We ask ourselves the question, Have we any right ever to hope for peace? We have wanted peace for so long; we have been disappointed so many times; and we now hold within our hands the ability to destroy every living thing that exists on the earth, many times over. Are we justified in believing that the future holds peace and happiness for the human race?

Thoughtful people are asking the question, Where is the answer? Can the world’s politicians give us the answer? They cannot even agree among themselves, and certainly, if that is indeed the case, they could not give us a unanimous answer as to what the future holds for us and for our children.

Where Is the Answer?

MANY OF THE WORLD’S leading statesmen entertain the earnest hope that the very uncertain conditions which exist in earth’s society today will, in the not too distant future, give place to better understanding between the peoples of the world. Wise men and philosophers speak of a time when this world of ours will not be divided by strife, nor by national hatreds and prejudices, but will be united as one world. Global law enforcement is another large concern, and the projection for the future is that soon we will more effectively control crime and evil conditions through closer cooperation worldwide. ‘One world’ interests will function for the common good of all the people who live on the earth.

This is not a new hope. At the turn of this century, Christian nations were assured by their leaders that before the new century closed, a new era would be established on the earth—an era of goodwill toward men—and that peace on earth finally would be our heritage. They based the hope for this peaceful, happy condition existing among people and nations upon the assumption that man had at last learned that war was not the way to peace. They believed mankind now knew that if ever there would be peace on earth it would not be attained through war.

In times past, it had always been said, “In times of peace, prepare for war, and in times of war prepare for peace.” But men felt that they had at last learned their lesson, and that war would no longer be the way in which the world would seek peace. We know that the longing for peace burns in the human heart even to this time. The majority of mankind, regardless of the nation in which they live, wants peace. But here we are, living in the last decade of the twentieth century, and still we do not have the peace promised to us at its beginning.

In the intervening time we have lived through two terrible world wars, as well as many other wars—greater and lesser conflicts—from one end of this earth to the other. So in this century, certainly, wars have not ceased. No, conflicts have not even been abated. Both in the number of people involved and in the power of man to destroy, wars have become more appalling. It is obvious that we do not have an answer.

Then where is the answer? Does the Bible give us the answer? We believe it does. About one-third of the Bible is prophetic. The prophets were men inspired through the Holy Spirit by God. They foretold many events which they themselves did not understand. Many of their prophetic utterances concerned our present world events, as well as things still to come in the future. So if we really want to know what is happening in the world today, and what the future holds for the human race, it is incumbent upon us to take time to study the prophecies of the Word of God.

When we look into the future through the eyes of prophecy, we find a message that is not a fumbling uncertainty. In our study of the Bible we have a right to believe that we will find there a divine assurance based upon certain definite facts. There is a saying that there is no such thing as a future certainty. If it has to do with the future of business, this statement is indeed true. If it has to do with banking, it is equally true; or with economics, environment, standards of living, population control, etc., it is again true! Generally speaking, the future is uncertain along all lines.

The Bible Gives Definite Assurance

But the statement that there is nothing certain as to what the future holds for us, and for our children, is wrong. The Word of God gives us definite assurances. God sent his prophets into the world to tell us what we could expect concerning the future of the human race, and their predictions were inspired by him. These holy men of God spoke for him with very definite assurance.

In II Peter 1:17-19, and 21, the apostle’s statement is recorded as saying: “We have also a more sure Word of prophecy [“the prophetic Word more confirmed,” Emphatic Diaglott] whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth In a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in our hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” In other words, prophecy does not come from the prophet himself, but it comes from God, “for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

This scripture describes prophecy as a light shining in a dark place; that is a good definition. Darkness covers the earth today, and gross darkness the people. The majority do not even know that the great God of heaven has a plan for all his creation, and for the future of the human race. People in many lands of the world are in gross darkness concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But just as a lantern aids us to see our way in the dark, so prophecy is as a light shining in a dark place.

