The butterfly effect in ‘chaos theory’ sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. It speaks of a nonlinear system that is affected by minor changes in its equilibrium. A slight alteration in initial conditions, at one point, can potentially trigger a major difference to a projected outcome in another place (possibly with catastrophic consequences). The theory goes on to suggest that a distant butterfly (in a remote place) can influence the formation of a hurricane (half way around the world) by simply flapping its wings. Though it may not cause the storm, it potentially impacts on the trajectory. My aim is hardly to discuss scientific hypothesis nor yet science fiction. I was fascinated by the concept and noted a striking correlation to Christian experience. It is hard to imagine how the prayer of one man in a certain area would impact someone else in a different geographic location, until you read about Elijah (Jehovah is my God) the Tishbite or Moses son of Amram (“Friend of the Most High”) and Jochebed ("Yahweh is glory"). The Scriptures declare: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It is plain to see that the effect of the entreaty is dependent on the fervency and the relationship of the supplicant to God. Because people today are generally dismissive of matters of faith and miracles, they have decided that the Bible is not to be taken literally. For their lack of faith, they cannot conceive of how an invisible supreme deity would interpose to suspend natural laws. The result has been the weakening of the spiritual faculties and a diminished prayer life. Very few, even among believers, would dare challenge the norm or limits imposed by those unacquainted with the power of God.
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
The Scriptures do not reveal much in the way of Elijah’s background. He is this maverick seer who quite literally seems to appear out of nowhere. Howbeit, his ministry was endowed with so much power. His successor Elisha (“My God is Salvation”); the son of Shaphat, also turned out to be one of the greatest, as he got a double portion of the spirit that was in Elijah. All three had a remarkable relationship with Jehovah. (I wonder what would have become of Gehazi had he proved faithful to the end.) The word prayer first appears in the book of Genesis, thus demonstrating that there is a long tradition of devotion to the Most High. Abraham is a very typical example of a devout man who understood “the secret of the LORD” Psalm 25:14. As was his habit, he erected an altar to God upon arriving in a new place. Being a pilgrim and sojourner in the earth, he surely left his mark whithersoever he went. It was his way of making a statement before heaven and earth that he was wholly committed to His Maker. The divinely inspired record is replete with examples of men and women who took YHWH at His Word and ended up being recipients of the approval of heaven. These results can be replicated by those who comprehend the ‘science of salvation’. The same wonder-working power is still available to the faithful in the post-modern world. All we need is faith, the size of a ‘mustard seed’ and the right attitude. That’s all!
There is a ‘sensitive dependence’ in our physical, nonlinear reality that is affected by the slightest deviation from the ‘initial conditions’. This is a principle, which if properly understood and applied, nothing shall be unfeasible and even the most stubborn mountain shall move. It can only happen when we refuse to be hemmed-in by linear thought and self-limiting opinions of naysayers – men devoid of the Spirit of God. Heavenly agencies are searching for earthen vessels that are consecrated, for the sublime manifestation of the glory of God, which has been hidden for nearly two millennia. We are living at a climactic time in the history of human civilisation. Prophets and wise men desired to have insight into the present age, but were told “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Scripture promises Elijah shall return to “prepare the way of the LORD.” As verily as it was fulfilled at the first Advent, it shall come to pass once again. “Jesus replied, ‘To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.” The ‘two olive trees’ shall carry out (and indeed have already done so) the work appointed them; in full view of the sons of men, from every people, tribe, language and nation. They are God’s faithful witnesses. This prophecy has already found partial fulfilment but now at the close of the age (before the sounding of the seventh trumpet) it shall speak again.
“If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.” Revelation 11:5-6
It seems that the two witnesses combine the ministry and anointing of Moses and Elijah as evidenced by the signs they are empowered to perform. The two prophets have appeared together once before (whether in body or in spirit) and were seen by the three disciples (Peter, James and John). Everything that happened back then is impossible to grasp from a limited-world view. Here is where we must break with the traditions of men and accept the inconceivable. It just doesn’t line up with what we’ve been taught in the science class. That is the challenge that we have before us today, whether to believe the Scriptures or the specious theories of men. If you believe in the power of prayer then you must also believe in Sinai and the Decalogue, the showdown at Carmel and the miraculous meeting on the mount of Transfiguration. Notably, Jesus shares with Moses and Elijah the experience of going for forty-days and forty-nights without eating or drinking. The Bible is silent on the content of the discourse, between the Saviour and the two messengers. Some expositors have proposed that they were sent to strengthen Christ, because of the suffering He was to go through. It would seem plausible, as the weight of the destiny of the human race rested squarely on the shoulders of the Son of Man. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God was the single most important act in all of history, since the dawn of time. The past, present and future was anchored on the outcome of the crucifixion. Everything was at stake. In spite of all, his disciples slept and not one was found to pray with the Messiah in his darkest hour. The two candlesticks represent the Law and the testimony. “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the LORD of the whole earth.”
“For verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
The Son of God who performed more miracles than any of the prophets said this to His disciples after they privately enquired of Him, why they could not cast out the demon. There shall soon be a distinction between those who serve Yahweh and those who don’t, when the battle lines are drawn. Everyone will have to make a choice. There is no refuge in the valley of decision. It’s either the left or the right. There is no middle ground. The call to prayer has gone out. Are you willing to beseech the LORD for twenty-one days? Are you ready to pray for forty-days and forty-nights? I tell you the truth; the waters shall once more be turned into blood and palpable darkness shall cover the seat of the beast – that great city Babylon, which sitteth upon seven hills. “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” Pray therefore without ceasing, that you might be counted worthy to stand before the LORD of the whole earth, for great is His indignation.
“Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”
The Holy Scriptures (www.biblegateway.com)
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