Living with destructive danger –

Living with destructive danger

“Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” – Matthew 24:3

Ezekiel 33:4-7

 4 If those who hear the warning refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die.

 5 They heard the warning but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives.

 6 But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.

 7 Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.

Stromboli is an island off the coast of Sicily. It has a full-time population of about 500 souls living there. What makes this island unique is that it has an active volcano, Mount Stromboli. It repeatedly rumbles and is always active. It has near-continuous summit explosions. During the day, smoke can be seen ascending from the top. At night, diamantine flecks shimmer in the dark. Occasionally, lava shoots skyward from the top and illuminates the sky and land. It has been dubbed the Lighthouse of the Mediterranean. Superheated lava is harmlessly funneled to the sea from a slope named Sciara del Fouco (Stream of Fire).

The local population has acclimated themselves to the volcano’s rumbling and background noise. Much like people living near railroad tracks or an airport. But obviously, it represents significantly more danger. It can erupt destructively at any time. Paradoxically, apart from occasional moments of terror, it is a delightful place to live. Gaia Squarci, a photographer and videographer, commented that it provides “a calm, with a tension underneath.”

Volcanologists use it as a “living” natural lab in an attempt to identify and document warning signs of coming eruptions. Their goal is to be able to accurately forecast destructive eruptions. Eruption predictions can provide ample warning to those in harm’s way.

Mount Stromboli is laced with all types of detection equipment looking for significant changes that can be signs of coming events. Volcanoes tend to inflate before they erupt. Mount Stromboli fits the pattern. They created an early warning system in 2019. It has proven effective, but there is still a high degree of unpredictability.

Biblically grounded people are well aware that the catastrophic destruction of planet Earth has been foretold. They observe significant changes that may be signs of coming events. This is an active concern of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ is on earth. They knew He was the Messiah, the King of Israel. They wanted to know when He would set up His kingdom. When He entered Jerusalem for the last time before His looming Crucifixion, they asked Him when the Kingdom would begin and what will be the sign of His return and the end of the age.

“Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” – Matthew 24:3

REFLECT & PRAY

We would be prudent to learn from the Stromboli volcano and be mindful of the predictions and take effective measures when required.

Father You know the end from the beginning. You have predicted will come to pass and have seen to it that prophecy of the future was written down. May we be faithful watchers that heed the signs and provide warnings.

INSIGHT

A watcher must act on what they see. People are responsible to recognize the warning and take action. Society has all kinds of watchers: weather forecasters, astrophysicists, economists, public health officials, political polls, etc.

How does one of the Father’s watchers become aware? It is a combination of due diligence and being receptive. The word of God contains warnings that they should be well aware of regarding signs of the times. The eyes of their hearts should be open and enlightened to discern the Father at work. They should be responsive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and prompting. They must be sensitive and hear the Father’s voice.

Lord Jesus Christ made general and specific predictions. It was as though He placed biblically-based detection equipment out to observe last day trends. This was particularly so for the watchers.

General Predictions – The first half of the 70th week of Daniel

Matthew 24:4-12

 4 Jesus told them, Don’t let anyone mislead you,

 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.

 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.

 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.

 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

 9 Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.

 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.

 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.

 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.

Specific Predictions – The second half of the 70th week of Daniel

Matthew 24:14-30

 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

 15 “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about – the abomination of desolation [the Antichrist] that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.”  

 27 For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.

 30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the Earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

When does He come? “Despite many attempts over the centuries to pinpoint the time of Jesus’ return, God’s Word stands: He will come “at an hour you do not expect.” We are to remain in a perpetual state of readiness” (Stanley).

Matthew 24:44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Ezekiel 33:6-7

 6 If the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.

 7 Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.

In the Old Testament, the Father’s appointed watchers were the prophets. They were given the tremendous burden to see, to hear, and to sound the alarm.

Each child of the King has a similar responsibility. We are the children of the light. We are not to be fooled by the darkness and deception of our fallen world.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

 1 Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you.

 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.

 3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.

 4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.

 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.

 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

 9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.

 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.

 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

¯\_()_/¯

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