by David A. Reed COMPLETE BOOK ONLINE
Are You Ready?
So, does all of this mean that you should quit your job, stop mowing your front lawn, and spend your time parading downtown carrying a poster that proclaims, "The End Is Near!"?
No, but it may call for some less severe adjustments on your part.
Is there some unfinished business between you and God? Have you been putting it off until after you have finished raising the children? Or, have you been delaying until after your new business endeavor has gotten up and running and becomes firmly established? Or, have you been waiting until your busy career winds down and retirement gives you more time to spend in the Scriptures and in prayer?
If so, then the things discussed in this book should make you reconsider your priorities. There may not be time to leave God until later. Instead of leaving God waiting in the wings, you may need to re-order your life's interests so as to move your relationship with God to center stage.
Are you still unconvinced that God exists as the Creator of the universe and the divine Author of the human genetic code? But, does the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution leave you unsatisfied because it fails to explain how complex structures with interdependent parts could spring into existence by accident? And are you left wondering how living creatures come complete with genetic blueprints if there was no intelligent designer to write those complete instructions for designing and building them? Have you been leaving a complete investigation of the issues involved until some future time? Hopefully this book will motivate you to take the time now. Dig into the books referenced in our earlier chapter on the subject, and find other resources to aid in your quest for an answer. But, don't leave the question hanging.
People will react differently to the urgency of the times. Some will value the answers to these questions, and some won't. Some will be diligent in their investigation, and some will not. Jesus put it this way in the parable of the sower or planter of seed:
"Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matt. 13:3-9 KJV)
What did Jesus mean by this parable? He explains it himself, and the explanation makes clear that it applies to people and how they respond to his message:
"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." -- Matthew 13:18-23 KJV
Some will treasure their relationship with God and will do whatever it takes to gain or repair that relationship. Jesus further explained it this way:
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-46 KJV)
Is your appreciation on a level with that of the man who found the treasure or the merchant who found the pearl? You don't have to become a theologian, in order to please God. He is not looking for intellectuals. Jesus exclaimed, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." (Matthew 11:25)
Similarly, the Apostle Paul wrote:
"Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from Godthat is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'" (1 Corinthians 1:17-31 KJV)
Many events related to the Middle East and the situation in Jerusalem will have transpired after the writing of this book. It is impossible for a book to be as up to date as the daily newspaper or the news service web sites that are updated hourly or even more frequently. And things do happen fast in times of conflict. But Bible prophecy was written thousands of years in advance, and is completely accurate because it was written by the One "who from the very beginning foretold the future." (Isaiah 44:7 Jerusalem Bible)
Some events may appear to be pushing things in the direction of fulfillment of Bible prophecy regarding Jerusalem and regarding the return of Christ. Other events may make things seem as a different course will take place. Those who adhere to the Bible and keep their trust in God will be helped by his Holy Spirit to see beyond the confusion of apparently contradictory events. They will be able to see the true import of what is happening.
Political hopes for peace in the Middle East swing from optimistic to pessimistic and back again as fast as the ever changing events unfold on a daily basis. One week things seem to be heading in this direction, and the next week they seem to be heading in the opposite direction. But the consistent fulfillment of Bible prophecy down through history gives us confidence that events will finally move in the in the direction foretold in Scripture. And the observable events in the Middle East during the past hundred years reinforce that belief. The Balfour Declaration set the stage for the return of the Jews to the Promised Land. The restoration of the state of Israel in 1948 fulfilled prophecy and prepared the way for the final fulfillment.
A series of United Nations resolutions since 1947 declaring that Jerusalem must be an international city governed by the U.N. and under United Nations control set the stage for concerted action by all the nations against the state of Israel. And the growing power and authority of the United Nations as a loosely organized the world government with an ever more active military arm during recent decades provides a final element needed to see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah, chapter twelve.
Following the radical Islamic terrorist attack against America on September 11, 2001, the status of Jerusalem is no longer merely a matter of local concern to the nations of the Middle East. Jerusalem has become a problem for the whole world, and all the nations are maneuvering to enforce their solution.
Jerusalem has become "a heavy stone burdening the world," as the ancient Hebrew prophet wrote, and "all the nations of the earth unite in an attempt" to impose their solution. (Zechariah 12:3 The Living Bible Catholic edition)
Meanwhile, the world around us has fallen in into the condition of the world that provoked the flood of Noah's day, the world that provoked divine intervention at the tower of Babel, and the world that brought down fire and brimstone from Heaven in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The days, months, and years ahead will see the return of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, the sudden rapture of his Church the body of Christian believers to join him in Heaven, and then God's final war, the battle of Armageddon.
Although the Bible contains all the details, we may not be able to puzzle them all out ahead of time. Yet, we can discern enough to trust that God knows exactly what will happen, and that he has declared what the final outcome will prove to be. Our job is to trust and obey.
By putting faith in God and his Messiah, we can face the frightening days ahead with joy and gladness instead of fear and terror. Although we may, again, see "Jerusalem surrounded by armies," we can be sure that "the heathen will trample over Jerusalem" only "until their time is up." (Luke 21:20-24 TEV)
Jesus said, "When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand!" (Luke 21:28 Jerusalem Bible)