The Last Days was written in 1999 but is so relevant for today! Bill Rudge is ‘spot on’ as he reveals what’s ahead for the body of Christ, the apostate church, and the world.
We are living at the most exciting time in the history of the world. Our generation has the potential more than any other generation to see the fulfillment of Revelation. We have had false prophets. We have had wars and rumors of wars. We have had earthquakes, famines and pestilence. But never before in history have we seen such an increase in both intensity and frequency of these and many other signs that indicate Christ’s return is near. This book is an eye-opener. It will stir you to readiness.
Some topics are:
• Seven Mountain Peaks of Bible Prophecy • Signs of the Times • Mark of the Beast • Global Society • Unity of Religion • Increasing Persecution • Apostate Church • Defeat of Antichrist • God Has it All under Control • Paradise Restored
Bill and BJ are in the process of updating and expanding this book on The Last Days. In the meantime, the 1990s edition is available free of charge upon request or as an e-book at https://billrudge.org/last-days-e-book.
It is apparent as we watch today’s national news coverage of current events that we still have a far way to go as a nation with racial reconciliation. Even though we have made great strides in this area, the language and actions displayed by many Americans clearly shows that we have room to improve. Of course, it’s easy to identify a problem; the challenge is trying to determine how to solve it. While there are many proposed answers (changing laws, addressing poverty, better education, etc.), it is my opinion that none of these solutions will ultimately succeed unless Jesus Christ is at the center. These situations only deal with the symptoms of racial discrimination, attempting to modify people’s behavior. In contrast, Jesus deals with the core issue that lies at the heart of sinful individuals. Thus, only He can truly bring reconciliation and peace in this world. In fact, through His death and resurrection, the entire world will experience reconciliation (Romans 8:20, 21).
While total reconciliation awaits His future return, this does not mean that we cannot experience Christ-centered reconciliation now. In fact, this is the charge that is given to the body of Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28; see also Colossians 3:11). The application of this verse is seen in the book of Acts as the early church had to address the issue of racial reconciliation. Here we find the church growing from those who were predominately of Jewish descent to people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The climax of this occurred as Peter received a vision and then is called to share the Gospel to Cornelius and his Gentile household (Acts 10). The outpouring of the Spirit upon Cornelius’ household confirmed for Peter that God shows no partiality but accepts people from EVERY nation who fear Him and does what is right (Acts 10:34, 35).
Just as the early church did, the body of Christ today needs to continually strive toward Christ-centered reconciliation. In fact, we can never expect a change in the culture around us unless it first starts with us. I have witnessed positive and negative examples of how the body of Christ has exemplified Christ-centered reconciliation. On the negative, I heard about a church that had dwindled to fewer than 10 people and faced the reality they would have to close its doors. Upon hearing of their situation, another church reached out to help them. While initially the tiny congregation was excited to work with the other church, they broke off all fellowship after they found out this church was comprised of various ethnic groups. They said they would rather see their church close its doors than have to worship with people from contrasting ethnic backgrounds.
In contrast to this situation, I spoke at a church in Los Angeles. This church truly exemplified Paul’s admonition in Galatians 3:28. Not only did the congregation include members of numerous ethnic backgrounds, but so did the leadership. In this church, these believers were truly united, regardless of their external differences, as brothers and sisters in Christ. They were evidence of Jesus’ prayer being fulfilled, “I do not pray for these [disciples] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20, 21).
So how do we function as a body of Christ where we live out Christ-centered reconciliation? I think there are three things to consider:
First, we need to remember that truth in who Jesus Christ is as revealed in the Word of God is what unites us. In other words, our unity as believers is directly connected to our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the case because it is Christ through the Spirit who baptizes us into one body (1 Corinthians 12: 12, 13).
Second, we need to make sure that our unity is maintained by walking in accordance to what Jesus taught. In other words, if we allow sin to permeate our lives, it will begin to erode our fellowship as a body of Christ. As the apostle John taught, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6, 7).
Lastly, our relationship as believers needs to be motivated out of love. As Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How do we love each other? Jesus goes on to answer this in the next verse as He says that we are to lay down our lives for our friends. Jesus Himself gave us the clearest demonstration of this type of love, as He went to the cross to take on the punishment that we deserved. What a revolution would happen in our world if the body of Christ exemplified this same type of love, a love that seeks to put others before ourselves and strives to seek God’s glory in all things.
If we want Christ-centered reconciliation, then let us never forget the words of the apostle Paul, for they remind us what is foundational to all of our relationships, “… SUBMIT to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21).
The apostle Paul entreats us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13). As you see the Day of the Lord approaching, realize that each passing moment brings you closer to eternity.
New Levels of Depravity
Our decadent society is free-falling into an abyss of unrestrained, uninhibited, gratuitous sexual addiction. All limits have been removed as virtually anything and everything is acceptable. Today’s generation has adopted the attitude of the Israelites in the days of the Judges, when “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
In various ways people in this day and age take the behavior of ancient pagan fertility rites to new levels of depravity. We live in a world given over to every sexual perversion imaginable as people, driven by an appetite for erotica, unsuccessfully attempt to satisfy their lust for sexual gratification. The Bible says –
Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more (Ephesians 4:19).
Many Christians and even pastors carelessly pursue practices and lifestyles that are destructive to their health and testimony, disastrous to their families and devastating to their congregations.
Broken lives, ruined marriages, traumatized families, diminished health and damaged testimonies could be avoided if a fruit of the Spirit – self-control – is exercised. However, those who refuse to repent and do not endeavor to develop discipline, then God’s discipline – whether it comes from reaping the consequences of seeds sown or through remedial judgments – will clean up many in the Body of Christ who tolerate or flaunt immorality.
Come out of Babylon
Time is running out as this nation and world rapidly disintegrate morally. Collapse seems imminent. Priorities and pursuits need to change. Each person must repent of the sin and vileness in their lives and homes. God exhorts each of us to resist the pervasive spirit of apostasy and wanton immorality. He is calling His people to come out of Babylon “so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
The apostle John encourages everyone who lives in the hope of Christ’s return to purify themselves (1 John 3:2, 3).
The apostle Peter tells us to live holy and godly lives as the day of the Lord approaches (2 Peter 3:9-14).
The Lord Jesus Christ admonishes us to remain faithful.
Challenge to God’s People
In spite of an increasingly corrupt world, Jesus is coming back for a Bride without spot or blemish. So it is time His Church cleans up her act. This is a day and age for believers to evaluate our lives; examine what we are entertained by, contemplate what our minds are exposed to, consider the words we speak, and ponder the meditations of our heart. It is a time to purify our minds and bodies.
Each of us will be tried and tested in our pursuit of holiness and purity. The enemy will use every opportunity and method to pollute our minds with vile images and tempt us to compromise our lives with sinful behavior. We can and must resist by the might of His Spirit and the command of His Word.
The Church does not need pastors who merely tell us how human they are by confessing all their flaws and dark secrets. We need ministers who will show us how they overcame them by the power of God’s Spirit and the authority of His Word. We need Christian leaders who will lead by godly example in a darkening and desperate world. We need those who will inspire us to maintain disciplined lifestyles so we can be effective witnesses with testimonies that shine brightly for His glory.
While God offers the free gift of salvation to everyone who will believe and receive, it is imperative that we seek to walk a path of strength and wisdom in pursuit of purity, maturity, and righteousness as we await the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.