By Nathan Jones
How has today's social media increased the reach of evangelism? And, how do we protect ourselves from the dangerous areas of the Internet?
On Sunday, January 6, 2013, at the Future Congress 2 Conference in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of Blessings to Israel Ministries on the Rapture Ready Radio Network before a live studio audience. During the 45-minute interview we discussed how the technology that we have today is proof positive that we are living in the end times and so can be expecting the soon return of Jesus Christ.
Sign of End Times Evangelism
Brian Thomas: Let's talk about the Internet, particularly the explosion of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. What are your thoughts about the social media phenomenon? There is a good side and a there is a bad side to it, right? Also, what are you seeing as far as Facebook for example being used in the advancement of the Gospel of our Lord?
Nathan Jones: I'm all for Facebook. Our Christ in Prophecy Facebook Group is Lamb & Lion Ministries' own Facebook group. We've got presently over 5,000 people on it sharing and discussing Bible prophecy. We have some fantastic moderators. I love them to death! They're on it 24/7 it seems. We even have one guy in Australia who is a moderator, so that's why I can say it's 24/7. Our faithful moderators take care of the group and make sure it's a safe place. They also weed out any doctrinal errors that may come creeping in. Our Facebook group is just one small example of the many different ways that people are utilizing Facebook to share the Gospel.
I'm signed up for Twitter as well, and people can follow our ministry via ChristnProphecy. I personally follow the tweets of nearly 400 people who every day are tweeting about the Gospel. There are so many people who are following and reading tweets.
Video networks like YouTube is in actuality a social network that is video based and people make and post videos about the Gospel to it all the time. I really like the videos made by a young guy who goes by Blimey Cow. He gets up and kind of rants in a funny way while sharing the Gospel and Christian living. He gets like a million hits for every video even though they are not professionally done or anything. People like him are finding all new and creative ways to utilize the Internet.
The Internet is nothing more than a communication tool. If it is a tool that the Lord has given us for this time period, then we as Christians should utilize it. Maybe it's not your thing, and there are certainly all sorts of other communications tools besides the Internet one can go to. There are still people on the earth who don't have the Internet or have technology, and so we are sending missionaries to reach them and translate the Bible for them.
With so many new technology based communications systems in use today, it really all ties to Matthew 24:14 which reads, "This Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come." Here Jesus is telling us that in the last days the whole world will be given the Gospel. I'm not saying this prophesy will see its total fulfillment in the Church Age, but in the Church age we can certainly reach all sorts of different people we couldn't just a few decades ago.
Because we know that during the Tribulation there will be technologies greatly utilized in at least the first half or so of those seven years, Lamb & Lion Ministries along with Rapture Ready and other Bible prophecy ministries have been building websites and making all sorts of different teaching videos to leave behind for those who will be living during that horrible time. We even have a "left behind" video that we've placed all over the Internet that will be there to evangelize people at that time.
During the Tribulation, God will give the world the Two Witnesses, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, and even a Gospel angel who will go throughout the whole earth to make sure that every single person in the Tribulation has heard the Gospel so that none are without excuse. Every single opportunity for the fulfilled of Matthew 24:14 will be accomplished at that time.
What we are witnessing with today's telecommunications revolution I think is God's last push to give Christians every means possible in getting the Gospel out before the Tribulation. When those in the Tribulation finally get the Gospel, it's under the circumstances of God's wrath and judgment, so we want people to come to Christ before the horrors of that time.
Brian Thomas: What about those people who really push hard against computers, push against the Internet, and push against Facebook? There are those who say there are a lot of perverts out there, and they don't want their children on Facebook. What would you tell them? Are there some measures people can take as parents or even just to protect themselves personally that people can get involved with? What advice can you give to them as to how they can use social media like Facebook and Twitter as good tools and can also keep them safe while using them as well?
Nathan Jones: It is getting harder and harder with mobile technologies to protect your children. It was easier when it was just websites. Parents could install software like NetNanny or some other program that filter the Internet. A lot of companies will use WebSense or some other program to block their employees from certain websites. More restricted countries like China and North Korea utilize even stronger methods where they block the telecom relays. So, it is possible to block parts of the Internet, though not totally.
Sustainability is one of the greatest aspects about the Internet, for even if a whole section goes down, it's like a nerve network. The flow of info is rerouted around via a different part of the network, so the Internet is redundantly kept up. You can't take down the whole Internet except through solar activity, and that's why I think solar flares during the Tribulation will be the death of the Internet.
The number one way a person can protect themselves from coming into contact and being influenced by objectionable material on the Internet is discernment. To be discerning is the number one skill a parent must teach their children. Ground them on God's Word, for they've got to be able to make choices for themselves. When they see that picture, or they go across that website, they must recognize and themselves discern that that's not what God wants them to do.
With children it's getting harder and they are using technology younger, so you'll want to install security software everywhere possible. You'll want to put the computer out where everybody can see it, so they cannot hide what they're looking at. That's getting more difficult because of mobile technologies such as cell phones, portable game systems such as the Nintendo 3DS, and all of their other devices which are now connecting to the Internet wherever they are now. You also have to regulate the times they are using them.
Realize that kids as well as parents are going to be exposed to questionable material no matter what. You can go to a message board that isn't even blocked and someone's avatar could be that of a naked person. I've run into that all the time. When I do searches through Google images, many times people have tagging images that are totally inappropriate that shows up under innocent words such as say "licorice" or anything else seemingly non-offensive.
You just can't protect your children totally by software, so you have to do it by teaching them to be discerning. That includes ourselves, so I'm not just saying children. Many adults fall accidently into sin. After all, the Internet is a reflection of the real world. In the real world there are good neighborhoods and there are bad neighborhoods. There are good places to visit and there are bad places. The Internet just reflects that. I would not go to downtown Detroit and hang out safely. I'm not going to go to whitehouse.com, though I don't think it exists anymore, but porn sites like that. You have to know not to go to the places that are bad. I agree that it's increasingly getting harder and harder to protect ourselves, but the best protection for your children is that they have a relationship with Jesus Christ, they know the Word of God, and they know how to discern good from evil.
In the tenth and last part of this series on the biblical signs of technology which prove we're near to Jesus' return, we'll look and see if the Bible has anything to say about technology being in Heaven.