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风暴中的避难所

作者:道格·巴契勒牧师日期:2017-04-16 9:44:38浏览数:4467
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奇妙真相:2013年5月20日,一场可怕的超级龙卷风,袭击了美国俄克拉荷马州的穆尔市。其风速最高约每小时320公里,最大直径为2公里,行经影响宽度约为27公里。这场飓风在地面肆虐长达39分钟,造成24人死亡,377人受伤。人们要问,为何一场飓风会导致如此之大的伤亡呢?原因是,在穆尔市只有百分之十的家庭设有飓风避难所,在31所学校中,只有2所设有避难所。而穆尔市的广场小学,因受到这场飓风的正面袭击,以致7名小学生当场丧生。

在美国,当你想与陌生人交谈时,最简单的方法之一就是谈论天气,特别是恶劣天气。美国的极端天气,如洪水、雷击、飓风、暴风雪和龙卷风等,每年都会影响着成千上万人的生活。

单以龙卷风为例,平均每年会造成80人死亡,1500人受伤。超级龙卷风可以把房屋掀翻,将树木连根拔起,摧毁大型建筑,卷起车辆至数百米开外。美国是龙卷风EF5发生最多的国家,EF5为龙卷风的最强级别。包括亚拉巴马州和俄克拉荷马州,平均每七年就会发生一次超级龙卷风EF5。

在龙卷风来袭时,最安全的地方,莫过于飓风避难所。因为在那里,除了能抵御极端飓风,还能躲避空中飞散的碎片和杂物。大多数的避难所都设在地下室,但也有一些是地面的安全屋。根据美国联邦应急管理署的反馈,适当的个人应急计划和飓风避难所,每年至少能挽回一万人的生命。

另一场即将来临的风暴

越来越多的人在担忧,一场超乎想象的风暴正在酝酿。一些末日预言家预测,核战争即将爆发,其威力之大,可能只有躲在地下室才能逃过一劫;另一些人则预测,某项技术的崩溃(如国家网络),将导致社会进入无政府状态。

一些公司利用人们对世界末日的恐惧心理,来高价出售专业掩体。如防核弹的地下公寓,可容纳1000人,能够在极端恶劣的情况下提供长达一年多的生存保障。这些地下公寓非常畅销,就隐藏在美国中西部的大草原中。

以下是Vivos公司游说人们购买生存庇护所的广告语:

“我们都听过‘末日’预言。《圣经》告诫我们,它必定发生。大预言家——诺查丹玛斯对此作过预言…数个世纪中先知们也都向我们发出警告,要防备这些史诗般雷同的全球性灾难…我们也被告诫过,将会有诸如哈米吉多顿大战;神秘星球来袭;突然的地极改变;末日的大瘟疫;太阳风暴;超级火山喷发…我们无法确知灾难会发生在何时何地,但不管你是否愿意相信,它,都会发生,只是时间的问题。一切事件都在数量和规模上急剧加增…不得不承认,我们现今正处于风口浪尖之上,转瞬之间,一切都会改变,正如我们所知…数以百万的人将被毁灭,或是成为受害者而挣扎求生…你会怎样做呢?选择成为一名受害者,还是幸存者?美国Vivos公司,打造末日地堡——抵御一切潜在灾难的唯一方案。”

地下室能保护你免受圣经启示录中提到的那一可怕的末日大难吗?施洗约翰曾对要受他洗的法利赛人和撒都该人说:“毒蛇的种类!谁指示你们逃避将来的忿怒呢?”(路3:7)换句话说,“你此时或可逃避,但当耶稣复临,在末日审判面前,你将无处可逃!”

圣经说,将有一天,上帝纯一不杂的忿怒将“倾尽所有”。无论你是在国际空间站,还是深山老林中最隐蔽的庇护所,当上帝的审判大日,你都无处可逃。另一位先知阿摩司,曾向我们描述说:“景况好像人躲避狮子又遇见熊!”(摩5:19)

然而,主曾指示我们,要隐藏起来——在某一时刻。“我的百姓啊,你们要来进入内室,关上门,隐藏片时,等到忿怒过去。”(赛26:20)那么,我们该如何做呢?

