Time Line - Signs of the Times - Storm Warning
The postwar material thrust of the 1950s may have had its counterpart in the late 1990s with roaring stock markets and the Internet's surge in dot com venture capital. But the bubble burst leading us to words descriptive of the past coming to light once again:
The world economy is in serious trouble, and the federal deficit is terrifying. In 1992, the United States government faced a $400 billion debt it has virtually no prospect of paying or even paying down. Rising debt is a serious problem both for families and corporations. Growing crime and violence make even clean, well-lighted places unsafe in the middle of the day. In addition, we have an ongoing disintegration of morals, collapse of the family and traditional family values, and increasing prejudice against religious expression by a growing number of secular organizations. Most observers today believe that America is living in a post-Christian era. Graham, Storm Warning, page 184
Photo of storm by Mike Hollingshead, copyrighted image used here with permission granted by Mr. Hollingshead and by www.extremeinstability.com.
At times we see a glimmer of hope that the economy will turn around for the better. So seemed the latter 1990s going into the new millennium. But once again, due to recent global terrorism and military actions, the United States has dramatically reversed itself by draining surpluses and taking on incredible debt. And the US is not the only nation affected.
Today financial woes linger from depressed markets, economic crises in South America, political corruption and civil wars in Africa, Europe struggling through unification, and a U.S. economy taking on greater debt. These are all facets of global material consequence and substantial instability.
The contrast, however, in the quotation above, is the spiritual versus the material. In time of prosperity, life pivots around material comfort. Once on the decline, we look back over our shoulder to see sources for our troubles—our values and behaviors come into view and it's not just a material dilemma. If life is not all about material success, then what is life's purpose?
Apostasy is a state of 'falling away.' The "post-Christian era" cited above by Dr. Graham is certainly characterized by a Jedeo-Christian population that is in part "falling away" or straying from the standards set in the biblical text. Synagogues and churches can easily slip into doing good works, good deeds, even social outreach programs in place of building faith. The Bible is not "all about" political correct deeds or social causes. Humanism is traipsing at our heals. Yet, humanity fails to solve its problems.
Take a look, humanism, materialism, and rebellion are in clear view at this time. From within the fabric of humanity—not just tensions between nations—there are factions at war based on ideologies. Here the interests driving conflict are based on belief systems that have no borders. The new conflicts are a product of terror that now encircles the globe.
But humanity strays in dangerous directions.
How does the situation of the world today accord with God's plan for peace on earth? I have to ask again, as I did at the very beginning, will there ever be peace on earth, or is peace an illusion? Will the impending storm destroy the world?
Before answering that question we need to stop and consider for a moment something that is easy to forget in our contemplation of the terror of a nuclear war. We forget the infinitely greater horror of an eternity apart from God. The horrors of a nuclear war will be transitory as far as eternity is concerned. The horrors that are ahead for all who reject God's offer of mercy, grace, and salvation in Christ are too terrible to imagine. Graham, Storm Warning, page 184
Apostasy is falling away, and becoming separated from a key relationship with God. And what is eternity apart from God but hell itself.
So, might life's purpose have something to do with defining a relationship with God? How do all the world's economies matter in comparison? This relationship is a key consideration and a distinct possibility within the window's view! Life provides an opportunity to look and decide and build the relationship!
An eternity with or in separation from God is linked to life having a purpose and a life choice. But which choice is it that puts us in the inner circle of eternity with God? How does one achieve that step into that circle? There seem to be some differences in choice here.
Some beliefs drive conflict in the 'name of God' or a god-centered drive for power and assertion of a 'holy law' over others who do not accept the basic premise underlying such a law. If two sides appear with two claims to God, but claims with a different nature, then we need to discern the difference and be wary of how that difference drives humanity further toward the end of the timeline. In the Middle East there is in fact a situation that is forming in just this way—driving, pushing us to the end of Daniel's time line (link to PDF file).
Look at the difference in the eternity or paradise that is promised either way. Is one spiritual and the other more hedonistic and even defined in material terms? A material reward for faith cannot be given in a spiritual realm. Islam's (extremist) martyrs ... those promised physical sexual pleasure in a spiritual paradise ... need to contemplate the 'reward' for their actions before the fact. Is such a reward possible! Study the difference and the difference is revealed. The goal here is not spiritual but self-centered and hedonistic. No system that claims God can then kill in the name of the God that forbids murder. No assertion of power or dominance of others can be based on grace.
The concerns one need attend to are not simply a difference between Islam and the Judeo-Christian sphere. There is also a falling away from faith that has come in recent time. Examples include humanistic forms of Judaism and Christian outreach based on social works without faith at the core. Weakening the focus serves only to have members fall away from faith. This is the apostasy that is characterized along the latter portion of the timeline. While described within the Seventh Church Age, apostasy affects the hearts of those who claim the God of Israel as God over all.
"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition," 2Th 2:3; NKJV
As given above, the Scriptures themselves even speak of a falling away from faith in a period of time that characterizes the end of the current era.
SIGNS TO AN END OF THIS ERA
The Scripture also shows that a number of easily discernible signs will occur as we approach the end of the age. These signs seem to be coming into focus even now. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that there would the famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, but He also said that these would only be the beginning. He said that people "will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:10-12). But He added, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). In this sign alone we see the possibility of reaching the entire world with the gospel through revolutionary new technologies before the end of this century. This will be an unprecedented opportunity that could never before have come about, but it is a very real possibility today. Graham, Storm Warning, page 185
From within recent events in the Middle East we see a tension building. (See Israel News and Views for articles on recent events).
The common misconception is there is an end to life and thus total destruction. On a material plain, yes destruction, but the ultimate conflict is spiritual and the answer is either you choose eternal destruction of your soul or choose eternal life beyond this life. Choice is life's purpose. Missing the purpose has a consequence.
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)|