Beware of Ridiculers!
Today, predictions abound, and the futurology business is booming. “As the year 2000 draws closer,” observes The Daily Telegraph of London, “something strange and yet not totally unexpected is happening. Thousands of people around the world are experiencing bizarre and often terrifying visions of the future.” To many observers this intense interest in the future is merely a repetition of previously hoped-for changes that did not materialize.
AS HORSE-DRAWN traffic increased in the 19th century, one man predicted that European cities would eventually suffocate in manure. Of course, his prediction proved to be false. Thus, in calling attention to the way predictions frequently fail, The Times of London stated: “The future is just a load of horse manure.”
Others ridicule those who see danger ahead. For example, one professor of business at a U.S. university challenged those who warn of environmental degradation to wager whether the trend would worsen. As reported in the New Scientist magazine, he claims that “our quality of life is improving and will continue to do so indefinitely.”
Amid the confusion of claims and counterclaims, many believe that everything will remain basically unchanged. Ridiculing any thought of divine intervention in human affairs, they show an attitude like that of ridiculers in the first century C.E.
Is Everything Still the Same?
The second inspired letter of the Christian apostle Peter, penned about 64 C.E., warned: “In the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires.”—2 Peter 3:3.
Ridiculers seek to make the object of their ridicule appear ludicrous. The person who succumbs to ridicule may be falling into a selfish trap because the ridiculer often wants those who listen to adopt his viewpoint. Perhaps some of the ridiculers of whom Peter warned were like this, “proceeding according to their own desires.” In alerting his readers, the apostle used an emphatic form of expression. He warned of the arrival of “ridiculers with their ridicule.”
Those first-century ridiculers questioned the reality of Christ’s “promised presence,” saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.” (2 Peter 3:4) It appeared that way to them. Yet, back in the year 33 C.E., Jesus had foretold catastrophe for the city of Jerusalem. “The days will come upon you,” he declared, “when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you.” How mistaken were those who ridiculed that warning! In 70 C.E., the Roman armies besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the city, with widespread loss of life to its inhabitants. Why were the majority of the city’s inhabitants not prepared for this disaster? Because they had not discerned that God had inspected them through his Son, Jesus.—Luke 19:43, 44.
The apostle Peter refers to a future intervention by God Almighty. “Jehovah’s day will come as a thief,” Peter warns. (2 Peter 3:10) At that time God will remove the ungodly from the entire globe and spare those who are judged to be righteous. As this journal has frequently explained, Christ Jesus’ “presence” began in 1914. But his taking action as God’s Executioner to remove wickedness is yet future. Consequently, the apostle’s warning to beware of ridiculers applies now with greater urgency.
You may already have waited a long time for divine intervention in man’s affairs. What will help you to continue to wait patiently without becoming the prey of ridiculers? Please read on.
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“The days will come upon you, when your enemies will . . . encircle you and distress you from every side, . . . and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you.” That was not a warning to be ridiculed. The Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem, with widespread loss of life.