History in Advance

In II Peter 1:19 we read that we have been given a ‘more sure Word of prophecy’. Prophecy is history written in advance, and only God can do this. And when God writes it, it is sure. Therefore the Bible says that we have in it something upon which we can depend—a sure Word of prophecy. And then it adds, “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.” We know that many today are not taking heed. Many have rejected the Bible. Some claim to be wise, and their wisdom has become to them a snare. The Holy Word says that they are “wise in their own conceits,” and Jesus condemned those wise ones of his day for their inability to see the signs of the time. So in our day the wise of this world are blind, and because of their blindness they are in perplexity and fear as to what the future holds for them and their children.

But the worst of it is that some of those who are blind to the great changes that are impending in the world today, and who have not taken heed to the prophecies, are pioneers in the fields of science and politics and religion. Some of these leaders feel they do not need God in the solution of the problems that confront humanity. The Bible states, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”—Ps. 14:1; 53:1

Anyone who believes he could bring in the Golden Age of peace on earth and goodwill toward men without there having been born “in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” is blind to the prophecies, and doomed to sad disappointment. (Luke 2:11) The Bible says that “the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Isa. 29:14) Think of the efforts that have been made by sincere and conscientious people to bring about an ideal society in this world, and ask yourself if Isaiah’s statement is true.

Prophecies Not Understood

In Daniel 12:8-10 we read, “I [Daniel] heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”

No, Daniel did not understand how the prophecy spoken through him would be fulfilled. And the Apostle Peter said that the prophets of old inquired and searched diligently to understand the prophecies which they had recorded as the mouthpieces of God, but their meanings were not revealed to them. (I Pet. 1:10) They had been used to lay up treasures of wisdom and knowledge for a future generation. We are that generation!

Therefore it is incumbent upon us to take heed to the sure Word of prophecy, because these prophecies reveal the purposes of God in the affairs and the events of human history. However, some may ask, how can we be sure that these prophecies are accurate? How do we know we can depend upon these writings of the Word of God more than on the prognostications of men?

Fulfilled Prophecies

Let us look at some Bible prophecies that have already been fulfilled, and from them judge whether or not its prophecies concerning the future are accurate and dependable. Let us go back to the Garden of Eden. At the time of the betrayal in Eden, God said to Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15) This is the first prophecy that the Bible recorded, and it had to do with a Redeemer, a Savior, who would help humanity. It was a veiled prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ.

This statement indicates that Jesus was not to be born of Adam’s stock. He was to be “the seed of the woman.” What is the difference whether he were Adam’s child, or if he were Eve’s child? It makes a great difference! We are children of Adam, because he was our progenitor. We are imperfect, because we inherited the curse from our father, Adam—we were born in sin, and shapen in iniquity. (Ps. 51:5) Being imperfect, no man can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him. Therefore, had Jesus Christ been simply of Adam’s stock, he would have been imperfect, as we are, and could not have died the ‘Just for the unjust’. Because of that, he was ‘born of the woman’, the ‘seed’ of the woman. That is the reason he was ‘born of a virgin’—God being his father, and not Adam.

Now remember that hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophets of God said he would be the seed of the woman. Isaiah 7:14 says, “The Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” That prophecy was fulfilled, and the seed of the woman came in fulfillment of that prophecy.

In Micah 5:2 we read another prophecy: “Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel: whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. ‘Bethlehem, the beautiful’ was to be the birthplace of this one who was to be born of a virgin. Hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was born, these prophecies had told all about it. These are not opinions—these are facts—the virgin mother, and the circumstances of his birth. Do you think any human being could have shaped the accomplishment of these prophecies?

But these are only two of the numerous events in the life of Jesus Christ which had been foretold in the Scriptures. There were many, many more. The death that he should die was one; the draught that he was to drink while upon the cross was another. The sepulchre of the rich man in which he was entombed was also foretold. Could man have shaped the outcome of these prophecies? The length of time Jesus was to be in the tomb was foretold; that he would be resurrected from the dead was foretold, and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost—all these things were predicted and fulfilled, and all were beyond human collusion.

That all these prophecies were fulfilled in the life of one man is sufficient reason, we believe, for either Jew or Gentile to accept the fact that Jesus Christ was the seed of the woman, the Son of God, and therefore able to give himself as a ransom, a corresponding price, for Adam and the human race yet in his loins. The sure Word of prophecy had been proven accurate in past performance.

