THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE TIMES
While many are focused on the troubled economies of their nations, the instability of governments, the volatility of the Middle East, the imperialist aspirations of Russia and the surprised upset of democrats in the US, even Christians seem to be confused as to the historical significance of the times in which we live at the onset of the 21st century.
Pessimists and conspiracy theorists over-abound in the era of the Internet. Just about anyone with a computer feels compelled to write anything that suits their distorted and uninformed opinions. This creates confusion among many, especially those who are attracted to fantasies and allegorical stories and anything that is far from reality.
THE CONFUSION OF THE MASSES
The era of international communication through the multimedia web has impacted world societies, once distant, and transformed them from isolated ethnic groups to interconnected societies that feed off of each other. The end product of the information age is isolated pockets of radicals that form a distributed web of masses of people who willfully reject reality and factual or empirical truth for fables that have no more value than a book of fairy tales.
THE HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT
This attraction to adopt and promote ignorance is not anything new. In the past governments have fed off of the lack of information among their people to topple kingdoms during the Middle Ages, an era once recognized as the Dark Ages because of the suppression of truth to the masses. The poor were kept ignorant and without proper education. The dissemination of scientific information and discoveries was the domain of the Church, as was the management of biblical truth.
Under penalty of death, no one was allowed to distribute information without the approval of the Medieval Church, particularly in the 15th century, the end of this dark period of the Church and the beginning of Protestantism. This is why scientists such as Galileo Galilei would need to retract from ideas that the world moved around the sun for fear of losing his life. He spent the rest of his days under house arrest.
Bible translator and theologian, John Wycliffe, fled for his life in order to translate the Bible from Latin to English. After his death, the Church exhumed his bones, burned them and scattered the ashes on the River Swift in England. Wycliffe’s students and brilliant theologians like John Huss and Jerome of Prague were executed about 100 hundred years before the Protestant Reformation for promoting biblical ideas that were contrary to the teachings of the Medieval Church. No one was allowed to read or interpret the Bible; those who did were condemned to death.
Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the invention of the movable type printing press brought about a shift in managing information. German theologian and priest, Martin Luther, exposed the biblical inconsistencies of the Church in a historical document that literally went “viral” and would later become known as the Ninety-five Theses of 1517. The Church could no longer contain information from going out to the masses or prevent the Bible from being translated into the common language of the people.
The Medieval Church decided to counteract Protestantism with the newly formed Jesuit order. Formed in Spain by a former military man and with membership open to men only, they set out to evangelize the world. Some notable Jesuits introduced new biblical theories. Spanish Jesuit theologian, Francisco Ribera introduced futurism, a “Christian eschatological view that interprets portions of the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel as future events in a literal, physical, apocalyptic, and global context.” This gave way to Premillennialism and Dispensationalism which has become popular among modern evangelicals, the sons and daughters of Protestants.
Spanish Jesuit theologian, Luis del Alcázar, introduced preterism, “a Christian eschatological view which interprets some… prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened.” Even though this did not take hold among Christians for long, it was promoted by the Counter-Reformation efforts of the Church.
Lutherans were compelled to publish the Book of Concord because their enemies and opponents sought to discredit their quest for biblical truth. To clear up the matter of their faith, they wrote:
It is a matter of common knowledge, patent and unconcealed, what very perilous events and troublesome disturbances took place in our beloved German fatherland shortly after the Christian faith of the enlightened and pious person, Dr. Martin Luther, and how in this anguished situation and amid the disruption of well-ordered government the foe of mankind bestirred himself to saver his seed of false doctrine and discordant to bring about destructive and scandalous division in churches and schools so that he might thereby adulterate the pure doctrine of God’s Word, sever the bond of Christian charity and agreement, and in this way hold back and perceptibly impede the course of the holy Gospel. Everybody also knows how the adversaries of divine truth took occasion to discredit us and our schools and the consciences from an understanding of pure evangelical doctrine, and to make them more compliant in submitting to the papal yoke as well as in embracing other errors that militate against God’s Word.
