Book Review: What In the World Is Going On? by David Jeremiah

Yesterday, I closed the back cover of a truly noteworthy book by David Jeremiah entitled What In the World Is Going On? Honestly, I thought I’d never get through the book. It wasn’t because the book wasn’t good – it was exceptional. It was that I kept thinking Jesus must be coming back before I turn this next page!

It’s difficult to remain unaware that our planet is in social, political, and religious disarray. David Jeremiah shares “10 prophetic cues you cannot afford to ignore” without coming across as a mere alarmist, and certainly without making any specific predictions about the return of Christ. He is well researched and offers a detailed analysis of current world events, intermingled with thorough explanations of basic eschatalogical doctrines and terms such as the rapture, Armageddon, tribulation, and antichrist.

Israel plays a prominent role in Scripture, not only in the Old Testament, but in prophetic sections that refer to yet future events. Isreal’s becoming a nation in 1948, and remaining the most hated nation on the planet by surrounding people groups is directly tied to prophetic statements in Scripture about Jesus’ return. Jeremiah not only treats the subject of Israel thoroughly, but also the connection between modern Europe and ancient Rome, the role of America in end times events, the role of oil and the global economy.

The book’s tone changes to a more spiritual note toward the final chapters when David Jeremiah begins to make direct application of prophetic biblical events to the decisions and choices that each of us make each day. We all face a crisis of faith when we consider that Jesus will return to “judge the quick and the dead.” Jeremiah unapologetically points to faith in the risen and coming Lord Jesus Christ as the only hope for what lies beyond today.

I give five stars and two thumbs up. Buy it, read it, and let me know what you think.

The Fullness of Time

Time is a life-dominating principle. Yesterday I picked up a copy of our church newsletter from January of 2007 and I had published an article about how time is passing and we have to decide what to do with each moment of our lives. This is how we live – by the ticking of the clock and the passing of the hours, days, weeks, and years.

God doesn’t live this way at all. He invented time and started the original sundial in motion during His creative work. He is never in a hurry, and it is that fact that causes us so much trouble. Waiting is one of life’s greatest challenges of all. The entire world has been waiting for a very long time.

We just recently used some Wednesday nights to discuss Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 and 25 about the end times and especially the period of time the Bible refers to as the great tribulation. I believe that Christians will be removed from the earth just before this time begins in the rapture, but I also believe that the events Jesus and John (in Revelation) described cast a shadow before themselves and that we can begin to see as world events arrange themselves toward the fulfillment of those prophecies.

And when the fullness of time comes these events will occur, but it’s a tough wait. The world around us watches with skepticism to see if the Bible’s claims about the future are sure. Why then, after nearly two thousand years, am I so sure that He’s still coming? Primarily because there was another time in history when the world watched with that same skepticism to see if Israel would actually receive the Savior who had been promised to them for centuries. That Savior came – Jesus the Messiah.

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A Heightened Sense of Urgency

There have been a number of factors contributing to my recently increased burden for this lost world, and my sense of urgency about fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives before Jesus comes again. A couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday night, we talked about these words of advice from Jesus to His followers:

  1. Don’t be deceived. – As we approach the end of this age, false teaching will abound. Don’t get hooked – stick to God’s absolute truth no matter what.
  2. Don’t be discouraged. – Jesus said several times, “don’t be troubled.” We have an ultimate hope in His return.
  3. Don’t be deterred. – Endure to the end. The gospel will be published to all nations and Jesus will return, so hang on to hope for now.

Tonight, we’re moving into talking about some details concerning events that will take place during what many Christians call “the tribulation.” It’s a time when God confronts the world over its deep sinfulness, when all the forces of evil battle against Him, and when God gathers His nation, Israel, to Himself again.

Why hasn’t Jesus come yet? When will it finally be time? I don’t know. It certainly isn’t my decision and I will know only when it happens. But I do know at least three details of His coming…

  1. It’s imminent – nobody knows when but Him.
  2. He’s patiently waiting for more souls to be redeemed.
  3. The time is approaching us with increasing haste – God’s clock is speeding up.

Are you ready? Are you burdened? Are you living with a heightened sense of expectancy?

The Lord Who Heals and the People Who Worship

I must confess, as a Baptist, it took me a rather long time to come to understand the healing nature of God. We Baptists, as Adrian Rogers put it, “believe in miracles, but trust in Jesus.” I still believe this is best. But I also freely admit that in our reaction to the extremism of “healing evangelists” like Binny Hinn and other obvious hucksters and false prophets, that we have a tendency to write off all supposed healings as a mere charade.

Scripture, however, clearly teaches that the Great Physician, through His miraculous touch, heals the bodies of many people. Such was the case for the entire camp of Israelites in the wilderness when they reached the bitter waters of Marah. I’m inclined to believe that these poisonous waters made many of the people quite ill. So God steps into the picture, sweetens the waters, and heals the people. So He reveals to them another title for Himself – Jehovah who heals you.

Fast-forward about fifteen hundred years to Matthew, chapter fifteen. A Gentile woman comes to Jesus and His disciples, begging for a demon to be cast out of her daughter. I am especially moved by her form of worship. First, the text declares that she “cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is demon-possessed.'” Amazingly, “He answered her not a word.” She chases God and He delights in the pursuit. She was apparently persistent for the disciples asked Jesus to dismiss her, saying, “for she cries out after us.”

Jesus continues to stonewall her by explaining that He was sent with Israel as His first priority, so why should He perform miracles for a Gentile woman? His remaining just beyond her reach is really an attempt to lead her on in her pursuit of the Almighty, and of course it works. “Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!'”

