“Fear Erases Hope”

AS THE WORLD approached the beginning of the third millennium since Christ appeared on earth, there was much fear. There were the usual dire predictions of a coming doomsday with fire and disaster. There was the fear of modern technology failure in computer command control because of Y2K problems. Apprehension was rife. People were cautioned to be prepared with flashlights in the event of power failure; with bottled water in the case of water failure; with food in case of supermarket computer failure; and with money in case of bank computer failure. Except for isolated cases, these did not occur.

In the midst of this apprehension, the country of Venezuela was stricken by a huge natural disaster causing the loss of many lives. Starting on December 15th, three days of torrential rain caused huge landslides down a mountain on the fringes of Caracas, the major city of that country. Two weeks later, the estimated dead numbered 20,000 to 30,000 and 150,000 were made homeless. The nation continues the grim task of searching for bodies. A reporter for the “New York Times” phrased the attitude of the people very well when he wrote: “Fear erases hope as Venezuelans search for the dead.” It is true that “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” but sometimes fear can mount to the point that it erases hope completely.


This loss of hope is bad enough where the expectancy of good things is involved. In this case, the fear is that bodies of the dead may never be found to be given a proper burial. This is not the only disaster that marked the year 1999. Severe earthquakes, with much loss of life, occurred twice in Turkey, once in Taiwan, creating the same kind of fear. There were some people who wondered if these natural disasters, occurring with such frequency, had some significance. Armed conflicts continue in other parts of the world and suffering humanity continues to look at all the problems in the world with the reaction described by Jesus as “distress of nations, with perplexity.”—Luke 21:25

Speaking of our time, he said that the hearts of the people would fail them for fear as they looked forward to the things coming upon the earth. (Luke 21:26) Jesus’ reference to the fear that would fill the hearts of the people is sufficient to indicate that he was referring to the present time, for never before has there been such widespread fear on the part of the people, especially the leaders, as there is today.

When Jesus said that there would be upon the earth ‘distress of nations, with perplexity,’ he illustrated his thought by likening it to the roaring of the sea and the waves. This is a very apt symbol, indeed, of the restless, discontented masses of mankind today as they strive hopelessly to avert the havoc which they fear will be wrought by the onrushing tide of human selfishness implemented by the ghastly instruments of destruction provided by the very science that at one time boasted its ability to lead the world into peace and goodwill.


The Prophet David also foretold this time in which we are living; and, like Jesus, he, too, likened the chaos of the world to the relentless lashing of sea and waves, as the clamorous demands of men and nations strike out against the bulwarks of a civilization that was once thought to be impregnable. David’s prophecy is addressed to those who have faith in the Word of God, and of these he declares, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”—Ps. 46:2,3

As Christians, we need not fear what is coming upon the earth; that is, we will not fear if we acquaint ourselves with the prophecies of the Bible and have faith in what they declare concerning today and tomorrow. The prophecies of the Bible contain the only genuine explanation of the cause of present world distress, and furnish the only hopeful view of the final outcome of this present dark period of fear. To know the plan of God pertaining to human destiny is to have peace and joy in our own hearts, despite the fear with which we are surrounded, and also to be in a position to radiate comforting assurance to others.

The world of mankind in general does not have the faith necessary to be comforted by an understanding of these prophecies. Fear of worse things to come, both here and hereafter, has helped to rob men and women of the joy which temporarily, at least, might otherwise be theirs. Truly, as the Scriptures declare, it has been an evil world, and the more we study its characteristics, the more we realize that Jesus knew what he was talking about when he declared Satan to be its prince. Satan uses his influence to blind the minds of the world so that they cannot understand God’s ultimate purposes.—II Cor. 4:4

We can be glad that our eyes have been enlightened to the fact that such a world is coming to an end, and that—as the Scriptures declare—its ruler is to be bound and finally destroyed. Jesus said that those living at this time who had faith in his Word, when they saw the things transpire which he foretold, should lift up their heads with hope and rejoicing, for the time of their deliverance, and the deliverance of mankind, from sin and death would be near.—Luke 21:28


In an inspired prophecy of Christ’s kingdom given us by the Apostle Paul he declares that Christ must reign until all enemies are put under his feet, and that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Cor. 15:24-26) This indicates that one purpose of the reign of Christ is for the destruction of enemies—enemies of God, of man, and of righteousness. While death will be the last of these enemies to be eradicated by the rulership of Christ, other enemies will be destroyed prior to that time, and among the first of these are the selfish and sinful institutions of earth which stand in the way of Christ’s rulership of justice and righteousness. The destruction of these implies temporary trouble and distress for the people who have been held in bondage to them. It is this that is described by the Prophet Daniel as “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.”—Dan. 12:1

But the overthrow of the institutions of sin and selfishness—those institutions which have fostered oppression and war—is only the beginning of the work of the Divine Christ. It is like the surgeon’s knife used to save the life of a dying patient. For approximately six thousand years, the human race has been dying. Man himself has not been able to find a remedy for the poisonous sting of sin which is inflicting death upon all. Now Christ, the great physician, has come to change all this, and the first necessary move is to place mankind—the patient—in a new environment, and under just and righteous laws. It is the preparation for this that is causing the breakdown of human authority everywhere throughout the earth.


