Chapter 23 – Men in the Last Days

What role are men and husbands called to fill in the last days? The answer to this question may be uncomfortable, but scripture has so much to say about it, it would simply be foolish to ignore it. Men are uniquely qualified to impart courage for helping the church overcome the fear of death, just as Jesus did for His bride through His example at cavalry.


Love Grown Cold

Matthew 24:12-13 says, Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” In context, “people’s love” refers to their love for God and “lawlessness” refers to the breakdown of society with hatred and blame directed at Christians. The reason “most people’s love will grow cold” is because they will take offense at God, blame Him for all the nightmarish things taking place, and fall away rather than enduring “to the end”.  


Some assume “lawlessness” refers to licentious. They interpret the passage to mean it will become increasingly difficult to overcome various temptations such as lust, greed, or pride. While that will certainly be true of the last days (ex. 1 Timothy 3:1-5), this particular passage is clearly talking about the breakdown of society. Look at what Jesus said in the verses immediately prior:


“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes… Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”


Clearly the context is deadly violence against Christians.


Notice also that Matthew 24:7-13 seems to closely parallel Revelation 6. There are so many common elements – widespread war, famine, poverty, violence, and death. And all of it set up in such a way that Christians are universally blamed for causing it and/or opposing the remedy for it, which is why both passages culminate with Christians being martyred en masse. This is why Jesus said Christians will “be hated by all nations because of My name”.


When Courage is Needed, Men Arise

During periods of great spiritual darkness, spiritual/eternal safety and physical/political safety become polar opposites and Christians are forced to choose between them. At such times, Jesus’ words from Luke 9:24 become ultra-literal:


“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”


Since men, in general, reflect the warrior / protector side of God’s nature they can impart strength to endure terrifying persecution. They are equipped not to panic in the face of death or imprisonment, but to remind those in their care that such nightmares last only a moment while safety, peace, and security in Christ last forever.


Let’s go back for a moment to Abraham and Sarah’s story. Do you remember how Abraham twice lied about Sarah being his sister to save his life? It’s easy to criticize Abraham, but put yourself in his shoes. From what is known about this region and time period, these were probably wicked cultures that practiced demon worship and human sacrifice. To kill Abraham and take Sarah by force would have been mere routine. Viewing his situation from a temporal perspective, his options were either live and lose Sarah or die and lose Sarah. Therefore, his decision may have seemed logical. However, if he had viewed his situation from an eternal perspective, he would have sought the Lord for protection, hearted himself and Sarah to prepare for the possibility of death, and emboldened Sarah to defy the king’s advances should she be taken away from him.  


A fairly similar choice (forcible separation from loved ones followed by imprisonment and/or death) has been faced by Christians throughout history every time faith in Christ became criminalized. And it will almost certainly be faced by many more in the future. Husbands, are we prepared to do better than Abraham?


When Solomon saw how horribly people were oppressed in his day, he concluded it was better to be dead than alive, and better still to never have been born (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3). If that was true of his day, how much more will this feel true of the last days, of which Jesus said:


“For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will” (Mark 13:19)?


However, Ecclesiastes repeated the phrase “under the sun” over and over because many of Solomon’s observations only hold true when life is viewed from a temporal perspective. If we face events in our lifetimes that cause us to feel as Solomon did – that it is better to be dead or never to have been born – we should remember how Paul viewed his suffering:


“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)


How the Church Overcomes Satan

It is thoroughly supported by scripture that laying down our lives unto death for the sake of the gospel is precisely how the saints overcome Satan in the last days. For example, Revelation 12:11 says:


And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”


In Revelation 6:11, John even speaks as though there is some sort of martyrdom quota through which Satan will be defeated:


“And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”


This concept resonates with what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:24, saying:


“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”


In the same way that faith and prayer invite God’s intervention, perseverance in the midst of persecution does the same thing. This will apparently be a major part of how Satan is ultimately conquered.


Speaking of conquering Satan, how many times have you heard it said we are “more than conquerors” in Christ, quoting Romans 8:37? Or how many times have you heard it said “nothing can separate us from the love of God”, quoting Romans 8:38? Did you ever look at the context of those verses? How do we become conquerors? When do we most need to remember nothing can separate us from God’s love? Look at the passage again when we include the previous two verses:


Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Called For This Purpose

When the apostle Peter addressed the topic of unjust suffering, he taught that Christians are called for that very purpose, just as Christ was (1 Peter 2:21-23):


“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”


Jesus effectively said the same thing in John 20:21, saying:


Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”


Have you ever noticed the incredible irony of this statement? The disciples had just witnessed Jesus being killed. Now they were locked in a room for fear of being killed themselves. They were anything but peaceful. Then Jesus appeared out of thin air, said “peace be with you”, and told them to go do the very thing that just got Him killed and would inevitably get them killed! Every single one of them was martyred, with the exception of John, according to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Furthermore, they all had wives who partnered with them in ministry (1 Corinthians 9:5) and could possibly have been martyred with them.


Blaspheming the Holy Spirit

Over the years, people have speculated what it means to “blaspheme the Holy Spirit”, which Jesus said was the unforgivable sin. However, in context it clearly means denying the name of Jesus Christ when confessing Him will mean death. Luke 12:4-10 says:


I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! …And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”


There have been historical exceptions to this principle. For example, the apostle Peter denied Christ when he feared for his life and was able to repent. And it is likely, with tens of millions of martyrs through the centuries, there were also others who initially denied Christ to save their physical lives, but later repented and were saved. However, scripture is clear that this will not be a possibility with the mark of the beast. Nor should it be depended upon prior to the mark of the beast since there is no guarantee one will have opportunity or ability to repent at later time. Scripture repeatedly warns against the eternal danger posed by cowardice in the face of death or persecution (ex. Hebrews 10:36-38, Revelation 2:10, 21:8, Matthew 10:28-32)


Is America Imune?

