“When they say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. “(1 Thessalonians 5:3-4).
Today the world is in such turmoil that people ask, “Are we seeing the end of history?, Could we face a nuclear holocaust? Does the world is out of control?
Even today some world leaders are talking with fear. Some say “We are witnessing the death of diplomacy.” Negotiations with countries in conflict have failed, and disgruntled dictators have ignored warnings from the United Nations.
We could be facing one of the most terrible truths, namely that tensions between nations can not be resolved over.
Indications are that there will be more diplomatic resolutions. Even America has sent strong statements and warnings that seem to reach deaf ears. For example, the United States has pledged to defend Japan if North Korea attacked this nation. Our leaders have threatened to use “the full force and power of the United States to retaliate.” This could mean a nuclear annihilation of North Korea.
Now we understand what Jesus meant when he warned: “There will be upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken “(Luke 21:25-26).
When Jesus gave this warning said: “Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory, when these things begin to happen then look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:27 – 28).
I am convinced that all these terrifying situations we see today happening in this land – hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, drastic climate changes, terrorism, nuclear threats, wars, rumors of war – it all has to do with the coming of Christ. Beyond the “war clouds” that are forming beyond the darkness that is covering the earth, there is a “cloud” that is forming in the sky. And one day soon, Christ will along with the “cloud” and reveal himself to the world. “When you see these things happening, know that it is near the kingdom of God.” (Luke 21:31).
The first church asked the apostle Paul to write more about the coming times. In Paul’s time, Christians sensed about the destruction of Jerusalem. Hence wanted to know more about prophetic events. They were afraid of the harshness of the invading armies, multitudes who took captives into slavery. This resulted in believers who think that the decadent times were coming. Then Paul asked him about what was to come: “Teach us about how to understand the times ahead.”
These are the signs of the coming of the Lord Jesus to lift his people.
Paul responded with these words full of firmness, “But of the times and the seasons, you do not need, brothers, that I write unto you” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Paul told them that this would happen when Christ returns: “For the Lord himself with a shout with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we who are alive, who alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words “(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Paul’s exhortation to them was intended to motivate. In essence he said, “No need to be frighten you about events to take place to earth. No need to worry about these fearful signs and calamities. You know what it is. They are signs of the coming of the Lord Jesus to gather and to take his people.
The truth is that history has a direction.
We can be certain that the series of events that are consistent trigger to God’s purpose. No matter how evil and lack of faith in humanity might exist, the world is not going to drift, the Lord has not forsaken the earth. Rather, God simply has control of the pace of events. What we see today is a change in the direction of events, which are geared toward an upcoming “divine event”: the recreation of a new heaven and a new earth where Christ will reign supremely for all eternity.
The ancient Stoics believed that the world was going through times of restructuring. In their minds, the end of each period the world was destroyed by a great conflagration. Then the world was restored to the likeness of its inception, and everything started again. In other words, history repeated itself over and over again. The same stars were traveling the same orbits, the same people lived again, with same friends, concerns, and experiences. Not everything was restored only once but for perpetuity. Humans were tied to a path from which they could not escape.
The words of the Apostle Peter oppose this way of thinking. Peter tells us that according to the promises of God, that Christians await “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Added to this, he says that if we believe in the Word of God, then we know that history is heading toward the day of the Lord’s coming, when “the heavens on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements, being burned, will melt. ” (2 Peter 3:12).
“But the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be dissolved, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Since all these things shall be dissolved, what ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God “(2 Peter 3:10-12).
Here Peter tells us that we can expect a new heaven and a new earth and we should be expectant to these things.
When Jesus said, “When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your head” (Luke 21:28), refers to the place where we keep our focus.
As followers of Christ our focus should not be on daily news reports. We should not send us to the fields of wars and rumors of wars, nor to the possibility of a nuclear accident, or the things that are to happen on earth.
