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Other Articles on Hope

The Christian Hope
Part One
Part Two

Hope Beyond the Terror

The Resurrection of the Just and the Unjust

There Is Hope

What Is This World Coming To?
1-What Is This World Coming To?
2-Today's Headlines Written Nearly 2,000 Years Ago
3-Why God Permits Evil
4-A Ransom For All
5-The Call of the Church
6-The Kingdom of Christ




What Is This World

Coming To?

Chapter 1

The brutal terrorist attacks on the U.S. World Trade Center and Pentagon buildings were like thunderclaps of a gathering storm—such as there never was. What do these and other ominous rumblings of society portend? Is there any hope for the world on the other side of this trouble which will certainly climax in a furious storm?

The United States entered the 21st century with a record debt of over $5 trillion, which jumped to over $17 trillion by 2014! Of the world’s 7 billion people, over 3 billion live in poverty on $2.50 a day or less. 33% of the world is starving. Almost half of the world’s wealth is owned by one percent of the population. The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion—65 times the total wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.

UNICEF estimates there are approximately 100 million street children worldwide. The United States has 5.5 million children living in extreme poverty with 1.6 million homeless children in 2010. Three million people live on the streets of America, with thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets, thousands living in tent cities, tens of thousands living in their vehicles, and over a million school children that do not have a home to go back to at night.

Most historians now agree that since World War I our world has been coming to an end. Not the destruction of the planet earth, but the end of our social order—our civilization. Rowse states, "If ever there was a year that marked the end of an era and the beginning of another, it was 1914. That year brought to an end the old world with its sense of security and began a modern age whose chief characteristic is insecurity on a daily basis.’’ (Rowse, Oxford Historian and Biographer, June 28, 1959.)

From 1914 to 1918, World War I shook Europe to its foundations. The 1920s witnessed the overthrow or demise in power of the centuries-old church-state ruling houses of Europe, in which kings claimed to rule by "divine right." The Thirties offered the Great Depression; the Forties, World War II. The Fifties saw the communist takeover of more than one third of the world, while the Sixties were terrorized by race riots and the youth revolt.

In the Seventies, corruption in government reached its zenith with the forced resignation of Vice President Agnew and then President Nixon. Crime and violence continued to spiral. The sex revolution began the eroding of long accepted moral standards of our society. The Eighties became the "decade of greed." Junk bond manipulation, S&L corruption and bank mismanagement helped bring the economy to a grinding halt. These combined with the AIDS time bomb and the pollution countdown made the Nineties a "decade of uncertainty.’’

In 2008 the United States experienced the beginning of the worst U.S. economic calamity since the 1930s. In over 19 months the great recession erased trillions of dollars of wealth, destroyed 8 million jobs and robbed tens of thousands of their homes. More than half of the adults lost a job or saw a cut in pay or hours and almost everybody’s wealth fell.

Since the recovery began, the economy has grown slowly in fits and starts. Millions of workers have remained unemployed for months, even years. Millions more face huge drops in value of their homes and uncertainty of their income made radical changes in their plans and life styles. Seniors stayed in their jobs longer, young adults “cocooned” in their parents’ basements.

The 21st century has brought in the Arab Spring revolutions, a wave terrorist attacks resulting in unprecedented numbers of refugees fleeing their homes, cybercrime and cyber espionage, corporate corruption, and the eruption of Ebola and other serious diseases

Is it any wonder so many ask, "What is this world coming to?’’ Some reason further, "If there is a God who cares, why does He permit all of this trouble, evil and suffering?’’ Not finding reliable answers to this question, many have abandoned religion.

Most historians now agree that since World War I our world has been coming to an end. Not the destruction of the planet earth, but the end of our social order—our civilization. Rowse states, “If ever there was a year that marked the end of an era and the beginning of another, it was 1914. That year brought to an end the old world with its sense of security and began a modern age whose chief characteristic is insecurity on a daily basis.’’ (Rowse, Oxford Historian and Biographer, June 28, 1959.)

From 1914 to 1918, World War I shook Europe to its foundations. The 1920s witnessed the overthrow or demise in power of the centuries-old church-state ruling houses of Europe, in which kings claimed to rule by “divine right.” The Thirties offered the Great Depression; the Forties, World War II. The Fifties saw the communist takeover of more than one third of the world, while the Sixties were terrorized by race riots and the youth revolt.

In the Seventies, corruption in government reached its zenith with the forced resignation of Vice President Agnew and then President Nixon. Crime and violence continued to spiral. The sex revolution began the eroding of long accepted moral standards of our society. The Eighties became the “decade of greed.” Junk bond manipulation, S&L corruption and bank mismanagement helped bring the economy to a grinding halt. These combined with the AIDS time bomb and the pollution countdown made the Nineties a “decade of uncertainty.”

