Did you ever notice how politicians, military leaders, and statesmen increasingly are borrowing terms from the pages of the Bible in order to describe current world conditions?
Military spokesmen talk about "the handwriting on the wall" and use such words and phrases as "apocalyptic," "our Armageddon," "the four horsemen of the apocalypse," "being weighed in the balance, "and similar biblical terminology.
A whole new group of scientists are being called the "Jeremiahs." They deliver statements labeled "Jeremiads" In which they describe a wide-ranging compendium of man-caused crises — the population explosion, the global ecological breakdown, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology.
All of this goes to show that the Bible is relevant to our nuclear space age where the potential for human annihilation is a horrible reality.
A credible, reliable basis is needed now, more than ever before, to properly assess and appraise the complexity of the multifaceted problems plaguing society in this rapid-paced, topsyturvy world of ours. The Old and New Testament documents of the Bible, believe it or not, comprise that standard. Jesus Christ of Nazareth — the central figure in the biblical revelation — was very concerned with future world happenings. So much so that he foretold, in advance, the chaotic conditions that currently envelop the earth. In addition, he gave his future disciples in all ages some very sage advice.
He said: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36).
But watch what? Simply the global series of crises outlined in previous verses — not minor, parochial, localized, day-to-day events just where you happen to live, but such major world developments as wars, famines, disease epidemics, and the economic struggles between nations and trading blocs.
In his famous Olivet prophecy (Matt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), Jesus was describing long-range world developments which would lead up to his coming rule on this earth. Continually he told those who would be his disciples to be alert to what was happening.
Jesus told his generation, as well as ours, to be aware of impending national destruction — which did occur to them nearly 40 years later. He knew that the destruction of the second Temple was just around the corner. And true to his words, just a few decades later, the Romans impaled thousands in Judea: many died by sword, spear, and bludgeon; others had to flee for their lives; some wound up in a harsh captivity.
The news is much more than a five-minute glance at the morning newspaper over your second cup of coffee. You have to take time to sit down and seriously consider the national and global significance of current events. In an age of incredible public inattention and outright apathy — paradoxically at a time when news and information travels at the speed of light — the following biblical maxim found in I Thessalonians 5:6 was never more appropriate: "Let us not sleep, as others do; but let us watch and be sober."