Let’s face it. We live in scary times.
- The Middle East is destabilizing and arming with nuclear weapons.
- Personal liberties such as free speech, freedom of religion, and personal privacy are being snatched away.
- The global economy is teetering on a precipice.
- Wholesome, nutritious food is becoming scarce and expensive.
- The power grid is vulnerable to natural disaster or EMP attack.
- Christians are being marginalized and persecuted.
God in Control
The list could go on, but that is enough to keep me up at night. How can we face the future with faith, courage and hope when the outlook appears so dark? God has given us glimpses of His plans for the future to give us hope in times like this.
Bible prophecies assure us that God is still in control of history and is guiding it to a conclusion that fits His Divine purpose:
- Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom of peace and righteousness.
- Persecutors of Christians will be excluded from that kingdom.
- Christians who suffer will be comforted and blessed.
- Christians will rule and reign with Christ in His kingdom.
- The Earth will be restored and renewed at the second coming of Christ.
The prophecies assure us when we endure persecution or scary times that we will not ultimately be defeated, but will triumph. Remaining faithful to Christ, no matter what it costs us, will not be in vain. If we have lost anything of true value, it will be restored to us when the kingdom comes.
That hope makes me feel much better about facing a foreboding future; I hope it does that for you, too. Bible prophecies have been encouraging true believers since God promised a Savior to Adam and Eve. That raises an interesting question. How can knowledge of events that will occur in the future, in either decades or thousands of years, comfort someone who is going through persecution or difficulties in the present?
I can think of two possible ways prophecies can comfort and help us, even when their fulfillment may be in the distant future. One way is to enable us to discern God’s will . For example, when the apostle, John, was resisting gnostic heresies he reminded church members in Asia Minor of the teaching he had evidently already given them about antichrist’s coming.
“…and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” I John 4:3 (NASB)
When you know how history will end, you can evaluate current thought and teaching according to whether or not it aligns with the end result pictured in prophecy. In John’s case he knew that Jesus would be exalted by God to rule over the earth and would be preceded by an imposter, a counterfeit Christ. The gnostic teaching that Jesus of Nazareth was not God lined up with the teachings of the counterfeit. Dan Brown recently tried to revive the same gnostic heresy in his book, The DaVinci Code, which asserted that Jesus was not and did not claim to be Divine.
Another reason Bible prophecy can comfort and help us in the present is that its purpose is to minister to us in the course of our relatively brief lifetimes on Earth. The time remaining until the fulfillment of the prophecies is not related to their comforting ministry in our lives. The fact that the events they describe will eventually come to pass is what matters. When a believer’s life on Earth is over he enters the heavenly state where his perspective on time and future events will be quite different. The long delay will be no problem when he is in the presence of the Lord enjoying the blessings and comforts of heaven.
Setting the Stage
Current events that fulfill a specific Bible prophesy are extremely rare. Only one has occurred in my lifetime: the re-establishment of the nation Israel in 1948. Of course, there are many events that may indirectly relate to unfulfilled Bible prophesies. They are setting the stage for fulfillments that will occur in the tribulation.
The next prophetic event to be fulfilled is probably the rapture of the church, and there are no signs associated with it. It is immanent. It could occur before you finish reading this blog. That is our “Blessed Hope”.
There are a few prophesies that have no definite time reference: The battle of Gog and Magog predicted in Ezekiel 38-39 and the destruction of Syria predicted in Isaiah 17. Some teachers, such as Hal Lindsay and Bill Salus, believe Psalm 83 is a prophecy about a war between Israel and her near neighbors, although it is in the literary form of a prayer. It is theoretically possible that these events could occur before the rapture; but it is also possible they could occur either in the interim period between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation or during the tribulation.
Events that are leading up to fulfillment of prophecy in the tribulation give us hope that the rapture is near. Dr. John Walvoord presented a prophecy conference at the church where I was Pastor. One of the things he said has stuck in my mind. He said, “When you see Christmas decorations in department stores you know that Thanksgiving is coming soon.” His analogy to Bible prophecy was clear. If you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church, then events setting the stage for events in the tribulation indicate that the rapture is drawing near, because the rapture comes before the tribulation begins.
Faith Courage and Hope
Yes, the world is getting scarier every day, but you can face it with faith, courage and hope if you focus your attention on the future that awaits you in the kingdom. You can go to sleep at night confident that God is in control of everything that is happening, even the things that seem foreboding. We naturally feel sad when we see the end of familiar things that we hold dear; but the end of one thing is the beginning of another. When the outlook is dark, the uplook is always bright.
J. Ray Smith, President, Fair Havens Publications, www.fairhavensmedia.com
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Your Invitation to Community
The support of a Christian community is crucial to face a difficult future. Of course, you want to be active in a local Bible-teaching church. Here are two other Christian communities that can benefit you.
There is a growing community of over 80,000 Christians who share the burden of health care costs. The Smith family have been members of this community for many years, and have saved literally thousands of dollars as a result. When one of us went to the emergency room and ran up a $5,000 bill, the community shared the cost with us. It worked!
Here are some of the benefits when you join:
- Lower Costs Families average around $300 a month, and seniors use an inexpensive plan to supplement Medicare.
- Choice of Doctor Select your doctor from PHCS, America’s largest network of health care providers.
- Exemption from The Affordable Care Act You will not be required to buy insurance or face penalties.
- Respect for Your Christian Convictions You never have to pay for prescriptions or procedures that break God’s heart.
If you are interested in these benefits and more that were not described, then use this button:
FYI Fair Havens Publications has an affiliate relationship with the above organization. We neither ask for nor accept donations, but when you join the health care Christian community through our link you are helping Fair Havens continue to provide the helpful free articles on this web site and offer quality Christian publications for sale through our other media outlets.
The Barnabas Community
Here is another way to receive support from other Christians. Become a part of the “Barnabas Community” by subscribing to our free monthly newsletter. Barnabas was an evangelist who encouraged and aided both Paul and Mark in their ministries. His name means “Son of Prophecy”. The purpose of the newsletter is to encourage you to face the future and share your faith with confidence. We invite members to share needs or inspiring experiences. Use the sign-up form in the left column of this page to join.
Comment and Share
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