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Teachings

The Signs of the Times (43): Renewal

Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 14 April 2019

‘Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Messiah/Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah/Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.’
Acts 3:17-21

In the Greek the word for ‘world’ in this passage is ‘aioon’, which means: this age, this phase that world history is going through. This part of world-history. First the principle of death had to be conquered, which had been reigning in creation since the beginning of time. Death that as a principle has ruled the earth since the Fall of man into sin. ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time’ says Paul in Romans 8: 22. ‘For the creation was subjected to frustration [entropy!], not by its own choice, but by the will of the One who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.’ (Romans 8:20-21)

How had ‘death’ entered into this world? Because of the sin of Adam. The Bible calls ‘death’ the wages of sin. When Adam fell, ‘sin’ entered this world. And because of ‘sin’ God decided to let ‘death’ enter into man’s life. He became a mortal being. And ‘death‘ entered not just into the life of man, but into the whole of creation. The whole of creation is suffering because of the sin of man.

It’s not an upward line that we observe in nature, evolution that is dominating creation – everything getting better and better, from primitive to paradise – but a downward line, a line of dying out and extinction – from order to chaos. Death reigns over creation as a result of the sin of man. We can hardly imagine what creation would have looked like if we had obeyed God. Even now, if people today would listen to God’s Word, to the Torah, to His commandments with His golden 10 rules, His guidelines to life – then the earth would be a much more pleasant place to live, in spite of sin. Beautiful creation suffers, because of us. And we continue to pollute the earth, exhausting natural resources. We’re leaving nothing for our children and grandchildren. Violence reigns. One cannot blame God. Man does it all by himself, wrecking God’s good creation. May the Kingdom of God and its peace and righteousness and the renewal of all things come quickly!

But the turning point has already taken place in history: Christ has died and even more so, has risen from the dead! The bridgehead of victory is established. From that point on things will become totally different. First in a hidden form. In the hearts of His people, in His Church, through the Holy Spirit. After that stage it will become visibly and publicly as well, when Jesus comes in Glory to make all things visibly totally new and establishes His Kingdom all over the world

The Apostle Peter with great anticipation looks forward to this. In his final letter he writes to us: ‘Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.’

So Almighty God already intervened in history by bringing the Deluge upon the earth, destroying mankind and beast. And that will happen in the future again. Not by water but by fire. So the Apostle Peter continues:

‘By the same Word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men (…) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare (…) That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.’ (2 Peter 3:3-13 NIV)

So Jesus warns in Luke 17: 26-32 ‘Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the Flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all (…) Remember Lot’s wife!’ (See Genesis 18 and 19)

 

The Signs of the Times
Many people are afraid of the future. Will the turmoil in the world lead to World War III? Or is there still hope? What do the ancient prophecies of the Bible teach us? Are we at the beginning of the end of this world? Or are we approaching a new beginning? Could Israel be a sign of hope? In this new series Rev. Willem Glashouwer looks at 52 of the many signs of the times that are mentioned in the Bible. The English edition of ‘The Signs of the Times’ is available in our webshop. Order today!

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