Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

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.

Fairly often, I hear people debate whether the Bible can be proven to be true (or not true). By that, I mean arguments on both sides suggest, strongly, that the Bible’s history and science is either right or wrong.

I’m sort of used to that from secular (or agnostic/atheist) sources. What surprised me recently was the publication of a new book from an apologetics ministry that listed reasons why the Bible can be trusted as an historical document.

Amazingly, the writer claimed that predictive prophecy is not even bullet-proof evidence, primarily because critics can say that the “prophecies” were written down after they actually occurred.

It’s incredible to me that a ministry leader would make that claim. The “prophecy written after the fact” excuse is an empty one. For example, the numerous prophecies in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), preserved as they are in the Dead Sea Scrolls, are thousands of years ahead of the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

That can’t be explained away.

What do you think?

A constant theme in both biblical and secular history is the devilish propensity for many to hate and do harm to Jews. This morning is the latest sorry reminder.

At least six Jews were killed near the Sinai, in an area that is a hotbed of violence from jihadists. Buses were sprayed with bullets, mortars were fired, and at least one roadside bomb detonated near an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) vehicle. Israel will retaliate and is already hunting the killers.

This is what has changed recently in history. The Jews, hunted for so long, now have the means to fight back and I predict they will never experience a Holocaust again.

The Bible is very clear that God will A)protect national Israel in the last days of world history and B)seek (successfully) revenge on their enemies.

One lament I have is the silence coming from much of the American religious community, when Jews are murdered. The silence is even more pronounced when the dead Jews are also Israelis.

This is a dreadful indictment of our culture. The world community rightly condemns human rights abuses all over the globe, except within Israel proper. Worse, it is denied that this moral imbalance even exists!

Interestingly, the Bible is thought by many to be a fanciful document, yet the Lord has promised certain things, and He has—I say this trembling—staked His reputation on the prophecies coming to pass (Isaiah 46:10).

Just as the terrifying revenge destroyed the Nazis examining the “ark of the covenant” in the first Indiana Jones movie, so too is the real deal coming very, very soon.

Most will be caught unaware.

Headlines that we saw this morning are becoming the norm:

•Morgan Stanley warns of recession
•Dow drops 3.6 percent
•Brain-eating amoeba claims three victims
•Six killed near Sinai

This is what passes for a routine day in our world now. It has been that way for some time. I believe, from my conversations with people all over the country, that there is a feeling this started in earnest about four years ago, ahead of the economic meltdown.

When I hear about a brain-eating amoeba killing young children, it sounds like something from Star Trek. The old TV show was campy and fun, but it also seemed far removed from reality. Now some of these things actually happen in our world!

I am reminded, though, as panic sets in around the globe that One person has claimed to be your peace, and the real deal: in John 16:33, Jesus said that we will have trouble in this world, but be happy because He has overcome the world.

I have a lot of dialogue these days with people from all walks of life who are stressed, agitated, worried, anxious, and seemingly losing their grip.

As I often say, however, the Bible extremely practical and reliable. Jesus made a promise regarding your peace, and you can claim it.

Of course, many dismiss this as fundamentalist nonsense, but this has “worked” in my life many times, and in the lives of many people I know.

If you are on the floor of the stock exchange today, or sitting in front of bills at your kitchen table, or on the side of the road with a blown engine…call out to the Lord.

He will hear you.