Today's Headlines Written Nearly 2,000 Years Ago
Many Bible prophecies predict the conditions and events of our day
as signs of the end of the world—today’s headlines written nearly
2,000 years ago. Consideration of these prophecies establishes: (1)
that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God; (2) that we are
living in unprecedented times prophesied in Scripture as the “end of
the world”; and (3) that man is standing at the threshold of lasting
peace and economic security in a pollution-free earth.
Daniel 12:1 and 4
give four signs that mark the “time of the end,” or end of the
1. A time of trouble such as never
was since there
was a nation;
2. Many shall run to and fro;
3. Knowledge shall be
4. Your (Daniel’s) people
(Israel) shall be delivered.
That the first sign,
unprecedented trouble, is the hallmark of our time is confirmed by
historians. True, the world has always had trouble, but never before
has it been in such staggering proportions.
In the 20th century over 400 million people died in wars, genocide,
or mass murders. Political scientist Rudolph Rummel estimated 262
million deaths were caused by democide (government-sponsored killing
for political purposes). From 1990 to 1995, 70 states involved in 93
wars killed 5.5 million people. Forty wars were waged in 1999 alone.
Wars in the 21st century
have continued to escalate. From 2011 to 2015 the Syrian Civil War
alone has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, with over 7.6
million people displaced and 5 million refugees fleeing the country
for both neighboring countries and Europe. ISIS/ISIL continues to
plague countries in the Middle East, affecting worldwide terrorism.
not carried out by government forces has also escalated from under
600 terrorist attacks in the 20th century to over 2,300 terrorist
attacks in the first 15 years of the 21st century.
In his book Out of
Control, Zbigniew Brzezinski observes that the 20th century became
the century of insanity in which 175 million were slaughtered in the
name of “politics of organized insanity.” It is horrific— “175
million were slaughtered” in one century because of mankind’s hate,
greed and ruthless craze for power.
Total all the deaths from natural disasters in the 20th century and
what do you have? It is a drop in the bucket compared to man’s
killing machine of the insane 20th century. It Is Horrific! He says:
“Contrary to its
promise, the twentieth century became mankind’s most bloody and
hateful century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings.
Cruelty was institutionalized to an unprecedented degree, lethality
was organized on a mass production basis. The contrast between the
scientific potential for good and the political evil that was
actually unleashed is shocking. Never before in history was killing
so globally pervasive, never before did it consume so many lives,
never before was human annihilation pursued with such concentration
of sustained effort on behalf of such arrogantly irrational goals.”
The population explosion
and industrialization of Third World nations accentuate the oil
crunch. Nations will go to war for oil. Many Third World nations
have the poor man’s bomb—chemical warfare, and are working on actual
nuclear warheads. Such volatile weaponry in the hands of these
regimes spells trouble.
Before A.D. 1650 the population doubled every 1,000 years. In A.D.
1804 the population was one billion. It doubled in 1927 (123 years
later). And doubled again in 1974 (only 47 years later). In 1990 the
world population was 5.5 billion. By 2014 it increased to 7.2
There are nearly 60
million forcibly displaced people in the world, according to the UN
Refugee Agency. More than half (53%) came from just three
countries: Afghanistan (2.56 million), Syria (2.47 million) and
Somalia (1.12 million).
Over 900 million people
do not have enough to eat. Each day over 20,000 people die of
hunger. Three of every four who die are children under the age of
five. While Americans spend over $53 billion a year on pets.
The U.S. has 4.43% of the
world’s population, but generates 30% of the world’s garbage, uses
26% of the world’s oil, 25% of the world’s coal, and 27% of the
world’s natural gas. The U.S. releases 26% of the world’s nitrogen
oxides and produces 19% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
pollutants from car exhaust and industry spawn disease. Deaths from
respiratory disease double every five years. In 2012 around 7
million people died as a result of air pollution exposure. This
finding more than doubles previous one-in-eight world deaths and
more than doubles previous estimates, confirming that air pollution
is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.
cancer and cataracts caused by ozone depletion are increasing. From
1950 to 1980 melanomas increased by 500%. One person dies of
melanoma every hour (every 57 minutes). Of the seven most common
cancers in the US, melanoma is the only one whose incidence is
increasing. Between 2000 and 2009, incidence climbed 1.9 percent
Solid wastes, radioactive and toxic chemical wastes
are contaminating our rivers, lakes and oceans. In the last 200
years, the U.S. has lost 50% of its wetlands, 90% of its old-growth
forests, and 99% of its tall-grass prairie.
world is losing tropical forests at a rate of about 1 acre each
second, or 31.5 million acres per year, an increase of 50% from a
decade ago. 80% of the ancient forests have been destroyed. Only 20%
of the ancient forests remain intact. At the current rate, tropical
forests will be gone within 115 years.
though rain forests cover only 7% of Earth’s dry land surface, they
sustain over 50% of all species. We lose 50 species every day—2
species per hour—due to tropical deforestation.
Tropical rainforests act as a global air conditioner by storing and
absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, storing the carbon, and
producing about 20% of all the oxygen in the world. They maintain
global rainfall and regulate climate patterns worldwide. Acid rain
is destroying our forests, which in turn will produce “global
“Except for nuclear war or a collision with an asteroid, no force
has more potential to damage our planet’s web of life than global
warming.” (Time Magazine, April 9, 2001)
period from October 2013 through September 2014 was the warmest
12-month period on record. September for the globe as a whole was
1.3°F above the 20th century average of 59°F, according to the NCDC,
which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. The period from January-September was 1.22°F above
the average of 57.5°F for the 20th century.
one of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st
century (1998, when there was a very strong El Niño, is the
exception). Earth’s steadily rising temperatures are the result of
the buildup of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the
planet’s atmosphere. Warmer climates have widespread effects on the
level will rise as oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere and
expand. Polar ice caps will melt. Increases in sea level will flood
and erode coastal areas inhabited by half the world’s population.
