Meaning of the World’s Woes
THINGS are really bad in the world today. Probably you have wondered why. Well, there is a good reason for all the increasing world woes. And there is vital meaning in them too. The Bible sheds light on this meaning at Matthew 24:3 (NW); here the disciples asked Jesus: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the consummation of the system of things?” Now the answer that Jesus gave at Mt 24 verse seven is eye-opening: “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.”
So the unusual number of earthquakes we have been having since 1914 truly means something. So do the food shortages and the world wars. Even all the fear in the world and the confused condition of all the nations mean something, for at Luke 21:25, 26 (NW) Jesus foretold that during the “last days” of this evil world this would occur: “On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation, while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” Here Jesus foretold that the time would come when nations would be perplexed as they never had been before. And they would not be able to find the way out of their confusion. As we look about today we see how the nations fear the future. There is the threat of the H-bomb. Still the brainy statesmen, even with all their conferences, are doing little about easing the world’s woes. They do not know which way to turn.
Well now, do true Christians have to fear the future as the whole world is doing? No, they do not; for at Luke 21:28 (NW) Jesus explains: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” How near? Christ Jesus goes on to tell us in Lu 21 verses 29 to 32:“Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When they are already in the bud, by observing it you know for yourselves that now the summer is near. In this way you also, when you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.”
All this means that we are living at a time when there will be a complete change in the system of things. An old world must go out and a new world must come in. No wonder Jesus said to lift up your heads and rejoice when you see a flood of woes upon the earth, for the end of the Devil’s rule over mankind is here! It is Satan the Devil who is bringing these woes upon mankind. He does not want people to know that he is really the ruler of this evil world and that he is misleading the nations. The Devil wants people to believe that God is responsible for the woes. But as we learn from Revelation 12:7-9, 12 (NW), the Devil is the real culprit: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”
When that war was fought, between 1914 and 1918, the Devil lost the day. He was tumbled down to the earth. And greatly enraged, he brings woe after woe upon mankind. But we can rejoice, because when we see these woes it means that the Devil has only a short period of time left before Armageddon. At that war Christ will smite the nations with a rod of iron and also put the Devil out of the way. This abyssing of the Devil is found at Revelation 20:1-3 (NW): “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations any more.” So Christ Jesus merely seizes the Devil and hurls him into the abyss. With the Devil no longer active to interfere in the affairs of mankind, the woes for the earth come to an end.
Also at Armageddon the nations of this world will suffer destruction. The prophet Daniel foretold this nation-smashing work at Daniel 2:44 (AS): “In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” After this smiting of the nations Christ’s thousand-year reign begins. A righteous new world will have displaced a wicked old world. Things will be different then. No world troubles, no sickness, not even death will afflict mankind. All the animals will become friends of man. God’s prophet tells us about this happy time at Isaiah 11:3-9 (AS):
“He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.”
So instead of being full of woes the earth will soon be full of the knowledge of Jehovah. The wicked will be destroyed. Nothing will cause trouble in God’s new world. So really we are living in a most blessed time, for the world’s woes mean that the “last days” of Satan’s rule are at hand.