We come now to the final part of our series and what may be the most difficult part for us to read. That’s because it’s about us.
We’ve read about the collapse of past civilizations and how God has dealt with Israel and Judah through the millennia, but it’s one thing to read about other people going through a societal collapse and read about you and your family and friends going through it.
That’s what we’re going to look at in this final part. How do we live godly in this present evil age if that means we live through the collapse of the society we’ve known as home for our entire life?
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
Warning For America
Though we have readers of the GraceLife Blog from almost 200 countries and territories, the vast majority live in the United States of America. There are many warning signs that the U.S. is headed for some type of societal collapse. Experts in a field of study known as Collapsology differ on some specifics, but seem in agreement that every civilization will eventually collapse. Some historical research shows that the average lifespan of a civilization is about 340 years, with the time of decline to fall to be about 250 years. The United States is 245 years old as a Republic, but has a history which goes back many years before July 4, 1776.
That raises the question about how soon we might see America’s decline and fall. Some experts believe the United States has been in decline for decades. They point to a variety of indicators to support their belief. Some of those indicators are similar to the ones we looked at from the Book of Revelation in previous parts of this series:
- moral decay
- decline in belief in God
- religious compromise
- idolatry (including celebrity worship)
- increase in crime
- government/political corruption
- civil breakdown
- severe economic stress
- overwhelming debt
- racial divide
- breakdown of middle class
- increasing gap between rich and poor
- scarcity of necessary commodoties
- increase in disease (e.g. pandemic)
- attack on Christians
- natural calamities
The experts may be right. America may already be in decline, headed toward eventual collapse. Some point to the 1960s as a major trigger point for events that pushed America’s decline. I was a teen and young adult in the 60s and remember it as a time of both great promise and great upheaval and change. Looking at the list above, I can see why some experts would point to the 60s as the beginning of decline in America.
It can also be helpful to look to other nations across the globe to see what they think about America’s past and future. Recent polling in the European Union (EU) found that a majority of Europeans believe America is politically broken and will be overtaken by China as a global power within a decade. Keep in mind that’s what our global “friends” think. You might imagine that America’s enemies are licking their chops at the thought of a societal collapse in the United States.
You may remember the meeting between top diplomats from China and the United States earlier this year. China’s Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that “many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.” Many in the global community saw that as a warning shot across the bow from China to America. Those kinds of events throughout history have often preceded societal collapse of a nation from an external source. If a country has external and internal pressures pushing decline, the end may come sooner than later.
Depending on which experts you read, the United States could suffer some kind of societal collapse within this century. Some say it could happen by 2030, some by 2050, some by 2100. Experts disagree whether the coming collapse will happen suddenly or “grindingly,” which would be a painful ending to the country that continues over a longer period of time.
Christians Surviving Societal Collapse
Christians are in a unique position during a societal collapse. Christians have been a people of God for two thousand years, surviving many societal collapses around the world. Our uniqueness comes from our connection with the Creator of the universe. We know from God’s Word that all of the civilizations of this world will eventually collapse and that Jesus Christ will rule and reign first from the earthly Jerusalem, then from the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God (Revelation chapters 19 – 21). Christians will rule and reign with Christ throughout eternity. That’s why I said we’re in a unique position.
For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:9-10
However, being in this unique position doesn’t mean we won’t suffer along with the rest of the people in our country as it goes through collapse. If you’ve talked with Christians from countries in the world where Christianity is a forbidden religious belief, you know how our brothers and sisters are suffering now. Even as they trust in God and ask for our prayers, they still lament at what persecution has done to them, their families, their churches and their country. It’s not an easy time to be a Christian in most countries in the world. As the Apostle Paul wrote – “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Christians are human, which means that the way any societal collapse affects humans will also affect Christians. Christians around the world are suffering greatly. Many have been arrested, tortured and even killed. Many have lost their jobs and homes. Church buildings have been destroyed; pastors arrested and murdered. I personally know some Christians who are living in jungles away from their villages, receiving financial help from Christians living in the United States and other parts of the world. What will happen to them if America collapses? Some of them have told me they are praying that God spares the United States because of the great support Christians here have been for their brothers and sisters around the world.
That’s where we must go to our default as Christians. God wants all of His children to live by faith. Remember, living as a child of God has never been by sight. If we trust only in what we see, we can easily fall into despair and deep lament. If we trust in the invisible God, in what we cannot see, we have the evidence we need to walk through any situation one step at a time.
God knows what we’re going through. He knows what we will go through in the future. Nothing surprises the All-Knowing God. Jesus said this to His disciples two millennia ago:
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16
Jesus knew exactly what kind of response His Gospel would receive from the world, the flesh and the devil. Jesus knew Christians would be persecuted. Jesus knew Christians would suffer in this world. What He prayed to His Father was – “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
God also knows what we should be doing while we’re still alive on the earth. He has gifted His children and given them ministries and spiritual energy to accomplish the goals of those ministries. He’s given us work to do and that work is making disciples of all nations. Whether things are going well where we live or poorly is not something that should impact whether we do what God has called us to do. In fact, it is often as Christians go through the same tough times as unbelievers that our light shines brightly for the world to see.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16
That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Stop complaining. Stop disputing. Become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generations, “among whom you shine as lights in the world.” We need, we must, let our lights shine in the midst of the crooked and perverse generations where we live.
Those are our marching orders. That’s how we will survive anything this world throws at us. We must prepare and train to be the people God has called us to be.
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 2 Timothy 2:1-7
Love Will Keep Us Together
Let brotherly love continue. Hebrews 13:1
Christian love is what keeps us together – really. God’s love for us, our love for God, our love for family and brothers and sisters in Christ, our love for our neighbors, even love for our enemies. God has given us the key to staying close as a Christian community – love.
It’s biblical, historical and just common sense that Christians need to stay close. The world, the flesh and the devil hate Jesus Christ and us. They are our enemies, not our friends. At all times, but especially in tough times, Christians need to stay close. That has in the past and will in the future get us through any type of societal collapse.
Here’s what I mean:
- Stay close to God
- Stay close to worship
- Stay close to prayer
- Stay close to the Word
- Stay close to truth
- Stay close to wisdom
- Stay close to family
- Stay close to fellow Christians
- Stay close to friends
- Stay close to sinners
- Stay close to God’s purpose for our lives
Stay close and we’ll make it through to a wonderful and eternal destination.
You can download a free eBook of this series here. Please use it in any way God directs.
Teaching Notes: On Genesis 16 – GraceLife Blog
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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