. For centuries the Church of Christ has heeded the admonition of the apostle Peter in I Peter 4:7: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” No doubt many an Old Year’s sermon has been preached on this passage. We today also hear its warning and prepare ourselves for the return of our Lord. We consider the events which take place in the world about us and quickly arrange them in their proper perspective. We perceive with our Spirit-enlightened minds just exactly how these actuallywork toward Christ’s return. All of them are ordered by His hand in order to bring about His return. Certainly, as we interpret the current events which take place in the world about us we are able to organize them according to the perspective of Scripture. They agree with the Scriptural givens which delineate the signs of Christ’s return.
Such an organization of current events, however, is never pursued by the newspapers and news magazines of the day. Of course not! The writers and publishers of these are ungodly men of this world! They do not understand nor do they watch for the signs of Christ’s coming!
It is for this reason then that it would be most interesting to see some of the current events organized in their proper way. This we will now do.
“The beginnings of sorrows (birthpangs WB)” are those signs that have occurred even before the first advent of Christ. It is fitting therefore that we begin with them. Jesus tells us of them in Mark 13:8, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.”
“There shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles. . . .”
The eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, left more than 60 dead or missing. “I think it’s reasonable to expect that any of the large volcanoes in the Cascade Mountains have the potential for this kind of eruption,” was the remark of Robert L. Christiansen, a volcanologist.
On October 10, 1980 an earthquake struck the Algerian city of Al Ansam leaving 400,000 homeless and killing about 10,000 people. On November 23, 1980 another earthquake unleashed its forces on southern Italy. It left about 3,000 dead and another 1,574 people missing.
Last summer the United States was plagued with drought. Crops withered and died in more than a dozen states succumbing to the sun’s blistering heat. Crop and livestock damage was estimated at 12 billion dollars.
In late November of 1980 Southern California was struck with a week of raging brush fires. These fires destroyed 423 houses and 140 square miles of timber. This natural catastrophe was preceded earlier in the year by torrential rains and gale-force winds which ripped through Southern California and central Arizona claiming the lives of 26 people.
It was early 1981 when the worst flood to hit the southern Philippines in two decades killed 71 people and sent 300,000 fleeing to higher ground.
“And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars be ye not troubled; for such things must needs be. . . ”
Saudi Arabia will soon sign an 800 million dollar pact to help Pakistan make an atomic bomb.
Thousands of teenagers have taken up rifles and joined the civil war that has claimed over 8,500 lives in El Salvador. They have joined the guerrilla bands which rebel against the military-civilian government.
In January, Irish republican guerrillas bombed their way into the castle of Protestant leader Sir Norman Stronge and shot him and his son to death. Police blamed the outlawed Irish Republican army for the attack, but other sources say it looked like a “tit-for-tat assassination” by the Marxist Irish National Liberation Army.
When the King of Spain, King Juan Carlos, visited the Basque Parliament he was greeted with fist fights between Basque separatists and police. The Basques are demanding more autonomy for their region than had been granted in a recent home-rule decree.
Makeshift firebombs were found inside two U.S. Army observation helicopters in West Germany last month. There was no indication as to who planted them.
There yet remain today 200,000 Asian War refugees in Asian hold camps. These refugees were forced to leave war-torn Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. But they had nowhere to go. Many must wait to be resettled in some country which is willing to take them. They wait in crowded, unsanitary camps.
With a few days left in his administration President Carter warned of the growing Soviet “war machine.” President Reagan takes a firm stand over against Russia. The Soviets “don’t subscribe to our idea of morality. They don’t believe in an afterlife. They don’t believe in a god or a religion, and the only morality they recognize therefore is what will advance the world of socialism.” Because President Reagan is openly hostile toward the Soviet Union they turn on the U.S.; Moscow accuses the U.S. not only of preparing for limited nuclear warfare but also of broadcasting secret instructions to the Poles who are striking against communist authorities in Warsaw.
The horses of Rev. 6:1-8 definitely are running their courses through this world. The red horse stirs up strife between the nations. The hatred of God and fellow man is awakened in the hearts of men. The covetous passions of power and wealth take hold of the leaders of the nations and the result is that nation rises against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The black horse causes social and economic upheaval. The pale green horse works death wherever he rides. Besides regular death he destroys by means of all these natural catastrophes- storms, floods, and fires, as well as by wars.
