Is it the End of the World?

I attended my 30th class reunion this past weekend. It was just down the street from an old army surplus store that I used to frequent with my father; it was one of our hobbies—cruising junk stores.

Dad has been gone for 30 years, so it was somewhat like closing a circle.

Walking back to the hotel in the muggy night air, I thought about him, my old classmates, and everything in-between. As usual, a biblical theme came to mind, this time my favorite: God’s promises from Bible prophecy.

This is what the liberal critics (within the Church) are missing. They are so anxious to trim the supernatural out of the Bible (like Thomas Jefferson), they throw the baby out with the swimming pool. Or the ocean.

In the books of Isaiah and Revelation, in particular, God promises that in the end, He will make everything new. He will restore the universe to its original state. Among the benefits will be wonderful reunions with loved ones who have gone on before us.

At my class reunion, not surprisingly, I was somewhat taken aback by the aging process—me included. This is “natural” in our world. Hair goes gray, skin loosens, teeth are discolored and worn.

But God has literally promised that one day, known now only to Him, He will remake everything. That is a promise and a prophecy. I don’t believe it is pie-in-the-sky or some esoteric sacred writings and ramblings. It is real-life. Tangible. Future.

Then, the very best reunions will take place. We will all be in full-flower, full of joy. It’s coming, this reunion. This permanent makeover.

If all this makes me a fundamentalist nut, then thank you. I embrace it. Lash myself to it. God’s Word is sure; He said that He keeps His Word (Isaiah 46).

I need it, long for it, hope for it, expect it. So do many of us.

It’s coming.

The announcement today that Glenn Beck’s previously announced, weird event at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, has been moved due to security concerns…is weird. But welcome.

Why the popular populist announced in the first place that he’d hold a pro Israel rally at the highly sensitive site is beyond me. I’ve been there three times, but it’s just as likely that I would never have been able to ascend to the place holy to three faiths. The Temple Mount—Haram al-Sharif to Muslims—is I believe the greatest flashpoint in our world today.

After Israel took Jerusalem’s Old City in June, 1967, Moshe Dayan gave the keys back to the Arabs the next day. Why? He said he didn’t want to ignite World War III; not a small number of Israelis wanted to immediately begin rebuilding the Temple.

Periodically, a crazy or two will “try something,” although the Israeli police and army do a good job protecting the 35-acre compound. The Palestinian wakf is officially in charge, and Muslims can generally visit when they want. Not so for Christians and Jews (although few Jews visit the area, for various reasons. Some feel they will walk over the area of the Temple’s “holy of holies” and thus desecrate the spot).

For these reasons, it is hard to understand what Beck wanted to accomplish with his pro Israel rally. He has said the event will take place somewhere else in Jerusalem. Great; another security headache for the Israeli police.

Let me make some suggestions for the former FOX television host. How about a tour of Yad Vashem? A tour of Mt. Herzl, the military cemetery. Perhaps a cup of coffee at the American Colony Hotel. Or a dip in the pool at the fabled King David Hotel.

Visit the Mount of Olives. Masada. The Galilee.

But don’t stupidly announce a shindig at the Temple Mount. Pay attention to where you are. Show some understanding. I’m all for pro Israel rallies, and perhaps someday our generation will indeed go up to Jerusalem and visit the Temple.

Until, though

Jerusalem's Temple Mount, facing the Al-Aksa Mosque

, someone smarter than us comes up with a solution for the conflict, TV ratings-hounds add to the problem.

With news that the Palestinians might appeal to the United Nations this fall for an upgrade to full member status, we can see a Bible prophecy theme emerging.

For many years, Bible prophecy teachers and students did not see the possibility that a Palestinian state could be established. Why? Because of the prophetic passages that promised the Jews that they will “not be uprooted again” (Amos 9:15), in a last-days context.

Now that we find ourselves at the brink in the Arab-Israeli conflict, one wonders: what WOULD the establishment of the state of Palestine do to prophecy teaching?

Affirm it, I say. As usual, humans worry entirely too much about whether the claims made in the Bible—those marvelous prophecies/promises—will actually come to pass. This is a bit like the Israelites trying God’s patience after the Exodus. They had seen a thoroughly astonishing miracle at the sea, yet seemed to forget the power and majesty of God in the wilderness.

The reason my belief in Bible prophecy wouldn’t collapse if Palestine becomes a reality is really two-fold:

•God has promised that the Jews will not be uprooted from their ancestral home, after returning from final exile in the last days. A Palestinian state would not remove the Jewish population from the Holy Land.

•Ezekiel 36 seems to allude to conditions in which Israel’s enemies (the surrounding Arab nations have been in a perpetual state of war with the Jewish state for seven decades, agreements with Egypt and Jordan notwithstanding) might gain a territorial foothold. This “could be” a Palestinian state.

The main point in all this is that we shouldn’t be too dogmatic about scenarios we cannot yet know. The Lord will keep His word.

It’s His game to finish.

(The following post came from a conversation with my wife, Dianna—she reluctantly agreed to pen some thoughts because I don’t believe in plagiarism! She understands people and their afflictions. I thought her observations blend well with the theme of this blog. After all, Bible prophecy is really about promises from God. Jesus Christ, who claims to be God, offers rest for our weary souls (Matthew 11:28). Thanks, Dianna, for this contribution!)

Anxiety. The name for the stalking, relentless wolf that eats away at your soul during waking hours, and sniffs the ground to find the path right into your dreams. Of all the negative emotions one can experience during this brief journey called life on Earth, anxiety is probably the toughest. Surely he wins “Employee of the Year” from Satan.

Oh yeah, he gets the special reserved parking place, a cruise and his picture on the company website. Part of his huge success is attributed to the great support staff he has available—Tremendous Worry, Fretting, Fear, Uncertainty, Insecurity. They pitch-in to give Anxiety their all. Excellent teamwork! You have to give them credit, because this Wolf never sleeps, doesn’t spend time on Facebook, never loses his focus, and never gives up!

Like a sniper, he crouches and waits until he has you in the cross-hairs. Then he goes in for the attack. Always looking for a soft spot to grab a bite from, and he knows exactly where that spot is. It can be in a different area of our lives for each of us. Some of us carry Anxiety’s teethmarks related to our family, or financial worries, emotional problems, health issues. The list goes on.

It seems no matter how many times we try to beat Anxiey back, he never goes very far. Very patient dude. We use a lot of weapons from the arsenal society makes available, and they come in many forms: pills, therapy, hypnosis, meditation, denial, etc. I like to think of them as the “Big Sticks.” Some help, some don’t. Some make the problem worse.

So what’s the answer? I don’t have it personally but I do know Someone that does. He also never sleeps, never gives up, never gets tired of reaching out to us. However, the huge difference is that instead of trying to devour our peace, He is offering peace. His name is Jesus. In the Bible (1 Peter 5:7 ) He tells us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Notice the word “all.” Not just the huge things, but those little nagging worries also. So wad all those negative thoughts and fears into a ball and pass it over to Him. He’s got your back, and his arms are open because He cares.

When this planet is gone, and life as we know it no longer exists, there will only be peace and joy! Until then, keep fighting the good fight.