War is disruptive to complacency. It gives new urgency to latent thoughts, especially when the Middle East and Israel are involved. You may have thought about Biblical prophecy more than usual in the last few weeks.
You should. Since the circumstances of Jesus life, death, and resurrection fulfilled over 300 Biblical prophecies about the coming Messiah, it’s worth noting the Bible’s assurances that He will come again. And that subject ushers in some mysteries, like Gog, Magog, and the abomination of desolation. Jesus mentioned wars, rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes. He calls those “the beginning of birth pangs” before he returns (Matt. 24).
The destruction and human suffering from this war in Israel and Gaza are dark images. The Hebrew prophets paint another picture, of nations that “hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isa. 2:4). Picture this tranquility: “Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing” (Zech. 8:4-5).
Critics of a prophetic future dismiss it as “pie in the sky by and by,” a sedative for the angst of living in a fallen world with fallen people. But what if it’s actually a stimulant for reality, rather than an escape from it? Tolkien writes, “Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it.”
The good news is that we prisoners of this fallen world experience the beauty of hope. Wars, rumors of wars, and tribulations are not the end of our journey. We hold fast the conviction that beauty is more consequential than brutality. We delight in the Lord’s return, even if we have yet to unravel all the mysteries of Biblical eschatology. We celebrate our future reality with Peter who writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…through faith” (1 Pet. 1:3-5). Why not confirm your reservation?
The land where Jesus walked is once again shedding blood in war. That’s your reminder to “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matt. 24:44).