A new phenomenon hit the world on the 11th of September 2001 when the Twin Towers of the New York World Trade Centre were obliterated by terrorists using aircraft. Thomas Von Essen, a New York fire chief, is quoted as saying (Glasgow "Herald"(9.9.02)):
"I have a lot of trouble understanding how a God could let this happen, but that's because it was so personal. God is allowing worse things to happen every day, so obviously the choice is ours to be cruel and vicious and evil or to be good and wonderful and kind."
We will come back to that point later, but the interesting thing is that Jesus predicted that fear and terror would precede his return to the earth. In the "Olivet Prophecy" he said:
"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26)
Until recently, I have always wondered whether Jesus was speaking of the nuclear threat when he spoke of "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." For many decades the threat of nuclear warfare has caused mankind to be extremely fearful. However, our general perception of a nuclear threat has become nullified. With the passing of time and the thought that, surely in these enlightened times,civilised nations would not dare use the ultimate threat of 'The Bomb' to exert their power and their will over others, we have been lulled into a false sense of security.
However, since September the 11th, I feel that there is a real terror being experienced by everyone because they do not know where the next attack will occur. It could be in their own city, their own street, on a bus, a train, a plane, and many people are going around "looking over their shoulders" for fear of what may happen next and how the next atrocity may affect them personally.
Thomas Von Essen queried why God allows such things to happen. In a sense he answered his own question: "the choice is ours to be cruel and vicious and evil or to be good and wonderful and kind." As a result of mankind ignoring God and neglecting His righteous laws, God has given over His Kingdom to be, for a specified time, the Kingdoms of Men, and He has given them freewill to make their own choices.
We have made that choice and, collectively speaking, we have made the wrong choice because of our own ambition, greed, and selfishness.
So there is a terror which we should be aware of and it is as a consequence of displeasing God. In the Scriptures God constantly reminds His people Israel that His terror will come upon them should they turn away from Him. And in a sense that is why Israel has suffered so much, and continues to suffer, over the years - they have consistently disobeyed God's commands and despised the special relationship He had with them.
So despite the troubles they have endured over the centuries, they will continue to suffer and will, we believe, suffer in the future as a direct punishment from God. Zechariah 14 indicates that they will suffer a real terror in the time just before God sends Jesus back to the earth.
The Olivet prophecy we have referred to earlier parallels this prophecy. If we continue reading where we left off in Luke 21, Jesus gives us assurance and confidence that when we see these great upsets and terrors coming on the earth and mankind sees no way out of its dilemma,
"...then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."(Luke 21:27,28)
So there is hope for this troubled world in the return of Jesus. But what about our own personal standing in all of this? If we too, like Israel, ignore God's wishes and commands, then we also will become subject to our own personal terror! As Paul says:
"Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."(2 Corinthians 5:9-11)
"The terror of the Lord" means the fear of standing before Jesus Christ and being accountable for the things we have done. We need have no fear if we have honestly tried to find out and practise God's will in our lives. The only way to do that is to read His word, the Bible, diligently for
"...it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." (Romans 1:16)
The great thing we can learn from His word is that God has a plan for the earth and will redeem it and us too if we belong to Him. The things we see in the world around us are terrifying, but they are a positive sign of Christ's imminent return, and we can find a haven of peace within God's powerful word. The only way to be comforted and to find meaning in these times of trouble is to search out the meaning of God's word the Bible. This is not an easy thing to do, so we have a completely free Bible reading course which is designed to help you read and understand your Bible.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, then please contact us here
We thank our brothers and sisters of the Glasgow Kelvin Christadelphian Ecclesia for the material on this site.