“Last Days” Really?
Many are making comments about living in the “last days.”  It’s a phrase so used that some quickly discount the thought and scoff at the thought of whatever that may mean. That said, it does seem there are indications of a world (and church) increasingly secularized as never before. Here are some examples (a few among many): Belgium’s liberal euthanasia laws that even allow children age 12 to be put to death upon the recommendation of two physicians (three in the case of psychiatric patients); only 35 percent of the Presbyterian Church (USA) pastors believing that Jesus is the only way of salvation;  and even the United Methodist denomination being pressed by the LGBTQI community and some Methodist clergy to alter its stance regarding gay marriage.  Some contend we have never seen these kind of things before, which may be true.
One truth for sure is that we have never witnessed the return of the Jewish people back to their homeland until 1948. It certainly seems this does, indeed, confirm that we are living in the last days. In 70 AD, the Jews were driven out of their homeland by the Romans. The Romans, under Titus, grew tired of managing Israel and decided to end the “Jewish problem.” Roman legions surrounded the city, set it on fire, and destroyed the Holy Temple. Thousands of Jews were killed, and then thousands more taken into Roman slave and work camps. For 1,878 years, from then (70 AD) until 1948, there was no national State of Israel. The Jewish people were scattered around the world and away from the land given them by God.
But, centuries earlier, the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision that promised that someday “dry bones” (Israel) would come alive. This prophecy reached its practical fulfillment on May 14, 1948, when Israel was recognized by the United States as a sovereign nation. Never before in the history of the world had any nation been so throughly destroyed and then returned to the very place they had destroyed. Prophecy fulfilled!
Yes, we ARE living in the “last days.” Expect scoffers. But know this: what God declares will happen will. Jesus said: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)
-Garry D. Pate
 “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget … . “ (2 Peter 3:3-5a)
 Some leaders within the United Methodist Church have submitted a proposal to this year’s General Conference to remove prohibitive language about homosexuality from the church’s Book of Discipline. If adopted, practicing homosexuality would no longer be viewed as a sin, and UM pastors would be able to perform same-sex marriages.