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The Scripture Reading: Luke 21:25-28; Matthew 24:3-8.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
The Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "In Times Like These"

by Ruth Caye Jones (1944).


An earthquake happened in Los Angeles just as Dr. Hymers was quoting the word "earthquakes" from Matthew 24:7.  Also, America began bombing Afghanistan while this sermon was being preached.  We literally had "nation
rising against nation" and an "earthquake" while this sermon was being given! 


BIOLOGICAL WARFARE - ARE YOU PREPARED?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, October 7, 2001


"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places" (Matthew 24:7).

We are still recovering from the attack by terrorists on September 11.  Americans are dealing with raw fear about how the world has changed in the past month. Time magazine reports a Time/CNN poll, which says 81% of the American people think another act of terrorism will occur within the next twelve months. 76% think a terrorist attack using a bomb carried on a car or truck will occur. 53% think a terrorist attack using biological or chemical weapons will occur. They were then asked, "If terrorists were to target your town or city, do you think your local police force is prepared to prevent such an attack?" 73% said "no." They were also asked, "If the U.S. goes to war with Afghanistan [what will happen?]." 56% said there will be "a long war with many casualties" ( Time magazine, October 8, 2001, p. 28).

People from one end of our country to the other are afraid of nuclear war, bomb attacks, and terrorist attacks using biological or chemical weapons.

Time magazine went on to point out (Oct. 8, 2001, pp. 42-44) that we are in danger of being poisoned by biochemical attacks of smallpox, anthrax, or Sarin, a nerve gas which is "relatively easy to acquire and stockpile." The article went on to say that our water may be poisoned, either in our reservoirs or dams. Our food may be poisoned through salmonella, the intestinal parasite E. coli, or foot and mouth disease, "which can spread with astonishing speed in sheep, cattle and swine." "The U.S. could be forced to destroy much of its livestock, as Great Britain had to do earlier this year," bringing about famine.

The Time magazine article went on to say that we are in danger of explosives like "car, truck and backpack bombs," and nuclear weapons, "The ultimate nightmare."

Writing in the October 2, 2001 Los Angeles Times, Jeremy Rifkin pointed out that "Genetics may be [the] Terrorists' Next Tool." He said, "We could be facing a deadly new biological arms race" ( Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2001, p. B-13). Rifkin pointed out that

A state-of-the-art biological laboratory could be built and made operational with as little as $10,000 worth of off-the-shelf equipment and could be housed in a small room. Equally frightening, graduate school students in laboratories around the world know enough about recombinant DNA and cloning technology to design and mass-produce such weapons.

Biological weapons can be viral, bacterial, fungal, rickettsial and protozoan. Biological agents can mutate, reproduce, multiply and spread over a large geographic terrain by wind, water, insect, animal and human transmission.

Once released, many biological pathogens can develop viable niches and maintain themselves indefinitely. Conventional biological agents include Yersinia pestis (plague), tularemia, Rift Valley fever, Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), eastern equine encephalitis, anthrax and smallpox.

Biological weapons never have been widely used because of the danger and expense involved in processing and stockpiling large volumes of toxic materials and the difficulty in targeting their dissemination. Advances in genetic engineering technologies over the past decade, however, have made biological warfare more viable. Genes can be programmed into infectious microorganisms to increase their antibiotic resistance, virulence and stability.

As a tool of mass destruction, genetic weaponry rivals nuclear weaponry, and it can be developed at a fraction of the cost. These factors alone make genetic technology the ideal weapon of the future.

Iraq, long known as a threat for biological warfare, is not alone in its interest in developing biological weapons. In a 1995 study, the CIA reported that 16 other countries were suspected of researching and stockpiling germ warfare agents - Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Egypt, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Bulgaria, India, South Korea, South Africa, China and Russia. As knowledge of gene splicing becomes more sophisticated and accessible throughout the world, we could be facing a deadly new biological arms race.

In the 20th century, modern science reached its apex with the splitting of the atom, followed shortly thereafter by the discovery of the DNA double helix. The first discovery led to the development of the atomic bomb, leaving humanity to ponder for the first time the prospect of an end to its own future on Earth.

Now, a growing number of military observers are fearful that the other great scientific breakthrough of our time could soon be used in a comparable manner, posing a similar threat to our very existence.

Does all that make you afraid of the future?The Disciples must have experienced similar fears when they asked Christ, "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3). Christ gave them a number of warning signs, including those in our text:

"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers [different] places" (Matthew 24:7).

I am convinced that this is a prophetic picture of the very hour in which we live. We don't seem to have much time left.

