“But the day of the Lord will have come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be exposed (or discovered)” (2 Peter 3:10, RVIC).
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Ten years ago in June, 2007, everything in the world changed. The late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, introduced the iPhone. But the new device was not just a phone. It put the world in the pocket of every individual who would use it. Rather than a luxury device for the elites, it became a necessity for many. A current advertisement boasted, “We literally cannot live without it.”
In the decade following, the “smartphone” has triggered a societal shift. In its basic offering, the smartphone has more power than computers that drove the Apollo moon missions. For the user, they are always connected: to work, to friends, to those that they want to be like and want to be like them. They can browse practically all of human knowledge — good and bad.
They help find and build communities. The smartphone and the devices it has inspired in the decade since its inception have gone beyond “convenience” to “lifeline.”
The glass and metal object offers “mastery of the world,” according to R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a recent podcast. “In retrospect, we understand that it (the smartphone) was
the ultimate privatization in terms of this hyper-individualistic world,” he said. “We were already becoming a people marked by increasing social isolation. Ten years ago, a cellphone was a
communication device. Today it allows an entire digital world to be carried in the pocket.”
It has created new societal boundaries. One can instantly “post” anything to the internet. Children today see that nothing is ever truly “private.” They grew up in a decade where their every
move was instantly shared. Mohler concluded, “The original iPhone came with the promise of connecting the user to others. It has had more the exact opposite effect. It has isolated us even further into our own technological and digital domains.”
Social Media and the Internet
About twenty years ago the average person was beginning to become associated with the internet. During the U.S. Presidential election of 2000, Democratic candidate Al Gore infamously claimed that he had “invented” the Internet. Prior to the 21st century, the Internet was mostly reserved for academia and the U.S. government, which in 1969 had funded a research
network dubbed “Arpanet.” Today, we have not only the Internet, but we have social media growing from it.
Social media allows individuals to interact in a simple and immediate fashion. They not only have the ability to instantaneously share ideas, opinions and other contents, but also to gain notoriety and expand their influence. U.S. President Donald Trump has used social media to bypass intermediaries and to communicate directly to every person in the world with a Twitter account.
This ability has altered how, and how fast, ideas spread. News and information that might have taken days or even weeks to reach remote destinations now take just seconds. This ease
of communication has never been so available to people around the world. Throughout history, many individuals and governments held on to their power by controlling the dissemination of information and ideas. For the most
part, they can do so no longer. The technology available to a single person is so economical and simple to use that
virtually anyone with some training can become a point of contact for the communication of information.
For example, in 2016, during the Iranian elections when there were people disagreeing with the “official” election outcome, the Iranian government attempted to control the dissemination of images of what was occurring there. It was never fully able to prevent the world from seeing into the elections in “real-time.”
The world is experiencing something it has never experienced before. Governments and their leaders are no longer able to isolate themselves. People can no longer say they will never know a world outside their own. No longer will people lack the ability to share ideas — no matter how radical they may be nor
how many exposed to it may disagree. Never again will people be completely silenced.
The Thousand Year Kingdom
2 Peter 3:10 indicates a time associated with Jesus’ second presence when the injustices of society would be revealed in a much broader way than had ever been done before. Social media has allowed such revealing. The “Heavens” — the powers of earth: religious, social, financial, political — are to gradually disintegrate due to intense exposure of their sins. Those
powers are to be eventually replaced by the thousand year kingdom of Christ (Revelation 20:4-6).
The scope of Christ’s kingdom will be world-wide. It will liberate all mankind from the prison house of Adamic death (Isaiah 42:7, 49:9, 61:1). It will dissolve all of the present earthly kingdoms and transform mankind into a single holy nation (Psalm 2:9, Daniel 2:44, Revelation 2:27). It will educate everyone about God (Jeremiah 31:34, Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk
2:14). It will replace today’s environment of sin and selfishness with the paradise that all have been waiting for (Romans 8:19).
The first three chapters of the Bible reveal that originally man was created perfect, in the moral image of God, and placed in an environment ideally suited to sustain his existence. Through a lack of experience with the results of evil, the first man Adam fell from his state of perfection and faced the consequences of
sickness, suffering, and death. This heavy penalty was imposed upon Adam, not because of the magnitude of his sin, but because the principle of obedience to the Creator had been broken.
God’s wisdom permitted the whole race of mankind to be plunged into this state of imperfection so that man could profit from a direct experience with evil, to manifest the awful results of disobedience to divine law. The history of man has demonstrated the heavy price which has already been paid to gain this experience. The entire world has been groaning and travailing together in pain under the burden of the reign of sin and death, and longing for deliverance (Romans 8:22). Unknown to mankind as a whole, the plan of God for man’s recovery has been progressing steadily ever since his fall.
The Bible also declares that Jesus “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6). “As by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life …
as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:18,19). The establishment of God’s earthly kingdom is to be vested in the hands of Christ. Though absent from the earth between his first and second advents, Christ promised to return
to establish God’s kingdom, as shown in the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-15). John shows that the glorified church shares in the honor of reigning with Christ for a thousand years during which the human race will learn righteousness and purge the effects of Adamic sin from their hearts (Revelation 5:10).
In this kingdom, the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth “as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). “They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:34). The growth of social media testifies to
the ease and speed with which righteous communication could be spread throughout the world.
The scriptures promise that through the kingdom, God will “turn to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:9). The word of God shall go forth from Jerusalem and the knowledge of the LORD will be world-wide (Isaiah 2:3,
11:9, Jeremiah 31:34). We pray for that Kingdom and its promise of equity and justice for all!