Tropical storms will become more frequent and intense.
patterns will become extreme, causing flooding. Soil moisture will
decrease, impacting crop failures and life-threatening droughts.
“Breadbasket farmland” (like our Midwest) will become barren desert.
Markets and food supplies will be disrupted. Severe food shortages
century witnessed the devastation of giant hurricanes like Rita,
Katrina, and Sandy as well as tornadoes of historic killing
proportions that roared across the country. Unprecedented weather
patterns wreaked havoc across the world.
Cities Could Disappear:
Another crisis is looming in the United States that will have its
parallel elsewhere in the world. According to the noted
Huffington Post, 14 U.S. cities could disappear over the next
century due to rising tides. For example,
“If Hurricane Sandy struck Boston during high tide, 6.6 percent of
the city would have been flooded. Water would have reached the steps
of City Hall. Within 100 years, that could become the new normal,
twice a day.”
“Hurricane Sandy gave New Yorkers just a taste of what might happen
to their city over the next hundred years. According to new data
released in June, the sea level could rise by 4-8 inches in New York
over just the next ten years…. A five-foot rise [during the next 100
years] in sea level would submerge La Guardia airport, many of the
barrier islands, and a significant portion of Manhattan.”
Then the Huffington Post gave examples of twelve other major
cities to show how the United States and other nations in turn would
be devastated in the next 100 years. They are Miami, Fla.,
Atlantic City, N.J., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Honolulu, Hawaii, New
Orleans, La., Sacramento, Calif., Los Angeles, Calif., Charleston,
S.C., Savannah, Ga., Seattle, Wash., Virginia Beach, Va., San Diego,
The White House issued a
global warming alarm. From
the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean, Global
Warming spells utter disaster unless something is done
immediately to control it.
running out, according to Lester R. Brown, president of the highly
respected Worldwatch Institute. “Preceding generations have always
been concerned about the future, but ours is the first to be faced
with decisions that will determine whether the earth our children
inherit will be inhabitable.”
Scientists are now concerned that the population explosion could
hasten and increase the effects of global warming. Drastic climate
changes resulting in economic disaster in many nations could trigger
wars for survival.
We are losing the drug war
because the huge profits are too corrupting.
are more than 4 million hard-core (more than weekly) drug users in
the United States. In 2010 21.8 million Americans age 12 or older
used illegal drugs, up from 19.7 million in 2006.
2006 NSDUH study found that 10.2 million people drive under the
influence of drugs. The drug-related crime rate is spiraling. There
were 1,552,432 arrests for drug related crimes in 2012 alone!
According to a 2013 study by the University of Michigan, one
dependent newborn is born every hour in the United States. More than
13,000 baby drug addicts are born each year.
Economic chaos: The
U.S. entered 2015 with a staggering debt of over $17.9 trillion and
a perilous foreign trade imbalance. Outstanding consumer debts have
increased from $1,395.4 billion in 1999 to over $16,653 billion in
2015. Yet there are 492 billionaires in the US.
public debt is $51,493,789,398,165—over 51 trillion! Yet the world’s
billionaires have swelled to a record 1,645 with an aggregate net
worth of $6.4 trillion.
Is Now the “End Times”?
According to 2013 the Barna Group poll of all the adults in the
U.S., 54% of Protestants and 77% of Evangelical Protestants, expect
our civilization to fall apart within 150 years. Also, 45% of
practicing Catholics believe the world is now living in the End
Times. Most startling is that 41% of all participants whether
religious or not, even some atheists, said conditions in the world
are so disasterous we are in the biblical End Times. Incredible!
It has been observed that there has never been a poll like this on
End Times. It sparked unprecedented preaching by Evangelicals
warning our world is in the end-times.
our generation is experiencing a “Time of Trouble such as never
was since there was a nation.”
second sign is increased travel. Transportation has expanded rapidly
because of the automobile. Selden made the first automobile in 1877.
Today there are over 1.1 billion cars in the world. Through numerous
modes of transportation millions are crossing and re-crossing each
other’s paths around the world.
past 100 years, man has increased his travel from 30 mph to 25,000
mph off the planet to the moon.
increase of knowledge from the dawn of history to the 1880s is given
a value of one, then knowledge has doubled 16 times within the last
10 years. With the advent of the Internet, knowledge was doubling
approximately every 18 months by 2004, according to the American
Society of Training and Documentation (A.S.T.D.). IBM predicts that
in the next couple of years, information will double every 11 hours.
hundred years ago, 90% of the world’s population could neither read
nor write. Today, 84.1% of the world’s population can read and
write, and in the Western world literacy has reached nearly 90%.
Ninety percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive
today. Over fifty percent of the world’s inventions have been
created in the last decade.
Sophistication in communications allows man to see and hear
throughout the world instantly. From 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell
invented the first telephone to today’s phones, the use of cell
phones has soared. There are almost as many cell-phone subscriptions
(6.8 billion) as there are people on this earth (seven billion).
There are over 96 cell-phone service subscriptions for every 100
people in the world today.
Additionally, smartphone users worldwide will total 1.75 billion in
2014, having surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012. 45% of American
adults have smart phones and use them for emailing and texting,
listening to the radio, browsing the web, taking photographs, doing
online banking or paying their bills, getting directions, listening
to music, watching videos, ordering groceries, checking their heart
rate, starting their car from their kitchen, answering questions,
carrying on a conversation, and more!
