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Tribulation Ahead!

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Jesus foretold that conditions on earth would reach the point where human survival would hang in the balance—unless God intervenes to save mankind!

For many in North America, western Europe and a few other places in the world's developed countries, life has never been better. Jobs are available, salaries are high, food is plentiful, security and social supports are adequate and leisure activities abound. However, just under the surface and around the edges of these bubbles of prosperity, powerful forces are preparing to erupt. Many today are oblivious to the fact that our modern world of affluence is about to explode into unimaginable chaos! Major Bible prophecies are on the verge of fulfillment. These prophecies will come alive and dominate headlines in the near future. The real news is sobering, yet filled with hope!

Present Distress

Over the last 50 years, forecasters and politicians have issued optimistic statements about the future. We are told that things are getting better, science is improving the world and medicines are conquering disease. We were told of a "peace dividend" as the Cold War ended, and expected that money spent on armaments could instead alleviate human suffering. There has been talk of a "road map" that will resolve Arab-Israeli tensions in the Middle East. Popes from John XXIII to Benedict XVI have led prayers for world peace. European leaders have said that if Europe unites it can avoid war on the continent. American leaders have planned to plant "seeds of democracy" to make the world a better place. Many have held on to a belief that the United Nations can solve the world's problems.

Yet all these optimistic hopes and idealistic intentions are beginning to ring hollow. Since the end of the Cold War, wars have proliferated and arms expenditures have increased, while hunger and poverty have spread! In the last few years, the world has witnessed the shocking rise of international terrorism and increasingly brutal civil wars where countless civilians are raped, tortured, maimed, murdered, driven from their homes or sold into slavery! Around the world, we see rising crime and rampant corruption, global trafficking in drugs and armaments, and pornography spread by the Internet. Recent decades have witnessed the emergence of epidemic diseases like HIV-AIDS and the resurgence of ancient plagues like malaria, tuberculosis and cholera—diseases that are now resistant to antibiotics and exacerbated by poverty, malnutrition and the widespread lack of sanitation and access to clean water. The gap between rich and poor is growing. Human greed and climate change are contributing to ecological disasters. Competition for the earth's dwindling resources is increasing, and threatens to turn violent. This is the world we live in today. But where is this all leading? What does the future hold?

Coming Chaos!

Many who read the Bible recognize that world events are beginning to resemble the conditions that Jesus said would prevail on earth just before His Second Coming. Jesus prophesied that the end of this age would be marked by religious deception, proliferating wars, ethnic strife, famines, disease epidemics and increasingly devastating natural disasters (Matthew 24:3–7). He warned that these signs were merely the "beginning of sorrows" and they would continue to escalate, for "then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved" (Matthew 24:21–22). Jesus foretold that conditions on earth would reach the point where human survival would hang in the balance—unless God intervenes to save mankind!

Some today believe the Bible and accept Jesus' statements, but many others are highly skeptical, and even laugh at these ideas. To believe in Bible prophecies about the approaching end of the age invites ridicule from many quarters of society. Such ideas are usually relegated to the wacky realm of religious fanatics. However, one who wishes to dismiss Jesus' statements must ignore what knowledgeable observers have been saying for more than a decade.

In 1994, correspondent Robert D. Kaplan, who has served as a consultant to the U.S. Army Special Forces, wrote a famous article predicting that: "West Africa's future, eventually, will be that of the rest of the world" ("The Coming Anarchy," Atlantic Monthly, February 1994, pp. 44–76). West Africa today is characterized by increasingly violent, lawless and ungovernable countries—where national boundaries are becoming meaningless, and poverty, corruption, disease and environmental devastation are rampant and spreading. In Kaplan's view, the burgeoning and incredibly polluted cities in the developing world—such as Delhi, Calcutta and Beijing—are "ecological time bombs" that will eventually implode. He noted that multi-ethnic India and Pakistan are "increasingly dysfunctional" and will "probably fall apart" while "Egypt could be where climatic upheaval… will incite religious upheaval in truly biblical fashion" (ibid., pp. 27, 51–53). It is hard to brush off Robert Kaplan, who sees a future of spreading chaos and anarchy, as a religious fanatic.

Robert Harvey, a former member of the British Parliament and assistant editor of The Economist, offers a similar disturbing view of the future. Harvey writes: "As the new millennium dawns, the same seeds of global disorder, even anarchy, that grew into the years 1914–1945 are being sown today. Radicalism and ethnic nationalism are already on the rampage… Bigger powers show signs of going their own way. America is disengaging from Europe and vice versa, Germany and Japan are becoming more politically assertive and China is rearming… Unless action is taken… we will gaze towards the same horizon of global horrors as our great-grandfathers, this time through a nuclear haze. The world is a much more dangerous place than it has been for nearly half a century… Doomsday—global anarchy… is a real possibility" (Global Disorder, Harvey, pp. xxxi, xxxii, 456). Robert Harvey is not a religious fanatic, yet he is describing the same dangers that Jesus Christ foretold more than 2,000 years ago!

Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington has warned for more than a decade that "clashes of civilizations" will be the greatest threat to world peace. He wrote: "The weakening of states and the appearance of 'failed states' contribute to the fourth image of a world in anarchy… This picture of a world in chaos … is close to reality. It provides a graphic and accurate picture of much of what is going on in the world" (The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of World Order, Huntington, p. 35). He concluded: "On a worldwide basis civilization seems in many respects to be yielding to barbarism, generating the image of an unprecedented phenomenon, a global Dark Age, possibly descending on humanity" (ibid., p. 321). These are not the conclusions of a religious fanatic, but of a highly respected and influential scholar who also sees a great tribulation looming in the future.

These knowledgeable scholars foresee ominous scenarios, but Bible prophecy reveals that the future is actually filled with hope! Jesus foretold that although a great tribulation lies just ahead, it will not result in cosmocide; He reassured us that "for the elect's sake those days will be shortened." Jesus will return in power to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth, and to bring about a "restoration of all things" (see Acts 3:19–21). His prophetic words will come alive in the years ahead. For more information on this exciting subject, please request our free booklet, Do You Believe the True Gospel?

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