When I was a young kid, my dad was providing for our family of four on a Graduate Assistant income while working on his PhD. We lived in married student housing that was built in the middle of a woods. We were surrounded by trees, bees, and weeds that made us sneeze, not to imply that it was a bad place. As a kid, I loved it.
Often, a bunch of us (what’s a bunch of kids called? A cacophony of kids!?) would hike deep into the woods, where a railroad track split the woods and acted as a defacto boundry, beyond which we rarely traveled. But railroad tracks seem to stir adventure in young boys. Though rightly warned many times, we still played on and around those tracks. Only by God’s grace did tragedy not befall us.
Each of our gaggle of guys(?) challenged the others to discover who could balance on a rail track and walk the furthest before losing their balance and falling tail over teakettle. Another required task we each tried was putting our ears on a rail track to ascertain whether a train was on its way. One time, we did, and it did. We could feel the vibrations, the shaking, signaling us that a train was approaching!
Having no experience with correlating the intensity of shaking with a train’s arrival, we stepped back from the tracks and waited, and waited, and waited. Boys aren’t known for their patience. Finally, the train arrived. It felt like the second coming of Christ, not that we had experienced that! None of us had ever been so close to a train. It was huge! And it was going very fast. The locomotive engineer blared the engine’s air horn when we were spotted. To this day, I don’t know if the engineer was warning us or just saying “Hi.”
I learned from this experience that shaking warns us when something big is heading our way. Now, if you would, consider this passage of Scripture:
25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.Luke 21:25-26
When we try to discuss this passage with pastors, teachers, or mature Christians, we often are reminded that Jesus said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father1.” They go on to say, “It will happen when it happens. There are better things to think about.” The error in rejecting all thoughts about Christ’s return is shown by what Jesus said to His disciples when they asked about the end-times.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that the end is near, right at the door.”Matthew 24:32 NIV – “Now learn this lesson from the fig – Bible Gateway
We cannot know the day or hour when Jesus will return, but we can know the season if we “learn from the fig tree.” So, in the news articles that I read today, we have “created” one monkey from two sets of DNA2, we have entered a “new age” of digital enlightenment3, our government is considering giving “AI-Enabled Drones Autonomous Power to Kill Human4”, and the “World’s first ‘humanoid’ robot factory5” will be in production by the end of this year.
When I look at the strange things happening in space, on Earth, in the earth, and by people, I am reminded of the time I felt the shaking of that railroad track. A train is coming, and that train is Jesus with His saints. I can’t tell if it’s today, tomorrow, or years away, but that event is closer than ever. And by the shaking, we know we are in the season of His coming.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV – And let us consider how we may spur one – Bible Gateway
- Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 24:36 – New International Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved November 27, 2023, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2024%3A36&version=NIV ↩︎
- Osborne, M. (2023, November 21). Scientists Created a Monkey With Two Different Sets of DNA. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-created-a-monkey-with-two-different-sets-of-dna-180983282/ ↩︎
- Kaburu, G. (1701). A New Age of Digital Enlightenment: AI’s Impact on Further Education. Msn.Com. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/a-new-age-of-digital-enlightenment-ai-s-impact-on-further-education/ar-AA1kzTZd?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d303c6ca1f2c4386b0a49215b62f3623&ei=199 ↩︎
- Davis, J. (1701). Pentagon Weighing Giving AI-Enabled Drones Autonomous Power to Kill Humans in New Weapons Race: Report. Msn.Com. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pentagon-weighing-giving-ai-enabled-drones-autonomous-power-to-kill-humans-in-new-weapons-race-report/ar-AA1kysRo?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d303c6ca1f2c4386b0a49215b62f3623&ei=215 ↩︎
- Brown, E. (2023, October 2). World’s first “humanoid” robot factory will be capable of creating 10,000 robots per year. UNILAD. https://www.unilad.com/technology/news/agility-robotics-humanoid-factory-opening-salem-oregon-589901-20231002 ↩︎