In the last days, two radically different human experiences will be happening in parallel. For some people, most people, it’ll be business as usual; people will be eating and drinking and giving in marriage just like they always have (Luke 24:38). But other people will be undergoing intense persecution as Gog and Magog gather to attack the camp of the saints (Revelation 20:8,9).
How can both of these experiences be happening at the same time? The answer is easy when you know church history. If you were a Christian in the second century, you were in real danger of being considered an atheist by the Roman empire for not accepting the deity of Caesar, and if you didn’t renounce your ways, you were either killed by animals in the Colosseum or burned alive (e.g Polycarp).
Attending an event at the Colosseum was a pastime for Rome in much the same way that catching a movie at the theater is today. Someone who was casually living life — eating, drinking, and giving in marriage — would visit the Colosseum and watch Christians devoured by wild animals, then go home, sip wine, and think nothing of it. Business as usual.
That’s a picture of what the end of the world will look like. You’ll have a large group of casual people living what the majority consider to be normal healthy lives, and you’ll have a fringe ostracized community of Christians who are considered a hate group that deserve whatever they get. When you take the whole of scripture, this is the Biblical narrative of how it will go down. Hence Christ’s question in Luke 18:8 about whether he will find faith on the earth when he returns or not. Things are going to be increasingly dark for God’s true followers until the Son of man appears.
This puts into context this morning’s briefing by Al Mohler, in which he talks about the story of Facebook removing unwanted people from its network. Al Mohler sees this as a foretaste of more bans to come, specifically targeting Bible-believing Christians.
Meanwhile we have this fascinating 3.5-hour episode that Joe Rogan had with Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO), Vijaya Gadde and Tim Pool back in March talking about Twitter’s policies in regards to who it allows unfettered usage of its platform and who it bans. Twitter is clearly biased, and Tim’s contention is that Twitter is ostracizing groups that don’t confirm to its ideology. At one point, Joe said that he thinks this narrative is exaggerated and that Twitter is essentially doing the best it can at a very complex problem. In saying this, Joe would take Al Mohler to task in his contentions in this morning’s briefing.
Who’s right? Both viewpoints are rational conclusions when you begin with the presuppositions of their respective worldviews. To the masses, everything is fine. Twitter and Facebook are great. They’re striving to enable the greatest number of people to feel safe on their platforms, have conversations, and build community. But to the Christians, Satan is gathering Gog and Magog to attack the camp of the saints. We’re seeing the forces assembling right now.
If you go to the Colosseum for fun as a small coincidental part of your pleasure-filled daily agenda, you’re not going to see what the ruckus is all about. To see that, you have to be a part of the group that’s in danger of being a spectacle in that Colosseum. Nothing about God, his plans, the Bible, the Devil, sin, or human nature has changed from the second century to the present. The world would label the Jesus of the Bible as a member of a hate group and crucify him again if they could. But he’s not here, so they can’t, and they must attack Christ’s faithful servants instead, and they’re doing it with gusto. Everything is rolling right on schedule as we approach the apocalypse.
Now is the time for Christians to warn their pleasure-seeking friends about the judgement to come if they don’t repent of their sins, take up their cross — the symbol of violent death — and follow Jesus. It’s the only way forward. The only way to save one’s life is to lose it.