The number of people that claim "no religion" continues to grow in the U.S. It's an upsetting trend, but we can't allow it to impact our own faith.
[Darris McNeely] We're in the midst of the holiday season, the Christmas season here in the United States, of course, in all other parts of the world and a news item caught my attention this morning that is kind of a jarring note in the midst of what is to be a religious holiday, the biggest religious holiday of the year. The Pew Research Center which annually and regularly polls on different matters and especially in regard to religion, highly accurate and influential, released a survey saying that the percentage of Americans citing no religion hits an all-time high, people who in response to a survey say they have no religion. It is now at 29%. In other words, this article says fewer than half of all U.S. adults pray daily. The story goes on to say that the secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing. The latest Pew Research Center survey of the religious composition of the United States finds the religiously unaffiliated share of the public is 6 points higher than it was 5 years ago, 10 points higher than it was a decade ago. This article goes on to show that if this category that are called nones by those that measure these things, in other words, they have no religion, no affiliation with any denomination, they're called the nones. Put together, they would represent the largest group larger than any other religious grouping, however, you would slice and dice it in the United States. So it's a significant figure, it is a telling figure of our culture and our times, and where people are, and especially shocking as the result of the pandemic, people's fear and anxiety, where they are, and perhaps many are just abandoning faith and moving further away from religion and not finding any comfort, encouragement, or solace within that.
It is a disturbing figure, but it's also a sign of the times and it's one of those signs to understand in the context of what the Bible tells us about the time of the end before Christ returns.
In Luke 18:8, Jesus said, "When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Did that in the context of a parable about justice and justice for those that are left out in society. Will he find faith on the earth? Well, if you take that and put it with what Paul says in 2 Timothy 3 and verses 1 through 4 where Paul says that in the last days perilous times will come and he lists the number of social problems. And the very last one that he says is that people will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. That is a point to consider in light of what this Pew Research survey shows of a growing number of people that list themselves as among the nones with no faith, no religion, don't pray. We wanna make sure we're not in that category, but we also want to understand the culture, the times that we're living in, and make sure that we're not caught up in that, and that takes us away from our relationship with God.
That's, "BT Daily." Join us next time.
BT Daily: Never Succeed
Daniel 11 reminds us that God's plan has been set since the foundation of the earth; no evil ruler can change that fact.
I did a few BT Dailies recently off of some teaching that I've been doing on the Book of Daniel. When we were in Daniel Chapter 11, and we were talking about the period in Daniel 11, where the Jews are under attack by the Greek king called Antiochus Epiphanes. One of those big words from the Old Testament story Antiochus Epiphanes. It mentions him beginning in something about Antiochus in verse 31 of Daniel chapter 11, where it says, forces will be mastered by him by this Antiochus. And he will defile the sanctuary fortress and they shall take away the daily sacrifices, that's in the temple in Jerusalem, and place there the abomination of desolation. This is a significant Biblical prophecy. There was a historical event in the year, 168BC, when Antiochus went into the Jerusalem temple and offered swines blood upon the altar, set up a statue of the Greek god Zeus, the chief god, and abominated and desolated the entire faith practice and temple there in Jerusalem.
It erupted in ultimately a civil war from which the Jews ultimately won. When the Maccabees, the family of the Maccabees engaged in a rebellion, kind of a guerrilla warfare, and pushed back about three years later. Those Greek forces they went in and they rededicated the temple at that time. And we know that story from that particular point forward. But Antiochus could never have done what he did without the cooperation of some Jews who were a traitor to their faith and to their people. And there's a lesson there. There's a lot of lessons, but one of the big ones is that Antiochus was never going to win. He was never going to wipe out all the Jews, which he tried to do. He forbade them to keep the Sabbath, told the mothers they could not circumcise their children. He said that you were no longer going to follow the dietary laws of the Scripture and the law, you're going to have to now start eating pork. He wanted them to become like the Greeks. And this is all behind the scenes of what was taking place there. And some Jews, unfortunately, went along with it. Verse 32 says that "Those who do wickedly against the covenant, he will corrupt with flattery." He was able to do that. But in the end, he did not succeed. Those who knew their God pushed back, the Scripture says here.
Now all of this was necessary because less than 200 years later, Jesus Christ was born into the tribe of Judah. Grew, did His ministry was, was crucified, resurrected, all according to the plan of God. The Church grew out of that period as well. There had to be a Jewish presence, a presence of the people of the covenant, a remnant of Israel in the land at that day. Antiochus was never going to succeed. And it's a type in the prophecies of the Scripture of events that we do watch right now. And those students of prophecy view this now, because today we have the state of Israel in the land there, what is called the Holy Land today. And their presence is there to help and to be a part of the future fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
And there are many prophecies that point us to that. In fact, Jesus Himself spoke of a coming event that is going to be exactly like this abomination of desolation. When he spoke in Matthew 24:15 about that which was spoken of by Daniel and an abominating desolating sacrifice and event would take place once again in Jerusalem. The whole point of understanding what is in Daniel chapter 11, and what Jesus Himself pointed to for yet future events and all that this teaches us is something that is told here even in the Book of Daniel. In Daniel 10:21 and the prelude to this prophecy, the angel that is bringing to Daniel this vision says to Daniel, "I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of truth. And no one holds me against these, except Michael, your prince, the Scripture of truth."
Now, some commentators refer to this as the Bible that is in heaven, the Scripture of truth. In other words, what we're being told here is God's plan has been laid out from before the foundation of this world. Not only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Messiah for our sins as our Savior, but also the events that are leading up and the Book of Daniel is one of the great testimony to that very fact. That is there it is truth and Antiochus was never going to succeed.
Any future evil that comes upon that land and upon the people of God and tribulation of the future will not succeed either. Because as the angel said, it's written in the Scripture of truth what is going to happen. And in the end, in that Scripture of truth, God wins. God's people win. The purpose of God stands, and the kingdom of God will win out over the kingdom of Satan. It's a very fascinating story back in Daniel 11, from history, and prophecy, and those events, but it points to something Jesus said, and it points to our future and gives us hope and understanding that history has a purpose and that God Himself is guiding history. That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.