Welcome to the new year! The year of our Lord, 2017, is now upon us and, considering the days in which we live, it is viewed with anticipation by some, curiosity by many and apprehension by others. What will this new 12-month span of our lives include for the world? While, strictly speaking, it is impossible to “view the future,” and impossible, as well, to predict the future, there are certainly some generalizations which can be made about the year which is to come. In fact, there are some predictions that can be made about 2017 that can be said without fear of contradiction.
The year ahead will certainly contain:
1. Uncertainty—The Bible well advises us:
Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Prov. 27:1)
From this it is clear that believers are called to live, not by certainties and predictable tomorrows, but by faith. Anyone who says that this or that event will take place tomorrow or next month is not to be believed. God has made life deliberately precarious so that we should be forced to trust in Him. Uncertainty is, therefore, a great gift from God because it points up the only true certainty in the universe, the Lord Himself. Beware, therefore, of promises of inevitable health, or other inevitable things which it is so popular for charlatans to promise today. For the believer in Jesus Christ, the greatest inevitability is the presence of Jesus Christ. All else is subject to the vagaries of this unsubstantial world.
2. Opportunity—To the church of all time and especially of our time, Jesus Christ promises, “See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” (Rev. 3:8). Here, then, is the source of the best kind of Christian optimism. It is the promise that God will continue to keep open before us the door of opportunity and, also, to supply the energy, the drive, the faith, the human instruments by which to meet those opportunities. Opportunity is, in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts which we have from God. It means that the Christian is able to move into evermore-spacious vistas of privilege with each year that passes.
3. Spiritual Adventure—As a child, I would read such stories as Roland, the Noble Knight, King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table and even The Royal Road to Romance by Richard Haliburton (Palo Alto, CA: Travelers’ Tales, 2000). I thought that that was adventure. I have since learned that the true adventure of life is being involved in the work of Christ, in the conflict between good and evil. The battle for the world is between light and darkness and the adventure is being a soldier in that battle.
Is it possible that the return of Jesus Christ could also be included in this year to come? The Bible says,
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
Here we have the Word of God telling us that Christ will come for His own and take us up to heaven to be with Himself. This passage is the revelation of the translation of the church from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant. What a day that will be!
As we look to the fast-breaking events of our time, many of which appear to be “signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3), we must allow for the possibility of the nearness of the coming of Jesus Christ. Do not let the present ignoring of—and sometimes resentment of—the prophetic Word dim your bright anticipation for the return of Christ. Looking for the coming of our wonderful Lord bears beautiful results in our lives, for “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
Let me suggest a passage for the new year:
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)
(Read Part 2)
Dr. Dave Breese (1926-2002) was an internationally known speaker, teacher and author. He founded the ministry of Christian Destiny in 1963, and through it proclaimed the gospel on weekly radio and television programs and in numerous books and booklets. In 1987, he also became the president and Bible teacher on The King Is Coming telecast, a role that he filled until his death in 2002. Other organizations that Dr. Breese served during his distinguished ministry career included Youth For Christ, Awana, Back to the Bible, National Religious Broadcasters and National Association of Evangelicals. A frequent conference speaker and a master at explaining the relevance of Bible prophecy, he was also known for his wisdom and wit. It is a great honor to include him as part of the inaugural class of Revived Classics authors for Dispensational Publishing House.
This article originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Destiny Newsletter.
Copyright © 2006 Christian Destiny, Inc. All rights reserved.
The article is reprinted here by permission of Christian Destiny.
For more information regarding Christian Destiny, go to www.ChristianDestiny.org.
Other material copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
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All blog posts are the opinions of the author alone.