When Will the Violence Cease?
by Tom Stewart
October 15, 2000
Without great insight into the news, violence of all descriptions
is reported from seemingly every turn-- with no need to graphically recount all that
can be casually gleaned from the media. "The
Earth also was corrupt before God, and the Earth was filled with violence" (Genesis 6:11). Turning from the local or regional
reports of abuse of the helpless, we are confronted with headlines of terror, fear,
anger, and hatred worldwide. "And ye shall
hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things
must come to pass, but the End is not yet" (Matthew
24:6). It is plain that the vehement desires and strongly held beliefs
of its adherents force the violence to take place, with no end in sight. "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of
My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14).
The violence of the Earth speaks of cruelty, injustice, and oppression, which no child of God has any desire to embrace. "1 This know also, that in the Last Days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2Timothy 3:1-5). In fact, the True Saints have no appetite to fill up their minds with the savage details of the world's reality. "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19). Rejecting the position of the world, that the more graphic and vivid the description of violence and evil is, the better; instead, the "children of the Light" (1Thessalonians 5:5) attempt to focus their minds and hearts on "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report" (Philippians 4:8). "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).
Violence will cease for the dwellers of this planet when they despair of themselves and cry out to God, rather than turning themselves to oppression or suicide. "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6). The trouble is not that God does not love mankind enough to seek them out as a Shepherd would go after Lost Sheep, but that man does not feel himself able to find help from anyone. "4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance" (Luke 15:4, 7). Personal peace has been guaranteed to "whosoever will" (Revelation 22:17) by the Prince of Peace Himself. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
But, the violence will only cease for the Impenitent World, when the Almighty declares that His willingness to strive with mankind ceases. "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3). The days of Noah preceding the Flood, found the Earth embroiled in much the same circumstances as today. "5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the Earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (6:5-6). The God Who "is love" (1John 4:16) was pained in his heart about the wickedness of man. In Noah's day, He determined to do something about the wickedness. "And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the Earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them" (Genesis 6:7). The violence will cease when God forces man from freely choosing to do his wickedness; but, that speaks of judging the world in righteousness in the fashion of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. "37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the Ark, 39 and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:37-39).
What hope is there for those who really do love the LORD, for those who do no violence? "Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place" (Jeremiah 22:3). God knows how to deliver His people from personal temptations, i.e., "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is Faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13), and from worldwide temptation, i.e., "Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth" (Revelation 3:10), because He is the Saints' Mighty Deliverer. "The LORD knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2Peter 2:9). The Pre-Tribulational Rapture is both an event and a promise worthy of the Saints' examination and trust, for when the LORD Christ commands, "Come Up Hither" (Revelation 4:1), the Watching and Waiting Saints will be delivered from this planet of violence. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).
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