Look around you today. What do you see? Is our world stable? Is our society strong and prepared to withstand the challenges of the next ten years? "Am I ready for persecution?" We should all ask ourselves these questions.
Christ said, in Matthew 24:9-13: "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
It is difficult to predict the next major world landmark along the prophecy road. God does not give us a step-by-step timetable, but He gives us glimpses of major events that must occur before that glorious day of Christ's return.
One awesome time period yet to burst forth on the world, is when citizens of the planet Earth say, "Who is able to make war with him [the Beast]?" (Rev. 13:4). This is "super-power talk"! Some few may dare to say, here and now, who can make war with the United States of America? True, the USA is presently a super-power. But if the USA slipped or fell from superpower status, would another military entity take its place? Once, Britain "ruled the waves"; then Germany attempted a millennium of German rule to be called The Third Reich.
Reflect for a moment on what you know about World War II. Thank God that a new super-power emerged during that war whose efforts combined with the battling and beleaguered allied forces to bring about relative world peace. That power was the United States of America.
Before a dominant military entity can rule the world and prompt people to say "Who is able to make war with the Beast?", there must be foundations. Before a battleship conquers, the keel must be laid down. Before a tank can destroy, its chassis (foundation) must be formed. Before the Beast (a superpower) can dominate, its foundations must be laid. Look about! Look up and down and all around this planet. Do you see any "Beast-foundations" being laid?
Look At Europe
Those who live in the USA see little of European news. News leaders apparently feel we don't need to know of Europe's plans. Yet Europe is a baby giant! Presently, Europe does not speak with one military, political, financial voice. But they are planning it - even as you read these words. Take a few minutes to study the calendar of events below. This timetable was printed in The Week in Germany of March 20, 1998.
THE EURO TIMETABLE
1998 May 2: EU (European Union) government leaders make the final decision on euro countries and select the president of the new European Central Bank. Euro is the name for the new European currency.
July 1: European Central Bank begins operating.
December 31: Exchange rates irrevocably fixed for participating countries, 1999-2001.
1999 Jan 1: Currency union begins. The European Central Bank assumes responsibility for monetary policy. The euro is available for most accounting transactions.
2002 Jan 1: Euro coins and bills enter general circulation.
July 1: The euro becomes the sole currency in participating nations; national currencies to be withdrawn from circulation.
You will notice in the timetable that January 1, 1999 begins a new world financial era. What will it be like? It's hard to say exactly, but most probably it will be a major foundational block on the road to the saying "Who is able to make war with the Beast?".
Less than nine months from now, a super powerful economy will emerge with one financial voice. Could the euro (the new currency) become the world's number one currency replacing the US dollar? Breath-taking, isn't it? If the US stock market crashed (already warning voices are raised) would Europe burst on the scene as a new world super power? Surely, it would. Indeed, the rise of the euro economy may cause a Wall Street crash.
Jesus expects us to be observing (watching) for signs of the prelude to his coming and using them to motivate us in His service:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
We do not know the precise timetable of this prophecy - it is in the Father's hands. But can we recognize the super foundation now being laid - before our eyes?
Whatever the forces of darkness may foist on the world in the years ahead, those who are watching the course of history, Bible in hand, can be confident. If we are God's faithful sons and daughters, He will conclude our personal histories with glory unspeakable.
The author, Ian Hufton, is an elder serving the East Texas Church of God.
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Issue 10, July/August 1998. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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