FEBRUARY 16 2018 – a bit early.
I do everything in my power to stay physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. I exercise strenuously three times per week for one full hour, first running (5K), then biking (5K), ending with rowing: all indoors in the winter, of course.
To keep my brain functioning, I keep on writing my blog. I started this almost 20 years ago as a weekly column for the regional daily from 2000 till 2010, and then expanded it in its present format till today. In it I often deal with matters spiritual, so it also functions as a religious stimulator.
All this keeps me healthy, alert and in tune with my Lord, aided no doubt by being happily married, with a beautiful extended family, by being at peace with my Savior, and by eating basically 2 meals: a porridge breakfast and vegetarian lunch, always made from scratch and mostly home-grown.
This weekend extra thanksgiving is in order, because during this FAMILY Holiday my wife and I, together with 38 relatives from far and near, plus our entire church family and dear friends will celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary and our 90th birthdays, a unique and tremendous blessing.
We were born in the Netherlands in 1928, endured the DEPRESSION and experienced the German Oppression from 1940-45. These happenings have colored our lives and have made the last Bible book a favorite.
What does Revelation tell us about the immediate future?
The Greek title of the book is APOCALYPSE, which basically means that the curtain is torn away and the doors thrown wide because the ultimate message of the book is that EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING BECOME WHAT THEY ARE. All pretension is gone. That applies to each person, good and bad, and to each thing, good and bad. As Revelation 14: 13 tells us our good deeds will follow us.
Revelation 22: 11 sums it up, “Let they who do wrong, continue to do so; let they who are vile, stay that way; let they who do right, keep on doing that, and let they who are holy, persists in being holy.”
I believe that this applies to today and indicates that the time for ‘conversion’ is over and the time for the Apocalypse is here.
Today REVELATION is everywhere. Males are increasingly exposed as chauvinists; females are increasingly seen as capable, assertive, and equal if not better than men, evident in longer lives and healthier attitudes. Business is increasingly seen as exploitive of nature, and unable to change its way. Nature is increasingly seen as vulnerable, evident in Climate Change. Churchy Christianity is increasingly seen as irrelevant, and politics is increasingly seen as self-serving. Finally the entire world is on the way to environmental and economic collapse, with God lending a helping hand.
So what are the specific dangers Revelation tells us about?
From Revelation 15: 5 till 16: 21 the last things are set into motion. Here John, the author, imprisoned on the island of Patmos, relates how the coming disasters resemble those 10 plagues the ancient Pharaoh regime experienced, culminating in the deaths of everybody first-born, and resulting in the EXODUS of the Jewish people under Moses. The coming – far worse -catastrophes will ultimately also result in an EXODUS, this time of sinners only, while the saints will permanently settle on the purified Earth.
What is particularly frightening is that even the sun and the earth become enemies, with the sun becoming dangerously hot and the weather increasingly a universal threat. Just look at Chapter 16, where the vengeance of creation is reaching a climax, “From the sky huge hailstones of about 100 pounds each fell upon men and women. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the weather disaster was so terrible.”
Yes, weather disasters are out there NOW.
Last year the USA experienced three major hurricanes. A recent report tells us that the world’s oceans have never been warmer. We all know that there is a close connection between the severity of hurricanes and the temperature of the Seven Seas.
A TERRIBLE EARTHQUAKE.
But the real danger comes from THE EARTHQUAKE. (Verse 19) “No earthquake like it has ever occurred since humanity appeared, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed.”
Well, it looks like the world is getting ready for this: the entire Pacific Rim is in motion. The Ring of Fire, that major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, has already seen a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are occurring there daily.
This horseshoe-shaped danger zone, containing 452 volcanoes, extends from the entire Pacific West Coast, through Alaska onto all of East Asia, including the Indonesian Archipelago.
Then there is Super-volcano at Yellowstone National Park. This past year have seen hundreds of small earthquakes there, caused by subterranean turmoil simmering just under the surface. The word “Super-volcano” says it all: once this erupts, it alone could wipe most of North America off the map.
Actually the entire world is astir.
Lately a cluster of earthquakes has hit the Greenland Sea indicating that there is a lot of stress where the fault line is bending. The real danger there is methane, a gas 100 times more dangerous for Global Warming than the car exhausts emanating from our very own billion tail pipes globally.
Sam Carana, actually Dr. Guy McPherson, writes THE ARCTIC NEWS blog. He monitors the METHANE there, buried under the so-shallow Arctic Sea, where trillions of tons of that dangerous gas are buried. As the Arctic warms – and it does that at a clip three times as fast as Global Warming – once the methane there is affected, the world would heat up 10 Degrees Celsius in a few years, burning everything, everybody to a crisp.
