Earth Hour: When an Hour of Darkness Saved the World

(Cross-posted from www.recyclingearth.com)

Millions of people in over 100 countries will be turning their lights off over the next 24 hours or so, as part of Earth Hour.

What for? To help save the planet from environmental threats such as climate change.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am all for avoiding any waste of resources – especially non-renewable energy sources. And I do believe humanity is doing much that is needlessly environmentally damaging.

But there’s some great news about Earth Hour that deserves much greater focus and attention.

An hour of darkness has already guaranteed the best possible future for Planet Earth! When Jesus died to save the world, there were three hours of darkness.

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46

While I commend people for turning off their lights to do their bit to help save the planet, I am ever so much more grateful to Jesus for His death – and the three hours of darkness that surrounded it – that has already saved the planet. Completely. Forever.

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

Introduction to the Bible

Where should someone who has never looked at the Bible start?

First, a copy of the Bible is needed! English Bible translations I would suggest include: New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV) and the Good News Bible. The NKJV and NIV stick more closely to a literal translation in today’s English, while the Good News Bible takes some more interpretive liberty to put things into modern concepts and examples – a “paraphrase”.  The 400 year old King James Version (KJV) is considered “classic” but is not so easy to understand.

When someone reads the Bible for the first time, I suggest starting with some highlights rather then reading straight through the whole thing. There’s typically over 1,000 pages in a Bible. It took me a few years before I read it right through for the first time. It is dense conceptually, too. There’s always something new that I pick up going back over some part of it (which I do every day).

There are 66 books of the Bible, each divided into chapters and verses. Some highlight books and chapters that I think are worth prioritising:

Books:

  • The four gospels that tell the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and teachings: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, my favourite being John. Mark is the most concise.
  • Genesis – tells the story of Creation, origin of evil, and some ‘classic’ Bible stories (Noah, Abraham, birth of Israelite nation, Joseph in Egypt, etc)
  • Acts – tells the story of the early Christian church (fast-paced, lots of interesting stories with some principles of Christianity)
  • Proverbs – lots of short & sharp pieces of ‘wisdom’ (or advice)
  • Romans – explains the Christian gospel with a lot of key principles of Christianity
  • Daniel and Revelation – these are quite a bit more advanced (needing understanding of whole Bible context & themes, as well as history) but they are the key prophetic books of the Bible that describe current world events

Specific chapters: