“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
- Mark 13:32-37
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
- Jonah 3:1-5
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
- Jonah 4:1-4
Maybe these three bits of Scripture were never meant to be placed in this order, but…
This has been on my mind for some time. I have heard countless discussions that the Triune God is three persons, but one God. And I have heard other discussions on how it is hard to explain how only the Father could know the timing of the end times. But maybe the book of Jonah sheds light on that? God told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh that they would be destroyed in forty days, one of those many forty day things in the Bible. Yet, God did not destroy them forty days later. We know that God does not change His mind as we might, but He either repented, relented, whatever until the ultimate date when they were indeed destroyed, or He knew all along that they would repent, and He had Jonah give them the “hard sell.”
God has His perfect plan. There is a specific end to this world. We, as humans cannot stop the machine as it winds down. We definitely cannot rewind the clockworks. I may write a bit more on that in an up-coming Tuesday morning post. I feel a little thermodynamics discussion might be in order.
But since God is a gracious God, as Jonah petulantly laments in Jonah 4, is the date of the End based on the salvation of the last of the elect rather than a specific date? Is God being gracious to His human creation, giving yet another generation the chance to come to salvation? Is our free will causing a delay in the clockworks of the End Times Clock as we “sow our wild oats first?” Are there other options?
I just know that only the Father knows. That God sent Jonah to Nineveh to tell them that they had 40 days and then allowed them to repent, saving a couple more generations from Nineveh.
Is God giving us one more chance? Can we repent and obtain a few more years before the earth spirals into the sun, or however it will really happen?
My thought on the death spiral into the sun is that at one point, the earth is struck by a large object, Revelation 9:1, and in Revelation 16:8, the sun scorches people after the bowl is poured out. If the planetary type object slightly throws the earth into a slow death spiral toward the sun, it could take a long time before we are close enough to the sun to cause people physical harm. Or is this a notion generated by an old guy who thinks a lot?
But back to the questions. Maybe God is being the gracious God that Jonah complained about. And understand that Jonah had probably been oppressed by the Ninevites. Jonah wanted to see them suffer and die. We often have that feeling toward those who oppress us. Forgiving others is hard, impossible without God’s help, and we seem to have a tremendous capacity for holding grudges. Ask people if they think Hitler is in Heaven and few will give him the benefit of the doubt. Is it just what they learned in the history books or is it our propensity for not forgiving?
But God forgives. He relents in using His destruction punishment, seemingly when any nation repents?
Thus, as long as we can spread the word and the Holy Spirit can awaken the nations, we may be given a few more centuries – not us, but our great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren.
Because God is a “gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.”
No one knows the day or hour except for the Father, because God loves us.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.