estiny Bulletin   

Are these the last days?

By Dave Breese

Few of us, I am sure, have seen such a time as this in history. Yes, there have been eras of instability at one and another time in history at one or another place in the world. Few eras in the history of mankind have brought widespread stability and, therefore, few times have seen anything like the questions which are being asked as of now. Reduced to their essence, these questions amount to, “Are we approaching the end of time?” “Are these the last days?” “What shall we watch for that might be included in the signs of the times?” In answer to those questions, a list of the signs of the times comes to mind upon even a simple examination of the Word of God. This list would certainly include...

  1. Distress of nations (Luke 21:25). There was a time in which a certain calm seemed to obtain in the world, broken by occasional explosions, of course. Now it seems that perennial distress moves everywhere with a sense of trouble in the wind.

  2. Perplexity (Luke 21:25). Perplexity implies that the problems of the world will grow to the place where they will be unmanageable. They will move beyond the application of any of the usual theories about what the world is supposed to do and what civilization is supposed to be. Perplexity implies that no one will have a workable answer to the problems of time. Perplexity, if unanswered, finally matures into total confusion.

  3. The seas and the waves roaring (v. 25). In a very literal sense, this has come true in our time. Recent years have recorded the most violent, unpredictable weather patterns in any of our lifetimes. Increasing numbers of hurricanes, tropical storms that have deluged Europe and more, indicate that things are changing rapidly in our climate, and especially at sea. Is Planet Earth preparing for the return of Jesus Christ?

  4. Men’s hearts failing them for fear (v. 26). When individuals sense the presence of great danger, the mind and the soul, unless firmly anchored, begin to reel as a twig in a whirlpool. Fear tends to bring irrationality and irrationality can become the trigger mechanism to almost anything.

  5. Apprehension. Jesus told us that men will be looking with great concern into a very troubled future, “...Looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (v.26). Their apprehension about the future will grow into uncontrollable misfortunes. “The powers of heaven shall be shaken” (v.26). “There will be inexplicable phenomenon in the sky, fiery hail, thunderbolts, perhaps cosmic nuclear explosions will happen to the extent that the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Many will see this evidence that the destruction of the universe is beginning.”

It is then that Jesus said the Son of Man will appear in His glory, with all of His holy angels. Christ’s picture of the future may seem unbelievably spectacular, fantastic, but it will happen precisely as He said. Let us remind ourselves that He said this right after He announced that the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled when the city of Jerusalem is no longer occupied by the Gentiles. That background event has obviously happened. How soon then will be fulfilled the balance of the predictions of Christ?

Thinking further about the signs of the times, Christ presented these strongly in His earnest words in the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 24, 25). The signs which would bring to pass “the beginning of sorrows,” (the start of The Tribulation?) Would include...

  1. For nation shall rise against nation (Matt. 24:7). The word is ethnos, meaning “race.” Yes, racial warfare is predicted at the time of the beginning of The Tribulation. The “racial card” is already being played.

  2. Kingdom shall rise against kingdom. The nations of the world will become battlefields where again the world will see the outpouring of human hatred and murderous intent. Wars are terrible things and they will issue from the increasing wickedness of man.

  3. Famine. Famines come, not because of the shortage of food, but because food supplies are interrupted, usually by military activity. Famine grows from even the threat of war.

  4. Pestilence. Christ gives us the warning of the proliferation of many a disease for which there is no remedy. Could this be a foreshadowing of the AIDS epidemic, which now infects over 13 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa alone? Or could there be, perhaps, something even worse on the way? Reports of new strains of disease that are impervious to modern antibiotics have already unsettled the medical community.

  5. Earthquakes. Last year was a banner year for earthquakes. Massive tremblers in Japan, Turkey, Mexico and more, have produced tragic consequences. An earthquake that measured well over 7 on the Richter Scale rocked Southern California. Fortunately it was located in a sparsely populated area. Had it hit nearer to Los Angeles, the results would have been devastating! When the earth begins to shake beneath our feet, we realize that the only sure foundation is God Himself. Perhaps that is why they are allowed of God.

The prophet, Daniel, gives us two additional signs of the times that we must note. He said, people “shall run to and fro” (Dan. 12:4). This certainly means at least that travel, even on a global basis, would be greatly accelerated. Just so, there are more airplanes in the sky, more ships at sea, more automobiles coursing over the land than ever. Travel is very big business indeed.

