By David Nelson
If a public storm warning were issued right this very second, how would the general public react? If the public knew a killer storm such as a hurricane or a tornado would hit their area within a matter of hours, what would these people do? If massive destruction of property and great loss of life were guaranteed by this storm’s arrival, do you think most people would likely sit by and ignore the warning being given?
I think it’s a safe assumption to say almost everyone who found themselves in such a position would be likely to seek shelter before the storm arrived. It is the nature of man, his survival instinct, that drives him to seek shelter from a storm. A case in point would be hurricane Andrew. In August of 1992, when Andrew slammed across southern Florida and on into Louisiana, the massive destruction left in its wake would make it the most costly hurricane in history. Over one hundred thousand people would find themselves homeless and jobless and the monetary total of the damage would exceed twenty-two billion dollars.
Yet in spite of this destruction, the loss in human life was very small, and the word “warning” explains why. The public had warning of Andrew’s coming. Weather bulletins were issued days in advance and eventually came as often as every thirty minutes. Through the bulletins, the public could see for itself the severe danger posed by Andrew. Thanks to these warning bulletins, most of the people were able to seek refuge and safety, which I feel is the main reason so few lost their lives in Andrew’s fury.
A man’s survival instinct will make him seek refuge in a storm. This is man’s nature. Unfortunately, it is also the nature of man to question any warning of something he can’t visualize or actually see. In the case of Andrew, we could see the threat. Images on radar screens and pictures taken from satellites in space painted a picture that was too real to be denied. We didn’t question the danger, because our information, our “warning” said that the danger was real. With this kind of proof, people acted accordingly.
Yet even now, as I write, there is a storm coming. There is a storm coming and a storm warning has been ringing out for close to two thousand years, while the majority of society acts as if they could not care less. In 2 Peter 3:10, the apostles Peter wrote:
The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
This will be a storm unlike anything ever witnessed by man. There will be no advance warning other than the warning we already have. The news media will not issue thirty-minute bulletins, nor will it report in the aftermath of the storm’s passage. There is going to be nothing left to report, nor a news media left to report it.
Even so, very few people are prepared for the storm that we are warned of in the word of God. Very few are actively seeking shelter. The attitude most people seem to have about refuge is to stick their head in the sand like an ostrich. It’s like people are saying, “If I ignore it, maybe it will go away.”
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
This is where most of society has a problem. They have a faith of sorts, but theirs is a faith that requires proof before they can believe. They require something tangible, something physical before their hardened hearts will open and respond.
Society has become much like one of our Lord’s own disciples. Look at the apostle Thomas: Here was a man chosen by Christ to be one of the twelve. Here was man who sat at our Lord’s feet, broke bread with him, was taught by him. Yet when he was told of our Lord’s resurrection, what did Thomas do? Was he overcome with joy? Did he leap about praising God? No, Thomas responded with:
Unless I see his hands the print of nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put by hand into his side, I will not believe! On. 20:25, emphasis mine DN)
Take a look at the Pharisees and Sadducees in the time of our Lord. In Matthew 12:38 and Matthew- 16:4, they came demanding a sign. A condition of their belief or faith required a sign. When Christ gave them no new sign, they refused to accept him. Like our storm warning in 2 Peter, was not the coming of our Lord foretold in the Scriptures? Did not Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others speak plainly of the Christ, his works and miracles? Did not the nation of Israel know of this and what to look for? Still, when the signs pointing to Christ were fulfilled, how did the rulers of the Jews react? They demanded a new sign! They wanted proof! Their faith was conditional! How much like the Pharisees and Sadducees have the people of this age become? The written word of God is not acceptable; they need pro-of, a sign. Faith and obedience have become arbitrary.
The apostle Paul warned, `For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Peter also warned, “That scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lust and saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
People today have become a society of scoffers; a people who are unstable in belief who have itching ears and unwillingness to believe in the unseen. They seek salvation without obedience and their itching ears listen to fables. They have turned from the truth and been pulled so far from it, that they no longer desire it.
Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them (Isa. 6:9-10; Matt. 13:14-15).
The judgment day of our Lord brings a storm of everlasting destruction. The word of God gives a warning. The word of God is our only key to open a door into refuge, a safe haven from that which is to come.
If anyone hears my words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day On. 12:47-48).
A storm is still coming; a warning still rings. Let each of us take heed that we do as the Lord wills, and not as men will do.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 11, p. 22-23
June 3, 1993