A Milestone on the Road to Life
‘But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves up and lift up YOUR heads, because YOUR deliverance is getting near.’
Luke 21:28

Jesus taught his followers to view earthly events as predictable steps on the way to a wonderful Divine future. Looking at the “bigger picture” protected them from anxiety, no matter how dramatic or fear-inspiring those earthly events would be. This week’s news provides the perfect reason for us to take Jesus’ words to heart.


Climate Conference, Copenhagen
The tone coming from Copenhagen at the international conference on climate change is one of astonishment.

The
Last Prophet

  • The last prophet of Mankind’s era, and the powerful message leading to Christ’s return.

Stepping-
Stones

  • God’s route to Mankind's recovery and reconciliation to Him

Climate Crisis
countdown

  1. Decline of the Species
    - predictions and their consequences
  2. Understanding the Signs
    - when clarity is no longer dependent upon analysis
  3. Facing Our Limitations
    - realisation dawns
Sea level rises - estimated recently at 0.57 metre by the end of the century - have been reassessed as between 1 metre and a metre and a quarter; up to half of the globe could be uninhabitable by the end of the century; and global warming - which the Hadley Centre in Britain believed could be held below 3°C - is now fully expected to be surpassed. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) have re-evaluated their own predictions of just two years ago as woefully optimistic - and these groups have some of the best climate scientists in the world.


This is less a reflection on their skills, and more a sign of the unprecedented rate of change in the environment. One scientist expressed his own feelings of exasperation:


‘Predictions for [ice-free summers in] the Arctic are a prime example. In the 1990s there were only speculative, glacial-era predictions [on an ice-free summer]; by 2000 as we considered the prospect seriously, we had placed a date of between 2150 and 2100; by 2003 it had been reassessed as 2080, then 2050, and today [2008] it is expected within the next five years. ...Within a few short years this huge geological event may have transformed from unthinkable to historical fact.’


For scientists used to thinking in terms of millennia, the rate of change is disorienting. In just over a decade, the relevance of their historical knowledge, theories and computer predictions has become outdated. To some, it must seem that they are now working in a completely different branch of the sciences.


A Genuine Milestone
This news from Copenhagen is a genuine milestone. What makes it so serious is that it reports - not another natural event such as ice-shelf failure or heatwave - but the fallibility of Mankind to predict what will happen. These quite brilliant scientists and environmentalists are the very ones on whom governments - the “superior authorities” (Romans 13:1) - need to rely for advice. Now those advisors admit difficulties in predicting 18 months into the future, such is the nature of the climate crisis. They do have fine ideas on how to limit the damage - but they still need the authorities to enact them and news of their fallibility will affect the confidence of those they advise.


It would be ever so easy to feel anxious in light of this news:


‘When the world’s best minds are taken by surprise, what hope is there? Whom can the governments rely on for accurate information, advice and predictions? And with another crisis - a global financial crisis - demanding so much time and money, how can nations justify novel environmental projects when the experts themselves are feeling shaken?’


Jesus’ advice in Luke’s gospel is exactly for times like these. When the way forward seems uncertain or dangerous or hopeless, he urges us to look beyond our own counsel and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), to look at the bigger picture...


The Bigger Picture
Almighty God always knew we would reach a stage like this - it was inevitable. The - “Can Mankind manage without God?” - is the issue at stake: we were always going to be the “architects of our own demise”. And yet, far from bringing about our demise, by God’s kindness the dreadful climate crisis has become the strangely merciful lynch-pin to our salvation, a final stage in Mankind’s self-realisation. Yes it will be too strong for us, but God was always going to catch us from our fall. It will bring out the best in us, as we learn the truth of Jeremiah’s words:


‘I well know, O Jehovah, that earthling man’s own path of life does not belong to him. It is not even for him to direct his own steps.’
Jeremiah 10:23


and call to the Heavens for help. When world leaders finally admit they need God’s guidance, our Lord Jesus Christ will return in authority and sooth the climate crisis


But this is merely the beginning: Every problem in human life will be alleviated by our new King. Every problem - health, injustice, age, hopelessness, aimless lives, insecurity... - every sad state that Mankind, in it’s independence from God, has cultivated will be eased as our Lord Jesus Christ offers the guidance that it has refused to take since Adam’s time. He’ll teach us, and we will have the delight ourselves in putting right problems we have yearned for years to see removed from the face of human life.
Our Lord’s advice is to help us now; to lose the fear which the climate crisis inspires. As certain of Jehovah’s promise as if it had already happened
He’ll teach us - we won’t be alone - we’ll thrive and feel achievement, but in real safety, knowing we are no longer reliant on ourselves.


This is the whole theme of the Bible (Genesis 3:1-5) - since before Jesus walked the earth, before the Hebrew nation, even before Adam left Eden - the whole reason for the form of Mankind’s self-rule; and once completed, the issue will be closed - a new period begins with new guidance for a refined and confident and trusting human race. This is the bigger picture Jesus urged his followers to “...raise their heads” for, to scan the horizon and see the marvellous life that lies - for us - just a few short years away.


Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let YOUR petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that transcends all thought will guard YOUR hearts and YOUR mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7


Our Lord won’t return until invited, and the world leaders (Romans 13:1,2) won’t call for help until the situation is truly desperate. It isn’t up to you or me. The climate crisis is the final part of the journey - and this week’s news from the scientists is an important milestone. Those courageous and intelligent advisors to the authorities are showing them more clearly the path that lies ahead.


Not Helpless
Though we may need to call for help, Jehovah doesn’t intend we should be broken. Many people call for help far in advance of their own crises, and many call with a glad heart. We shouldn’t think for a moment that these scientists have had their day. NO! It takes real courage to report one’s limitations, and is actually quite liberating - there’s still a lot of living to enjoy afterwards. They’re doing today what the world rulers will eventually do, spurred on by their example. Whether these brilliant and caring souls believe in God or not, they’re showing a clean attitude, they’re pointing the way - and will show that it is nothing to be feared.


Far from being redundant to us, these brilliant and caring minds will now find themselves freed from the intellectual restrictions that had been a part of their working lives: standard ways of thinking, historical patterns which were “beyond question”, adherence to conventions of what is probable and what it not. Now they’ll be exploring every direction, far more likely to think in a freer manner, laterally, bouncing ideas around - like the enthusiastic students they once were - unconstrained by the old ways of thinking and developing newer ways to help all of us to manage the difficult years ahead. Far from being redundant, their reasoning and advice will be fresh, innovative, more brilliant, very much alive - a breath of fresh air that the world leaders should be delighted to receive. If those rulers can adopt some of that same spirit, then the transition from Mankind’s rule to Christ’s Kingship can be a smooth one - and show just how much potential this race made in God’s image really has for the fine future - the real life - which lies just a few years ahead.


‘But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves up and lift up YOUR heads, because YOUR deliverance is getting near.’
Luke 21:28


There is a marvellous future ahead under Christ’s care, an excellent life waiting for us all. He wants us to enjoy a taste of it now - in this time of worry and concern - he’s offering to take away our fears now. All we’ve ever needed to do, is ask.