Events Foretold for Our Day
THE Bible foretells that God’s Kingdom will bring permanent peace and happiness to the earth. (Daniel 2:44) In the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) In his great prophecy given to his disciples on the Mount of Olives, Jesus foretold specific events and conditions that would immediately precede the coming of that Kingdom. Together, these features constitute a sign that would be clearly evident to all honesthearted observers. How many of the following aspects of that sign are you personally aware of?
International Wars. Jesus foretold: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7) Prior to the first world war in 1914, wars tended to be more localized. World War I not only engulfed large parts of the globe but also accelerated the development of weapons more terrible than any that mankind had ever known. For example, the newly invented airplane was used to drop bombs on civilians. Mass production of weapons increased the carnage to levels that were previously unimaginable, as about half of the 65 million soldiers that were mobilized either died or were wounded. Yet, as the 20th century progressed, the carnage expanded. In the words of one historian, the military and civilian dead of World War II “would be forever uncountable.” And the wars continue even now.
Widespread Hunger. “There will be food shortages,” Jesus foretold. (Matthew 24:7) In 2005, Science magazine stated: “There are 854 million people in the world (about 14% of our population) who are chronically or acutely malnourished.” In 2007, a United Nations source reported that 33 countries lack sufficient food to feed their people. When world grain production is on the rise, how can this be? For one thing, land and grain that could be used to feed people are used to produce ethanol instead. “The amount of ethanol needed to fill a big four-wheel-drive SUV just once uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year,” reports the South African newspaper The Witness. In developed countries too, increasing food prices force many to choose between having food for dinner or paying for other necessities, such as medicine or heating.
Massive Earthquakes. Jesus said: “There will be great earthquakes.” (Luke 21:11) If it seems to you that now more people than ever before are affected by earthquakes, you are correct. “Suddenly we are seeing a spurt in seismic activity globally,” observed Indian seismologist R. K. Chadha in 2007. “Nobody knows why.” Moreover, rapid population growth in areas prone to earthquakes has increased the toll of these disasters. The earthquake that struck the Indian Ocean in 2004 and the tsunami that followed made that year the “deadliest in nearly 500 years for earthquakes” and “the second most fatal in recorded history,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Intractable Disease. “There will be . . . pestilences,” Jesus foretold. (Luke 21:11) Around the globe, illnesses old and new sicken ever greater numbers, and hoped-for remedies are proving elusive. For instance, international goals to eradicate malaria have had to be scaled back repeatedly as the disease continues to defy human control. In addition, millions are killed by old diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), now operating in tandem with AIDS and other new diseases. “One-third of the world’s population is currently infected with the TB bacillus,” reports the World Health Organization. The organization also notes that HIV is contributing to the TB epidemics in many countries. Every second, another person is infected with TB, and TB is developing greater resistance to drug treatment. In 2007 a patient in Europe was diagnosed with TB that was “invulnerable to every single drug we have,” reported New Scientist magazine.
Moral and Social Breakdown. “Because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off,” Jesus said. (Matthew 24:12) Besides what Jesus foretold, the apostle Paul pointed forward to a collapse of social and moral values. He described the difficult “last days” that would come just before God’s Kingdom would end this world system. “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Have you not seen that people display such bad traits more than they used to?
Jesus and Paul did not list all the historical, social, and political factors that are to blame for these world conditions. Nevertheless, their prophecies accurately foretold the events and attitudes that we are seeing today. What about the future? The prophecy of Isaiah that reliably foretold the coming of the Messiah also describes the beneficial changes God’s Kingdom will bring to the earth. Let us consider these in the following article.
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“Nation will rise against nation”
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“There will be . . . pestilences”