♣ Calm Amidst Events of Alarm

“And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed…” – Matthew 24:6

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” – Luke 21:28

Many eschatologists (end-time doctrine), contrary to the Scriptures, are geared to evoke fear and panic rather than hope and encouragement in believers. An overemphasis centres around an interpretation of the great tribulation period, avidly warning everyone to ‘prepare’ for hard times about to embark upon us.

Any end time theory – however plausible it may sound – that sidetracks from the glorious and majestic return of the Lord Jesus Christ, is devilish in nature. Evil is not necessarily overtly corrupt externally – that is the obvious which the devil himself is all too willing to proliferate, keeping many naïvely minded; the essence of satanic activity is often drenched in a guise of godliness, and it takes nothing less than the power and wisdom of God to discern, disclose and disarm his works.

How much bitter dissension and division is sewn in the body of Christ. Satan failed in his scheme to deter Christ from the cross; his present stratagem is producing tares within the Church, disrupting the unity of the Holy Spirit, Who prepares the Bride of Christ for His return – and there is no better way than to create confusion and disunion over the nature of our Lord’s Second Coming. Sourness, among believers, continues to ferment that results in dissolution of fellowship and association; arrogance over who’s right and wrong resembles children in a playground rather than soldiers on a battleground.

In the New Testament, the apostles never hinged on the details of Christ’s return; they exhorted persecuted believers to prepare and expect the coming glory of the King of kings, the Heavenly City to come. How different we are today, speculating this and speculating that, but no fruit of the joy, hope and peace of the Holy Spirit is being produced in our midst; we focus on the details while failing to see the bigger picture. Be ready for His return, Scripture exhorts – not whose view is right.

‘Preparing’ for hard times ahead will never keep you but only absolute loyalty to Jesus Christ – a complete focus on Him, where the realisation of Him keeping you is the one abiding reality. That’s not to say that we are never to be mindful of the events we find ourselves in; Scripture never encourages ignorance, but it certainly brings our focus back in line – of Whom we are to look to and trust completely. Of course, Christ spoke of wars and rumours of wars, famines, earthquakes and persecution – but never to invoke dread and anxiety. He looked facts in the face and so are we to, but through His eyes alone; “See that you are not alarmed…” “See that you do not give way to panic…do not be troubled and weighed down with care” – even in the midst of nations clashing and falling apart?! Absolutely! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).

On one occasion, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, when preaching at London’s Westminster Chapel during the 2nd World War bombings, calmly suggested to his congregants that they move under the balcony if they would ‘feel’ more safe. Lloyd-Jones, persuaded of God’s protection, confidently commenced preaching while buildings in the nearby vicinity were rased to the ground! That chapel, unscathed, remains standing today. If any of you are aware of the London Bombings, that should adequately give an idea of the severity of such events. Many members spoke of those years as being the best at Westminster Chapel as the main meetings and after-fellowship gatherings were rich with the felt presence of God.

Oswald Chambers as chaplain, amidst 1st World War troops, displayed no panic; his trust was in the Lord despite the world’s first greatest global uncertainty. To say that everyone’s lives were radically upset and changed is an understatement. Chambers read the horror in the soldiers demeanours, who were about to be deployed across the world, expecting their life duration to be suddenly cut short. Many chaplains, stationed in Cairo, Egypt, were given no time of day, especially as many civilians had abandoned their faith; many soldiers saw through their shallowness and lack of genuineness, but with Oswald, many were drawn unto him as his life exhibited the life of a saint intact with God; it wasn’t himself that was the attraction, but rather, others saw God to be real in and through His life; there was a Presence with him that inevitably drew others to hear what he had to say, and what he spoke eternally impacted the lives of thousands.

Are our hearts, amidst all the rumours of war and all the nations colliding and collapsing, calm in God? Are we resting in the Great I AM, despite an uncertain future that lies ahead in this world? That is where Scripture always points, not to some fancy end-time theory with all the clever chronological charts. Do such theories give rest to our hearts? They may excite, and strengthen our viewpoints, but they won’t instil a confidence in God Romans 8 speaks of: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us.” Many talk of avoiding tribulation and persecution through the rapture. Has not various epochs of the Church known great persecution? Think of the periods at the dawn of the Church age, how Christians were persecuted and put to horrific deaths for entertainment and sport. In those days there was no playing church; you were either a Christian or not. These were the believers Paul was writing to, declaring that in and through all these grieving times, “…we are more than conquerors in all these things…” There’s the note and sound of victory that we have no clue or inclination about today; prayer is removed from school and Bibles are removed from the public – and down we go! Shame on us when compared to the situation in Acts 8:1-4: “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word…and proclaimed to them the Christ.” If such were to take place in our day and age in America, we’d either feel sorry for ourselves, shoot to kill (not to disarm) people for trespassing our property or hire lawyers to sue such offenders for causing us distress! Oh how we justify and Christianise our actions and then wonder why the world is indifferent to us; we neither enrage or enthral the world with the gospel message because we don’t know the power of it!

God doesn’t care whether we’re a-millennialist, pre-millennialist or post-millennialist, and neither does our salvation depend on what eschatological position we claim to be right, yet many insinuate that; what matters more than anything to God is that we are prepared for His coming, proclaiming His name, that we are being purified and fashioned to the image of the coming Bridegroom; are we yearning for His appearing, for our eyes to behold the wonder of His glory and majesty – to behold with naked eye? Do we meditate on these truths and by doing so, do ‘the things of this earth grow strangely dim’?

Many end-time theorists resemble the Jewish religious leaders who failed to recognise their Messiah – God veiled in flesh – in their very midst; many today are looking in the wrong direction and with wrong motives and unprepared hearts instead of living in the light of His coming – looking alone to Him.

As believers we ought not to argue how prophecies are going to be fulfilled; many have done so in the past and proven to be terribly wrong – and yet we do not learn but repeat the same mistakes. We ought rather to exhort one another and say: Maranatha!

Posted on July 17, 2012, in ♣ Devotional and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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