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Signs - Part 2

Scripture: James 5:1-3, Daniel 12:4, Luke 21:25-27
The accumulation of wealth seems to be happening more and more these days. What does this indicate? Does the Bible have anything to tell us about riches being gathered by growing numbers of people. The love of money is a predication of the end of time. There are many other signs in our permissive age that show Jesus is coming soon.
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Recently one of the popular weekly news magazines presented the story of how young Americans have become millionaires almost overnight. One of the most astonishing things about our affluent age is the massive piling up of wealth by these newcomers on the American scene. It’s a phenomenon to see how riches can be acquired under the modern economic scheme of things. With taxes escalating and labor pressing for higher and higher wages, how can men continue to amass fortunes do quickly? Listen, it’s not so amazing to those who have made a close study of the Bible. The explanation is found in James 5:1-3: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”

Notice, something is going to take place just before the end of the world. Men are going to pile up money and accumulate great wealth. I can just hear someone saying, “So what? It’s only a mark of our material and scientific advance. It simple proves that our enlightened age is growing more secure and progressive.” But friends, just how secure is the world today? True, the external appearances are tremendously impressive. I’m sure the walls of ancient Babylon must have appeared no more permanent than the towering concrete and steel of a modern skyscraper. Certainly no former generation could have boasted of so much hoarded wealth as we now have accumulated.

What does it mean that men now possess so much money that they can’t even estimate their own worth? Some time ago I lived is South India, not too far from the Nizam of Hyderabad, reputedly the richest man in all the world. One morning the Madras Mail newspaper reported a strange incident concerning this multimillionaire. While inspecting the chest of money in one of his palace treasure rooms, he discovered eight million dollars of cash missing from one of the trunks. Further investigation revealed that rats has gnawed their way into the trunk and simply carried away the bank notes right down the rat hole. Not a cent of the money was ever recovered, but there was little worry on the part of this man of unlimited riches. The love of money has created a very strange paradoxical problem pointing to the soon coming of our Lord. Sometimes the situation seems tragically confused and contradictory.

But this piling up of wealth is only one of many startling predictions which find their fulfillment in our present troubled age. The unparalleled pace of scientific knowledge has revolutionized the world every few years. New breakthroughs in rocketry and space travel have followed each other with amazing regularity. We can scarcely talk of one record accomplishment without being interrupted by a new report of achievement which shatters the first record into obsoleteness.

The scientific by-products of all the frenzied research has led to the development of sensational new wonder drugs, gadgets and miracle processes. In one city of America, a tree was cut down on a street corner at 7:55 in the morning. The wood was hurried off to a sawmill and pulp plant. Then it was processed at the paper plant and rushed to the newspaper office. By 10:00 pm that tree had turned into newsprint and was being sold on the street as the daily paper. What an illustration this is of Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 12:4 that in the time of the end “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Jesus spoke of many signs which would mark the final moments f history but none seem to be more clearly fulfilling before our eyes that Luke 21:25-27: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

I don’t believe we could understand some of the modern statistics of our age if we did not know about this verse in the Bible. The alarming increase of suicides, for example, could not be understood except in the light of this prophecy. It’s an established fact that at least twenty thousand people take their own lives each year and four times that many attempt suicide without succeeding. Time magazine estimated that at least forty thousand annual suicides would be closer to the real facts. Another authority has said that from ages 15 to 50, suicide is the largest single cause of death. Symptoms of emotional sickness are reflected in many other areas of our modern society. People seem to be just torn up inside. They are led to do foolish things and violent things under the influence of their mixed-up emotions. No wonder the psychiatrists’ offices are filled with patients seeking to understand themselves.

Consider the wild jungle beat of current music fads and the bizarre paintings that are labeled modern art. Don’t we see here, friends, a perfect example of music and art gone crazy? The ones who produce some of this incomprehensible jargon of sound and color profess to be expressing the way they feel inside. If this is true, we can well understand the deep nature of the emotional conflicts which are sweeping multitudes today. By encouraging an unreasonable confidence in feeling, Satan has managed to make the emotions acceptable as a test of right and wrong.

