The Peace of & from God
I Thessalonians 5:2 ESV
Romans 8:28 (All Things Good)
Daniel 11:40-45 ESV
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
I’m old enough to remember movies and books that focused on the end times during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
There were many many movies and books but the one I remember most was A Thief in the Night.
After watching it I didn’t sleep well for months.
Today, A Thief in the Night has now been called an evangelical horror movie. I’m not sure that is the official genre, but I did read that from a movie critic.
The movie was released in March of 1973. I was a sophomore in college and I was single. I was living at home (which was free) and I worked to pay cash for my tuition. Back then, pay as you go was very ‘do-able’.
I remember a woman in the movie who was a little older than I was at the time. She was married. One morning she woke up to discover in the middle of the night people disappeared. People she knew well disappeared. Her husband was one of the people who disappeared.
Prior to that night she had been struggling with her level of commitment to Jesus.
Her husband openly admitted he was a Christian. She probably wondered if that was the reason he disappeared. I don’t remember much about that part of the movie.
The main scripture of the movie was I Thessalonians 5:2, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
What was strange about how the movie changed me is that I was a Christian. Jesus had been my friend (RE Song: What a Friend We Have in Jesus) for as long as I could remember. When I was four years old I remember my Sunday School teacher telling me how much Jesus loves me. I believed her and I loved Jesus in return.
So, why did the movie have such a huge impact on me?
Truth be told the movie made me wonder if my friends and the people I knew would go with me to heaven.
I told God I really wanted my friends and loved ones to go to heaven, too! I didn’t want anyone I knew and loved to be left behind.
Ultimately, God used the movie for good (Romans 8:28). Not long after I saw it I married an evangelical Pastor and ministry became a way of life for me.
The life God called me to included caring about others and helping them find their way to God. I’ve never hit anyone over the head with a Bible (so to speak). I’ve always believed helping ‘direct’ people to God so the Spirit can show them the way is more in line with what God called me to do. That was the person God wanted me to BE.
That’s part of the reason I’m so struck by Daniel’s words in Chapter 11.
In Daniel 11:40-45 it says, “At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train. But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.”
Daniel saw the end.
There will be a battle in or near the Holy place in the land where Daniel was born.
The king of the South will come in from the direction of Egypt. It doesn’t say exactly where but it will come in from that direction.
The king of the North (someone like evil Antiochus Epiphanes) will show up fully armed and ready for battle. He will have many horsemen, chariots, and many ships.
But no one will be there to help him. That certainly would lead us to believe he will die alone.
Which leads me to the question what happened to King Antiochus?
Antiochus IV Epiphanes died in 164 B.C. (https://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1589-antiochus-iv-epiphanes). According to I Maccabee’s 6:8-16 when he died worms spilled out of his body. FYI, King Herod died the same way.
Neither king had a peaceful ending.
I eventually reconciled my anxious feelings about the movie, A Thief in the Night.
I think it was the last scary movie I watched. I decided not to watch scary movies because I prefer peaceful sleep.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I learned to turn my fears over to Jesus and receive His peace.
Spiritual Practice: Peace
Ask God to give you His peace. Let the peace of God fill you.
In God, Deborah