In 2008 the United States experienced the beginning of the worst U.S. economic calamity since the 1930s. In over 19 months the great recession erased trillions of dollars of wealth, destroyed 8 million jobs and robbed tens of thousands of their homes. More than half of the adults lost a job or saw a cut in pay or hours and almost everybody’s wealth fell.

Since the recovery began, the economy has grown slowly in fits and starts. Millions of workers have remained unemployed for months, even years. Millions more face huge drops in value of their homes and uncertainty of their income made radical changes in their plans and life styles. Seniors stayed in their jobs longer, young adults “cocooned” in their parents’ basements.

The 21st century has brought in the Arab Spring revolutions, a wave of terrorist attacks resulting in unprecedented numbers of refugees fleeing their homes, cybercrime and cyber espionage, corporate corruption, and the eruption of Ebola and other serious diseases.

Is it any wonder so many ask, “What is this world coming to?” Some reason further, “If there is a God who cares, why does He permit all of this trouble, evil and suffering?” Not finding reliable answers to this question, many have abandoned religion.

Growing Materialism…Shrinking Faith

The failure of traditional churches to answer the many questions facing modern man has divided the western world into two camps—the non-religious “materialist camp” and the religious “Christian camp.” The materialist camp is composed of atheists, agnostics, humanists, and existentialists. Materialists like to think that observable facts and provable theories are the only bases of their thoughts and actions. But as William James, the noted philosopher, observed, all materialists have one thing in common with the Christian—and that is faith. An atheist cannot deny the existence of God by scientific fact and, therefore, must assume his premise by faith. The agnostic accepts the premise that there are many concepts such as the existence of God that cannot be proved, but actually his premise is unprovable. All schools of philosophy are based on faith.

Though the Christian camp can agree that there is a God, Christians disagree on almost everything else. No doubt, this fact is one reason so many have joined the materialist camp today. Space-age man—staggered by the complexity of the universe—complains that he is “turned off” by the traditional churches when he receives religious answers that are museum pieces from the “Middle Ages.” To modern religious groups like Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, etc., the materialist cries, “Your God is too small!” as they seem to imply that only their group will be saved. Thank God, His love is broad enough to include everyone—Catholic and Protestant, the modern religionist as well as the materialist.

Lacking an explanation and solution to man’s dilemma, the materialist taunts the Christian camp to come up with answers. Unfortunately, most Christians are unable to meet the challenge. However, there have been notable exceptions. Since the late 1800s diligent students of Bible prophecy warned that the Twenty-first Century would be devastated by political, social, economic and religious upheavals. This unprecedented trouble would destroy what the Bible refers to as the “present evil world” or social order. (Galatians 1:4)

A Remarkable Prediction

The August 30, 1914, issue of The World Magazine in a feature article about Bible Student predictions reported:

“The terrific war outbreak in Europe has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy. For 25 years Bible Students have been proclaiming to the world that the Day of Wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914.

“The Bible speaks of a ‘time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.’ This prophecy of Daniel, Bible Students identify as the ‘Day of Wrath,’ the ‘Time of the Lord,’ and the so-called ‘End of the World,’ references which are plentiful in the Scriptures.”

How Historians View Current Turmoil

The following is a part of the record:

“Looking back from the vantage point of the present we see that the outbreak of World War I ushered in a twentieth-century ‘Time of Troubles’ … from which our civilization has by no means yet emerged. Directly or indirectly all the convulsions of the last half century stem back to 1914: the two World Wars, the Bolshevik Revolution, the rise and fall of Hitler, the continuing turmoil in the Far and Near East. The power-struggle between the Communist world and our own. More than 23,000,000 deaths can be traced to one or the other of these upheavals....” (Edmond Taylor, The Fall of Dynasties, Doubleday, N.Y., 1963, p. 16.)

“A world mesmerized by Science and Progress mocked the mysticism of religious sects which had long predicted that the world would end in the year 1914; fifty years later the world isn’t so sure that it didn’t end in 1914....” (The Great Ideas Today, 1963, Britannica Great Books, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., pp. 107, 108.)

Historians mark the year 1914 as the ending of a world. The convulsions are both the process of its disintegration and the birth pangs of a new world. Britannica editors, as noted, observed that a religious group (actually known as Bible Students) predicted 1914 would mark the ending of a world in just this manner.

Thus, whatever this world is coming to, assurance and even comfort lie in knowing that the Word of God predicted today’s phenomenal happenings beforehand.