From the September/October 2021 issue of Discern Magazine

Things Are Looking Up

Rather, they will be soon. Now, everything seems to be spiraling downward, but the Bible promises a better world—a world where everything will be looking up!

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In the United States the desire for opportunity and prosperity for our children has been called “the American Dream.” We want a better life for our kids, for future generations. But that dream doesn’t look so good for our children.

Some say the American Dream is dying. There is a discouragement, a general malaise, and it’s not just in America.

In this world, everything seems to be on a downward slide. Trust in government. Economic growth. The stability of families. Happiness. And especially morality.

The divorce rate has actually declined—but only because fewer people are getting married in the first place, and those who do are marrying later.

About a third of U.S. children are living in a household without married parents. Of these, 21 percent are with a single mother, while 4 percent are with a single dad. And 7 percent of children in the U.S. are with cohabiting parents—often both of their parents, but without the benefits of marriage.

How many families, of any type, are truly happy today? Stress, anger, domestic violence, abuse and so many other evils are destroying family life and the stability, peace and love family should give—and will give after Jesus returns to set up the Kingdom of God.

The edge of the cliff

Today we seem to be on the edge of a cliff in many areas of life. Economists talk about the fiscal cliff—when the bills come due and the economy crashes. Society seems to be on the edge of chaos.

And I recently read a book called The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity. The author, Toby Ord, is a research fellow in philosophy at Oxford University, and his specialty is to study all the ways our very existence is threatened. Whether it is nuclear war or the artificial intelligence apocalypse, the world is looking over the edge into an endless abyss!

The author does believe we humans can turn things around, and in the book he shares his optimism for a humanistic solution for the sake of his young daughter. But reading the news and looking at human history, I don’t see evidence that humanity will really solve any of the core problems—the causes of all the other problems and dangers. These are spiritual problems of human selfishness, pride, greed, anger, revenge, violence and all the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Where humanity is concerned, things are headed down. There’s every reason for pessimism if your only hope is in man. People are downcast. Our downward spiral seems unstoppable.

But God tells us things will soon be looking up! To prepare for a world where all the key indicators will be looking up, we need to be looking up now.

Why should we be looking up now?

The Bible tells us where to look for the real solutions to all this world’s troubles. Looking up helps us recognize our Creator and His limitless power and wisdom.

Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.”

How many stars are there in the universe? The numbers are so big, I can’t wrap my mind around them. So let’s just look at how many new stars there are. Astronomers tell us new stars are being born every year.

The University of Calgary website says, “We can calculate that there are roughly 150 billion stars born per year in the entire Universe. This corresponds to about 400 million stars born per day or 4800 stars per second!”

That’s a lot of new stars! And God calls them all by name! He knows when they form, and He knows how and when they die.

Recognizing the mind-boggling creative power and majesty of God helps us look up to Him with humility and worship.

The wisdom from above

We also need to look up now to learn how to think as God thinks and act as God acts.

James 3:14-16 describes the earthly, sensual and demonic wisdom of this world. These thoughts and actions lead to all the envy, self-seeking, confusion and evil that plague our world. These ways have led to our downward spiral.

But in James 3:17-18, James explains the solution, the way of life we need to learn now and that everyone will learn after Jesus Christ returns. We need to look up to learn the wisdom from above.

Finally, Jesus Christ will return, bringing the only real solutions to the downward trends in this world. Finally, the moral and spiritual downward spiral will be stopped, and things will begin looking up!Verse 17 says: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

Imagine if all the leaders of the world had these characteristics of the wisdom that comes from God! That is what God wants for those He is training to help transform this world and be part of the reason everything in this world will begin looking up.

Verse 18 shows the results: “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

This world does not know the way of peace, and so it is headed toward the worst time of war in human history. But we can learn the way of peace—the wisdom from above—now in preparation for helping to usher in that time of peace.

“Your redemption draws near”

In His Olivet Prophecy Jesus tells us where to look as end-time events unfold, as the Great Tribulation and then the heavenly signs occur. After telling about signs in the sun and moon and stars, He says men’s hearts will be failing from fear. Most people will be focused on the troubles and fears and depression they are experiencing, but Jesus tells us where we should be looking.

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28, emphasis added throughout).

Finally, after the seven trumpets and the seven last plagues, after Satan is bound and Jesus Christ rules, we will see what Isaiah described in Isaiah 17:7:

“In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.”

Finally, mankind will be prepared to hear and heed the Creator! Finally, Jesus Christ will return, bringing the only real solutions to the downward trends in this world. Finally, the moral and spiritual downward spiral will be stopped, and things will begin looking up!

Visions of a better world

Bible prophecy tells us things will be looking up for the whole world soon!

When the Kingdom of God is established over the earth and people finally recognize their need to learn God’s ways, they will say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths” (Isaiah 2:3).

Health and healing

God promised in Jeremiah 33:6: “Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.”

This current world is a world of infectious diseases, pandemics, cancers, heart disease and every kind of ill health, and it will get even worse as we approach the end. But when Jesus Christ takes over, He and His team will provide healing and provide the instructions and the conditions necessary for vibrant health. The health of the people will improve. The future prognosis for the health of this world is looking up!

It will also be a time of restoration and rebuilding and great physical blessings (verse 7).

Spiritual transformation

But even more important will be the spiritual transformation: “I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities” (verse 8).

With forgiveness and the benefit of the Holy Spirit to write God’s beneficial laws on our hearts and minds, everyone will have a close, personal relationship with our loving God.The people will repent and be forgiven. Living God’s way will have great benefits physically—it will be the cause of all the physical improvements. But more importantly, their relationship with God and their spiritual potential will be looking up!

What Peter told the crowds on Pentecost will also apply then: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Peter also said in Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

Peter showed that a time of refreshing and restoration will come at Christ’s return, and the most important kind of refreshing and restoration is of the spiritual.

“The voice of joy and the voice of gladness”

God promises that the streets of Jerusalem, which will become desolate at the end of this age, will again ring with “the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: ‘Praise the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for His mercy endures forever’” (Jeremiah 33:11).

Marriage, family and religious worship will all be looking up. The world happiness index will reach unprecedented levels!

This won’t be just a temporary happiness that will disappear with the next wave of difficulties. God promises “everlasting joy” (Isaiah 61:7)!

A perfect government and a New Covenant

With the return of Jesus Christ, the promised descendant of David who is the Messiah and Savior, government will look up (Jeremiah 33:14-15). No more corruption, incompetence, gridlock, waste, brutality or chaos. True justice will reign. Jesus and those serving under Him will teach and promote righteousness.

Along with this perfect government, there will be a New Covenant—a new agreement that God makes with all who turn to Him:

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

With forgiveness and the benefit of the Holy Spirit to write God’s beneficial laws on our hearts and minds, everyone will have a close, personal relationship with our loving God. These spiritual blessings are the real reason the future is so bright—why things will be looking up soon!

“Great shall be the peace of your children”

God promises those who are afflicted now, “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you” (Isaiah 54:13-14).

Today our world is filled with oppression and terror. Our families are under attack. Everything in this world seems headed down in a cycle of sin and despair.

But we can be so thankful for the chance to begin looking up now, in preparation for the soon-coming time when everything will be looking up!

We can begin to live out that dream today. It’s better than the American Dream or any other human dream. It is the vision of the wonderful world tomorrow. The vision of a bright future for our children and for everyone. It’s the vision of an eternal, joyful, loving relationship in the family of God!

Keep looking up!

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine, the Daily Bible Verse Blog and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter (including World Watch Weekly). He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who have the privilege of answering questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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