These are certainly uncertain times politically, culturally and spiritually. On my Strang Report podcasts I invite Christian leaders to help put things into perspective. One with Mike Bickle was so good I want to devote this month's column to showing how the current crisis was actually foretold 3,000 years ago in Psalm 2.
Mike Bickle is a longtime friend and the founder and director of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. He believes this Scripture helps us understand why Christians are experiencing increasing levels of bias and even persecution for their beliefs. It seems this occurs not just in America but around the world, not just with goverrnments but powerful corporations and institutions that seem to work in tandem to censor the role of Christianity in public life.
"I'm convinced it's already starting in a mild way," Bickle says in our podcast interview. "For the folks who are getting hit, it doesn't feel mild, but it's a small number right now. But I see that number increasing dramatically."
Bickle wrote about this topic several years ago in his book, God's Answer to the Growing Crisis, which details the Psalm 2 prophecy by King David: "Why do the nations rage, and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us'" (Ps. 2:1-3, ESV).
"The kings of the earth" and "the rulers" who will come together, Bickle says, are "the leaders of the culture, not just smaller political leaders and the kings, but the leaders of academia, the media, marketplace, economics, military, sports—all of those rulers of the culture, they will come together, not 100% of them, but enough of them for David to say, 'They will come together.'"
What those leaders will do, he says, is work together to "plan and scheme." Their goal is laid out in verse 3, where King David "in essence says they're going to drive the influence of the Word of God out of the culture."
"Now he doesn't use the words 'the influence of the Word of God,'" he says, "they're going to break God's bonds off the people and cast away God's cords. God's bonds are God's cords. To the secular mindset, God's Word is bondage, and it stifles our human potential—old archaic laws in the Bible that are keeping us back from our full potential.
"The kings of the earth are going to plan—together with the rulers of the culture—to take the bondage of God's Word, from their point of view, and break it off of cities and nations, break it off the culture," Bickle says. "That means to get rid of, dismiss the Word of God in the public square in every way possible. And that has really accelerated in the last 12 months and then much faster in the last 12 weeks."
Bickle says this increase is due in part to the internet, which, he says, "has given language and accessibility for all kinds of people to voice their opinions and in essence to validate and embolden the people who are like them. ... People who would have never thought of certain things are now not only thinking about them, they're enraged about them, and they see themselves as experts on them."
Bickle also says that the internet, in some ways, represents the restoration of the unified language displayed in the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11. "At the end of the age, right before the Lord returns, the human race has entered into a realm of darkness and interaction with demons beyond any time of history," he says. Of course, he explains much more in his book.
I believe that, like the sons of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32), we must be aware of the times. And I believe this somewhat obscure psalm helps us understand what is happening in our day. Most charismatics and Pentecostals believe there will be difficult times before the last days.
If you're like me, you probably assumed these would come after our lifetimes, but with the way the world is going, they may arrive sooner than we expected. Yet God's revelation of these truths to King David 3,000 years ago reminds us once again that He has everything under control.
Stephen Strang is founding editor of Charisma and host of the Strang Report, which just passed 10 million downloads, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
This article was excerpted from the June-July issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.
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