Aloha Friday Message – November 16, 2018 – Let’s end this!

1846AFC111618 – Let’s end this!

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   Daniel 12:2-3 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Do you recognize this key verse? It’s been used twice recently. This week we use it because it is from the Old Testament reading for this Sunday as we continue to follow Jesus on his journey to the Cross and our readings touch on what is called eschatology. That is the “science of” (-ology) and the root word eskhatos. The Greek word used comes from έσχατος {es’-kha-tos} meaning “last.” It is the study of “last times” – the end of the ages, the end of the World, the end of it ALL. I wish I still had the “term paper” I wrote in high school on that topic. I remember it took a long time to type! I hope it included some biblical citations like the one above.

I’d like to live in a bright world like that described in Daniel, a world filled with the light of wisdom and righteousness, wouldn’t you? It seems that is not an option these days. There is so much darkness, so much blatant evil, and so much foolishness that there is no quiet or Peace to be had. We have wars, terrible diseases, wars, terrible famines, wars, violence on every side, and the Earth groans with the sicknesses caused by centuries of abuse. What kind of a World is this anyway?

It is a world predicted by Jesus and all the prophets before him – a world on its way to perdition. I’d like to look at two of the terribly terrible things we hear about in the news every day, and then I want to look at what we can do to end such agony. Bear with me as we go where the pain runs deep.

If there are 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world, let’s say for the purpose of illustration that 2% are militantly violent. Two-percent sounds like a smallish number – it means that 98% are not militantly violent. However, two-percent of 1.5 Billion is THIRTY MILLION. We know from verifiable quantitative evidence that significant losses can be perpetrated by small numbers of jihadists – 1 to a dozen perhaps – and even more can be done in groups of tens to hundreds. We can often stop one actor, or a dozen, or a score, or sometimes even several hundred; but, THIRTY MILLIONS of combatants spread quite literally across the world are clearly unstoppable. Something is going to happen somewhere sometime somehow that reeks of evil. From 2007 to 2016 one source shows that nearly 200,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks (not all of them by Muslim factions). That’s nearly 20,000 deaths per year, and that’s a moderately low estimate because not all deaths are reported.

Another example can be drawn by looking at Catholic Priests. It is estimated that there are currently just over 466,000 ordained persons with ministerial duties, according to one source that is, they are authorized to perform some or all of the Seven Sacraments of the Church. This includes Priests and Deacons. If we apply the same percentage of 2% to that number we come to just over 9,300. Many of the abuses we are hearing about now happened over the past 30-40 years. According to data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, from 1980 to 2010 the average number of priests was 408,547. Using the same 2% “cut,” that gives a projection of 8,171 who may be under suspicion. That’s an estimated 204 cases – not incidents but cases – of abuse per year. There is strong evidence that non-Catholic Christians have a similar rate of occurrences. If we add those estimates, that comes to nearly 400 cases of clerical abuse per year. As stated above, “Something is going to happen somewhere sometime somehow that reeks of evil.”

   There are so very many other examples of evil gripping at our lives, our planet, our past, present, and future. What can we do? Isn’t this the “End Time,” the Last Days before God finally says, “THAT’S ENOUGH!”?

As we say in our house, “God knows, but he’s not tellin’.” It’s good to remember that not even Jesus knows the answer to that one. You’ll recall what he said in Mark 13:32 32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” There are over 150 past predictions that the world will come to an end, and a bunch more future predictions – like the end to the Messianic reign in 3239 (based on studies of the Talmud), or the coming of “Armageddon” in 2020, or The Rapture by 2021. So far, everyone in the past has been wrong; that doesn’t stop people – past or future – from trying to set that date in stone. We are reminded of Ecclesiastes 10:12-14 12 Words spoken by the wise bring them favor, but the lips of fools consume them. 13 The words of their mouths begin in foolishness, and their talk ends in wicked madness; 14 yet fools talk on and on. No one knows what is to happen, and who can tell anyone what the future holds? It’s also good (even wise) to remember Matthew 24:44 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. This, of course, must be preceded by the Gospel reaching all nations as in Matthew 24:14 14 And this good news [Gospel] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. As every kid in the back of the car has said, “Are we there yet?” HOW DO WE STOP THIS MESS?!?! Well, let us ask, “What does God say?” You’ll remember seeing this before!

Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

That is how we end it. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a closer walk (↔ Music Link) with our God. Some may say, “Oh, my! That seems too good to be true!” Really? You will call God a liar? All he really, really wants is for us to return to him. Do you remember this from Acts 3:19-21? 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, 21 who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.

Belovéd, seek him while he may be found, call him when he is near, go where he is going, and we’ll all get there together. How long will all of this take? In the two “main” apocalyptic books in the Bible – Daniel and Revelation [the Greek word for this is ἀποκάλυψις (apokalupsis) {ap-o-kal’-oop-sis} – a revelation, an unveiling or uncovering, revealing], we have a phrase: “A time, two times, and half a time.” In “Apocalyptic Literature,” this represents an indefinite, evil period of time. Some interpret it as 3½ years (42 months) – or 3.5 centuries, or one-half of seven (i.e., “perfect”) years, and therefore the antithesis of perfection; since seven is the Jewish “perfect” number, half of it signifies great imperfection. (See also Revelation 11:1-2 and Revelation 13:5) In addition to that there are complicated “formulas” that dissect the prophecies in these two books (and portions of the prophecies of Isaiah, Joel, and Zechariah) and come up with a time-table that spells everything out in days, weeks, and months. All well and good, but they still don’t know when it will start! Has it started already? Just when do – or did – the “End Times” get going?

We can turn to Jesus’ own descriptions of that time given to us in Luke 21:10-33. I urge you to select one of the translations shown there and read the whole thing. That will help you make sense of this statement which is based on Luke 21:24d: until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. We have seen this kind of “time measurement” before in the past. Look to Genesis 15:16But in the fourth generation [about 400 years according to many scholars] they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. The Children of Abraham would not return to the Promised Land until the Amorites (the residents of Canaan) were ripe for punishment, when they had done as much evil without repentance as is possible. When will the Gentiles be ripe for punishment? It seems to me we must be getting close to that day of wrath and those times of tribulation. There certainly have been terrible times in the past, and I can’t say with certainty that today is more terrible than all the other days before it; BUT, things are certainly bad enough that we need to be walking in lock-step with Jesus. Let’s end this by converting every soul we see, by praying for those who refuse repentance and conversion, and by praying, “EVEN SO, COME LORD JESUS!”

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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