Most of us prefer beginnings to endings - the starting of a new chapter, the first day of your holiday or the birth of a child. And yet, we all know these things will end because our experience of life is linear. Scientists suggest that the world began with the ‘big bang’ and many fear that it will end with a big bang either from an asteroid or a nuclear one of our own making. The world will not end because of over population, disease, wars or even global warming. These may well be accompanying signs as you can read in the book that is all about beginnings and endings, the Bible which is God’s Word to us. The picture has a clue which some will recognise. What you see there is a Tide Clock which links the time with the moon and the tide. Whilst we understand much about day and night, the gravitational pull of the moon in its different phases and the movement of the tide, there is much we just don’t know. We don’t know exactly how or why it all started. Many do not accept that there was a ‘Who’ behind it but the Bible fills in the gaps if people care to read and seek to understand. There came a time when God entered our story as a human in the person of his son. That son, the Lord Jesus Christ, knows the story line and holds it all together, for he is The Alpha and The Omega.
- ‘Time and tide wait for no man’ - Geoffrey Chaucer
- ‘If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair’ - C S Lewis
- ‘God knows when the end of time will come, not some fanatic ... The world will end someday, but the end of the world and the end of time are two different things’ - Dolly Parton
As you look at most of the major world problems, the cause usually comes back to humankind - our desire for more, our neglect of the environment, our intolerance, our unwillingness to share and so on. The consequences of these and the behaviour that comes with them have led to extinction of plants and animals, inequality, discrimination and untold losses, leading to the formation of worthy charities and action groups. Yet, we seem powerless to make any significant difference to our current major concern of global warming so forest fires and extreme weather conditions are more frequent with all the knock-on effects. The world is heating up. We can see logical reasons for this with our untameable appetite for fossil fuels and ever-growing carbon footprint. We cannot blame others for the fires we ourselves are stoking so is it not time for us to confront the moral and spiritual dimension? What does the One who is man and God say?
- ‘As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” - Matthew 24:3-8
So what do you make of that? Some people prefer to consult the likes of Nostradamus (who is dead!), fortune-tellers (who are after your money!) and politicians (who are after your vote!). Wouldn’t you agree that the words of Jesus sound remarkably accurate? The warnings gets even more profound:
- ‘“There will be strange things happening to the sun, the moon, and the stars. On earth whole countries will be in despair, afraid of the roar of the sea and the raging tides. People will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming over the whole earth, for the powers in space will be driven from their courses. Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near”’ - Luke 21:25-28
- ‘”And the Good News I have shared about God’s kingdom will be told throughout the world. It will be spread to every nation. Then the end will come”’ - Matthew 24:14
- ‘But when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a raging inferno, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment’ - 2 Peter 3:10
- ‘“Learn what the fig-tree can teach you. As soon as its branches grow full of sap and produce leaves you know that summer is near. So when you see all these things happening you may know that he is near, at your very door! Believe me, this generation will not disappear till all this has taken place. Earth and sky will pass away, but my words will never pass away! But about that actual day and time no one knows—not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, only the Father”’ - Matthew 24:32-36
Revelation is the last book of the Bible and it speaks of fires towards the end times. Before the final day of judgement when the heavens and earth are made new, a third of the earth is burned up, a third of the trees and all the green grass (Revelation 8:7). It is hard to tell exactly when the tide turns, but it becomes clear with the passing of time. Jesus has given us a head’s up that these are the ‘latter days’ as we move toward the high tide of human history. Perhaps global warming is a global warning giving time to take heed and prepare.
TAGS – desolation, eternal, hell, righteous, punishment, separation