Computers: From the
first modern analog computer invented by Sir William Thomson in
1872, the use of computers in the world has skyrocketed. In 1995,
31.7% of households had personal computers; by 2000, 53%. An
estimated 835 million PCs were sold worldwide between 1981 and 2000.
there were 14,161,570 Internet users in the world. By 1999 there
were 280,866,670; by 2014 there were 2,925,249,355.
Today humans can move robotic limbs using only their thoughts and
get sensory feedback from their robotic hands. Biomedical engineers
are revolutionizing the medical world by developing 3-D printing to
construct human ears, kidneys, heart valves, blood vessels, skin
grafts, and bones from actual human cells.
fear is that artificial intelligence (a computer that thinks like a
person but does not have to eat or sleep) may turn against man
uncontrollably. Recent experiments found the machines becoming
secretive and deceitful, bent on self-preservation without
conscience. (The Artificial Intelligence Revolution, by Louis
noted historian, Barbara Tuchman has observed,
entered the Nineteenth Century using only his own and animal power,
supplemented by that of wind and water, much as he had entered the
Thirteenth, or for that matter, the First. He entered the Twentieth
with his capacities in transportation, communication, production,
manufacture and weaponry multiplied a thousand-fold by the energy of
machines.” (The Proud Tower, Foreword, xvi)
Unprecedented travel and increase of knowledge marks our day as the
“time of the end.”
Israel Becomes a
fourth sign which marks us at the
“time of the end” is that the Lord will stand up for Daniel’s
“people,” the Jewish nation. If we are living in this “time of the
end,” we should expect dramatic evidence of God’s favor on behalf of
the Jewish people.
this background, Matthew 24 becomes meaningful. “What shall be
the sign of your coming [Greek, parousia], and of the end of
the world [age]?” (Matthew 24:3)
24:32-34 gives the deliverance of Israel as one of these signs:
learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and
puts forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh: So likewise you,
when you shall see all these things, know that it is even at the
doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till
all these things be fulfilled.”
of prophecy from many denominations
generally recognize that the fig tree is pictorial of the nation of
Israel. (See Jeremiah, Chapter 24.) In Matthew 21:19, Jesus cursed a
fig tree because he found no fruit on it. As a result of his
cursing, the fig tree withered.
days later Jesus applied the lesson of the withered fig tree. He
proclaimed judgment on the nation of Israel, “Behold, your house
is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:38) Why? Because like
the fig tree, Israel had not borne fruitage to God. Israel was
subsequently scattered and persecuted.
Israel’s restoration is an outstanding sign of the end of the age.
The fig tree coming back to life and putting forth leaves represents
Israel coming to life as a nation, and receiving God’s increasing
favor. Historians agree that Israel’s rebirth is a miracle of
before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends
of the earth and then—nearly 2,000 years later—its descendants
regathered to their homeland and re-established as a nation.
Luke 21:29-32 with Matthew 24:32-34. The restoration of Israel means
the kingdom is at hand. Luke 21:29-32 states:
he spoke to them a parable: Behold the fig tree, and all the trees
[other new nations];
“When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that
summer is nigh at hand.
likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that
the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till
all be fulfilled.”
The generation that witnesses Israel restored as a nation will also
witness the complete end of the age, and the full establishment of
the Kingdom of God.
Scriptures are charged with signs that have become the headlines of
our day. Jerusalem is no longer trodden down by Gentiles. (Luke
21:24) Many new nations have gained independence. (Luke 21:29,30)
Evil is exposed as never before. (I Corinthians 4:5) Most people,
even the professedly religious, lack faith. (Luke 18:8)
love themselves, have no respect for parents, and have no natural
affection. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Turmoil grows between labor and
capital. (James 5:1-4) Wars and war preparations intensify. (Joel
3:9-11) All the while men proclaim “peace.” (I Thessalonians 5:2,3)
Men’s hearts fail for fear. (Luke 21:36).
One more sign bears consideration.
Nations on the
"Woe unto you that desire
the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD
is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a
bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the
wall, and a serpent bit him."
Amos’ prophecy the fleeing man
represents the world’s experiences in this dark “time of
trouble.” At the dawning of our era, Great Britain ruled the
most expansive empire on earth. The “lion” in this prophecy,
Britain’s national symbol, appropriately illustrated the mighty
nation that devoured (colonized) weaker nations. Colonialism’s
suffocating grasping led to the world’s fleeing to another form of
in Amos 5:20 escaped the lion only to meet the bear—a form of
government diametrically opposed to the grasping greed of
colonialism—communism! The former Soviet Union, the “bear”
of Amos’ prophecy, offered man another hope for safety in this time
of trouble. Communism’s failure to rescue man was underscored by its
precipitous fall. Nations are now seeking another hope of
Entering the “house” of nationalism has been anything but
comfortable for the nations of the world. Bosnia, Serbia, Germany
and other nations seeking safety in nationalism have suffered civil
war, economic malaise, the rise of new “hate groups” and other ills.