As I said before, such warnings could even apply regardless of your view on the timing of the rapture due to gradually increasing birth pangs. And they could likewise apply from the perspective of preterists. Similar trials were certainly experienced by millions of first through third century Christians, Dark Ages Christians, and even modern day Christians. Christians in closed countries are regularly imprisoned or executed for peacefully practicing their faith. The west is moving rapidly in that direction as well. In some European countries it is considered “hate speech” to refer to your spouse as husband or wife. Instead they use the term partner because it is less gender-specific.


Could the popular theology that God would never allow American Christians to suffer heavy, broad scale persecution be a lie designed to lull us into a false sense of security? Could the enemy be setting us up to become shocked and offended at God if we ever experience the same things here that Christians have experienced for thousands of years?


Could this theology be contributing to the lack of male engagement in the church, teaching that days ahead will not be a battle that requires courage, but a harmless whisking away to safety? Would not such a teaching have been considered dangerously false to previous generations who laid down their lives by the millions? 


When facing the topic of persecution, some people reply simply, “God is in control”. However, what they really mean, in some cases, is, “God would never allow anything truly horrible to happen to me”. This thinking could be a grave deception. Yes, God is in control of the ultimate outcome of history. And, depending on where you fall on the spectrum between Calvinism (emphasized God’s sovereignty) and Arminianism (emphasizes man’s free will), He has some degree of control over our individual lives and nations. However, consider the following questions:


·         Was God in control in Israel when it was invaded, the men killed, the women taken, and the children dashed against rocks on more than one occasion?


·         Was He in control in Rome when Christians were crucified and fed to lions?


·         Was He in control in Europe in the Middle Ages when Christians were slain by the sword and burned at the stake by the millions?


·         Was He in control in Germany when Hitler deceived the majority of German pastors and congregants into believing he was sent by God to restore their crumbling nation, but later starved to death or were burned alive in firestorm bombing campaigns?


·         Has He been in control in America these last several decades over which we have become arguably the greatest exporter of moral pollution in world history?


However you answer these questions, one thing is for sure: If horrific things could happen to believers in past generations, they could happen to us as well. We are not immune.


A Dream

Once I had a dream in which I was walking across a cracked, desolate landscape. The sky was red. In the distance was a large, black, molten statue that represented an antichrist system. There were hate-filled, demonized men and women all around me, watching to see whether I would bow down and worship the statue. The scene felt extremely dark and oppressive.


When I arrived at the base of the statue, I knew what was at stake. If I worshipped it, I would be lost forever. If I didn’t worship it, I would be killed. I felt such intense pressure to fall down and worship it. Then I had a thought:


If it’s this hard to not worship it even though I know what the stakes are and I’ve prepared myself for martyrdom, what will it be like for those who aren’t sure about the stakes? What will it be like for those who think God will understand if they bow down to save their lives? What will it be like for those taken off guard because they thought God would never allow a situation like this to happen to them?”


Then I woke up. I felt the message of the dream was this: The prospect of martyrdom will always be difficult, but it will be much more bearable for those who are prepared and have determined beforehand to stand firm.



Throughout history, men have been the first to lay down their lives. It may have been to protect their families or their nation. It may have been to save anonymous strangers by remaining aboard a sinking ship or rushing into a burning building. Even today women and children are given preference in survival situations.


When death is imminent, godly men remain calm and provide comfort. They impart courage to their wives, children, and others by modeling an attitude of hope and faith. This is a picture of Jesus and His bride. He set an example for us by laying down His life “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).


It has always been God’s desire for Jesus’ bride to follow His example in all things. For some saints, this includes martyrdom. John 20:21 says that just as the Father sent Jesus, so has Jesus sent us. 1 John 2:6 says that believers are called to walk just as Jesus walked. Peter said Christ suffered for us, leaving an example for us to follow (1 Peter 2:21-23).  


By the end of this age, Jesus and His bride will have this in common: They both will have ushered in a new age on earth by laying down their lives. Jesus’ suffering and death were labor pangs leading up to birth of the Church Age (see John 16:20-22), which was the initial manifestation of God’s kingdom on the earth.  Likewise, the church’s “death” (crescendo of tribulation and martyrdom at the end of the age) are labor pangs leading up to the birth of the Kingdom Age (see Mathew 24:8, Romans 8:22), which is the next manifestation of God’s kingdom on earth. 


Just as Jesus’ death was followed shortly after by His resurrection and exaltation to a place of authority, so also will His bride’s death be followed shortly after by her resurrection and exaltation to a place of authority at her Husband’s side, as we see in Revelation 20:4:


“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”


Perhaps the most powerful stronghold Satan has over mankind is the fear of death. However, Jesus conquered this stronghold through the cross, as we see in Hebrews 2:14b-15:


“…that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”


Do we see evidence that this stronghold in the human heart has really been conquered? Do we see evidence of it in church history? Will we see evidence of it in the future? Yes. According to scripture, by loving God more than their own lives, end-times saints will once again demonstrate that the cross really has rendered “powerless” the “fear of death”.


Men and husbands impart courage for overcoming the fear of death. Women and wives impart relational love for God like that of a new bride for her husband. Put them together and you have a love that overcomes death, a love that cannot be quenched even though it is opposed by the “many waters” of mass humanity (Revelation 17:15) and all the powers of hell. This is confirmed by our final last-days passage, which, fittingly, is set in the midst of a wedding:


“For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol;many waters cannot quench love.” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 3:16



If you know the Lord, will you please take a moment right now to pray for the spiritual and physical health and safety of my family and me? Thank you.