Throughout this series of “Turning Points” articles, we have explored a major missing dimension in our modern view of the world and our understanding of history. While many today doubt that God exists, we have repeatedly shown how the God of the Bible has intervened in human affairs at critical points to guide the progression of history—as He alone is able to do (Job 12:23; Daniel 2:21; 4:25, 32, 34). We have seen how God used Abraham to promote a knowledge of the true God and how He made specific promises about the future of Abraham’s descendants—promises that have been fulfilled in amazing detail. We have also seen how the power of God astounded leaders of ancient nations, how the books of Moses have influenced the laws of nations today, and how the coming of Jesus Christ changed the course of history. We have documented how the Bible and certain biblical values provided the unique foundation of Western civilization, how Europe was shielded from the Muslim and Mongol invasions, and why Great Britain and America emerged to become dominant powers that shaped our modern world—all according to God’s overall plan.
While these and other topics covered in this series provide undeniable evidence of how God has intervened in human affairs over the millennia, Bible prophecies indicate that even greater events will dramatically impact the future of the world in the years just ahead. These prophecies also reveal that we are heading toward another critical turning point in history—one which will shock and surprise a world that has lost sight of God’s plan for mankind.
Today, many scholars ignore or reject the fact that God exists and guides the direction of human affairs. As a result, they attribute the rise and fall of nations to nothing more than random circumstances, fortunate or unfortunate choices of leaders, unpredictable weather, natural disasters, and just plain luck. From this secular perspective, the dangers we face—global pollution, epidemic disease, widespread poverty, food and water shortages affecting millions, increasing violence and terrorism, rising intolerance, resurgent nationalism, the arms build-up in global hotspots, and the threat of nuclear war—make the future look pretty bleak! Some experts warn that a “new dark age” is on the horizon as the pillars of “civilization” continue to crumble. They ask the same question The Telegraph featured in a January 2019 headline: “Is this the year the world falls apart?”
In an interview with NBC News, Sir Martin Rees, Britain’s astronomer royal, discussed the question of whether humanity will survive this century. He noted that we are living at a critical juncture that could determine our future. “This century is crucial,” he said, pointing to our potential to “misuse powerful technology and snuff ourselves out” (NBCNews.com, November 8, 2018). For some, the troubling and hopeless picture of the future fosters depression, escape into drugs, and even suicide among young and old.
But will the world fall apart in 2019? Will we pollute ourselves to death? Will a nuclear war erase all life from this planet? Will the mistakes and miscalculations of humanity result in “snuffing ourselves out”? Or are we approaching an ultimate and unexpected turning point that will change the course of history forever? Is there a dimension of knowledge we have forgotten today that previous generations understood?
What many do not realize today is that confusion about the future and loss of hope have gone hand in hand with the declining influence of and interest in biblical religion. Many theologians and secular scholars, as well as leaders in government and the media, have lost sight of or rejected the clear message of Scripture, and they remain in the dark about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the Bible reveals that Jesus brought an exciting message about a hope-filled future. Jesus came to this earth “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14–15). This was not a message about floating off to heaven to play a harp on a cloud for the rest of eternity, but a positive and powerful message about a future world-ruling government that He will set up on this earth to bring peace and justice to all people (Isaiah 9:6–7). That government will be founded on the laws of God, will spread out from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2–4), and will be administered by Jesus Christ and the saints (Daniel 7:27; Matthew 19:28–29). According to the Scriptures, “The kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
While this is seldom preached or heard today, the Gospel—the good news proclaimed by Jesus and the Apostles—was about the millennial reign of Jesus and the saints on this earth (Revelation 20:4). As Edward Gibbon noted in chapter 15 of his celebrated work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, it was this powerful message that fueled the rapid growth of the early Church in the years following Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, as Gibbon also points out, this thrilling message about the real future of mankind was later downplayed as only an allegory and then rejected as heresy! As a result, most of mankind has never heard or has lost sight of the most significant turning point the world will ever experience.
Today, critics claim the Bible is just an outdated book of fables, irrelevant to our modern age. Yet the Bible claims to be the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and backs up that claim with proof. (See our free booklet The Bible: Fact or Fiction? for more information.) Jesus’ real presence in history is clear—see the writings of Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius for examples—and His impact on Western civilization is undeniable. However, Jesus plainly stated, “I will come again” (John 14:1–3). This is the clear message of Scripture (Mark 13:26; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 20).
Jesus foretold that He would return when the future of mankind would appear to hang in the balance. When His disciples asked, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?,” Jesus stated that world conditions would reflect widespread religious deception, wars and rumors of wars, international strife, rising ethnic tensions, famines, disease, and natural disasters (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). He warned further that conditions in society when He returns will resemble the “days of Noah” when the whole world was “corrupt… filled with violence… wickedness… and every intent of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5–13). Jesus stated that if He did not return to intervene in human affairs, “no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:21–22)—a condition toward which we appear to be headed today. The Bible also records that scoffers in the last days will mock the idea that Jesus will return to this earth (2 Peter 3:3–4). When He does return, the world will be shocked and surprised (Matthew 24:36–44).
Furthermore, the Scriptures reveal that the return of Jesus Christ will bring “times of refreshing” and a “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:19–21). It will be a time of peace, when people will not “learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4) and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6–10). As people begin to live by the laws of God and His blessings are poured out, the global environment will be restored, deserts will blossom, and diseases will be eliminated (Isaiah 35:1–7). Ruined cities will be rebuilt (Isaiah 61:4; Amos 9:14) and the family will once again be the fundamental unit of society (cf. Malachi 4:6).
This is not a fairy tale that is too good to be true. This is all part of God’s plan for mankind, brought about by the ultimate turning point in history: the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
Will you be ready?