Bible Prophecy with Jack Hibbs and Don Stewart
Bible Prophecy with Jack Hibbs and Don Stewart

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Happening Now: Bible Prophecy with Jack Hibbs and Don Stewart

Story by Pastors Jack Hibbs and Don Stewart

On May 9, Calvary Chapel Magazine published an excerpt from Happening Now: Bible Prophecy in Perspective featuring Calvary Chapel Pastors Jack Hibbs and Don Stewart discussing COVID-19 in relation to the End Times. Below are excerpts from the June 2020 edition of the series, which focuses on recent racial division and violence in our country as it relates to Bible prophecy.

Catch more of the podcast at reallifewithjackhibbs.org/happening-now/

Jack HibbsJack Hibbs: Bible prophecy is the overriding theme of these Happening Now gatherings, [sharing how] the Word of God applies to the days in which we're in. And it's not just about Russia, Israel, China, and Iran. It's also about the lawlessness and the violence that Jesus warned us about in the days of the end. We're here to represent the Word of God in [our] culture and what the Word of God has to say to all people, no matter your ethnicity.

It’s important that you hear this from Revelation 5:6-10: "And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb [Jesus] as though it had been slain, … Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb … And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; 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.”

Don and I are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, representatives of the Kingdom of God. I read where John Adams and John Hancock once said, "No King but Jesus." That's true for us, and I hope it's true for you. The Bible has the answer to all issues near and far, small and great. We're going to stick to that by taking on [these issues of racism, protests, and violence] that have [caused] a firestorm in Christianity, the media, our states, and our nation.

Difficult Times

Don StewartDon Stewart: These are difficult times; we’re all hurt by what we see. It was actually my birthday, May 25th, when the terrible event happened in Minneapolis, MN—the murder of George Floyd. There is no other word to describe it. And since then, we've seen things happen in our nation that are literally unprecedented. We had curfews from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. here in Southern California. We've seen riots and all sorts of things we thought we would never see in this country.

But in one sense, knowing “the script,” we're not surprised by things like this happening. It fits exactly what the Bible says about the time of the end, which Jesus compared [to] the days of Noah. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:37). In Genesis 6, we read about lawlessness, which leads to violence, and that's what we've seen. There's always been lawlessness and violence, but we see the uptick right now as we get towards the time of the end. But unfortunately, this has been a time when believers have been divided, too, over where our allegiances are. It is a difficult time for everybody. I understand people being upset and hurt, but let's remember something: As Christians, we've got a message.

We want to tell people a message of the Lord: Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, came back from the dead, is going to judge the living and the dead, and that gives us our purpose, identity, and destiny. Our identity is who we are, our purpose is why we're alive, and our destiny is what's going to happen to us when we die. That's the message we need to proclaim; the message that will change lives.

Racism and Division

Jack Hibbs: Clearly there are, and always have been, issues of racism and divide. In fact, the most abused people group in all human history regarding racism and violence has been the Jewish people. What has taken place in America is an issue that involves everyone. According to the Bible, all are sinners and act in accordance with that fact.

Everyone wants justice, freedom, love, respect, tenderness, and unity. Not one of those realities can ever be experienced in this world, apart from the teaching and the person of Jesus Christ. Right now, the nation is writhing and complaining, moaning and griping, and everybody wants answers—it doesn't matter what color you are.

We've got to turn to Jesus and the Word of God. The problem is, we're not willing as a nation to get the answers from God's Word. We as a culture—not we as Christians—literally do not want racism or any other "ism" to be stopped or ended badly enough. The meltdown of our culture is not so bad in our estimation that we would dare cry out and obey Jesus Christ. Yet, that's the answer.

Don Stewart: We’re told in Genesis 1:26-27 that God made us all in His image after His likeness. And because we are the highlight of His creation, the crown of His creation, we have infinite worth. The Apostle Paul in Acts 17, while in the city of Athens, said God made us all of one blood. And the one thing that binds us all together is the fact that all humans are made very differently than the rest of creation—in the image of God.

