Today, we live in the most strenuous, anxious, momentous, hours of history. We stand on the threshold of colossal events that will stager the mind of mortal man.
World statesmen work feverishly to insure peace, while the nations prepare even more feverishly for war. Unheard of phenomena in nature leave gigantic wreckage in its wake whole cities wiped out by savage tornadoes, terrific earthquakes such as the world never knew before thousands homeless and thousands drown in tsunami. Governments being overthrown and many others are tottering. Never has the world know such unrest as now.
But the economic conditions the hard times is the situation which strikes most closely here to most of us. Millions and millions out of work! More millions working only part time, and not altogether certain of that! Still more people are suffering repeated salary and wage cuts! The average man is just perplexed and bewildered. He wonders what it is all about. He knows he has been hit and hit hard. He knows things are not right. He sees gross injustices, and on what meager knowledge of real facts he possesses, reasons out his particular idea of the cause and the remedy.
Some say President Obama is to blame. When Obama leaves the White House and the right man takes the helm in Washington, everything will be all right, they assume. Others say it is the money barons. The rich man has it in for the poor man and is gradually driving him into starvation. Still another says it is our credit system based upon usury or interest.
Each man appears to know all about it and each has his own pet solution. Get a new president, or give us socialism, or do away with interest or what have you. Yet, when the truth is known, not one of these pet theories ever will, or even could solve our great distress.
What is the Truth? God Almighty says His very Word is Truth, and in it He has given us a record, faithful and true, of the foundation of the world, its course of history down through the stream of time, and a true and accurate prophecy of the future. In the Bible the prophecies clearly describing the difficulties of this very hour, revealing to us, direct from the Mind of God, the causes which few men even suspect, and still more importantly, plainly outlining the one and only solution!
Let’s pause for a moment from our reasoning and prejudices and theories and listen to the counsel of the Most High!
What is the outstanding condition which marks this time of stress and depression from any previous time? By what signs may we clearly identify the present trouble from any time in the past? How, in other words, may we be sure that any certain Bible prophecies refer to this present specific trouble, and not to some times of the past, or yet future. Certain factors distinguish the present distress from any in the past. They are:
First the fact that wealth is centered in the hands of a few, and yet there are more rich men than ever before. A few years ago a millionaire was such a rare thing as to be regarded with awe. Since the world war millionaires have sprung up like mushrooms one is hardly considered really rich today unless he is a billionaire. At no time in the past has the world known so many really rich men.
Second the unprecedented wave of unemployment partly because the very rich have defrauded the poor, so they could live in wanton luxury and pleasure; partly due to the present system of economic distribution, high powered advertising and salesmanship and commercialism; partly due to a top-heavy industrial expansion. Partly due to other causes; more men and women are out of employment today than ever before in world history! The great unemployment, then, is a characteristic which distinguishes this particular time.
Third it is a perilous time in every other sense of the word. Lawlessness and crime, mankind’s pleasure seeking while forgetting God in his restless search of pleasures, war-clouds hovering over the Middle East and between Russia and the Ukraine tensions between China and the United States and with Russia. Children are disobedient to parents as never before, a falling away from God, preachers that are not preaching the truth, a time of general all around trouble and distress. No past times ever fulfilled all these specifications.
So if we can find these particular conditions foretold in the Bible, we may be certain it refers to the very hours of the present, and not some other time.
Listen! “Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for our miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered (corroded); and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James 5:1-3).
About 2,000 years ago, the Great God, through James, wrote that in these last days there would be rich men, who have heaped treasure or wealth together. Never have there been so many wealthy men. Never have men been so tremendously wealthy. Truly, this is speaking of our very day and time, accurately describing one outstanding characteristic which distinguished it from past times, and God’s word here tells us these are the last days.
Let us continue: “Behold, the hire (wages) of the laborers who have reaped (mowed) down your fields, which is (you have) of you kept back by fraud, crieth (cry out): and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been (indulgence) wanton: ye have nourished (fattened) your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you (vs. 4-6).
Is not that an accurate description of our millionaire capitalists and industrial magnates, how they have lived, and what they have done?
Let us turn quickly now to Zechariah the 8th chapter and verses 7-9 we read that the prophecy is describing that yet-future time when the Lord will take His people back to Jerusalem, and they shall be His people and he will be their God. Then, beginning with the 10th verse, we read: “For before these days” (there is every sign that we are just before these days), “there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbor.”