Prophecies Concerning the Present

But what about the present time? Are any prophecies being fulfilled in the world today? Yes, indeed! One outstanding prophecy is the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. That fact alone is sufficient to prove that prophecy is being fulfilled in our day! Jeremiah 16:14,15 reads, “It shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.”

We are seeing that prophecy fulfilled before our eyes! If we continue on in this prophecy, it shows us how the Lord has forced them, in our lifetime, to go back to their own land: he sent fishers to fish them, and hunters to hunt them, and compelled them to go back into the land, in fulfillment of prophecy. We read in our daily newspapers about Jews in Russia and other countries fleeing to Israel, as anti-Semitism once again rears its ugly head. So if anyone tries to tell you that we are not living in a day when prophecy is being fulfilled, draw their attention to this prophecy!

Let us consider the prophecy of Daniel 12:1-4. It says: “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people [Israel]: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting [age-lasting] contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

The prophecy was then shut up until the proper time for it to be understood. The angel told Daniel, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (vs. 9) Now that we have come to the end of the age, and these utterances are becoming reality before our eyes, it is possible to connect the prophecies with the events. There are those who can see the fulfillment of the prophecy, while others are unable to do so. Prophecies which resisted deciphering until this generation are now easily understood, because they were only due to be fulfilled in our time.

Knowledge Increasing In Our Day

To repeat the points of this prophecy: first—there was foretold an increase in knowledge; second—a running to and fro; and third—a time of trouble among the nations. Do these descriptions in this prophecy fit our day? Yes, indeed they do. The increase of knowledge has affected all the many sciences which we have in the world today. Text books written last year must be discarded. Knowledge is increasing so rapidly, and the results of the proliferation of knowledge being recorded is so immense—due to the invasion of the computer into our world—to the point where last years’ books are now obsolete. In some cases, material does not even get off the press before it is passel

Many do not realize that a knowledge of God’s Word is another part of the increase of knowledge in this time in which we live. Yesterday it was the creeds that were worshiped by the people, rather than the Word of God. People depended upon the writings of men. Today fewer people do that, realizing that the creeds were written during the darker past, to instill, as Robert Burns put it, “the fear o’ hell a hangman’s whip, to hold the rich in order.” That presents it very well. Since then there has been an ‘increase in knowledge’ so we know that “there’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea.” We know that since the Lord made a promise to bless all the families of the earth, he will with certainty fulfill that promise.

Running to and fro—how remarkably the words of this prophecy are being fulfilled in the much, and far flung, and rapid travel of our day.

And the expression, ‘a time of trouble’, is another particularly significant point. The Bible says that this time of trouble will come as spasms of travail upon a woman who is in childbirth. When we read the history of the world from 1914 until the present time, we certainly see increasing spasms of trouble. Those of us who have lived through the many, diverse and terrible wars, and the periods of easement—uneasy peace—and depressions, followed by recovery through inflation—that have taken place since 1914, realize the reality of this. Yes, the descriptions well fit this generation on all three points of the prophecy in Daniel.

But does prophecy tell us of more than the time of trouble—the increase of knowledge—or of the running to and fro? Yes, it tells additionally of more than one class of people who are to be saved. In Daniel 12:3 we read of one class: “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” When the church of Jesus Christ is complete, in glory, the prophet looks beyond that time and describes a second class, saying that “many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.”—vs. 2

A Time of Trouble Foretold

The prophecy foretold the time of trouble, and now it is being fulfilled accurately. In answer to the question, “What shall be the sign of thy presence, and of the end of the world [age],” Jesus quoted this prophecy when he said, “There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation,” and then he added, “no, nor ever shall be [again].” So, when this trouble has reached its completion, when the kingdom is established, all will be aware that Jesus’ words have been fulfilled accurately. This will be the last great time of trouble that the world will ever know. Thank God for that! We are not through it yet—there will be more trouble still to come, as this day reaches its climax in Jacob’s Trouble, and finally in Armageddon. But nevertheless, when the trouble is over, the new order of society will be born, the order of society that we often pray for, saying, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

The prophecy foretold the increase of knowledge. The prophecy foretold the running to and fro. We see the fulfillment of these things. The question is, are we able to accept the future part of the prophecy, which says, “Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”? We can accept what we see. Have we faith to believe the future, as foretold in the remainder of the prophecy? Just as surely as it prophesied the increase of knowledge, the running to and fro, and the time of trouble, it also prophesied that those who sleep in the dust of the ground shall awake—the resurrection of the dead.

