Keep Hope Alive
These nasty headlines are hitting home. Hard.
Perhaps reports of elephantine federal bailouts and rollicking national debt can seem like just a parade of numbers. News of rogue states acquiring wmds, or of governments collapsing in nations with nuclear weapons—huge as it is—still feels distant.
But it’s hard to ignore the hurt when job losses wipe out whole towns—when retirement funds evaporate—when dreams must be postponed or scrapped—when bad news from Afghanistan and Pakistan means more deployments—or worse, the loss of a friend, a son, a dad. Hope deferred, the proverb says, makes the heart sick. And times will get yet worse before they get better.
Still, there is great cause to hold your head high.
World events are hurtling toward the greatest news story ever to occur.
Jesus provided a detailed description of what would transpire globally just before this event. The Bible contains dozens of major prophetic events to watch for, and hundreds of additional events.
Toward the end of His ministry, Christ delivered the tremendous Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). It was His response to the disciples’ earthshaking question, “[W]hat shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). This is Christ’s explanation of the world conditions that would precede His Second Coming.
Jesus began by describing the four horsemen of the apocalypse, which bring false religion, wars, famines and disease epidemics (verses 4-8—compare with Revelation 6:1-8) and other horrific events (verses 9-11). He then spoke about a falling away within His own Church in this end time (verse 12)—which puts the time frame right into our day today (request a free copy of Raising the Ruins for a thorough explanation).
Christ also tells us how to survive these events: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (verse 13). According to Jesus, there will be people spared from these nightmares.
And then, verse 14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Right in the middle of these crises is a prophecy about a work of God. Whether or not you believe it, this prophecy has already been fulfilled. Through the World Tomorrow television program and the Plain Truth magazine, Herbert W. Armstrong warned the world for over 50 years with an intense prophetic message. Now, through the Key of David program and the pages of this magazine, the Philadelphia Church of God is prophesying again (Revelation 10:11)—even more intensely, as fulfilled prophecy reveals we are even closer to the end.
In verse 30, we see what all these signs lead to: Christ’s return.
Yes, world conditions are bad, and getting worse. But we at the Trumpet aim to focus on the connection between all the bad news and this most spectacular, hope-filled event ever.
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (verses 32-33). Christ says that we will know the end of this age is near by watching as the specific signs He has given us are fulfilled step by step.
Why would God give us all these prophecies and then tell us to watch for them?
To warn us. God isn’t just going to spring these calamities on this world—He is giving plenty of warning.
That warning includes God’s admonition to repent—to turn from the sin that is causing all these disasters: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). We are told, individually, to watch. Christ’s prophecy as recorded in Luke 21 concludes, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always”—and why?—“that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (verse 36). To escape these nightmares coming on the world, we must watch and pray always.
What can happen to one who is not vigilant? Read verses 48 through 51 back in Matthew 24. Our attitude about Christ’s return—our urgency and excitement about those signs He has given us—has a direct relationship with our personal conduct. Looking for the day of Christ’s return gives us a perspective that should translate into a desire to seek God’s way of life. It spurs us to actively prepare for what is coming (verse 46).
Current conditions make plain that the prophesied Great Tribulation is coming in this generation. Conditions are only beginning to worsen, and already many people recognize that something is dangerously wrong. The worse events become, the more people will despair. But God tells us to maintain a broader perspective. As conditions decay, we must not become depressed. Remember—always remember—where it is all leading: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:27-28).
Keep a posture of vigilant, hope-filled anticipation. The worse things get, the greater should be our hope. (Request a free copy of Gerald Flurry’s booklet The Epistles of Peter—A Living Hope.) The more vigilant we are—the more diligently we watch and pray—the more filled with hope we will become. All this bad news is pointing toward the event this world desperately needs.
Lift up your head—Jesus Christ is about to return!
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