“Men becomefaintoutoffearandexpectationofthethingscomingupontheinhabitedearth.” (Luke 21:26) Shortly after the explosion of the first atom bomb, atomic scientist Harold C. Urey said of the future: “We will eat fear, sleep fear, live in fear and die in fear.” To the fear of nuclear war has been added fear of crime, famine, economic instability, moral collapse, family decay, pollution of the earth. In fact, the bad times paraded before us by daily newspapers and television newscasts spread fear everywhere.
The apostle Paul also wrote of the conditions to prevail in the last days of this system of things. Reading his words is like reading the day’s news. “But know this,” he wrote, “that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5.All Things Continuing “as From Creation’s Beginning”?The apostle Peter foretold another feature of the last days: “In the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’”—2 Peter 3:3, 4.
Today, when the subject of the last days comes up, many people fulfill Peter’s prophetic words by scoffing and saying: ‘Oh, all those things have happened before. It’s just history repeating itself.’ So they dismiss the warnings and continue “proceeding according to their own desires.” It is “according to their wish” that they brush aside the fulfillment of prophecies that so clearly identify the last days.—2 Peter 3:5.
Nevertheless, the different features of the composite sign foretold by Jesus have never before been fulfilled all together in such a short period of time with such intensity and with such far-reaching consequences. (Review, for example, Matthew 24:3-12; Mark 13:3-8; Luke 21:10, 11, 25, 26.) And we would like to draw your attention especially to still another foretold feature of the last days, described in Revelation.
Let us turn to Revelation 11:18. It says that when Christ’s Kingdom begins to reign and the nations are angry and the time for judgment arrives, then Jehovah will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” Is not pollution ruining the environment today? True, men have always exploited the resources of the earth to enrich themselves. But in doing so, they have never been in a position to destroy it as a habitable planet. Now, because of the scientific technology developed since 1914, men do have that power, and by grabbing greedily for wealth, they are indeed ruining the earth, polluting the environment and endangering the earth’s ability to sustain life.
An avaricious, materialistic society is now doing this at an alarming rate. Here are some of the atrocities resulting: acid rain, global warming, holes in the ozone layer, garbage glut, toxic dumps, dangerous herbicides and pesticides, nuclear waste, oil spills, raw-sewage dumping, species endangerment, dead lakes, polluted groundwater, destroyed forests, polluted soil, lost topsoil, and smog causing damage to trees and crops as well as to human health.
Professor Barry Commoner says: “I believe that continued pollution of the earth, if unchecked, will eventually destroy the fitness of this planet as a place for human life. . . . The difficulty lay not in scientific ignorance, but in willful greed.” The book StateoftheWorld1987 says on page 5: “The scale of human activities has begun to threaten the habitability of the earth itself.” A major series for public television aired in the United States in 1990 was entitled “Race to Save the Planet.”
Man will never stop the polluting; God will when he destroys those who are destroying the earth. God and his heavenly Field Marshal, Christ Jesus, will do this by executing judgment on the materialistic nations at the final war of Armageddon.—Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21.
Finally, note the following outstanding feature of Jesus’ prophecy about the last days: “Thisgoodnewsofthekingdomwillbepreachedinalltheinhabitedearth.” (Matthew 24:14) This good news tells that God’s Kingdom is now reigning in the heavens and will soon act to destroy this wicked system and restore Paradise to earth. The gospel has been preached before but never covering the entire inhabited earth. Since 1914, however, Jehovah’s Witnesses have done that, in spite of the persecution Jesus foretold—government bans, mob violence, imprisonments, torture, and many deaths.
In 1919 there were 4,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses preaching this good news. Their numbers have kept increasing, so that last year over 4,000,000 were preaching in 212 lands, in some 200 languages, distributing hundreds of millions of Bibles, books, and magazines, conducting millions of Bible studies in people’s homes, and holding conventions in large stadiums in all parts of the world. Never could this tremendous volume of gospel-preaching have been done prior to 1914. Its accomplishment on the scale that has been achieved required the modern high-speed printing presses, the travel facilities, the computers, the fax machines, and also the shipping and communications facilities that are uniquely available in our time.
The Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s day was warned of its coming destruction; its inhabitants only scoffed, but it was later than they thought. Today, a much greater warning of Armageddon’s destruction is being sounded, with overwhelming supporting evidence. (Revelation 14:6, 7, 17-20) Millions turn a deaf ear. But time is running out; it is later than they think. Is it later than you think?
In Jeremiah’s day it was later than they thought