While in the supposed security of ultra-nationalism (will church and
state reunite?) the people place their hand on the wall. Seeking
rest in the supporting structure of human government will result in
being bitten by the serpent.
old Serpent, the Devil and Satan, which once deceived the nations
into thinking that they were Christ’s Kingdom (Revelation 12:9) will
bite them again. Then the nations will feel the rebuke of Jehovah in
the great time of trouble.
these prophecies mark the time when the present evil world is being
destroyed. God is now revealing Himself as never before in history,
a revelation which will climax with the establishment of the Kingdom
of Christ on earth.
heart—even though things must get worse before they get better. It
is the unprecedented severity of world problems (Matthew 24:21) and
the paralysis of hopelessness (Luke 21:25) that mark us at the
threshold of the great Kingdom blessings which God has in store for
urban renewal requires the demolition of old structures, so the full
establishment of Christ’s Kingdom requires the removal of our
corrupt civilization (Hebrews 12:28). The present generation will
see the Kingdom in all its glory. (Luke 21:21-32)
Why God Permits Evil
Justifiably, the question arises: Why has God permitted man to
suffer for thousands of years, and then, only when Christ returns
and establishes his Kingdom is all changed? The question of
suffering and evil has always been an enigma to man. Philosophers of
all times and ages have pondered the question to no avail. But the
Scriptures provide a logical answer to this question which leaves
one in awe.
defines evil as “that which produces unhappiness; anything which
either directly or remotely causes suffering of any kind.”
desires mankind to live in peace, harmony and happiness. He knows
this will only happen as each practices the principles of
righteousness and love. Otherwise evil will result with its
consequences of suffering and unhappiness.
are faced with what can be referred to as the “dilemma of God”—the
planetary systems move in mechanical obedience; the animal creation
is driven mainly by instinct; but God desired the human race to have
a free will and to “worship him in spirit and in truth.”
(John 4:24) God could have programmed the ideal man, and utopia
would have been inevitable, but man would be no better than a robot,
nor would he be happy. Further, it is impossible to worship only
“in truth,” to obey truth and righteousness for what you can get
out of it without having the “spirit” or appreciation of
Out of sheer appreciation
of the principles of righteousness —worshiping in spirit—God desired
man to live in harmony with both his Creator and fellow man. God
knows it is only as man is fully motivated by the principles of
righteousness, that he can really attain happiness for himself and
be in that attitude of cheerful concern for the happiness of his
The problem of free will
has a built-in dilemma. Man can rebel against his Creator. The Lord
was willing to bestow free will, fully cognizant that it would cost
Him dearly before man became fully responsible to this freedom. What
an awesome power! Man can stand in stiff-necked rebellion against
his Creator. He can refuse to submit to God’s authority. He can
refuse to accept God’s favor. He can choose to avert the mercy of
God and adamantly stand upon his decision against God. For by free
will, man is man, created in the image of God, and neither an animal
nor a machine.
Put yourself in God’s
place to appreciate this dilemma. A parent will tell his baby not to
touch the stove because it is hot. But, what does a baby know about
being burned? The anxious parent knows the inevitability of the baby
touching the stove before learning the consequence of heat. A wise
parent will create a controlled experience with heat—lightly and
quickly touching the child’s hand where the heat is not too severe.
And all through life parents will admonish their children, knowing
that they will only learn certain lessons the “hard way”—by
As our Father, God knew
man would not comprehend His warning about sin, disobedience and
their dire consequences, so God formulated a plan whereby man,
through his own choice, might first experience evil and then
righteousness (in God’s kingdom). This contrasting experience will
demonstrate the beauty and righteousness of God’s law and the dire
consequence of its violation as no other process could.
The recovery from sin is
called redemption in the Bible. Redemption simply means the release
from sin and death through the payment of a price. The thought is
similar to the releasing of a person from prison when a benefactor
pays the fine the prisoner couldn’t afford. This release through the
death of Jesus is often considered as an afterthought of God to
salvage some of the human race. But the depth of God’s wisdom is
shown by His foresight in devising a plan that provides for man’s
free choice and experience with evil, redemption through Christ and
ultimate eternal happiness. Thus Isaiah 46:9-10 speaks of God
knowing and declaring the end from the beginning.
The third chapter of
Genesis is the divinely provided history of man’s free will choice.
God instructed man that if he practiced righteousness, he would live
forever. If he disobeyed, then “dying he would die.” Death
would be a process of sorrow and suffering culminating with the
grave. Note well that death, not eternal torment, is the penalty for
sin. (Genesis 2:17; Psalms 146:4.) Like the child and heat, man did
not know what suffering and death were. He disobeyed. God is now
giving man a controlled experience with evil. We read in
Ecclesiastes 1:13 and 3:10, “This sore travail hath God given to
man to be exercised therewith.” Man’s travail with evil is for a
purpose, that he might be exercised or taught certain lessons by it.
Some will say, “Don’t
tell me you still believe in original sin! Just because Adam and Eve
were disobedient, the whole human race are sinners?” In I Timothy
2:13,14; I Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:14; and John 8:44, both
Jesus and the apostles refer to the event in Eden as a real
time-space situation. What better proof can we have that the Genesis
account of Eden was actual history?
Unfortunately, the logic
of this concept has been obscured by Dark Age superstitions that
have been attached to it, such as “hell fire,” with a vindictive God
who must be placated. Modern man is rightly repelled by the
superstitions contained in some church theology, but these
superstitions are not taught in the Bible. Shorn of Dark Age
theology, there is no better explanation of man’s miserable plight
than the Scriptural teaching of original sin.
Not too long ago, sin was
treated lightly. It was called “ignorance,” only a growing pain of
the human race. Give man a bit more education, let him become a
little more civilized and he will evolve out of his sin, leaving
evil behind him. But now we are not so sure.
The heinous events of
World War II (with over 60 million murders—2.5% of the world
population, leveled cities, gas chambers), followed by the
continuing senseless acceleration of war, terrorism, crime and
violence, senseless shootings of civilians, old women molested,
child abductions, and other immoralities, have forced man to take a
second look at the problem of evil.
