Here's a Question:
If someone walked into your town, say the main Shopping Center, tomorrow, and claimed to be the returned Messiah, what would you do?
Would you believe?
Believe because you want to believe?
Look for signs?
Would you actually do anything?
Now, imagine that same someone is Satan himself and although claiming to be God and doing tricks and 'miracles' is as evil as Hell, would you recognise the difference?
Would you keep your distance?
Would you follow because the veneer is pretty authentic?
Would you know that there was something wrong?
Would you try and test him?
Would you go with the crowd?
Would you do nothing?
Anyone who has looked into the Bible's New Testament must have wondered the same things at some time because it is exactly what the Hebrews had to consider when Jesus began His Ministry, except He was their first experience of God walking around as a human, and we would be looking at His second arrival.
But if there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt it is that I cannot predict what I would do in such a situation. I have been in enough peculiar situations to know that, although I hope I would do the right thing, I can not be certain I would, and neither can you.
Consider these, and you can laugh, but they are all things which have really happened to me (in East Africa) and my reactions were not wise:
1) On Safari in Meru one day I was in the kitchen of the hut setting out the lunch on plates- lettuce, avocados, hard boiled eggs and potato salad or something like that. Next thing a huge baboon lands in the doorway and makes a grab for the food-
What would you do? Let him have it and get out of the way would have been a wise move...
I lunged, shrieking at him with the knife in my hand...utterly, utterly stupid and dangerous, a baboon can rip a person to pieces in minutes. Luckily someone else was behind me, caught my arm, and let the baboon help himself to the buffet.
2) Another time I was caught in a riot, in the car, with Youngest as a baby strapped in her seat beside me. Someone noticed this cute baby and tried to open the door, then banged on the windows with a rungu yelling 'give me baby!'.
The car doors were already locked so what would you do? There were people everywhere, stationary cars in front and behind so no escape...
I went ballistic- I never realised how many swear words I knew in how many languages and I think I frightened the life out of the rioters too- this white woman going ape in the middle of an African Political riot...really, really stupid.
3) One last story: One night when the Hub was working late there was a knock at the kitchen door and when I opened it there stood one very drunk askari (night guard) pointing a strung arrow about 18" from my face, yelling and screaming that he was going to kill all the wazungu (white people) starting with me.
The gardener had run away in fright, the ayah was hiding behind the dog kennel screaming her head off, and the people from the labour lines were all lined up in the vegetable patch watching to see what would happen, and, just in case you don't know, the askaris tip their arrows with home-made poison which paralyses a person in minutes.
Death by arrow shooting is still prevalent and common in East Africa.
What would you do? Shut the door and run?
Play the Schoolmarm and tell him to go home and sleep off the changa'a (liquor)?
Any of those would have been wise...I laughed at him. Really sensible.
OK, so none of those were Right or Wrong situations: but such times have proved to me that if I can't know how I will act, then neither can you, no insult intended, its just a fact. And something else, that our God sure is mighty!!
The point of this?
'Showdown' by Ted Dekker, a Christian author who writes about Good and Evil: my original questions are the premise for this book.
Of course he is more subtle, but the menace, the indecision, the people's confusion between right and wrong and how to act is all there.
Scary stuff, I'm telling you...