In recent times, the people of NSW and the ACT have suffered much.
Bushfires, floods and now the Coronavirus. The virus has affected our Global community in ways we wouldhave never imagined. I am often asked are these signs of the ‘last days’?
Yes, in a real sense they are, as the last days began at Pentecost. However, are they signs of the last ‘last days’ that point to the imminent return of Jesus. The answer is we cannot know for sure, but Jesus warned us that such signs remind us to be prepared for His return, (Matthew 24-25).
Daniel’s three truths
In Daniel chapter 11- 12:5 there are three truths that we as a people of faith must hold onto. Important truths for pastoral care, comfort and faith sharing.
Firstly, God is in control! Daniel points out there will be the rise of kingdoms, they will gain power by wealth, but all of history is under Gods control.
It climaxes in God’s great delivery of all creation (12:1). Nothing takes our God by surprise and He is our Rock, especially at such times.
Secondly, God defeats all evil. Daniel makes that clear (11:36-39) and there are similarities between the false king described there and the antichrist/s in Revelation 13. But, we are not to be dismayed, as God triumphs.
Big God, small devil! Yet, in such times, we need to be watchful of ‘evil’,for example, the powerless, the homeless not being cared for.
The Baptist World Alliance through The Wilberforce Institute has reminded us that globally some of our sisters and brothers may well suffer, for example, religious freedoms and freedoms of worship that are taken away in this virus period, may not be reinstated in some countries and communities. Power can corrupt -we need to be vigilant.
Thirdly, Daniel reminds us that our God is a God of hope. In Daniel 12:2-3, the prophet points us to the resurrection, what an empowering message of hope.
Easter remind us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One, who died for our sins and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). He is the anointed One that guarantees eternity and resurrection life for all those who love Him.
However, the resurrection does not just bring hope for the future, but for the present. We are people of the ‘first day of the week ‘, first day of the new creation, the new order.
We are people who have been privileged with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Because of the resurrection, in these times, we do not fear death and we live and engage in our communities with the presence of the Risen King.
Signs of that last times?
Yes biblically they are. But we will join with those who went before us, proclaiming our God is the Lord of history,
He triumphs over evil and in the resurrection we have hope for the future and comfort and empowerment for the present.
He is Risen!
Rev Dr Ross Clifford AM is the Principal of Morling College (NSW Baptist) and author of numerous books many of which focus on Christian Apologetics. He is a Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance, President of the Asian Baptist Association, an acclaimed international preacher and speaker, a columnist in many Christian publications, winner of many national and international awards and for many years the Sunday evening Sydney Radio 2CH host. Ross is married to Bev, father and grand father.