World leaders and scientists are frankly frightened by the prospects of the future! They warn that man now possesses the means of committing cosmoscide suicide of the whole human race and even talk in terms of “over kill.” They realize something totally unforeseen must soon occur to stop the present trend of world events or man will finally destroy himself!
In l961 the late President John F. Kennedy warned a hushed United Nations Assembly: “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”
“Today,” he said, “every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. The mere existence of modern weapons 10 million times more powerful than any that the world has ever seen, and only minutes away from any target on earth -- is a source of horror.”
“Together,” said President Kennedy grimly, “we shall save our planet or together we shall perish in its flames.”
What President Kennedy told the United Nations in 1961 was not the ranting of a wild-eyed fanatic, but is the day-to-day reality of the world in which we live. Today, the estimated number of stockpiled nuclear bombs is already enough to wipe out the world’s population many times over!
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WAREFARE
Nuclear warfare is only one of many ways that could bring the total destruction of mankind in the very near future. Though the subject has been given little publicity; some nations are now producing new super-weapons which may be even deadlier than nuclear bombs! Fifteen nations, including the United States of America and Russia, already have chemical and biological warfare potential.
Weapons of a chemical or biological nature are far less expensive to produce than complicated nuclear weapons. Any country with a good-sized brewery could manufacture germs about as easily as beer!
CAN MAN-MADE PLAGUES BE CONTROLLED?
Scientists are faced with the grim question of whether or not a man-made plague could be controlled, once started, since full-scale testing is impossible. Even natural epidemics are poorly understood, and we can rarely predict how fast they will spread, or how many people will be affected.
In biological warfare, it is likely that the infectious agents will not be those which occur in natural epidemics, but special variants selected or modified in the biological warfare laboratory. In this case it would be nearly impossible to be confident about the actual course of an artificial epidemic, once it started. It might fizzle out, or it might spread so unexpectedly as to engulf friend and foe alike!
Britain tested biological weapons as early as 1941, when there was widespread fear that the Axis Powers might use germ warfare. In one test, Gruinard, a remote island off the northwest coast of Scotland, was sprayed with anthrax bacteria. The targets were sheep, which soon became infected and died. But the anthrax bacteria were so durable that the isle is still unsafe for people today! It is expected to remain that way for at least another 100 years!
Because of the grave doubts arising from such experiments, some observers ominously conclude that “to initiate the use of plague or anthrax disease that can kill more than 90% of their victims, would be to set in motion a doomsdays machine on the planet (New York Times Magazine, Aug. 25, 1968).
OTHER WAYS TO ANNIHILATION!
There are yet several other global crises which could lead to the utter destruction of mankind in the not too distant future.
Human life can only be sustained by air, water and food. But today man is polluting and poisoning all three of these necessities. Air pollution is now recognized as a growing international menace, one which not only threatens the health of man, but seriously affects the continued existence of all life.
Water pollution is another massive threat. Most of our rivers and lakes are so seriously polluted that supplies of drinkable water in many places have reached a crisis stage! Now, increasingly, it is being found that pollution is also seeping into our underground water supplies. A study by the U.S. Public Health Service indicated that millions of people in the United States are drinking water that is unfit for human consumption!
Man is infamous for having depleted and ruined the soil out of which his food must grow. Man has speeded up the process by using artificial fertilizers which actually defeat their very purpose by locking up other soil elements, thereby robbing vegetables grains, and fruits grown in such soils of the life-sustaining minerals and vitamins necessary for good health. Modern man also uses poisonous insecticides which exterminate more helpful forms of life in the soil and air. But also enter the ecological web of life that threatens the extinction of higher species of life. Even man himself is potentially at danger!
Add to these urgent problems the worldwide revolution in the weather, droughts, floods and earthquakes and epidemics of disease. And if all these fast-accelerating evils do not destroy humanity soon, the experts say the effects of the population explosion will!
THE POPULATION BOMB
Many leading scientists have warned that the greatest single crisis facing the world is the population explosion.
