There are countless posts on social media proclaiming how happy people are that 2020 will soon be history. I am unwilling to burst anyone’s bubble, but events change things, not the turning of a page on the calendar.
With COVID and the Presidential election taking place this year, it is easy to forget other normally memorable stories of 2020.
To name just a few:
It was the most prolific hurricane season on record (tied with 2005).
The fires in Australia burning out 47 million acres.
The American stock market suffering the worst single-day drop in history (March 9).
Riots in the streets of several major American cities.
The arrival of “murder hornets.”
On August 4, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut, killing 190 people.
The wildfires of the western United States burning millions of acres.
For the most part, those directly involved in something listed above are the only ones who remember these stories.
Although we have hope that come Thursday night at midnight, Utopia begins, the truth is, January 1 is just another day.
Most of my mail nowadays is questions about the future. What’s next? Is Christ coming back soon? Who is the Antichrist (or beast of Revelation)? When you throw all the questions together it sounds very much like what the Apostles asked Jesus in Matthew 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Jesus’ answer takes up the next two chapters. I believe the following five verses are the time we are living in now. Matthew 24:4-8, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Let us look at what Christ said, verse by verse.
Verse 4 – He starts with a warning, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Jesus wants us to study the Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15). When police study how to detect counterfeit money, they do not study counterfeit bills. They examine good money relentlessly, over, and over. They get so acquainted with the good stuff that they recognize the fake currency immediately. We live in a day of Bible ignorance. Even regular church attenders do not know much more of the Bible than what they hear in church. The absence of self-study is a shame to Christianity. The early Christians searched the Scripture to make sure what the Apostle Paul was telling them was accurate (Acts 17:11). This lack of study is the primary reason there are hundreds of different opinions about doctrine, prophecy, and Scripture’s meaning. In other words, without the study of the real, we will not recognize the fake. This ignorance of the Bible leads to deception from…
Verse 5 – False Christs. Some of these false prophets will blatantly claim to be Jesus Christ; others, using more subtle methods, will teach false doctrine and form a following. But either way, people are shielded from the truth.
Verse 6 – Wars have been happening since the beginning of time, so what is new? Because of technology, war is different than in times past. Battles rage into the night, and the fighting goes on into the winter. Things extremely rare before the 20th Century. Today’s wars are much more destructive and relentless.
Verse 7 – Several things are listed here; however, for the sake of space, we will look at only one today. The pandemic is the major news story around the world this year. Notice here in this verse; we have “pestilence.” One would need to look no further than Webster’s first definition of pestilence to recap 2020 – “a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating.”
People can argue the plague was intentional, or from bats, or whatever, but the fact remains, the virus is here. Regardless of how it started, it fulfills the qualifications of “pestilence.”
Verse 8 – “These are the beginning of sorrows.” Verse eight may loom larger than any verse of the passage. Why? In six short words, God tells us it is only going to get worse.
The saying, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” may be true more today than at any time in history. It will get better when Christ returns, but in the meantime – “These are the beginning of sorrows.”
Happy? New Year.