John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
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Discover the Book - Mar. 28, 2008

  • 2008 Mar 28


Today a menacing plague is stalking our planet. Quietly in farms and homes across Asia a global, deadly, unstoppable influenza pestilence is mutating, strengthening—and trying to find a way out. The last time it got out almost four million people died in 1964.

The time before that almost eighty million died in 1918. In fact, 1918 was the greatest disaster America has ever had with almost ½ million dying in just a few weeks time.

Now to get this all in perspective, think of the big picture of planet earth. Almost five million people die each month on earth anyway—but Jesus warned of something bigger. Something frightful. He said that a plague, a pestilence, a wall of death is going to stalk the entire planet. He said that if these catastrophic events didn’t stop they would wipe out all human life.

Listen to Jesus as we open again to Luke 21:11 where we see that one of the signs of His Coming is when we see the onslaught of global pestilences.

Luke 21:11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

There have always been diseases, plagues, and pestilences—but never have they been global until the advent of Global Travel. Think about it—most carriers of a plague would die before they got very far up until the 19 th century with steam engines. Then with air travel in the 20 th century—it is now possible to harbor a plague or pestilence, board a flight and land before you get to the final stages and thus expose everyone around you to that plague.

Look at what Jesus also said in the same context. Mark and Matthew capture this same message. Only they also record that Jesus said something ominous about how powerful these pestilences will be.

Mark 13:20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.

Matthew 24:22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

Remember the ominous proportion of this future pestilence being an extinction level event, and remembering the nearly self-limiting nature of ancient travel speeds—no one could live long enough to spread these plagues globally until the 20 th century.

Now think back to last Sunday night as I was speaking the news of the deadly advent of a global plague began to cross the news lines. It is amazing that instead of talking about what may happen—we are now talking about what IS happening.

Now turn to the inspired ending of human history, when the Lord is reeling in the rebellious planet look at Revelation 6 with me.

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:8)

The rider on the pale horse begins his deadly ride at some point during the Tribulation, and before his ride is over, a quarter of the population of mankind will be dead, from either war, famine or 'the beasts of the earth'.   The word translated 'beasts' is 'therion' in Greek, and means a 'venomous beast'.

H5N1 is a viral infection that scientists fear has crossed over from the beasts of the earth to human to human transmission. A virus is, in and of itself, a living thing -- a 'venomous beast' by definition.

Taken together with the other signs of the soon return of the Lord, we have something of a loose time frame.   For two thousand years, that time frame was 'someday, eventually.'

For this generation, the ability to kill a quarter of mankind with war, famine and infectious disease fits into a time frame of today, tomorrow, or, as Dr. Simor observed, "if not this year or the next, the following year", depending on the 'if-then'' factor. .

But before all this,

"the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18 )

Do you have that hope? Is Christ's forgiveness applied to your life? If not, it can be today. God still stands with open arms saying:

Isaiah 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

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