The World is Burning to the Ground!

As you probably already know, the top downloaded spots on the Billboard/iTunes/Napster charts are usually dominated by Timberlake-Timbaland-T-Pain type rap and Fergie-Fergalicious songs … but once in a while an artist will put together a track/video that goes beyond the typical "boy meets girl I hate the world type" themes. This time around that artist is Matchbox Twenty.

If you haven't checked it out, this tune is called "How Far We've Come." The video basically traces some of the *big* triumphs and tragedies in history over the last 50 years. The interesting thing is that while we're seeing all these images, there is a definite sarcastic vibe that comes through the lyrics – see if you agree:

Well I believe the world is burning to the ground,
Oh, well, I guess we're gonna find out.
Let's see how far we've come.
Let's see how far we've come.
Well I believe it all is coming to an end,
Oh, well, I guess we're gonna pretend.
Let's see how far we've come.
Let's see how far we've come.

I think it turned ten o clock but I don't really know,
I can't remember caring for an hour or so.
Started crying and I couldn't stop myself,
Started runnin' but there's nowhere to run to.
I sat down on the street, to take a look at myself
Said "Where you goin' when you know the world is headin' for hell"
Tell your good-byes if you got someone you can say goodbye to.

Sure, there's all kinds of ways to look at this song in terms of what Rob Thomas and company were trying to communicate (global warming, world war 3, etc.), but there's one specific line that should stick out like a pimple on your nose:

"Said 'Where you goin' when you know the world is headin' for hell...'"

Wow. Thanks for the happy thoughts Rob! But the thing is, this line brings up one of the most important issues every follower of Christ needs to wrestle with – but unfortunately it gets pushed into the basements of our conversations like an old toy we got sick of playing with, but are too attached to throw it away.

The issue I'm talking about is the reality of a place called hell. Apparently Matchbox Twenty believes that even though we've made all this progress, it doesn't really matter-because ultimately we are headed for hell.

And you know what? They are right! All the peace treaties, race relations, and carbon footprint reducing advancements in the world won't make a drop in the ocean of difference when it comes to the destiny of our eternal soul.

Why? Because of one verse that should literally scare the hell into us:

If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

This verse was written by John as he was having a vision of the future. It seems pretty clear to me that when he says anyone, the technical definition of that is "anyone" – as in everyone who doesn't trust in Christ for salvation. And when he pens the words "thrown into the lake of fire," what he really is saying is "thrown into the lake of fire."

What emotions come up when you think about the reality of hell? For some people, there is denial. God loves us too much to send anyone to that horrible place. For others, there's a self-righteous sort of "great, evil people deserve to go there!" kind of attitude.

For me, it completely breaks my heart. And did you know that it broke the heart of Jesus as well? He didn't come to earth to hang out and start a religion. Plain and simple, He came to "seek and save those who are lost" (Luke 19:10). In other words, Jesus asks the same question we looked at from "How Far We've Come" –

"Where you going man? You know the world is headed for hell..."

The good news in all this is that even though apart from Christ we are headed for hell, in the blink of an eye we can turn that destiny around:

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

So yeah, maybe the world is burning to the ground and it's headed for hell, but it doesn't need to be that way. So the next time you think about "How Far We've Come," remember how far Jesus came to live a perfect life, die a horrible death, and come back from the grave so that we could be rescued from the hell we were going to and the hell we are going through.

That's a message I need to keep downloading every day!


Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit Send feedback to