Coincidence or Providence? :: by Gene Lawley

How is it that things happen, sometimes, that are so unique we can hardly believe it? We call them “happenstances” or coincidences, but how much of that kind of thing is really a providential doing of God

If we read Psalm 139 closely we will find that God knows the very intimate details of our lives, even our thoughts before we think them. And He has our lives laid out for us in His eternal playbook. Reflect on that Scripture:

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there isnot a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Suchknowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit, or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You” (Psalm 139:1-12).

We could stop here and our daily devotional would be rich and exciting and fantastic! But this next part tells us almost more than we can wrap our hearts and minds around—He was right there when our very lives began—at conception! Read on:

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, andskillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You” (Psalm 139:13-18).

Paul sums it up in a brief statement to the worshippers to their “Unknown God” at Mars Hill: “For in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28).

(There are many questions of why things happen to certain people, especially close loved ones—are those coincidences or did God allow them, and if so, why? This article is not intended to deal with those kinds of issues at this point.)

A personal note: When my wife, Marge, passed away last January 21, 2016, I was made aware like never before that this physical world in which we live and enjoy, or endure, with our five senses is not a permanent place, even in itself. That spiritual place we know now by faith is the permanent one. This one has a time limit waiting for God’s “appointed time.” But this God of eternity is a Spirit who now has a body, that risen body of Jesus Christ. And John writes this to tell us how it will be for believers there, in that place:

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

With that background, let’s look at some “coincidental providences” found in the Bible.

In the lineage of Jesus Christ recorded in Luke 3:37, we see that Enoch, the son of Jared, fathered a son that he named Methuselah. Bible commentators have determined that the meaning of this man’s name is that when he dies, the flood of Noah would begin. Methuselah lived 969 years, longer than any other person recorded in the Bible. A bit of digging online turned up a reference that gives the meaning as, “when he is dead, it shall be sent.” (See also Genesis 5:18-27).

Was it just a coincidence that 969 years before the flood began that a man would be named by that meaning to his name? Or, was it providential?

In Genesis 22 is the account of Abraham being tested by God regarding the sacrifice of his son Isaac. The last recorded words between the two of them, Abraham and Isaac, were these:

“Then he [Isaac] said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering’” (Genesis 22:7b-8).

Note that the wood for the sacrifice was laid on the back of Isaac to carry to the place of sacrifice. Does this not picture a future, like situation?

The account continues with the Angel of the Lord calling out to stop Abraham from taking the life of Isaac, and a ram was seen struggling in a thicket nearby. It became the lamb for the sacrifice. But no further mention is made of Isaac. Abraham returns to his two servants and they return home.

It is as if Isaac is no longer with them. Yet, in chapter 27, Abraham sends his servant back to his relatives in his old home place to find a wife for Isaac. And as the servant and Rebecca came into view in the distance on their return, Isaac goes to meet his bride and takes her to their wedding.

Was this a blimp in the narrative where Moses, the recorder, just left out some details as insignificant, or forgot them? Maybe he was called away and distracted by some need of the Hebrew people. It was Just a coincidence?

Or is it a providence of God to reveal a future plan of His to provide the true Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world, as John the Baptist declared (John 1:29). (And, he says “the sins of the world,” not just the select few who would believe. Atonement is available only for those who believe, but Christ died for all and cannot be accused of failing to make salvation available for anyone.)

The episode is a portrayal of Christ’s sacrifice (it was on that same mountain years later), when He carried His own cross on his back for the sacrifice. Then, He rose from the grave and later ascended into heaven, not physically present with His disciples, just as the assumed absence of Isaac, until that time when God will send His Son to meet His bride in the clouds, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

Certainly it is a providential portrayal of that coming event called the Rapture. To those who declare that there is no such thing to be expected, what other picture does this account show us?

When Isaac was giving his blessing to each of his sons, he said this of Judah, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver frombetween his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience ofthe people” (Genesis 49:10).

A scepter indicates kingship, and here, it tells us that the lineage of kings in Israel would be from the tribe of Judah. Later on, when Samuel was God’s prophet and judge over Israel, the people saw that Samuel’s sons were not righteous men and could not follow him as judge, they demanded that Samuel find them a king, “like the kings their neighbors had.”

The narrative of that ordeal is recorded in 1 Samuel 8, where Samuel went out and with the Lord’s direction, found a man who was tall and handsome, just like the people wanted, and Samuel anointed him to be the first king of Israel (in the physical sense).

