No doubt about it, Scripture is clear that many frightening events will occur in the last days of this earth’s history. Wars, earthquakes, pestilence, famine, and other events are foretold, which most reasonable people would anticipate with trepidation. We’re told that in the end, “men’s hearts will be failing them for fear” (Luke 21:26). Yet we are repeatedly told not to fear. In fact, those who are fearful are first on a list of those who will die the second death of the lake of fire, lumped in with murderers, idolaters, and liars! (Revelation 21:8) How is it that fear can be considered such a sin?
Perhaps the answer to this question is found second on the list of those who are thrown in the lake of fire: the unbelieving. Those who believe, truly believe and trust in our omnipotent creator, should know they are eternally safe, and ultimately have nothing to fear. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”
In the list of end time tribulations set forth in Matthew 24, wars and rumors of wars is one of the first things mentioned. Likewise, it is impossible to listen to the news without hearing about the war on terror. But here is what Yeshua (Jesus) has to say about terrorists and their ilk: “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; year, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5). Psalm 56:4 voices a similar thought: “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” In other words, we are not to fear someone even if they intend to kill us, because they still can’t stop us from having eternal life. Those who will endure until the end must learn to look beyond this life, and keep our eyes on the real prize: eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
1 John 4:18 also sheds light on why fear is a sin. It tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…He that fears is not made perfect in love.” Psalm 27 is a wonderful passage that you might consider committing to memory. It begins: “Yehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Yehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
A few months ago I heard a comment in a sermon that might be helpful, although I no longer recall to whom it should be attributed. The speaker was talking about a sure cure for getting over the pain of a hangnail – just pound your thumb with a hammer, and suddenly the hangnail doesn’t hurt anymore. The bigger pain completely causes the smaller pain to pass from your awareness. His point was that the human brain can only focus on one primary issue at a time, and if we are so focused and consumed with our trust in God, then our fear of satan or his agents cannot possibly be our greatest concern.
Isaiah 35:3-10 includes this wisdom and promise: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come…and save you…and the ransomed of Yehovah shall return…they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” A few chapters later, in Isaiah 41:10 we read “Fear thou not: for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
All of these are wonderful promises to hide in your heart, to claim when satan tries to take your eyes away from God in fear. Fear is not of God, but rather, of the enemy. Don’t give him a victory by focusing on him. He is a defeated foe. When you have passed from this life, we are promised both in Isaiah 64:4 and 1 Corinthians 2:9 that “eye hath not seen, no ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Let that be the promise that gets you past the temporary fear of the things you see happening around you, knowing that it is the things which are not seen that are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).