"No longer will babies die when only a few days old;
no longer will men be considered old at 100! Only sinners will die that young!"
Isaiah 65:20 (TLB)
We are alive at a wonderful time! Things are prepared and ready to happen very soon that the human race has waited thousands of years to see. We of the new millennium are so blessed - our joy will increase by leaps and bounds as we see God bring about marvelous works.
"Wait a minute," you may say. "This doesn't square with the situation we face today. When I look at the world around me, I see so many problems. Things are going downhill - my town used to be a peaceful place - now we have crime and drugs, filth written on the walls and violence in the streets. People don't have jobs, the young people don't have hope like they used to, and it's no better elsewhere - hunger, pollution, bombing and killing all over the place. Then there is the tragedy of September 11 and the reaction to it. And we'd better not forget all the nuclear missiles sitting in their silos. No one seems to have answers that will banish these problems. You'd better have a look at the real world!"
Well, this writer is not denying these problems. He would reply, "It is a terrible thought that we have the power to wipe most of the people off the face of the Earth. (And maybe this overriding problem is a cause of some of these other problems?)"
But the purpose of this e-book is a hopeful one. To show there is reason to believe in a great future that we can all share in. God's Answer is coming, and will not be thwarted. This may seem like an airy-fairy notion! You can be the judge of that, as we go along. The case is presented in three parts. Firstly the writer tries to prove to your satisfaction that we are, right now, living in the Bible End-Time. According to Scripture, the End-Time is indeed a time of Trouble, but it is also the prelude to the rise of God's beautiful New Order. So if you come to agree with this first point (that the End-Time is here), then the writer suggests you must also accept the second. Namely that things are going to get better, not just a little better but a whole lot better!
And if you accept the reasoning so far, then hopefully you will be drawn to the third conclusion: There is something we can do, there is a response we can make to meet this situation. That response involves our relationship with Jesus.
Growing in this relationship means we can actually have a hand in the building of a wonderful new God-led world - transforming this Earth. Creating a paradise in which everyone is of value, everyone can prosper!
But look at what the prophet Daniel wrote - 2,500 years ago:
"... keep this prophecy a secret; seal it up so that it will not be understood until the end times, when travel and education shall be vastly increased!"Wouldn't you say this Bible verse is an extraordinary fit with the present day? And there's more, much more. In chapters 4-5 of this e-book are described a number of these crucial signs - signs that tell us the Kingdom of God approaches.
Daniel 12:4 (TLB)
(Note: "until the end time" - is the wording given in the NAB version.)
However, if it is true, if the End-Time really is upon us, is that a good thing? This next Bible verse is not exactly cheerful, after all:
"For in those days there will be such distress as, until now, has not beenz equaled since the beginning when God created the world, nor ever will be again."But if we keep on reading - just seven verses on we receive hope!
"[z] Dn. 12:1." [Dn.=Daniel]
Mark 13:19 (Jer.)
"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory ...."
Mark 13:26 (Jer.)
Before any great event, is there not often a time of trouble or pain? To any couple a great event surely, is the arrival of a child. Before the birth, there are many things to be prepared for - new living arrangements, maybe different patterns of working - a whole series of adjustments. Most taxing of all, the birth itself involves labor - a heroic effort on the part of the mother. Once the child is born however, the joy of receiving a new human being into the family is what takes over, and the price that was paid to bring the baby into the world fades into the background. What is important now to the couple is the fact that a child has arrived, and enriched their life!
"Everybody has run, and all must have prizes."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Another example - in Ireland, from 1845 through 1849, the people suffered from the Potato Famine. As a result of that tragedy, by the early 1860s, 1½ million of the Irish had left for the fertile shores of the United States. They flourished there - more than one president being of Irish descent.
Similarly, about 2,000 years ago, before Jesus came to Earth as the Son of Man, the people of Israel and other Mediterranean lands were bowed down. This time it was the weight of Roman rule that caused them pain. Their yearning for freedom meant that they could receive Jesus and His Message of Love with open hearts.
Again, today, are we not developing a deep spiritual hunger for the things that only God can give, like - Love, Justice, Peace, Goodness, Purpose?
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."Before going any further, perhaps you the reader should ask this basic question: "Can I rely on what I'm being told? Because if I'm going to accept the hopeful message in this e-book, I want to be sure where I'm placing my trust." This writer's reply would be that you must be the judge of how successfully this work sticks to God's revealed Truth (or to Scripture); and he would suggest to you that this Truth is our only reliable foundation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Described in the Bible is a future that will be unlike the past. If we allow a few things to put us off the Bible, we may be left with the contrary idea that things will stay pretty much as they are. We assume then, that the future will be like the past. We could be on very shaky ground. Rather than assume, wouldn't it be safer to consider these ideas seriously? That way, we may open ourselves up to God's Guidance! (Likewise, would it not be prudent for us to check into those bits in the Bible that we have problems with - maybe what looks unsound on the surface will turn out to have hidden depths?)
"Again the ass besought Jupiter."
From "The Ass and His Masters," in Aesops Fables
^ The chart below traces the growth of Earth's population over the last 2,600 years. It shows that until 200 years ago there were less than one billion people on Earth. And it was only 80+ years ago (as of the year 2016), that we broke the two billion people barrier. The chart ends at 2000 CE with six billion, but even this level is past history - now we number more than seven billion!(3)
Chart 1-3. Population Increase
If we're honest, we'll admit that this situation has rushed up on us. And yet it appears that the Bible has a reference to it:
He shall live again, and God's program shall prosper in his hands.That's in Isaiah 53:10 (TLB), and in the very next chapter:
Enlarge your house; build on additions; spread out your home!So here we read, almost in the same breath, prophecy of the Messiah's Return, and prophecy of a population explosion!
For you will soon be bursting at the seams!
Isaiah 54:2 (TLB)
In the days when this writer had lost his belief in God, he was willing to write off the Bible as a book of myths and unlikely tales. That way, he could happily ignore what it had to say that applied to himself. (He didn't bother to check out these careless assumptions!)
When we start to see that the Bible is so often uncomfortably right about what's happening around us, then we realize that in this case, ignorance is not bliss! However, there is a better way:
And the guarantee that it can all be made to work? Simply Jesus, Jesus the Messiah, Wise and True - the best Leader we have ever had! Each of us will find ourselves doing the excellent things that we are capable of. He will show us that we've underrated ourselves, that we all have a potential and a worth that is far greater than we know.
When the Prince of Peace heals our relationships, for instance, what will we have? Surely a situation in which men and women respect each other greatly, each knowing the other to be anointed in God's Plan. Marriages will last, and get better, the husband and the wife being guided by Love; each spouse enriching the other; the result - a strong and profound unity. The Bible describes Christ's coming Paradise, summed up in the following beautiful Promise:
In those days nothing and no one shall be hurt or destroyed in all my Holy Mountain, says the Lord.
Isaiah 65:25 (TLB)
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