A message of hope for...

The World of Tomorrow

Hope (Greek, elpis )
Biblical hope involves a favorable and confident expectation in regard to the future. Hope describes the happy anticipation of good. It involves both the ground on which it is based and the object upon which our hope is fixed - "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). In the New Testament, three adjectives describe hope: good (2 Thess. 2:16); blessed (Titus 2:13); and living (1 Peter 1:3)
Christian Counseling Connection 2001, 2, 7

Most of us are weary of the frustrations, pains, sorrows we face. Yet the Bible insists there's a new world coming. It's a world of peace, health, beauty, justice. Here's a glimpse of today's world - and what you can expect in the world of tomorrow.

This world is not a happy place! We're distressed by the awesome natural calamities that beset our planet, grieving over the agonies of earthquakes, famines, floods, droughts. We sorrow over the terrible results of maiming accidents, disease, bereavement. Personal tragedy strikes us all sooner or later.

And we wonder - will there be an end? Is there hope? Is there really as goes the song - "a new world coming in the morning"?

Change Predicted

Various "Think Tanks", the Club of Rome, a string of specialists' reports - all predict change of some kind ahead for the world and its five billion plus inhabitants. But the predicted changes are almost entirely negative. They give us little cause for hope. They predict further over-crowding, greater stress from the nuclear threat, increasing crime - and more ill health, more malnourishment, more poverty, more famines and plagues and wars.

Sadly, and more horrifying than foreseen by men, such prophecies are all too true. Such events will occur as certainly as the rise of tomorrow's sun. They will engulf mankind as a direct consequence of our chosen and habitual life-style.

But there are alternative long-term predictions!

The Bible also looks beyond the terrible times currently threatening this earth, Its predictions spell out for us a time of peace and prosperity. A time of health and stability in nature - and in man himself.

Let's look at some of the transformations predicted for tomorrow's world: the environment perfectly in balance, disease eliminated, crime halted, politics purified, the military establishment tamed. And everywhere human minds at peace and the nations cooperating in perfect harmony. Isn't that what you want? Isn't that what all man's best efforts strive after?

This is the Bible's message of hope.

But first let's have a brief survey of man's best efforts.

The Works Of Mankind

Over the centuries man has built magnificent structures - both in bricks and mortar, and socially. Some material structures have adorned the face of our planet for centuries, even for millennia. They are apt testimony to man's inborn creative genius: the Great Wall of China, great cathedrals, the Pyramids to name a few.

Equally long-lived are man's social structures: the military and political establishments, educational systems, a dozen major religions - and, we could add, the criminal fraternity. But however much these social works of man may be praised (or criticized), they have all contributed to the awesome scenario we looked at earlier. These human institutions reflect man's debased nature. They are based on human ideas, however cleverly concocted. They mirror man's greed, his lust for naked power.

Why do the nations rage at one another? Why are there deep political divides in all nations? Why are billions educationally deprived? Why doesn't everyone have clean water to drink? Why are all people so deeply divided religiously and why hasn't "religion" solved our human problems? Why ... ?

Here's why! All these great works of mankind have been built without a vital foundation layer. All - even religion - are built on the shifting sands of human philosophy, human reasoning. But, you say, isn't that all we have? No! Most assuredly not!

For all man's efforts omit one essential ingredient - divine revelation. They leave the Creator God out of the picture!

Yet - God created man. He gave us every physical and intellectual capability needed to build a successful world, a world of magnificence, a world of quality. And God also provided access to the spiritual necessities that would turn our achievements into permanence. We have misused or ignored all these divinely appointed resources.

Our inner cities rot - pockmarked by vandalism, knee-deep in litter, defaced by unemployment. Military spending consumes a fifth of the world's income, gobbling resources needed to tackle other scandals. The environment sickens from acid rain and all the other pollutants generated by human avarice. Even when man "turns to God" in his religious endeavors he succeeds in alienating himself from the true way to peace and harmony.

Cosmic Power

The pivot of human history is just around the comer - the return to this earth of Jesus Christ. When that astounding event occurs, what will He find? Will our planet be as verdant and fruitful as it is even today after millennia of misuse? What is the picture painted by the prophets of the Bible?

The Scriptures make clear that just prior to the return of Jesus Christ this earth will have been subjected to horrendous cosmic forces. Predicts the prophet Isaiah, "the earth will reel to and fro like a drunken man" (ch. 24:18,19). Elsewhere he reports, "the Lord makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down" (v.1). And again, "therefore has the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left" (v. 5, 6).

