The ‘Jetsons’ Was Fiction??
Vol: 154 Issue: 25 Friday, July 25, 2014
When I was a kid, the 21st century loomed large as a bright and shiny future world where wars would be abolished, the world would all be one big happy family, and we’d all talk on videophones and drive to work in flying cars.
I anticipated it being a lot like it was pictured on “The Jetsons” — and in some ways, it is. Jane Jetson would dial in a number and food would pop out seconds later, hot, already on plates and ready to eat.
In my world, Gayle dials a number and a guy shows up twenty minutes later with a (cold) pizza or some (cold) Chinese food. Then she puts it in a little box on the counter, dials a number, and a few seconds later, its hot and ready to eat.
Alternatively, she can take a five-course meal from the freezer to the microwave to the table, (hot and already on plates) in under ten minutes — and all without breaking a nail.
I was pretty disappointed about the flying cars, at first. A lifetime of freeway travel cured me of any lingering disappointment, however. We’re still not that good at driving in two dimensions. We could build ’em, but we still haven’t solved the whole gravity problem. And what goes up, must come down.
As for videophones, it sounded like a great idea, and it looked cool on the Jetsons. But who wants to have to get dressed up to talk on the phone?
That was my view of the future from my vantage point on the timeline, circa 1962 or so. The future would be peaceful, productive and pleasant. I was only looking ahead half a lifetime, but I couldn’t have been more spectacularly wrong.
Not only are there no flying cars, there is no peace.
In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, and with it, the Cold War. It looked like peace was about to break out all over. The West no longer had to spend billions each year to maintain the arms race with the Soviets. The question of the decade became, “What should we do with the peace dividend?”
Turns out that the answer was, “Buy more guns,” but we didn’t find that out until after we spent all the money.
The big story on New Year’s Day, 2001, wasn’t peace on earth, good will toward men. The 21st century opened with the arrest of Ahmed Ressam, nicknamed, “The Millennium Bomber” who was part of a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.
The September 11 attacks sparked, (depending on whom you ask) either the war on terror, or a new world war.
In addition to the assymetrical war being waged by the terrorists on every continent, there are major civil, regional and national conflicts raging across the globe.
Places like Afghanistan, Algeria, the Central African Republic, Eygpt, Burma, Colombia, the Congo, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Georgia, Kashmir, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.
In addition to ‘major’ conflicts (those involving more than one nation or in which more than 1000 people have lost their lives), there are minor conflicts (defined as those confined to one or two nations, but with little potential of spreading to neighboring states).
Among them, Angola, the Bougainville War of Independence, Bangladesh, Chad, Indonesia, West Papua, New Guinea, Iran, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, the Kurdish separatist movements in Iraq, Turkey and Iran, Namibia, Niger, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and the list is growing.
There are dozens of other factional conflicts taking place that either aren’t big enough to make the list, or are taking place in countries already on the list for some other conflict or war.
“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)
Notice a number of things about this verse before we move on. First, it gives us a geographic perspective to work from. Jesus is describing events as they would be seen from the perspective of Israel.
Secondly, His questioners were not Christians, they were Jews. The Church was not born until Pentecost.
Third, they wanted to know ‘when’ and fourth, they wanted to know ‘what’.
And, finally, notice that the question does not deal with the Rapture, which is the conclusion of the Church age, but rather, with the 2nd Coming and the end of the world under human government.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)
He is addressing the Jews of Israel, from the perspective of Israel. Israel has fought five bloody wars of survival, and has been under constant threat of war since she first raised her flag on May 14, 1948.
The very existence of Israel qualifies as a ‘rumor of war’. But then Jesus expands the picture beyond Israel’s borders:
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7)
The word ‘nation’ in Matthew 24:7 is the Greek word, ‘ethnos’ meaning, ‘race, tribe or ethnicity.’ Algeria, the Basques, Burma, Burundi, Congo, India, Iraq, Georgia, Liberia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Uganda are ethnic wars.
The word ‘kingdom’ is the Greek ‘baselia’ meaning either “kingdom” or “empire”. Those wars on the list that aren’t ethnic conflicts are either religious or they are international.
Russia’s invasion of Georgia is empire driven. America’s invasion of Iraq could also be portrayed as empire building (only we call it ‘nation’ building) But there are two kinds of empires; political empires, and religious empires.
The word ’emirate’ means ’empire’ and ’emir’ is the equivalent to emperor. So too, does the Islamic caliphate. A ‘Caliphate’ is an Islamic empire — the last Islamic caliphate was the Ottoman Empire.
Jesus went on to say, “All these are the beginnings of sorrows.” “Sorrow” is a euphemism for the labor associated with childbirth. (Genesis 3:16 – “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. . .”)
So the ‘beginnings of sorrows’ suggest that, once begun, the ‘sorrows’ will increase in frequency and intensity as the time of deliverance approaches.
Wars have always been part of the human condition, that’s true. But remember that Jesus said that the Jews of Israel would hear of them from the Mount of Olives.
From AD 70 through 1948, there was no Israel, no Jews on the Mount of Olives, and no international media. But to the fig-tree generation living in the 21st century, any war is headline news.
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:32-34)
The generation that ‘shall not pass’? It turned sixty-six years old on May 14, 2014.
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