明智的计划

我们要如何为行将临到的末日做预备?基督徒对此感到十分困惑。一方面,我们要凭信心依靠上帝,但又想要务实地去做些什么。例如:我们该如何处理存款?我们要住在哪里?有些人为此卖掉了在城市的房屋,搬到了乡下。结果发现,他们在那里无法谋生,只好又搬回到城里。

这些基督徒,在一种寻求“庇护”心态驱动下,像草原上的土拔鼠,总是喜欢躲藏在地底下,害怕每个突发新闻会带来的最糟糕情况。我想,魔鬼必定喜欢在末日临近时吓唬人,让我们惊慌失措,从而停止参与上帝的圣工。因此,在做出任何重大改变之前,我们必须恒切祷告,寻求上帝确切的指引。

于此同时,在末日来临之前,我们确实需要明智地做好计划和安排。存一些钱,以便应对一些紧急情况总是好的,但不应囤积资金。如果你现在住在城里,同时在乡下也购置了一些土地资产,亦不失为一个好办法。因为当国家面临经济危机时,乡下的土地就可作为你的退路——静居的地方。然而,我们不能贸然行动,不要一听到可怕的新闻,就辞去工作,跑到山上隐居。除非上帝已经为你开路,否则我们还是留守原位,因为上帝会在你我不同的工作岗位上,使用我们作为管道,传扬福音。

圣经中尼希米的故事告诉我们,如何在充满挑战的时代,过一个平衡的生活。当上帝呼召尼希米重建耶路撒冷城墙时,尼希米遭遇了众多人的强烈反对。因为魔鬼最不希望他建造耶路撒冷城墙——上帝圣城的灯塔。以色列的邻国甚至以战争威胁他们,阻止其修建城墙。

在紧急关头,尼希米得知参巴拉一伙的人正计划刺杀他,有人甚至劝他要躲起来。但尼希米拒绝让步,深信上帝会为他开奇妙的道路,并召集以色列人重建耶路撒冷城。(见尼6:11)因此,上帝的旨意,不是要祂的仆人逃离躲藏。

使徒保罗也曾面对类似的威胁,被警告不准去耶路撒冷,否则就要被下监、受迫害,但他回答说,“我为主耶稣的名,不但被人捆绑,就是死在耶路撒冷也是愿意的。”(徒21:13)他不惜一切代价,为要传扬福音。

撒但最高兴的事,就是要让基督徒隐藏在无人知晓的地方,与外界隔离,失去作世界 “盐”和“光”的作用。朋友们,不要落入它的圈套!

逃跑的时间

但耶路撒冷圣城第二次被毁时,耶稣曾警告祂的跟随者,要寻求庇护:“你们看见耶路撒冷被兵围困,就可知道它成荒场的日子近了。那时,在犹太的应当逃到山上,在城里的应当出来,在乡下的不要进城。”(路21:20,21)在马太福音24章,祂补充道,“在房上的,不要下来拿家里的东西。”(太24:17)正如天使提醒罗得逃离所多玛时的忠告:“逃命吧!不可回头看。”(创19:17)

现今的基督徒也会有逃离社会的一天。我们要跑的信号是什么呢?将会有一天,世俗的力量要“包围”上帝的子民,如出台了宗教法律,不准人们自由地敬拜。

但那一天还未来到。在那之前,基督徒不要喊“狼来了”。我们仍然可以自由地敬拜和宣扬上帝的真理。撒但知道,现在正是基督徒为耶稣作见证的最佳时机。所以我们要谨慎,像尼希米和使徒保罗一样,不应被魔鬼惊吓,从而退出上帝已摆在我们面前的工作。人们正生活在恐惧之中,极待寻得生命的答案。基督徒不应该在这时候退缩,这不是土拔鼠藏在地下掩体的躲避时刻。

以利亚在经历了迦密山求雨的胜利这么大的神迹之后,却被邪恶王后耶洗别的一句“要杀他”的信息吓到了。他没有向上帝祷告,只想着第一要紧的是自救,于是逃到了旷野。上帝挽救了他,并差遣他重返以色列,复兴整个民族。当基督徒想靠自己的力量自救时,这不仅误表了基督牺牲自我所赐下的救恩,同时也失去了一个作见证的大好机会。以自我为中心的行为,白白地浪费了传福音的良机。当世上的人们都在寻找安全保障时,我们需要在各自的岗位上,向他们作见证,带领他们认识基督。因为只有基督,才是世界末时能够庇护他们的唯一保障。但如果我们自己躲起来,这些传福音的工作便无法开展。

我们的住所

以色列人在埃及为奴时,摩西要求法老允许上帝的子民离开埃及。法老心地刚硬地拒绝,十大灾便开始降在埃及,但上帝保护了希伯来人免受灾殃。

最后一灾,是击杀埃及中一切头生的。上帝籍摩西向法老警告说,必须允许以色列人离开埃及,否则这可怕的灾难就要降临到埃及遍地。在这个审判中,只有一个方法可以保全性命。

那正是逾越节的来历。逾越节预表着上帝的救赎之恩。无瑕疵的羔羊被杀后,它的血要涂在“吃羊羔的房屋左右的门框上和门楣上。”(出12:7)当吃的时候,“耶和华要巡行击杀埃及人,祂看见血在门楣上和门框上,就必越过那门,不容灭命的进你们的房屋,击杀你们。”(出12:23)

