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An aphorism for our times

Unsplash/ Joshua Fuller

Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, don’t panic. Everything is happening right on time.

The little declaration is made in the context of biblical revelation. It gives me hope every time I read another shocking report of the expanding chaos, violence and confusion of our era.

An “aphorism“ is a pithy observation that contains a general truth.” The “general truth” expressed in my aphorism is that God has a plan for time and history, and events of our age — or any period of history — can be best understood in the context of that plan.

The Bible reveals that God’s plan involves the end of this present world and the coming of the new world. The Lord of time and history intended for His children to live always in an Edenic world. The sin of the first humans resulted in the loss of Eden, but God’s plan is the restoration of the beauty, love, righteousness, joyfulness, and peace of the first Eden.

“End,” in the Greek New Testament does not mean “termination” but telos, the completion of a goal, or purpose.

Jesus Christ plays a powerful role in the completion of that plan. He comes into the fallen world to take the penalty for the fallenness the first humans brought into it. Jesus is nailed to a cross and for hours is in agony. But when the suffering is done, He cries out, tetelestai! “It is finished!” A weakened, overwhelmed Jesus is not muttering, “I am finished” but a triumphant Christ declares that He has successfully completed His mission to be the world’s Savior and launch the restoration of Eden as the paradise of God made for His creatures.

This is the singular moment toward which history has been moving all along since the fall. Days after His death on the cross, Jesus arises from the grave and reappears to more than 500 people. Then He ascends into Heaven, and that sets up the next stage in the great plan for the reconciliation of the fallen world to God.

That stage will culminate in Jesus’s Second Coming. We live now in a period He called the “beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8). From Heaven’s perspective there are two modes of time: Chronos is finiteand existential, while Kairos is time in its infinite form, time everlasting as the vehicle through which the content of God’s Kingdom  is brought into the finite world. When there is a joining of Chronos and Kairos, history becomes pregnant with God’s intended destiny for His creation and its occupants.

In the coming of Jesus into the womb of the world it has been seeded with the seed of the new world. That is the consuming point of the pregnancy. The “birth” is the return of Jesus and the salvation and transformation of the world.

Thus, we wait with great expectancy for the return of Jesus and the new heavens and earth. So, when I read about wars and rumors of war intensifying and spreading across the nations, I know this indicates that history is “right on time” in line with God’s plan. However, when I learn that the leader of China wants to explore his country’s role and to play an “active part” in global governance, or that because of the wired global economy bank collapses can occur within one hour of Chronos, as Revelation prophesies, or that there is an intensification in natural disasters, shifting weather patterns, or that there are increasing sightings of phenomena in the skies, or that there is widespread apostasy in the Church, or that there is an unprecedented occurrence of clergy moral breakdowns, or that the singularity ahead in which a machine becomes something akin to a human, or that the world is closer to nuclear conflict than ever, or that there is an increase of the occult, I want to proclaim the aphorism:

Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, don’t panic. Everything is happening right on time.

In the face of this great consummation of Chronos and Kairos and the great Event they bring into the world, biblically informed people should not be surprised, hysterical, sensational, passive, apathetic, or terrified. Instead, we should be anchored in the firm foundation of the Word of God, confident, steady, and ready to minister to a terrified world as it falls apart and give the hope that is in Christ and the urgency of being ready for His coming.

So, Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, don’t panic. Everything is happening right on time.

Wallace B. Henley is a former pastor, daily newspaper editor, White House and Congressional aide. He served 18 years as a teaching pastor at Houston's Second Baptist Church. Henley is author or co-author of more than 25 books, including God and Churchill, co-authored with Sir Winston Churchill's great grandson, Jonathan Sandys. Henley's latest  book is Who will rule the coming 'gods'? The looming  spiritual crisis of artificial intelligence.

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