A New Year’s Challenge

By Paul Alberts

Are you starting the New Year expecting to see the Lord before the year ends? That should be the hope of every believer. However, we are oftentimes so wrapped up in our activities and dreams that we lose sight of the fact that the Lord is coming. The Lord will first come for His own, meeting them “in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Th. 4:17 NKJV). This will be joyous for believers, however it will signal the beginning of horrible years for those remaining in this world.

If believers would be removed from this world today, the Holy Spirit, which influences the world by His presence in the lives of the Lord’s people, would be gone from this scene. Evil would advance quickly, into realms far worse than anything we see today. In three and one-half years, the worst days ever possible would begin, known as “the great tribulation.” This is the time when men and women will wish to die, but God will not allow it. Among other passages, Daniel 9 and Revelation 4-19 are two that tell about what is going to happen.

Continuing the thought of the Lord taking the believers to Himself today, in about seven years a war of wars would take place in which all the armed forces of this world would be conquered and Satan bound (Rev. 20). Then entering the 1,000 year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ over the earth after He returns again, the world will be exceedingly different, moving in a very short time from war to peace. Israel will then follow the Lord in belief, and evil will be addressed immediately, worldwide.

It would appear that any who hear the good news of salvation but do not accept it today would still have an opportunity later. However, that is not the case. All who do not accept the offer of salvation that they have already heard will face an eternity separated from God. Their condemnation is already determined, and they will end up in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (vv.7-15), forever in agony, being conscious of their sin and refusal to accept the Lord’s gift of salvation (Lk. 16:22-26).

In view of these facts ­ the things that are coming ­ what manner of people ought we to be today in holy conduct (2 Pet. 3:10-18)? May the words of Scripture challenge our hearts as we begin the New Year, and let us give to Him the first place in our lives (Col. 1:18).