"Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." (Joel 3.13-14)
"Let both (wheat and weeds) grow together until the harvest...the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels." (Mt 13.30&39)
This raises the very great question, "How then should we live?" Is the contemporary Western Church really so very much different from that which embraced and was then subverted and subdued by National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s? Is it perhaps too easy for us today to look back with self-righteous disapproval at ministry students who had sworn an oath of loyalty to the Nazis, attending theology lectures dressed in SS uniforms? (6)
But do we see clearly and adequately our own compromise with the flesh, the world and the devil? Too often we assume that because we are Christians, that therefore our political allegiances and cultural-social values are somehow or other automatically sanctified and therefore correct?
At the very beginning of Hitler's Third Reich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned the People and the Church of Germany away from the "idolatrous cult" of Nazism. But haven't we already given ourselves over to the idols of fame, fortune and "feel-good" (religious sensuality)...to such an extent that these seem to have become pillars of modern, (Western) Christian culture? Add to this lethal stew, the current, idolatrous homage and mindless allegiance (any dissent is sinful!) demanded for "the man of God"...then we begin to look like a motherless lamb, being eyed up-and-down by a drooling wolf.
"But they all alike had broken the yoke...therefore the wolf from the desert shall destroy them...because their apostasies (backslidings) are great." (Jer 5.6)
"Woe to her that is rebellious...her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till morning." (Zep 3.1&3)
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Mt 7.15)
In the face of such momentous, impending, Last Days' challenges, "How then should we live?" Is a one-hour-a-week concert, and a 10-minute (devoid of Scripture!) powerpoint presentation really going to "cut the mustard"?
"But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Mt 10.22)
"Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come." (1 Co 10.11)