The World Beyond Today: What Lies in Store?

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What Lies in Store?

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The author cited above, Foreign Affairs managing editor Gideon Rose, anticipated the way many would view his statement: "'Naïve claptrap,' many will respond. Don't I understand that radical Islam is a grave and continuing danger, both to the stability of the Middle East and to the security of the West itself? That weapons of mass destruction are about to fall in the hands of angry lunatics in Iran and elsewhere? That the globe is overheating and China will soon dominate everything?" (Newsweek, Aug. 6, 2007).

The fundamentals of the debate

Actually Mr. Rose touched on only a few of the great problems afflicting our planet. Consider the growing world population, troubled global immigration, national and civil wars, persistent crime and violence, political chaos and division, extensive family breakdown, steadily declining moral character and seriously chronic health problems such as AIDS, cancer and heart disease. The list is endless.

Rose counters with the statement that "the most advanced countries are allies [of the U.S.] and are generally devoted to the betterment of their own and other peoples. More than a third of humanity lives in countries growing at about 10 percent annually. Living standards have never been higher, lifespans longer or politics freer, and there is every reason to expect such trends to continue" (emphasis added throughout).

You will, of course, have to analyze world conditions and come to your own conclusions. The Good News is here to assist by pointing out some relevant and crucial facts. We regularly publish often-underreported material about the declining state of the world. Our staff of editors and writers agree with the apostle Paul that we need to be rescued from "the present evil age" (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
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, New International Version throughout unless otherwise noted).

In what may have been his last letter, Paul warned the evangelist Timothy about what the human condition would be like at the time of the end: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money . . . slanderous, without self-control, brutal . . . treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:1-4 2 Timothy 3:1-4 [1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
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).

Does this insightful prophetic passage describe our world today? Clearly, on the whole, it does. But what are some of the contributing factors creating this sad situation? Let's consider a benchmark passage in the Old Testament.

Foundational shortcomings afflicting all worldly governments

More than 3,000 years ago, the prophet Samuel represented the Creator God to the people of ancient Israel. The Israelites were at the point of rejecting God and His government, desiring instead to be ruled by a human king like the other nations around them (see 1 Samuel 8:1-9 1 Samuel 8:1-9 [1] And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. [2] Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. [3] And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. [4] Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel to Ramah, [5] And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. [6] But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the LORD. [7] And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. [8] According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, with which they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also to you. [9] Now therefore listen to their voice: however, yet protest solemnly to them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
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God allowed them to have what they asked for. But first He solemnly warned the nation of what would inevitably happen: "This is what the king who will reign over you will do. He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses . . . Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties . . . and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots." This, of course, is describing military conscription and support of war-making capability.

Samuel continued: "He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves . . . He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage . . . He will take a tenth of your flocks" (verses 11-17). Here he is warning of another inclination of rulers once they have power over the citizenry—the power to tax and tax and tax some more.

Clearly Samuel's words still apply! Governments today, at all levels, are in the business of taking what they think they need, principally by taxing their citizens to the hilt. They usually practice the get way—not God's contrasting give way of life. Jesus Christ said that it was better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35 Acts 20:35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
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King Solomon's son and successor to the throne, Rehoboam, when urged to lower the burden of government taxation, responded by telling the people: "My little finger is thicker than my father's waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions" (1 Kings 12:10-11 1 Kings 12:10-11 [10] And the young men that were grown up with him spoke to him, saying, Thus shall you speak to this people that spoke to you, saying, Your father made our yoke heavy, but make you it lighter to us; thus shall you say to them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. [11] And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father has chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
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).

Today's democratic government leaders are a little more subtle. They have to be.

Foundational principles of God's government

In sharp contrast to the sometimes cruel and inhuman political leadership of many of today's governments, particularly dictatorships, the Bible paints a picture of judgment and justice for all during God's coming utopian age—a period known as the Millennium because it will last 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
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, 6).

Notice what the prophet Isaiah foretells: "The law will go out from Zion, the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem [to become the world's capital city]. He [Jesus Christ, the Messiah] will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples" (Isaiah 2:3-4 Isaiah 2:3-4 [3] And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [4] And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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). Meanwhile, we are still waiting in vain for the "road map to peace" to work in the Middle East.

Here is how Jesus and His saints will rule the world during the Millennium: "He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness" (Isaiah 9:7 Isaiah 9:7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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). "With righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth" (Isaiah 11:4 Isaiah 11:4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
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).

