A Prophetic Warning in the Titanic?
By Jim Allen
The date is April 14, 1912. It is almost midnight. The spring air is biting cold. The sky is clear and the many constellations are visible. Majestically, with purpose, and unhindered the great ocean liner on its maiden voyage steams across the Atlantic towards New York. The comforting hum of the engines softly resonates through the interior iron and steel hull of the ship, reassuring the passengers and crew of its strength and unsinkable claim. Promoted by its builders as an unsinkable vessel, the Titanic is the most luxurious ocean liner in the industrialized world. The floating palace is four city blocks long and as high as a four story building. The liner provides everything from elaborate dinning rooms and wooden staircases to French sidewalk cafes and Turkish baths. Many people onboard the the Titanic are wealthy and excited about their voyage and looking forward to reaching New York the next day. Suddenly, there is an almost imperceptible shudder that lasts for several seconds. The crew and passengers who are still awake feel the strange vibration and wonder at its meaning. The comforting drone of the massive engines unexpectedly stops. The silence awakens Nellie Armstrong, a passenger. She leaves the safety of her cozy cabin to inquire about the silence. Meeting a crewman, Nellie asked what is wrong. "Nothing," said the crewman as he quickly disappears through a door leading to a lower deck. (Paraphrased from a 1992 AP Article on the Sinking of the the Titanic.)You know how the maritime tragedy ends.
Seven Churches: All Warnings Dismissed
Gone but not forgotten, the Titanic represents more than a technological achievement of the early 20th Century. the Titanic represents the largest and most luxurious ocean liner ever built, and in many ways a symbol for human ingenuity and achievement without God. The events leading up to the maritime disaster are similar to the events confronting the church. Unlike the Titanic, the evangelical church is afloat and moving through life with purposeful compromise of doctrine, unhindered by wrong living, and hopeful of reaching its heavenly destination. The comforting hum of its weekly church services softly resonates through the interior walls of the church, reassuring its members of salvation and right standing before God. While the hope of tomorrow is bright and the promises of the world are sure and enduring, most onboard the evangelical church live unaware they have struck the iceberg of apostasy.
Ironically, historical accounts reveal the Titanic's crew received and ignored "seven warnings" about the dangerous ice field.
Seven Churches: What Does the Bible Say?
The Book of Revelation teaches Jesus gave the church "seven letters" of warning instructing crew and passengers alike to repent from unfaithfulness and to renew their first love (Revelation 2:1-3:22). The Bible is replete with warnings about failing to trust God, get wisdom, and be faithful. As a student of the Bible and of the Titanic disaster, the sinking of the Titanic is jarringly prophetic. Someone once said that the Titanic is a symbol for anything in our life showing itself to be stronger and more dependable than God (Exodus 20:3)! In concert with the preceding thought, the iceberg is a symbol of judgment reserved for those who ignore the warnings and fail to steer away from the dangers of deception and lukewarmness (Hebrews 6:4-6). The deep, dark, and foreboding depths of the ocean is a symbol of separation and eternal darkness for those who, for one reason or another, are not rescued by faith in Christ (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 10:28).
My point is that although the "visible church" has struck the iceberg of apostasy and is taking on increasing levels of deception, there is rescue from judgment in the lifeboat of Jesus Christ (John 15:7).
Image: Photo taken by passenger of the Carpathia; National Archives—Northeast Region, New York City, RG 21, Records of District Courts of the United States
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