The earth’s present population is about seven billion people. How will they be fed? Hungry people are restless people. Starving people seldom just sit down and quietly die. They riot, revolt, pillage and murder in order to get food! Massive starvation could spark future food wars which could finally engulf the entire world in horrible struggles for survival!
NEED: “A STRONG HAND FROM SOMEPLACE”
An accurate appraisal of man’s ONLY HOPE for survival appeared in a leading U.S. news magazine in 1965.This appraisal indicated that among government officials the prevailing view is gaining acceptance that tensions and world problems are fast becoming too deep-seated to be solved except “by a strong hand from someplace.” This was 1965, mind you! Think how much worse conditions have become.
That strong hand is coming but from a source most people least expect! The Prophet Isaiah reveals that source in your Bible: “Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him” (Isa. 40:10).
Your Bible shows there is hope for mankind! The Great God of your Bible says He is going to send Jesus Christ again, this time to save us from ourselves and to establish the Government of God on earth! He will not allow the misguided scientific genius of man to destroy all life from this planet.
The glorified Christ returning in all the splendor, supernatural power and glory of God Almighty, is coming to save mankind alive; coming to stop escalating wars, nuclear mass destruction, human pain and suffering, coming to usher in peace, abundant well-being, happiness and joy for all mankind!
PREDICTED CENTURIES AGO
The sad state of our world was predicted and written in advance. Over 1900 years ago, the greatest newscaster the world has ever known foretold today’s chaotic world conditions! He foresaw today’s scientific discoveries and technological advancements. And He foresaw the outcome of it all.
He knew that men would produce the destructive forces that now threaten cosmoscide! This famous newscaster warned: “And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved (alive), Mark 13:20. This great news prophet was Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the same Jesus who is coming again to intervene at the last moment for this world. What He foretold has been written in your Bible all these centuries. No other book is as up-to-day as your Bible!
Jesus Christ foretold today’s world conditions in vivid language. He prophesied in advance the wars, famines, disease epidemics and natural disasters that are now occurring increasingly before our very eyes! Jesus gave the exact sequence of events that would take place in our modern, pulsating space age. Scientists and world leaders, most of who know little of Bible prophecy and even reject the Bible, readily admit the events He prophesied are taking place right now in our generation!
Jesus taught that there is a timetable of prophesied events that must occur in the months and years ahead before He returns to rescue humanity from annihilation. Let’s begin to understand these prophecies. Let’s learn exactly what the world’s greatest newscaster foretold for our time.
SCOFFERS IN THE LAST DAYS
Our day is the day of so-called “Christian Atheism” when even theologians scoff at the idea of God’s existence and the prophesied intervention of Jesus Christ.
“Christ is no longer expected to come back,” said John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich England, in his book The New Reformation. “I believe,” continues Bishop Robinson, “that we must designate ours a post-Christian era, in the sense that Christ is no longer expected. The present generation is unable to recognize Jesus as the Christ. They ask, why should we see in this historical character the focus of all our hopes or the answer to all our problems?”
Notice that your Bible predicted this time of scoffers!
What did the apostle Peter say would signal the “last day” (II Peter 3:3-4)?
COMMENT: “Scoffers” is rendered “mockers” in the Moffatt translation.
Does God address a rebuke against such skepticism, especially to Israel (Ezk 12:21-23)?
COMMENT: Surprising as it may seem, this prophecy and the entire book of Ezekiel were written primarily for our day! When this book was written, the nation of Israel (not to be confused with the modern nation of Israel) had already fallen and been taken into captivity, from which she never returned, a full 120 years before.
History reveals that the ten-tribed nation of Israel (the northern kingdom) was taken captive by the Assyrians in 721-718 B.C. However, by the time God spoke this prophecy to Ezekiel, about 600 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was attacking the southern kingdom of Judah. Ezekiel was already in a Babylonian slave camp (Ezk 1:1), far from the regions where Israel had been carried by Assyria so long before.
God gave Ezekiel a message to be delivered to Israel a message about a future captivity. Yet Israel had already gone into its first and only captivity 120 long years before! Ezekiel’s captors would not allow him to go to Israel to deliver that message. God knew he would not be able to go, before He gave him the prophecy. So, plainly, God did not expect the message to be delivered then and there.
