Vengeance, indignation, burning anger and jealousy. These are some of the words the Bible uses to describe God’s reactions to this present evil world. To put it mildly, God is not happy. Can you blame Him? Look at us – look at what this world does, what it stands for and how we treat one another! God will not allow such sin and corruption to continue. He will act and when He does, there will be no mistaking His response. The Bible emphatically describes what look like world ending events – these events are called “The Day of Vengeance,” “Armageddon,” “The Time of Trouble,” “The Day of Wrath”… So wait! We are always talking about God being a God of love – how could this vengeance of God possibly be interpreted as an act of love? Is God so vengeful and angry that He is going to squash us like bugs or is there another way to understand what His vengeance is, how it works and what it accomplishes?
History does repeat itself. Sometimes in its repetition we can see the heartbreak of the transgressions of the past repeated in the present with an even deeper and more insidious result. Look around you and what do you see? Shootings, stabbings, bombings, race riots, gangs, rape, murder, genocide; Black lives matter, police lives matter, all lives matter but what does it matter? Politicians lie, people lie and so many lie unnecessarily in early graves. Save the whales, save the schools, save the planet, save the children, but save them for what future? Muslims against Christians, Christians against other Christians, and seemingly the world against Judaism while the Atheists say, "I told you so." Women's rights, animal rights, civil rights, gun rights, LGBT rights - so many rights, but everything still seems so wrong. The world has become dangerous and angry. Their clamoring for peace is drowned out by the ever increasing clamor of violence. Where. Is. God? Does He hear? Does He know? Does He care? Has God completely lost control of our world?
The future of the world. Knowing what it might look like can be both a scary thought as well as an exciting one as well. Think about it – what if the future of the world is dark and ominous – would you want to know about it? What if the future of the world was bright and promising – would you want to know about it? While we cannot know the minutia of our world to come, there is an amazing amount that we can know and I will tell you this – both of the previous future examples of the world are true! How would I know that? There is an easy one word answer: Daniel.
Terrorism – it is a fearful and horrific development in our present day. The barbaric and merciless treatment of those who stand in your way simply because of their religion or country of origin has been made to be household conversation, most recently by ISIS. Does the Bible talk about ISIS? If so, what does it say and if not, then why not?
There is something about looking into the future that really fascinates us. What will things be like 100 years from now? Will cancer be cured? Will the world powers that we have today be the world powers of tomorrow? Will our reality be experienced virtually? Will we get along? Or, will the world be a scene of utter destruction caused by man-made global warming, or will it be destroyed by nuclear winter, or disease? Will an asteroid end life as we know it or will the wrath of God burn the planet and all on it to a crisp? Well, we believe biblical prophecy tells us a lot about the future and we believe that it tells us with a startling measure of detail. Stay with us as we walk down a path of prophecy and look back so we can see the future!
The Rapture is one of those Bible teachings promoted by some that draws all kinds of attention. It is dramatic - millions of people all just vanishing at the same moment! It is sobering – what is left behind is a world that rapidly sinks into chaos and destruction! It is scary – God’s judgment pronounced in an instant and you are either in or you are out! But the question is – is it true? Is this a real and legitimate teaching of Scripture we should truly heed or is it a fabrication of the minds of men based on a misrepresentation of Scripture? Let’s find out!
The Bible often tells us what is going to happen before it happens. Sometimes its prophecies are very specific and sometimes they are shrouded in symbols, but in all cases they tell us about the future. So, what is the future? Our world has come to a point where it has the capacity to destroy all living things. What is going to happen with this great power? There are several Bible prophecies that can be interpreted to not only verify this destruction but seem to graphically describe it as well! Are we headed for nuclear holocaust? Does the Bible verify such a horrible end? Is this all in God’s plan?
A few weeks ago we began to tell the story of the dramatic events that led up to the conversion of the Centurion Cornelius to Christianity. Because the expansion of Christianity to Gentiles was such a radical shift in God’s methods, radical measures had to be taken! Today we will finish the story and see how its conclusion would change the history of Christian faith by the inclusion of you and me!
Sometimes things need to change. When there is a great plan in progress, the need for great change is likely to be a part of that plan. Since Adam’s fall from grace, God’s plan for man’s redemption has been punctuated by changes, including the great Flood which ended the old world, the calling of Abraham which began the age of the Patriarchs, and the death of Jacob which ushered in the age of Jewish favor. Each change had a distinct purpose. Today’s story about the conversion of Cornelius signaled that another change was on the horizon – a change that would be played out through the experiences of the Apostle Peter and Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. God’s plan was progressing and great change was necessary. But why Cornelius? Why a soldier?
Today is a special day, for it was on this day over 2,000 years ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the adoration of the crowd. This would begin the final series of events that would lead to his death. Today is another anniversary as well, for it was on this day over 1,400 years before Jesus came, all of Israel was to take a lamb into their homes in preparation for the Passover and their miraculous delivery from slavery. Now, either this is a startling coincidence or it is a startling revelation of God’s plans and purposes...guess which answer we agree with?