"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Genesis 1:26-27

The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 that there's neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. We're all one in Christ. And so we need to look first and foremost at other human beings as being made in the image and likeness of God. Right now we're seeing many [people], like Jesus saw, scattered as downtrodden sheep without a shepherd because they're not looking to the Great Shepherd to give them the answers to the questions. That's heartbreaking for us. But the good news is that we have the answers in the Book.

Jack Hibbs: Thomas Jefferson said all men are created equal. Charles Darwin announced that there's “evolution” and only the favored races are going to prevail. One's true and one's false. In the United States today, we have people who are of color: Asians, Indians, Argentinians who have immigrated here. What about Peruvians? Middle Easterners? People of color. So when we talk about racism, we've got to first of all remember that it’s not a black and white issue. God in His Bible says He's created mankind, which means we are one race—the human race. In that creation there are variants of pigment by the design of God. Every color is valuable in the mind and heart of God. Because that's true, whatever color you might be, according to God's Word, we love you in Christ.

And the reason the nation is where it's at today is because we're living in the Last Days. The evidence [is that] our nation has thrown off the education, instruction, and doctrines of God. Our nation is messed up because Jesus is no longer welcomed in our national dialogue. Things are going to get worse unless Jesus Christ is invited back into the culture.

The Human Heart

Jack Hibbs: What do you have to say about the human heart? How does that play into what we saw regarding the murder of George Floyd.

Don Stewart: Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We can't even know our own heart. The Bible says we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We cannot please God because we're all fallen creatures. Now, we're all born that way, and that's why we need a Savior. That's why the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world.

I remember a professor in Bible college who said, "No matter how good you think you are, how wonderful, there is no sin, not one sin, that you and I are not capable of performing." He's right. Our human heart, given the wrong circumstances, can do anything. And unfortunately, if we don't allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, we're going to see those sorts of things take place.

But the human heart needs to be changed. Jesus is in the business of doing heart transplants. So what the world needs is a proclamation of a message that tells us our identity, purpose, and destiny. There are people marching today [who are] wanting to join the community, wanting to belong, wanting to feel like they're part of something. But that’s not going to meet [their] need. They're hurting. We need to see people like sheep without a shepherd. And that's why we need to give them the message of Jesus during this very difficult time.

Protests

Jack Hibbs: The issue is not protesting. Look, we live in a nation where you get to protest. It's a constitutional right. By the way, the moment you go from a protest to violence, you no longer have your right. It's over—that's the law. So violent protesting should be shut down hard and instantly because it's illegal and dangerous. All the protesting and brick-throwing is not going to produce a change.

There’s got to be heart change. And I'm just curious if anyone out there is as passionate about allowing the Gospel to be preached in your community as you are to discuss and argue the issues of either “Black Lives Matter (BLM),” what Antifa stands for, or if we need reform? All of these things need to be discussed, but are we more passionate as believers to actually get people the real answer? That's what needs to happen. We're seeing some pretty neat things even coming out of Minneapolis, where the Gospel's being preached now in the street.

Don Stewart: We certainly understand people wanting to get out and protest the death of George Floyd. He is a human being made in the image and likeness of God, who is special to the Lord. His death is something that forever, if you've seen it, is burned in [your mind]. But it's something that shows us the depths of evil; and that's why we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ that can change the human heart, people's characters, and their lives for the better.

Jack Hibbs: What's amazing about this message of Jesus is that it's not just for changing the heart of a man in uniform, or a man protesting, or a man [passing] counterfeit money. The Bible says all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That police officer had all of those reprimands against him. If you look at George Floyd's criminal record, it's terrible. It's not a black or white issue. See, racism will demand that you pick a color on this one. These were two guys who had very bad pasts, and they collided. It was very, very disgusting. No matter what—no matter who's guilty of what—we've watched a murder.

The Social Gospel

Jack Hibbs: Do you think the social gospel has infiltrated the church?

Don Stewart: Unfortunately, it has to a large degree. The social gospel is what Jesus taught [about] helping the poor and downtrodden, visiting widows and orphans. But that's always in context of preaching a message about Him. You shouldn't do that without preaching a message of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, a lot of churches have substituted the Gospel—the death of Christ, His resurrection, sin, salvation—for the social gospel.

