"More than three out of five Americans will live to see the twenty-first century," said a recent striking insurance advertisement. Undoubtedly such an optimistic estimate is based on accurate actuarial tables. But insurance company predictions do not consider the missing dimension of Bible prophecy. Biblical revelation shows that there is a worldwide age-ending crisis coming upon this chaotic earth. James Moffatt termed it "the crisis at the close." It may very well interfere with the best-laid plans of even the most competent and successful businessmen and statesmen. Today the earth is churning with crises. One past article in The Plain Truth was titled: "What's Behind the Energy Crisis?"; another, "The Philippines, a Nation in Crisis"; still another, "The Continuing Crisis in the Catholic Church."
That last title tells us something about the changing nature of today's troubles in a crisis-charged world. One former U.S. President wrote: "The nature of crisis has changed. The remarkable characteristic of the crises of today is their continuity — they have moved in, it seems, to stay" (Richard M. Nixon, Six Crises, p. 18).
The very term "crisis" should imply an end to whatever the particular problem may be. We used to say: "Well, the crisis has passed."
But not anymore. The crime crisis continues; the energy and resource crises are an everyday fact of life; the population explosion grows unabated ; the Mideast crisis has been with us since the formation of the modern state of Israel; nuclear overkill is an ever present reality.
And these telltale crises coincide with scriptural warnings for the future described in Matthew 24. Jesus was asked what events would signal the end of this present age of man. He answered by listing a number of similar types of worldwide problems that would intensify into crises at the time of the end. Then He said of these signposts: "All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:8).
And so it is with the energy crisis, the crime crisis, and all the other current crises. They merely mark the beginning rumblings of a worldwide catastrophe to finally intensify into "the crisis at the close."
Biblical prophecy warns us that this great time of trouble is coming upon planet Earth — most likely in this last quarter of the twentieth century. This unprecedented period of world chaos is spoken of in several different books of your Bible. These books — both Old Testament and New — were written in different periods of history by different writers, who in many cases did not, and could not, know each other.
Consider the book of Daniel, written by a great prophet of God, who was in effect the prime minister of two successive world-ruling governments. He wrote his prophecy around 600 B.C.
Daniel 11 begins the longest, most detailed prophecy in all of the Bible. It commences with the first year of Darius the Mede (first king of the Medo-Persian Empire) and comes right on down to "the time of the end" (verses I and 40). Verses 40 through 45 center on an impending power struggle in the Middle East (possibly over oil?).
Verse one of chapter twelve brings us to a crucial scripture in this long prophecy. "And at that time shall Michael [one of three archangels] stand up... for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time...."
This time of trouble is to occur in what is commonly called in the Bible "the time of the end." Daniel sought understanding of the prophecy he had written, but was told, "... Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." It was not until our day — this twentieth century — that world events began to plainly point in the direction of a grand smash climax of all the negative forces at work in the world.
Until the thermonuclear age, humans could never have properly understood another similar prophecy recorded in Matthew's Gospel: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive, Moffatt]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:21-22).
Compare these prophetic verses to those previously quoted in Daniel. Notice the striking similarity in the wording. There can be little doubt that these two scriptures — written hundreds of years apart — are talking about one and the same time in future world history.
These prophetic predictions herald an utterly unique time in the future of this crisis-charged world — a time when we may not be able to keep from polluting ourselves off the face of the earth; a time when statesmen may not be able to avoid a death-dealing nuclear war. The world is hurtling toward a "crisis at the close" that cannot be postponed until Century 21.
But there is good news beyond the bad news just ahead. A wonderful world tomorrow is coming! Why not get this good news in advance? Read our free booklet entitled Coming A New Age.