Last Sunday I listened to a sermon on the imminent return of Jesus Christ. The message was largely based upon Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian church (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). He focused on verses 16 and 17, which read: “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
The pastor turned to other biblical references which spoke of Christ sending forth His angels to gather His elect from one end of heaven to the other (e.g. Matthew 24:30–31).
Eventually, the pastor turned to “the signs” of the coming of the Lord. These “indicators” of the Lord’s soon return include cataclysmic events of our planet that are causing people’s hearts to fail from fear—fear of what is coming upon our world (Luke 21:25–26). These signs consist of all the “earth-ending” natural disasters, wars, pandemics, and moral depravity that abound in the world.
Green New Deal
That’s when it dawned on me. It’s never been easier to preach on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than it is today. The preacher doesn’t have to do any research. Just watch TV for an hour or so. Surf the web. Go to the movies. It’s all there—nightmarish predictions about the doom of our planet.
The popularity of the “Green New Deal” is based on one of these doomsday predictions—that our planet only has twelve years to live. A former televangelist is making millions selling survival food under the threat of the next “super-volcano eruption.” It’s true. The giant volcano which encompasses most of Yellowstone National Park erupts every 600,000 years. And its last eruption was 600,000 years ago. So guess what? It’s about to explode again. And when it does erupt, it will bury America in volcanic ash, darken earth’s skies, cause global temperatures to plummet, and bring about world-wide famines and starvation. A similar scenario will result when the next asteroid strikes our planet.
Oh, and remember. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” an asteroid will hit earth. Just like it’s not a matter of “if but when” a series of pandemics wipe out most of humanity or the polar ice caps melt and floods all our coastal cities. It’s not a matter of if, but when our carbon emissions create a runaway greenhouse effect, overheating our planet and killing all life.
Scary doomsday scenarios have become a staple of the American diet. The media promotes them no matter how ludicrous they may be (e.g. the next zombie apocalypse). We can’t escape them. Doomsday and dystopia themes dominate TV and the movies.
Why then do we not respond in the most rational way and turn to God? If the world is about to end and all human remedies are hopelessly inadequate (e.g. the Green New Deal will cost over $100 trillion—more than the GDP of the entire planet), then why aren’t people looking to our Creator and Redeemer for help?
And even if a fraction of this stuff is true, then why are we not sharing the gospel with those around us? Who but Jesus Christ can offer hope to this planet? He is the one who created our planet, died to deliver it from God’s curse, and promises to resurrect it.
But, truth be told, our planet is not the problem. We are the problem. Our corrupted, sinful hearts—which naturally spawn hatred, bigotry, and murder are the real threat to our existence. So worry less about those giant, super-volcanoes spewing their poison into the atmosphere. Let’s look to our own hearts as the greater source of pollution.
Turn to God
God made the diagnosis long ago. “The heart (of man) is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). Thankfully, God can also administer the cure. “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations” (Ezekiel 36:26–27).
Let’s turn to God as the real and ultimate solution to our problems. Let’s share the good news of Christ’s redemption with our world. For this good news, the gospel, is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Dear Father in heaven, I acknowledge that the real threat to our existence is not pollution or pandemics. It’s our own sinful souls. Please, dear Father, forgive my sin, cleanse my heart, and make me a brand new person on the inside. Help me to live and to love as Jesus commanded. And help me spread hope and healing by sharing the good news of Christ’s redemption with those around me. Amen.
In article photos: Big Island of Hawaii, Puna lava flow [Image 7 of 16] by DVIDSHUB licensed under BY CC 2.0