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 Matthew 24:8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×, 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 Romans 8:18-23 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
American King James Version×).
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 Galatians 6:7-8 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
American King James Version×; Job 4:8 Job 4:8Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
American King James Version×; Hosea 8:7 Hosea 8:7For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it has no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
American King James Version×).
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.