Ministry Comments

Should We Ever Wonder If God Can Bring About The Fulfillment Of His Prophecies?

Should we ever wonder if God can bring about the fulfillment of His prophecies, given the power mankind exerts over the earth? Sometimes it seems mankind can solve any problem given enough time. For example, a few short years ago experts were predicting that the shortage of energy would strangle the western world’s economy within a decade or possibly less. For good reason the predictions were based upon the fact that much of the oil used by the western world comes from unfriendly nations. It was predicted that these sources would increase the price of oil to bring western nations to heal or worse.

However, it appears that science is once again rescuing western civilization. A revolutionary method of extracting oil and natural gas from beneath the earth’s surface now appears to be capable of providing enough energy far into the future. The method is called fracking. It is in the news for one reason or another virtually every day. Involved with fracking are complicated environmental concerns, but we are told these too can be solved by technology.

For the past fifty years most people who believe in Bible prophecy have thought that war in the Middle East would bring about the return of Jesus Christ to save the world from annihilation. It was thought this final Middle Eastern war would draw the world powers into a final World War III. The catalyst for this war was predicted to be an attempt by Islamic powers to force western powers to abandon the modern nation of Israel. This would allow them to wipe Israel off the map.

However, if the United States and other western nations can become largely energy independent from these unfriendly nations and their oil within ten years, does this defeat God’s prophecy about a catastrophic Middle East war? Do the efforts and achievements of men derail the prophecies of God? To answer such cynical criticisms of Bible prophecy, it is necessary to consider the power of God to guide providence. The Bible is full of examples that display God’s authority over the rulers of men who believe they can control the events of the earth. There are many examples of God moving rulers to fulfill His purposes. A clear example is Ezra 1:1-2.

Ezra 1:1-2: Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. KJV

This intervention by God occurred after the Jews had been in captivity under the Babylonians and the Persians for seventy years. This seventy-year captivity was not only prophesied to be according to God’s will, the end of it was brought about by God’s moving Cyrus’s mind.

A modern example of God moving the minds of world leaders to set the stage for the fulfillment of prophecy is seen in the manner the Soviet Union collapsed. It was necessary for East and West Germany to be reunited in order for Germany to become the super economic power it is today. The Church of God has understood in these modern times that Germany would lead a united Europe to plunge the world into a third world war. For Germany to reunite and become the leader of Europe, Eastern Europe had to be freed from Soviet domination, which also would bring about the inclusion of many nations under the Germanic leadership umbrella. The collapse of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union happened virtually over-night. This collapse reportedly was the result of a late night conversation between then President Mikhail Gorbachev and then Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. These two men were the most powerful rulers in the Soviet Union, and they essentially abandoned the Communist system, agreeing it was a terrible way to live. The abandonment of Communism resulted in the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the freeing of the eastern European nations including East Germany.

The reunited Germany has become the third most powerful economy in the world, and once again Germany has become the center of power in Europe. This sets the stage for the rise of the Beast Power in Europe prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

There is a proverb that explains the dominating power of God, and how He exercises His authority over the minds of world rulers to bring about His ends.

Proverb 21:1: The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. KJV

This simple Proverb explains that God is able to direct human activity so that it fulfills His prophecies. The poetic interpretation of this proverb emphasizes God’s effortless power to move world rulers to do what He wants. This interpretation likens the flow of the minds of world rulers to tiny rivulets streaming through a garden. The gardener is irrigating the garden, and when he wants to direct the flow of one of the rivulets, he simply builds a small dam with the toe of his foot. As we saw in Ezra 1:1-2, the most powerful rulers in the world are puppets in God’s hand when it comes to bringing about His will.

Learn To Live The Spirit of God’s Law

In our daily lives how can we learn to live the spirit of God’s law? For instance, let’s consider the 4th commandment. We all understand that God’s Holy Sabbath is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. There is no gray area involved as to the exact time boundaries of the Sabbath. In the legal profession such clear lines of demarcation are called the black letter of the law. There is no question about the interpretation of the law in such an instance. But what is the spiritual application of keeping those 24 hours? Is everything black or white concerning how we actually live those 24 hours?

Christ gives us a good example of applying the spiritual law of God’s Sabbath in Matthew 12:11-13.

