JUST LIKE THE TIME OF NOAH
"'The time of the Son of Man will be just like the time of Noah -- everyone carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ship. They suspected nothing until the flood hit and swept everything away.
"It was the same in the time of Lot -- the people carrying on, having a good time, business as usual right up to the day Lot walked out of Sodom and a firestorm swept down and burned everything to a crisp. That's how it will be -- sudden, total -- when the Son of Man is revealed.'" Luke 17:26-30 (The Message).
People have a morbid fascination with the end of the world. Nostradamus predicted it would happen on 21/12/2012. Movies and TV programmes present the event as exciting forms of entertainment. Prophecy teachers go to great lengths, with charts and PowerPoint presentations, to explain its sequence and to paint vivid word pictures of antichrists, Armageddon battles and the gloom and terror of seven years of tribulation under a terrible world dictator. Writers make a fortune from the royalties garnered from their "Left Behind" books.
These may all be good for box office takings and royalties but are they true to the words of Jesus and the drift of Scripture?
First of all, in spite of the general fascination with the idea, somehow there is a strong resistance to the sober warning of Jesus. There is no doubt that it will happen and He does not leave us in the dark about what to do about it. And yet the majority of people still ignore what He has to say and create their own version.
Books and movies tell is it will happen but they don't tell us what to do. Run for cover? Won't work! Stockpile provisions and live underground? Won't work either! Evacuate the planet? Good idea but highly impractical! Create a new version that has nothing to do with how we respond to our Creator? Won't change the truth!
There is only one sensible thing to do -- take what Jesus said seriously, and why not? After all, everything else He predicted was accurate; for instance, His death and resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the destruction of Jerusalem, so why not trust what He said about His return?
Secondly, just what did He say? He said it would happen so suddenly and so quickly that there would be no time to react. People would be unsuspecting, getting on with their lives and taking no notice of His warnings and the warning signs He predicted. Like a flash of lightning He would come; no time to bargain, no time to make good on empty promises made in a moment of crisis.
Jesus' counsel was to be ready long before that moment. How? By embracing the life He offers through faith in His sacrifice to forgive sin, and entrusting ourselves to Him as our God for the rest of our days. That's the beginning but it will issue in changes that give evidence of a changed heart -- selfishness gives way to generosity of attitude and action, a new purpose and a new destiny, living a life of fruitfulness instead of futility.
When Jesus returns, He will destroy everything that stands in opposition to Him and His purposes. Every worthless thing will be consumed, including everything that is not in perfect harmony with who He is -- all sin, evil, pain, sickness, sorrow and death -- and all those who refuse to submit to His authority. He cannot do otherwise to be true to Himself. He must give to every person what they chose when they had the opportunity, and the consequences of their choices.
This is not revenge-- this is justice. On earth humans can manipulate justice but not in God's economy because He cannot deny Himself.
If we think that following Jesus will make us losers, we need to re-evaluate. Yes, we are losers, but what do we lose? We lose all our sin with its guilt, shame and fear and gain the peace of God; we lose our insecurities and our fear of death and gain the assurance of eternal life; we lose our helplessness and hopelessness, our meaningless and purposeless existence and gain the guiding hand of a loving Father; we lose our orphan status -- we are now sons and daughters of the living God; we lose our slavery to the devil and gain a new Master who loves us passionately; we lose our destiny on the trash heap of worthlessness and gain eternal life with God.
Isn't it worth it to make sure now?
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