Coming World Crises --Part 5

Coming World Crises
Part 5

James Gunn

These are the notes of lectures given to the Men’s Bible Class which meets every two weeks during the winter at Central Gospel Hall, 25 Charles St. E., Toronto, Canada.

“Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” As a light shining in a dark place, during these lectures, prophecy illuminated areas which to the human mind seem quite obscure.

The Future of the Ecumenical Movement.
The Return and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Future of the Nations.
Europe in Prophecy.
Who is Anti-Christ?
Russia Invades Israel!
Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation?
The Millennial Reign of Christ.
Climax of the Ages.

The Judgment Seat
Of Christ

—continued from last number

Fourth, it is a place for the judgment of the individual. We are not to be judged en masse but personally and individually, each for himself according to Romans 14:12.

THE MANNER: There are three major passages which deal with the Judgment Seat of Christ, each with a particular point of emphasis. First, the attitude (Rom. 14:4-13, 1 Cor. 4:3-5). The introductory question and the final conclusion of this passage crystalizes its content; the Lord will make manifest the attitude of one brother toward another.

Second, the service (1 Cor. 3:12-15). In the early part of First Corinthians, Paul deals with the matter of ministry in the local church. First, with the ministry of the gospel (1:17 - 2:5); second, with a ministry of teaching (2:6-16); now in chapter three he speaks of the minister, for it is he who gains or loses a reward at the examination of his ministry. His ministry may be worthy or worthless, indestructible or destructible. According to his ministry in the Church so will be his reward.

Third, the behaviour (2 Cor. 5:911). The things done in the body are all to be examined by the Lord; our behaviour, pleasing or wrong, will be exposed.

The results: The results of Christ’s examination of the believer’s attitude, service and conduct are given in I Corinthians 3:14-15. First, irrespective of the outcome, the believer is saved (v. 15); second, he may gain a reward or suffer a loss.

In the New Testament five rewards are offered, and these cover the areas suggested by the three major passages: attitudes, service or ministry, and conduct.

For mastery over the Adamic nature, the spiritual athlete if successful will receive an incorruptible crown (1 Cor. 9:25). For the soul winner there will be a crown of rejoicing (1 Thess. 2:19). For the patient in trial there will be a a crown of life (Jas. 1:12). For those who love the appearing of our Lord there will be a crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), and for the diligent elder there will be a crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4).

These are all laurel crowns, crowns of victory. In the ancient world these were called stephanus crowns and were made as a wreath of evergreen, and were given only as a public honour for distinguished service.

In Revelation 4:10, the four and twenty elders cast their laurel crowns at the Lord’s feet saying, “Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.” Rewards won in Christian life and service are not for the honour of the recipient only, but for the honour and praise of the Lord Jesus.

The Future of Nations

To really appreciate prophecy one should have some understanding of history. Prophecy might be defined as pre-written history. The future must be considered in the light of the past because it is merely the consummation of the past and present plans of God. This consideration must be applied as one studies the nations, particularly the Gentiles in their past, present and future.

Their Commencement

Sacred and secular history both alike are of families, races, nations and empires; the one arising out of the other. Consequently, we reason from empires to nations, from nations to races, from races to families, and from families to Noah and his immediate family composed of his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

From these three sons sprang the great races of mankind. In Genesis 10, we read of the descendants of each son that they were divided, everyone after their families, after their tongues, in their countries and in their nations (Vs. 5, 20, 31).

Through them mankind was divided; first, linguistically; second, geographically; and third, nationally. God intends that the nations remain apart, and this He accomplishes by the difficulty of communication, the distance of transportation, and the differences of administration.

Shem: This, the eldest son of Noah, is the ancestor of the Semitic peoples which moved into Babylon, Assyria, Phoenicea, Arabia and Palestine. In time they settled the greater part of southwest Asia. The best known Semetic races today are the Arabs, the Jews, and the Syrians.

Ham: the second son of Noah, is considered the ancestor of the African peoples. They are called Hamitic.

Japheth: The youngest of Noah’s sons is presented in the Bible as the ancestor of the peoples of Asia Minor and Europe.

Their Constitution

National pride causes the patriot to rejoice in his independence, and to rely upon the constitution of his country. He looks back to the date of the one and points to the document of the other. These facts seem so historically real that one is apt to forget that God has something to do with the constitution of every nation.

God predetermines the times and boundaries of all the nations. We read, “God… hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26).

What a comfort to know that the times of each nation are by divine arrangement; their rise and fall are fully known to God! What a relief to know that He sets their boundaries and decides the limits of their expansion.

All this is clearly seen in the case of Egypt which in the days of Jeremiah had passed the crest of her power. “Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed” (Jer. 46:17).