A fresh look at sin is
pointedly reflected in the words of Dr. Cyril E. M. Joad, a noted
Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of London,
and listed by the editor of The American Weekly as one of the
world’s great scientists. Joad said:
"For years my name
regularly appeared with H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Aldous
Huxley as a derider of religion.... Then came the war, and the
existence of evil made its impact upon me as a positive and
obtrusive fact. The war opened my eyes to the impossibility of
writing off what I had better call man’s ‘sinfulness’ as a mere
by-product of circumstance. The evil in man was due, I was taught,
either to economic circumstance (because people were poor, their
habits were squalid, their tastes undeveloped, their passions
untamed) or to psychological circumstances. For were not
psychonalysts telling me that all the
regressive, aggressive, or inhibited tendencies of human nature were
due to the unfortunate psychological environment of one’s early
implications are obvious; remove the circumstances, entrust children
to psychoanalyzed nurses and teachers, and virtue would reign.
have come flatly to disbelieve all this. I see now that evil is
endemic in man, and that the Christian doctrine of original sin
expresses a deep and essential insight into human nature.”
Joad, society is taking another look at evil. It can no longer be
considered a growing pain. It is too deadly a disease to be
explained away by environment.
Speaking collectively of the human race, the Psalmist said, “In
sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:5) The Apostle Paul
in Romans 5:12 says, “By one man sin entered the world and death
by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
father Adam sinned, justice required that he die. Before he died,
Adam had children who were born in sin. They inherited Adam’s
imperfections. Thus, the whole human race is born dying. This is how
it is learning the consequences of evil. But the permission of evil
is a brief controlled experience when compared with eternity. And
what are some of the grim lessons? God permits evil to demonstrate
that man without God results in:
Science and possible extinction
through the H-bomb or pollution;
Affluence that spends
$53 billion a year in the U.S. on pets while over 7.6 million humans
starve to death;
whose assets total billions of dollars while millions live in
and its deadly tentacles of
pollution encircling the globe;
Towering Cities that
are concrete jungles of crime and violence, filled with faceless
people experiencing life without meaning and terrible loneliness.
God permits evil to prove that man without God can only result in
man’s inhumanity to man. What is this world coming to? It is coming
to an understanding of what results when man is separated from God.
The Problem of
era of permissiveness, the justice of God seems to be an offense to
the rationalist. But perhaps the problem is one of communication,
which can be shown in the simple illustration of an argument. All of
us at sometime have been engaged in an argument in which we really
never objectively listened to the other party. We were too busy
thinking of our answers to hear their logic.
rationalist is carrying on a debate with God. If he would only stop
and listen to what God has explained in the historic account of Eden
(Genesis 3), he would catch a glimpse of the wisdom and justice of
God which becomes man’s guarantee of an eternity of happiness.
question the severity of God’s justice in the death penalty. Could
not some other penalty than death have been a just recompense for
doubt some other penalty would have been just; however, God chose
this penalty because it best suited His overall plan for mankind.
Once Adam was informed that death was the penalty for disobedience,
then the penalty was fair.
fact to always remember is that God in His foreknowledge knew that
Adam would disobey, therefore, long before the creation of Adam,
God’s wisdom devised a plan of recovery and ultimate happiness for
the human race that would require the death of His only begotten
Son. Thus I Peter 1:19-20 and Ephesians 1:4-7 both speak of the
blood of Christ as foreordained before the world began for the
redemption of mankind.
Creator used the time-space situation in Eden to demonstrate the
dependability of His justice. It is vital that man knows that
“justice and judgment [just decisions] are the habitation of
your [God’s] throne.” (Psalms 89:14) Justice is the
foundation of the government of the universe, the basis of all God’s
dealings. Judgment is also spoken of as part of this foundation. The
Hebrew word here means “a just decision.” We can take comfort in the
realization that throughout eternity all of God’s decisions will be
placed in the Edenic paradise to thoroughly enjoy the love of God.
Suppose that after Adam and Eve had lived obediently for a while,
God changed His mind and chased them out of the garden condition
into the thorns and thistles of the unfinished earth. His love would
be worthless, whimsical, because it was not based on justice. It
would be changeable.
hypothetical situation: If when Adam disobeyed, God said, “Oh, I
will overlook your disobedience this time, I will not punish you as
I promised to do.” Adam might say, “Wonderful! I am surely glad God
is more loving than just.”
Wonderful? No! This would be whimsical, capricious, and arbitrary.
The Creator and Ruler of the universe could never be trusted
throughout eternity. At any time, in any place, with any order of
intelligent creatures, God might at the slightest whim change His
mind and turn on His creatures. Eden proved the unchangeableness of
declares in Malachi 3:6, “I am Jehovah, I change not.” James
1:17 states, “The Father of lights in whom there is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
unchangeable is God’s justice? So unyielding that God’s court of
justice required the payment of the costliest fine ever stipulated
in a court of law. What judge has been willing to give up his own
innocent son to death in order to cancel the debt of crime of the
Problem of Communication
Creator wants us to know the depths of His love, that He is the
most loving Being in the universe. How can God communicate this
to our finite minds? In human relationships words of love can be
quite meaningless. Actions speak louder than words. How did God
show His love?
tender Fatherly emotions of sorrow, God took the dearest treasure of
His heart, His only Begotten Son, and sent Him to earth to suffer
and die at the hands of man. At great cost to Himself, the wisdom of
God formulated a plan which reveals that He is both just (unyielding
justice) and the justifier (benefactor) of mankind. (Romans 3:25-26)
simple events of Eden and Calvary tell so much about our God.
Calvary is the greatest manifestation of love and mercy in the
history of the universe. The combination of Eden and Calvary stand
as a pledge throughout eternity that there is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning in God’s justice.
The world is, therefore, by experience coming to an understanding of
A Ransom For All
Scriptures are explicit that not just a few, who call themselves
Christians or who believe a certain way, but all mankind will
benefit by the death of Jesus. Hebrews 2:9 states, “Jesus Christ
by the grace of God tasted death for every man.” God’s justice
demands that all mankind, living and dead, before and after the
death of Christ, will experience the benefits of Christ’s death.
following scriptures unfold the beautiful logic of God’s justice in
this matter: I Timothy 2:6 speaks of Jesus’ death as “a ransom
for all to be testified in due time.” The word
“ransom” is a translation of the Greek word anti-lutron
which means corresponding price. Father Adam, perfect, sinned. Death
passed upon Adam and the prospective human race yet in his loins.
