By Jack Kinsella, The Omega Letter
I was watching Glenn Beck’s program on CNN the other day. He said something that bothered me when I first heard it, and it bothers me even more today.
He mentioned how devastated he had been following the Columbine shooting in 1999.
But then he noted that the Virginia Tech massacre didn’t seem to have such a devastating effect on him. Or, it seemed, on most of America. Not because it wasn’t as terrible as Columbine — the VT massacre claimed more than twice as many lives — but because it isn’t as shocking as it used to be.
Shortly after the crazy little whack-job in Virginia (I refuse to honor him by repeating his name — he’s gotten enough publicity) murdered thirty-two students at Virginia Tech, some guy at NASA shot his boss because he thought he might lose his job.
Afterwards, the guy shot himself in the head while the police ‘closed in’. (I set that off in quotes because it seems the police no longer ‘close in’ until AFTER the gunfire stops.
There was a murder/suicide in Woodland, California (that you probably didn’t hear about) where a 54 year-old guy shot his 52 year-old girlfriend and then killed himself.
Fifteen hundred miles away, another guy shot his girlfriend to death and then killed himself in Houston. There was another three days ago in Portland, Texas. Two more the next day, one in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and one in Murrieta, California.
In Queens, NY, Jimmie Dawkins killed his mother, her boyfriend and his health care attendant before putting the barrel of his .40 cal pistol in his mouth and pulling the trigger.
Another murder suicide in Michigan the same day also claimed four lives. And yet another; a man in Lake Havasu City, Arizone killed his girlfriend, his baby, and then himself.
This morning, I heard of a truck bomb that went off in Baghdad that killed 25 Iraqi policemen and wounded 125 Iraqi bystanders. Twenty-one members of a religious minority in Mosul, Iraq were dragged off a bus and shot dead, execution style.
In Laguna Beach, a woman and her husband were shot dead during a confrontation with police. At press time, the police weren’t sure if they killed the couple, or if it were yet another murder-suicide.
One week’s time. Rivers and rivers of blood.
Seriously, how did the news that 32 students were murdered at VT affect you?
Or the news of the 125 people maimed by an Iraqi car bomb? Or the 21 Iraqis in Mosul pulled from a bus and executed? What about the litany of murder-suicides across the US in the past seven days that you just read about?
That list is by no means a comprehensive one — those were just the murder suicide cases that popped up on Google’s first page when I queried it. Are you shocked?
I wish that I were, but I am not. Not particularly. I thought about what Glenn Beck said about it on his program, and I realized that the calluses on my soul were even thicker than his.
The last time I can remember being truly shocked was the OKC bombing of the Murrah Building back in 1995. And I was less troubled by that event than I was the destruction of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco two years before that.
I was moved by the horror that must have permeated the Waco compound as the flames claimed the lives of 83 men, women and children. By the time of the OKC bombing, the horror was mixed with a sort of clinical detachment.
By the time the Columbine killers went on their rampage, I had already become desensitized to the evil of children murdering children. Eight blood-soaked years later, I realized my first thought at hearing of the VT shootings wasn’t horror.
The first thing that came to my mind was the logistics. How did one guy carrying only two pistols manage to kill that many people? It wasn’t until I caught Glenn Beck’s program that I realized just how scarred my soul has become.
I used to be shocked by evil. My reaction has morphed from, “How could anybody do such a thing?” to “Not again!” to musing about the logistics involved in the commission of mass murder.
When asked of the signs of His return, among the signs Jesus gave was the “sign of Noe.” (Noah)
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37)
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26)
Genesis 6:5-6 give us the Lord’s perspective on the ‘days of Noah’:
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
When we aren’t confronting actual evil in the form of crazy little gunmen and rivers of blood on our campuses, we seek it out for entertainment. Television and movies can rightly be called “the imagination of thoughts of our hearts” — indeed, what is a movie if not our imagination brought to life?
And the more violence and sex a movie contains, the more popular it is. No wonder we are so desensitized to evil.
The most popular video games are also the most violent. I confess that enjoy the WWII action games like “Medal of Honor” and “Call of Duty” and even admit to downloading the latest ‘blood patch’ to make the game even more gory. What in the world is wrong with ME?
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The more acceptable iniquity and sin becomes, the colder our love of righteousness gets.
The Bible teaches that the Tribulation Period is a period set aside for the judgment of a Christ-rejecting world and to effect the national redemption of Israel. But what of the Church?
In the days of Noah, God decided to judge sinful man, but he saved Noah and his family alive out of the flood by making a way of escape via the ark.
Jesus said His return would be like the days of Noah. Wickedness, evil and the promise of judgment.
Genesis 6:8 says that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The Bible also says that the Church is the recipient of God’s grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:22)
Noah was found righteous in the eyes of the Lord and he was spared the judgment that came upon the whole earth. Later, when God purposed to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the cities if even five righteous men could be found within.
Only Lot was found righteous, and a way was made for he and his family to escape the judgment that was reserved for the unrighteous.
Of His return, Jesus also said;
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
The Church, like Noah and Lot, have found grace in the eyes of the Lord and we are clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ. God views the imputed righteousness of Christ as being no different than that of Noah or Lot.
God didn’t judge Noah for the sins of his neighbors. Neither did He judge Lot for the sins of his neighbors. And since the Church is clothed in the righteousness of Christ, it follows that He will not judge the Church for the sins of a Christ-rejecting world.
I can find no other understanding of these passages that makes logical sense, apart from the promise that the Lord will return for His Church BEFORE the judgment of the Tribulation Period.
If the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, then the Lord’s references to Noah and Lot are puzzling. Why refer to the only two historical instances in which God saved the righteous from being included in mass judgment in conjunction with the events that lead up to His second coming?
The only logical answer is that provided by the Apostle Paul:
“For 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.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
As we wade through rivers of blood, our souls callused over by a constant barrage of unspeakable evil, it seems only logical that either judgment is due this old world, or God owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Bible promises “there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)
If His appearing comes at the conclusion of seven years of judgment and death for the Church, then “loving His appearing” is an act of spiritual perfection that is unfortunately a bit above my paygrade. And Paul’s final words about the Lord’s return for those who are ‘alive and remain’ would seem to make little sense.
“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)