But Ezekiel wrote the message so it would be preserved. And it is today in the hands of the people to whom it was sent, at precisely the time when God intended them to receive it!
Does God say that the doubter’s proverb would prove worthless, and that the time would come when every vision would be fulfilled (Ezk 12:23-25)? What is the prophecy the modern-day descendants of Israel do not want to believe (verse 20)?
COMMENT: The people say time has already been so long that it is obvious the vision will never come to pass. God’s answer is that everything prophesied will happen as predicted!
Even if people admit the fact that this calamity will come to pass, how do they try to rationalize it away (verse 27)? Does God answer there will be no reprieve from this sentence (verse 28)?
Before Godsends major punishment upon a nation, does He always first reveal it to His servants (Amos 3:6-7)?
Hosea 5:9 calls the end time the “day of rebuke.” Do verses 8 and 9 indicate an end-time warning ministry to the nations of Israel? Compare these verses with Hosea 7:12.
(7) For what age was Isaiah’s prophecy primarily put in writing (Isa. 30:8)? (The better rendering of “time to come” is “the latter day,” as given in the margin of many Bibles.) What does God say will be the character of people in “the latter day” (verse 9-11). Then will their punishment come suddenly, though obvious signs had previously been visible (verse 13)?
(8) Is one of the signs of the imminence of dire calamity the world’s tendency to ignore and deny the peril (I Thess. 5:3)?
(9) What message does Isaiah give the mockers (Isa. 28:22) Does God warn them of great destruction upon the whole earth? Same verse. Is it linked with the time of God’s intervention in world affairs (v. 21)?
PROPHECY HAS NOT FAILED!
Let’s understand once and for all that prophecy has not failed. We need to realize that every prophecy has a definite time setting, a time usually not in the prophet’s own day. One full third of the Bible is prophecy, and about 90% of all that prophecy still pertains to this prophesied “end time”!
Was Joel’s prophecy for his own day, or for the distance future (Joel 1:2-3, 15)? What is the “day of the Lord”? It is the time when God intervenes in world affairs (Joel 3:1-2, 11-14)? When will this great day occur after great signs in the heavens (verses 15-16)? Is this plainly speaking of the time Christ will return (Matt. 24:29-31)?
COMMENT: The “day of the Lord” is mentioned in many prophecies of the Bible. It always refers to the time when God will intervene in world affairs, when Christ will return to this earth.
Did the prophet Isaiah also prophesy of this time (Isa. 24:17-21)? What will happen “in that day” (Isa. 2:2, 11-12)?
Will all prophecies regarding the “day of the Lord” be fulfilled (Rev. 10:5-7)?
Will any of the God-given prophecies fail to come to pass (Isa. 55:11)? Will the warning message given to the people by God’s servants be fulfilled (Ezk. 33:30-33)? Is it a pleasant message (vs. 25-29)?
COMMENT: Most people today are tired of hearing “bad news.” Nevertheless, God’s prophecies include bad news for all those who rebel against Him and trample on His laws! But they also include much good news on beyond the prophesied time of world trouble and chaos (Isa. 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-4). Many of the prophecies foretell a time of peace, of happiness, of restoration, of joy, of great prosperity and physical wealth for those who serve and obey God.
THE FIRST THING CHRIST FORETOLD
What was the first warning sign Jesus Christ gave His disciples when they asked Him about the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:3-4)? Did He foretell that many deceivers would arise to deceive many people (vs. 5, 11, and 24)? Are they the ministers of the arch deceiver himself (II Cor. 11:13-15)? Is the whole world deceived as a result of their activities (Rev. 12:9)?
But would the truth of God also be proclaimed with power around the world before the second coming of Christ (Matt. 24:14)?
COMMENT: God will not leave the world without a warning witness. Today, His servants are powerfully proclaiming His truth worldwide via the media of television, radio, the printing press and the internet. You are studying His message right now, as you study your Bible with this Correspondence Course.
