Hope for a Hopeless World
Open a newspaper these days, listen to the news on radio or TV, and invariably you get the impression of trouble. Our world is torn by strife -- strife between political parties; strife between ethnic factions; strife between nations. It is beset by problems -- hunger, pollution of land and water, and ever present violence; problems of society, revealed by increasing crime rates and over-crowded prisons; by hospitals filled with patients, many of whom are there because of mental stress; and by an alarming number of victims of drug abuse and alcoholism. Looming over all is the frequent threat of economic crisis, with widespread unemployment and material hardship. The "under-developed nations" are in debt to the world banks (that is, chiefly those of America and Western Europe) to staggering sums running into billions of dollars, with no prospect of ever being able to repay the loans.
But there is one source amongst us which has never misled us by encouraging false expectations. It is the Bible. Throughout the Bible human history is seen as ending in a great climax, frequently called "the time of the end" or "the last days", and certain passages tell us quite clearly what those "last days" will be like. One of the clearest and most striking is in Luke 21.