Monday, October 17, 2005

Lift up your heads

World Wars I & II.
Nuclear weaponry.
September 11, 2001.
The tsunami.
Hurricane Katrina.
Guatemalan landslides.
Pakistani earthquake.

What do these all have in common? Three things:

(1) Our world is fallen and sinful. We cannot know for sure whether or not these things happened as a result of sin--indeed, calamity often does not (see Luke 13.2,4). But we do know that much of this futility and destruction we experience is the direct consequence of our sinfulness (cf Gen 3.17-19).

(2) The end of the world as we know it is drawing ever nearer. Not even the Son of Man himself knows the day when he will be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire (2 Thess 1.7). Yet he himself said that these last days will be marked with natural disasters and wars: "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines . . . and on the earth dismay among the nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and waves" (Luke 21.10-11,25). Now I'm not one at all for Tim Lahaye novels and all that kind of time-wasting crap--c'mon, I'm a covenant amill--but I do know that Jesus has linked such events inextricably with his second coming (Luke 21.26-28). "When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!"

(3) Because we live in a fallen world full of sin and unbelief, Christ will come "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thess 1.8-9). Maybe we haven't yet been affected by terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but those who do not repent and embrace the risen Christ will all likewise perish (Luke 13.1-5)!

(I'm sorry that this isn't exactly an entertaining post, but it's just plain true and has caught my attention even more in light of the 54,000+ deaths in Pakistan. Is it mere coincidence that such horrendous things have been happening with increasing frequency?)

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