Time Line - Signs of the Times - Storm Warning
Change Sweeps the Globe & Storm Clouds Gather on the Horizon
There is still cause for alarm; there are storms on the horizon. We are plagued by rising debt, growing crime, new expressions of racial and ethnic hatred, disintegrating moral values, sexually transmitted diseases and the AIDS epidemic, the collapse of the traditional family unit, escalating drug and alcohol abuse, and increasingly hostile attacks against the Christian church. Is this all coincidence or is it perhaps a symptom of something else?
We live today in the most complex and sophisticated period in recorded history. Science, technology, and ideas have literally reshaped the dimensions of our world, and a mere handful of modern nations now holds the power to determine the fate and future of the planet. Graham, Storm Warning, page 7
Photo of storm by Mike Hollingshead, copyrighted image used here with permission granted by Mr. Hollingshead and by www.extremeinstability.com.
Change and driving forces push humanity along time. Our course seems uncertain. What power or influence will determine the future?
To flag warning signs—to see the storm warnings—is to focus on a sobering reality. Unfortunately we grow indifferent to the signs and conflicts all around us. Are these indicators of what is really acceptable? What is the present state of humanity? Dr. Billy Graham's warnings featured here—so revealing, specific, ominous—are characteristic of his concerns for the world today. What are we to conclude by a review of such concerns?
Take a close look, in reality, there is nothing 'normal' in the Storm Warnings, nothing good to the Signs of the Times, and nothing effectively counters the troublesome conditions that blanket the earth. Yet, these conditions accompany us into an uncertain future. We want certainty and peace, but at best we may achieve some security; and only to the extent that the storms are held off a while longer—yet they keep threatening to come.
We are on the verge of being overwhelmed. It's certainly worth reflection! Again, think of this age of technology and ask: what or who holds the power to direct our future (especially in the face of all the warning signs)?
WHO HOLDS POWER
As considered by Ed Ayers and in our article on Global Power, governments rest on uncertainty and power shifts as global conflicts persist. A coordinated and truly global power seems necessary to bring us to the best of futures for our planet and all life. Can humanity find a sustainable track and a lasting global peace?
But what would happen if such might and power fell into the hands of unscrupulous, unprincipled leaders? Already we are caught up in a whirlwind of economic uncertainty with new alignments of power and commerce on the horizon. The United Nations and other international organizations seem almost powerless to ensure lasting peace. Graham, Storm Warning, page 7
In a biblical context, Dr. Graham would remind us that in the future (see timeline) there will be an unscrupulous global leader who will head a one world government. In that day, all goods tradedbought and soldwill come under global control. Certainly the technology to track, record, and transact all such activity is with us today in computers and commodity scanners. But this all powerful leader's reign is associated with certain stormy times. The underlying conditions and signs for the coming storms are here now.
… "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:7-8 NKJV). There are storm warnings on every hand and dark clouds brooding on the horizon. There is recession in the United States, and around the world millions are plagued by unprecedented suffering and despair. Truly we live in a time of troubles. But what does it all mean? Are we really in danger? Graham, Storm Warning, page 16
SIGNS COME IN MANY FORMS
Dr. Graham offers the following reflections concerning the decades prior to the turn of the millennium:
The economic spiral of the eighties has been followed by the seemingly bottomless recession of the nineties. The sheer momentum of such changes has robbed many Americans of their joy and optimism. Lost jobs, broken lives, ruined careers, bankruptcies, shattered marriages, physical and emotional abuse, and a thousand and other tragedies have invaded America's homes. What remains in such cases is the somber, joyless, unromantic reality of a nation in deep, deep trouble. And it is only too clear that the emotional roller-coaster ride of the past two decades has been tragically complicated by the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of our society. Graham, Storm Warning, page 18
Can we say these circumstances are limited to a particular decade? Is this only a phenomenon found in certain areas of the globe!
But America is not the only trouble spot today. The entire world is in turmoil. While the population of the planet continues to explode at a rate of nearly 100 million births per year, millions more are dying from epidemics, war, famine, starvation, drugs, crime, and violence. We are living in a time of enormous conflict and cultural transformation. The political and social revolutions of our time stagger the imagination. Graham, Storm Warning, page 19
And with global change touching many facets of our planet's life support systems, human activity distracts humans from the underlying decline in the environment overall!
