In 1997, Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts starred in Conspiracy Theory. Gibson plays Jerry Fletcher, an outspoken critic of the government who is obsessed by numerous theories that he believes to be true. Paranoid by the thoughts in his mind, Gibson’s character is portrayed as crazy, a lunatic that needs to be locked up in a mental hospital. Meanwhile, Roberts plays Alice Sutton, a sympathetic lawyer from the Justice Department who humors Fletcher until some of his theories turn out to be true.
At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another, Matthew 24:10.
Early in the first century, a man from Nazareth developed a large following. Without any formal education or schooling, this preacher puzzled religious leaders. Experts of the law, Pharisees and Sadducees were amazed by his authority, communicating the Old Testament like a biblical scholar. However, when Jesus prophesized about the end of days, public officials began to label Jesus as a lunatic and liar. Following his death on a cross and resurrection, those who once mocked Jesus began to say, “is this really happening?”
But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:1-4.
I watched the History Channels version of Revelation: the End of Days the other night. As a former seminary student, it wasn’t hard to recognize the various theological errors, stretching the truth to appeal to an American audience. Nonetheless, when you read the Bible, listen to conspiracy theories espoused daily and watch reports of great stress and trouble on cable news, the end of days may be closer than I once thought. When I reflect upon Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 and the apostle Paul’s comments about societal trends in 2 Timothy 3, to a certain extent these events have arrived. According to the Bible, no one will know the time of Jesus’ second coming, but if I were you, I’d make my reservations for heaven immediately, 1 John 5:13.
by Jay Mankus