Ah, what fascination -- what adventure -- unparalleled excitement as one seeks to probe the future and what lies in store for us!
Many are the gimmicks and methods employed to see what the future holds for us. There are efforts to contact the dead -- maybe we can touch base with aunt Susie or uncle Sylvester and they can give us a clue as to what's going to happen next month on the 23rd! Then there are the crystal ball people and the others who lay out cards with weird pictures on them. Still others say it's all in the stars and planet alignment -- the zodiac and your astrological sign -- all this stuff as it interacts somehow shows us what is yet to be. And it is a given -- there are those who read the daily Horoscope (should it really be spelled "Horrorscope?") religiously and act accordingly -- it is their "bible" for shaky times such as these!
OK -- do you want information that is 100 per cent accurate and comes from the most reliable source you will ever consult in a lifetime? Really -- are you sure about that?
Then be sure you hold to that desire, because it is possible to know some things for sure when it comes to future happenings. Now this is not the kind of information where you will be tipped off as to what you will eat for breakfast next Friday morning or what you will be wearing when you leave the house. On the other hand, this is information that gives you basic facts as to what is going to happen so that you are challenged to make the proper preparation for the events taking place.
Our Authority is none other than Jesus Christ Himself! Only He is qualified to reveal the basic facts as to what the future of this world holds in regard to its human inhabitants. Statements He made on future events are found mainly in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and Luke 21 in the New Testament Scriptures.
In consulting them do not let anyone, pastor or teacher or layperson, try to foul you up about "interpretation" -- just imagine Jesus speaking these words to you and take them at face value -- you'll come out alright!
The world and nations within it will become increasingly corrupted spiritually, morally and ethically. Jesus summarized this trend by saying it will be like it was in the generation in which Noah lived before the judgment of the flood and as it was in Lot's time when he lived in the city of Sodom before it was destroyed by a judgment of fire!
There will be all manner of earthly calamities and cosmic phenomena happening. Note some the specific things to which Jesus made reference:
- massive deception and delusion will take place -- Jesus repeats Himself on this warning to be alert and not allow yourself to be deceived by false teachers
- wars and rumors of wars with nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom -- there will be no peace in spite of efforts to achieve it
- there will be famines in many places -- people starve to death every day in some nations of this world
- pestilences (devastating diseases) will be found throughout the world -- e.g. Africa is being ravaged by Aids in spite of massive amounts of money being poured into that continent in an effort to bring it under control -- sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase!
- earthquakes are increasing in frequency -- sensitive instruments record the crust of the earth is quivering constantly like a bowl of jello being shaken -- and then a tragic by-product of an earthquake sometimes happens -- it's called a tsunami -- ever hear of it?
- lawlessness abounding with the tragic result that some will simply give up, considering that the price to be paid for resisting evil is simply too high!
- increased hatred and persecution of Christians as the home stretch of human history runs its course!
- a time labeled as "great tribulation" -- trouble so intense that nothing like it has ever happened before nor ever shall again!
The New Testament writers added to this information in different ways such as 2 Timothy 3 and 4; 2 Peter 2 and 3; and Jude. The biggie in all this is the book of The Revelation with lots of detail -- enough to make the thinking person say, "I want to be sure I'm right with God and I'm on the way to heaven when my life on earth if over."
The responsibility of the Christian is first and foremost that of being a witness in word and deed to the salvation which is exclusively offered through Jesus Christ, Who is Savior and Lord over all. Here are some things to bear in mind:
- daily disciplines of Bible reading/study and prayer -- every day, no exceptions!
- involvement in the fellowship of believers, giving public expression to one's faith
- personally pursue holiness by the grace of God as the minimal standard for one's lifestyle -- this means saying "No!" to a wide ranging acceptance of indulgences and practices by a majority of persons in today's world, including what is sometimes advocated even in professing Christian circles -- and sometimes by church leaders themselves who profess to be "Christian!" The Holy Spirit is faithful to guide us in these matters and in the making of our choices -- that is, if we permit Him to guide us.
- sound the warning trumpet of impending judgement by Almighty God and the reasons why God has every right to bring judgment without delay!
- keep reminded each day that Jesus' return could be at any time -- but also, be reminded that here in the "comfortable" United States things could become very difficult for Christians before Jesus does return -- some object to this possibility and suggest that before it gets too tough He will come and take the Christians out of here. But why should we be favored in such a manner when right now in other places in this world our Christian brothers and sisters are being put to death for their faith, or beaten, tortured and put in prison for no other reason than the fact that they are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are a spoiled and pampered lot, are we not?
- apply the prayer as mentioned in Psalm 141:5 diligently -- pray specifically against the deeds of the wicked -- there are a lot of them around, you know, doing a lot of things which God condemns. They sit behind desks in high places as well as lurking about in dark alleys!
Be concerned about the future -- ask God to help you understand those things He has revealed about the future, and to prepare you to speak about it. Be bold in stressing the fact that there is absolutely no hope in the future outside of Jesus Christ. We are urged to comfort one another from time to time with the reality that Jesus is going to come back to earth again as King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen!
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. --- Titus 2:11-14