1: THE SEA AND THE WAVES ROARING (Luke 21:26 KJV)
I recently learned via a friend of mine in the United Kingdom that a UKIP councilor, David Sylvester, publicly blamed ongoing storms and flooding upon the UK government’s legalization of gay marriage. Sylvester, who had defected from the ruling Conservative Party for that reason, was suspended by the UKIP on 19th January of this year, after making his comments in a local newspaper published February 4th.
This was not the first time Sylvester had protested. He stated:
“I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same sex marriage Bill.”
“But he went ahead”, he continued, “despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.”
The Henley-on-Thames councilor said the country had been “beset by storms” since the passage of the bill, which he blamed on Mr. Cameron acting “arrogantly against the Gospel”.
“It is his (Prime Minister Cameron’s) fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods”.
In a scene not un-reminiscent of Lot’s own ordeal, Mr. Silvester’s house was last month targeted by angry protesters, who lovingly threw eggs at the property and attached a “rainbow banner” to the wall.
Today, almost a month after Sylvester was suspended from his party, the storms and floods continue. A BBC UK news story reads:
“Man dies as winds gusting over 100mph lash parts of the UK in what the assistant chief of the defense staff describes as an “almost unparalleled natural crisis”….“Parts of England have had their wettest January in more than 100 years”.
I’ve been following the news of extreme weather conditions in the UK because it’s my country of origin. It saddens me to see the Brits struggling because I love them. I told my friend, who was outraged by Sylvester’s comments, that if God were “judging” the UK, the results would be far worse. It’s more likely that if God really is directing these unusual conditions, they are intended as a warning to the country to step back from the path it’s on.
Aside from the seriousness of the situation, I couldn’t help smiling a few times since I learned what Sylvester had said, which was broadcast for everyone in Britain to hear. I just couldn’t help imagining a few of those politicians secretly squirming and sweating a little as they watch the evening news. It’ll help them get in practice for the Tribulation:
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear…” (Luke 21:26-27).
2: THANK THE LORD FOR GREY AREAS!
“Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves” (Romans 14:22).
When I became a Christian, or in the generally accepted evangelical jargon, “got saved”, I set to work destroying my possessions. I burned books and magazines, trashed tapes, videos and records, dumped momentos, souvenirs and trinkets and I tore up photographs and letters from ex-girlfriends. I defaced posters and placards. I turned my back on my “old” friends”. I sold my bass and my amp dirt cheap, and I abandoned the only contacts I had in the world of professional music. I eschewed television and radio. I even emptied my place of furniture, thinking I needed nothing more than a Bible and a bed. Anything more would have been “worldly”. I even desired to live in some remote place like a hermit: if I could have gone to the moon to live I would have.
Over the years my view of life has changed considerably. I still believe the Bible is the Word of God. I still want to avoid being worldly. I’m still very cautious about what I allow into my brain, and who I allow into my house, and what I allow into my heart. But there’s a middle ground between being estranged from human experience and living in Babylon. When I say “middle ground” I don’t mean compromise with sin: I’m talking about living my life as opposed to burying myself before I’m dead.
On the black-and white side of life, I’m sold out to the Word of God. I believe more strictly than Paul did: creation in six days; Adam and Eve; a global Flood; Moses and the burning bush; Jesus Christ the incarnation of God on the earth, crucified and risen from the dead, returning soon-and so on. I believe that God has put us here first of all to praise and glorify Him, and to serve our brothers and sisters. But I also believe He’s put us here to enjoy the world He’s created, and there is so much to enjoy: nature, music, art, sex (in proper boundaries), love, laughter, and even that four letter word-work.
But there are also “grey” areas. These are things not expressly forbidden in the Bible or by the clear constraints of nature, but which some people consider to be wrong.
I’m supposed to avoid offending you with the things I allow, so if you’re weak in your faith and feel like all you need is a Bible and a bed, don’t read on.
Give me a glass of wine (not a barrel). Give me some enormously imaginative and different music which doesn’t necessarily speak overtly about God. Give me some mildly bawdy humor or a masterfully produced and acted movie. And go on-throw some paint onto the canvas and call it art!
I’ll agree that the Church has become very worldly. But the antidote is not to purge ourselves of things that are created by God for us to enjoy, and it’s not to make life duller and more mundane and predictable. Yes, “whatsoever you do, do it for the glory of God”, and in so doing, we must do it passionately.
3: A DIVINE TRAP
The world of men, from the President on down to those on the street, is gearing up to fulfill Bible prophecy, by attempting to first of all persuade Israel to hand over at least half of Jerusalem to its enemies, and then by attempting to force it to. Not content to know that the Jew has been hounded for many centuries in every country it was exiled to and was almost annihilated several times, the United Nations- very nearly entirely biased in favor of the Islamic world against Israel- has been pressurizing Israel to part with more of its already tiny country-a land hardly big enough to defend even before it’s divided. And now, the administration of virtually the only nation which has up to now defended Israelis against the wishes of the rest of the world-the United States- seems to be positioning itself to hand over Israel to its enemies, trying not to make the betrayal too obvious.
The world in an unprecedented plan wishes to divide the ancient capital of a sovereign nation, so that two entirely distinct people groups-enemies for many centuries- can face off in the same city. This, and the coming aggression against Israel, was foretold even before Christ.
The most interesting part of it all is that while the world, particularly the Islamic world, secretly believes it’s setting a trap not only for Israel’s diminishing but its final demise, those very nations are themselves falling into a trap of God’s making:
“I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it….”Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.” (Zechariah 14:2).
Doesn’t sound like a trap? Then read the following verse:
“Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations….”
But first we must have a “peace” process, also foretold by the prophet Daniel. And Paul, speaking of this time said:
“…the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying ‘peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly…and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).
I’ve known for a long time how people in my country of origin, the United Kingdom, view the nation of Israel. They believe Israelis to be the aggressors, and so they demonstrate how little they know about history, and how little they are aware that the tiny nation has been struggling to survive against the multitude of comparatively huge nations all around who hate them. More than that, it’s a spiritual issue-but that’s a subject for another day.
It saddens me to see individuals, companies and politicians lining up to be on the wrong end of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Dan Schnur recently expressed several of my concerns succinctly:
“The proponents of the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement have based their campaign on a fundamentally inaccurate premise. They assert that Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens, a peculiar charge against a nation that includes Arabs in its Cabinet, Supreme Court, Knesset, civil service and defense forces and whose robust free press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and human rights protections are virtually unique in the Middle East. Meanwhile, BDS leaders ignore horrendous civil and human rights violations in neighboring countries such as Syria, Iran, and Egypt, leading to the unavoidable conclusion that in their eyes, Israel’s transgression is not one of conduct but rather crimes of religion, heritage and existence” (bold highlight mine). Dan Schnur is director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California).
See my post on Jerusalem.