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"The Bright, The Morning Star"

At the beginning of 1984 the Master's words come ringing down the centuries with their message of hope and cheer: "I am ... the bright, the morning star" (Rev. 22:16).

Peter reminds us that "we have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19). Our world in 1984 is indeed spiritually a dark (Gk. squalid) place. "Know this", wrote Paul, "that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4). The prophetic word consistently foretells a worsening spiritual situation as the present age of grace draws to a close and is followed by the fearsome "time of the end" (Dan. 11:40).

Associated with that "time of the end" are features which the Lord Jesus Himself identified for our guidance, among them being:

Moral corruption:"As were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man" (Mat. 24:37).

"Noah walked with God... And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Gen. 6:9, 12).

International

Tensions and Wars:"National shall rise against nation, and kingdom against

kingdom" (Mat. 24:7).

Crisis conditions

in Middle East: "I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded" (Zech. 12:3).

Materialism:"As it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded ... after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of Man is revealed" (Luke 17:28, 30).

Spiritual apathy:"Because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold" (Mat. 24:12).

Multiplicity of

False Religions:"There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect" (Mat. 24:24).

Natural Disasters:"There shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places" (Mat. 24:7).

Throughout our world today such features are clearly in evidence. Already we see a darkness covering the earth which will deepen into the gross darkness of the end-time. For God's moral laws are challenged or ignored in many lands. During 1983 many lives were claimed by wars as far apart as Central America, Lebanon, Iraq-Iran and Afghanistan: and overshadowing these relatively local conflicts the super-powers argue on about their awesome nuclear armaments. Israel remains a focal point of international tension, the future of Jerusalem being a notable point of controversy. Materialism grips the hearts of many, whose attitude seems to be, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." The love of many has already grown cold, overcome by the abounding iniquity of our time. Moon and his Unification Church is but one example of false Christs who lead many astray. Frequent devastations by earthquake and famine make headlines for a day, but are quickly forgotten as new problems develop.

Against this macabre background of present world trends Scripture reveals in brilliant clarity that the Lord Jesus will retrieve the situation at His coming to earth as Son of Man. Wars will cease (Ps. 46:9). He will establish righteousness, peace and security (Is. 32:17, 18); justice and economic security will be assured to the whole world (Ps. 72:13, 14, 16). Malachi the prophet beautifully likens this development to the clear dawning of a new day: "Unto you that fear My Name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings."

But before the dawn the morning star shines in all its brilliance from the dark night sky. Just so will the Lord Jesus come to take His Church out of a world darkening for the judgements of the time of the end. To believers awaiting His coming to the air He will be the bright, the morning star!

Because we see so many world conditions answering to what Scripture states will obtain at the time of the end, we believe God's purposes are ripening towards that crisis period. Then may Christ come to the air for His Church in 1984? He may indeed, and we should live in expectation of this possibility. Not that it is for us to know the day or the hour, but we are responsible to interpret the time (compare Luke 12:56 and Acts 1:6, 7).

So what shall our attitude be in 1984? Despair and inactivity because of world conditions? God forbid! Rather "let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose." God has fitted His people for witness under widely varying conditions. To Esther the word was given: "Who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Sanctifying Christ in our heart as Lord, we shall find all the grace and strength needed to fulfil His own purposes through us in 1984!