In the days of Noah, God warned of a coming catastrophe. God warned Lot before He destroyed wicked Sodom. I believe God has also warned the people of America in our day. His warnings have come through various Christian leaders who have made clear that our nation is racing toward a day of judgment. However, one of God’s most significant warnings concerning spiritual deception in these last days came from His Son Jesus.
Jesus warned, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).
Notice that there is something missing in this passage! Jesus doesn’t mention the many evils that marked those earlier days, which is what we usually hear about. Nor does He say anything about gross sins in our day. In fact, not one of the items He mentions is a sin. They are the everyday things people do in life: drink, eat, marry, buy, sell, plant and build. It is important to recognize this in order to properly understand the meaning of His prophecy.
The Old Testament states that in the days of Noah and Lot, lawlessness and permissiveness were rampant. It is given as a basic reason God destroyed both places. Yet when comparing our day to those, Jesus doesn’t make a single comment about this. His comparison is with the buying, selling, eating, drinking, marrying, planting and building. He only mentions these everyday affairs of life! WHY?
The answer takes us to the core of the spiritual deception now taking place in our country. It helps explain why our society’s moral values have deteriorated so quickly. Everyone knows about the sins of our land; we hear about them every day. Jesus did not have to mention them. David Wilkerson, Pastor of Times Square Church in New York City stated, “I was listening to a special radio program in a large eastern city, where the people on the street were being interviewed about the moral condition of America. The question was asked, ‘Do you believe America has lost its moral integrity?’ Almost all who were interviewed said basically the same thing. ‘America is going to hell in a hand basket!’ ‘We no longer care if scoundrels run our country, as long as we prosper.’ ‘Anything goes now; we are in the last days of our society—we are modern Rome going into collapse!’ ‘Morality and purity have been sold out to pleasure and prosperity.’ ‘Sodom had no porno, no Internet sex, no abortion, no filthy television polluting that society, so how can America expect to go on without being held accountable?’”
In this warning from God’s Son that compares our day to the days of Noah and Lot, I see the Lord pouring out His love to the majority of the people rather than chastising the minority who are involved in wickedness. We are the Lord’s main concern in this warning. We are those who go about doing the things most people do in the normal way of living—the buying, selling, building, marrying, and so forth.
Why are we Jesus’ main concern in His warning, rather than those who are involved in gross sins? I believe it is because He could foresee our over-commitment to everyday affairs. What we are doing is not a sin in and of itself. The problem is the commitment of our hearts to these self-serving matters over and above a commitment to live by godly standards. Our over-extended routines have become more important to us than seeking to understand and obey God’s will.
This is what happened to my brother, taking him out of God’s will for his life. You and I are the ones who can help prevent our society falling apart at the seams. We are the people who can make a difference. But Jesus knew that people in our day would become so wrapped up in their everyday lives that we would ignore the warning signs.
Our country is on the brink of a great chastening from the hand of God. America has been blessed far beyond most nations throughout history. The Bible says God will hold us accountable for the deterioration of our moral standards. Luke 12:48b reads, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” The Scriptures teach that God disciplines those He has blessed if they become careless in their way of living. It is His way of correcting those He loves. “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Hebrews 12:6-7).
Just as in Noah’s day, people now are doing little to prepare themselves—to build their spiritual arks. What Jesus warned us about was a deception that produces self-centered, self-serving Christians. This condition caused the Lord more concern than the many sins the minority were involved in. He was more troubled about the heart attitude of the majority. The focus of the heart was a problem in Noah’s day, and it is a problem in our day as well. That is why Jesus lists the things that are everyday time-killers, even though not one of them is a sin as such.
We have become so preoccupied that our hearts have grown cold. The worldly media has deceived us and weakened our ability to discern right from wrong regarding our commitments.
Our preoccupation with these basic elements has caused us to lose our discernment in regard to interpreting the signs of the times. Jesus warned that even Christians would be deceived. “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on guard; I have told you everything ahead of time” (Mark 13:22-23; see also Matthew 24:24).
Permissiveness and lawlessness had deteriorated to the point of being out of control in the days of Noah and Lot. But Jesus says there was a greater concern—the heart attitude of the people who put their priorities above God’s. This caused them to not pay attention to His desires. What they were doing was not sinful in the traditional sense of the word, but the commitment of their hearts was to self-serving rather than to walking according to the standards of God and His will for their lives. This, tragically, prevented them from seeing the signs of the times.
The truth of this prophecy is tough to discuss as I do not want to discount God’s blessings. However, the spirit of the good life has created a commitment to our everyday affairs over and above our commitment to seek His will and it has captured the hearts of all too many Americans. As my brother shared in his testimony, the Lord gave him a vision of a beast over our country, overcoming Christians almost at will, through the deceptive elements of materialism and pleasure.
God chose to put these words from Jesus about Noah’s day in the Bible to warn us about our day. It was important to Him that we be wise to the kind of warfare the enemy would throw at Christians in these end-times. Too many of God’s people have fallen for this deception and become victims of his attacks. The Scriptures certainly caution us about these matters—we have just failed to heed the warnings.
Watch for Part 2 of “Jesus’ Prophecy of Deception in America” on October 25th, 2010.Tags: accountability, coming catastrophe, commitment, concern, deceive, deceived, deception, deteriorated, discernment, everyday affairs, false Christs, false prophets, God's will, godly standards, gross sins, heart attitude, interpreting, judgment, last days, lawlessness, Lord's discipline, Lot, love, moral integrity, morality, Noah, over-commitment, permissiveness, pleasure, priorities, prophecy, prosperity, seek His will, signs of the times, standards of God, time-killers, warning, warnings