Sunday, June 22, 2008

Everything Spinning Out of Control?

As we approach the end of this age, it is striking how many good people in the Church refuse to seriously consider prophecy as a viable explanation for the otherwise inexplicable events we see occuring throughout the world. We hear daily reports of world-wide food shortages, energy shortages, floods, famine, earthquakes, war, ethnic cleansing, disease epidemics, and terrorist threats, just to name a few. The "secular world", interestingly, seems more aware of the significance of these events than the Church. An Associated Press (AP) article with a title of "Everything seemingly is spinning out of control" underscores this general sense of unease based on these world events.

This article describes a sense of helplessness that people feel, because of constant news relating to things such as skyrocketing gas prices, wars, terrorism, natural disasters, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, drought and food shortages - concluding that the world has "gone haywire". If you causually scan TV channels, its very common to see a program devoted to questioning the uncertian times we are living in, and why things seem so ominous and threatening on the planet. The secular world is paying close attention to these world events while recognizing that "something" is going on. Certianly, biblical answers are not sought, but explanations typically include global warming or the abuse of industrialized countries' energy consumption. Often, there is no explanation offered, just a serious concern of where the world seems to be heading.

Meanwhile, the Christian community as a whole seems uninterested in these events, and many refuse to accept that biblical prophecy could explain these world events. The secular world seems to have a great awareness of these current events, however without a plausable explanation, we see the term "helplessness" and "hopelessness" used to describe people's reactions. So, while the people watching (secular world) have no viable explanation, those folks who have a scriptural explanation (the Church) seem uninterested and for the most part are not watching.

The apostle Peter warned of this.

"First of 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 fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginnning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word, the heavens existed and the earth was formed by water. By those waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed." (2 Peter 3:3-6)

What exactly is the apostle Peter telling us?

First of all - he gives us a time reference, which he defined as "in the last days". Then he tells us that people would "scoff" at news that the Second Coming could be soon, based on these prophetic signs. According to Webster's Dictionary, one can define a scoffer as someone who shows contempt or mockery of a topic, along with sarcasm, and disrespect. This description is very familiar to prophecy watchers as we attempt to warn the Church of Jesus' return and of the events preceeding this epic event. Scoffers remind us that there is nothing special about our current events because "everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Because of His indescribable and inexplicable love for us, God has given us a full description of this age in the prophetic scriptures. The apostle Paul informed us that the prophetic scriptures should serve as a source of hope and encouragement for believers. On the surface it seems confusing - we should have hope and encouragement during such perilous times? In Paul's closing comments, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, he stated that we should encourage and build each other up as we approach these times, because "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." Earlier in the same letter, Paul stated that we should wait for Jesus, who "rescues us from the coming wrath."

So, we can scoff at the prophetic scriptures, or we can familiarize ourselves with prophecy and seek the hope and encouragement that it brings to our lives. As the world goes through "birth pangs", we know that we get closer and closer the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Nothing could be more exciting.

Is everything spinning out of control?
Yes and no.

Yes - because all of these described events are indeed occurring more frequently and more dramatically as this age progresses - and certianly noticed by those, who unfortunately offer no explanation. As a result, such people find themselves living in fear during these days.

No - because things are very much in control. The future has already been described in great detail through God's prophets. Unlike "the world", we, as the body of Christ should live with the hope and encouragement that prophecy should bring to our lives.

Spinning out of control?

Bring it on. Christ will be here soon. As written by the apostle Luke:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28)

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