Saturday, September 26, 2009

Changed in the twinkling of an eye

It's remarkable how people will believe anything except the truth.

People who have no time for the Bible say they have discovered from a calendar of the ancient Maya civilisation of Middle America that the world is due to end on December 21, 2012.

Television channels are talking about it, books are being written about it, websites are discussing it and Hollywood is making a film about it.

I am told by people who study such things that the Mayan calendar does not say that the world will end, but suggests that because of the position of the planets in the solar system at that time there will be terrifying repercussions down here, with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and worldwide disasters. Some are now saying that life down here will end at that time.

Now I believe in Bible prophecy. After man first sinned, for instance, the Bible said that there would come a Saviour, divine, eternal, born of a woman, in Bethlehem, from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David, at a time in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel. He would be despised and rejected of men, would die for the sins of the people, would be buried in a rich man's grave and would be resurrected. It happened. Other Bible prophecies have similarly been fulfilled.

Now does it not seem to you that if Bible prophecies that have been fulfilled have been fulfilled in such exact detail, then Bible prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled will be fulfilled in the same way?

There is one event prophesied in the Bible in greater detail perhaps than any other. (Whole chapters are devoted to it.) The Bible says that Jesus will come to earth a second time, not at the end of the world but at the end of this age, to deal with all those living who have not repented of their sins, to set up His earthly kingdom and to reign and rule, not just as King of the Jews, but as King of kings and Lord of lords.

We are not to set dates for His coming, but we are given signs of the time of His coming. There will be earthquakes, famines, wars and rumours of wars (Matt 24:6, 7). There will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars, with men's hearts failing them for fear (Luke 21:25, 26). There is no reason to suppose this is countless years away.

The apostle writes in 2 Tim 3:1 - 5: "In the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power."

What period of time does that remind you of?

Now there is one thing that is to happen before Christ returns with His saints and His feet stand again on the Mount of Olives (He will return, the Bible says, to Jerusalem). He will take all those who belong to Him to be with Him.

This is described in 1 Cor 15:51, 52: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." We are told to be ready for that day.

It is described again in 1 Thess 4:13 - 18:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you should sorrow as others who have no hope.

If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.

My favourite bit there is the last part of verse 17: "And thus we shall always be with the Lord."

What a prospect!