Posted in theology

Cultural decline and righteous perseverance

By Elizabeth Prata

Prophecy says that as we near the very end days, the culture will worsen. (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:11-12,) and that the body of believers will grow less effective in the battle against satan, less of an example to a dark and dying world and less approved by God (1 Timothy 4:1, Jude 1:8, Revelation 2:4, Revelation 3:16). We see this now.

Before the first global judgment of the flood, we read that demons were rampant in the world. The fallen angels had mated with human women, all that they chose, (Genesis 6:1-2) and the resulting situation was chaos. All the people on the earth were thinking of only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5-6).

Imagine being on earth in those Genesis 6 days when every person was doing and thinking evil. They hadn’t finished one evil act before they were thinking of another. But Noah found favor with the LORD. (Genesis 6:8). Despite all the temptations around him despite the daily pressures of remaining faithful, Noah did it. He was the only blameless person, and he pleased God by walking with with God. (Genesis 6:9). He was rewarded with His life, and with permanent righteousness and regard of the Lord. (Hebrews 11:7).

The time of Jesus’s fleshly incarnation was a time of rampant evil and demon-infestation. He spent up to 25% of His time dealing with demons and sicknesses caused by demons. He sent the twelve apostles into the world with demon-casting abilities. (Luke 9:1-3). He called out that generation:

“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” (Matthew 17:17).

Clarke’s Commentary explains His comment:
These and the following words may be considered as spoken–
1. To the disciples, because of their unbelief, Matthew 17:20.
2. To the father of the possessed, who should have brought his son to Christ.
3. To the whole multitude, who were slow of heart to believe in him as the Messiah, notwithstanding the miracles which he wrought.

Demon infestation was everywhere and it was everywhere for the same reason as in Noah’s generation: faithlessness. Demons aren’t successful where there is great faith and a strong Holy Spirit presence of the Lord. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

But in the midst of that entire unbelieving generation in the time of Jesus’ incarnation was a righteous man. Simeon. “And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him”. (Luke 2:26). There also was a man named Zacharias. He was the father of John the Baptist. He was a priest, having for generations been in the line of Aaron. He was not a Pharisee nor was he self-righteous. He was righteous, looking always for the Messiah and being with the Spirit.

It can’t have been easy, being holy in a perverse generation, where the Lord had been silent and the Messiah all but forgotten. But the LORD had not forgotten Zacharias, nor did He forget Simeon. I can imagine that Simeon’s life was kind of like Noah’s. He was in the midst of people who practiced a legalistic and perverted religion, if they practiced one at all. Paganism was rampant. Demons were running wild. The People had not heard from the prophets in 400 years. Can you imagine being of a people who had heard from God on and off since the beginning in the Garden, and yet had not heard from Him in 400 years? We get tired of waiting after 4 minutes! Yet Simeon and Zacharias persevered in righteousness and holiness. They persevered, and were rewarded.

We find the same thing true now. Evil is rising and that is because of demon-infestation. I believe we are seeing a horde of lying spirits infest the world. I believe we’re seeing the wrath of abandonment due to persistent sin, because of the inability of people to think (darkened minds, futile minds- Romans 1:21). We are also a wicked and perverse generation. It is hard to stay righteous in the face of all the temptations. It is hard to remain patient and loving in front of all the evil and hate. But we must. It is no excuse to faint and fail just because it is hard to remain faithful. Noah, Zacharias, Simeon, Daniel, they all did it. Walk with God.

James 1:12 says “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Perseverance is evidence of belonging to Christ. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” (John 8:31)

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:6).

If Noah could do it in his wicked and perverse generation, if Simeon and Zacharias could do it in their wicked and perverse generation, we can do it. We have to do it. The promise of Jesus is that He will reward us. His letters to the Churches in Revelation 2 and 3 show He knows exactly who is doing what and where. He notices our perseverance under trial. He loves us and embraces us, and will deliver us.

Persevere!

EPrata photo

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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