古以色列人受上帝保护的经验,也预示着今天属灵上的以色列人在教会得蒙保护。在圣经启示录中描述的末时要降在地上的大灾难中,上帝的子民将像出埃及时的以色列人一样,免受“上帝大怒的七碗,”(启16:1)并“从大患难中出来”,因为他们“曾用羔羊的血把衣裳洗白净了。”(启7:14)藉着耶稣基督的宝血,我们能免受最后的七大灾,并远离灭命的天使,得蒙保守。

正如希伯来人站在涂了羔羊之血的屋子里,我们也要藏在基督的宝血中。以色列人若离开自己的家,远离上帝的庇护,灾难也会发生在他们身上。但在上帝的堡垒中,他们可以无所畏惧。今天的你我,也同样可以!

方舟的保护

或许关于庇护堡垒最著名的圣经故事,莫过于挪亚方舟,在那里,一家八口躲过了世上最大的洪水。我猜想,当时的情景一定是雷电交加,可能还伴有火山喷发、地震,狂风大作、大雨滂沱。“凡地上各类的活物,连人带牲畜、昆虫,以及空中的飞鸟,都从地上除灭了,只留下挪亚和那些与他同在方舟里的。”(创7:23)这可谓是那一时代中最大的风暴!

我们难以想象,在洪水发生时,那足以摧毁地上任何生命的可怕强度。即便是今日最可怕的海啸,也不足以与挪亚和他家人当时所经历的洪水相提并论。一只用木头做的船,如何能保护当时的一家八口脱离那足以动摇地球根基的自然威力?仅靠用木头和沥青做成的避风所当然不够,我们知道,这必定是上帝奇妙保守看顾的结果。

历史将会重演。“挪亚的日子怎样,人子降临也要怎样。”(太24:37)在不久的将来,基督复临时,世上的一切都将被毁灭,且非人的意志能扭转。因为“天必大有响声废去,有形质的都要被烈火销化,地和其上的物都要烧尽了。”(彼后3:10)那么,是否会有一个避难所,可在那天保护你我呢?

答案是:有!作为基督徒,真正的安全不是要寻找一个地方,而是聚焦于一个人——耶稣基督的身上。我非常喜欢先知以赛亚将基督描述为:“必有一人像避风所和避暴雨的隐密处,又像河流在干旱之地,像大磐石的影子在疲乏之地。”(赛32:2)我们找到能躲避暴风雨的唯一之处——主耶稣。

大卫王也如此说,“上帝啊,求祢听我的呼求,侧耳听我的祷告。我心里发昏的时候,我要从地极求告祢,求祢领我到那比我更高的磐石。因为祢作过我的避难所,作过我的坚固台,脱离仇敌。我要永远住在祢的帐幕里,我要投靠在祢翅膀下的隐密处。”(诗61:1-4)

柯丽·邓·波姆(Corrie ten Boom),是一名荷兰籍的基督徒,二次世界大战的幸存者。在纳粹集中营时,她和姐姐贝丝(Betsie)找到了耶稣基督作为庇护者。她以自己的亲身经历而写成的《密室》(hiding place)一书,便是以她最喜欢的一处经文而命名:“祢是我藏身之处(hiding place),又是我的盾牌,我甚仰望祢的话语。”(诗119:114)二战期间,柯丽曾问姐姐,她们能否保全性命,重获自由。贝丝回答说:“世界上最安全的地方,乃是活在上帝的旨意中。”遗憾的是,在释放前两天,贝丝死在了拉文斯布吕克集中营。

在基督的再临之前,世界要会处在动荡之中,撒但及其爪牙将不惜一切,为要毁灭上帝的子民。但你不必惊慌,最安全的避风港,便是活在上帝的旨意之中。在那之前,你不需逃跑和躲藏,相反,有一项重要的工作需要我们,就是引导惶恐不安的人们,去到耶稣那里——寻求安全的庇护。

亲爱的弟兄姐妹们,让我们为了能在行将临到的风暴中,站在羔羊的宝血之下而早作准备吧!阿们!

