The University of North Carolina played the University of Miami in the quarterfinals of the 2011 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. Miami hit the first shot of the game and continued from that point building a huge lead over North Carolina. By early in the second half, Miami led by 19 points.
Then UNC began mounting an incredible comeback. They went on a 27-6 run over the last 10 minutes of the game. With less than a second left, UNC’s Tyler Zeller hit a layup as time ran out to give Carolina the lead and the win. It was the first and only lead UNC had the entire game. But they led when it counted — at the very end.
There are 40 minutes in a college basketball game, and that breaks down to 2,400 seconds. Miami led the game for 2,399.5 seconds. That’s 99.99 percent of the game. But UNC led when the buzzer sounded, and that’s all that mattered.
That’s a timely illustration of what the Bible teaches is going to happen at the end of the age. At present, it appears Satan is winning big. Mass murders, political division, gross immorality, international strife, racial hatred and thuggish greed dominate the news. It seems the adversary has built a commanding lead in the battle for control of the world and the forces of righteousness are hopelessly defeated. Evil struts in the streets.
In light of current events, it’s difficult for followers of Christ not to give way to despair. Nothing seems to be going right. Where is God? Where is the promise that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him”? Those of us who love God and His Word are getting slaughtered.
But don’t lose heart. The game is not over: Jesus Christ is going to mount an astounding comeback at the end of this present age. When the final trumpet sounds, victory will be His. Take a moment and carefully read Revelation 19:11-16,19-21 and rejoice.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Wont of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out ‘of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He, will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur: The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Jesus is coming back — and boy is he mad!” There’s some truth in that.
The Lord came the first time in meekness and grace. He’s coming back again in power and judgment against sin and rebellion. On that day He will swiftly and completely avenge those who have opposed Him, and He will put all of His enemies under His feet.
Revelation 19:6-7 describes the jubilant celebration that will erupt among the followers of Christ at that time. “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!”
Be ready. Make sure you have enlisted in the victorious army of Jesus Christ.
Be positive. Don’t get discouraged by the apparent dominance of evil in the world. The enemy’s gloat is temporary.
Be confident. Satan is going to be bound and thrown into a fiery pit. Justice will prevail in the end.
Be alert. Don’t let that day surprise you like a thief. Lift up your heads, because “your redemption is drawing near.”
We win, we win!
Paul Leavens is the Minister of Lindsay Christian Church. Visit the church website at www.lindsaychristianchurch.org.