Upon the Earth Distress of Nations
Lift up your heads!
August 6, 2011 - Audio, 6.50 MIN
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When we survey world events this week, we are struck with the feeling that everything is moving. In the financial world nothing is certain as investors scramble to find a safe haven. The political world is also being shaken, particularly in Syria and Europe, with ongoing turmoil in Libya and Mubarak going on trial in Egypt. Then there is the devastating famine in East Africa, which is being made worse by ruling militants in those areas. This is David Billington, for Bible in the News. I'm happy to be with you this week.
As we think over these events, the words of Christ come to mind from the Gospel of Luke 21:25-26.
"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
The Greek word perplexity here means a state of quandary, doubt, uncertainty. This is what we see in our world. The nations are in a state of distress - with perplexity. There is no one who has the answers. Bandaid solutions are attempted, but the problems persist. There is no one who can stand up and seeing the sea and waves roaring, issue the command "peace be still"! Upon whose utterance an awesome silence and stillness ensues.
What we see are the powers of the ruling heavens being shaken. Let's have a quick scan over some of this weeks significant news items.
Unrest in Syria.
This nation to the north of Israel is experiencing unrest on a fairly vast scale. This Friday the Syrian regime continued to crack down on the demonstrators with brutal force. A report on the 31st of July on Israel National News cited a source indicating that high ranking officers had deserted and joined the rebels. Syria is still a very hostile enemy to Israel, which gives support to Hezbollah and other terror organizations. Changes in Syria could have a large impact on the region. Especially in regards to any developments towards the pseudo peace as described by the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 38. Verse 11 is one of those that describes the situation at the time of the end, in the land of Israel - a land of unwalled villages. "And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates"
New Homes to be Built in Jerusalem
The EU has announced that it is disappointed at the Israeli government decision to build in the Jerusalem suburb of Har Homa, saying such activity is illegal under international law. This could set a legal basis, for the pretext of the invasion described in Ezekiel 38. The main target of the invasion by Gog, is the mountains of Israel that are now inhabited. Har Homa is built on a mountain south of Jerusalem. Interestingly the Hebrew word 'Har' means mountain.
The Financial Crisis
The world financial crisis has reemerged with a vengeance the last couple of days, rocking stock markets across the world. One of the root causes of the problem is the faltering European economies. Belonging to the common European currency handicaps these governments ability to deal with their finances. This forces Europe into a corner. There is necessitated full political integration or disbanding the Euro. A very interesting article on the Economist website on July 30 asks the question: "How much closer a union?" The last paragraph of the article is worth our notice:
"Euro-zone leaders find themselves buffeted by a crisis they cannot control. How much more fiscal and political integration does the euro need? Nobody knows. Are citizens ready to give up more sovereignty to save the euro? Nobody has asked them. The more leaders try to fix the euro’s flaws the more they risk exposing a flaw in the European Union itself: a project of European integration that lacks a strong democratic mandate."
The financial crisis in Europe is forcing the question of the future shape of Europe to the forefront. From a Bible standpoint we expect Europe to become more integrated one way or another.
The overall direction of prophetic events, continues to move in the direction that we have expected from the word of God. A divided Arab world. Jerusalem continues to rise again the from the dust and the once desolate mountains of Israel are inhabited. Europe is being forced into a direction that will lead to tighter integration, the member nations having to give up some sovereignty.
In all this turmoil the word of God is a steady unchanging rock which cannot be moved. Which, when brought into our lives gives the command "peace be still", helping us as we look toward the rest of the people of God.
Jesus concluded his remarks in the section in Luke 21 with the words: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." As we see all these events transpiring upon the earth we can lift up our heads and look for the coming King.
Return next week for Bible in the News, God willing.
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