Where Are We Heading?
IMAGINE that you are traveling through a region you have never seen before. By now you should have reached your destination, but the street signs, town names, and landmarks are not those you expected. ‘Where am I?’ you wonder. ‘Am I heading the right way?’
Today’s world is in a similar predicament. Man is in unfamiliar territory as he observes society deteriorating on a scale never before seen. With all the advances in science and technology, it would seem that by now we should be in a better world. In Great Ages of Man, editor Russell Bourne notes that only in the 20th century has “the old ideal of a global fraternity become a practical possibility.”
Yet, that destination, “a global fraternity,” has been missed. The promised landmarks of economic security, adequate food, improved health, and happy family life are nowhere to be found. “In many ways,” notes the book Milestones of History, “scientific advance has been directly harnessed to destruction and cruelty.”
Yes, mankind today is lost in unfamiliar territory, far off course, far from the peace and security that was envisioned at the turn of this century. Thus, many today are asking for directions: “How did we get to this condition? Where is this world heading? Are we living in the last days?”
To find out where we are, we must first determine our present whereabouts. Some say we are on the verge of a new world order; others say we are on the brink of destruction. The Bible, like a road map, helps us to see just where we are and where we are heading.
When you are traveling, it is important to watch for signs that will identify your location. Similarly, the Bible describes features—world situations and attitudes—that would characterize a period in history called “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) This expression, “last days,” does not refer to the end of the literal heavens and earth. Rather, it signifies “the conclusion of the system of things,” or “the end of the age,” as one Bible translation puts it.—Matthew 24:3; Today’s English Version.
“In the last days,” wrote the Christian apostle Paul, “critical times hard to deal with will be here.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Granted, it might seem that this could apply to other periods in history. Indeed, each age has had its share of suffering.
What reason, then, is there to believe that these words pinpoint our day?
[Picture Credit Line on page 3]
Tom Haley/Sipa Press