I'll be the first to admit, I am not the best at keeping up with world events. Since I don't routinely watch the news and I rarely read the paper, I learn of only the the most significant of the current events such as 9/11 and the Asian Tsunami. Yet, I have been intrigued, even challenged recently by reading Joel Rosenberg's book, Epicenter. As an Orthodox Jew turned Evangelical Christian, he has an amazing understanding and experience of political world events and how they correlate to biblical prophesy.
Early in his book, he shares the personal impact of Jesus' critical words in Luke 12:54-56:
"And He was also saying to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. "And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. "You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?" (Luke 12:54-56, NASB95)
Those living in first century Palestine knew the Hebrew scripture and its prophesies well. Yet, they could not (or would not) connect the dots to see that Jesus was this promised Messiah they know was coming.
In the same way, I think we can be familiar with the scripture as well and even anticipate the Lord's return. However, we too can miss the "labor pains" of Christ's return by not looking at the world through a Biblical lens. We don't connect the dots to see how current events may be fulfilling the promises of God and the fulfillment of His plan.
"So what?", we might ask. "I'll know when I am raptured," would be something I might say if challenged in this regard. But that is selfish don't you think? If nothing else, taking the time to see the events of the world through a Biblical lens and recognizing God's promised plan unfolding, accomplishes 2 things for me.
1. It reminds me that our Creator God and King is active in the lives of mankind to faithfully bring about His promised plan. He still moves the hearts of kings as streams of water and even though we don't exactly know when He will return...we do know that each day is one day closer.
2. The knowledge of this imminent return encourages a more bold and meaningful testimony of my faith in Christ and the need to share His love. Without paying attention, I can become very comfortable in my conservative sheltered world. Yet, the realization that Christ will return and His admonishment to be "watchful and ready" motivates me to diligently carry out His mission as His tool "to seek and save the lost".
Bottom line, it is a good wake up call. The Lord is coming. I need to be ready. I need to recognize his plan unfolding. I need to be alert to give of defense for what I believe as a watching world will increasing become aware that this world is not our home.