Pastor T. J. de Ruiter, The Netherlands
Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (NKJV)
2 Peter 3:12,13
The human race is heading for disaster...
Environmental experts are sure that the human race is slowly heading for an enormous global pollution and destruction. Scientists predict that the warming up of the atmosphere and surface of our planet at the present rate will cause the extinction of many species of animal life within the next fifty years. Many agree that this will become another main threat for the whole human race. Add to this problem the increasing chemical, agricultural poisons and nuclear pollutions and it is not difficult to predict a real doom scenario for the coming decennia.
In spite of international conferences little is being accomplished to change this course for disaster for the human race. The harmful developments are not stopped and new problems emerge continuously, such as that of the increasing shortage of clean, drinkable water for everybody and even the growing possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. Already now we see that the use of weapons in which metals are used in which the atomic structures are altered is causing terrible illnesses, changing DNA systems of the body, even of the unborn in the womb.
The urgent question is if mankind can change this disaster course. Conflicting interests of nations and blind arrogance of leaders seem to block the way continually. With many others, politicians and scientists, I doubt it very much if we can succeed in making a global turning point on these issues. We know that the fallen human nature is basically egoistic, rebellious and bent to do evil. Of course, there a good leaders that urge for changes in politics and economic values. But there are also many that are planning the destruction of whole civilizations.
Knowing all this, the promise of universal and total renewal as given in the Bible by prophets and hole writers - read for instance 2 Peter 3:13 - is very interesting and worth to explore. It gives hope in this problematic day and age. The Holy Scriptures are certain: God has a plan; let me briefly lay this before you in this message.
God is in control and will say 'Enough is enough'
In 2 Peter 3:10 we find an interesting and important statement: "And the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up." With 'the earth,' the surface of the planet is meant and everybody understands that with 'works' the inventions, achievements and fabrics of the human race are meant. The apostle, inspired by the divine Holy Spirit, wrote that God wants us to know that there will come a day when He will reveal the true nature and the destructive powers of the works of humanity and that He shall destroy them.
But before that day arrives, He permits things to develop according to the will, intelligence and ambitions of the human race. In His eternal and wise counsel He has given the godless, foolish, proud and independent human race time, a complete process of ages, to show what it can do. This is difficult to understand, but we can be assured that God is not passive or weak in permitting evil to exist, increase and come to fullness. No, it is His sovereign decision, that this must be so. After all He gave the greatest gift to human beings, that of having a free will with intelligence and creative powers.
As said above, slowly it becomes clear to those who have eyes to see, what man is doing to himself and his environment - he is making a mess of it - and a big one too. In view of the coming environmental disasters as forecasted by scientists it is important to look at our interpretation of some Holy Scriptures, especially the passage in 2 Peter 3, and the book of Revelation. Especially the last book of the Bible gives us an insight with highly symbolic pictures and scenes in what we can expect in days ahead of us, the last phase of the present world order.
In Revelation 15:5-16:21 we read of great disasters coming upon the earth and his inhabitants. It could well be that these disasters are caused by man himself as the result of his works of pollution and evil abuse of all the resources. The natural laws, forces and processes, when disobeyed and abused by man, release dreadful powers. In this the wrath of God is manifested for His abused creation itself turns against man.
The ultimate control over everything is given to the Lamb on the throne, Jesus Christ as Revelation so clearly shows. He opens the seven seals, which make it possible for these events to happen; read Revelation chapters 6,7 and 8. The eternal truth stands - even in dark days: God is on the throne!
God is saying as it were: "Man is trying to do it all without me. If this is what they want, go ahead with it. But, as surely as I live and am God, there will come a day when I will make an end to it and show the utter foolishness of trying to live without me." Indeed, God who knows the whole process and will stop it at the right time; He has appointed a last day, and then will come His Day.
Now, when the day comes that God will say: "Enough is enough," Jesus Christ, destined to be King of kings and Lord of lords will come, judge and bind the evil in the spiritual world and on this planet. Then He will launch an enormous program of total renewal of the face of the earth and the atmosphere of the planet. Then will the promise be fulfilled we find in Revelation 21:5, "And He who sat upon the throne said, Behold, I will make all things new." The apostle Peter foresaw, just like the old prophets, the great cleansing of the heavens - the atmosphere around the planet even in the highest regions of it - and of the earth. All pollutions and destructive forces made by mankind will be burned, dissolved and destroyed. Then the new earth will be created - a clean planet with clean air. What man could not do him self - He will do. The present way of life and order will be destroyed and a healthy and righteous environment will be created.
The plan of the Saviour Jesus Christ
Christ will come again and save the human race from self-destruction. He will unfold a threefold plan. I will briefly enlarge on it in this sermon.
a. A renewal of power
When God makes an end to the godless developments, Jesus Christ will become King of all the earth and set His throne in Jerusalem; Isaiah 60:3; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15,17. Can you think of somebody else, who would be more suitable and worthy than Jesus Christ, the Lover of all men, who gave His life as a sacrifice to reconcile us with the eternal, Most High God?
b. A renewal of morality
For those, whose eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit of God it is not difficult to see how far the moral values of many have deteriorated. An unnatural way of life is promoted as natural and all kinds of evils are now widely accepted. Revivals do sometimes improve morals, but they have no lasting effects. Jesus, when He comes, will see to it that right and holy moral values and standards are taught and enforced and righteousness will prevail on the whole earth. The righteousness of God will bring global peace, order and safety - things we so much desire now; Isaiah 11:5-9; Isaiah 32:1; 2 Peter 3:13.
c. A renewal of the environment
Jesus Christ will have the earth cleaned up. All mess will be burned and pollutions will be destroyed with great power. Atmosphere and surface will be subjected to a thorough cleansing. Then man can live a healthy, joyful and holy life again. There will be clean, pure water and food and healthy conditions everywhere. When the Great King will reign on earth, the earth will be restored in a state of paradise with beauty, cleanness and healthy fertility; Isaiah 11:6-10; 41: 18-20; 2 Peter 3:10, 13; Revelation 22:1-5.
What a beautiful future God has planned! But, alas, we are still living in the time, that human knowledge and ability are allowed to show what they can achieve.
The apostle Peter encourages Christians to do what they can to hasten the day of the coming of the Lord. But, how can we, believers, hasten this great and wonderful day? I give you three possibilities.
living a holy life.
b. Through praying that God will send Jesus soon; Revelation 22:20.
c. Through preaching the Gospel to all nations and tribes in the world. I just like to mention
that in this first decade of the 21 century it is to be expected that all tribes - even the very
remote and primitive ones - will have heard the Gospel. And Jesus Himself said
'then the end will come,' Matthew 24:14.
In closing, an appeal
Dear fellow believer, don't put your hope upon man, but look forward to the day when the Lord will come. And do all you can, together with your fellow believers, to hasten this wonderful day of God. The coming of the Lord is the only and ultimate hope for the human race.
As a preparation for this new era, the Great, global rule of Jesus Christ, adapt your lifestyle as much as possible to the values of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles.
Therefore, in the light of the present global environmental, political, religious and social developments, I call on every Christian to live a holy life, pray without ceasing and help to fulfill the great worldwide mission to spread the good news of the Gospel. Then we can truly pray: "Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus!" Amen.
Questions? E-mail.... Pastor T. J. de Ruiter