Can you imagine the effects on the works and institutions of man of devastation so disastrous that there remain only a tiny percentage of earth's billions? Can your mind begin to grasp the implications of the "reverse polarity" of our solid globe? Look up - and changed is the familiar configuration of the stars. North becomes South. Changed is the accustomed orbit of our sun. Changed is our familiar landscape.

What stupendous forces are destined to affect our stable planet! And with what awesome consequences!

Into such chaos comes Jesus Christ accompanied by His prepared and trained servants, the resurrected saints. Under their guidance the dazed and shocked survivors of man's final, fatal and stupendous error will "build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations" (Is. 61:4).

Our planet displays the debris of generations of man's incapacity to apply the principles of good government. It is displayed in our decaying cities, our vast shanty-towns, our outmoded and ponderous institutions, our disunited nations. And so great is the coming destruction that it may well take many generations of human effort - directed by the Family of God - to restore the earth to its pristine beauty.

When God created Earth He inspected it carefully and judged that "it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). He will, again, make that same judgement.

And when the dust settles?

World Government

When Jesus Christ returns the task of reconstruction begins. Earth's face will have changed. "Immovable" mountain ranges will have collapsed. Former valleys will have been thrust upwards in this great cataclysmic upheaval of nature.

And when the planet is again at rest Jesus Christ will be "King over all the earth" (Zech 14:11). His benign government will quickly expand to every survivor of the coming holocaust. "And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end" (Is. 9:6,7). All the divine wisdom will be focused on the restoration of man on earth.

Divine wisdom will focus on the restoration of our planet's pristine beauty.

Government by man is far from perfect! Jesus, at his coming, will bring a government that's perfect in every way!

There will be new social institutions. New values. One religion and one language. Beautiful townships. Prosperity. Peace. Health. Isn't that what we all long for? Isn't that what you, and men and women everywhere, dream about?

Take, for example, the scourge of crime. Can you imagine a world without crime? Where you need have no concerns about the security of your home or your personal possessions? Where you can walk anywhere with no thought of being mugged, molested, murdered? Where you know that perverted drug peddlers are nowhere tolerated? Where our children are safe from filthy pedophiles and perverted sexual practices? Where every criminal act of man against man is eliminated?

That's what we can expect in tomorrow's world!

Then, too, the world will be at peace. Predicts the prophet Isaiah, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [kingdom]" (Isaiah 11:9). From one end of the earth to the other there will be no all-powerful military machine geared to destroy. For "they shall beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Micah 4:3). In modern terms - the resources that today finance fearsome weapons for aggressive or defensive purposes will be diverted to peaceful and productive use. The colossal sums today consumed by the military - trillions of dollars annually - will be at our disposal to provide pure water, comfortable homes, a good living standard everywhere on earth. Imagine - no armed forces, no military academies, no terrorists in Russia or Great Britain or the United States or Libya or Syria - or anywhere!

That's what we can expect in tomorrow's world!

All earth's resources today diverted from community use by avarice or power-hunger or fear or criminal activity or military spending or ostentatious display of personal and corporate wealth will be channelled to man's welfare. Instead, human. energy will flow into constructive enterprise.

There won't be unemployment. Everyone will be engaged in per- sonal and co-operative effort that satisfyingly stretches their natural talents to the full. All human potential will be released for the good of all mankind - no north-south divide, no Third World, no underprivileged. Do you want abundance? It's all here - spiritual, material, medical, intellectual, emotional. All human effort will be directed by perfect wisdom into reconstructing and restoring an earth devastated by man's lack of true wisdom.

Zestful Health

What of that scourge of humanity - sickness? Few, today, have abundant health. Only a privileged minority of mankind have access to modern technological medicine or even to such basics as pure water, or sufficient nourishing food. Hunger and famine stalk our planet leaving in their wake deadly disease. Unknown viruses devastate millions of lives and wreck economies. An agonizing cry of physical pain rises from every nation, every hospital, almost every home. Wrote the apostle Paul nearly two thousand years ago, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now" (Romans 8:22). It groans to this very day.

But in the world to come all of this will become a fast-fading memory!

Listen to what our loving God promises all mankind: "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart [and aren't there millions in this condition?], 'Be strong, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.' Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing for joy" (Isaiah 35:3-6).