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A Storm Shelter
by Pastor Doug Batchelor
 
An Amazing Fact: On May 20, 2013, a terrifying tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, with peak winds reaching over 200 mph. On the ground for thirty-nine minutes, it chewed up a path 1.3 miles wide and seventeen miles long, killing twenty-four people and injuring 377. Only about 10 percent of homes in Moore had storm shelters, and only two of the city’s thirty-one schools. When the Plaza Towers Elementary School took a direct hit, seven children died.
________________________________________
If you want to strike up a conversation with a stranger, one of the easiest ways is to talk about the weather—especially the severe kind. Hazardous weather impacts tens of thousands of lives across the United States each year—floods, lightning strikes, hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes.
Tornadoes alone injure an average of 1,500 people each year and cause eighty deaths. Large twisters can lift homes off their foundations, uproot trees, demolish large buildings, and hurl vehicles hundreds of yards. The states with the highest number of EF5 tornadoes, the most powerful kind, include Alabama and Oklahoma, with an average of seven per year.
The safest place to be when a tornado strikes is in a storm shelter that provides refuge from the extreme wind and flying debris. Most storm shelters are underground bunkers, but some above-ground safe rooms are also used. According to FEMA, personal emergency planning and storm shelters save at least ten thousand lives each year.
Another Storm Is Coming
A growing fear among many is of a coming storm beyond anything imaginable. Some doomsday prophets predict nuclear holocaust that only preppers hiding in underground bunkers will survive. Others anticipate a breakdown in technology that will allow total anarchy to prevail.
Some businesses are capitalizing on these apocalyptic fears by selling specialty bunkers for a high price. These bomb-proof underground condos can house up to 1,000 people for over a year and are hidden beneath the prairies of the Midwest. They are selling like hotcakes.
Here is how one company is motivating some to buy into their survival shelters:
“We have all heard the prophecies of the ‘End Times.’ The Bible warns of it. Nostradamus foresaw it … and prophets throughout the ages all warn of the same epic global catastrophes. … We have been warned of Armageddon, Nibiru/Planet X, a sudden pole shift, future plagues, a solar kill shot, a super volcanic eruption. … We don’t know what, when, or where catastrophe will happen; but whether we want to believe it or not, it likely will. It is only a matter of time. We cannot deny that we are on the cusp of an increase in number and magnitude of events that may, in the twinkling of an eye, change the world, as we know it. … Millions will perish, or worse yet, struggle to survive as victims. … What will you do? Will you be a victim or a survivor? Vivos is your solution to ride out and survive these potential catastrophes.”
But will a bunker protect you from the biblical apocalypse? John the Baptist said, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3:7). In other words, “You can run, but you can’t hide from the Second Coming!”
The Bible speaks of a day when God’s wrath will be “poured out full strength” (Revelation 14:10). Whether you are in the International Space Station or in the deepest shelter under a mountain, you cannot seclude yourself from the Day of the Lord. Another prophet described the fruitless efforts of trying to escape on that day: “It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him!” (Amos 5:19).
Still, the Lord instructs us to hide—for a time. “My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past” (Isaiah 26:20). What are we to make of this?
Wise Planning
Christians can feel conflicted about preparing for the time of the end. We want to trust the Lord, but we also want to prepare in a pragmatic way. What should we do with our savings? Where should we live? Some have sold their city homes and moved to the country—only to find that they could not make a living and had to move back to the city.
A “bunker” mentality has developed among some Christians that drives them to run for cover like prairie dogs—they are always diving underground, fearing the worst from every breaking news event. I think the devil likes to spook us about the end of time so that we will panic and abandon God’s work. That’s why, before making any drastic changes, we need to pray for God’s guidance.
At the same time, we should plan wisely for the time of the end. It’s always good to carefully invest our money for emergencies, but we shouldn’t hoard our funds. And if you are a city dweller, having some land in the country as a potential retreat in a national crisis isn’t a bad idea, but don’t quit your job and run for the hills on a whim after reading a scary news story. If God hasn’t opened a door for you, He may want to use you right where you are.
The story of Nehemiah gives us balance on living during challenging times. When God called Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he was met by severe opposition. The last thing the devil wanted him to do was build up the capital city as a beacon for God’s kingdom. The Israelites’ neighbors even threatened them with war.
At one critical point, Nehemiah learned that someone was planning his assassination and that he was advised to go into hiding. But Nehemiah refused to budge, believing God had miraculously opened a door for him to rally the people to rebuild Jerusalem. (See Nehemiah 6:11.) Thus, it was not God’s will that his servant should run away and hide in a bunker.
When the apostle Paul was warned not to go to Jerusalem for the fear of prison and persecution that awaited him, he replied, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). He risked everything to make evangelism a priority.
Satan delights in getting Christians to seclude themselves to save their own hides, losing their influence as salt and light in the world. Don’t fall for his trap!
