Time Line - Signs of the Times - Storm Warning
Gathering Storms on the Horizon
These are the signs of this time
Storms for the End Times
There has never been a time in history when so many storms have come together in one place and time as they have in the past decade. There have been famines, plagues, and earthquakes for thousands of years, but seldom so many all at once and seldom so concentrated in time and space. ... Graham, Storm Warning, page 35
Photo of storm by Mike Hollingshead, copyrighted image used here with permission granted by Mr. Hollingshead and by www.extremeinstability.com.
Billy Graham is known the world over for drawing attention to humanity's need to recognize and embrace an all loving and ever present God. At the same time, we live with the utter contraction, the world is full of onerous and ominous signs of godlessness. So the question follows: How can God let such things happen and still be all loving?
In the greater scheme of things—with some study and introspection—we find it's not God that has let the onerous things come to be, but humanity itself. The result is likened to a gathering storm with dark clouds gathering on the horizon. Examples given here—of contributing factors that make for future storms—come from Dr. Graham's book entitled "Storm Warning" (full reference is given below).
DARKENING CLOUDS ON AN IMMENSE SCALE
This article touches on many facets of the present global condition, so much so, you may feel overwhelmed. And well that you should feel so. Touching reality is the idea driving this review.
Global changes are immense and the number of problems gives pause for extensive thought. Humanity needs a major turn around. How? When?
In the present time, even as in recent decades, storms abound all around:
... The continent of Africa is being devastated by turmoil, famine and every kind of disease. South America is in political and social chaos. Europe is going through a time of enormous change and uncertainty; no one knows what will happen in Eastern Europe as it undergoes the greatest political upheaval in modern times. Graham, Storm Warning, page 35
If you really—REALLY—open your eyes to all that goes on around you today, then the multitude of so many signs (of these times) impacts, devastates the heart.
In America we see deepening poverty, racial division, hopelessness, crime, physical and sexual abuse, and the disintegration of the traditional family. And these storms are further complicated by plagues of many kinds, including AIDS, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases. Alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, and other dangerous behaviors are eating away at society. All these are combined with earthquakes, physical storms, and natural disasters of many kinds all across the land. But Jesus said these are merely a warning of things yet to come. This is merely the beginning of sorrows. Graham, Storm Warning, page 35
DECAY TO THE ROOT
A life style for you may seem a personal choice. And you may rationalize that what you do is okayespecially if what you do has little bearing on anyone else. Magnify that hardhearted perspective for all humankind and consider the following points. What we think is the 'thought-state' of our human being ... and thiswhen we consider the totality of what all humans think and doreveals a friction causing wear and tear on the fabric of humanity's existence.
... the loss of moral and spiritual values. Pornography, prostitution, drugs, violence, and other signs of moral decay are already in evidence ... Graham, Storm Warning, page 53
The traditional safety of the home no longer exists as it did just a few years ago. Too often precious children are violated and abused by their own parents; others are deserted, left home alone, or ignored so that they grow up bitter, angry, and emotionally disturbed. Far too many young men and women coming of age today have no spiritual or emotional roots. They have been deprived of values by an agnostic secular culture. Graham, Storm Warning, page 77
The listing of problems seems tedious, a litany of someone else's doing. But project inward and outward, to the family at home and the human family at large, to embrace the entire and very real view. Again, there is a network of related and interlinked issues, so many forces at play here. Which way do they pull us?
A FORBIDDING VISION IN THE news
As we noted above, certain kinds of events come in timeto precede humanity's encounter with a 'final' global crisisso, do we have a vision for the crossroads ahead.
