Earlier this year, three hurricanes struck the United States causing untold misery and suffering to people in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico. In September, tensions ratcheted up between the United States and North Korea over North Korea’s efforts to develop a nuclear warhead and missile capable of reaching the United States. Lastly, a deranged gunman killed 58 people and wounded nearly 500 at a Las Vegas concert in the largest mass shooting in US history.
What is the world coming to? Jesus described our day in Luke 21:25-28 (New American Standard Bible): “men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” The Apostle Paul described our day in 2 Tim. 3:1-5 (NASB) saying, “in the last days difficult times will come.” Peter described our day in 2 Pet. 3:10 (NASB): “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”
Jesus mentioned that with his return, there would be “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matt. 24:21,22 NASB) This trouble results from man’s selfishness coupled with the increase of knowledge which God has allowed (Dan. 12:4) leading to more and larger conflicts between nations, ethnic groups, classes, etc., greater numbers of casualties and more oppression beginning in the late 1800s.
This escalation continues until it reaches the climax of Jacob’s trouble when all of the nations are gathered against Israel. (Jer. 30:7,8,10,11; Joel 3:1,2,12-16) Then, a great army invades Israel to take a spoil. God through Christ fights for Israel destroying the invaders (Ezekiel chapters 38,39; Zech. 14:2,3) and triggers Armageddon (Rev. 16:16-21) which leads to all men shaking at God’s presence, every man’s hand being against his neighbor and God making himself known in the sight of many nations. (Ezek. 38:20,21,23)
This conflict will destroy the nations and selfish institutions (financial, religious, social, political) of this present evil world as Peter writes: “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Pet. 3:10 NASB) This destruction will cleanse the earth and prepare mankind for the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, the “new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”2 Pet. 3:13 (NASB).
Under Christ’s kingdom all mankind will be released from the grave, taught righteousness and have the opportunity to become obedient to God’s laws and live forever, on an earth restored as the garden of Eden.
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