WELCOME to yet another edition of The Bible in The News--but in view of one news story this past week, we don’t know how many more we can expect. According to hundreds of scientists representing 113 governments, there is no doubt that planet earth is warming up--and unless some dramatic change occurs, it will time-out within a few decades.
NASA researchers have been monitoring things from satellites and have found that the earth's ice cover is changing rapidly near the poles. This monitoring has been going on for some time now, and in photographs taken from space since the year 2000, the changes taking place are quite easily seen.
According to the UK's Guardian newspaper last week, the catastrophic effects and results from this global warming can be expected to include:
- LOSS OF FOOD PRODUCTION Droughts. African crops slump 15% to 35%. Global production falls 10%
- INCREASED FLOODING Sea levels rise by up to 59cm. Bangladesh and Vietnam worst hit, along with coastal cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Calcutta and Karachi. 1.8m people at risk from coastal flooding in Britain alone
- MELTING ICE Half the Arctic tundra at risk. Europe loses 80% of Alpine glaciers. West Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice sheet start to melt
- MORE DISEASE Mosquitoes thrive, exposing 80m more people to malaria in Africa: 2.5bn more exposed to dengue fever
- LOSS OF LAND SPECIES 20-50% face extinction
- WATER SHORTAGES Fresh water availability halved in southern Africa and Mediterranean
- HURRICANES MORE POWERFUL Wind strengths increasing 15-25%. Great damage to infrastructure
The word "catastrophic" is used to describe what the Guardian called a "devastating climate change within a few decades." And the cause of it all, it is suggested, is human activity--especially emissions.
But even if everyone understands these climatic developments, and even if they know the outcome will be a world-wide frying pan for future humanity, it is highly unlikely that the necessary changes will be made. We may expect the suffering motorist--the private car-owner--to be penalized for his emissions, but the real culprits will carry on the same as ever, making fat profits and sitting in air-conditioned board-rooms while the rest of the world cooks!
Human nature is not given to voluntary and sacrificial change. People will want to carry on the same as ever. A few minor and irritating adjustments may be tolerated--but a thorough repentance is not very likely without a world-wide flood or fire.
Some Bible-minded people may well turn to passages such as that found in 2 Peter 3:10-12. It says:
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
On the face of it, that is what appears to be about to happen. Well, when you look at what is going on in the world today, anyone who recognizes that there is a God must see that things cannot continue as they are. A final catastrophe of some kind (like the great flood of Noah’s time--Genesis chapters 6 and 7) must be inevitable. The present world as we now know it must be brought to an end.
But if Peter's words are read carefully, he is not saying that the planet itself will be destroyed. His emphasis is "the heavens" and the "elements." The Greek word used here and translated "elements" means the foundation principles, those elements upon which everything is arranged. Clearly he is not saying that the literal heavens are to be dissolved--that is not where the problem lies (Matthew 6:10 tells us that God's will is done in heaven). Peter is using the terms heaven and earth in a metaphoric sense--as it is used for example, in Deuteronomy 32:1 and Isaiah 1:2. He is referring to the social order that now exists on earth.
We cannot make Scripture contradict itself. As Jesus said, the Scripture cannot be broken. Elsewhere we read that "the earth abideth for ever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4), and that "the meek shall inherit the earth" (Psalm 37:11 and Matthew 5:5). This is God's purpose as we are told in Isaiah 45:18.
"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else."
So what do we learn from all this?
- First, there is a time limit for the earth as we now know it--and time is fast running out!
- Second, God has a purpose for planet earth. He intends it to be inhabited by the meek. By those who believe the Gospel of the Kingdom.
- Third, Society as we now know it is to be brought to an end. The "elements" or principles upon which the earth (that is, the system of civilization) is based upon, is to be dissolved.
So great changes are coming--there is no doubt about that. And they must come very soon. This is where the political and religious world is heading--it is heading for a great showdown, a conflict, and it is known in the Bible as "the battle of that great day of God Almighty." It is "Armageddon," the day of the LORD.
Men will not willingly abandon their foolishness or their pride; the Lord Jesus Christ will be the one to usher in the great changes that must come. As we read in 2 Thessalonians 1, verses 7-10:
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."
In this way the kingdoms of THIS world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15). The meek will live again and God’s servants will be rewarded. That is what we read in Revelation 11 verse 18:
"And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."
May the great God of Israel be with you until, God willing, we talk with you again next week here on www.bibleinthenews.com or www.biblemagazine.com.