A Time to Flee
There will come a time when we must seek shelter, however. Jesus warned His followers of the coming destruction of Jerusalem: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Luke 21:20, 21). He added, “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house” (Matthew 24:17). It was like the advice angels gave Lot when fleeing from Sodom: “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you” (Genesis 19:17).
A time is coming when Christians living today must flee from society. What will be our signal to run? When the secular powers “surround” God’s people with religious laws and remove our freedom to worship.
That time has not yet come. And until then, Christians should not cry wolf. We are still free to worship and proclaim God’s truth. Like Nehemiah and Paul, we should be careful to not allow the devil to frighten us into withdrawing from the work God has placed before us. Satan knows that now is the best time for Christians to witness for Jesus. People are living in fear and searching for answers. This is not the time to hide like gophers in an underground bunker.
After his triumphant victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah was spooked by a threatening message from Jezebel. Without consulting the Lord and thinking his only priority was to save himself, he fled into the wilderness. But God sent him back into Israel to carry on the revival. When Christians think about saving themselves, they not only misrepresent the sacrificial life of Jesus but also lose a giant chance to witness. Such self-centered behavior is a catastrophic waste of evangelistic opportunity. When the people of the world are searching for safety from the coming storm, we need to be there to point them to Christ, the only refuge that will protect them in the end. We can’t do that if we’re hiding in a bunker.
We Have Shelter
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, Moses demanded that Pharaoh let God’s people go. When the king stubbornly refused, the plagues began to fall, but God protected the Hebrew people through their storm.
The last plague to hit Egypt was the death of the firstborn. God explained that this tragic, frightening plague must come before His people would be delivered—and that there was only one way for them to be sheltered during this judgment.
The Passover was given as a sign of God’s saving power. After a lamb without blemish was slain, its blood was placed on the “two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses” (Exodus 12:7). Then, during the meal, “The Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you” (verse 23).
The experiences of ancient Israel are a foretaste of God’s protection for spiritual Israel—the church today. Revelation describes plagues befalling the earth. Just as the Israelites were, God’s people will be shielded from the “bowls of the wrath” (Revelation 16:1) and “come out of the great tribulation” because they have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14). Through the blood of Christ, we can be immunized from the seven last plagues and sheltered from the angel of death.
Just as the Hebrews stood under the blood of the lamb within their homes, we must stand under the blood of Christ. If the Israelites wandered out of their homes, away from the shelter of God’s care, they were overtaken by the plague. But in the bunker of the Lord, they had nothing to fear. Neither do you!
Sheltered in the Ark
Perhaps the most famous Bible bunker story is that of the sheltering ark of Noah, in which he and his family could hide from the greatest storm that has ever struck the earth. I imagine that storm had it all—volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, howling winds, driving rain, crashing lightning and thunder. “He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle. … Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive” (Genesis 7:23). It was the storm of the ages!
We can hardly imagine the horrible intensity that killed every living thing. The catastrophic tsunamis in our day simply don’t compare with what Noah and his family experienced. How could a wooden boat protect those seven from the explosive forces of nature that shifted the foundations of the earth? It took more than pitch and wood to provide a stormproof shelter; we know it took God’s miraculous care.
This story will be repeated. “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37). Someday the world will be destroyed by the power of His coming. Is there a stormproof shelter that will protect you from that day? Nothing made by humans will, as “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
Thus, for the Christian, safety is not found in a place, but in a person—Jesus Christ. I like the way Isaiah describes it: Christ “will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land” (Isaiah 32:2). We find our ultimate storm shelter by hiding in Jesus.
King David put it this way: “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings” (Psalm 61:1–4).
Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who survived the Holocaust of World War II, found Christ as her protector while struggling to survive with her sister Betsie in a Nazi concentration camp. Her famous book, The Hiding Place, was named after one of her favorite Bible verses: “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word” (Psalm 119:114). During the war, Corrie once asked her sister if they could ever feel safe again. Betsie, who would die in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp just two days before liberation, replied, “The safest place in the world is to be in the center of God’s will.”
Just before Christ returns, when the world is in upheaval and Satan’s forces are bent on destroying all of God’s people, you do not need to be afraid. Your most secure storm shelter will be doing God’s will. Do not run and hide before that time. We have an important work to do in guiding fearful people to the safe arms of Jesus.
Let’s prepare for the coming storms by standing under the blood of the Lamb!