I recall an article in the London Times a few years ago entitled "The Shadow of Armageddon." The story raised the grim specter of a future race war in Britain. Other columns, editorials, news stories, and letters to the editors were permeated by the common fears of nuclear war, economic chaos, the misuse and the overuse of the earth's nonrenewable resources, runaway crime, violence in the streets, mysterious new killer viruses, terrorism, radically changing weather patterns, earthquakes, floods, famines, destruction, and death. Everywhere I went I found people, both leaders and ordinary individuals, asking one basic question: "Is there any hope?" The answer comes roaring back from the world's press: "There is no hope for planet Earth!" Graham, Storm Warning, page 79
Interestingly, we say there is so much good within humankind. Your immediate family, fiends, associates at work, or at school may be examples. But hope for our planet and all peoples is couched within the fabric of all issues woven across the face of the globe.
The window offers a broader view that one must consider—to explore even the deepest consequences to the driving forces behind global change—before identifying the ultimate hope for life.
A SHADOW OVER ALL
The accounting of problems to this point can be imaged with a caricature of an active reaper harvesting in the background. This work, toil in the shadows is described by Dr. Graham:
Death casts its shadow over the land. On every continent, in every nation, and through every city, town, village, and hut, death rides unfettered. It brings hardship suffering, and sorrow wherever it goes. The specter of the Apocalypse is nowhere more visible than the dreadful work of this grim reaper. Death is an accomplished master of destruction and his credentials precede him: abortion, abuse, addiction, brutality, crime, disease, drugs, hatred, lust, murder, neglect, pestilence, racial conflict, rape, revenge, starvation, suicide, violence, and war. These are his calling cards. Graham, Storm Warning, page 225
With all these activities there is a cost to humanity and to our planet home.
AT WHAT COST: TO HUMANITY
Would it help to cite a few numbers? Does this help to get a grip on what's going on? There are storm clouds raining sorrowseven now as you read. Again, does all this seem like background noise to you? Do you merely assume this is the norm and thus some typical state of being?
Speaking of the reaper Dr. Graham states:
Here is his record of achievement: 50 million deaths every year. Every year a million people die from man-made disasters; 80,000 die from earthquakes and 10,000 from floods. Each year there are a million new victims of desertification and 10 million environmental refugees; 625 million live in areas with unhealthy and potentially lethal air conditions. There are 250,000 new victims of environmental disasters every year, and a million are poisoned by pesticides. All these are targets of the dread stalker. Each day a shocking 25,000 die from pollution alone. Graham, Storm Warning, page 225
Even those who read the Scriptures have to admituntil we gain a holistic perspective we stand to miss the most striking contrasts. A scriptural perspective and view of transitions in human activity and recent conflict put us ever closer to the last segment of WindowView's timeline.
... Before World War II the images of death described in Revelation and elsewhere in the prophetic Scriptures would have been unimaginable. Such images must have seemed like fantasy in those times, something totally out of reason. Today, however, we have seen that what was once called fantasy become the very shadow of death. Graham, Storm Warning, page 243
Add this perspective to the recent spikes in global change and we see an incredible reality in the background of our daily lives. A certain stress builds on all fronts.
AT WHAT COST: TO THE EARTH
As described in the various feature articles on global change, the Earth is under siege! Human activity is behind the erosive driving forces making and accelerating change.
For at least the past twenty-five years, the depletion of natural resources and the destruction of the environment have loomed as ever larger issues on the political agenda. The first widespread public visibility of such issues at times focused on blocking economic development and returning to the earth to some sort of pre-industrial paradise. In more recent years, the focus has been on finding appropriate ways to dispose of society's waste products, of stopping manufacturing industries from releasing hazardous chloroflourocarbons which damage the ozone layer and increase global warming, of stopping the spread of deforestation and desertification in Third World countries, and of legislating a global program for "biodiversity"the movement to preserve endangered species, etc. Graham, Storm Warning, page 243
Elsewhere in our viewing issues on global change we recognize there is the apparent effort made to talk about change. But while nations, special interest groups, and other non-government entities may strive for a sustainable Earth, progress in the face of immense problems can only be characterized as frail beginnings. Given that we've lost species through extinction and population growth only promises more consumption; we are in a bad way.