Matthew 12:11-13: 11 “He said to them, ‘If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ 13 Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.” NIV

In explaining it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, Christ was using the well-known exception to the rule of not working on the Sabbath. The Jews were quite familiar with the exception it is acceptable on the Sabbath to rescue an animal that has fallen in a ditch and is in distress. He then asked the question, wasn’t a man more valuable than a sheep?

Why did Christ find it so easy to understand and explain the spiritual application of the law of the Sabbath when the Pharisees condemned his actions of healing the man’s arm on the Sabbath? The reason the Pharisees could not understand his application of the spirit of the law was due to their hard hearts. Hard-heartedness results in self-righteousness and a closed mind. It is the opposite of being spiritually minded.

To be spiritually minded as Christ and to apply God’s law with mercy, justice, and faithfulness, we have to go deeper than just our own personal rules or regulations concerning God’s great and perfect law. The key to understanding the spiritual application of God’s law is to grasp the original intent and purpose of the law. That is what Christ was explaining when he asked, which was of more value, the man or the sheep? He was trying to get them to consider the purpose and intent of the Sabbath law:

Mark 2:27: 27 And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: KJV

God made the Sabbath for man. Therefore, should this crippled man be denied healing on the very day God made for mankind to be freed of the physical burdens of this world? What greater spiritual application of God’s Sabbath law than to be in the presence of the Lord God who created the Sabbath for mankind and to have this crippling burden removed?

We should always remember to look to the original intent and purpose of God’s Law with the attitude that all of God’s laws are always a blessing when we strive to keep them in the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

Follow The Money

There is a saying that has become quite popular lately.  When trying to understand why people and organizations act in the ways they do, this modern proverb is often quoted, “follow the money.”  What it means is, if you look at how the financial interest of the individual or company is affected, you will see why they made the decision they made or acted as they did.  Following the money concern of the party eventually leads to the revelation that their action preserves or enhances their financial position.

In the May 13th issue of Bloomberg Business Week, their “Hard Choices” column carries a statement by Jim Turley, the CEO of the accounting firm of Ernest and Young.  Mr. Turley has been involved in the national board of the Boy Scouts for a number of years.  He was a Boy Scout himself.

Mr. Turley explains that as a board member he had felt for years and said so in board communications that the Boy Scouts should end their refusal to allow homosexuals to participate in the organization.  Recently the Boy Scouts governing body decided that homosexuals of scouting age could belong. Mr. Turley supported that decision.  He went on to state the decision should have changed the policy even more by allowing adult homosexuals to be scout leaders.  What prompted Mr. Turley to push for the change and to become a public spokesman for the change:  “I came to the conclusion that the controversy (over homosexual involvement) risked damaging Ernest and Young’s Brand.”

Mr. Turley’s own statement saves us the time and effort of following the money trail.  The monetary interest of his employer was foremost in his mind in reaching his decision to openly support homosexual involvement in the scouts.

The Boy Scouts organization has always stood for high moral standards and a fundamental respect for God.  A number of media voices have suggested that this pro-homosexual policy will cause a split in the organization or in the alternative, a significant loss of membership.  It is most likely that there will be a significant change in the Boy Scout organization that will lessen or damage the organization because “you cannot serve God and mammon”:

Matthew 6:24. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  AV

This temptation to rationalize, choosing mammon over God by using the values of humanism, is not modern or new.  Humanism is the intellectual philosophy that places secular-devised values in place of absolutes.  These absolutes, which are the foundation of American culture are derived from history, nature, and religious conviction.  History because great civilizations that are stagnating and losing strength grasp at “new” secular values instead of solid traditions like “strong families”.  Religion because it focuses society on the ordained roles of men and women.  And nature because observation of nature teaches that sexual roles in higher level animals like mammals is necessary for the survival of the species (See Romans 1:20-32):

Romans 1:20-32 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Ro 1:20-32 AV)

The point of these scriptures about a society that follows such practices is prophetic.  It is summarized in Romans 1:22:

Romans 1:22  “Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, or birds, or reptiles.”  RSV

As Christians we need to observe what happens to the Boy Scout organization over the next few years because it will be a teaching example.  The temptation of putting man’s values and monetary interest ahead of the undeniable truths of God’s word, God’s creation, and the history lessons of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and unfortunately the collapsing western society should not be lost on those who understand God’s guide book, the Bible.