he Collegiate Letter   

The Collegiate Letter For a World No Longer Confident

By Dave Breese

First of all, I want to wish for you the happiest set of holidays that you have ever known. I do hope that everything is building up toward that climax of the year for you. How fast the days go by and how quickly Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's come upon us. The holidays are particularly useful to us because the extra dividend, beside the obvious ones which they give us, is that they mark the passing of time. The passing of time is not to be discounted as trivial because it means that we move forever away from yesterday and always into tomorrow.

“We are at a watershed of history. We are facing a time of new decisions, new ways of looking at things. The winds of change are everywhere.” Could God be speaking to America in all of this? Certainly the lesson which we are to derive is that our human structures—government, military, financial, municipal—are not as secure as once they were thought. Indeed, the props which hold up our social structure could disappear as quickly as the World Trade Center.

It is possible that we are moving into the last days of history. We must be prepared for unusual opportunities and outreaches in these days. A world that is no longer confident in its existing props may be willing to listen to the message of eternal life.

What the Bible Says About the Future
This being the case, it is never foolish or useless to think a few extra times about tomorrow. I thought, therefore, that it would be of interest to you for us to think for a few moments today about the prophetic future. What indeed does the Bible say is going to be the situation in the days to come in our world? It says several things, including the following …

1. There will be a period of time called “the last days” in which many startling events will take place in our world.

  1. According to Jesus Christ, the last days will be characterized by the advent of false teachers for one thing. He said, “Many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ” (Matt. 24:5). The world will be filled with appealing lies, especially about religion. That certainly should come to us as a warning today.

  2. We will see “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6). When we note that even now there are probably 40 wars being fought in various places around the world, even “America's New War,” we begin to take that warning seriously.

  3. Having given us this warning, Christ then gave us several additional characteristics of the last days. He called these days, “the beginning of sorrows.” He said, “Nation shall rise against nation.” Here the Word is “ethnos” and, therefore, the prediction is for racial warfare. “Race shall rise against race” is what He actually said.

  4. He then said that kingdom shall rise against kingdom. Here He was referring to the normal kingdoms of this world and expanding the warning about illogical, irrational, incessant warfare.

  5. Christ then said, “There shall be famines.” In our present world, there is no shortage of food and no real cause for famine. However, we must remember that famines are not produced by food shortages but by political activity. The supply of food is interdicted by an opposing army for military purposes.

  6. Jesus then said there would be pestilence. Pestilence is, of course, widespread sickness that cannot be controlled. In the past, we have had plagues of cholera, influenza, tuberculosis and other very contagious diseases. Disease now has a deadly twist in that it is so closely tied to moral activity. We refer to AIDS, syphilis, and other venereal diseases.

  7. We are also warned by Christ of the frequency and severity of earthquakes. Could it be that we are supposed to lose faith in everything and everyone, except, of course, the God who stands behind history? Wicked people will be forced to consider God when they see the failure of all other human dependencies.

  8. The Prophet Daniel also had quite a bit to say about the last days. He gave us two characteristics by saying first of all that “Many shall run to and fro” (Dan. 12:4). Has there ever been a time when more millions of people have been traveling to more places than is now the case? Let me remind us also that this statement could also refer to erratic actions—meaning people of unsound mind who cannot handle life.

  9. Daniel also reminded us that “knowledge shall be increased” (Dan. 12:4). The curve denoting the expansion of human knowledge is now going up and up and up, so that we now have a gigantic supply of facts and figures with which to operate.

Given these figures about what we characterize as the last days, we are entitled to ask, “Is there safety? Is there hope in times like these?” Happily, the answer to those questions is, “Yes, a thousand times, yes.” The refuge from the dangers of life is found in the Lord Himself. Faith in Jesus Christ makes a person a Christian. It also delivers him into the protection of God and his life is helped by the Lord with every day that passes. When I am a Christian, God will not allow a hair of my head to be touched apart from His perfect will and divine permission. Therefore, the prospect of being consumed in these heavy events coming upon our world is something about which the Christian need not worry. God has promised to protect us all.

The Hope of the Christian
2. There is a second great fact to be noted about the prophetic future for all of us. There is coming a time when God is going to take every Christian in the world home to heaven to be with Him. This will happen in a moment of time and it is that wonderful event that we call “the Rapture of the Church.” About that, the Scripture says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:16-18).