I. First, think of the signs of the rapture.

The Bible speaks of the rapture of true Christians before the Great Tribulation (cf. I Corinthians 15:51-52; I Thessalonians 4:16-17). But nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians will escape the things that occur on earth before the rapture. We did not escape from World War I, or World War II, or Viet Nam, or the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. And I do not believe that we will escape from the terrors spoken of in our text:

"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places" (Matthew 24:7).

In the very next verse, Christ told us, "All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8). What we are seeing today may well be just the beginning!

In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Jesus said:

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…"

(Luke 21:25).

Dr. M. R. DeHaan, the great prophecy teacher, gave this comment on Luke 21:25,

"…distress of nations with perplexity." How descriptive of the world today! Distress of nations, with perplexity.In these graphic, unmistakable terms Jesus spoke of "the last days," the "end of the age," and gave it as one of the signs of His imminent return - "distress of nations, with perplexity." Though spoken nineteen hundred years ago, no more accurate description of conditions in the world right this minute could be given - Distress of nations, or nations in distress with perplexity! The word "distress" in the original is sunoche and means literally "to be pressed on all sides." The word "perplexity" in the original is aporia and means "no way out." We may therefore paraphrase the passage, "And on earth the nations pressed (threatened) on all sides, with no way out." Can you imagine a better description of the conditions in the world today? The pressures are on all sides. One crisis after another is driving diplomats and statesmen into a frenzy of perplexity…Nations in distress, with perplexity - pressed on every side with no seeming way out. This was Jesus' own description of the days in which we live today (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Coming Events in Prophecy, Zondervan Publishing House, 1962, pp. 105-106).

Those words were true forty years ago when Dr. DeHaan said them, and they have been increasingly true every year since then. We are seeing the complete fulfillment of them right now!

Jesus went on to say:

"Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken…And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:26,28).

I agree with Dr. Kenton Beshore, Dr. James O. Combs, the late Dr. Wilbur Smith, and Mr. Dave Hunt, that these verses refer to Christians before the rapture. When we see these things happening on the earth, then we are to look up because the rapture is drawing near! All the signs are now coming to pass, and the end is near!

II. Second, think of the midnight cry.

Jesus said:

"While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him" (Matthew 25:5-6).

I believe that we are in the eleventh hour right now! We are fast approaching midnight in the world! Events that we read about every day in the newspapers, and see on television, show that the end of the world as we know it is fast approaching. The Second Coming of Christ is very near. Are you ready?  Or are you slumbering and sleeping?

There are many people here this morning who are not ready. You have seen the terrorism. You have been frightened by the threat of biological and germ warfare. But you are not ready! Jesus went on to say:

"While they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut" (Matthew 25:10).

When the rapture comes, those who are ready will go into Heaven to be with Christ. But what about you?You are not ready!You will be left behind to go through the terrorism of the Great Tribulation!

Don't be left behind! Don't be shut out of Heaven! Prepare now!The Bible says, "Prepare to meet thy God" (Amos 4:12).

III. Thirdly, think of the time of salvation.

The time to get saved is right now!  You may never have another time like this in your entire life. You may live the rest of your life and yet never have another time like this - when God is calling you to come to Jesus Christ and be saved. The Bible says:

"To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts…While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…" (Hebrews 3:7-8,15).

Don't harden your heart! God is calling you. He is calling you to come into this local church. God is calling you to come to His Son, the Saviour Jesus Christ. Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He rose physically from the dead. He is alive in Heaven right now. Come to Christ and have your sins washed away by His Blood.

You must have your sins washed away by the Blood of Christ, or you will not be ready when judgment falls. You will not be ready when death comes for you - as it surely will - perhaps very soon - as we see these acts of terrorism happening all around us.

Hurry! Don't wait! Come to Christ! Come to Christ! Come to Christ! Do it now! Don't put it off any longer!

I hear Thy welcome voice, That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
For cleansing in Thy precious Blood That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord, Coming now to Thee.
Wash me, cleanse me in the Blood That flowed on Calvary.

("I Am Coming, Lord," by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

(END OF SERMON)


The Scripture Reading: Luke 21:25-28; Matthew 24:3-8.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
The Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "In Times Like These"

by Ruth Caye Jones (1944).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

BIOLOGICAL WARFARE - ARE YOU PREPARED?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places" (Matthew 24:7).

(Matthew 24:3)

I.   The signs of the rapture, I Corinthians 15:51-52;
I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 24:7-8; Luke 21:25;
Luke 21:26,28.

II.  The midnight cry, Matthew 25:5-6; Matthew 25:10;
Amos 4:12.

III. The time of salvation, Hebrews 3:7-8,15.