…It was our intention to remain and abide loyally by the truth once recognized and confessed at Augsburg in the year 1530, in the confidence and hope that thereby the adversaries of pure evangelical doctrine would be constrained to desist from their fabricated slanders and defamation of us and that other good-hearted people would have been reminded and stimulated by this our reiterated and repeated confession the more seriously to investigate the truth of the divine Word that alone gives salvation, to commit themselves to it, and for the salvation of their souls and their eternal welfare to abide by it and persist in it in a Christian way without further disputation and dissension. —Preface to the Book of Concord, 1580, translated by Theodore G. Tappert, Fortress Press 1959
UNDERSTANDING POST-TRUTH IN OUR MODERN ERA
With the uprising of the working class who voted for Britain to leave the European Union and the most recent upset of Democrats in the United States, some are proposing that we have entered the era of post-truth politics.  Post-truth is defined as a “debate… framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.” The troublesome dilemma of post-truth is that is it encompassing world ideologies.
The biblical record, however, tells us that the era of post-truth was introduced in Lucifer, the most powerful and influential angelic leader in heaven.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (Isaiah 14:12-14
After Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven, the adversary of God, or Satan, led humans to revolt against the supreme and universal authority of their Creator. The fall of humanity as depicted in Genesis 3, led to God's sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for the sins of humanity by dying on a cross.
Soon after His resurrection, He commissioned His disciples to make disciples of whosoever believed in the proclamation of the good news that Jesus Christ offers, peace with heaven, restoration of the broken relationship between humans and their heavenly Father and the gift of eternal life. Just before ascending into the heavens He promised His disciples that He would return. Later He gave a vision to John the Beloved. The Lord's final words regarding his eminent return given to the apostle John in vision were:
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:12-15
Unfortunately, in spite of the proclamation of the soon establishment of God's kingdom on earth, very few are interested in eternal realities, choosing to limit their lives in the here and now. The rise of the "nones
," young men and women with no religious affiliation and the decline of weekly worship attendance are signs of the decline of Christianity
in recent years in many parts of the world.
Canada, once considered a Christian nation, is now considered to be among the most unchurched countries in the world. Attendance to worship services at least once a month has gone from 46% in 1986 to 27% in 2010. In the United States, during the same period, attendance went down from 54% to 46%.
Why are humans not interested in life is the question of the ages when one compares a glorious eternity to a temporal and volatile existence in a decaying planet? Could the Church be at fault and bear much of this responsibility? Is it the political climate with its anti-religious climate to blame? Is it the entertianment industry with its hold on people's attention during prime time? How about the world of sports and its sway on the masses who follow their teams with almost religious fervor?
THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD
It has been about 2000 years since Jesus’ departure. Yet, there seem to be no sign of His return. Will the world end in self-destruction? Is there an afterlife? Can humans live forever What are the signs of His return? How do we know what is about to happen? Do we know the date and time? How will Jesus return? Why is the Lord returning? What will happen before He returns? Who will go with Him to heaven? Is all of this real, anyway?
WHAT IS ETERNITY IN VIEW?
Eternity in View is a series of weekly reflections on the uncertainty of the times in which we live and the promised return of Jesus Christ to establish His Kingdom on Earth. It provides an encouraging biblical perspective rather than a humanistic and fatalistic opinion of the world. It presents the Bible’s worldview through an honest review of its clear message highlighting key texts in Scripture that reveal the truth of the reality in which we live.
It is not a lecture on political or religious conspiracy theories, but rather an honest discussion of biblical prophetic themes that highlight spiritual and historical facts that point to the imminent return of Jesus Christ. There is much to look for in the coming years ahead and the story of the human saga will end well. How surprising! There is no reason to despair, there is hope for humanity and a bright future for those who are willing to enter a new glorious era of peace and prosperity. Of course, there is work to do before we get there, but who would be foolish not invest in a future that promises to be more than we even expect or anticipate. The stakes are high on your side.
The series is intended to...
- provide hope in the historical and propositional truth contained in God’s Word.
- empower you to live a successful and practical lifestyle of peace and inspire others to receive blessings untold.
- encourage the decluttering of your live by de-emphasizing the value some place on their daily challenges and emphasizing the eternal value that Jesus offers to every human being today.
The Bible has real answers that you can trust. Join us every week on Saturday mornings at 11:15 AM for a series of snapshots reflecting on the prophecies of ancient Jewish prophets, the first advent of Jesus, the Lord's prediction of the undoing and renewal of the earth, and the apostles' teachings on the glorious morning soon to come to the inhabitants of Planet Earth. Bring family and friends; this series promises to be like no other presented in recent times.
Presenter: Pastor Victor M. Reyes-Prieto, MDiv.
Live Music will enhance the program.
Free Gift for those who attend.
CALL TODAY 709-279-2807 for information.
Seats are limited.
Church Calendar |
Bible Study |