So, let’s talk about the world we live in.
Lots has changed in recent years. Lots has changed in the past 100 years. What was formerly known as “normal” or “right” or “important” has completely changed. A total moral paradigm shift has taken place. Honesty, purity, modesty are no longer ideals, they are frowned and laughed upon.
There was a time – beginning in the 60’s – when marriages started to fail on a more global scene than ever. People started to live their dream of … of what? Of liberalism! In other words, people slowly and then more rapidly started to live a life of covetousness and selfishness where the “ego” plays the first fiddle.
Some will say: That has always existed. True, it has! Yet look at the scale of things. What was despised and shunned has become first secretly tolerated, then a loose social convention and finally an expectation: “What, you didn’t have sex before marriage? You are weird!”
The world has changed indeed. Morals that have existed since the beginning of our current era have started to erode and will eventually become obsolete. The foundation of our society is evaporating and we are left in the open. This is the ground where everybody begins to fight for himself and turns numb to the needs and pains of others. This society we are part of is turning violent and merciless – I can see it every day, it was already there when I was a young boy, now it has become epidemic. Broken homes and the acceptance of obscene and homosexual lifestyles – which the Bible clearly condemns (Romans 1:24-28) – are leading to a world full of confused and morally distorted individuals that see their purpose in seeking pleasure. And the world is filling up swiftly.
We are living in the end-times. Not only do many of the young succumb to the iron-fist-rule of addictive pornography and rampant profanity (“only money is what counts, computer games are the main free-time entertainment”), most have also lost any form of godliness which at least could give them some sort of orientation. Here we see that Paul’s prophetic word is coming true a bit more every day: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2. Timothy 3:1-5).
On top of that dazzling list of today’s attitudes (which in some form have always existed, but – again – not on such a massive scale) world politics are pushing towards a grand finale. Financial crises are only a tangible expression of the perverse system we are living in. Trade is turning electronic in every possible way, machines are beginning to make decisions for whole companies, our lives are confined more and more to computer screens where every one of our steps is stored and can be made visible again when needed. Through a global network our homes are beginning to open up to potentially everyone – we are no longer responsible for what we say outside only, the most sacred and private areas of our lives are becoming more and more visible. And with that we make ourselves controllable, vulnerable and – quite frankly – dependable. More and more people desire the global communities’ approval and are henceforth easily impressionable.
The Bible predicts a charismatic leader who will sway the masses with miracles and alluring words. People will follow a great leader yet again and will be blind and seduced when walking into obliteration (c.f. Revelation 13:11-18).
The world is preparing for Armageddon. Sounds crazy? Well, if correctly understood, it does not only sound reasonable, but even rather realistic. Only a century ago, the world had nothing in terms of weapons of mass destruction. Now we are fully equipped with all sorts of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to kill every living thing on earth. And people are becoming ready to use them. Or why is it that military expenses go up every year? Simple: When the potential enemies add military equipment, one has to catch up and – even better – cut ahead of them.
Revelation 16:16: “ And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” And Revelation 19:19: “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
To finish, here a short list of challenges, threats and possible triggers for conflicts: Signs in the weather (droughts, fires, floods, earthquakes, massive storms – Mt. 24:7), signs in the Middle East (“Arab Spring” – interesting is Isaiah 17:1: “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap” – that has not been the case since its foundation. Is it becoming true right now?), food-prices are going up, water is becoming very scarce, other resources – not only oil and gas – are harder to get, nations are already partaking in cyber wars – where is this leading?, centrist political forces are becoming weaker while a young generation often doesn’t care about politics at all – are we preparing for a new dictatorship which more and more seem to desire?, Islam is on the rise world-wide – will this lead to a new persecution in western nations? … etc. …
Look, I don’t want to paint it all black. The end of this poverty-stricken and on every level abused world is not a bad thing, since the end is only a new beginning. I look forward to the end, not to the time before the end. It will be horrible, as the Bible makes clear: More than three quarters of all human life on earth will be extinguished. And if Christ didn’t return, all life would end: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).
The hopeful message is this: Isaiah 2:2-4:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Students of the Bible know what is ahead for this world. But they are not disheartened since the outcome will be a glorious one. Be not afraid, the LORD is with His righteous ones!
“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”