But this only introduces us to other marvelous prophecies of the future, of which there are many, and the first of these we will consider is a general one, but very beautiful and hopeful. It is found in Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Here we are assured of a new day—that is what this prophecy means. It says that there is to be a new day when the night of trouble is over, a day marked with the joy of divine blessing!

The Prophet Isaiah saw that day, and in his prophecy he declared: “Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night.” (Isa. 21:11,12) We are still in the time of trouble—the dark night—every one of us is well aware of that. According to this prophecy, it is not over yet. But just as surely also, according to this prophecy, the morning cometh, and a new day will dawn. The morning will come when the “Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings.” (Mal. 4:2) Therefore, rejoice in the knowledge that a glorious new day is about to break! Surely the apostle saw that time when he said, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”—Rom. 13:12

Blind Eyes Will Be Opened

The time is coming when “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” This is a prophecy, not just a wish. It is not just some mystical statement, but a truly prophetic utterance, and it also says that the lame man shall “leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” (Isa. 35:5,6) Think of what that will mean!

Here is another grand prophetic statement by the mouth of the same prophet: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”—Isa. 2:4

At special seasons of the year, such as Christmastime, we notice that people are more apt to attend church. On the radio we hear them sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men”—singing of “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2) Then they come out of church after singing those wonderful words, and say, “There always has been war, and there always will be war.” They sing of the time of peace to come, but have little faith in the prophecies of God which promise peace.

Nevertheless we know that the nations ultimately will learn war no more. The Bible assures us, “He [God] maketh wars to cease.” And that is not all he has promised. “Thus saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”—Jer. 31:33

During the Gospel Age God has been taking out of the world his church, a little flock, “a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14) Then, after that little flock has been chosen and glorified, this present dispensation will come to an end. Then the age we have prayed for will be a reality, and all these prophecies, referring to conditions prevailing on the earth under which man will worship God, will be fulfilled.

When we read the Master’s words, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3), we realize that he is referring to the spiritual reward to be received by those who are faithful during the Gospel Age.

Again we read, “They shall build houses and inhabit them,” and every man shall sit “under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid.” (Isa. 65:21; Micah 4:4) That does not sound like heaven, does it? It sounds like what we have been praying for, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.” Therefore if we take these scriptures and place their fulfillment in the appropriate dispensation, we can understand the development of the divine plan of the ages. The church receives the spiritual, or heavenly, reward; but all the families of the earth will be blessed with life here on the earth.

The Two-part Kingdom

Yes, it is when we understand the particular work of each of these two dispensations clearly, that we can study the Bible with understanding, putting the texts in their proper places respectively. As we do this, we realize that the kingdom of heaven is of two parts—the heavenly phase and the earthly phase. We know every knee does not bow and every tongue does not confess to the glory of God at this time. But the Bible clearly and repeatedly says the day will come when they will. All the willing and obedient will recognize the power of God in the affairs of mankind. The Bible says they will return “with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”—Isa. 35:10

The prophecies concerning Jesus during his First Advent were accurately and definitively fulfilled. The prophecies of our day are being accurately and definitively fulfilled. So the Bible tells us that in the new day of Christ’s millennial reign, “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth” (John 5:28), and that “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” (Dan. 12:2) During that new age there will be a resurrection of the dead, and then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Revelation 21:3-5, which reads:

“I [John] heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

Before that new day ends, God’s will shall be done as fully in earth as it is in heaven. So let us look forward to the future with definite assurance, and let us realize that our God is worthy of our worship and adoration, because he has arranged for the fulfillment of the promises he made to Abraham thousands of years ago, when he said he would bless all the families of earth.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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