Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami double disaster has brought up the usual rhetoric of “end time” scenarios. Editors like to call such phenomena,”Apocalyptic“. Sources like The Sun or The Mirror  jars our senses with such headlines. Let’s face it: Japan’s nuclear emergency is disastrous. Already there is high-level radiation in the air, and the threat of “Chernobyl-like” meltdown.

The situation has caused much talk amongst ordinary people. We who are so far removed from the problem still sense a foreboding disaster could reach us. Here in Ontario we felt the tremors of a small earthquake in Quebec on Wednesday afternoon. Then reports of a small leak in a Pickering, Ontario nuclear facility didn’t calm fears any.(It was “negligible”). Nevertheless, I encountered discussions with friends about the future in light of these disasters.

The question centered on a scenario of “what if”. What if the nuclear plants in Japan leak radiation and destroy the planet? What if we out planet becomes so overpopulated that we can’t survive as a race? From the global perspective to the eschatological speculations, what is happening raises other fears, and causes people to think through their future and their mortality.

What’s interesting in these questions is that there’s a sort of “naturalistic inevitability” built into the assumptions. The idea is that life will always go on as is, with natural cycles of climatic change, and population growth.  In this naturalistic thinking, the earth will end in some disastrous way, a nuclear war, a huge asteroid hit, pandemic disease, etc. What ‘s happening in Japan, at least for these people, somehow portends our human fate-in a naturalistic apocalypse-a final devastation like the “end of the world” of Biblical proportions.

As I entered the dialogue, I thought about the true “end of the world”. While I’m captivated and heartbroken by the devastation in Japan, I know that it’s not the Biblical “Apocalypse”. Such comparisons are well meant-by the biblically ingnorant- but the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ includes the outpouring of the wrath of God on the inhabitants of the Earth. It’s a unparalleled time of cataclysm and misery and darkness, which make the present tsunami a picnic at the park by comparison. I know that the world won’t cease to exist or die in a “heat death” as our atheistic experts in astrophysics like to theorize.  I know all this because God has spoken already, with finality, and with purpose about the end-and it’s not the end of the world, but the end of the AGE. It will be followed by an incumbant age of peace and new order of things under God’s appointed King. People have told themselves a lot of lies to justify what is happening in the world. They’ve multiplied “gospels” to fulfill their need for certainty in chaos. But the root of the global problem is sin-human sin. It’s the result of the curse-and the One who spoke it because of sin, also reverses it by His Word. People need the only true Gospel now. They need a biblical worldview to make sense of it all, and find their stability in a crazy world.

Japan’s current situation may get worse. But before Japan there was New Orleans, and there were disasters in Indonesia, and New Zealand. They have come and gone. Tragedies occurred in all of them, but so did triumphs. The world is “groaning” in earthquakes and volcanoes, and killer storms and tsunamis. We haven’t seen the last of them-but the “end” is not yet.

What always seems to come out of these things is this: People ask about God. They talk about Him, and think about life in relation to Him. For Christians, Japan is a time for dialogue with others who are seeking hope in disaster as well as showing our practical love and concern for our neighbours. We should not panic with others. We know what the Bible says about the end of days, and we, in our canon of truth possess the real “Apocalypse”-the true meaning of which is to unveil or reveal something, in this case God’s plan for His people and his Glory in the Lamb of God, and King of Kings.

By the way…I ended up explaining sin, righteousness and the judgement to come to my friends…and telling them that Jesus Christ came to earth in order to deal with sin so that people could live forever in a newly renovated Earth. (See also Revelation 21-22).

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