Terror in London

“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things
which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
 – Luke 21:25

Within a two-week period the subways and buses of London twice felt the sting of terrorism. Accustomed to such attacks from the IRA, this time it was a different enemy – Islamic extremists. While the second group of suicide bombers failed in their mission, they provided a grim reminder of the blasts two weeks prior that killed scores of commuters.

Since the successful assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the forces of these extremists, working closely with the Al Qaeda organization of Osama Ben Ladin, have rapidly increased. Successful bombings in Bali and Madrid were the precursors of the London attacks. Added to these are the daily explosions in Iraq that have take the lives of over 1800 American soldiers and many more Iraqis.

In addition there have been the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. The net effect has been to keep the western world in a constant state of anxiety and fear.

Nations Perplexed

The situation is reminiscent of the description Jesus gave of the end times in Luke 21:25,26: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; 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: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

The Amplified Version gives five alternative renderings for the Greek word translated “perplexed.” They are: “without resources”, “left wanting”, “embarrassed”. “in doubt” and “not knowing which way to turn.”

These accurately describe the plight of the nations as they wade through the muddy waters of the “war on terror.” Instead of fighting a conventional war with well-defined opposing factions, the nations today are faced with a nearly invisible foe fighting a well-organized series of guerilla attacks.

Not knowing where this shadowy foe will strike next, the countries of the world have resorted to extreme measures that many feel may threaten the basic civil rights of their citizenry. So-called patriot acts in such nations as Great Britain and the United States are but two of these examples.

Bible-believing Christians naturally inquire as to how the events of the post-9/11 world fit into the overall plan of God as outlined in the prophecies of the Holy Writ.

The Image of Nebuchadnezzar

A hint at the answer is given in the second chapter of the book of Daniel. There we read of a dream that troubled Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the ancient kingdom of Babylon. The Hebrew prophet Daniel is inspired by God to relate to the king his forgotten dream and its meaning.

The dream was of a mighty image of a man with a head of gold, arms and breast of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet and toes of a mixture of iron and clay mixed. A stone came out of a mountain and struck the statue on its feet, suddenly destroying it.

Daniel explains that Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian empire was the head of gold with succeeding kingdoms illustrated by the other parts of the image. History and Bible prophecy identify these successors as:

Breast of silver

Medo-Persia

Belly of brass

Greece

Legs of iron

Rome

Feet of iron and clay

Holy Roman Empire

The stone that demolished the statue is described in Daniel 2:44:

“And in the days of these kings [the last hereditary monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever,”

This prophecy is now being fulfilled and that stone has already begun to destroy not only the monarchies of old, but also the republics and democracies that grew out of them.

It is not only the terrorism that threatens the security and stability of the world today, but also the genocides which parade as “ethnic cleansing” and the conventional wars all the way back to World War I beginning in 1914 that are a part of this process.

Islam and Israel

Today’s terrorists particularly strike against those nations that traditionally and currently support the nation of Israel. This is largely due to their perception that the Israelis illegitimately claim control over the Gaza strip and the West Bank. These lands, the Arabs contend, belong to them since they lived there prior to 1967.

From ancient times Israel has been God’s people (Amos 3:2). However, because of disobedience, they were cut off from that status (Matthew 23:38). God’s special favor then went to those who believed in and copied the character likeness of Jesus. But this transfer of favor was only temporary. We read in Jeremiah 31:8, “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.”

Already we see that only by the favor of God and against all political and military odds, the ancient Hebrew race is once again ensconced in their historic homeland.

The borders of that homeland are briefly described in Genesis 15:18, “The LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” The river of Egypt spoken of here is not the Nile, but the wadi el-Arish in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula and the river Euphrates depicts not an eastern border but a northern one.

Both the West Bank and the Gaza strip lay within these borders, as does a great deal of other territory not currently under the control of the Israelis. We are not informed when and how they will receive these lands.

The PLO, on the other hand, claims that these lands were designated for them in the United Nations partition plan of 1948 and that Israel grabbed them as the spoils of war 19 years later.

The Bible Prevails

The Bible is clear that these lands will eventually be Israel’s regardless of any “road map” to peace imposed on the region or of the controversial plan of the government of Ariel Sharon to pull back Israeli settlements from Gaza and portions of the West Bank.

The terrorism of the Islamic extremists will undoubtedly continue until this issue is resolved in a battle which will see not only the forces of Islam but the forces of the so-called “free world” fall as well.

No wonder fear permeates the hearts of mankind everywhere. These fears ultimately will be removed for terrible as the collapse of present political and social institutions may seem to be, they will only pave the way for a new government – a world government – under the benevolent rulership of Jesus himself in that kingdom for which Christians have prayed so earnestly for centuries: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

A more thorough examination of this transition period can be found in the free booklet “Hope for a Fear-Filled World” available on request from the Pastoral Bible Institute, 1425 Lachman Lane, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272/