Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jesus' Vision of 2000 Years of History - Luke 21

Luke 21 opens with Jesus and his disciples in the temple when Jesus remarks that the temple would one day be destroyed and not one stone would be left upon another. In amazement the disciples ask, “When will this happen?” Jesus answers their question in the context of revealing to them the series of events which would occur prior to his return in Glory after his death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

Jesus first states that there will be false prophets, wars, and insurrections. This was clearly fulfilled by the Jewish revolt and the subsequent destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jesus then adds a note of caution when he points out that the end would not follow immediately. Rather there would be many wars, famines, plagues, and great signs from heaven. And even before those events occurred there would be persecution.

In Luke 21:20-24, Jesus speaks again of the destruction of Jerusalem and points out that the Jews would loose control of Jerusalem until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled. With the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 and the taking of Jerusalem in the war of 1968, Jerusalem is now once again under Jewish control, so that prophesy has also been fulfilled.

In the final prophetic sequence, Luke 21:25-28, Jesus states that immediately before his return there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And that the nations would be distressed and bewildered by the roaring of the sea and waves. If Jesus' reference to the distress caused by the sea is the result of rising sea levels due to global warming, then it will be clear that if sea level continues to rise and this becomes an unrelenting source of world wide destruction that we are near the end of the present age. Finally, exactly what the signs in the heavens are, no one knows but we can be certain that they will be obvious and terrifying to anyone who does not have an unwavering trust in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Salvation History and the Second Coming of Christ

 Jesus told his disciples that before he would return in glory there would be earthquakes, famines, floods, wars, plagues and persecution (Luke 21). In fact these things have been going on for so long that even many Christians no longer believe that Jesus will return to the earth just as he promised he would. What seems like a long time to us however, is in reality a very short time.

Monotheism as we know it began with Abraham some 4,000 years ago. From Abraham to David and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel was one thousand years. From David to Jesus was another thousand years. In about 17 years we will celebrate 2,000 years since the death and resurrection of Jesus and the birth of the Church. So while it is true that God is not bound by any number or specific period of time on earth, it is also true that patterns of harmony and symmetry are both aspects of the very Being of God and of the way in which He reveals himself to us.

Modern forms of communication have made it possible for the Gospel to be preached to the whole world. Hence the task that Jesus gave to his disciples has been fulfilled and the present age of the Church is very close to completion as well. So while is true that no one knows the day or the hour when Jesus shall return, I think that the age of the Church will not extend beyond the end of this century.

In the meantime we should recognize that this is a time of preparation. Those who are not in a right relationship with God will be terrified by the events that will happen at the close of the present age. Only those who trust in Jesus and have taken up their cross and followed him will be able to lift up their heads and rejoice at the coming of the Lord.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Global Warming and the Second Coming of Christ

Anyone who lives near one of the Great Lakes knows that summer cannot get started until all the ice melts. Temperatures away from the lakes are often much warmer in the spring because so much of the heat from the sun is absorbed by the melting ice. Once the ice is gone the temperature increases rapidly until the average temperature is only slightly lower than the surrounding area.

The same principle applies to global warming. Changes will at first be small, but if all the ice melts, the increase in temperature world wide will be dramatic. The first and most important sign of this happening will be the melting of nearly all the ice in the Arctic Ocean. If that happens, then warming temperatures in the North Atlantic could lead to the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, and that would trigger events of Biblical proportions. The sudden shift of weight off Greenland and into the ocean basins would crack loose the earth's plates and produce a level of earthquake and volcanic activity far greater than anything any human being has ever experienced before. The resulting political and economic chaos will be even more catastrophic.

Now one might dismiss all this as mere speculation, but then again it was Jesus who told us of the events that would signal his immanent return. So along with earthquakes famines and plagues Jesus stated that “there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations bewildered by the roaring of sea and waves.” (Luke 21:25)

While one might wonder about these other events, the idea that nations would be distressed and bewildered by the sea is something that would only happen if sea level rises enough to inundate coastal areas around the world. If cities around the world are destroyed one after the other, nation will be distressed by their shear inability to cope with such an unprecedented level of destruction.

How likely it that any of this will happen? The models currently being employed by climate scientists point to an increase in sea level of 3 to 6 feet before the end of the century. However, if all the ice on Greenland were to melt the sea level would rise 22 feet. In any case, anything over 3 feet would be extremely destructive and anything over 6 feet would be apocalyptic.