Mike Bickle believes that Psalm 2 points to the growing crisis for the church. But the man of prayer and faith that he is, he points Christians to a powerful response. God's Answer to the Growing Crisis: A Bold Call to Action in the End Times uses Psalm 2 as a springboard. The first two verses of Psalm 2 read: "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kinds of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed."
Taking recent reports of persecution against Christians around the world, Bickle sees this escalating so much that all nations join in the persecution, banding together against the Lord and his anointed. "A rage against Jesus and His Word will begin with the public ridicule of people who value God's Word. It will grow to include hate-crime legislation that results in economic penalties for these believers . . . and finally will culminate with violent persecution against them that includes prison and martyrdom."
The good news amid growing persecution is that "things will get progressively worse and better at the same time. Opposition to and hatred for Jesus will continually increase. . . . As the darkness grows, so will the light; we as the church must know what the Holy Spirit is saying and how He is guiding us during these times." As we have seen throughout history, persecution fuels the spread of the gospel; Bickle says this will continue to be the case in future persecution.
The solution is that "the Psalm 2 crisis requires a Joel 2 response ["Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill . . . ], resulting in an Acts 2 outpouring of the Spirit." Based on his study of the scripture, as well as on some visions he had, Bickle believes "the Lord is warning us of great trouble coming to America. It will be a time of unrest that most people never thought possible in our land. And the Lord is sounding this alarm to let the church in particular know that turmoil is coming. Yes, revival will come, but so will trouble."
I never know how to take apocalyptic warnings. I respect Bickle's ministry and have benefited from his teaching and writing. When it comes to end times talk, I choose to focus on his solutions, which apply to every time, end times or not. Like in every period, God is calling the church to a deeper commitment to prayer, to attention to purity and rejection of immoral cultural trappings, and rejoicing no matter what the circumstances "because the altogether worthy One is our true refuge." If I'm wrong to dismiss or ignore Bickle's warning, I feel like if I heed his call to prayer and turning to God, I'll be in good shape no matter what kinds of persecution comes my way.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
2016 Reading Challenge: A book about theology