In the meantime, would the deceivers become extremely active (II Tim. 3:13)? Would men have only a “form” an outward show of godliness (v. 5)? Wasn’t Paul clearly speaking of the “last days” our perilous age (v. 1)?
Did Jesus predict that some of the false teachers would even claim He has already returned (Matt. 24: 23-26)?
COMMENT: As we’ll see in the next lesson, there will not be the slightest doubt that Christ has returned when His second coming really does occur!
WHEN WILL CHRIST RETURN?
Perhaps you have heard preachers declare: “The Lord may come tonight.” But, is it true the second coming of Jesus Christ could occur at any minute? What did He Himself say?
Jesus warned: “Take heed that ye be not deceived!”
What is one of the deceits the false ministers would preach (Luke 21:8)? Notice the words “the time draweth near.”
COMMENT: According to the original Greek in which the New Testament was written, the false message of those pretending to be the ministers of Christ is: “The time has come near,” or “The Lord may come tonight.” What about it, then? Could Christ return at any moment?
Your Bible teaches that there is a definite sequence of events which must occur first! Study carefully all of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.These chapters clearly reveal there is a timetable of prophecy, that certain definite events must occur before Christ returns!
Did Christ explain clearly that certain events would have to take place before the “end” (Luke 21:9-11)?
COMMENT: Notice that the King James English of 1611 is not at all clear in verse 9. Instead of “by and by,” the original Greek phrase is better translated “immediately.” Parallel accounts of Matthew 24:6 and Mark 13:7 correctly answer “the end is not yet.”
But once the terrible events Jesus enumerated in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 finally begin to occur, will they be all completed in the lifetime of one generation (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32)?
THE “SIGNS OF THE TIMES”
There is a parallel to the widespread lack of understanding of God’s prophetic timetable for the return of Jesus Christ. The Jews at the time of His first coming also lacked understanding and did not fully recognize or accept Christ as the prophesied Messiah.
Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that the “signs” accompanying His ministry should have been proof enough that He was the prophesied Christ. The Old Testament prophecies, with which they were thoroughly familiar, had predicted the exact time and manner of His appearance! Yet they refused to believe Him!
What did these scoffing Pharisees and Sadducees ask Jesus to show them (Matt. 16:1)? How did He answer them (vs. 2-3)?
COMMENT: The religious leaders of Christ’s day didn’t understand the “signs of the times.” Yet they had been taught the Messiah was to come, for that very message was repeated in nearly every book of the Old Testament. In verse 3, Jesus showed them they could understand, if they really wanted to!
What additional sign besides the plain Old Testament prophecies they already knew did Jesus give (Matt. 16:4)? What was the “sign of the prophet Jonas” (Matt. 12:39-40)?
COMMENT: Atheists and agnostics scoff at the Biblical record of “Jonah and the whale.” Nevertheless, Jesus told the Pharisees that He would be in His grave for the same length of time Jonah was in the great fish. This was to be the special “sign” to His generation that He really was the prophesied Christ!
Did that sign come to pass? Read Matthew 27:57-66 and 28:1-6. Notice especially verse 6.
COMMENT: Two women came to see the tomb where Christ had been laid. When they arrived, they found it empty. They were told that Christ had risen, “as he said” after three days and three nights. The sign had come to pass! Jesus proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that He was the prophesied Messiah and Savior of mankind!
“SIGNS” OF OUR TIMES
As Jesus explained to His disciples the exact sequence of events that would precede His intervention (Matt. 24:3-41), what else did He say would occur in the end time besides the coming of many false prophets (Matt. 24:6-7
COMMENT: World War I commenced in 1914. Ever since, nation has continued to rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Just since World War II alone, there have been more than 70 armed conflicts around the world. World War III is just around the corner!
Is famine one of the major signs indicating that Christ’s intervention in world affairs is very near (Matt. 24:7)?
COMMENT: The first decade or so after World War II, food production kept up with population in the underdeveloped countries. But the tables turned in 1958, a crucial year. From that time till this, the stork outraced and passed the plow. More and more had less and less to eat.
Since 1958 the crisis has generally grown worse. The first shocking blow came in 1965-66 with severe drought and threatening famine in India.