Daniel emphasized other related facts before Nebuchadnezzar: “The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth over it the basest of men” (Dan. 4:17).

Three facts of importance apply to all nations: their duration, their boundaries, and their government. These are all by divine appointment.

Their Corruption

A study of the corruption of the nations results in an examination of their culture, their civilization, and their religion.

Culture may be defined as the refinement to which a people attains by the application of the arts, a refinement that expresses itself in literature, crafts and music. The cultural attainments of life are those pleasurable enrichments which lie beyond the mere necessities of livelihood.

Civilization may be defined as the sum total of a people’s cultural, sociological, technological and governmental success. From earliest times nations have had their own culture and their own civilization.

Culture and civilization indicate the heights to which a nation may ascend; religion, the depths of corruption to which it may descend. No matter how ostentatious the culture and civilization, as in the cases of Egypt, Assyria and Rome, when spiritual corruption develops, these proud structures collapse. Corruption in the nations, both spiritual and moral, results from man’s conception of and his attitude toward God.

Human history begins with a revelation of God in His trinitarian distinction of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:1; Rom. 1:20). “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not… and their foolish heart was darkened.” This darkness is seen in idolatry. In this man gave over God, and made for himself other gods; consequently God gave over man.

Man, according to Romans one, became a polytheist, a believer in many gods and in their mythology. Stooping still farther down, man became a pantheist, a believer that the Universe is God. Man thus became a worshipper of the creature rather than of the Creator.

With man’s fall into idolatry came his fall into gross immorality. So debase did he become that he ritualized prostitution and made acts of moral impurity sacred.

Because of these sins in the antideluvian period, God wiped out all civilization with a flood, and to Noah, revealed Himself as at the first, the only true and living God.

Alas, history repeated itself and the nations turned from that clear monotheistic revelation of God to fall once more into polytheism and pantheism.

Centuries passed and eventually God called a man, Abraham, out of the darknes of idolatry (Jos. 24:2-3), and through him raised up a nation, Israel, to be His witness. Israel is a testimony to the fact “There is one God,” “God only wise.” This testimony to the one and only true God is now shared by the Church.

History again repeated itself and man fell, yes, and is still falling, but this time into agnosticism and atheism. With this spirit of unbelief has come a defiance of all that is spiritual, moral and divine. Consequently, today because of the resulting corruption, our civilization is on the verge of ruin. Morals decline, crime increases and lawlessness grips the masses.

Their Control

The struggle for the control of the nations goes on age after age. In fact, it has been called the “Conflict of the Ages.” This conflict for control proceeds on three levels: the satanic, the human and the divine.

The Word of God teaches that there are visible principalities and powers, both good and evil. Of those that are evil it is stated, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12). Over these principalities and powers, the world rulers of this darkness, there is one called “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:16). He is also called the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), Satan, to whom these titles are given, aspires to be both the political and religious ruler of the world.

Daniel pictures the struggle in national life between these evil powers and the good ones (Dan. 10:10-21.) One of these invisible evil powers is called “the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia,” while one of the good powers is Michael, “The great Prince that standeth for the children of thy people,” that is, Daniel’s people (Dan. 12:1-4). From these references it would appear that there are invisible powers assigned to the nations by both God and Satan.

The conflict between these two powers is interesting. A message had been sent to Daniel by a wonderful man clothed in linen, but this messenger was hindered in the performance of his duty for 21 days by the evil prince of Persia. The message was not delivered until Michael, the prince of Israel, prevailed and removed the hindrance. Indubitably, similar invisible conflicts are constantly in process.

Not only does God seek the control of national life for the wellbeing of all through His invisible emissaries, but through human leadership; consequently, the powers that be are ordained of God (Rom. 13:1-5). Rulers are for the repression of evil, and for the protection of the good. That God uses rulers to execute His plans has been frequently illustrated; as for example, the decree of Caesar Augustus at the time of the birth of Christ (Luke 2:1-4), and by the birth and accession to the throne of Cyprus of Persia (Isa. 44:28-45:4).

The Scriptures assert that God, in the final analysis of things, controls “whomsoever” He wishes (Dan. 4:25), turns them “whithersoever” He wishes (Pov. 21:1), and uses them to accomplish “whatsoever” His counsel determines (Acts 4:27-28).

Without doubt, Satan likewise influences rulers to perform his evil designs. This may be illustrated by the action of Pharoah of Egypt (Ex. 1-15), Balak of Moab (Num. 21-23), and Herod (Matt. 2:1-23).

If ever the struggles for the control of the nations by good and evil principalities and powers was felt among men, it would appear to be more so today. Satan seems to understand that he has but a little season, so he is intensifying his wicked efforts to bring all under his sway.