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?
Current Events and Prophecy
The Bible actually has a lot to say about the future of humanity and the earth. The challenge is interpreting it in the way it was meant to be understood.
We live in very touchy times. Whether it is debating political positions or arguing for more of what we believe are our rights, or standing against those who want to do us harm, there are multiple ways of looking at these things. Religion is no different. Did you know that about one half of the world is either Christian or Muslim? That’s a lot of people! Kinda makes you wonder – with so many people professing to follow either of these paths, would the founders of these paths, Jesus and Muhammad, have been in agreement with one another?
For many, one of the most exciting events in life is the birth of a child. Once they are born, we really begin to understand how fragile, innocent and utterly dependent they are. If not completely cared for on a round-the-clock basis, they have little chance in life. As they grow it dawns on us that their physical dependence gives way to emotional and life skills dependence, so we must continue to rise to the challenge of parenting in an ever-changing way. At some point, the plan is for them to stand, think, act and live on their own. This is, or should be the victory of parenthood! Folks, something is really wrong...many of our children are not learning this independence! Where did we go wrong?
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?
We all know that Jesus taught us to forgive. If your brother trespasses against you seven times in a day, Jesus says to forgive. Okay, while this may be difficult, we can see its value and strive to live up to that standard. But, but what about when someone commits a horrible crime – what about when someone guns down in cold blood, innocent God fearing people in church – at a Bible study? Is the same lesson of forgiveness relevant? Do the teachings of Jesus include forgiving those who are simply and purely evil in their actions?
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?