Number 101


(Originally published 10 Mar. 79)

We live in a world that has gone awry and men are incapable of putting it back on its course. It is a world that is sick unto death, beset with all kinds of physical, political, and social maladies. And since men are the cause of most of the world’s troubles, there can be no hope that men will straighten it out. One period of peril follows another, and we watch with amazement as the prophecy recorded in 2 Timothy 3:1 is being fulfilled before our eyes. The old optimistic illusion that education, science, or religion can do something that will rectify this has given way to disturbing doubt. Sober-minded statesmen are frankly admitting that the problems of races and nations are beyond solution. Even the cherished American dream of a compassionate nation fighting for a world of order, justice, and decency has given way to disillusionment and despair.

All the while "evil men and seducers wax worse and worse." Criminal acts are now taking on such magnitude and ferocity that one hardly dares to think of what evil men will do next. There is no need to cite examples. Every newspaper and news-magazine reports these shocking acts almost daily. We get the shock treatment every day as we read what is taking place. Increasingly it becomes more evident that we are not just passing through another one of those crises which are common to mankind, but that we have reached a cataclysmic junction in the history of the world where something of far-reaching magnitude has to happen. If evil men and seducers continue to wax worse and worse, and they certainly will, there being no present earthly power that can stop them, then life upon this planet will hardly be desirable. Man has ruined the world, and as he continues his ruinous course, he will more and more bring it into a state in which humanity can no longer endure the appalling conditions that will have been created.

In view of the desperate situation that now exists, the question is being asked, "Why doesn’t God do something?" Others more reverently say, "God must do something!" Some belligerently say, "If God exists, why doesn’t He act." And since He has not acted, some are concluding that He does not exist, and a few have declared that God is dead.

The Biblical answer to all such questions and statements is that GOD IS GOING TO INTERVENE. In His own time and in His own way He will intervene. At times we would like to ask Him to hurry it up, especially as the terrors of these times seem to draw nearer to us personally. But we should not do this. He has promised in His Word that He will act. The Bible reveals that it is His purpose to inject Himself positively and manifestly into the flow of human history, to reverse that flow and turn it toward Himself. He speaks of a time when: "Evildoers shall be cut off" (Psa. 37:9); when He shall: "break the strength of evil and wicked men, and bring their wickedness to an end" (Psa. 10:15). He has promised that He will assume sovereignty, that the government will be His, and that He will be the governor among the nations (Psa. 22:28); and tells of a time when He will speak from heaven and cause wars to cease to the ends of the earth, destroying all instruments of war by a word from His mouth (Psa. 46:6-10). He declares that He will stop the flow of iniquity, especially that which flows from the mouth of men (Psa. 107:2).

These are only a few of the things God has declared that He will do, and they will all be done by and through His Son Jesus Christ. Furthermore, they will be done while He remains in His appointed place in heaven. Not one of these promises are in any way dependent upon the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. He is now in the best, proper place to govern the earth and men upon it. He must reign (govern) from the throne (seat) of divine government (Psa. 103:19) until His enemies are all under His feet (His footstool) (1 Cor. 15:25).

The words of Dr. George E. Ladd, Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary are certainly appropos here. He says: "God has permitted Satan to exercise his power in human history. Our generation has witnessed diabolical evils which the preceding generation would have said were impossible for enlightened, civilized men. The demonic element in history is increasingly manifesting itself. God will not permit Satan to exercise his power in human history forever. Man will not destroy himself from the face of the earth, nor will this planet become a cold, lifeless star. The day is surely coming when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, when peace and righteousness shall prevail instead of war and evil. The day is surely coming when God will take the reins of government into His hands and the kingdom of God will come on earth and His will be done even as it is in heaven." (The Blessed Hope, pages 5 and 6).

However, Dr. Ladd insists that this glorious destiny for man will be achieved only by the personal, visible, glorious return of Jesus Christ to the earth. In fact the central thesis of his book is that the Blessed Hope of Titus 2:13 is "the second coming of Jesus Christ and not a pretribulation rapture." With this view I strongly disagree.

The blessed expectation of Titus 2:13 is not a pretribulation rapture, and neither is it the personal visible return of Jesus Christ to the earth. It is the blazing forth (epiphaneia) of the great God, even our Savior Jesus Christ. This is the introductory event that brings the kingdom of God to the earth, and it is vitally related to the divine assumption of sovereignty when Jesus Christ takes to Himself His great power and governs the earth. This is an event to which all but a few Christians have closed their eyes, determined to see nothing but a pretribulation rapture or the second coming of Christ. Nevertheless, this event will result in the fulfillment of God’s promise in Isa. 40:5: "And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord will speak." (The Hebrew is Piel, future). It will also mean the realization of God’s declaration: "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."

The first promise God ever made to man is a declaration that He will someday act to stop the flow of iniquity all the way back to its source. In the protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15, God promised that the seed of the woman, which is Jesus Christ, would overwhelm (the true meaning of shuph) the head of the serpent (Satan as an outfiowing source), and that the most Satan could do would be to overwhelm His heel. Other promises of divine intervention will be found in Psalms 9:8, 19, 20; 22:27, 28; 46:6, 9, 10; 67:4; 76:8.

History records many instances where one nation has invaded another, occupied its territory, assumed sovereignty over its people, and established its own order in the conquered land. This, in modern times, has been done by highly trained forces using tanks, planes, bombs, missiles and all other means known to modern warfare, resulting in much bloodshed and suffering of the inhabitants. However, when God invades the earth it is not going to be done in this manner. He will not send His Son accompanied by the armies of heaven to wreak carnage and destruction upon the inhabitants of the earth. It will all be done by His Word spoken in heaven and His Spirit invading the earth. By His Spirit He will invade the earth, occupy every square foot of it, assume sovereignty over it, establish His order upon it, and govern it as it should be governed. When God thus acts His long display of grace will come to an end and a dispensation of divine government will begin.

It is evident from the Bible that God invades the earth, assumes sovereignty, and founds His order upon the earth at a time when nations are in distress, and in a time of unusual iniquity. It is when war threatens and governments are shaking that the Lord utters His voice and makes war to cease to the ends of the earth. This is the truth revealed in Psalm 46:4-10 when it is honestly interpreted.

It is at a time when there is a conspiracy of evil men and the insurrection of the workers of iniquity that God acts and they are wounded with the arrow of His truth. The time is now ripe for such action. This is the message of Psalm 64. (See Issue No. 53.)

It is when the wicked spring as the grass, and all the workers of iniquity flourish that God goes into action and destroys them forever. This is the truth found in Psalm 92:7.

It is when the enemy comes in like a flood that the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him (Isa. 59:19). The result of this divine action will be that men shall fear the name of the Lord from the west to the east.

It is in a time of ferocity when men are dangerously violent, when they are lovers of their own selves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, stubborn toward parents, ungracious, malignant, without natural affection, implacable slanderers, uncontrollable, unhuman, despisers of those that are good, traitors, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure, yet all the more religious, that God stops them in their tracks and makes their insanity obvious to all men. This is all set forth in 2 Tim. 3:1-9. It declares the character that mankind is putting forth at the time God intervenes. (See Issue No. 16).

The time is now ripe for divine intervention. We will watch for it. And we know that when it comes it will be in full harmony with all the principles declared in Matthew 12:18-21. The divine action described there will result in God showing judgment to the nations, and the final outcome will be that in His name shall the nations trust. (See Issue No. 38).

Divine intervention is truly our blessed expectation. It is impending. We should live looking for it. It could be at any moment.


Issue no. 101