“Based on accepted principles of textual and historical criticism, the Gospel records–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John–are found to be trustworthy historical documents which furnish valid data for the life of Christ.” John Montgomery
What the Bible states about the shape and meaning of history and of life itself is of great consequence. God controls history, God will bring history to a culmination, God acts in history, and God is interested in humanity. These four aforementioned are the principal features of biblical philosophy of history I would love to underscore. Galatians 4:4 draws our attention to the fact that, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law.”
GOD CONTROLS HISTORY There is overwhelming evidence in Scripture that God is directing the big picture of world events. Even as world events transpire at lightning like pace, God is not taken by surprise; His lordship over history is not moved by an inch! In the words of prophet Daniel after God revealed to him the interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; pointing to the world kingdoms that will rise subsequent to his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) empire; this is what the Scripture say, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and set up kings…”
GOD WILL BRING HISTORY TO A CULMINATION The biblical view differs acutely with cyclical or open-ended views of history that project infinite progress or regression in that, the biblical view is that God is decisively bringing the course of history to a consummation or conclusion. The book of Ephesians 1:4 make a remarkable statement in that even before creation, God was at work designing and mapping out redemptive strategy for humanity.
Considerable to note is that of Genesis begins with the account of God’s creation process of the universe and Revelation opens with an account on verse seven pointing out that Christ’s ministry is moving toward a final triumph. God’s plan of redemption is introduced as early as Genesis 3:15, after man disobeyed God. The God of creation is the God of redemption.
The God of redemption is the God of consummation. God who began the whole work is the God who will continue to perform it until to the end. Acts 3:19-21, attests that God will restore all things that He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.
GOD ACTS IN HISTORY God through the person of Jesus Christ marched into history in a very special in response to the prayers of His people; this is the biblical conception of history. In insuring that the ultimate triumph of His kingdom is not spoiled, God controlled and continues to control in history the flow of great world events.
The Church which is the extension of Jesus Christ’s ministry in our day is God’s choice through which He has chosen to act in history present. While God stands apart, it will be grave error to perceive that He is lost in the flow of history – He is so much involved.
GOD IS INTERESTED IN HUMANITY God is deeply compassionate and concerned about humanity unlike the deists who paints a picture of God as the absentee landlord of the universe. One might say or ask if God is what I say He is, “Why does He allow bad things to happen?” God is working with the will (ability to make decisions in favor of or against) of people, pleading with them to His view point, what this mean is that, God has given people the freedom to make their own choices; He cannot override the will of an individual.
But God yearns that every person be fashioned in the image of Jesus the Christ. According to 2Peter 3:9, God is not willing that anyone should perish. The whole purpose of world history is that man (human being) as the crown of God’s creation becomes the praise to the glory of God.
At the center of God’s will is a great concern for the lives of individuals; not only that, but also a concern about the course of world events. God’s ultimate is for humanity to move with His intention for the future, and the good news is, we can fit into God’s plan. God’s intention for the future is to destroy death and Satan the arch adversary of God and humanity and to establish a new order under the rulership, power, and authority of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Right in history, we are now in between times! Prophecies about the coming of Jesus Christ into the world: the first time as Savior, which has occurred and the second time as King, which is to take place – these are the times frame we are caught up in between.
History seems to be sweeping toward a climax, prophecies or predictions are being speedily fulfilled in our own generation which point to the reality that the return of Jesus Christ as per Acts 1:11 is imminent. History appears to be drawing to a close. Amid the tumultuous confusion of voices crying aloud in a generation so filled with disorientation and despair, there is a pressing need to discern where history is headed. Every person also needs to establish for themselves how he or she fit into the sweep of events! Shalom!
There is a saying in South Africa which avers that, “the White man has no kin: his kin is money”. The saying rings very true considering what Mayer Amschel Rothschild – he of the planet’s wealthiest family – once said, that, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!”
To the white man, the dollar sign looms so large in his optics that it was precisely the reason he appropriated Africa towards the end of the 19th century. The idea was to develop his continent, Europe, at the same rate as he underdeveloped Africa. Yet he was driven as much by economic imperatives as by sheer greed and prejudice.
