The Bible in the News has rightly focused our minds on the events on the West Bank in Israel, Russia’s moves in Syria and Britain leaving the EU. The geopolitical events of the world have been momentous! All of these events point to us living in the ‘last days’, the days just before the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
Towards the end of his ministry, Jesus said regarding the Jews that they “shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This happened from AD70 when the Romans armies besieged Jerusalem and eventually took it, the Jews were dispersed and became wanderers for 100s of years. It wasn’t until 1948 that the state of Israel was established and 1967 that Jerusalem was controlled once more by Jews.
Jesus was proved right regarding Jerusalem being trodden down by Gentile powers and he was proved right about the Jews one day regaining control of Jerusalem.
We should note carefully what else Jesus went onto say,
“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. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Jesus is saying that in the days immediately preceding his return people will be worried, anxious, fearful even when they’re looking at the things coming on this earth. For many reasons this is true. The ‘experts’ believe we’re 100 seconds away from the end of the world!
The Doomsday Clock was “founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies in other domains.” (https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/)
These scientists make the case that “humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire”.
In 2020 we’ve already seen some fearful sites: unprecedented wildfires, glaciers retreating around the world, ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic rapidly decreasing, sea levels rising. It’s happening because the planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius). Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010.
Scientists are very worried! Of course, there are many other key reasons why people are fearful: corrupt governments, violence, moral decline, social inequality, financial, health scares – e.g. the coronavirus.
Jesus said in the days before his return we would see “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth”. People are very concerned at what’s happening on the earth. Some are forecasting the ‘doomsday’! We don’t believe mankind has the solution to these self-made problems. Jesus said when this is the situation “then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
We do believe Jesus’ return is near. We each have to make a choice: will we put our trust in Man or will we put our trust in God? To trust in God isn’t simply to believe that Jesus will come and resolve the world’s problems. To trust in God involves changing our lives now; it’s to trust that His ways are right and therefore it’s right that we try to live our lives in accordance with them.
This has been John Owen with you for this week's Bible in the News. Return next week for more pointers with the Bible in the news!