Today it’s anybody’s guess what the consequences are for an ice-free Arctic, where, on February 5, a few weeks ago, the temperature on the North Pole was 30 Degrees Celsius warmer than normal, well above freezing, while most of North America was suffering Arctic conditions.
Then there is the melting of trillions of tons of ice at both poles which harbors the dangers of the earth’s axle twisting, causing friction in all the wrong places, exacerbating the dangers of universal earthquakes and even threatening a switch in poles. A recent report states that a reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles is possible and could seriously mess with life as we know it. Fact is that we playing Russian roulette with the planet and anything can happen.
The situation on land is also worsening. Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have reduced protein in goldenrod pollen, a key late-season food source for North American bees. The title of a paper, in the 13 April 2016 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B, tells the story: Rising atmospheric CO2 is reducing the protein concentration of a floral pollen source essential for North American bees.
Scientists, historians and politicians alike have begun to warn that Western culture is reaching a critical juncture. Cycles of inequality and resource use are heading for a tipping point that in many past civilizations precipitated political unrest, war and finally collapse.
How do we react to all this?
The Bible comes right to the point: Revelation 16 quite accurately portrays how the people take this. Do they succumb to despair? No. Do they flee from the big cities to the wilderness and seek refuge somewhere in the quietness of the countryside? No. Do they abandon all norms of decency and start fighting each other as wild animals? No. Does this so cleverly constructed society degenerate in a desperate mass of people, a wildly possessed crowd? No.
No, nothing of this sort of thing happens. The Bible relates that there’s not a trace of confusion to be noticed. Of course people are unsure. Of course there is a good amount of despair. But conversion? No, they curse God, the God of the heavens! Revelation 16: 9, “They are seared by the intense heat – Global Heating!- and they curse the name of God, who has control over these plagues, but they refuse to repent and glorify him…..(verse 11) They gnaw their tongues in agony and curse the God in heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refuse to repent of what they had done.”
The Fall of Babylon
In veiled, secretive language John continues to tell us how all this is unfolding. The entire Revelation 18 is devoted to the Fall of Babylon.
Babylon was the place of EXILE for Israel some 2,500 years ago.
How deeply had been the impression Babylon made on the ancient people of Israel, that after many centuries the name of this city appears in this prophecy: ancient Babylon, the city of Nebuchadnezzar, the city where Belshazzar spoke his haughty words, where he received a rude awakening when the Persian armies secretly invaded it during the night.
Today that ancient city is long gone, completely destroyed. Desert sand has covered it all, has crawled into its deserted defenses, and has blanketed the old ruins with a carpet of oblivion.
No, John’s prophecy has nothing to do with that ancient world city.
It has everything to do with current urbanization. It has everything to do with the world city now dominating the entire globe, where nothing has remained ‘pristine’, where the most remote regions, the most impregnable places are contaminated with human waste. There’s not a spot on earth, not a single molecule anywhere where either the air or the water or the soil, or all three have retained their purity, all thoroughly harmed by human action. Exponential growth has taken us in my life time from a relatively empty world to a world full of people and their furniture. It is now full of our things and empty of God’s things, witness THE SIXTH EXTINCTION. It needs TOTAL RENEWAL.
Yes, now with the entire world ‘urbanized’ the world BABYLON simply indicates our contemporary world.
So how will the world look like before renewal?
I love the language of that chapter, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! New York, Toronto, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Moscow, Cape Town: all gone. She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, and a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries and the kings of the earth committed adulteries with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
That truly depicts our current situation: pure madness. Climate Change, our incessant burning of fossil fuels, our destruction of The Trees of Life, our poisoning of soil, air, seas, is total folly: adultery, the Bible calls it, because adultery destroys from within.
God has infected the world with itself, curses it with insanity, witness the senseless politics everywhere. Madness, human madness, is the theme of this amazing chapter 18.
The mad race to the END.
Today we see the beginning of the total destruction. All the signs are there: we are rushing to the end. Do you for a minute believe that TV advertising will cease, enticing people to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have? Do you really believe that GM, Toyota and Volkswagen will stop manufacturing their polluted products? Do you really believe that we will from now on become devoted environmentalists and make it our life-goal to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle? Do you really believe that the billions in China and India voluntary will let go of Western luxuries and remain mired in poverty?
I repeat Revelation 22: 11, “Let they who do wrong, continue to do so; let they who are vile, continue in that way; let they who do right keep on doing that, and let they who are holy, continue to be holy.”
APOCALYPSE simply means that our cover is gone, that the mask is torn away, exposing the true nature of us humans and our possessions.
That is the basic message of the book of REVELATION:
EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY WILL BECOME WHAT THEY ARE, both for good and bad.
If we want to be part of the NEW BEGINNING, now is the time to examine ourselves whether we truly are what we are meant to be, because the END will come without warning. Soon.