Disaster was barely staved off in l966.What will happen the next time the world faces drought and famine? Remember: every year world population grows another 70 million. Every three years the equivalent of another United States is added to the world’s population! Many areas of the world face a severe crisis as population passes food production.
The facts are, lagging world food production, combined with the reality of the population explosion, add up to one thing: a crisis of awesome proportions is exploding on the world’s doorstep! The several million dying each year now from starvation could soon be multiplied a hundred times. Our affluent nations are not immune to this dire threat!
KILLER DISEASE GLOBAL PANDEMICS
What else was prophesied to occur after famine (Matt. 24:7)? Isn’t pestilence partly the natural result of food shortage?
COMMENT: The way is already prepared for a revival of pestilence. More and more crowding means more waste and refuse, more garbage, more pollution of the water, air and land. And more disease! Huge concentrations of population are ready-made tinder boxes of potential disease epidemics. Under crowded conditions, an epidemic can spread from person to person like wildfire. All the great pestilences of the past were just such contagious diseases.
It is not inconceivable that a flu epidemic similar to the one in 1918 could strike. Despite medical science, disease germs, bacteria and viruses have built up an amazing resistance to the “wonder drugs” of a few years ago. Through mutation and adaptation, their resistance to man’s drugs and vaccines is becoming even greater. It is very possible that a super-flu or other deadly pestilence could sweep the world killing millions!
Remember also that modern man already lives in an environment of poisons. He inhales poisonous, polluted air, drinks contaminated, filthy water, and eats pesticide-laden foods. The inevitable results is that the heart, lungs and the entire body in general are weakened, thus lowering resistance to disease which nearly always strikes the weakest first!
Jesus Christ told the truth bluntly, plainly, without equivocation. He said that our world today would begin to experience vast disease epidemics!
What else will happen with increasing severity (Matt. 24:7).When earthquake activity reaches a peak, will men at last begin to recognize that God is intervening (Isa. 2:19-21)?
Are the signs Jesus foretold only the beginning of sorrows (Matt. 24:8)? If this prophesied time of world trouble were allowed to continue, would there be anyone left alive (vs. 21:22)?
COMMENT: Famine, disease, pestilence, earthquakes and other disruptions of nature are taking an increasing toll of human life today. And as we have seen, world leaders everywhere are afraid that man’s destructive capability will annihilate all life on earth!
THE “FOUR HORSEMEN”
Doesn’t Revelation 6 picture the same conditions Jesus described in Matthew 24, but in symbolic terms (Rev. 6:2-8)?
COMMENT: These four horses and horsemen represent the four major world conditions Jesus said would exist at the end of this age, all increasing in severity and overlapping in their effects on the entire world!
The white horse represents the increasing number of false ministers preaching a false Christ and false ways to “salvation.” The red horse pictures the increasing destruction of the rages of wars. The black horse, increasing famine. And the pale horse, rampaging diseases.
What tremendous toll of life will be taken by these “four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Rev. 6:8)?
COMMENT: Just imagine, if you can, one fourth of mankind dying during a period described as only the beginning of sorrows!!!
But let’s not forget that man is bringing this horrible suffering and death upon himself! Jesus knew that man, left to his own devices, would so afflict himself and would ultimately destroy all life, unless something totally unforeseen occurred to stop it. That is why He has promised to intervene in world affairs; Jesus Christ is coming soon to rescue us, from ourselves, because man has just about reached the end of his rope!
THE “ABOMINATON OF DESOLATION”
What was another sign Jesus gave to indicate when “the end” was near (Matt. 24:14-16)?
Did Jesus identify the “abomination of desolation” as that one which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (v. 15)?
Was Daniel told of a desolating abomination that would exist in the end time (Dan. 9:27)?
COMMENT: Notice that this abomination is something which is to be located where sacrifices were being made.
When else does Daniel mention the “abomination of desolation” (Dan. 11:31)?
COMMENT: This verse was fulfilled once in ancient history. Most Bible scholars concede that most of the eleventh chapter of Daniel was fulfilled in history by the struggles of the Seleucidae of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt called the kings of the North and the South by Daniel.
