The Jewish historian Josephus recounts how a kind of psychosis and barbarity overcame the Jews around 70 A.D., when a million perished at the hands of the Romans. As the world’s end-time scenario sees a recurrence of all past evils, we may expect to see—and do already see—a similar spiritual, emotional, and mental imbalance in people as time counts down to the end.
As the “bands of iniquity” tighten around those whose licentious lives, damning addictions, and appetites for power transform their spirits created in God’s image and likeness into “fiends of the infernal pit,” we may anticipate a repeat scenario in our day—or even another enactment of the kinds of conditions that led a mob with blackened faces to kill the prophet Joseph Smith.
The burden of guilt begotten in people’s crossing God’s red lines can indeed become so unbearable that, seeking an outlet for their growing self-hatred, they feel a compulsion to avenge themselves upon nobler souls whose mere presence in the world testifies of their own depravity. Morphing into an “everlasting hatred,” their derangement will stop at nothing to cause chaos.
Resorting to tyranny and barbarity to avenge the “wrongs” done to them—when it is they who are wronging themselves—they fill up the measure of their self-condemnation, hastening God’s judgment as in Roman times and sealing their own miserable demise. For those who maintain a “clear conscience before God and all men,” however, God has prepared a way of escape.
But escape from what? Doesn’t a clear conscience extend beyond self-satisfaction to proving valiant in the testimony of God’s truth—not patronizing a perverse subculture militantly seeking to overthrow all that is of God? Whom has God promised glory but those who see through false narratives and take on the fight in this all-out war with diabolic principalities and powers?
Says Isaiah, “See, all who are enraged at you shall earn shame and disgrace; your adversaries shall come to nought, and perish. Should you look for those who contend with you, you shall not find them; whoever wars against you shall be reduced to nothing. For I, Jehovah your God, hold you by the right hand and say to you, Have no fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:11–13)