Meanwhile, sin continued its devastating course. The message of life preached by Jesus, when upon earth at His First Advent, laid down the principles by which men will one day live, but it did not appreciably arrest the all-devouring influence of sin. Men were as selfish and unjust and cruel and wicked after His death as before His birth; in a good many directions evil has seemed to increase rather than decrease. But there is no evading the inevitable harvest of evil. Jesus declared that the Age which was dawning in His day would be characterised by wars, famines and pestilences of unprecedented and increasing severity, and His words have been realised. The human race has known no greater Disasters—the Flood of Noah’s day alone, perhaps, excepted—than it has experienced during the last two thousand years. Many of those disasters in fact, are attributable to mankind’s own evil course. All of the wars, nearly all of the famines and pestilences, could have been avoided had man not been wedded to selfishness and sin. Foreseeing all this, Jesus also said that the Age will end in a harvest of evil in which the world as we now know it will disintegrate and collapse in ruins on account of its own corruption. The evil world system, which men have built up through the centuries, contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction, and destruction will inevitably come.
Today we are entering into that bitter harvest. The herding of men and women into crowded and insanitary cities; the adoption of unnatural ways of life consequent upon new habits necessitated by the modern economic and social order; the tremendous nervous tension under which life is lived and the haste and speed characteristic of this present civilisation, all have promoted the incidence and extent of pestilence and disease, physical and mental. Consistent and widespread spoliation of the products of Nature and extravagant use of the earth’s natural resources have created dust bowls (as seen in North America during the 1930s) and deserts where once flourished fertile fields and forests, and have caused famine and shortage of those necessities of life which can only be produced in sufficient quantity by an intelligent co-operation with Nature. The great advance in scientific knowledge and invention characteristic of our Age has led to a very general attitude of apathy and ignorance towards the things of God and the higher interests of life, and so has the mad rush for amusement and petty immediate self-indulgence, the determination to obtain every possible sensual satisfaction out of life irrespective of the interests of others or of mankind as a whole. The greed and hate of man breeds war between nations and saps individual men’s physique and destroys men, and the earth with men.
Science, made to do service to human beings who are not yet fit to receive its blessings, is responsible for the deterioration in another field also. The human race is becoming the slave of the push-button. Men are rapidly losing the ability to do things for themselves. They have already lost the wonderful artistic talent of earth’s earliest ages, and can only goggle at exhibits in museums the craftsmanship of which they cannot reproduce. Machinery has destroyed individuality, and independent thought has given place to mass impulse, crowd psychology directed by skilfully planned propaganda. The Welfare State, or the Dictatorial Regime, as the case may be, is destroying man’s inherent creativeness and his individuality, and is making of him a thing of clay, easily moulded to the form desired by authority, a clockwork automaton which responds only to stimuli from without, the very opposite of the Creator’s intention and plan for man.
But no dictator or Cabinet of governors drawn from amongst men can continue the administration of this complex world on such a basis. God designed it to be a co-operative commonwealth, it’s every part and aspect, vegetable, animal and human, working together in precise adjustment for the common good. The world can only continue indefinitely by means of the harmonious labours of all the creatures that dwell therein. The dictators and the planners who have dictated and planned without God have ignored that fundamental principle and in consequence, the world is running down to a stop. Its institutions, built upon un-sound principles, are tottering. Man is struggling to avert the irretrievable destruction of his own world by the very forces he has himself created. He can destroy his world and has the ability to destroy himself!
God’s fulfilling purpose demands that He step in and take over. Once more, and for the last time, there will be Divine intervention.
The last age in the history of man’s conflict with sin, although, thank God, not in the history of humanity upon earth, is the Millennial Age, the time of the Kingdom of God upon earth. Man has had a full experience of the evil results of self-government without God. He has been allowed to give full play to his uncontrolled instincts of selfishness and hate and cruelty, his unthinking wastage and destruction of the things essential for his continued life upon earth, his heedlessness of God and of the principles of truth and justice, and he has in consequence come within an ace of destroying himself and the earth also. God will come in the nick of time. God, Who has been waiting through the ages for such a time as this, knowing that it must surely come, will step in at the moment of apparently irretrievable disaster and save men from themselves. The Apostle Peter, speaking of this moment from his vantage point of two thousand years away, said “He shall send Jesus Christ . . . whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things.”