:1-5.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 6:02:00 PM GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 9:09:00 PM GMT-4  

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