Monday, October 4, 2010

The Darkness Deepens

I read the news today, oh boy. That's about all of the Beatles song that fits the current situation, though. Headline about how Christian soldiers who oppose homosexuality on Biblical grounds are called "bigots" by an American general, and he even threw in "racist" for good measure though there wasn't anything in the story about any racist attitudes. Another headline about feminists calling Christians "sexist." Saw a video about the aggressive socialism at the leftist rally in Washington. "Tax the rich." Oh boy. What a great idea. Bring the nation crashing down to Third World status. I guess that's what they want and maybe they'll get it the way things are going with this administration. And much more news along these lines of course. It's just going on day by day in this direction, escalating really. There's still some opposition, perhaps enough to keep the destructive voices in check for a while.

I wonder. I'm still trying to convince myself one way or another on my End Times Monitor blog whether the Pre-tribulation Rapture is the right interpretation of scripture or not. MOST of scripture supports the idea, it seems to me, but there are still some knotty points I haven't resolved. Most who believe in it believe that when the Church is taken away there will be no more restraint on evil through our Holy Spirit inspired witness, and therefore evil will just take off and run rampant.

As with all difficult theological issues there's plenty of extraneous muddle about the Rapture to wade through as well. The fact that many on the pre-trib side spend time conjuring with the daily news in relation to their belief that the times are upon us, and their opponents waste time focusing on that, makes it hard to keep the focus on the scriptural questions. We are to keep watch of course so I guess I can't fault them too much even when they go off in wrong directions, but I believe the times ARE upon us anyway, without having to know if a particular event in the Middle East is a harbinger of the Antichrist. I think we aren't going to know until he appears and then we WILL know and will have no doubts. But MAYBE the Rapture will occur before he is revealed. That's one idea some find in the scripture and it fits scripture best anyway as we are there exhorted to look for HIS appearing, not the Antichrist's. (Except, well, there is that verse that says the Antichrist must appear before the Second Coming of Christ.)

Then the opponents of the pre-tribbers accuse them of reading into scripture their own self-centered desire to escape tribulation, but up until recently I've expected to go through that tribulation if I'm here during it so that certainly isn't my motive. I'm simply coming to see it in scripture. I do have to admit I'd LOVE to be raptured out of this mess soon because I'm SOOOOO tired, but that's not the explanation for my finding it in scripture and it just adds to the muddle when that is made so much of by opponents.

Anyway, the news is bad and is getting worse by the hour it seems.

But as all this bad news was piling up on me I discovered a tune going through my mind and when I focused on it I recognized it as the hymn Abide with Me, which is SO appropriate for facing hard times. Not a hymn I hear much, just came out of the blue as if in answer to the moment. Thank You Lord. As I read the lyrics I see it's more about facing death than just hard times but that theme is there too:

Listen to Abide With Me
Sung by Hayley Westenra at some kind of sporting event in England??!! Wow, what a Christian civilization we USED to be, and it still clings to us even after we've given it all up.


Lyrics: Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847
Music: W.H. Monk, 1823-1889

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.