3. The Antichrist will first come to power at the head of a ten-nation complex, the revived Roman empire. From thence, he will be escalated into global power and he will present himself to the world as “God Himself.He will rule the world and force everyone on pain of death to worship him. Ultimately, however, he will be deposed and destroyed by an army that comes from heaven under the leadership of Jesus Christ. Yes, Christ will come with ten thousands of His saints. The Antichrist, when he comes, will be here at a time in the world that could be called apostasy, anarchy, and strong delusion.

4. Another characteristic of the future that we must not miss is the oncoming of the Tribulation. The Bible predicts a 7-year period in which men will attempt to run the world without God. They will bring to pass a day so terrible that Christ spoke about it saying, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:22). The Tribulation will be a terrible time in which there will be horrible wars, devastating plagues, catastrophic natural phenomenon and many other things.

The time of the Tribulation, however, will also be a time of great evangelism. One hundred forty-four thousand Jewish witnesses and many others will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom across the world. It will be heard in every nation on earth “and then shall the end come”(Matt. 24:14).

5. The future, thank God, also holds the message of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will return, leading an army from heaven—of ten thousands of His saints—for the conquest of Earth. As a result of that vast invasion from heaven, the Antichrist will be deposed and sent to hell. Satan himself will be hurled into the bottomless pit where he will be in chains of darkness for at least a thousand years. By His return, Christ will establish His kingdom and rule the nations of the world. All other competing powers (and they were false anyway) will be deposed and Christ will be seen to be “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

6. The future will also bring the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Yes, for 1,000 years of perfect happiness, Christ will rule the world and it will be a most wonderful place. During the millennial reign of Christ, the world will discover the blessing it could have known all of the time had it elected to follow Jesus Christ. During that millennial reign, evil will be suppressed and only that which is good and righteous and decent will be allowed in the world. The millennial reign of Christ will be a period of peace and blessing that will be wonderful beyond description.

7. Following the reign of Christ, there will be a brief period of senseless rebellion against Christ, the King. At this time, the Bible says that Christ will send down fire from heaven to consume His enemies. Following this, and in short order, the earth will be cleansed by fire and a new heaven and a new earth will come to pass. Then we who are Christians, having believed the Gospel, will live in the wideness and the wonder of eternity. Those who have been faithful will reign with Him and all who have believed the Gospel will be characterized by a fullness of joy.

Out in eternity we will see the fulfillment of the astonishing promise which says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor. 2:9). When we think of the totally magnificent future that awaits us, we ought not to complain or be at all resentful of any of the inconveniences of this world. Paul says (and he said it in a prison cell), “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Yes, there are events ahead which are marvelous beyond description. At that time, we will thank God for the day in which someone told us about Christ and how we could have everlasting life by faith in Him.

By Faith—Then by Sight
Please believe that all of these things are totally true and dependable. At this present moment we must believe them by faith—faith in what the Bible says, faith in the Word of Jesus Christ. There is coming a time, however, when faith will turn to sight and we will realize that God had all the time planned for us a future that would be more wonderful than could ever be described.

By this time I hope that you notice that the Prophetic Word of God is the only source of any valid information about the future. How sad are the pitiful predictions of people who only think from a humanist point of view. They are foolishly committed to the senseless theory of evolution which starts nowhere, does nothing, and takes people into no future at all. The fact is that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” and He continues to preside above everything in the universe in great detail. The universe is infinitely complicated, and so this is no small feat. Many men, even many educators, would deny that God presides above the creation and looks after all of our lives. Given what we see in nature, we must insist that it could not happen otherwise. No inchoate force could have produced all of this and no empty theory can make for us any promises about the future.

There are two recommendations, therefore, which seem to be appropriate. The first is to be sure that you are a Christian. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). It reminds us that “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn. 3:36). If, therefore, you have the slightest doubt that you are saved, take the time to write and let us help. Believing in Christ makes every difference for time and for eternity.

Our second recommendation comes from the fact that there are millions of people studying in this blessed land of ours who know nothing about God, Christ, or the Bible. More than often, a person becomes a Christian because of the testimony of a friend or acquaintance. You have ten, fifteen, or perhaps twenty friends who are without Christ and without hope. You may be the key that God chooses to bring that person to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. A friend that leads another to Christ is a friend indeed.

And, by the way, let's remind ourselves that the future will not only be tragic for the wicked, it will be marvelous for the Christian. The troubled times that are mounting in our external world will turn into marvelous spiritual opportunities. There are millions of curious young students in America today who have heard rumors that Christ is coming again, but that's all they know. We can help them come to real salvation in Christ!