Even theologians and religious leaders are being influenced by these subtle new arguments, at least some of them are. Many are already approving and defending sexual immorality on the ground that is it a meaningful relationship. Instead of holding to those unchanging laws such as we have in the Ten Commandments, these liberals are substituting misguided emotion. The colossal mistaken assumption is that young people might be more responsive to religion if religion didn’t condemn their conduct. So more and more, religion is choosing not to define sin for fear of offending its young people. But listen, God’s law still continues to call sin by its only right name.

And by the way, friends, the source of so much confusion in this modern permissive age is that which has sprung up recently towards sin. Some folks seem to feel that evil is inevitable, that human nature, being what it is, must surely give way to wrong doing. You know we need to understand what God’s attitude towards sin is. Is He particular? Does the Bible mean what it says? This new obsession for freedom is just sweeping the world too far. It’s been perverted. But how far does our freedom really permit us to go anyway? Are we free to break God’s law, for example? If you haven’t received it yet, you must get one of our beautiful information folders on this subject. It will give you an unforgettable look into this vital matter. It will be a real revelation to you to read and understand what God’s attitude is towards the Ten Commandments in comparison to what many, many people today are feeling toward that wonderful law.

Now this swing away from an absolute standard toward a relative one has undoubtedly let to the present religious skepticism we see in the world. Paul described the condition very clearly in 2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5 “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, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Now put with that text the solemn question of Jesus concerning His coming in Luke 8:18. “Will there be faith in the earth when the Son of man cometh?”

The great majority of modern seminaries no longer accept the plainest cardinal doctrines of the Holy Scriptures. Now I say that advisedly, friends. In truth they don’t even accept the Bible itself as an inspired revelation of God’s will. I say this is for the majority of great modern seminaries. In the last few years I have been invited to speak four times at tow large Protestant Seminaries in the United States. In one dialogue with two professors of biblical Theology, the historicity of the Scriptures were absolutely and publicly denied. Such doctrines as the second advent of Jesus were ridiculed. I mention this only to underline the amazing fulfillment of these prophecies regarding religious unbelief.

In one other area I would like to examine with you the effect of Satan’s perversion of the emotions. Most of the sin today, no doubt, goes right back to this thing that the devil has been able to do with peoples’ feelings in getting them to rely upon their feelings rather than upon some plain revealed truth in the Bible. Jesus predicted the deterioration of home life and family life. He said in Luke 17:26, 27: “And as it was in the day of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”

The dramatic fulfillment of this prophecy is printed in the statistical column of the newspaper every day. One researcher has revealed that Americans are so insecure that they change cars every two or forth years, change friends every four years by moving, and change wives every seven years. It’s this business of changing wives and husbands so often that constitutes one of the major signs of the approaching end. Do you realize that the national average of divorces to marriages is about one out of every two? Some time ago, I picked up a daily paper in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and read the figures for that large city. Believe it or not, in one year there were 2,819 applications for marriage and 3,089 applications for divorce. Now friends, how do we account for this unstable streak which even seems to carry over into the foundations of our society, the home itself. Again, the basic weakness seems to be that unholy emphasis upon feeling instead of principle.

Selfishness undoubtedly lies at the root of most marital rifts. Love is a heavenly principle. It has been supplanted by a romantic sentimentality which invariably fades under the stern realities of daily living. Then with no changeless standard to give balance, the impulsive emotions lead husbands and wives down that troubled path of separation and divorce. In order to bury the misery brought on by divorce and other problems of the perverted emotions, the average American consumed 40 gallons of alcohol last year. He also spent four times more money for liquor and tobacco than for all his charitable and religious contributions combined. I say what a sad commentary on the state of morals in this country whose Christian image has been so greatly marred. Where are we headed? What can be the outcome of such a tide of indulgence? Jesus gave the answer in Matthew 24:33, “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the door.”

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