This means that God’s people should not be afraid of Islam or any other “ism”. Today Jihad Muslims claim to have received a word about their great Imam wanting to appear. But according to them, he told them that this will not happen until the world is in total chaos. This explains why many ayatollahs and mullahs are behind terrorist acts planned and carried out to create a big mess. Added to this is the destruction of Israel through the largest possible terrorist act, as this would lead the world into chaos.
All these events remind us of the words mentioned by Jesus, Paul and Peter. Arguments about taking Muslim world domination – their terrible acts of murder and intolerance – are just an echo of what God has in store. His Word says that these men are grains of sand that disappear: “As soon as blowing on them, they wither, and the whirlwind shall take them as stubble” (Isaiah 40:24).
Jihad Muslims underpin his hope bringing chaos, but with a single breath God is able to remove all power. The truth is that they are only hastening the coming of the one true Messiah, the creator of the world and all that is in it.
Paul told the saints at Thessalonica he wanted them to have knowledge of a fact concerning the coming destruction.
We know that Paul assured the Thessalonians, “But of the times and the seasons have no need, brothers, that I write unto you” (1 Thessalonians 5:1). But Paul added: “I want you to know a fact on this issue.” Paul said, “when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Here Paul is telling the church key thing of all time. He is describing something that happened to each company prior to its destruction or judgment. This proven throughout history is that humanity becomes altogether the search for security and prosperity.
Here we find the evidence of the arrival of a future destruction. Paul announced based on past evidence. Simply said there is no moment in Scripture where God has brought destruction upon a society obsessed with security and prosperity. In other words, Paul is saying, “Here is the rule proven by history concerning the destructive actions of God. This happens at a time when men become in pursuit of prosperity and security, while away from the Lord. ”
Politicians recently announced that they plan to introduce an initiative in Congress to create the Peace and Security Department.
We must be alert to any talk of peace and prosperity when a terrible storm is looming. It is then – when peace and security become the first motivation, and everyone knows that only a miracle can save humanity-we can expect a future destruction.
Jesus made an analogy between the days of Noah, Lot, and the same day of his coming. Jesus said that in both instances the people ate, drank, got married, bought and sold. In other words, daily activities remain and are coupled with a number of things that are not inherently evil. However, in the generations of Noah and Lot to obtain all these things was an obsession throughout society. Daily activities became the central focus and strong entertainment kept as tied to people’s warnings were sonsacadas Holy Spirit.
According to Jesus, the same will happen in the last minute, just before the final destruction. The whole world will be in search of security and prosperity, a concern that will spread even among many within the church. The focus of many people will be in the things of the world and will set aside his unshakable faith until then. Even we know many with this mentality. Multitudes are convinced that prosperity is the only path to peace. So that many people find themselves in a race for prosperity obsessive, accumulating debt, financial abundance and wealth at the expense of the poor. Beloved, is under this context that the destructions made present.
When the time of trial comes, in what condition the Lord will find his church?
In what condition will be the people of Jesus?, Will they show a vibrant faith?, Will they be looking for Him and longing for his coming, or will they be concerned about the things of this world? When Christ returns to find his church controlled by false prophets who preach a false peace, wealth, success and fake good times ? The prophet Jeremiah describes this time in the history of Israel as: “For from the least of them unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness, and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace “(Jeremiah 6:13-14).
Allow me to clarify: prosperity is not inherently bad. The Scripture says that God loves to bless his children. So there is nothing wrong in purchasing a beautiful house, a nice car, a nice dress, or eat at good restaurants. We are encouraged to provide for our families, including building houses, buying, planting or harvesting.
When these things begin to consume – absorbing our time, thoughts, energy, activity, avoiding seeking God – our hearts begin to harden. You see how living with amenities not enough – when buying, selling, making money worry our mind and soul – the warmth is present. Then those who have turned to seek security and prosperity eventually discard God’s warnings:
“They have healed the wound of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts … Who will speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can not hear, behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them, not love … I set watchmen over you saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. And they said, We will not listen “(Jeremiah 6:9-10,17).
