The recent events in Southeast Asia have brought a sense of reality to the things we’ve been talking about here at Community Fellowship these past few months (the future Tribulation Period, Millennial Kingdom of Christ and the new heavens and new earth of the Eternal State). News reports describe the devastation from this tsunami and the resulting aid efforts as the largest and most widespread in history. Yet, with the death toll approaching 150,000 and certain to go much higher, this disaster as terrible as it is pales in comparison to events described in Revelation that will take place during the future Tribulation period.
In Revelation 9:13-21 John tells us that during the 6th Trumpet judgment as many as 150,000,000 people in Antichrist’s kingdom (yes, that’s 150 million, based on current population numbers) will be killed in a single hour! Mere words cannot begin to describe the horror and anguish of what is yet to come in this world. And, it will come. As any student of Scripture knows, the Sovereign God Who has been faithful to fulfill every promise in His plan and purpose for the earth and for mankind up to this point in time will continue to be faithful until all is accomplished.
The so-called "natural disasters" that we see in this world are all a result of what God has set in motion to bring His plan for the ages to it’s final conclusion, resulting in the promised new heavens and new earth of the eternal state. And it is precisely this fact that brings me to the point I want to make in this article. I’ll quote a rather long passage (I considered using the entire chapter, you should read it). This is II Peter 3:9-18.
"The Lord is not slow regarding the things He has promised, according to some people’s idea of slowness. Instead, He is patient; not willing that any should perish, but that all would turn to Him in repentance. But the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, after which the heavens will pass away with a thunderous crash, the material elements of the universe will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be exposed! And since all these things are now in the process of being changed, what kind of person should you be in your devotion to God and to the qualities He requires, as you wait for the coming of that great day when the heavens will be dissolved by fire and the elements will melt from the heat. But we look forward to new heavens and the new earth that He has promised, in which righteousness will always remain. And so, beloved, since you know these things are coming, be determined that when He returns you will be found by Him blameless and free from any fear that could be caused by your willful disobedience. And understand that the Lord’s patience and perceived slowness in judging the world is your opportunity to obtain His deliverance, as our brother Paul has written to you before according to the revelation he was given. He has been careful to speak of this in all of his letters. And even though there are some things in Paul’s letters that are difficult to follow, pay no attention to those ignorant and unstable people who twist and distort what he says, even as they misinterpret the rest of the Scriptures. Let me warn you therefore, beloved, that since you know these things are going to happen, be on your guard and do not be carried away by the influence of lawless and wicked people, falling away from that secure place you once had (in your obedient service). But instead, grow in spiritual strength and in your understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, both now and throughout all eternity. Amen."
There are those who still want to believe they can ignore God, live their lives the way they want and in the end God will wink at their rebellion and disobedience and all will be forgiven. They want to think that He agrees with their own silly sentiment (He loves me, so He must want what I want) or that He’s OK with their lust for and preoccupation with the things of the world. But, in the end they will find that God is governed only by His own Holiness and Righteousness. And, in the end they will find out that the God Who cannot lie actually meant what He said. I fear for them.
And, there are those who have the wisdom to recognize truth, apply it to the times in which we live and show a determination to serve God and remain faithful to Him. And for them, I’m thankful.
Now, I’m not one of those ignorant, religious nuts who predict future events to try to gather a following to support their "ministry". God has a way of making liars out of those guys. But what I am saying is that anytime you hear about events in this world that are described as the largest and most devastating in history, you should pay attention. Why? Because it is the God of the Universe Who is in charge of history. He designed it in eternity past; He guides and controls it now; and He will bring it to its promised end.
In Matthew 24 Jesus gives a running commentary on events that will happen before and during the tribulation period. In verse 7 He says, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be earthquakes and famines in many places." And I’m not saying that this earthquake signals the beginning of the tribulation period, but, on the other hand, I hardly think this is a good time to be ignoring God. As Peter makes clear in the passage I quoted above, God is now in the process of bringing to pass those things that must happen in order to fulfill all that He has promised.
Continuing in Matthew 24, verse 13 says this, "But he who endures to the end will be delivered." And so we all need to ask ourselves, am I enduring? Or, am I coasting? Am I being faithful? Or, am I one of those who have decided that being faithful requires a price I’m just not willing to pay? The time will come when people like that will wish they had been willing to pay the price, but then it will be too late.
Am I trying to manipulate you? I don’t think so. Am I trying to scare you? Absolutely! "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10).