Agape or Armageddon?
Robert Wurtz II
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:9-12)
God’s Restraining Influences
God said back in Genesis 6:3 that He would not always strive with man, but that His days (of striving) would be 120 years. God’s striving is like a tether — restraining the full expression of evil that fallen men are capable of (Galatians 5:19-21). The Hebrew word for strive in Genesis 6:3 carries the meaning of sailing straight. God works to thwart the expression of man’s evil thoughts and intentions. In fact, God is striving with the very nature of Satan himself who is working in man (Ephesians 2:2).
Satan is many things, but one characteristic stands out among the rest; he is a murderer (John 8:44). He enjoys bloodshed. As people resist God and yield more to Satan, they become more like him. They are his children, and manifest his nature. Indeed, men become Satan’s slaves at a greater degree as they resist God. The image of God in them that was marred by the fall is all but eradicated as they progress in their resisting the Holy Spirit. We can see plainly that people are becoming more and more murderous and hateful as society drifts away from God. God is love. Satan is a murderer. Men determine (by who they yield themselves to) who they will ultimately reflect and become like.
The Holy Spirit Strives With Man
God’s law can be summed up by one word: love. Men are to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength and their neighbor as themselves (Luke 10:27). Take away God’s law and you strip away love. To evict God from our society is to risk being unable to love anything but sin. Paul describes this condition in the closing days of his life when he writes to young Timothy:
The words “without natural affection” is the Greek word astorgos. This is the natural love that a mother ought to have for her young; it is familial love (family love). How could that happen? It begins in the churches of God and among professing Christians. I personally know of parents who claim they never wanted one or more of their children. Some don’t care if their kids know they don’t like them. How could this happen?
Moreover, think of the fatherless children in the world. Men who refuse to take care of their own family. They are worse than infidels no matter what their profession. (1 Timothy 5:8). In fact, middle-aged adolescence is plaguing this generation. Many are stuck in their “tweens” (not teens), but their bodies are in their 30s, and 40s. Nevertheless, we have had more classes and seminars on “the family” than at any time in history, and the scourge continues. I suggest that the problem has been the politically correct — worldly approach to training people about the family. What did Paul say?
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children. (Titus 2:3–4 ESV)
I realize that there are women standing in line in many circles to be ordained to the ministry; however, has anyone stopped to consider how important this verse is? What happens when the older women refuse to train the young women to love their husbands and children? We end up with a world filled with parents, even among professing Christians, who do not love their families. Think about the import of that reality. Because they have not been trained by older women to love all of their family, they love their “pet” children (their favorites), but “tolerate” the rest. In doing so they provoke the despised children to wrath. Then they wonder why they have disaster in the home. It is an abomination to God and anyone who is in His image.
God: Just Cut Us Loose?
What happens as the collective mind seeks independence from God’s influence and comes completely under Satan’s? Notice our text again. The love of many shall wax cold. Greek scholar Marvin Vincent reminds us that it is not the love of many people only that shall be chilled, but of “the many,” “the majority,” “the great body.” This is the consequence of man wanting God to “cut the tether” that restrains them from sinning.