Is there no way out of the problems facing the world?
Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity [Greek, aporia, no way out], the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Luke 21:25,26
Today’s newspaper, radio and TV newscasts are filled with bad news—wars, nuclear proliferation, famines, natural disasters, terrorism, social breakdown and scandals exposing religious, political and financial corruption. Almost daily we see a close- up view of the war against terrorism in Iraq with insurgents bombing and fighting efforts to establish a democracy in their country by killing American soldiers and many of their own citizens. In Israel we see the Palestinians fighting against what they believe to be Israeli occupation. Suicide bombers strike when convenient killing Israeli citizens and Israel retaliates by killing the Palestinians. Besides these events that are often in the news there are many other hot spots throughout the world and the wars and rumors of wars continue.
A brief review of history shows that on June 28, 1914,the assassination of the Austrian Archduke and his wife in Sarajevo, Bosnia led to World War I, called the war to end all wars. The treaty of Versailles was the peace agreement signed in 1918 and the League of Nations was formed to achieve lasting peace and security, however this failed to prevent World War II which started in 1939 after Germany invaded Poland and this conflict did not end until 1945.
In desperation to keep some semblance of world peace, 50 nations, of Christian, Moslem, Eastern and Russian Orthodox persuasion gathered in 1945 to form an alliance called the United Nations, which was to provide a way to resolve conflicts peacefully but as before, the “peacekeeping” forces have not been very effective. The Christian West has a dilemma because both military intervention and milder economic or diplomatic sanctions against some offending Non-Christian U.N. member nations can produce terrible consequences. Committing forces means the risk of getting caught in an inescapable “black hole” conflict while doing nothing is not a viable alternative, as conditions are feared to worsen.
In addition to the endless human conflicts between nations, internally and externally, the world continues to experience catastrophic events, which man is powerless to prevent. In August and September of 2004 four severe hurricanes hit the southeastern United States and the Caribbean in a six-week period. Hurricanes and tropical storms occur annually in the area but had not occured with this severity in more than a hundred years. Hundreds were killed, power was lost to over a million homes and the damage was estimated to be over 2 billion dollars.
On Dec. 26, 2004, an Indian Ocean earthquake caused a force equivalent to a million ton atom bomb to send a series of tidal waves, called tsunamis, surging 440 miles per hour across thousands of miles of water devastating a vast area of eleven countries from Somalia, E. Africa to Indonesia, SE Asia. Over 250,000 people were killed and a vast number of bodies washed into the ocean never to be seen again. Over 5 million were without food, water or shelter until help arrived. In September, 2005, two powerful hurricanes pounded the Gulf Coast of the United States killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars of damage in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. In response to these disasters, there was a massive response of people around the world with food, water, clothing and money to assist in recovery. These actions of love reflect a measure of God’s character. But, some may ask, where was GOD and why has he allowed such horrific events to occur throughout human history, not to mention the wars, spilled blood, tragedy, pain, mental anguish, and mans inhumanity to man? What to do? There seem to be no reasonable answers or choices, and because of this some seem to have reached the conclusion that there is simply no way out. At least we add, no human way out.
To fully understand why God permits evil including so called natural disasters, we must go back to our first parents Adam and Eve. In the Garden of Eden when they disobeyed, God withdrew his fellowship. Loneliness, stress and depression came over them, which render both the mind and the body prone to disease. Fear, hostility and aggressiveness became the norm. Exploitation of their fellow man, crime and violence were the inevitable consequences. The body’s immunity to disease soon broke down because the dying process had begun. Yes, all of Adam’s children, the entire human race were born sinners, (Psa. 51:5) worthy of death. (Rom. 6:23)
Since Adam and Eve disobeyed, all mankind has been learning by experience the bitter consequences of moral sin and evil that results in death. Additionally, they were cast out of their Edenic paradise into the unfinished earth, where the components of nature were still unbalanced. Here mankind has toiled by the sweat of his brow and is subjected to sporadic upheavals of nature. We believe that these cyclones, earthquakes, thunderbolts and alternations of drought and heavy rains, of blizzards of cold and the suffocating heat are indications of the imperfections of the earth and are gradually preparing the earth to become, once again, an Edenic paradise during the 1000 year Kingdom of God.
God has sent His children into the unfinished earth, but in their affliction He has wonderful loving thoughts recorded in Bible prophesy concerning their restoration to His favor that was lost because of sin.
1 Cor. 15:22 tells us “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive” WHY? Because Jesus died,“ A ransom for all” (1Tim. 2:6 and Heb. 2:9).
Who Said There was “No Way Out”?
When Jesus talked about the nations reaching a point of “no way out,” in Luke 21:25,26, he was actually answering a question from his Disciples in verses 5-7 about the destruction of the Jewish temple which they mistakenly associated with his return. In order not to discourage them about the long time that would pass before he would return he described (verses 8-36) the many events that would take place. In this way he prepared them (as well as later Christians) for the long wait. True Christians are asked by Jesus to not despair when they see the trouble in the world, but to look up in faith and rejoice. But Christians do not “look up” if they are “overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness and cares of this life” (Luke 21:34-36). If they are too involved in worldly priorities, they will be too busy to search the Scriptures and notice the significance of world conditions. The “day” is here and many are “unaware.” Christians are to “watch” when “these things begin to come to pass.” The “way out” is The Kingdom of God. Faithful, watching Christians along with Jesus Christ, a Ransom for All, will be there to help the people of the nations into that kingdom. (Rev.21: 24)
Jesus Christ a Ransom for All
Of all the events in recorded history, none are more important than the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Two of these events occurred within three days, generally known to the world as the Good Friday, through Easter Sunday period. The hope of the resurrection of the dead lies at the very heart of the Christian faith, but it is also a hope that is talked about the least. We hear much talk about going to heaven when we die, but very little about being resurrected from the dead to life here on earth. The assurance of life after death on earth, or in heaven, is not based on some evolutionary process, immortality of the soul, reincarnation, or any other human philosophy. It is based on the foundation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:13-22 states: “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not raised, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vainthen they also which are fallen asleep (dead) in Christ are perishedbut now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”.
Yes, all mankind should have a deep and personal interest in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our eternal destiny rests upon it. Our every hope of a future life is based upon it. But one might ask, “what does the resurrection of the dead have to do with the scripture cited at the beginning of this letter stating “No Way Out”?
1 Tim. 2:5,6 gives us a starting point in attempting to answer this question. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Please note the last part of this text, which explains that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was for all mankind, and that in due time this will be made known to all people.
This text declares a great fact which many Christian people generally ignore: The fact that our Lord Jesus’ death was a “ransom” or offsetting “price” for Adam which covers and includes the entire family of Adam, all of mankind! The Scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus, by the grace of God tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9); they show conclusively that “he is a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
To appreciate these statements and to understand how they can be, and are true, it is necessary to know some things not generally taught in the churches today: namely, that there are two salvations: a heavenly (Rev. 20:6) and an earthly one. Earth’s billions must be resurrected to be blessed by the earthly salvation.
The birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ make it all possible. Without Christ’s ransom sacrifice, mankind would be forever lost because he is in a helpless, hopeless condition with no way out, dead by sin and powerless to save himself from eternal death.
For a further discussion of this and other subjects highlighted in this letter, write for your free copies of “The Two Salvations” and the magazine edition of the book, “The Divine Plan of the Ages” which contains 16 chapters covering God’s Kingdom, Why God Permits Evil, Ransom and Restitution, Our Lord’s Return and other important and interesting Bible topics. May God bless your prayerful study of His word and let us rejoice at the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, which promises a resurrection for all of mankind. (John 5:28)