In the past I have reported various items which point to the possible nearness of that time when a “mark” will be required of all who would buy or sell. The “mark of the beast” is one of the well-known signs of the end of time and the imminent return of Christ on the clouds of glory. We read of this mark in Revelation 13.
In the anniversary year of our Standard Bearer, each writer of this magazine has been asked to devote one article which relates the anniversary to the general theme of his rubric. It has been my task in various articles to remind ourselves of the signs of the times about us. One of these signs is apostasy—and with it, doctrinal deviations of every sort. In this connection it is not difficult to remind again our reading public that theStandard Bearer came into existence to combat doctrinal deviation, or, more bluntly: heresy.
In our preceding article (see Nov. 15, 1976), we concluded with a reference to Matt. 24:12: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many’ shall wax cold.” These words appear in a chapter in which the Saviour speaks of His coming throughout the ages. In this twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew the Lord speaks of the end of all things.
The words of this title, taken from the book of the prophet Daniel (12:4), are generally agreed to refer to the time preceding the end of all things, and to characterize that time. There can be little doubt that Daniel speaks here of what we call one of the signs of the times. And when we are aware of the events in the world of our day, then we can see plainly that there is such an increase of knowledge.
The last time: how are we living? That we live in the last times means that we must live our lives in complete separation from the world. As we walk in the midst of this world we must be distinct. We must manifest in our lives that there is indeed something different about us; something so completely different that we have absolutely nothing in common with the world of sin and iniquity which surrounds us.
It would be a truism to suggest that many things of striking nature have happened during the past year (and years). It is a fact, however; and it ought to be observed carefully by the child of God. The striking events remind the Christian of the nearness of the end of this age.
The last time: how are we living? Are we living in these last times as humble children of God, who ascribe all the glory, might, and honor to God? Or are we living as proud boastful people, who ascribe all the glory, might, and honor to ourselves? If the former is true, then we are living in these last times as we should. But if the latter is true, then we had better give heed to the vivid warning of Scripture as that is found in Daniel chapter 4.
Often in the routine of our daily lives we do not notice many things that happen round about us. We are so busy; there are so many places to go, so many things to do; there are church activities, school functions, entertainment opportunities, obligations to friends and relatives, the press of work. Often we are blithely ignorant of what is taking place in the world at large. As long as our own world is not disturbed or upset, we continue on our way with little or no thought of the events of history.
A number of weeks ago I had an opportunity to address several Reformed Doctrine classes in a Christian High School on the subject of “Common Grace.” The differences between the Christian Reformed stand and our own were obvious. The usual objections were raised. Probably none of the students were convinced of the error of common grace. The visit did, however, serve to point out clearly the differences between our two denominations on this subject.
In our last article in this rubric, we discussed one error related to the view of common grace which suggests that surely God does not send sickness. This article will treat another error which seems to arise logically out of the common grace theory. I was surprised to hear this particular error raised; yet, upon reflection, it would appear to be a logical conclusion from a false premise. The question with which I was confronted in a discussion on common grace, was: Is everything to be done to the glory of God?