World in Review: 2007 and Beyond

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World in Review

2007 and Beyond

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"Pope Benedict on Tuesday said he hoped Christmas would bring consolation to those living in poverty, injustice and war and appealed for just solutions to conflicts in Iraq, the Holy Land, Afghanistan and Africa" (Philip Pullella, Reuters, December 25, 2007). Yet Christmas never brings real solutions to our global problems. Year-end reviews of 2007 covered by magazines, newspapers, television, radio and a plethora of Internet sites remind us of another year of near disasters. They let us relive through statistics, stories and video clips the past year's escalating crime, weather-created chaos, terrorist acts and the financial precipices that various currencies nearly fell over.

Each year these year-in-review reports seem more dramatic. They remind me of the apostle Paul's description in 2 Timothy 3:1 of those "perilous times" destined to be characteristic of the "last days" before Jesus Christ returns.

Also, I am struck by how a few individuals can often have a great impact on many people for good or for harm. For example, early next year the United Kingdom may face a nearly total shut down of international flights on three occasions in January 2008. A few hundred key personnel of an airport union are threatening to strike and close major airport hubs around the UK—including Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick in London.

Again, the ill-thought action of a few recently led to the loss of 25 million names, addresses and bank account details of British families on two computer disks. Two months later they have still not turned up. In the wrong hands identity fraud could affect parents and children through millions of pounds being misappropriated over a period of decades.

On the other hand, amazing and helpful discoveries made by merely a few may ultimately benefit many! Some in the scientific and medical fields have achieved considerable advances, as indicated by Time Magazine's "50 Top 10 Lists of 2007."

Always overlooked in these reviews, however, is the one individual who is contributing the most to the future of our society. For the past 2000 years Jesus Christ has been preparing a special group of people—selected by His Father (John 6:44, 65)—for bringing about truly remarkable changes in the world.

After His return to this earth those who have submitted themselves to His teachings and yielded themselves to His training will become His trusted assistants in His Kingdom (Revelation 1:6; 3:21). They will serve as leaders in the world-ruling government that the prophet Daniel described to Nebuchadnezzar, the first emperor of a series of kingdoms destined to be replaced by the Kingdom of God at the return of Christ (Daniel 2:37-47).

A favourite piece of music played at this time of the year is Handel's Messiah. Of the many passages quoted from the Bible by George Frideric Handel, some of the most stirring words are often 'overlooked' by the audience. For example:

"And the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace; of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end..."

"Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns." "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords", "Hallelujah!"

These lyrics are taken from Bible prophecies in Isaiah 9:6-7 and Revelation, 19:6; 11:15; 19:16 that foretell a time of universal peace and prosperity during the coming Kingdom of God under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ.

An angel announced to some shepherds at the time of Jesus' birth (in September or October), "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11). This angel plus a heavenly host praised God and revealed some really good news: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours" (verse 14, New Jerusalem Bible).

Jesus became mankind's Saviour through His death and resurrection. Peace did not come then! At His return to earth as Christ the Lord He will bring about world peace as the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16) and become known as Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). Until then we are to pray, "Thy kingdom come" (Luke 11:2, KJV).

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