A few years ago, the disposal of deadly nerve gas off the coast of Florida caused a great controversy from coast to coast.
However, there is a far deadlier element in our lives—deadly to ourselves and deadly to all with whom we come in contact. The Bible calls it sin. But whatever names we call it, however securely we encase it in culture, education or philanthropy, there is a deadly seepage continuing. We have tried to dispose of this deadly “gas” that infects every person in the world in a thousand ways. We have changed its name. We have tried to ignore it. We have tried to claim that it is not so deadly after all. We have even commercialized it.
When this “gas” of sin has become unbearable, we have tried to dispose of it on the psychiatrist’s couch or tried to drown it in alcohol or deaden it with drugs, and still the deadly seepage continues. There is only one way that sin can be permanently disposed of, and that is through Jesus Christ. The Scripture says He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took our sins on the cross. Only in Christ can sin be destroyed and disposed of. Only at the cross can we dispose of this hideous load safely and forever.
Another matter that is in the news every week is the search for peace in the Middle East. Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria and other nations are involved in this high-stakes game. Some people believe that there is little hope for permanent peace in the Middle East. The struggle has been so long and bitter, the emotions of the people have been so aroused, and the differences between the nations are so great.
The Israelis feel that they have a legal, moral and religious right to be in Palestine. All their great prophets prophesied that someday they would return to their own land and rebuild it. Ezekiel said, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel’” (Ezekiel 11:17). Amos said, “‘I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:15).
The very presence of Israel in her own land has caused a crisis in the Middle East and throughout the world. This is precisely as the Bible predicted. Zechariah predicted that in the latter days God would make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples of the world (Zechariah 12:3). We are seeing this fulfilled in our generation. The struggle will increase in tempo, the Bible teaches, until it finally culminates in the Battle of Armageddon.
The world will never know permanent peace until the Prince of Peace reigns on His rightful throne. Jesus, knowing the hate, jealousy and greed of the human heart, predicted that there would be wars and rumors of wars until the end of time (Matthew 24:6).
People are asking, “Is the end of the world near? How will it happen? How will history terminate? What lies beyond, if anything?”
Many large corporations have departments that deal exclusively with the future. Specialists contemplate the future on multi-million-dollar budgets. Many predict a future where computers, science and drugs will have solved most of the problems of the world.
But there is one great factor they have not taken into consideration. As far as I know, no one has fed into computers the facts about mankind’s moral weakness, our tendency toward self-indulgence and lawlessness, our hate. The ugly side of human life is overlooked. The quarrelsome, selfish and adulterous nature of mankind—which is the cause of all crime, war and every other evil that has destroyed countries and civilizations throughout history—has been omitted.
This is why Bible prophecies are in such stark contrast with these other predictions. The Bible takes human nature into account. The Bible prophesies a swift descent into lawlessness and world chaos so shocking that only God Himself can intervene and save the human race. With his mind illuminated by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul predicted: “in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
Such people, he said, will not long enjoy the fruits of their attainments, however marvelous. He predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 that they will perish “because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
When Christ was asked by His disciples, “What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the world?” He replied along the same line. Instead of picturing a future filled with scientific achievements amid an era of perpetual peace, He foretold an endless sequence of disorder and tragedy until He Himself would return to bring it to an end. He said, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes” all over the world (Matthew 24:7). The Bible teaches that there will be no break in the chain of sorrows and disasters that will afflict the human race until they see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27).
Before judgment falls, however, God always warns. He warned the people of Sodom before destruction came. He warned the people of Nineveh before judgment came. He warned the people of Jerusalem before destruction came. And He warned the people of Noah’s day before destruction came.
What happened in Noah’s day will be repeated at the end of history. We have the word of Jesus, who said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37). The two experiences will run parallel in many important aspects. Not only in the vast extent of lawlessness and the universality of catastrophe, but also in the earnestness of warning and the provision of a way of escape. At God’s bidding, Noah preached for 120 years. During that time he warned the people to repent of their sins and turn to God, but the people laughed and sneered. Then the rain came. Jesus said, “The flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27).
Something just as devastating and just as global in its effects is going to happen again, unless men and women repent.
The Apostle Peter warned, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
Before all of these terrifying things take place, the Bible teaches there will be apostasy in the church. In other words, a turning away on the part of the organized church from the true faith, a rebellion on the part of the masses of people all over the world, and many wars.
However, Jesus also said another interesting thing. He said this, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Today, for the first time in history, we are witnessing the preaching of the Gospel on a global scale such as the world has never known. It’s one of the signs that we are to look for as we approach the end of history.
The Bible teaches that there is deliverance from the things that are about to come upon the world for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Not by chemicals, but by Christ. Not by injecting or snorting drugs, but by bringing the mind and heart into harmony with God through submission to His will and accepting His forgiveness as offered from the cross. In Christ alone there is deliverance from mankind’s tortured thoughts, healing for our weakened minds and bodies, and freedom from the sordid habits that are destroying many people.
But more important, there is hope for the future. The Bible teaches that there is a glorious new social order coming. It is going to be brought by Jesus Christ Himself when He comes back. Are you ready? Jesus said, “You also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44). Are you ready? ©1994 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.