Jack Hibbs: The Lord said in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together.” It's a dialogue. But the dialogue that you're referring to is something that's preloaded. You can be involved in a social gospel church, and it's so compromised that it's a Laodicean church. Jesus isn't even in it. So just be careful. Every Christian and every church should be involved with community, love, care, missions, and outreach to the grandma down the street or the shut-in.

But when you get into the terminology, social justice has a totally different meaning. The bottom line is this: If the church and pastors would just teach the Bible, the flock would know the difference instead of being duped by some community activist group in town or some Facebook page. If the church understood the true power of the Gospel—what it really means and what it really does—then this terminology would never come up.

Our Freedoms

Jack Hibbs: There's no perfect country on earth. Protest is an American right and freedom. Go try this anarchy and lawlessness in Moscow, Beijing, Iran, or Singapore today. You're standing in the freest country on earth, warts and all. And quite frankly, we are a spoiled rotten culture.

We've had it good for so long, and we've not counted our blessings. And a lot of that has given birth to materialism and broken homes, broken marriages, busted-up families, and kids that have been left to themselves to form their own worldview. And now the biggest voices, loudest mouths, get all the attention.

Kids have gravitated to the authority in their life. You know what that authority is—the first thing that pops up in a thumbnail click. They'll type in something like “justice.” And instead of the Constitution coming up, or the Ten Commandments, it's some thumbnail that's been paid by some George Soros-type to make sure that it lands right here. Your kid clicks on that first and forms a worldview that is completely antithetical [to God’s Word], and suddenly, parents are stupid, America's horrible, and we need to change this nation. And if this nation is changed, listen, there's no other place on the planet to go to. We want to encourage you to fight for the right thing. And when I say fight, I mean, pray, vote, get involved, run for office.

The Public Square

Jack Hibbs: What's the best way to talk to people in the public square about “Black Lives Matter” and represent Christ at the same time? How do we support the idea of fighting racism without buying into the rhetoric?

Don Stewart: I'd talk about Jesus. Don't let anybody define you. They say you're this, you're anti-this, anti-that. Say, “No, I'm pro-Jesus. I'm pro-Bible. I'm pro-Christianity. I'm going to be against certain things, but don't define me as this.” First and foremost, we have a message, a one-track mind of telling people the Good News of Jesus Christ. Rather than getting into discussion about BLM or Antifa or something like that, let's just talk about Jesus. Let's talk about them—their need for Him, and then let the Lord guide it from there.

Time of the End

Don Stewart: There are three different signs that we are seeing of the Last Days: lawlessness, violence, and the apostasy, or falling away of the church. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).

Jack Hibbs: [We see] a demonic spirit. Will those of you who are not Christians wake up to consider maybe that the Bible is true and we're living at a time when doctrines of demons are being thrown out of people's mouths? Because as it goes, nothing good comes of it. Is it possible?

"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

Don Stewart: Scripture makes it very clear at the time of the end, there'll be two groups who are persecuted: the Christians and the Jews. Eighty percent of the religious persecution in the world today is against Bible-believing Christians. Why is that? It's simply because the Jews were given, as Paul says, the oracles of God. And there's a future for them, according to Holy Scripture. It is happening and will continue to happen, unfortunately, until the time of the end.

Jack Hibbs: A question from the audience asks, “Is the push to stop police from enforcing the law related to the effort to shut down churches? Police and the Holy Spirit both restrain evil.” I think in the grand scheme of things, Satan is behind the curtain pulling bells and whistles. I have no doubt whatsoever that the churches will be persecuted. It's already started. Right now, we're only dealing with what I call “white-collar persecution”—lawsuit intimidation. But I think very soon, it's clear from the Book of Daniel, that spiritual powers will move among municipalities and governments ... and our nation is in trouble.

We've already seen churches and synagogues burned. God is using all these things to purify His bride [the church]. So we [want to] encourage you. And this is the toughest thing of all. We understand that our emotions want to jump on the headline that feeds our “feel.” You need to resist that as a believer.

 

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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