By Graham Pearce
The Ending of An Age
The worlds history can be divided into a number of epochs, each one under the controlling hand of Godthe One Whom Paul declared was not only the Creator of all things, but Who had "determined before the times appointed, and the bounds of the nations habitations (Acts 17:24,26). Men only see the outward expression of this control in the rise and fall of nations and empires. The ending of an epoch is marked Biblically as a day of the Lord. There was a "day of the Lord" for Egypt (Jer. 46:10); for Babylon (Isa. 13:7); for Judah (Zeph. 1: 14). There is a future "day of the Lord" for Judah, (Zech. 14:1), and for those who come against her (Joel 3:14). This coming "day of the Lord" will be terrible to all the proud and lofty nations (Isa. 2:12,19).
The ending of an age comes because of extreme wickedness. Thus it was in the days of Noah: "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that the imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." What a terrible state"only evil continually." In the days of Abraham, "the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full" (Gen. 15:6), and God was to wait a further four generations. So for Israel in the days of Jesus, there was a little time left, and Jesus charged the blind hypocritical Pharisees, "Fill ye up the measure of your fathers." Yahweh is a God of judgment and He changes not. The ending of the present world order draws near because of wickedness. We live in days like those of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not necessary to illustrate this. Surely every one of us is like Lot "For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unrighteous deeds" (2 Pet. 2:8). And we pray daily for our deliverance.
CHARACTERISTIC SIGNS OF COMING JUDGEMENT
The wise man noted the character of the last generation of each Age. "There is a generation, that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, 0 how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men" (Prov. 30:11-14).
Paul said to Timothy that the last generation of Judahs commonwealth would be like this: "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, etc." (2 Tim. 3:1-4). And how true the words are of the last days of the Gentile Age.
Another characteristic of the ending of an Age, is the abnormality in nature: people are beset with crises arising from drought, disease, earthquake, and natural disaster. All these things are under the control of the angels, and express Gods displeasure. It is a matter particularly expressed with regard to Israel, but has wider application. God through Ezekiel speaks of His hand against Jerusalem: "How much more when I send My four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beasts, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?" (Ez. 14:21). Many times the prophets speak of God bringing drought and famine on a land. Amos declares that the control of the rain was so precise that it rained on one city and not on another city. In the same chapter he speaks of God destroying with blasting, mildew, and the palmerworm (Amos 4:9). Jesus recognized this control by God and told his disciples to expect these things as the Mosaic Age approached its end: "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilence; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven" (Luke 21:11). If it has been like this in the past, we must expect it today.
These are some of the means by which God brings about "the distress of nations with perplexity" (Luke 21:25). Newspaper reports make us aware particularly of the increasing natural disturbance of Nature, in earthquakes and the like, with their toil of life and property.
Many of these troubles do not require any "miracle" from God: they work themselves out inevitably because of the fixed laws of God in Nature. Mans greed, his mismanagement of the good earth, the pollution caused by his "many inventions" bring inevitable consequences. The present moral degradation, characteristically outlined at the end of Romans, inevitably brings much suffering, cruelty, and unhappiness. But all things are under Gods control, and these events denote the ending of the Age; it is part of the general signs of the times.
In addition to features that are general to the ending of every Age, prophecy has told us of some features that are more specific to the ending of our Gentile Age. There are the words used by Jesus in Luke ch. 21: "The sea and the waves roaring." How expressive this is of socialismthe power of the masses. Starting with the French Revolution the cry of liberty, equality, fraternity has aroused the masses in every country of the world; and aided by education, industrial invention, and politics, the power exerted by the masses is a frightful force, and adds to the increasing ungovernability of the world. There is another phrase of a similar kind that certainly characterizes our time; it is the phrase given to Daniel regarding the time of the End: "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan. 12:4). The explosion in knowledge, and the speed of travel encompassing the globe, are quite dramatic. The hand of God is behind it all. He is controlling, making preparation for the Age to come when there shall be one King, one Religion, one Empire. By the forces liberated at the French Revolution, described as "the spirit of life from God" (Rev. 11:11), there has been a quickening of human activity that is bringing all peoples and lands into contact and lifting the primitive peoples of the earth on to the level of the "civilized" European peoples. It is all preparatory to the establishing of the universal rule of Christ.
The growing interdependence of the peoples of the world, combined with mans uncooperative, selfish behaviour, is resulting in world economic instability. This is illustrated by the handling of the price of oil by the Arab countries: it results in the poor countries becoming poorer, and the rich countries who can cope with the problems becoming richer, while the Arab countries do not know how to use their money. Economically world affairs may soon be beyond human control.
All these signs of the ending of an Age are warning us that the End is approaching.
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