Jesus speaks also of other signs which we, who now stand in the last minute of the eleventh hour, witness in the world about us. In Matthew 24:12 he states, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Paul reiterates this same idea in the words he wrote to Timothy in his second epistle chapter 3. We find in verses l-5 this: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves. . . without natural affection, . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: From such turn away.” (For more details open your own Bibles and read this passage in its entirety.)
“Iniquity shall abound. . . .”
Several Atlanta City Council members joined the relatives and friends of Chuck Geter for his funeral. The 14 year-old youth who was strangled to death was the 15th victim to be found in the string of slain black children. Two youths remain missing.
In England the Yorkshire Ripper has finally been arraigned. Thirteen young women had fallen prey to his murders. He is being charged with twelve murders and seven attempted murders.
A controversial school where “students seek carnal consciousness and doctorates in sensuality” has moved to the inner city of Oakland, California. Although the school is authorized by the state to grant undergraduate degrees and a Ph. D. in sensuality, it seems that it was being too restricted in the suburbs. Because of the move three of its courses will be dropped from the curriculum; “Mutual Pleasurable Stimulation,” “teasing,” and “Fundamentals of Sensuality.”
“Without natural affection. . . .”
Although President Reagan is now in office, countless unborn babies continue to be murdered through legalized abortion.
Alan Madden was beaten for about four hours, at times with fists, at times with a wooden club wrapped with gauze. “Police found his frail body on the living room floor, his blond hair red with blood, his hands bruised from trying to deflect the blows.” He was five years old.
National statistics show that 25 out of every 100 youngsters are sexually abused. Eighty-five percent of all such cases are incestuous. Incidentally, child abuse is the number 1 killer of children in the U.S. today.
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affection. . .” (Rom. 1:26).
Jon Hinson, state representative from Mississippi was arrested on attempted sodomy charges and has decided to resign from office. He was caught in the act in the restroom of a congressional office. Hinson was re-elected to office despite his acknowledgement of visiting two homosexual hangouts. The “beautiful” city of San Francisco is said to be made up of over 50 percent openly-practicing homosexuals.
In 1968 the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches was organized. Today it has 150 congregations in eight countries with about 29,000 members. The denomination was formed for practicing homosexuals. Fifteen congregations were added in the past two years.
One last sign cannot be overlooked. That is the rising apostasy in the Church-world. Paul tells us in II Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” Those who fall away from the truth are not those who leave the established church. They remain in the church and continue to practice an outward form of godliness while in their hearts they deny the power thereof. This general falling away from the truth affects not just individuals but entire denominations. The result is that doctrinal differences are disregarded and amalgamation is sought.
“Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof….”
The Feminists who seek to break down the differences between male and female have been at work publishing a new Bible. In it they attempt to “neuterize” God. They also elide all passages which even hint of male superiority. All in the name of Christianity!
Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and in America have begun to accept into their confines practicing homosexuals. Some maintain that Scripture gives normative guidelines on homosexuality. Others claim Scripture demands that we must love them and must take them in, in order to influence them in a godly way.
Because of the iniquity in the world about us the love of a godly life has waxed cold in many. We do not have to look far for this. Worldly amusements are becoming more and more an accepted thing. Dancing, drunkenness, movie attendance, godless music, all are accepted things even amongst those who frequent the house of God.
“Even now are there many antichrists whereby we know that it is the last time. . . .”
Last month the evangelist Billy Graham dropped by the Vatican and had a private talk with the pope. In welcoming the world-renowned evangelist the pope was heard to say, “We are brothers.” An official release later said the subject of their discussion was “inter-church relations, the emergence of evangelicalism, evangelization, and Christian responsibility towards moral issues, in light of values of the gospel.”
It seems they might just as well discuss their ideas with Jerry Falwell, who is the leader of the Moral Majority organization. This 72,000 member organization was founded by fundamentalists who push for a return to traditional values. Members of the organization consider themselves “a growing, potent political force.”
These are but a few of the events currently taking place around us which clearly reveal that Christ is coming quickly. If you and I are watching and not sleeping we will be waiting for Him. The premillennialists speak of the unexpected return of Christ; not even the child of God will be aware of His rapture. We repudiate that! I Thessalonians 5:2-5 states, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all children of the light. . . .” We hear the warning shout, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh.” We shake the sleep from our eyes, and with eager anticipation wait! The King is coming!