Pastor John Bartlett
Emmitsburg’s Calvary Berean Fellowship
We are now a month into the new year with uncertain times ahead of us. The last several years have been very difficult for many people in our country and around the world. Retirement plans, financial investments, home prices, jobs, local and state budgets, and many other things have been devastated. Governments in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain have come near collapse
and other larger areas, such as the European Union, are still shaking from the financial earthquake that is still rattling. Many of these governments, to include ours, are unsure of what to do and are trying to keep an optimistic posture. What is going on and can we find any peace and hope in these times?
We all know something big is happening and whatever it is, it is causing a lot of uncertainty and stress. I have had more conversations with people in the last year or so about these troubled times than any other topic. Most of the folks I have spoken with realize something is going on and that no real answers seem to be at hand. These same people, when I suggest there are
Biblical answers for this, are now more receptive to hearing what the Bible might have to say. I believe, when you look at what is going on through the lens of Scripture, the condition we are in becomes clearer. Using God’s Word, the Bible, we can have assurance that He has everything in control. The Bible teaches us that His Word has been given to us for instruction and to give us hope. "For
whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4.
So what does the Bible have to say? Simply put – things are not going to get better. The Bible outlines for us what the world will go through as we approach the return of Jesus Christ. Many of the signs the Bible predicts regarding the second coming of Christ are in place or are rapidly coming about. Jesus outlined the events that will happen on earth just prior to His
return (Matthew 24:1–31). The Book of Revelation, chapters 6–19, provides probably the best description and details of this future time period. Other places in the Bible also have much to say about the things happening just prior to Jesus’ return. When you put all these Scriptures together and understand what is going on, it should at least encourage people to contemplate these things and check
out what the Bible says and if indeed it outlines our future.
The period that we are approaching is referred to in the Bible as the Tribulation (Matthew 24:21, 29, Revelation 7:14). This time period also has other Biblical names such as the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), the time of trouble (Zephaniah 1:15), the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2), the wrath of God (Revelation 14:10, 19, 15:1, 16:1), and the
wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16-17). Jesus said in Matthew 24:21–22, "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened." Jesus said in these verses that this period of time will be far worse
than any other time this world has ever experienced. He also said that if it was not for God’s mercy in shortening it, no one would live through it. Jesus told us that as we approach the Tribulation period things will get worse. 2010 was, as one article I read said, "the year the Earth struck back". Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, landslides, and other natural disasters killed
approximately a quarter million people and devastated parts of the world. This is just one of the many things Jesus said would be happening just prior to His return (Matthew 24:7b).
However, other than the formation and existence of Israel, the one event that produces the best evidence for the soon-approaching Tribulation period and the return of Jesus Christ is the world economic crisis we are in. The Bible tells us that the world will be unified economically through a one world currency and governmental system (Revelation 13:8, 16-17). In order for
us to get there, all other currencies have to be eliminated. When the world was initially shaken by the current economic crisis, many world leaders were calling for reform in the form of a one-world government and monetary system. The U.S. dollar is now under attack and being devalued rapidly. I can remember when I was serving in the military in Germany during the late-1980’s and used the German
Deutsche Mark when in town. No German would have ever believed that the Mark would be replaced by a common currency used throughout Europe. It happened and the Euro is now used. In the same way many countries in Europe replaced their currency with the Euro, so too will the world move to a one-world currency as the Bible states. The world will have no other choice but to accept this future
currency when all the other options fail to correct the economic problems.
So what is going on? We are rapidly moving toward a one-world government and monetary system. What we are experiencing are simply the birth pains (contractions) of this coming system. Times will get harder for nearly all people on Earth as this system is formed. This world system combined with other things (wars, disease, famine, weather problems, etc…) that Jesus said,
will make it nearly impossible to survive on earth. God’s patience with a rebellious and unrepentant world will one day run out and His judgment must come. How bad will it be? Simply put – hell on earth. Even though this may seem extremely hard to fathom or understand, preparation is the key to making it through these tough times.
Can we find any peace and hope in these times? The answer to this question is – Yes! Jesus says in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." People have always had "tribulation" or problems from the beginning of time. The promise Jesus gives us
here is that we can actually have peace during our everyday problems when we are in Him. If we place our hope and trust in the One who has overcome the problems of the world, we too can go through life with great peace and assurance that Jesus cares for us and will guide us through.
We, believers in Jesus Christ, need to stay focused on telling people about the good news of the Gospel of Christ. If we are approaching these things I have briefly outlined, and I believe we are, then our focus as Christians is to simply warn folks and stay busy about the Lord’s work. I believe many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as these Biblical prophecies
come about. However, I also believe that many "scoffers" will come and deny the clear evidence found in Scripture. They will argue against this evidence and continue to rebel against God, leading others astray. The Bible says of such people in 2 Peter 3:3, "knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying "Where is the promise of His
coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."".
I encourage each person to check out these things and evaluate the evidence that is found in the Bible for themselves. Jesus, when warning His disciples and us in Matthew 24:4, started His detailing of the last days by giving a warning about spiritual deception. He said that we all must be on guard against false teachers and teachings. I believe spiritual deception is
alive and doing very well today. The reason – many people are Biblically illiterate and do not check and test teachers and their messages by the Scriptures. Throughout that discourse Jesus referred to spiritual deception and false teachers in the last days (Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 23-24, 26) as a major thing to watch out for. Only God’s Word, the Bible, can give clear understanding about what is
going on and bring the peace and hope we all need as we face the troubles of this world.
The peace the world offers fails, as we are seeing, so we need to look to Jesus who never fails. He told us in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid".
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 15:13-14, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another". Paul tells us that God has the hope we need
and will give us the peace we so desperately need today. He says this comes by way of "believing", that is trusting in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. He continues by telling us that when we believe in Christ, we then can be filled "with all knowledge". Do you want to be prepared and know what may be around the corner? Then come to God through Jesus Christ and be led by Him. Jesus is the
only One who can give the peace and hope we all need in troubled times.
An excellent book that has been recently written detailing what is going on and what is rapidly approaching is "The Coming Economic Armageddon" by Dr. David Jeremiah. In this book he talks about the fall of the U.S. economy, the New World Order, the collapse of the Global Financial Market, and other topics. Even though this is a good book detailing the things mentioned, I
recommend the best book out there – the Bible!
Calvary Berean Fellowship (CBF) is a new church plant in Emmitsburg, Maryland. CBF started as a Sunday evening Bible study in July, 2008, meeting at a local church building. Sensing the Lord’s call to start a Bible teaching fellowship and ministry in Emmitsburg, CBF began Easter Sunday, 2010, at the Emmitsburg Elementary School. We meet at the school Sunday mornings at
10:00 a.m. and are currently studying through the Gospel of Luke.
Children’s ministry is provided through 6th grade. Come check us out – and learn more about Jesus Christ through the study of His Word and Christian fellowship!