The problem was, though, that Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, not Judah. Now, was that just a coincidence, or providence? Saul was everything that the people wanted, but he was not God’s choice. He was not of the tribe of Judah because that lineage had been chosen by God for the coming lineup of kings, and David, the son of Jesse, was to be the first king, just as it turned out when Saul showed his true colors.

It was providential that God did not allow man’s choices to pollute His preconceived plan. Again, we can see in this that “flesh and blood” can have no input to the plans of God. He doesn’t ask mankind for advice on His plans—they were put in place before time began! It is like He told Peter in Matthew 16, where Peter was voicing the cause of Satan, and Jesus said to him, “You get behind Me, Satan, for you do not savor the things of God but the things of men!”

Cyrus the Great of Persia lived during the years 576 to 530 BC, according to secular records, yet Isiah the prophet wrote of him by name in the years of his ministry, 740 to 700 BC, naming him as a future ruler:

“Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ And to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’” (Isaiah 44:28).

He was the ruler who allowed Ezra to restore Jerusalem and the temple, and Ezra was written in the period of 536 to 456 BC. The decree of Cyrus that allowed Ezra to carry out his purpose was made at the beginning of this period. So, is it a coincidence that Isaiah wrote of Cyrus about two hundred years before he came on the scene, or is it providential? Does God have foreknowledge capability?

How coincidental was it that four blood-red moon eclipses appeared in 2014 and again in 2015 on the exact dates of the first and last of the seven feasts of the Lord that are on the Hebrew calendar since God gave them to Moses to record in Leviticus 23?

Those feasts or festivals of Passover and Tabernacles so identified with those moon eclipses that they appear as parentheses to remind us of the combined message of God’s plan for the age of the Gentiles, the “times of the Gentiles” that are to be fulfilled when Jesus returns for His church (Luke 21:24, Acts 15:14, Romans 11:25).

NASA reports that they were not visible in Israel until only briefly at the very end in 2015. Since lunar signs are directed to the Hebrew people, it may well be a message to those not yet returned to Israel that God’s time for them has come to pass, that the times of the Gentiles has come close to its fullness.

Certainly the time is short. Secular activities in the progress of the global elite for a New World Order were highlighted recently when President Obama remarked during his speech at the Annual Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., saying, “The end of the Republic has never looked better!”

It looks as though that inner core of high-level conspirators in the D.C. Establishment are getting ready to pull the plug that has held America’s sovereignty in place for over 200 years, the rule of the Constitution. As I have noted several times in prior articles, Henry Kissinger, who seems to be the kingpin of that inner core group, exclaimed rather gleefully how Obama had been “primed to lead us into a New World Order,” as he rejoiced in the 2008 election results.

However, the God of providences is always well ahead of Man’s evil considerations. He is the One who puts people in positions of leadership and control that they might accomplish His purposes of bringing people to repentance and judgment. Psalm 75:6-8 tells us this:

“For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one and exalts another, for in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out. Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain anddrink down.”

The “turn of a word or phrase or action” can be the lighted fuse for an explosive event, like the first shot fired at Fort Sumter that marks the beginning of the Civil War. Or, that exclamation noted in Paul’s writing of 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, “when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them.”

The connection of that statement with the prophetic declaration in Daniel 9:27 that a confirmation of a covenant will be signed by that coming man of sin—the Antichrist—withmany, for a seven-year period cannot be discarded as meaningless because of its timing forboth situations. That seven year period will allow the Jews to rebuild their temple, because that promoter of a false peace will forcibly abort the agreement, cancel the temple sacrifices, enter the temple, and declare himself as God.

This brings us to a final consideration of a possible coincidence or providence. Could it be that God has drawn our attention to Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:52, “in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump,” through the entrance of Donald Trump into the secular presidential campaign?

Why did the translators of the original and authorized King James versions use “trump” instead of “trumpet” in that verse? It seems to be the only translation that differs from other versions in that regard. Paul’s description of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 also uses “trump” instead of “trumpet” in those King James versions.

Having seen how God has repeatedly shown His hand in secular history parallel with world events, does the Trump phenomenon have an equal weight on the awareness scale as does that statement of Obama at the Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30, “The end of the Republic has never looked better.”?

When Jesus promised believers that the Comforter would come when He departed, He said that One, the Holy Spirit, would lead us into all truth and “show us things to come” (John 16:13). Is this one of those “things to come?”

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