And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
When the disciples asked Jesus about His coming and the end of the world, one of the events Jesus said would be included in the “beginning of sorrows” was “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Any student of history understands that nations have been at war or various degrees of unrest for millennia before Jesus walked on this earth – it is not a new phenomenon. But when we take the time to closely examine what Jesus said, we see that He was not merely referring to established countries being at war. The Greek word translated as “nation” is “ethnos” – from which our English word ethnic is derived. Jesus was saying that before He returns, ethnic group will rise against ethnic group. We are seeing this right now in our own backyard. Of course, as I stated earlier, this type of strife has been happening for centuries, even in our own country. People have been separating themselves from others based upon various characteristics and differences, and fighting over those distinctions, since men started forming groups or clans. Some of these differences are not physical. The second uprising up that Jesus mentioned was “kingdom against kingdom.” A kingdom is a domain or the area governed by a ruler. With this in mind, a very simple definition of a kingdom is a certain way of living and doing things; for each kingdom has its own culture. Some of the current strife in America can be contributed to the contention between cultures – the various ways of doing things.
God, however, brings people with differences into unity. Paul, the apostle, admonished us to work at keeping this peace among ourselves by exercising the love of God toward each other. (Ephesians 4:1-3) But when people don’t follow the Lord, differences are magnified. Because people have forsaken the Lord, these types of uprisings will increase as we come closer to the return of Jesus. Yet, as Christians, we need to remind ourselves not to lose our focus during these times. It is easy to get drawn into fleshly arguments, debates, and activities. We all have our own opinions and experiences. However, when we allow ourselves to be drawn into never-ending debates that get us nowhere, we are sidetracked from the Word of God. Such debates lack any power of God. This is why our attention needs to stay focused on the Lord, because He is the only One who can change people’s hearts – not just their minds.
1 Timothy 1:4 (The Passion Translation)
Nor pay any attention to cultural myths, traditions, or the endless study of genealogies. Those digressions only breed controversies and debates. They are devoid of power that builds up and strengthens the church in the faith of God.
As Christians, our identity, the basis for whom we are and everything we do, needs to be found in Christ. Our foundation cannot be in our race, nationality, or ethnic group. Our identification cannot be in natural, fleshly things – our own kingdom or culture cannot be our dividing line. We must be determined that our identity is found in who we are in Christ – for in this we are all the same. If we want to see real change in the hearts of people, we must be Christ-minded, and pass these truths to our children.
“Great ideals and principles do not live from generation to generation just because they are right, nor even because they have been carefully legislated. Ideals and principles continue from generation to generation only when they are built into the hearts of children as they grow up.” – George S. Benson
I am extremely grateful for this country and the freedom we have enjoyed. But some of our worldly institutions have been filling the minds of our younger generations with anti-Christ thoughts and propaganda. We are seeing the results of a generation that has not retained God in their thoughts. They are choosing to identity with their “nation” or “kingdom” instead of having a Godly foundation. As we continue to preach the Word and display the power of God, many of these young people will be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But, sadly, many will reject the truth and continue the upheaval and uprisings. Do whatever you are led to do in order to protect you and your family, just make sure it is the Word of God that is in your mouth. Let us not revert back to debating and quarreling now – when we need a revival and the power of God more than ever.
It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this. I want you to put your foot down. Take a firm stand on these matters so that those who have put their trust in God will concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone. Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere. Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him. It’s obvious that such a person is out of line, rebellious against God. By persisting in divisiveness he cuts himself off.