Luke 21:26

Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Anyone who doesn't understand what Doctor Luke is telling us in this verse, needs only to watch the 6 o'clock news to be reminded that this is indeed true for the modern age that we live in. Stress has become an accepted fact of life. The real question should be why does there have to be so much stress in the world. The prophet Daniel gives us some good insight into this area.

Daniel 12:4

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

One good way to analyze this statement is to look at the speed with which we travel (run to and fro). In the garden of Eden, if Adam wanted to get somewhere in a hurry, he would have jumped bareback onto a horse and would have then been able to travel at about 30 miles per hour. Going back to the first of this century, the same would have been true. Until then, the fastest man had traveled was about 30 miles per hour. Now just imagine what it would have been like if you traveled to work this morning at 30 mph. Since the turn of this century, with the invention of the automobile and manned flight, man now attains many times the speed that was the fastest anyone had traveled in all the 5,900 years of history that had passed before. Indeed, man in running to and fro because knowledge has been increased.

A recent stress management seminar that I attended here at Lifeway illustrated this phenomena quite well. A recent study of the growth of knowledge throughout history shows this very dramatically. First you must take all the knowledge obtained from the beginning of time up until the time of Jesus Christ at the height of the Roman Empire, a total of 4,000 years, and give this body of knowledge a value of 1. It takes a total of only 1,500 years for all of the knowledge in the world to double. Following this period of time, the increase of knowledge would explode. One of the main reasons for this dramatic increase is one man who literally left his old world to discover a new one.

"I am a most unworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence. For the execution of the journey to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied."-Christopher Columbus

The prophecy that Christopher Columbus spoke of, the one that he would use to change the world forever, is found in....

Isaiah 40:22

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

Keeping in mind that the first 4,000 years of knowledge was doubled in only 1,500 years is just the beginning. All the knowledge of the human race would double again between 1500 and 1800, a mere 300 years. Now things really begin to pick up. Between 1800 and 1900, human knowledge would again double in 100 years.

A good example of this is to take a moment to look at the technology of war. Think for a moment. What type of weapons were used in the Civil War? World War I? World War II? The Civil War was fought in the 1860's. World War I is fought only 50 years later. World War II is fought only 30 years after World War I. Yet the Civil War began with horses and calvary charges and World War II ended with nuclear warfare. Do you begin to see the magnitude of the change in mankind's knowledge in just 80 years? You can begin to see how stress has become a way of life for Americans and the world.

There are many kinds of stress in the world today, however. Many of you may remember Colonel Oliver North, the center of a firestorm that we now call the Iran-Contra Scandal. Many do not realize that Oliver North is a dedicated Christian. It was during these stressful days for him and his family that, although totally surrounded by federal security officers, a little old lady presented a small 3x5 card to the colonel. The words on that card, just like the words that so influenced Columbus came from the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

So you see, God can work wonders in the midsts of our stressful situations. Returning to the subject of the increase in knowledge, during the next 50 years, from 1900 to 1950, all of human knowledge doubles again. From 1950 to 1970, it doubles again. By 1980, all of human knowledge is doubling every decade. Now we have entered the computer age. The next 5 years sees another doubling of knowledge. By 1990, it is doubling at a rate of 2.5 years. Today knowledge is doubling at the staggering rate of every 18 months. In other words, from the beginning of recorded history until 1900, mankind's knowledge has increased by 800%. However since the beginning of 1900 until now, knowledge has increased over 6,400%. Put another way, all of the human knowledge that we have obtained to date will amount to less than 1/2th of what we will know by the turn of the millennium, which is less than 2 years away. Yes, as Daniel had prophesied, knowledge is indeed increasing!

With all of this going on around us, is it any wonder that we feel fearful sometimes. God has an answer for that also in...

II Timothy 1:6-7

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Now let's go back to Doctor Luke and finish the sermon that Jesus is giving on the fearful times we are living in. Verse 26 is followed by verses 27 and 28 which state...


Luke 21:27-28

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.


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