Deliverance from death required the payment of a corresponding
price, the death of a perfect man. No member of the sinful,
imperfect, human race could pay this price. Only Jesus, who was
“holy, harmless, separate from sinners” could. (Hebrews 7:26)
perfect man Jesus died for Adam’s sin, thereby redeeming Adam and
his offspring, the human race, from death. Paul in Romans 5:17 says,
“Therefore as by the offense of one [Adam], judgment came upon
all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one
[Jesus], the free gift came upon all men unto justification of
question is sometimes raised, does not the providing of a ransom for
man’s escape from death prove that the death sentence was unjust or
too severe, and therefore God changed His mind? The very fact God
provided so expensive a ransom price proves that His justice is
courts of law, several forms of punishment may be equally just for a
specific crime; for example, five years’ imprisonment or twenty
thousand dollars. Say we were penniless and received such a
sentence. After serving half a year, a complete stranger came along
and took an interest in our case and paid the twenty thousand
dollars, would we not feel indebted to him for the rest of our
Scriptures reveal that the ransom price, as a satisfaction for
justice, was coexistent as an alternative to the death sentence.
Thus, Jesus is spoken of as “slain from before the foundation of
the world.” (I Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 13:8) The Psalmist also
states that no man could give a ransom for his brother. (Psalms
For man’s eternal good, God permits him to experience the effects of
the death sentence. Then He applies the alternative means of
satisfying justice, the ransom price. When mankind becomes fully
aware, they will be eternally indebted to their Redeemer, the one
who paid the fine to the court of the universe for their release
from the prison-house of death.
Why Jesus Suffered
only did Jesus die to provide the fine, a perfect human life that
will eventually release the human race from death, but during his
lifetime he suffered at the hands of his fellow man so that he could
fully understand their every weakness.
Prophet Isaiah anticipated Jesus’ suffering: “He is despised and
rejected of men; a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.... Surely
he has borne our grief, and carried our sorrows.... He was wounded
for our transgressions… and with his stripes we are healed.”
(Isaiah 53: 3-5)
4:15 tells us that Jesus is a sympathetic high priest who can be
touched with a feeling of our infirmities. Jesus continually
permitted himself to be afflicted through contact with sinful man.
Every time Jesus healed, it was at the expense of his own strength.
We read that “virtue [strength] went out from him”
(Mark 5:30) as he healed the blind, the lame, the deaf, the lepers.
He was expending his own strength so that he might be touched with a
feeling of our infirmities.
Further, Jesus was mocked. He experienced brutality, violence and
murder at the hands of his fellow men. As a Jew, he tasted the
racial scorn of the Romans. He identified himself with poverty,
drudgery and obscurity. Full of compassion, his heart was moved for
the mentally ill, the physically sick, the lame, the deaf, the
blind. Why? So that in his Kingdom Christ will know just what
lessons mankind will need. “Who can have compassion on the
ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself
also is compassed with infirmity.” (Hebrews 5:2)
assumed upon his shoulders the ills of what this world is coming to.
Indeed, he has compassion on the ignorant and them that are out of
the way. Those whom he ransomed, all mankind, he will know how to
The Call of the Church
died nearly 2,000 years ago. The question naturally arises, Why the
long delay before setting up his Kingdom for the blessing of all
mankind? One thing is clear throughout the Bible: God has not been
attempting to convert the world since Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Scriptures speak of God dealing with only a few for a specific
purpose. Christ’s followers are spoken of as a little flock.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) God is only calling a few; a
representative of every type of the human race is being called into
the church of Christ.
Greek word for church is ecclesia which literally means “called
out ones.” These called out ones, the little flock, will share
with Christ when he establishes his Kingdom for the blessing of all
mankind. Thus Paul says, “Know you not that the saints shall
judge the world?” (I Corinthians 6:2)
Revelator discloses that the followers of Jesus will live and reign
with him during his Kingdom, during the time that the benefits of
Jesus’ death are bestowed upon the world of mankind. (Revelation
words in Mark 4:12 show that God is not presently interested in
converting even the majority of mankind.
“Unto you it is given to know the mystery
[secret] of the Kingdom of God, but unto them that are without
all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and
not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at
any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven
scripture might seem strange to some, but it gives us an insight
into what God has been doing between the death of Jesus and the
return of Jesus to set up his Kingdom upon the earth.
you ever wondered why the Bible is difficult to understand? By
divine intent it has been written in parables, dark sayings and
symbols so that it would not be easily understood. Why? So that the
majority would not bother and consequently would not be converted.
During the Christian Age, the Lord is only converting a few, a
“little flock,” the church of Christ, “who by patient
continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor and immortality.”
(Romans 2:7) These are elsewhere symbolically referred to as the
bride of Christ.
Christ returns, these believers will be raised to live and reign
with Christ in his 1,000 year Kingdom. (Revelation 20:6) Then the
conversion of the world will begin. Revelation 22:17 prophesied of
the Spirit [the returned
Christ] and the bride [the true church] say, Come. And let
him that hears say, Come. And let him that thirsts come. And
whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
sequence of the call of the church, the establishment of the
kingdom, then the blessing of the remainder of mankind is also
corroborated by Acts 15:14-17.
