So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
The ultimate purpose of the Law of Moses in Old Testament Israel was—like a guardian—to lead the Israelites to Jesus Christ as her Messiah who would free them from the control of sin.
But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. (Galatians 3:22-23)
The Law of course was the very basis for Jewish civil and criminal law as well as Jewish culture.
In a very similar way, the Law was naturally embedded in the culture of the “Christian” nations of the West like those in Western Europe (especially Great Britain), in North America, and Australia and New Zealand. The bedrock of Western Protestant nations, both in their laws and even in their early culture, was the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament.
God’s purpose for such laws and accompanying culture in these countries—like the United States Constitution—went far beyond providing their people with opportunities to pursue happiness for themselves. His ultimate purpose was to provide a conducive environment—a “guardian”—which would help lead us to Christ in some ways as the Law of Moses did for the Israelites. Thus God did not make America to be a theocracy, but a nation where people according to the First Amendment of the Constitution could of their own free will choose to believe (or not to believe) in Jesus Christ.
It would appear that God’s purpose for America and the West has already been fulfilled. To cite just a few prominent examples, Protestant Great Britain in past centuries gave birth to spiritual giants like William Carey and Hudson Taylor who took the gospel to unreached lands. Revivals led by the likes of the Wesleys and Charles Finney brought multitudes into the kingdom of God in the Protestant West. Billy Graham led millions upon millions to Christ in the last century. In the past several decades the Church in America sent out more foreign missionaries to the remaining harvest fields than any other nation. Our culture, values, and system of jurisprudence based on the Bible like a good “guardian” have indeed facilitated multitudes coming to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They have fulfilled their ultimate purpose in God’s sight, and so are now being changed by man’s hand as God’s hand is lifted. The main harvest in the West is now over—with only the gleaning there remaining to be gathered before the Great Commission is fulfilled. Not surprisingly therefore, the mainstream media today is turning against the very values that made America great, and is in fact becoming anti-Christian. Could this have been the pattern for what happened to nations in the past after the seed of the gospel was planted there and after the primary harvest was reaped?
The Church spends 82% of its total annual income on personnel, buildings and administration expenses
Take the Middle East where the gospel first appeared two thousand years ago and then spread rapidly as recorded in Acts. Today it is overrun by Islam, and according to a sympathetic New York Times Magazine article Christianity there is in danger of becoming extinct. Christianity in Israel itself is small and its activity and impact are less than a faint echo of the gospel’s initial explosion seen in Acts. Not that God is no longer at work in the physical nation of Israel, but one can say that the gospel there has come and gone for the most part. Only a remnant remains to be saved during these last days. Perhaps it is no surprise that many Jews today are very secular and very liberal.
And this is the pattern we are now seeing in the Christian nations of the West, notably Great Britain which was instrumental in the spread of the gospel around the world through missionaries and some of her former colonies, notably the United States. We are now “post-Christian” and “post-modern.” The apostle Peter described what happens to people and nations who have known the Lord but later rejected Him and His commands.
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)
This appears to be what is happening today in formerly Christian Western nations. The fading Church in Great Britain has for the most part retreated in the face of Islam and non-Christian pagan religions. People in non-Western cultures generally shake their heads in amazement at the West’s legal position on homosexuality/gay marriage and abortion today. Not a few in the sophisticated intellectual elite of the West today actually hate God openly, something likely not seen even a century ago. We are worse off than we were at the beginning.
“…slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;” (Romans 1:30)
And we believe that this is all in accordance with the end-time plan of God who is seated on the throne.
Ironically, those raised in a “Christian” culture can actually be immunized to the real gospel of Jesus Christ. We can become “worse than unbelievers” (1 Timothy 5:8). The politically-correct culture of tolerance for sin and perverted lifestyles in the West is what is left over when Christ, sin, personal responsibility and judgment are removed from the gospel. The current mainstream culture is what remains after the gospel has come to a nation, the primary harvest reaped, and then the focus shifted elsewhere to those who never heard.
Revelation does not promise that there will be an end-time revival which will save America or the nations of the West. The rosy prophecies of some in the Church to the effect that we will bring the whole world to Christ during these last days are simply not supported by Revelation and current events. They are a pipe-dream—perhaps even a money-making scheme to bilk gullible Christians?
God’s kingdom and His will done on earth as it is in heaven will not materialize until after the Millennium when the new heavens and earth are revealed.
Therefore it would behoove the Church in America now to stop spending 82% of her hundreds of billions of dollars of total annual income on just maintaining herself—on personnel, buildings and administration expenses. The gospel came, achieved its purpose with the harvest, and is now in the process of moving on. We must now open our eyes and look at the fields in countries like India which are ripe for harvest—where multiplied hundreds of millions have never heard. Of course there will be some saved in the West during these last days. But they will comprise simply the final gleaning of the harvest before the end. The main harvest in the West is over. The gospel has now shifted its focus to those in distant nations who never heard, and we should also shift our focus and resources there.
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. (John 4:35)
Let us face the reality that the season of the harvest for the gospel in the West with its Christian culture and values—though godly and biblical—is now over, and that what is left of that culture is no longer recognizable after Truth has been rejected. Every season on earth must and will come to an end. We are indeed in the Last Days, and the clock cannot be turned back. We enjoyed God’s wonderful blessings on America for the season He determined, but like all things on earth it is passing. Let us now look ahead and prepare for the end by completing the Great Commission.