What a transformation. No more will millions of our fellow men blindly grope as in darkness. No more will many millions be dependant on wheelchairs. No more will the sweet sounds of nature be muffled by deafness. No more cancer, or heart disease, or AIDS, or diabetes, or countless other afflictions. And no more will countless men, and women and children be subject to endless debilitating phobias. Instead, each day will, for all, be bright with fulfilled promise. Peace of mind will be universal. Life will be zestful, invigorating, exciting. Each day will see further achievement of life goals. Every human heart will be overflowing with joy and hope!

The Human Heart

But why don't we achieve this desirable and beautiful life-style today? Why does the pouring out of billions act as no more than a "band-aid" - in health care, in feeding the hungry, in eliminating poverty and disease? Why will God have to "interfere"?

The heart of the matter is - the human heart!

Over the centuries man has accumulated unbelievable technical knowledge. But usually we lack the wisdom to go on impartially applying this knowledge until our problems are solved. National or self interest, greed, myopic planning, bureaucracy, etc all blend to hinder solutions to the array of challenges that face mankind in every generation. The reason? We have chosen to rely on our human abilities, our five senses, alone.

Few opinion-makers or politicians or educators or scientists accept that there's a spiritual, a divine element essential to true progress.

Mankind came perfect from the hand of our Creator. "Perfect" in the sense that we were designed and equipped to fully cope with all that life offered. Our first parents were given complete understanding of the "setup" - the fundamental ground-rules for achieving our vast human potential. These "ground rules" were, summarized in the commandments given to the nation of Israel. Like a sophisticated instrument, man can best function only when this "operator's manual" is carefully followed! It is the way for all of us to have a full and abundant life.

But this "manual" - the divine instruction book - is ignored and rejected as the source of guidance for all human endeavor. For an undisclosed period, our first parents delighted in "paradise" rejoicing in the benefits of following God's way of life. But even before the birth of their firstborn son, they had thrown away the manual!

The result? For six thousand years homo sapiens has veered from the path leading to utopia. Sin - the infringement of God's Law (I John 3:4) - has become our habitual way of life. It has blighted, calloused, distorted and scarred our innermost being, turning it to a "heart of stone." Indeed Jesus said it is from man's heart that every evil act flows. "For from within," he said, "out of the heart of man, came evil thoughts, fornication, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within and they defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23).

Surely a sufficient catalogue to account for our global plight!

The apostle Paul foresaw this escalating trend towards more widespread evil, and wrote of it to the evangelist Timothy: "But understand this, that in the last days [that's us!] there shall come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with con- ceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of if' (2 Tim.3:1-5).

This two thousand year old prophecy sounds like a re-run of this morning's news headlines!

But tomorrow's headlines - as we have seen - will be excitingly different.

For man's heart can be changed. Not by behavioral therapy, or by mass brainwashing, or by a chemical cocktail - but by the Spirit of God. No Prozac-induced euphoria in that Kingdom! It is the Holy Spirit freely given by a loving Father that is the vital element missing from the human heart. It's the element that great minds reject.

And God's recipe for that change of heart? The prophet Joel sums it up in the second chapter of his prophecy. After describing the awesome events of the years ahead of us he says, "Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love... And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh."

No outward form of religion is enough! No outward show of religiosity will suffice! There must be a change of heart. When Jesus Christ returns as conquering King of all earthly thrones, all the human and satanic obstacles to that change of heart will be removed. With free access for all men of all nations to the tree of life - the symbol of the Spirit of God - paradise can then be restored.

There is hope!

You Can Benefit - Now

Millions - even billions - will, as noted in our last issue of New Horizons, be slaughtered in the coming man-made holocaust. But you can become a part of the government of God in the years beyond that awful time - by changing your heart now, with God's help. And that change of heart will bring with it - here and now - many of the benefits of that future Kingdom: peace of mind,joy, comfort in sorrow, assurance of eternal life, a love for mankind, insight into the spiritual world that envelops us, a knowledge of the truth that frees.

Our brochure 'What Do You Mean -"Repent"?' outlines this essential step of human repentance. We urge you to write for a free copy now. Request also the leaflet 'Coming To Baptism' which summarizes the steps we must take - if we want to have a leading role in that beautiful and thrilling world of tomorrow

...have you read this?

"Mystery book of all books...." Thus begins a fascinating unveiling of that puzzling Book of Revelation the final book of the New Testament. Scholars have pored over it for nearly two thousand years. And there are probably more interpretations than interpreters! This concise 12-page booklet will help you unlock its mysteries. It is titled The Key to the Book of Revelation. Write to one of our addresses for a free copy.

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 Volume 2 No. 1, January/February 1998. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.

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