We have seen the results of unrestrained greed, corruption, and manipulation on Wall Street, financial mismanagement in the halls of government, fraud and perversion at the highest levels of both church and state. While keeping an eye on the showdown that many observers feel may be brewing even now between the financial superpowers of Europe, Asia, and North America, many people sense the possibility of an even greater unraveling in the world. As we hope for peace, for new opportunities and prosperity, we are constantly confronted by the realities of new problems in this age of crisis. Graham, Storm Warning, page 19
The window's view reveals global change in a matrixan array of issues all linked together. So technology may provide useful solutions. Yes? For example, developing and disseminating technologies to all nations to achieve a sustainable planet-home makes perfect sense. But this is exactly what falters with humanity's distractions. Call it trouble. Better still, call it a product of material motivations riddled by sin. After all, isn't proprietary technology only sold to those who can afford it? And what of technological solutions that could help humans living in the less developed (poor) countries? Profiteers first want their cut in spite of dire need for technological solutions. Gain before pain? What do we expect?
Should we be surprised that the world has come to such a state? When we see fraud, corruption, and abuse at every level of our society and in every sector of public life, can anyone be expected to continue in the mistaken belief that humanity is somehow perfectible without the intervention of God? Can we expect unending compassion and concern when no amount of mercy can stop the pain? Graham, Storm Warning, page 21
STOP THE WORLD
I want to get off! But there is now NO other place to go. We've filled the globe, elbow to elbow, to only face ourselves as a problem seeking a solution.
... the world seems to be spinning faster and faster. Technology and time itself are racing past us at dizzying speeds. Who can keep up? Where will it end? We have to wonder if there are any answers for the crises of our time. But we must also ask if there is still hope for us—or is it as bad as we often fear? Graham, Storm Warning, page 24
As we head down the timeline, there is a drum roll of human activity in the background. Technology, spikes in global changes, conflicts between nations, add to the beat. Even Daniel's ancient text captures a picture of modern time as he refers to times of trouble (detailed elsewhere in Chapter 15 of the Creator's Window). Truly today, like at no other time in human history, we see the signs and see people move to and fro as science and society amass information beyond all (basic) human need:
"At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." Daniel 12:1-4 (NKJV)
Certainly we can characterize the current time as one where humans run to and fro (i.e., global travel) and knowledge is increased (i.e., by science, technology, and computers). However, we recommend further study to best understand the passage in Daniel—especially in context with present day events.
Out of context, concerning the 'time of the end,' what the media tend to sensationalize is the use of particular terms representing conflict, especially: Armageddon and apocalypse. Daniel's reference above is to a time before a final global conflict, but not to an end of the world. To not understand the difference is to not understand the biblical text. Too often the Scriptures are criticized or misquoted by those who have not studied the text!
Apocalypse means 'to reveal' and in the biblical context is the revealing of the Messiah, the victor of the final battle. The world remains, is then renewed, and the timeline picks up again to move forward. But until the 'revealing' occurs, there are storm warnings all around us.
Warning signs are all around us. They mingle and are as close as persons sitting with us. Do you see it in their lives? Do you see it in your life? Do you see the signs?
I believe the image of an approaching storm captures the sense of fear and uncertainty I am encountering in my travels. In the midst of every kind of political struggle there is already a storm of resentment in the hearts of many people whom I meet. There is a tempest of rage brewing in our young people. Too often they have been cheated and exploited, not only by the commercialism of this consumer age, but by the educators and sociologists who have stripped them of values, family relationships, and the sense of a greater purpose in life. I see too many young men and women whose virtue has been abused and whose faith in partnership and commitment has been shattered. I truly fear for their future. Graham, Storm Warning, page 25
What is the future? Do you see the signs? Do you see the storms coming?
The importance to global change is in looking at how social, biological, and physical sciences all reveal data and signs for more ominous changes in the near future. This is change in every aspect of human and earthly affairs ... globally. The Window looks further to see change as a backdrop to a biblical timeline. Driving forces for change force us to ask the most important questions about our true origin, who we are, why we are here, and what the Scriptures tell us about the future. Change forces us to look deeper to face choice or crisis. Life is an opportunity to look for the answers.
|Please Note! We are presenting a number of quotations in the "Signs of the Times" series that are taken from their original context. So Be Aware ... the impact of these statements is only heightened and intensified by a reading of the original text cited below. WindowView serves to reflect many original sources and in this case we highly recommend a reading of the entire book used as a source here! The 'Signs' are woefully important to revealing humanity's future, reading these quotations in their original context makes this point all the more clear!|
|Quotations attributed to Graham are from: Billy Graham. 1992. Storm Warning. Published by: W Publishing Group (formerly Word Publishing)|