Tag Archives: End Times

Running the Rapids with Jesus

Before you even get in the raft, the white water guide begins to establish his or her authority and control.  In the early stages of the float trip they work hard to make sure everyone knows what to do, practicing the commands over and over.  “Back-paddle!”  “Right turn!”  “Let’s do it again!”  Why?  White water!  There’s rapids downstream and, when they get to them, it’s too late to begin figuring out what to do.  The idea is for everyone to be alert, trained and ready to respond quickly, without panic.  Even if the raft seems about to flip.

Jesus told the folks in His raft they would eventually confront dangerous rapids.  When they asked how they could know the end of the age was approaching, He didn’t mince words.  Instead, He prepared them (and us).   You can read what He told them in the 24th Chapter of Matthew, but here are some excepts of what He said:

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

In other words, “When things get dicey, make sure you listen to my commands and not anyone else.”

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 

In other words, “When you hear the roar of the rapids, don’t freak out;  I have told you this trip winds up in white water so keep your heads.”

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.   –  (Matthew 24:4–13 Excerpts – NIV84)

In other words, “Don’t be surprised at how violent the rapids will seem.  You may even get tossed out of the raft.  But remember to trust me.  Do what I say and you will come through just fine.”

Human history is filled with failed attempts to make our world better as we strive for utopia.  People even held the hope that World War I would serve to end all future wars.  No matter how or what we try, we have not succeeded in eradicating evil.  As we see the rise of ISIS, Russia’s alliances with wicked dictators and nations who pledge the destruction of Israel, it might seem discouraging and frightening.

But these kinds of events have been foretold in Scripture.  Jesus never whitewashed the truth: wickedness will increase as the age continues toward the end.  But He also said,  “see to it you are not alarmed.”  And, “don’t listen to others who will lead you astray.”  And, “stand firm in your faith and you will be saved.”

Ancient Wisdom

I found a 110 year-old book, “The New Idea,” that summarizes everything known in 1904.  It’s a fun read.  We’ve learned a bit more since that book was published.

What is the oldest book you have ever seen? The most ancient book in the Bible may well be Job not Genesis.  Genesis, the first book in the Bible, was written by Moses.  The folks that study these things tend to believe Job came before Moses, probably even before God called Abraham.  If so, then Job’s understanding of Who God is, and what God is like, is as early as it gets.  Was Job’s God the same as the God of Jesus?

Consider what Job said:

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)

Whoa…   When I grapple with these words and ideas, the small hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention!  Not only did Job know God, but He knew God’s future plan:

–  He would send a Redeemer (One Who would purchase us from slavery)

–  This Redeemer was already alive in Job’s time and would still be alive “in the end.”

–  Job’s Redeemer is God.

–  Job knows that, after he has died, after his body has decayed, he will see his Redeemer.

–  Job knows his “seeing” will be a physical reality – that he will see him with the eyes a restored body.

– In the midst of his worldly trials, he yearns for this future certainty.

All those assertions, convictions of this most ancient witness, are truths taught by Jesus in the New Testament.  Ponder how long-lasting and unchanged those ancient concepts of God have been!  Job must have had a sense, when he uttered those words, that he had tapped into a deep, eternal truth.  Because he preceded them with this urgent appeal:

““Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!” (Job 19:23-24)

He got that right, too…