Many people assume that Bible prophecy is all bad news. Many events prophesied to happen are unbelievably frightening and traumatic. The Bible is clear about this—and the reasons these events will take place.
But the Bible is also clear that both bad news and good news lie ahead. Although the world before long will see its darkest days, these storm clouds are the prelude to a wonderful world such as we have never witnessed and can barely imagine. Jesus Christ described these awesome events as "the beginning of birth pangs" (Matthew 24:8, NASB).
Paul likened end-time events to the travail of a woman giving birth. But her pain is quickly overtaken by joy; she forgets her agony as soon as new life comes into the world (Romans 8:18-23).
Although the lesson you are reading focuses on certain traumatic events that will take place, later we will discuss the wonderful world tomorrow—the time that lies beyond this age of human suffering and sorrow. Bear in mind as we read through the pertinent prophecies that, as discussed in the previous lesson, God is always in control and does everything for a purpose, even if that purpose isn't always clear to us.
So it will be with end-time events. God knows our nature; He understands the way we think and act. He has seen from almost 6,000 years of human experience that we regularly and frequently bring enormous suffering on ourselves through our own choices and misdeeds. As the Bible aptly and repeatedly points out, we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8; Job 4:8; Hosea 8:7).
Keep this in mind as we examine what lies ahead for our world. Prophecy reveals that man will bring himself to the brink of extinction. But it also reveals how we will survive!
Before we begin examining the Scriptures, we strongly urge you to look up every cited verse in your own Bible. This lesson will discuss specific verses that often are part of long and detailed prophetic passages. Many books in the Bible are devoted to prophecy, and much of that prophecy concerns end-time events. This lesson, because of limited space, is only the barest outline. We encourage you to read the verses and their contexts—including, in many cases, the surrounding chapters-to gain a deeper understanding of end-time events.