The Titanic Disaster:
A Warning to the World
April 13, 2012 - Audio, 7.25 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)
As the world remembers the dreadful disaster of the Titanic which sank just 100 years ago this weekend--April 14th, 15th--we cannot escape the fact that in that tragic event there is a parable; a warning to a world that is on course for a major catastrophe. There are what we may call Titanic signs out there telling us that we are at the end of an age.
Just consider it: We now know that the Titanic--the unsinkable Titanic--had received warnings that dangerous icebergs were in the area through which she was to pass. We also know that the look-out man reported seeing one ahead, but the response was too little and too late. Well over 1,000 people lost their lives on that fateful maiden voyage in 1912.
Our world has likewise received numerous warnings of approaching disaster. There is the economy and the environment. There is the developing situation in a European Super-State; there is the Middle East--Syria, Iran and the unfinished business in Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as the unpredictable outcome of the so-called Arab Spring. But more important and more relevant than any of that, there is what the Bible calls “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19).
In Ezekiel chapter 33 there is something about this. We are told about the duty of the watchman, and about the consequences of ignoring the warnings he gives. The passage reads as follows:
"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul" (verses 2-5).
Well, the prophets have spoken. They have as it were blown the warning notes on the trumpet, but the world is deaf to these warnings.
Just like the Titanic which had received warnings via wireless telegraphy--the people were too busy having a good time. An editorial penned by the editor of "The Christadelphian" (May, 1912) commented:
"It was after the dinner hour, and many 'mighty men of wealth' were carousing and planning a great banquet in New York to celebrate this latest maritime achievement, when the fatal crash came. Many were playing cards in the saloon, and even resumed their game afterwards! The band played lively tunes to keep up the peoples' spirits. But gradually the truth dawned, and presently the band played "Nearer, my God, to Thee!" We are not heartless; we know trouble and face death with the rest of our fellows. But query--Can we serve Mammon whole-heartedly all our lives, and then when we find that we have 'not ten days to live,' turn and get 'nearer to God' in 'the hour of death'? There is only one true answer--We cannot."
Many people in today's world, and many on board the Titanic had the attitude recorded in Luke 12:19,
"...Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."
But the next verse, verse 20 continues:
"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
So the words of Acts 2:40 are applicable to this doomed world system when it says: "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." The only hope is to join those who made it into the lifeboat! And there is a lifeboat available.
One of the surviving passengers on the Titanic later reported that, "Some of the passengers shouted to me not to get in (the lifeboat) as they had such confidence in the ship..." So it is with the majority of people today who dismiss the offer of salvation in the Bible. They have confidence in the ability of men to solve the world's problems. Either that, or they are just resigned to their inevitable doom.
As the world remembers the Titanic disaster this weekend, consider the parable that we have outlined. Are you going to take your chances with this present evil world, or are you prepared to come out of it and enter the ark that God has designed and provided?
We do well to consider these things, as the apostle Peter says (2 Peter 3:2-6),
"That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished."
The water that became a grave for Titanic passengers and for the disobedient in the days of Noah, can be equally seen as a means of our salvation. Peter says in his First epistle that eight souls were saved by water:
"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
This has been Paul Billington with you this week commenting on the Bible in the News.
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