Verse 31 was once fulfilled when Jerusalem was conquered and the Temple of God was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, in 168 B.C. (See Rawlinson’s A Manual of Ancient History.)
But Jesus said the “abomination” was still future, didn’t He (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14)?
COMMENT: Then at least a part of Daniel 11 must also be dual! And no wonder, for we find the chapter concludes with the “time of the end” (v. 40) leading up to the resurrection of the saints (chapter 12:2). (In the original text, there is no chapter break between Daniel 11 and 12.)
But what is the “abomination of desolation” prophesied for the “time of the end”? Putting Bible prophecy and historical fulfillment together, we can get an idea of what this abomination of desolation will be. Historically, the abomination of desolation was the image of Jupiter Olympus a Greek and Roman god which Antiochus, with the help of his army, placed in the temple in Jerusalem (Rawlinson, p. 255). The modern “abomination of desolation” therefore, will also be some kind of false “god” in Jerusalem!
What else will be present when the “abomination of desolation” is in Jerusalem (Luke 21:20)? Is this the time when all prophecies the skeptics think have failed will be fulfilled (v. 22)?
COMMENT: Here, again, is duality in prophecy. The presence of Roman armies in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was only a type of what will happen in the near future. The Roman legions which conquered Jerusalem then were only a type of modern legions which will soon again surge through the Middle East. A.D. 70 was not “the END”! The “day of the Lord” did not arrive then!
Will there be great warfare at the same time in the Middle East (Luke 21:23-24)? Will the city of Jerusalem be captured by the Gentiles (v.24; Zech. 14:1-2)?
Will half of Jerusalem’s population be carried away and the whole city looted (v. 2)? Will this time be especially hard on women? Same verse. Isn’t this why Jesus warned “woe” to pregnant and nursing women (Matt. 24:16-19)? It will be very difficult for them to escape!
Is this the very time Jesus Christ must intervene lest the weapons of modern warfare completely wipe out all life on earth (Matt. 24:22)?
COMMENT: Never before in man’s history has he been able to destroy all life on this planet. These prophecies can only refer to today and the immediate future!
WORLD’S POPULATION DECIMATED
Does the Bible prophecy a great future war (Rev. 9:14-18)? How many will die in this terrible conflict (vs. 15, 18)?
COMMENT: Horrible as it sounds, the millions who died in World War II will be as nothing compared to the enormous decimation of human life just ahead! Roughly one third of the human race will die in this war. And remember, this death toll is in addition to the number of others who will die of famine and disease!
What will happen to the armies that attack Jerusalem (Zech. 14:12; Rev. 19:19-21)?
In summary, what does Isaiah prophecy concerning the earth’s population when Christ returns (Isa. 24:1-3)? Why (vs. 5-6)? What is the number of the “few” people still alive compared to (v. 13; Isa. 17:4-6)?
WATCH YOU THEREFORE
Will Christ’s coming catch most people unawares their minds completely occupied with their own problems, hopes, fears and pleasures, even in the midst of the most terrible times the world has ever known (Matt. 24:37-39)?
Does Christ therefore warn us to take heed and carefully watch for the signs of His imminent return (Luke 21:34-36)?
COMMENT: Jesus plainly shows us that we must watch world events in order to escape the trouble mankind is bringing upon itself lest we be snared by it and unprepared for His coming.
Will the events “the signs” preceding Christ’s intervention be difficult to discern? Or will they be obvious (to those who are watching) as the changing of the seasons? Compare Luke 21: 29-31 with Matt. 24:32-33.
COMMENT: Are you watching carefully the step-by-step fulfillment of Biblical prophecies on the world scene? Are you taking diligent heed to Jesus’ words of warning? May God help you to do so, for your life and the lives of those in your family are at stake!
Let’s face it! Right now there are only two alternatives left before mankind. Either there does exist a living God of supreme mind and total power who very soon will step in and intervene in the affairs of this world to save humanity from itself or else the extinction of all life will inevitably occur, sooner or later, as man unleashes the awesome forces at his control upon his neighbor! There are no other alternatives!