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
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). During His millennial reign, He will still be the same caring leader He was when He walked the earth as a human being. Notice this prophecy about Christ recorded in Isaiah 40:11 Isaiah 40:11He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
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: "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

Then we will have an end of ruthless, cruel dictators barking out orders and imprisoning and executing political enemies.

Reeducation in the true values

Much of higher education today is secular and primarily atheistic in its approach and foundation. Most modern education is based on the theory of evolution. God is left out of the classroom. But that won't be so forever.

This is the true educational vision Isaiah saw of the new utopian age: "Many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord . . . He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths'" (Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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Notice the sterling character traits and qualities that will motivate the Messiah when He teaches mankind during the millennial age: "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2-3 Isaiah 11:2-3 [2] And the spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; [3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
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).

Reeducation in all fields of learning will be the order of the day. As verse 9 tells us, "The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." The fundamental basis for all education and reeducation will be God's Word as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

The long-sought-after world peace will finally come. Military academies like West Point and Annapolis will pass into history. War and military tactics will no longer be taught. Former soldiers will beat their swords into plowshares as they reap the harvest of an abundant agricultural bonanza. "The plowman shall overtake the reaper" (Amos 9:13 Amos 9:13Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
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, New King James Version).

Health and healing in God's utopia

The high cost of health care is one of the most contentious political footballs going. According to The Economist, in many Western nations "between 1990 and 2005, per capita health spending, from public and private sources, grew by more than twice as much as per capita GDP . . . America is the biggest spender, devoting 15.3% of national income to health" (July 21, 2007).

In the long run, national governments will simply have to raise taxes to cope. But there is a much better way.

Our destructive lifestyles—often characterized by poor eating habits, lack of proper sleep and exercise, and harmful addictions like smoking, drugs and alcohol abuse—will be consigned to the dim past during God's new age. The peoples of tomorrow's world will learn to diligently practice the biblical laws and principles promoting radiant health.

As a direct result, sickness will experience a freefall reduction. Perhaps in place of today's hospitals there will be teaching academies promoting prevention of disease—rather than having to cope with the inevitable effects of wrongheaded living.

But particularly at the beginning of Christ's millennial reign, supernatural solutions will be needed for the survivors who have lived through the worst period of human history. "'I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 30:17 Jeremiah 30:17For I will restore health to you, and I will heal you of your wounds, said the LORD; because they called you an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeks after.
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Christ's healing power will be in abundant evidence as the instruction in James 5:14 James 5:14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
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finds universal practice. Today it is only known and understood by a relatively few Christians. But tomorrow's millennial citizens will soon comprehend and believe that Jesus Christ not only died to save people from their sins, but was willing to suffer bodily so their illnesses could be divinely healed (Isaiah 53:4-5 Isaiah 53:4-5 [4] Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. [5] But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.
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As time passes, "No one living in Zion will say, 'I am ill'; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven" (Isaiah 33:24 Isaiah 33:24And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.
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). The sufferings and sacrifice of Christ are for all time.

Instantaneous divine healings will be commonplace. "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24 Isaiah 65:24And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
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). The Bible foretells: "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy" (Isaiah 35:5-6 Isaiah 35:5-6 [5] Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
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).

Geographical and weather restructuring

Physical healing will spill over to a severely damaged planet as well. Isaiah continues the story: "Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts, where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow" (Isaiah 35:6-7 Isaiah 35:6-7 [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. [7] And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
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).

Imagine if the Kalahari, Sahara and Gobi deserts were consigned to history. The 10 percent of the earth that is now tillable will more than double. The incredible changes in the earth's landscape will be astonishing.

"I will put in the desert the cedar and acacia [trees], the myrtle and the olive . . . the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it" (Isaiah 41:19-20 Isaiah 41:19-20 [19] I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: [20] That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
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Most people today simply do not know the Creator God. Even those who think they do, but neglect to obey His spiritual laws, are yet in ignorance of the majesty of their Creator. Straying farther and farther from God and His way of life is our biggest and most fundamental problem today. Man has not yet learned this most basic lesson of all. But then he will!

Christ said in prayer to God the Father: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3 John 17:3And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
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Summing up the world of tomorrow

This article has only scratched the surface of the marvelous blessings mankind will experience in the coming millennial age. Perhaps the one New Testament passage that best summarizes the wondrous world to come is found in the apostle Peter's sermon during the opening days of the early Church as recorded in Acts 3:19-21 Acts 3:19-21 [19] Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
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:

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." GN

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