“God for the first time did visit the Gentiles to take out of
them a people for His name [the true church]. And to this
agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will
return and will build the tabernacle of David which is fallen down;
and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that
the residue [remainder] of men might seek after the Lord.…”
these points: A small group, “a people for His name” is first
selected out of the Gentiles. Then the tabernacle of David, which
was an Old Testament type or illustration of the Kingdom of Christ,
is set up again.
the church first called? Why is the Kingdom (tabernacle of David)
then set up? “That the residue [all that remain] of mankind might
seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles.” First a choice group
(the Church) is called out of the Gentile nations so that
afterwards, by it the rest of the Gentiles—the vast majority—may
learn to call upon God’s name.
Remember, I Timothy 2:6, speaking of Jesus, said, “Who gave
himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” Our
English Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Greek
manuscript. The Greek word translated ransom means “corresponding
price.” Adam, a perfect man, with the human race in his loins
sinned. Thus his descendants, the human race, were born sinful. Then
Jesus, a perfect man, was the “corresponding price” for Adam. Jesus
died to redeem the human race. We read in I Corinthians 15:22,
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
“due time” (I Timothy 2:6) for the true church to learn of the
ransom is now during the Christian Age, but the “due time”
for the rest of mankind to understand the ransom is yet future in
vast majority of the human race went into their graves without
hearing or understanding the “ransom for all.” In the Kingdom
the dead will be raised, as Jesus tells us in John 5:28,29.
“Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in the which all that
are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they
that have done good to a resurrection of life and they that have
done evil unto the resurrection of judgment.”
all will be raised from the dead—first, “they that have done good.”
This refers to the true church. During Christ’s return they will be
raised to spiritual life and united with Christ, their heavenly
Lord. Then will follow the resurrection of the “evil class,” all the
remainder of men.
will come forth to a “resurrection of judgment.” The King James
Bible, translated in A.D. 1611, grossly mistranslated the word
“judgment” by using the word “damnation.” The American Revised
Version in 1881 used the word “judgment,” and no translation since
has used the word “damnation.”
Greek word in the text is krisis and it actually denotes “a
crucial testing time.” This Greek word is the source of our English
word “crisis.” And it has the same meaning. A doctor might say, “The
patient will reach his crisis tomorrow morning.” This does not mean
that the patient will die tomorrow morning. Rather, the crisis of an
illness is that period when the patient will take a turn for the
better or for the worse.
“crisis” or trial time for the church is in this present life, but
the "crisis" or trial time of the remainder of mankind will be when
the dead are raised in the Kingdom. Billions of mankind before and
after Jesus’ earthly ministry died without receiving the light of
Jesus. Yet John 1:9 states that Jesus is the light that “lights
every man that comes into the world.”
a further Scriptural confirmation that, for most, truth
enlightenment will require an awakening from the dead, as was
detailed in John 5:28, 29.
Why the Church Is
the true church first selected to share with Christ in the Kingdom
work of blessing mankind? There are a number of reasons given in the
reason can be illustrated by the noble work of Alcoholics Anonymous.
An essential step of AA therapy is to assign a former alcoholic to
each alcoholic that comes for help. The victim being driven by
alcohol will not readily accept help or advice from just anyone. How
could anyone know his agony, his depression, his desperation, unless
he also shared the same experience? But the alcoholic will accept
help from a former alcoholic because he knows that this person can
understand his agony. And this former alcoholic stands ready at any
time to come to his side, to plead with him. It requires a former
alcoholic to rehabilitate an alcoholic.
mankind comes forth from the grave in Christ’s Kingdom, they will be
informed that they have been purchased with the precious blood of
Christ and they will be made aware of the fact that they are now
under the reign of Jesus Christ and his church. (I Corinthians 6:2)
confidence they will have that the church will know just how to
enter into their problems! Why? Because the church also were once
sinners. This plan for rehabilitation will work. The majority
will gladly receive the instruction, the disciplining, the nurturing
necessary to pass their trial for eternal life.
The world, for whom Christ died (John 3:16), is about to embark on
an Age which will realize all humanity’s deepest longings. (Romans
8:20, 22; Isaiah 25:9)
prophecies considered in Chapter One indicate that we are at the end
of the age, therefore the selection of the church is nearly
completed. The great time of trouble foretold in Daniel 12:1 and
Matthew 24:21 is upon us. Haggai 2:7 contains a thrilling promise
that we should cherish in these troubling times.
Speaking of this “Time of Trouble” Haggai prophesied,
I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations will come.”
comforting! The legitimate desires of all nations or peoples shall
Scriptures show that one of the reasons for the “Time of Trouble” is
that the various segments of society are demanding both just and
fancied desires from each other. And nations are superimposing their
desires upon other nations. The result is the disintegration of our
present evil world. But all people have legitimate desires that God
will fulfill after the tribulation demonstrates that selfish man
cannot establish his own utopia.
are some of these desires the Kingdom will fulfill? If we asked the
working man struggling to keep his head above water, “What is your
desire?” his answer would be, “If only we had economic security.”
Speaking of the Kingdom, Isaiah 65:21-23 says,
“They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant
vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another
inhabit. They shall not plant and another eat. They shall not labor
in vain nor bring forth for trouble.”
will be no unemployment problem, fear of automation, inflation,
depression or any economic problem. In the Kingdom, all will have
economic security as symbolized by these words of Isaiah 65:21-23.
stopped a man on the streets of Harlem and asked him what he
desired, he would reply, “Why, if the needs of the poor and
minorities were only understood, and if we could only be assured of
justice, then life could be beautiful.” The Kingdom will satisfy
these desires. Then “He [God] will defend the cause of the
poor, deliver the needy and crush the oppressor.” (Psalms 72:4)
Isaiah 9:7 again tells us,
the increase of his
[Christ’s] government there will be no end.... It will be
established with justice and righteousness forevermore.”
asked one of our elderly in our crime ridden cities what is his
desire, he would probably reply, “If only there were no more crime
and violence.” This desire will also come, for in the Kingdom we
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain
[Kingdom], for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the
Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)
would be the desire of patients in hospitals? Of course, they would
say, “If only there were no sickness and crippling diseases, no
cancer, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy. If only the blind
could see, the deaf could hear and the crippled walk.” Oh! Thank
God! These desires will be fulfilled! Of the Kingdom we read in
Isaiah 33:24, “And no inhabitant will say I am sick.”
