Fuel For a Future Lake of Fire?
As North Korea tests a nuclear bomb the world is warned of judgement to come!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
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This is The Bible in the News, brought to you this week by Paul Billington. The nuclear test by North Korea reported during the past week is yet another warning to the world of impending judgement upon the present evil generation that knows not God, and that obeys not the gospel of the Kingdom and name of Jesus Christ.
There is no doubt of the Bible’s teaching upon this point. In Hebrews 10:27 it speaks of "a certain fearful looking for of judgement and FIERY indignation which shall devour the adversaries." There are several passages in the Bible that speak of this fiery judgement. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 is another reference.
As we see various nations develop their nuclear fire-power, as North Korea has just done and as Iran is in the process of doing, it is hard not to make the connection. Are we not seeing the fuel being prepared for an apocalyptic "lake of fire," such as we read of in Revelation 19:20?
It was in 1966 (forty years ago) that the political scientist George Catlin wrote as follows:
"If the secrets of nuclear warfare and the possession of effective bombs--as status symbols of GLOIRE and ‘absolute national sovereignty’--even of cheap bombs and ‘clean’ bombs, are handed over to France, and then to China, to Germany, to Israel, to the United Arab Republic, to Indonesia, and finally to Bulgaria, Cuba, South Africa or to Albania indeed, an impoverished State until recently unheard of, who can expect the word ‘responsibility’ to have meaning or peace to have prospects?"
Well, since that was written, at least three of the countries listed now have a nuclear capability. Plus, several countries not listed either have it or are acquiring it. So, to repeat the words again: Who can expect the word ‘responsibility’ to have meaning or peace to have prospects? No surprise then that US President George Bush declared in a live broadcast during the past week that the N. Korean test was "a threat to international peace and security." Britain's Tony Blair called it a "completely irresponsible act." The United Nations once again demonstrated that it was powerless to respond. The fear now is that this event could kick off an arms race in Asia, with countries like Japan, South Korea, and
Taiwan developing their own weapons in self-defence.
As we observe these things in the news, several passages of Scripture are brought to mind. For example, Jeremiah 25:31-33,
"A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."
The context here informs us that if Jerusalem and Israel are to suffer judgement, other nations will not go unpunished (see verse 29).
When the Bible speaks of judgement upon the nations, it frequently uses the idea of FIRE. Fire, the Lake of fire, the burning flame are some of the terms that are used. The prophecies of the Bible, written many centuries ago, would not refer directly to nuclear war of course, but the use of such weapons cannot be excluded from the ideas contained in certain verses of Scripture. This does NOT mean that the literal earth (the planet) will be burned up of course, because we are told elsewhere that "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Look up Hab. 2:14; Numbers 14:21). The promised Kingdom of God is to be established upon earth with Jesus Christ as King reigning from Jerusalem, Israel. However, this does not preclude the use of nuclear weapons, even on a much larger scale than was seen at the close of the Second World War when the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. What terrible scenes are brought before our minds when we read some of the descriptions given in the Bible:
"And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone" (Ezek. 38:22).
"And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezek. 39:6).
"For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion" (Isa. 34:8-10).
"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame" (Dan. 7:10-11).
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19:20).
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" (Matt. 25:41).
This constant emphasis upon fiery judgement cannot be ignored. It is frequently used metaphorically and symbolically--but we cannot take away the literal sense of it altogether. A godless, unbelieving and immoral civilisation has to be incinerated, so that the meek can inherit the earth, and so that those who wait upon the LORD may delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
So the message is a very clear one. We either participate with the present evil world and perish with it, or we stand apart from it and shun its ways looking for the promised consolation of Israel in a day of redemption.
As the Bible continues to unfold in the News, we hope in the mercy of God towards us through Jesus Christ His Son.
Talk with you again next week God willing.
Printed: Thursday, October 12, 2006
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