Dear Family and Friends,
With the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas that began on October 7, many people are concerned. Some Christians may wonder what the prophetic significance of this war is. Is this something we need to be overly concerned about as we await Jesus’ return? Are end-time events unfolding in front of our eyes? There is much to consider.
Let’s put this conflict in perspective. Understanding that there are 32 ongoing conflicts in the world right now—ranging from drug wars, terrorist insurgencies, ethnic conflicts, and civil wars—gives a global perspective. This confirms the teaching of Christ in Matthew 24, where he says, “there will be wars and rumors of wars.” The ongoing division and resulting warring disposition of humanity is strong evidence of the fall and the brokenness in our nature.
As Christ followers, should we be aligned with Israel and seek their eventual victory? Certainly, we want the killing to stop and peace to come. But because we are Christ followers, we should be aligned with his universal atonement and be for all people, desiring goodness for all—Israel and Hamas, Ukraine and Russia, Nigeria and Boko Haram, both sides of the civil war in Myanmar, and on and on. Jesus died for all, and Jesus wants all to be saved. I believe that as Christ followers, we join Jesus in weeping over the hatred and needless bloodshed in all places around the world.
An ex-military building contractor that I know in my hometown is a sincere believer, and he continues to quiz me on what is happening to Israel. He peppers me with questions like, “Is the king of the north moving on Israel? Who is Gog and Magog, and how do they come into play?” I’m not that guy who sits with my Bible opened to the book of Revelation with all the newsfeeds open at the same time trying to match current events to Bible passages. Good luck with that. However, I assure my friend that if these truly are the final events to human history, which would indicate Jesus is returning, I am all in. In fact, there is nothing I am doing in my human life of such importance that I should desire a delay of his coming for one more minute. I tell him I trust that Jesus has everything in control and nothing this world does or doesn’t do will advance or delay his coming. What we do know is that he will come at the right time—in his time.
We are fast approaching the end—of the liturgical year, that is. This Sunday, November 26, is Christ the King Sunday, which marks the end of Ordinary Time and ushers in the Advent season. We celebrate Christ’s messianic kingship and sovereign rule over all creation. The meaning of the celebration can be summed up in this collective prayer.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Considering world events, I pray that Christ the King Sunday will be especially meaningful as we celebrate in our GCI congregations around the world.
Come Lord Jesus,