35:5,6—“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of
the deaf unstopped, then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and
the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.”
what would be the desire of youth? One of their many idealisms is,
“Can’t there be a world without war? And why can’t the billions of
dollars and the cream of technology that is wasted on the armament
race be harnessed for peace and human needs?” In the Kingdom we read
in Isaiah 2:4,
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into
pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither
shall they learn war anymore.”
If we went to the sub-Saharan drought belt of Africa where over a
million have starved to death in a recent six-year period, and ask,
“What is the one desire in life you want?”— with one accord they
would say, “Oh, if only the rains could be depended on, so that we
could be assured that the land could bring forth food to feed our
children.” The climatic conditions in the Kingdom will be ideal. The
earth will bring forth in abundance. In Isaiah 35:1,7, we read,
desert shall blossom as a rose.... And the parched ground shall
become a pool and the lands springs of water.”
of the countless millions who have lost loved ones in death. Their
one desire is the return of these dear victims. And in the
Kingdom they will be united with their loved ones.
Speaking of all that died, Hosea 13:14 says,
will ransom [deliver]
them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O
death, I will be your plagues; O grave, I will be your destruction.”
Is it any wonder Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?
Is Man Too
someone might say, God will wonderfully bless mankind in the
Kingdom, but there is still the problem of man. If history has
taught us anything, it is that man is too selfish to permit an ideal
society. This has been true, but the reason the Kingdom will work is
that God intends to change man’s selfish heart of stone into a heart
seen in the chapter on the permission of evil that the basic lesson
God is now teaching man is the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Man
alienated himself from God by disobeying and man without God results
in selfish havoc.
Kingdom of Christ will rule in righteousness. The knowledge of the
Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep so that all
will know the Lord. (Isaiah 11:9) Satan will be bound so that he
cannot deceive the people. (Revelation 20:1-3) The love of God will
abundantly bestow blessings of life, peace and happiness upon all.
The very spirit or influence of this Kingdom arrangement will have
an overwhelming transforming effect on the hearts of men.
mighty working of the spirit we read in Ezekiel 11:19-20,
“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within
you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will
give them a heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and
keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and
I will be their God.”
The Iron Rule
For many an iron rule
will at first be required in order to change their heart of stone
into a heart of flesh. The laws of the Kingdom of Christ will be far
more exacting than those of any previous government and the
liberties of the people will be restricted to a degree that will be
galling indeed to many now clamoring for an increase of liberty
Liberty to deceive, to
misrepresent, to overreach and to defraud others, will be entirely
stopped. Liberty to abuse themselves or others in food or in drink,
or in any way to corrupt good manners, will be totally denied to
Liberty or license to do
wrong of any sort will not be granted to any. The only liberty that
will be granted to any will be the true and glorious liberty of the
sons of God—liberty to do good to themselves and others in any and
in every way. Nothing will be allowed to injure or destroy in all
that holy kingdom. (Isaiah 11:9; Romans 8:21)
That rule will
consequently be felt by some to be a severe one, breaking up all
their former habits and customs, as well as breaking up present
institutions founded upon these false habits and false ideas of
liberty. Because of its firmness and vigor, it is symbolically
called an iron rule, “He shall rule them with a rod of iron.”
(Compare Revelation 2:26, 27; Psalms 2:8-12, and 49:14.)
Thus will be fulfilled
the statements, “Judgment will I lay to the line and
righteousness to the plummet. And the hail [righteous judgment]
shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters [truth]
shall overflow the hiding place,” and every hidden thing
shall be revealed. (Isaiah 28:17; Matthew 10:26)
Some will feel rebellious
against that perfect and equitable rule. Now under the influence of
Satan, they lord it over their fellow men. In the Kingdom, these
will attempt to live wholly at the expense of others without
rendering compensating service. This present life-style of
self-indulgence and gratification will naturally demand and receive
many and severe disciplines under that reign, before such will learn
the lessons of that Kingdom of equity, justice, righteousness.
(Psalms 89:32; Luke 12:47,48)
But, blessed thought!
When the Prince of Life has put in force the laws of righteousness
and equity with an iron rule, the masses of mankind will learn that
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any
people.” (Proverbs 14:34)
They will learn that
God’s plan and laws are best in the end for all concerned, and
ultimately they will learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity.
(Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 1:9) All under that reign who have not learned
to love the right, will be counted unworthy of everlasting life and
will be cut off from among the people. (Acts 3:23; Revelation 20:9;
beautifully sums up the work of the Kingdom:
“God shall wipe away all
tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither
sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the
former things are passed away.”
At the end of the
thousand-year Kingdom of Christ, as mankind stands at the threshold
of eternity, they will look back upon this present life of
suffering, sickness, sorrow and death. Though this experience seems
dark and interminable at present, then, by contrast with eternity,
it will seem trifling.
With this grand
perspective, what this world is coming to now is seen as only a
necessary bridge that passes over into life everlasting.
Men will thank their God
for this experience with sin and evil, and at that time all
creatures in heaven and every creature on earth will raise their
voices in that grand Hallelujah chorus recorded in Revelation 5:13,
“Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him
[God] that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb [that was
slain] for ever and ever.” Amen.