Those of us who know the most are the gloomiest about the future." Apparently, this was the joint statement issued by Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell two days before Einstein died in 1955. If there was cause to worry then in the middle of the 20th century how much greater reason to be concerned now! The policy of mutually assured destruction "MAD," as the acronym was for the nuclear deterrence practiced by the USA and the USSR seems like nothing more than wishful thinking now that irresponsible world leaders are threatening to obtain and use nuclear weapons. Among them is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is what is known as a Mahdaviat. The term means "one who believes in and prepares for the Mahdi." The Mahdi, also known as the "Twelfth Imam," is the Shia equivalent of a messiah: "the restorer of religion and justice who will rule before the end of the world." When he addressed the UN, Ahmadinejad prayed for God to "hasten the emergence of the Promised One " Some Mahdaviats believe that they can hasten that process by creating more chaos; and there is good reason to suspect that Ahmadinejad is one of these. Marking the 27th anniversary of Irans "Islamic Revolution," he said regarding Israel: "We ask the West to remove what they created sixty years ago and if they do not listen to our recommendations, then the Palestinian nation and other nations will eventually do this for them. Remove Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations." In a similar vein, Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal warned Western nations in early February: "You will be defeated... Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination, but a fact."
To believers who will experience the apocalyptic horrors of the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus gave words that are soul-stirring: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). If believers in that day, facing the full fury of the Beast, are reminded to look past (and above) those horrific conditions and keep their eyes on the coming Redeemer, then certainly we have every reason to do the same. If they will properly pray, "Thy Kingdom come," then how fitting for us to pray, "Even so come, Lord Jesus." As the days darken around us, we can look past the ominous and menacing conditions in our world and remember that "our Deliverer from the coming wrath" must be very near to calling us home. In the meantime, we can "lift up the horn" (1 Chr 25:5) both in praise to God and in sounding out the Gospel, as well as "lifting up holy hands" in praying for Gods blessing. When, at last, the true Messiah comes, the ancient gates of Jerusalem will be called on to lift up their heads in acknowledgement of the rightful Monarch. With all this before us, how fitting are the words of the Lord Jesus to those who await His return: "Let not your heart be troubled" (John 14:1, 27).
I was only saved a very short time when I first met Mr. Cousley, who was then in the Longport Home for the Aged. A joyous believer even though he had suffered the loss of both legs, he exemplified the words of the Apostle Paul, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." He mentioned to those who were visiting him that day that when Margaret Carson wrote her hymn, "My Chains Are Snapt" (BHB #152), she sent it to C. H. Mackintosh for his advice and any corrections. Her last verse triumphantly spoke of resurrection and ascension:
"And now Hes risen, proclaim the joyful story,
The Lords on high;
And we in Him are raised to endless glory,
And neer can die."
Exulting in the recently-reclaimed truth of the Rapture, Mr. Mackintosh wrote back:
"We wait to see the Morning Star appearing
In glory bright;
This blessed hope illumes with beams most cheering,
The hours of night."