When Noah prophesied that a great destruction would come, his generation made fun of his preachings.
Throughout biblical history, watchmen walked the streets warning of coming judgments, prophesying unto the people of God. But the church kept continuously closed ears and led to their own pleasures, food, wine, buy, sell and build.
Lots of pastors and preachers are amazed at the strength they see in many Christians today, especially those that were once filled with the fire of God. The same people who loved to pray and be in God’s house. They loved the correction from God and were interested in the prophetic word they heard. But now they are busy to seek God and love of Jesus has been cooling every day.
These people will not stand before preaching that confront them. They prefer to hear a sermon half hour once a week, which increases their self-esteem and help them be successful. Do not make this mistake. There are multitudes like them who are asleep.
God instructed Jeremiah to warn him to his people: “And thou shalt say unto them these words, but they do not hear, you call, and they do not respond. Say to them therefore: This is the nation that did not hear the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and cut off from their mouth “(Jeremiah 7:27-28).
Similarly in the New Testament, Paul writes, “As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this day” (Romans 11:8).
Why are these despicable prophetic warnings?
Why do many Christians who were once enthusiastic today have moved away to correction from God?, Why this blindness exists on the trial? and why selfishness, focus on money, and the prosperity gospel has trapped many churches and believers? One reason is that a growing number of ministers currently has departed to preach on the cross. The message of Christ in suffering, helpless, bloodied homeless has become an offense. The call to sacrifice, take up the cross, to be open to rejection by the name of Jesus, to become a living sacrifice, to die to ourselves, to repent, to be humble, to crucify the flesh – all these issues have been evaded by preachers of the gospel of happiness and wealth. So that all apostolic warnings about being ready for the coming of Christ – to have our lamps trimmed to prepare to meet the groom, be awake and redeem the time because the time is near and that he will come to those who seek it and love your presence – all this no more talk.
Where it ends?
In recent weeks, one of the most famous preachers belonging to the prosperity movement said on the holy Word of God, “The Bible is only one road to wealth.” Another preacher has promised “Come to my church and I assure you that you will become rich.”
The secular world ridicules these gospels. On October 22, in the edition of “Atlanta Journal – Constitution” published an article entitled “The Messiah Rich Prosperity Gospel”. The idea behind this article was that the prosperity preachers today claim that Jesus was a rich man because he was holding his 12 associates and paid for their travel expenses.
According to this theory, the garments of Christ had to be costly, for the Roman soldiers snatched them away. And Jesus himself had to be rich because his entourage required an administrator (Judas was in charge of the finance group). Added to this, Jesus had to be rich to support his mother after his death. He could not be homeless, because no one has heard of a carpenter who has not built his own house. He also mentions that currently found an old document that says 200 kings visited the manger of Jesus. These kings came bearing gifts of gold to the Christ child. Finally, the article says, that the prosperity preachers say that Jesus could not be poor because the Scriptures say that, “The poor man’s words are quickly forgotten.” So as the words of Jesus are remembered – and since no one can follow a leader who is broke – he had to be rich.
All this makes me shudder! It harkens back to Jeremiah 6:13 “For from the least of them unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness, and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.”
Many Christians sing praise “Everything is about Jesus” – and so it is.
When the Pharisees asked Christ to give them a sign, he replied, “Hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky, but signs of the times you can not! The evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah “(Matthew 16:3-4).
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said this word: “For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of man be to this generation” (Luke 11:30)
Jesus – his cross, his resurrection, his blood shed, is the only sign is needed. Therein lies the satisfaction.
The day of destruction will come suddenly. In just a moment, all material things lose their value, becoming nothing. We stay only with Christ-we do not need anything else. He is the living Word that we require.
The Bible is not a book about prosperity. It is a door to the revelation of Christ, who is our peace and safety. He is our wealth, our prosperity, our precious gold.
This is the gospel we preach. And this is the Christ we serve.