by John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director ASK, Inc.

Recently, a major news telecast talked with a group of experts as to their views of world events in the foreseeable future. After skirting the basic issues, and wrangling with effects rather than causes, one reporter said that in ten or fifteen years it would be "no man's land out there". Why would they venture that analysis, and what would be the basic reason as to the pessimistic outlook?

In Matthew 24:6-8, 21, Jesus Christ stated that conditions in the world would become worse and worse just prior to His return to take over the world. He cited both natural disturbances as well as human problems increasing as signs of His coming. It is true that history has had evidences of both, but in the past century and especially so in the past few years, the world has seen and exponential increase in all these areas, in frequency, intensity, and worldwide occurrences.

Furthermore, as of now there are no prophetic events as described in the Bible that must yet be fulfilled before the Lord comes to take the Christians home to Heaven. The formation of Israel almost fifty years ago, has been the last major event. The natural disturbances and human problems have only intensified, which lends credence to Christ's prophecy.

Then in Matthew 24:32-34, Jesus pointed to the fact that the generation that witnesses all these things coming together, would not pass until His coming and the beginning of the great Tribulation. Our generation has seen all of these elements that Jesus recited, and we are about at the end of this generation.

On the other hand, the Christians are working more together, denominational barriers are lowering, the message of God is being telecast to the whole world, evangelism and missionary activity is expanding, and Christianity is more widespread than ever. I have often been asked if we are on the verge of another "Awakening", such as our country has had a number of times in the past two hundred years. In those times, a spiritual revival swept over most of the people of our country, and a return to the Bible and its principles motivated all segments of society. With wickedness prospering at an alarming rate, are we ready and on the verge of another awakening?

Again, in Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus gave a parable of the wheat and the tares. A farmer sowed the grain, but another sowed weeds among the grain. Jesus said the seed was the good word of God; the weeds were the wickedness within the world. And, just as weeds prosper faster than the grain, so wickedness is prospering more than righteousness today. Jesus noted that the two would grow together until the harvest, then the farmer (i.e. Himself) would reap the harvest and separate the grain from the weeds. Today, wickedness is prospering faster than righteousness, though both are doing well.

Since all prophetic events, as described in various places in the Bible, are all evidential in today's world, including Israel in the land, and wickedness and righteousness seemingly headed for a terrible confrontation, it is not likely that the world will witness another awakening, to bring mankind back to his spiritual senses.

What then is the purpose of the righteousness as seen in the body of Christians, apart from carrying out our commission to go into all the world and make disciples for Christ (Matthew 28:19,20)? It seems reasonable that God is strengthening the body of Christians in the faith, to be able to withstand what might be spoken of as the coming Christian holocaust.

In today's world we hear much about "political correctness", and emphasis is upon "tolerance". This is all true with one exception; Christian bashing and snide remarks against God and the Bible are perfectly acceptable. We have almost squeezed God out of every vestige of life itself; our schools, government, the family, and even in some theological circles. We have replaced moral, ethical, and spiritual values with every sort of wickedness, as portrayed on the TV, in pornography, the movies, and especially the lyrics of rock music. We have opened up the mind for all this through the unbridled use of drugs.

The prophet in Isaiah 5:20 said, "Woe unto them that call evil good; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness". The world of today has stood principle on its head, and because we live in a convoluted society, everything is relative, and "everyone does that which is right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). We no longer live in a principled society, and because mankind does not adhere to the standards of the Bible, selfishness prevails.

Revelation 9:21, speaking of things that will happen in the great Tribulation states that, "Neither repented they (i.e. the people of the world) of their murders, nor of their drugs, nor of their immorality, nor of their thefts". Law enforcement is unable to stem the flood of every one of these things today. What will it be like during the coming Tribulation?

Again, in Matthew 24:22, Jesus stated that except these horrendous days should be limited, no person would remain alive. Unless Christ steps in, in judgment, mankind is on a collision course of self annihilation. Just as Moses, leading the nation of Israel out of Egypt, came to an impassable Red Sea, and then realized that the Pharaoh was sending his army to bring them back again to bondage, said to his people, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exodus 14:13), so it seems reasonable that God is spiritually strengthening His people for the "squeeze" of the world, and we are to await His coming, to escape the coming holocaust that will descend on mankind during the Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).

In I Thessalonians 5:9 we read, "For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ". The coming wrath of God upon the wickedness of the world, will not affect the Christian; no, because the child of God will be saved from the wrath that is coming. The Christian's salvation from the wrath to come, won't come too soon, nor will it come too late. It will come before the darkness of unbridled sin encompasses the world. The good news is this for the Christian; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. God is sovereign, and His plan for the world is in place and on track. Our hope is in Him.