A “pagan” King violates the Jewish Temple by setting up an idol in the Holy of Holies
Why, General Atiku, has the Judean setting (present-day Israel/Palestine) being the focus of so much geopolitical fervour over the ages when it is so resource-poor and is not even that agriculturally fecund being a virtual desert? Why have all the superpowers of history locked horns over it since days immemorial?
Just a ‘teaser’: we are all complaining of the ‘hot weather’ and ‘heat’ – but think about it, is this a reminder / warning from the Almighty that if we find this weather ‘hot’ can you imagine what the ‘fires of hell’ will be like should we get there?
Let us take this as a reminder and a ‘warning’ that we should change our lifestyles so that we follow in the path of righteousness and that which our Lord has directed. Failing this we will face the ‘fire of hell’ which undoubtedly will be many times worse than what we are facing on this earth.
Because as humans we have been favoured and bestowed with the power of intellect thus we enjoy greatness over other creation, coupled with a greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know we will live in joy or in grief forever.
Since the dawn of creation Allah has sent down thousands of messengers, dozens of Divine Books but only ONE universal Message to humanity. That message of Divine Revelation and guidance is clear, unambiguous and eternal:
Allah is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and of mankind and to Him is due all worship and obedience.
He has sent humanity Divine Revelation and guidance through His Messengers and His Books.
As death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.
This is the basic message, teaching and belief of every religion and without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, will be rewarded thereafter, the consequences of which may be joy forever for some or grief forever for others.
“It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an: 67: 2)
In Islam the teachings of the Qur’an and the Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give clear guidance to the believer on how to live a life in this world so as to achieve success in the Hereafter.
‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)
In this world when a person sets out on a journey towards our Maker (Allah), he finds two paths, one leading to God and the other path to different destinations. A sincere and faithful believer will always try to find the right path and to live by the Divine injunctions, laws and code that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, in harmony with our own selves, and with the needs of the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency at times to toy with Divine Law and to surrender it to the laws of man and in the process to translate and interpret them into what fits in with our lifestyle of today.
If we are to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to us by God Almighty and follow His guidance, we will then live consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus we will be virtuous. On the other hand when we ignore our Creators injunctions we work against the natural order, we tend to create discord, injustice and evil – and we become one without guidance. Therefore it is the intellect and the freedom of choice given to us that we are fully responsible for whatever we do.
However, it would be foolish for us to think of ourselves as totally independent and self-sufficient. If a person thinks in this manner, we become proud and. We will be inclined to become ungrateful for the bounties that we enjoy – the air that we breathe and the food we eat to sustain us, the eyes and ears we use to perceive the world around us, the tongue and lips we use to express our needs, wants and our inner most feelings and emotions. And being ungrateful, we will be inclined to forget or to reject the truth of the existence of God Almighty.
Unfortunately, people have varying views with regards to what the most important characteristic of a person is: for some it is the colour of his skin; for others, it is his economic situation – whether he is wealthy or poor; others think it is his , social or political standing, whether he is ruler or ruled; for others it is his social standing as an aristocrat, middle or working class; yet for some is his birth place and the language he speaks or the tribe he belongs to, etc..
‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe”, and they will not be tested? We tested those before them, and Allah will certainly those who are true and those who are false’. (Quran 29: 2-3)
In Islam, these have no significance rather they are merely taken as signs of the creative power of God to enable people to recognise one another. The Almighty declares “O Mankind! Indeed we have created you as male and female, and have placed you in nations and tribes that you may have mutual recognition. However, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah is the one who is most God-conscious” (Qur’an: 49: 13)
Hence, the most important characteristic of a person is whether he is conscious of his Creator, believes in Him and through that consciousness submits to Him at all times and in all circumstances.
According to the Islamic view man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin. He also created us with the capacity or power to do both good and evil. He gave us the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The good and evil therefore is connected with mankind’s freedom of choice and responsibility for their actions. “Good” may be whatever is pleasing to Allah and therefore beneficial to us. Whereas “Bad/evil” may be whatever incurs the anger of God and is therefore harmful to man.
‘By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he that succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it….. (Quran 91: 7-10)
Therefore one of mankind’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil. This is why Taqwa, piety and God consciousness is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an as the most important quality a person should develop in this regard. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.