Bible Prophecy: A Singing Telegram?
Vol: 112 Issue: 29 Saturday, January 29, 2011
According to the online dictionary, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.
According to the Mayo Clinic PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, upsetting dreams, emotional numbness, a sense of hopelessness, memory problems, irritability, self-destructive behavior (drinking, drug abuse) trouble sleeping and concentration, hallucinations, etc.
PTSD is fairly common among combat veterans and those with dangerous, high-stress jobs like police and firefighters, victims of violent crime, and sometimes eyewitnesses to violent or stressful events.
Summarized in layman’s terms, PTSD is what happens when you’ve seen too much. Too much death. Too much mayhem. Too much chaos. Too much terror. Or sometimes, by knowing too much.
One can be traumatized by knowledge; it happens all the time. What is more traumatic than acquiring the knowledge that one has a terminal disease and six months to get one’s affairs in order?
The movie, “Asteroid” was all about the trauma experienced by a core group of scientists, politicians and other officials with knowledge of an approaching killer asteroid.
Should they inform the general public when there was no hope? What would it mean? Would civilization break down into chaos and lawlessness?
Knowledge is power. Not all power is good. It depends on who has it and what they use it for. In the 21st century, we even have a term to describe the effects of too much knowledge – information overload.
Think of it like electrical power. Electrical outlets are grounded to prevent too much power from burning up the lines or frying whatever is plugged into them.
Too much information with insufficient grounding can burn out a person as efficiently as a bad ground wire can fry a computer or a TV.
I get emails all the time from people that say they subscribe to the OL because they just can’t bear to watch TV anymore. They want to be in the know – but only on a need to know basis.
If I don’t need to know, I don’t want to know. I like it here inside my bubble.
For many Christians, Bible prophecy is like that. Sometimes, it is just too much information. If viewed from the perspective of the here & now, there isn’t much about it that is good news.
During a meeting the other day, somebody suggested trying to take a lighter tone. It sounds like a great idea, except that Egypt is currently descending into chaos as Cairo goes up in flames.
On the lighter side. . . ummm, er, well . . . (you see what I mean?)
How does one discuss the end of the world in a light and breezy manner, anyway? Singing telegram?
Dum, dum da dum, da dum. . . Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth . . . for the devil is come down to you, knowing he hath but a short time. . . da, dum.
(Maybe an accompanying dance routine?)
Bible prophecy is a wonderful witnessing tool for the unsaved. Most unbelievers are agnostic – they don’t rule out the existence of God, but they have their doubts.
Witnessing the unfolding of Bible prophecy before one’s eyes is powerful evidence that God is real. If God is real, then Satan is real.
Suddenly, the choices become crystal clear. On one side is salvation, heaven, and possibly the Rapture. On the other side is damnation, hell, with the probability of the Tribulation first.
But for Christians happy inside their bubble, Bible prophecy is an information invasion. They are saved but they don’t really want to know that the Lord is coming soon.
What does a person do with that kind of information? What do you tell your kids or your grandkids? (I recall my own kids hoping the Lord would wait until they learned to drive.)
Bible prophecy isn’t for everyone. For some, it is just too scary to even contemplate. For others, it is a kind of ‘gee-whiz’ trivia game in which every single happening is somehow connected to Bible prophecy.
For others, it is evidence that the Lord God is not just real, but that He is alive and deeply engaged in human affairs.
The chaos of the Middle East, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, Russia’s role as Iran’s patron, the climate change debate, global politics, America’s political decline, all these things are part of the Big Picture.
What that means is that what looks like uncontrolled chaos is really part of a larger, pre-ordained Divine Plan, already outlined in advance, like the program of a play.
Events up until now have followed that Divine Plan to the letter, which means that we can have confidence that all things will continue to play out as predicted.
God remains on the Throne and you can trust His Word. We will have earthquakes and famines and wars, (oh my!) together with rumors of wars, pestilential disease, ethnic unrest and strange celestial happenings.
But instead of being harbingers of doom, to us they are signs of redemption. It is not cause for fear, but rather grounds for eager anticipation.
The same Jesus that warned of war and tribulation and judgment also told the Church:
“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
How do we know He isn’t referring to His Second Coming in this passage?
When He is ready, He will come for us — and bring us to where He is – in his Father’s House.
Where is the Father’s House? That is where Jesus is preparing a place for us. It is where He is and where we will join Him.
Contrast that with the Second Coming, Jesus brings judgment on the earth, after which He sets up His Millennial Kingdom. Notice He is not in His Father’s House, containing many mansions, but returning in power and great glory.
He reigns during the Millennial Kingdom on earth from Jerusalem. So He can’t be referring to taking the Church to His Father’s House — in Jerusalem. But that’s where He will be at the Second Coming. In Jerusalem.
Right now, He is still preparing our place in Heaven. And when it is ready, He will come for us, and receive us unto Himself.
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
At the Rapture, the Lord descends, the Church rises, the Tribulation falls and the Church dwells with the Lord forever.
At the 2nd Coming, the Lord descends, the rebellion is crushed, the Jews are redeemed, the Messiah is anointed and He rules from Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
On the earth, gloom and doom and destruction and judgment on a Christ-rejecting world. But for the Church, it’s a singing telegram.
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)
Dum, de, dum dum dum dum.