But this can also be a prediction of erratic action. More and more of our hospital beds are occupied by individuals who have no known physical problem but are beset by fearful mental strains. Yes, minds are giving way in our time for want of answers that do not seem to be forthcoming.

But, secondly, with reference to Daniel, knowledge shall be increased. If ever there was a phenomenon that can be called “indicative” or “important” in our time, it is the exponential expansion of human knowledge. The learning curve in our time is going almost straight upward, bringing facts, figures, events, records in amazing profusion upon the world. Many have bragged, saying, “The rise of technology, the expansion of knowledge will produce a safer, a kindlier, better world.” How sad that the result is apparently just the opposite. The killing machines of earth have been perfected to an efficiency that is frightening; knowledge today amounts to perverted science.

Speaking of perverted science, there appears to be no limit to where scientists are prepared to go in their experiments. First, there was a cloned sheep. Now it has spread to a clone of a clone of a clone, this time in cows. Mice with ears growing from their backs, the suggestion of headless human bodies created solely as a farm for spare body parts—the gruesome specter of Dr. Moreau’s Island of monstrous freaks comes closer to reality with every passing day!

We are told that the cloning of humans is already under way in the laboratories of several nations. Where, then, will man stop? The human genome (the sequence of genetic material that influences the color of our hair, how tall we grow, etc.) has nearly been completely mapped. Scientists promise that designer drugs are not far away—drugs that will go inside your body and rearrange the genetic structure that God gave you. In his quest to become “autonomous”—to declare his independence from God—mankind struggles to become the master of his own destiny and to control his own “evolution.” He wants to do away with God, and place himself on the throne of a human utopia that he will build himself. Certainly, God will not allow this to go much farther, before He intervenes and says, “No more!”

Thirteen million students are now attending colleges and universities across the nation to further their education. They enroll in courses presenting most of the conceivable subjects the human mind can study. Of concern in education is that most of the teaching is predicated on “facts” which are simply false faith. They, in the last analysis, deny the foundations of and the presiding guidance of God. They are Humanistic and Secularistic. Theories change. They are but the accumulated theories of present and past academic community.

Seldom, probably never, will it be mentioned in the secular classroom that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Hopeful students will listen in vain for the truthful assertion that in Jesus Christ are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. When I was a college philosophy student I wrote these words on a card and used it for a bookmark for the entire year: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8). Anything that is “not after Christ” is worthless.

Let no one ever forget that the Bible speaks about Jesus Christ saying, He is “the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:15-17).

We ought more than often to consider the Christian heritage of this blessed land of America . We should note that 106 of the first 108 schools in America were founded on the Christian faith. Harvard University, the first founded in America, was certainly one of these. One of the points of the Rules and Precepts published in 1642 stated, “Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3 and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him Prov. 2:3.”

Another rule was, “Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in Theoreticall observations of Language and Logic and in practicall and spirituall truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability, seeing the entrance of the Word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple Psalm 119:130.” Yes, the founders of Harvard University believed that “all knowledge without Christ was vain.”

We sadly marvel, therefore, that Harvard University and the other great universities of our American heritage have turned one-by-one from the Christian faith so as to be virtually called atheist. One cannot confidently believe in the future of America so long as the poison of agnosticism is being poured into the culture daily by these institutions. Having betrayed the Christian faith, they continue to influence millions of young people in a way antithetical to the will and purpose of God. Therefore, we must continue to press the truth of the Word of God upon our culture for it is the only antidote for spiritual subversion.

Thinking further about our culture, Joseph Sobran has said, “The test of any culture is what ‘values’ it propagates—how it teaches, and how it protects its little ones. By that standard, one shudders for liberal America, which allows children to be exposed to every manner of moral filth, provided the environment is smoke-free. In some ways the exposure has become mandatory. School prayer is outlawed, while ‘safe sex’ and homophile ideology are promoted even in early grades. The whole thrust of liberalism is to delegitimate Christian morality while aggressively legitimating its opposite.”

The words of Amos are notably appropriate, therefore, for our time, “For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate; it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:12-15). One of the great needs of our times is for a prophet of God to speak to this generation in that same fashion. Without a voice of God in the world, what hope is there?