Luke 21:9Posted 05/10/22, by Dan Vis
Fear is a common emotion, something we all wrestle with at times. But as we noted last time, it comes at least partly because we lack faith. We don't fully grasp who Jesus is, and His power to resolve every problem.
This is especially true, for those living at the end of time, as described in the Bible. We're told clearly that things are going to become increasingly difficult--and many feel anxious already about the way things are going in our world. But Jesus has a message for all such:
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
This chapter parallels the passages in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, outlining a long list of endtime signs. Nations rising again nation, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and many fearful sights. Persecution, betrayal, and hatred are all foretold. And this list is hardly comprehensive. Jesus summarized these difficult and perplexing times, by saying "men's hearts" will be "failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.). Not good.
And certainly our news headlines today match this description. Hostility, polarization, angry and divisive rhetoric, and even violence--it's enough to spark fear in the heart of any thinking person, watching what is happening in our society. I see this as being particularly problematic in my own country--which prophecy foretells is going to have an outsized, negative role in endtime scenes of religious oppression. It's deeply disturbing.
But I find today's verse a comfort. "Be not terrified: for these things must ... come to pass". The very fact Jesus was predicting current events should inspire us with confidence that none of this is catching God by surprise. And the fact He says all these things have to happen suggests there is some kind of divine plan in place. That everything that is happening is happening for a reason.
Yes, God could intervene and fix all these challenges we face easily enough. But there is a purpose behind it all. God is working out a complex and sophisticated plan designed to not only save as many humans as possible, but also to fully reveal the horrible effect of sin. To see the end result of our current contamination. Where separation from God always leads. And in so doing, ensures sin never rises a second time.
And all without violating a single person's free will!
If we can but begin to grasp the kind of mind that could conceive, much less execute such a plan, we would realize God is indeed in full control. That God can guide us through whatever trials are in store for our future. That God knows just the path we need to take to do the greatest amount of service to others, and experience maximal character development our self. Yes, God has a plan!
Of course, that doesn't mean negative things won't happen, only that God will be with us through all those trials. And that He will only allow those things to touch us, which He knows He can turn to our ultimate blessing. If we just stay connected to Him, nothing can ever sever our link to eternal life.
It's a sad fact, that the media in our world is oriented to make us anxious. To agitate, and irritate, to provoke an angry response--because their revenue is directly linked to our engagement with their platform. Billions of dollars are at stake, and the most brilliant minds on the planet are hard at work to maximize the impact of these platforms upon us. However innocuous kitten videos may seem, the larger deck is stacked fully against us. Fear is the actual product they peddle.
But if we will spend our time instead focusing on the Word, delving into the mysteries of God, and His kingdom, and His sovereign plan--all our fears will fade. The everlasting Gospel will become our joy, our theme, our celebration. And there will be no room left for anxiety in our heart.
Why? Because we know "the end is not by and by". The final scenes are still to come, when the redeemed stand on the sea of Glass, worshipping the lamb that was slain. We will enter in through the gates of the city. And we will watch sin eradicated for all eternity, never to rise again. Our trials here will then seem like nothing more than a "light affliction" which "worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4:17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;). But only if we "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (II Corinthians 4:18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.).
There's a place, perhaps, for keeping ourselves informed. But as Jesus said in the preceding verses "take heed that ye be not deceived" (Luke 21:8And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.). If our sources leave us anxious and troubled, saying "the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them". They may even profess to come in the name of Christ, but that doesn't means they come in His Spirit.
The command is clear--"be not terrified". So anything that instills fear needs to be avoided.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/11/22|
|Amen! I was thinking of that verse exactly while putting this together Doug. Thanks for adding that into the discussion here!|
|Posted by Doug Schoch on 05/10/22|
|Luk 21:28 KJV And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/10/22|
|Those are great verses Joyce. Romans 8:32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? in particular has always boggled my mind. Thanks for your comment!|
|Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 05/10/22|
|I agree with all your comments and I would also like to add my amazement in the kind of God we serve who is able to coordinate everything to give each of us free will and choice. I like this verse Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? and then following Romans 8:32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?.|
|Posted by Diane Castanon on 05/10/22|
|Dan, I completely agree with your comments. We can see👀 the signs clearly, and I sense the urgency to “accelerate our efforts for souls.”|
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