So, clearly, the God of heaven knew and declared to us more than 2,000 years ago through His prophet Zechariah before the re-establishment of His reign over His people at Jerusalem, there would be general and widespread unemployment. Never before has there been such general and world-wide unemployment. It affects every country upon the earth.
In these same identical last days, perilous times will be accompanied by self-love and desire for self-gain, pride, profanity and loose speech, disobedient to parents, men being unreliable whose word cannot be trusted and who breaks their contracts and agreements, and such a love of pleasure that people forget God, according to Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Tim. 3:1-5).” Such times never before have existed. They exist today. We are, therefore, in the last days.
And again, “there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming” (II Peter 3:3-4)? Do we have scoffers against real true Christianity today? Scoffers who, when one mentions that Jesus is soon coming to earth again, reply sneeringly, “Ah, where do you get that? Why they were saying the earth was coming to an end in my grandfather’s day and it hasn’t happened yet.” Thus do such people confirm the Word of God and prove the true accuracy of the very Word they deny.
These are identical days when we find “upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity:” yes, bloody revolutions in Russia and Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the hatred between North and South Korea, the hatred between China and Japan and on it goes. Truly distress of nations, with perplexity “the sea and waves roaring.” Gigantic tidal waves, unheard-of storms and cyclones at sea and on sea shores, “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth:” yes, this is surely foretelling our very day and hour, so let us see what happens next “for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass” - let us heed, for they have begun to come to pass “then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws nigh” (Luke 21:25-28).
There are numerous other scriptures which foretell these very times. But, foretelling them, does God explain to us the real cause; does He tell us who is to blame?
“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteneth greatly, that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of waste and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness and I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord” (Zephaniah 1-14-17).
There is the real cause. Because men have SINNED against the Lord. Because man has forgotten God, and has become sufficient unto himself. Because he has come to think he can get along without God and has advanced beyond His need. Because in his pride and ambition for self-gain and power, he has built up an unstable top-heavy economic commercial and industrial structure in his day of machines and modern invention a structure of finance, commerce and industry so intricately complex that it has gotten completely beyond the limitation of mortal minds to understand or control.
Is President Obama to blame? Obama is as anxious and perplexed as any man on earth today. There is a universal, world-wide time of trouble, and if we read God’s prophecies right, we are but yet in the earlier stages of it. Man-kind is to blame, not any one man. Man has deserted his Maker! He sneers, and jokes and scoffs. God’s word recorded in the Holy Bible has become foolishness to him, and God prophesied that in (I Cor. 2:14). This time of trouble man has brought upon himself. It is inevitable to come of man’s rebellion against his Creator.
What, then, is the laboring man to do? Shall he organize and fight back? Join a union and strike? Suppose that, instead of trying to solve our difficulties ourselves, we learn the lesson and depend upon God for guidance and direction.
Turn with me now back to the 5th chapter of James, and let us begin where we left off reading of the injustices suffered by the weak at the hands of the rich and strong, verse7: “Be patient, therefore, brethren unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws nigh.”
Organize? Fight back? Put our own ideas and schemes into execution? Try to solve this thing in your own strength? NO! If you do, it will come to naught.
Be patient. Look up, lift up your heads, and call upon God to deliver you, for these things have begun to come to pass. Your deliverance soon will come. Trust God for it, my friends. He is able to protect and to deliver you. Look to Jesus for your salvation, both here and hereafter. He has promised to protect you through the time of trouble (I Thess. 5:23-24). He promises to supple all your needs (Phil. 4:19). Read the 91st Psalm. Place yourself fully, wholly and completely into God’s hands, and no plague shall come to thy dwelling!
God’s promises are as certain and sure as His prophecies! He loved enough to give His all for you. His son Jesus Christ loved you enough to die for you. Can you trust the man who died for you, to preserve and protect you spirit, soul and body, through all trouble and difficulty “unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”? Will you trust Him?
He promises if you will surrender and yield your whole self to Him to sanctify you wholly. How? Through the Truth. What is Truth? God’s Word is Truth. It is through this Word you may be spared and protected and saved for eternity.
God commands you, “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Herein lies your hope during the HARD TIMES. Will you do it?