A prophecy pertinent to these preparations is given by the Prophet Micah as follows: “In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and the people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the Law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”—Mic. 4:1-4


We are even now living in the beginning of these prophetic ‘last days.’ When rightly understood, the last days foretold in the prophecies are a glorious time in which to be living, and before long it shall come to pass, even as the prophet has declared, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and people shall flow unto it. The ‘mountain of the Lord’ is the kingdom of the Lord.

Daniel, in the second chapter of his prophecy, symbolically depicts human rulership over the earth by a “terrible,” (Dan. 2:31) humanlike image which was very bright; and the end of this rulership is pictured by the destruction of the image. The instrument of destruction is shown to be a stone, which ultimately grows until it becomes a great mountain which fills the whole earth. In his interpretation of this wonderful prophecy, Daniel tells us that this mountain which fills the whole earth is the kingdom of God.—Dan. 2:44

This house of the Lord is God’s ruling house, made up of those whom the Scriptures identify as his own family of sons. Jesus is chief among these, and together with him will be those who have accepted the invitation to suffer and die with him. To these the promise is given that they shall live and reign with him. (Rev. 20:4) The Apostle Paul reassures the followers of the Master on this point, saying, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”—Rom. 8:16,17

“And people shall flow unto it,” continues Micah’s prophecy. (Mic. 4:1) Human experience thus far has been that when imperialistic governments sought to extend their spheres of influence over other nations, many fled for refuge into other countries. But it will not be so in the case of Christ’s kingdom. As the people learn of its extending power they will, as the prophet declares, flow unto it.

Giving us further details along this same line, the prophecy continues, “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, … and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (vs. 2) By the time this portion of the prophecy is fulfilled, the nations will have learned the futility and folly of their own ways. Failure having attended their every effort to save their world from chaos and ruin, they will then be ready to look to him who alone can provide the solution, even to Christ, the one who by that time will be recognized as the rightful king of earth.


And when the nations are willing to learn the Lord’s ways and apply them, what will be the result? It will be a most happy result, for the prophecy declares that they will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks” (vs. 3), and that they shall learn war no more. Human wisdom has always contended that the only way to keep the peace is to be prepared for war. But this order will be reversed by earth’s new King, for as the nations come under the hallowed influence of his kingdom laws, the resources of the earth—which formerly were diverted to provide the sinews of war—will be used to supply the people with the necessities of life.

“Neither shall they learn war any more.” (vs. 3) Think of the far-reaching changes in human outlook and experience these few words imply! They do away with peacetime conscription, and wartime drafts. They assure the mothers of all nations that they will not be raising their sons to be used as cannon fodder. They do away with European and Asiatic militarism in all its ugly forms. They take away fear from the hearts of the people, for all realize that when the nations no longer learn war, they will not engage in war. Thank God for a program of education which omits from its curriculum the strategy of war!


Because the people will then learn and practice the ways of peace and righteousness, they will have economic security. This assurance is given us in that beautiful picture of every man sitting under his vine and fig tree. This is just another way of saying that under the administration of Christ’s kingdom, the resources of earth will be available to all, and that the rights of all to share equally in those resources will be guaranteed by the laws of the Divine kingdom. Because this will be true, the prophecy adds, “And none shall make them afraid.” (Mic. 4:4) Thank God for this assurance of freedom from fear!

‘None shall make them afraid!’ Fear of aggression haunts the minds of all people today, and this fear is not limited to the possible or threatened aggression of nations. Economic aggression, with its resulting price gouging, inflicts almost equally severe suffering upon the masses. So fear, engendered by man’s inhumanity to man along many lines, continues to destroy the heritage of peace and joy which is the right of every human being, whose original parents were created in the image of God. (Gen. 1:26) Under the laws of Christ’s kingdom, that right will be restored, for then none shall ‘make afraid.’


We have already noted Paul’s assurance of the destruction of death in the kingdom of God. Now note Isaiah 25:6-9. In this prophecy, even as in the prophecy of Micah, the kingdom of the Lord is symbolized by a mountain, and we are told that in this mountain death will be swallowed up in victory, and that “the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” (vs. 8) “And it shall be said in that day,” continues the prophet, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”—vs. 9

This is the glorious hope which now can be held out to the people of a distressed and fear-filled world! It is a glorious hope, and in proclaiming it we are following the suggestion of the prophet when he wrote, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.”—Isa. 35:4

One of the descriptive names given to our day in prophecy is the “Day of Vengeance.” (Isa. 61:2) It is a time when God’s righteous anger is manifested in the overthrow of age-old systems and institutions of sin and oppression. While fear and distress are experienced by the people as a result of the uprooting of this present evil world, the ultimate purpose of God is to save the people from sin and death through the establishment of Christ’s kingdom.

Hence, we can say to the world today—to this fear-filled world: ‘Fear not,’ for Divine intervention in the affairs of men will soon bring peace and health and life—yea, the opportunity for everlasting salvation—to all the families of the earth!

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |