The Bible is a book of prophecy. It contain many visions of future events, speaking about things that will come to pass in the LAST, OR LATTER DAYS.
God alone has the power to accurately predict the future, and He has demonstrated His exclusive right to the word of prophecy many times. The entire history of man and the development of the nations has followed the course that was outlined in the Bible, long before the events came to pass.
The Nation of Israel is His witness that He is God and that His word is true. Their presence in their own land today, on the mountains of Israel, was predicted in the Bible. The history of Israel from their very beginnings and continuing through the ages to their miraculous existence as a nation today, has provided a constant testimony to the prophetic power of the Creator.
God revealed his plan for the future of this earth through holy men of old. Many of these men were the Hebrew prophets who were influenced by the Holy Spirit, ( God's power) to record their predictions.( see 2 Peter 1:20-21)
These men were moved to write about future events in various ways. They often did not understand the words they were writing. We are told in 1 Pet 1, for example:
"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." ( 1 Pet 1: 10-11, NIV)
The prophecies were intended to glorify God, and to demonstrate His power to foretell the future. Man will never be promoted for his prophetic ability. All true revelation comes from God.
We read this testimonial to God's prophetic power in Isaiah 46: 9-10: "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
Job was one of the "holy men of old", who was moved by God's power to utter words that would foretell future events.
The words above are one of Job's most significant prophecies. These words are found in Job 19:25-27 and they read:
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."
These words illustrate the great hope that Job had for the future. Through the inspiration of God, he was moved by the Holy Spirit to reveal that there would be a redeemer for mankind, and that he would see him in the latter day on this earth. It was apparent that Job understood that his own resurrection would be necessary for this prophecy to be fulfilled.
In Job's day, the hope for a redeemer was based strictly on the promises of God. The servants of God looked forward to the time when a descendent of Eve would bruise the offspring of the serpent (sin), and the way back to the "tree of life" would again be available. ( Gen. 3: 15-24)
Today, we can look back in time, and consider the testimony of the life and sacrifice of Christ. We now know that it was this man that fulfilled the righteousness of God by destroying in his own flesh, that which had the power of death.
Jesus died for sin and rose again the third day to become the captain of our salvation, the redeemer that Job had spoken about. There is no salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we can be saved. ( see Acts 4:12)
This redeemer will stand on the earth in the latter days. Job thus adds his own testimony to the volumes of prophetic references that teach us plainly that Jesus will return to this earth in the last days. He will resurrect, and judge his servants. Our hope is not to join Jesus in Heaven. Our hope is that we will be with him on this earth, when he comes again to set up his Kingdom.
Job was convinced that even after his body had seen total corruption in the dust of the ground, that he would stand again in his own flesh, before his redeemer. This confidence in the power of God tells us about the wonderful hope that we have in Christ Jesus, for life beyond the grave.
The Apostle Paul dedicated an entire chapter to the hope of the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15 presents his defense of this fundamental Bible teaching. He argues emphatically that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then those who have died in Christ would be without hope. Christ was risen from the dead and we are therefore assured that those who are now asleep in Jesus will be raised at his coming.
These few words of prophecy by Job provided a vision for the future age. This message is completely consistent with the entire counsel of God.
We also can share this same hope, knowing that our redeemer is alive, and that whether we live or die, we shall be gathered before him in our flesh, in the latter days on this earth.
There are several prophecies that speak specifically about those things that will happen in the very last days, just before the return of Christ to this earth. The words quoted above are from 2 Tim 3. They are one of these latter day prophecies:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." ( verses 1-4)
These words are very descriptive about the conditions that would exist in the last days. We can not help but notice that these words can be easily applied to our own time. The conclusion should be obvious to us all; these are the last days.
We live in a time when people are very self centered. Looking out for "number one" is considered to be a necessary virtue of the times.
Coveting is a normal thing in a society where easy credit allows everyone to fulfill their desires now, without concern for the financial woes of tomorrow.
Boasting and pride go hand in hand as people try to elevate their own importance in a very competitive world.
Many blaspheme God, denying His existence and His authority; placing their trust in the false security that has been provided by atheistic theories such as evolution.
Disobedient to parents? We have never known a time when there was less respect for parental authority.
Unthankful indeed. Some can still remember the days when it was reasonable to expect that a gift would be acknowledged and appreciated.
Today, it is definitely not "cool" to be seen as religious or holy in character. Unholy acts are enjoyed as entertainment. The whole world is engaged in the pleasures of sin for a season.
People no longer display and promote natural affection as ordained by God. They are increasingly making allowances for the perversions of the flesh, accepting relationships that are an abomination to God. ( See Rom. 1: 26-27)
There were times when a man's word was his honor. Today, nothing is sacred, and breaking vows commitments and truces is expected.
False accusation and character assassination is no longer brought into account. Men are elevated in the ranks at the expense of the victims of their slander, and few care.
In all of the words of this prophecy of the last days, there is none more revealing than the expression " lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." These words speak not only of the ungodly and the sinners. They point also to many of the servants of God, who have been overcome by worldly pleasures.
Are we loving the things of this life more than God? We all need to ask ourselves; is this prophecy speaking about me?
Not all of the latter day prophecies are warnings that describe the sinful conditions that will be present in the earth at the time of the Master's return.
There are also many messages of hope, such as the
prophecy from Micah which is quoted above. These words are from Micah 4, and we do well to consider his message:
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it." (verses 1-4)
This prophecy tells us about the wonderful days of blessing that will be brought about by the return of Jesus to this earth Yes, there will be "perilous times", and a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."
These difficult times will lead to a period of many necessary judgments on the nations, but then they will give way to a glorious time for the earth. There will be "peace on earth and good will among men," even as proclaimed by the angels at the time of the birth of Christ, the coming King.
Jerusalem will be the principal city of the Kingdom. It will be the "city of the great King", and the whole earth will experience the blessings of a righteous government. The nations will not learn war any more. Men will dwell in their own houses and they will know the security of a true peace, administered by Christ and his faithful servants.
The glory of God will fill the earth in fulfillment of the promise in Hab. 2: 14: "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."