Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

The Bible is filled with lots and lots of marvelous prophecies. It is almost a shame that we focus mostly on a few of them (the rise of the antichrist in the last days, etc.).

One of my favorites is found in Jeremiah 29:13:

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

The occasion of this prophecy—which is deeply personal for each of us—was a letter from the prophet Jeremiah, to the Jewish captives in Babylon. They had been conquered and driven from their land, but God was reminding them through Jeremiah that not only had He not forgotten them, but He told them specifically that after they had been exiled for 70 years, He would suddenly return them to the land of their forefathers; this prediction occurs in verse 10.

But tucked into this grand promise is the one in verse 13. You see, no matter who you are or where you live, the Lord of History is accessible. He was telling the Hebrews that eventually they would seek Him and find Him, yet the promise is applicable for individuals too, in all times and places.

Perhaps you are from another faith tradition, or no faith at all. In this age of global communication, perhaps this will be read by a Sikh, a Muslim, an atheist.

We bluster at each other, sometimes, and declare that the other is dangerous, or simply misguided.

I am simply saying to you, though, that through the astonishing fulfillment of Bible prophecy, you can find the One you long to find.

There are almost countless remarkable prophecies in the Bible, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But it would be easy to put Jeremiah 29:13 near the top, don’t you think? It is a promise, a prophecy, from God Himself that you can claim for yourself.

How about it? Are you looking for faith in many places? Do you have questions about the Bible and its prophecies? If so, let me know. I’m very discreet. God is even more discreet. With Him you can share the secrets of your heart, and find Him.

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David Mamet, the playwright, has written a wonderful book, The Secret Knowledge, in which he traces his personal journey from liberalism to, well, something to the right of that.

At one point, he writes the following:

“The elections of 2008 were characterized by vicious, indeed vitriolic, feelings and expressions of rage on either side, each side thinking the other on the brink of destroying the world.”

Mamet is right, of course. Republicans and Democrats view the other as dangerous and a threat to our way of life. Republicans are accused of having an itchy trigger finger, while Dems are minutes away from surrendering the fort to Al Qaida.

What does the Bible say about the destruction of the world? (One would have to meet me halfway here, if you don’t embrace biblical eschatology. Play along with me.)

The Book of Revelation outlines a scenario in which Jesus Christ returns to our physical world and puts down, as it were, the supreme rebellion: antichrist, imbued with power from Satan, rallies an impressive army. Christ, simply by his appearing, destroys this beastly army and then we see a sweeping succession of events that culminate in a new heavens and a new earth.

My point here is that—assuming this scenario is true and yet future, and I do assume it—what brings us to this final ghastly scene is not the ascendancy of one side or the other.

Rather, the world is on the brink if destruction because it is a collective effort. Both sides. “Republican” and “Democrat.” Totalitarian and free. Religious and non-religious.

The answer to the question of this post is that all of us, collectively, have the capacity to destroy the planet. The great message of the Bible is that the ultimate hope, Jesus Christ, intervenes at the precise moment we need Him.

And, finally, to really throw your brain into over-drive, the Bible also predicts that the world’s Creator (again, Jesus Christ) will also finally destroy our diseased and dying planet. Then He will re-make it into His original vision, for all time.

What a wonderful world that will be.

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Just one of the fascinating characteristics of Bible prophecy is its proximity to reality. Many don’t think of it that way, but I do. Bible prophecy is not some esoteric nonsense.

I was reminded of this today after reading that former Vice President Dick Cheney urged President Bush to bomb a nuclear reactor in Syria in June, 2007.

During a cabinet meeting, Cheney laid-out his reasons for doing so, and Bush looked around the table for a show of hands from those who agreed with the vp. No hands went up.

Three months later, the Israelis (apparently) bombed the site, concluding that there was an existential threat, due to Syrian hostility.

The whole affair calls to mind the famous prophecy of Isaiah 17, which I’ve discussed before. In this chapter, it is predicted that Damascus will be obliterated, never to be inhabited again.

Since the ancient city has never endured such a scenario, it must be yet future. Of course, plenty of more liberal teachers and students view it as anything but real future history, but it is an interesting passage.

For me and my house, we will consider it future history. Cheney’s little account lends credibility to the view that the home of Bashar Assad—currently killing his own citizens—will vanish one day without a trace.

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People everywhere are unnerved by daily events: Wall St., hurricanes, brain-eating amoeba.

Earthquakes.

With recent news of earthquakes in such odd places as Colorado and Washington D.C., I was reminded of the famous pronouncement by Jesus that earthquakes in “diverse” places would be one of the hallmarks of the last days.

The Gospels contain this account, such as in Luke 21:11. Luke also mentions that Jerusalem would be “trampled down” by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

The truth is, that is a controversial passage in that no one can say with certainty just what that means. Many conservative Bible scholars point to the liberation of Jerusalem’s Old City by Israeli paratroopers on June 7, 1967. The Israelis declared all of Jerusalem as their undivided capitol in 1980.

If that is true, and Luke’s account is referring to our time, we see that “weird” earthquakes are also a tell-tale sign. The damaged spire at the National Cathedral is a particularly strange site. I have noticed of late a turning-away of support for Israel, among American Christian leadership.

I want to be specific about that: American Christian leadership. The people are strong in their support (even if it is not as widespread as has been claimed), but prominent leaders like Bill Hybels are embracing the Palestinian narrative.

Could it be that the God of Israel is shaking the nations, due to their treatment of Israel? This is the message in Joel 3.

Whatever the source of the earthquakes, there is no question that they are occurring in far-flung places, now. People have often mistakenly compared these Gospel pronouncements to “increasing numbers” of earthquakes, but that is not what Scripture says. It says “diverse” places.

And that is certainly happening.

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