There is no doubt the earth is in trouble. Garbage dumps are bulging, sewage treatment is unmanageable, consumerism has created in mountains of virtually indestructible waste, rivers are drying up or being polluted, the seas are being endangered by illegal dumping, nuclear contaminants and other hazardous materials are being stored in unsafe places and, in a some cases, seeping into the water table to become the carcinogens and sources of contagion for the next generation. Compounding the tragedy, the earth's tropical rain forests are disappearing, being leveled at a pace of up to twenty thousand acres a day by timber or agricultural operations. These are genuine problems, but there must be some sense of priority in addressing them. Graham, Storm Warning, page 244
While efforts are prioritized and launched, we may also turn from our material dilemma and ask questions with a spiritual appeal.
WHAT THEN OF GOD'S WILL
For the materialist or naturalist the following discussion is awkward. But to the rest of us looking at the full view and all sources providing definition to our being, there is nothing strange in what Dr. Graham says:
Nevertheless, the possible death of our planet by some type of ecological suicide is not God's will. The Bible says, "The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1 KJV). We must take into consideration God's authentic purpose for this planet. We must be responsible stewards of the resources we have been given by God, and I believe we have gone too far too fast and put elements of the environment in jeopardy. I also believe we can accomplish much by discipline, resourcefulness, and prayer. The earth will not be saved by legislation or by compulsion alone, but by the responsible concern of men, women, and children who care for God's creation. If we do not, the pale horseman of death will march across our world. Graham, Storm Warning, page 244
So much to consider. Stewardship and attempting to achieve a sustainable future are ongoing themesand good ones at that! But as time marches on, even toward a biblical scenario called 'the end time' or 'end of the age,'the signs suggest we are now headed that waywhere do we end up?
WHEN DO WE APPROACH THE END OF THE AGE?
One key element of the WindowView is in linking the Jewish scriptural roots to the biblical insight and information concerning the future. Yes, timely information is found in these texts. Here the Jewish Messiah is clearly identified as Yeshua or Jesus (see the Harmony Area for details and identifications made in the biblical texts). This is apparent only through study of the texts of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible) and the Jewish New Covenant (see Jeremiah 31; the Brit Chadeshah or New Testament; that is, the Greek Scriptures) which were predominantly written by Jewish hands (with Luke as one possible exception). And in all that information are clues as to when future storms bring the biggest of all changes ... and with this an end to the current era of time, but when:
... Not even the angels know. But Jesus also said that there would be certain signs that we could watch for. They are called the "signs of the times," and they are given in detail in chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew—the first book of the New Testament. Graham, Storm Warning, page 33
Examples from the New Covenant text (cited above; verses below are from Matthew 24; NKJV), include:
7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 "All these are the beginning of sorrows.
11 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15 "Therefore when you see the `abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),
21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
The verses above bridge a large expanse of time. We see that verses 7 and 8 are (still) taking place now. Verses 11 and 12 have occurred in certain respects, but misdirecting the masses appears to come with a ever more chilling effect in ways yet to come. And still, the message of the New Covenant goes out to the ends of the Earth, today and into the hardest of times aheadmuch like the crusades hosted by Billy Graham in recent decadesuntil the entire globe hears the message.
On the heels of verse 14 we see there is a specific event that takes place in the Temple (see Chapter XV of the Creator's Window for more information on this event; specifically this means a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem is to be reconstructedthe will to do so by Israel is currently an ongoing expressed desire!).
The abomination in verse 15 occurs midway in a Tribulation period that is detailed at the end of the last segment of the WindowView timeline. After the midpoint in the tribulation's seven year time frame, there is one last stretch of troubles. But as in Noah's day, humans even at this time will continue routine behaviors, up until the very end of the age. All this is found in the text and speaks of the future.
At the very end of the age, some will be gathered up (taken) and some left for judgment.
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)|