Forthright Magazine http://forthright.antville.org A lax technician decided our phone line didn't need to be hooked up and carried off the wires! But we're back now, and just in time for ... One-time Events by Randal Matheny Within six years, the world will end. So says eminent astrophysicist Dr. Piers Van der Meer, of the European Space Agency. Seems he saw a solar plume back in July. Just like the one Kepler Star shot out before its demise and conversion into a supernova. The good doctor says the sun "will blow apart like an out-of-control nuclear reactor within six years," taking the earth and all the other planets with it. Such talk produces at least one good result. When we say the Bible teaches the cataclysmic end of the world, people may tend not to reject it out of hand. Hebrews 9:26-27 provides a nice little summary of the gospel. (Other examples are 1 Corinthians 15:1ff and Romans 1:1ff.) ". . . now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will a appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who early await Him" (NASB). This summary gathers three one-time events to summarize the gospel. First, Christ died once to remove our sins. He came as man in all humility and resisted every form of temptation (Hebrews 2:9-18). He proved to be better in every way than the Jewish institutions and rituals (Hebrews chaps. 3-10). He suffered cruelty and shame "outside the gate," (Hebrews 13:12), that is, refused by his own people (John 1:11) and condemned. We must choose our place with him (Hebrews 13:13). Second, the writer used as an illustration what was a given for the Jewish readers: we will die but once. No multiple lives, no reincarnations, no second chances after death. The moment we die, only one event remains: the judgment. Third, the return of Christ will be a one-time event. No human form-taking, no sin resolution, but the vanquishing of evil and the scooping up of those who are prepared for his coming. His coming signifies the End (Mark 13:24-27) and the destruction of the universe (2 Peter 3:10-14). The great Day means we should devote ourselves to meeting together in order to encourage and be encouraged to faithfulness (Hebrews 10:24). Keeping this day in mind should spur us on to holy living and godliness (2 Peter 3:11,12,14). Three one-time events. And only one has already occurred. Are you ready for the other two? An astrophysicist preaching the end of the world offers no hope. Christ extends to all the glories of eternal bliss where the old has passed away and the new will remain so forever.