Instead of responding to her cry, Jesus argues that He really shouldn’t be casting such great miracles before the dogs of the Gentiles. She wisely continues her pursuit, presenting a responding argument that as a dog, she’ll gladly take the crumbs that fall to her. What a great lesson she teaches us. Our worship must always have a heartfelt ring of “Whatever, whenever, however God, just bless me!” to it. So He gives in and heals her, thrilled at her great and faith-filled pursuit. Oh, for such demanding hunger that argues with God for His blessings!

In the next paragraph, Matthew records for us that multitudes came to Him and were healed, “so the multitude marveled when they say the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”

Jesus is the Great Physician, the mighty Healer of the children of men. I find it sad how we overlook the miraculous nature of God. We like to bring Him down to our level. “Well, you know I just think that in modern times, He heals through modern medicine…” Yes, He invented all of it and yes, He uses it, but let us never forget to look for the miraculous and to ask, to beg, to plead for His blessing.

I had a conversation a couple of years ago with a good friend who used to sit under my preaching every week, but who had moved to another town, gotten married, and attended a church of a different denomination. He related to me the story of a funeral that he attended. As he watched the mourners pass the casket to pay their last respects, his heart cried out within him, “Why did nobody ask God even once to heal her?”

Our answer, as good traditional Baptists, might be, “Well, it was just her time, it just wasn’t God’s will to heal her.” Though my friend and I may not agree on all things, I support his question. Why do we no think to ask, to beg, to plead with a worshipful heart to the Almighty Healer to perform miracles. I don’t believe He will always heal, for people do get sick and die, but shouldn’t we at least ask Him?

The theological argument that has arisen from this issue relates to the atonement, and whether or not physical healing for all of God’s people was purchased at the cross or not. I think it’s a moot point either way. The cross proves He heals in the ultimate way, spiritually and eternally. Healing didn’t necessarily have to be purchased, in the sense of a financial transaction, by His atoning death. He was already able to heal, but His atoning death was the ultimate picture of the great work of an Almighty Physician to heal the diseases of the spirit, the soul, and the body.

I think we have naturalized God and have forgotten that He’s a God of tremendous power, who is overwhelmed with compassion, and who desires to give unspeakable peace and joy to His children. He is just as alive and well today as He was in the days of Moses and Jesus. As the old song puts it, “He is able to deliver thee!” So ask, pray, beg, be an intercessor, anoint with oil, believe that He will work miracles, but ultimately trust His decisions no matter what.

Are You Breathing?

“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!” -Amos 6:1

I remember a movie I saw as a kid about a family that was moving across the country. They owned a Saint Bernard dog that was so fat and lazy they only way they could tell if the dog was alive was to place a mirror under its nose to see if it was still breathing. Spiritually, we ought to check our breath every day to make sure we are alive and breathing.

Amos wrote a very harsh prophecy to the northern kingdom of Israel and his message to them in chapter six was “Watch out, those of you who are too comfortable!” Apathy is a deadly disease to our spiritual growth. When we stop caring about the lost around us, we stop witnessing. When we stop caring about the Word, we stop growing spiritually. When we trust in our bank accounts and IRA’s instead of the living God, we stop walking by faith.

Are you alive and breathing today? Check your life. Woe to us who are at ease in America! Let’s wake up and have revival.

I Shall Arise

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” -Micah 7:8

When I was rather young, I went sledding down Bowling Green’s “Hospital Hill” one snowy day with my brother and my Dad. I was so excited about taking my first run on my own, but something went terribly wrong. there was a snowdrift covering a stump and I hit it head on. The sled went down, I went up (and what goes up must come down) and I hit the ground and lay flat on my back. My wind was gone, I felt I couldn’t breathe, and I was panicking. In moments my brother and my Dad were there to check on me. But the instant they saw that I would survive, their concern turned to jubilation. They laughed! They laughed hard! And I must admit, it was probably funny.

Others often take our calamity lightly. Our pain and our suffering, to us, is always immense. We see the world from a darkened valley while the masses look on from the cliffs and mountain peaks. Our enemies especially take advantage of every opportunity to rejoice in our tragedies. But for the Christian there is a great promise – our calamities are but for a moment. Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah, knew what would befall Israel in a matter of decades. He knew of their coming captivity and the suffering they would endure under slavery to Babylon.

The nations around Israel could rejoice at her defeat, but Micah, speaking under inspiration of God gave warning to the nations. Rejoice not! We have not been destroyed, we shall rise! Darkness is inevitable, it will consume half of every day. Falling is part of life. But Micah reminds us that for all of the failures of the children of God, there will be a rising in the end. For the darkness we endure here, there is the light of God’s presence and the revelation of His promises. The future is bright, our hope endures. As children of the King, we shall rise and reign! Take courage, be hopeful, the end is not yet!

Israel – Chosen by God Forever

“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” – Hosea 3:5

Afterward… in the latter days. God’s promise concerning Isreal is yet to be completely fulfilled, but certainly will be someday. When? Afterward. After their purchase with the blood of Jesus on the cross. After He ascends to heaven and empowers the church, through the Holy Spirit, to carry out the great commission. After the Gentiles have been told the good news and have had opportunity to respond. After the age of grace and of the church. Then… in the latter days.

Amazingly, Hosea predicts that the Isrealites will seek the Lord and David, their king. David was dead and in the grave when Hosea wrote his prophecy, but David’s throne would live forever through His “son” (descendent according to the flesh) Jesus Christ. Someday, Israel will seek Christ as Lord and will live under His rule and His reign. Is God finished with the Jews? Absolutely not. He has only begun and thankfully, He has allowed time to graft Gentile believers into His forever family as well.

Our God is in charge of time and eternity. He will see to it that Jesus comes at the right moment of human history to set all things right. Afterward… in the latter days… all will be well. Are you ready?