Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – January 2021
By Pastor Lloyd Pulley
London Rabbi, Hugo Gryn, recounted an experience in a Nazi concentration camp in which he was a prisoner: "It was the cold winter of 1944 and although we had nothing like calendars, my father, who was a fellow prisoner, took me and some of our friends to a corner of the barrack. He announced that it was the eve of Hanukkah. He then produced a curious-shaped bowl, and began to light a wick immersed in his precious, but now melted, margarine ration. Before he could recite the blessing, I protested at the waste of food. He looked at me, then at the lamp, and finally said: 'You and I have seen that it is possible to live up to three weeks without food. We once lived almost three days without water. But you cannot live properly for three moments without hope.'"
Yet hope is so trivialized in our present culture it is as if it is a fragile thing fraught with uncertainty.
We hope the stores won’t be too crowded.
We hope our flight is on time.
We hope there’s not too much traffic.
We hope the doctor’s report is good.
In this sense, hope is merely wishful thinking.
We have bid goodbye to what is arguably the most troubling year in our history. However, many have carried the baggage of the old year into 2021 with the same anxieties and uncertainties. If a person’s hope is mere wishful thinking that all will be better this year, I fear it will not be enough to sustain them through the challenges ahead.
Hope in the Bible conveys no such uncertainty. Hebrews 6:19 describes hope as an "anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast…" and one can actually "rejoice in hope, and be patient in tribulation" (Romans 12:12). The love chapter of the Bible expresses: "Now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). Yes, love is the greatest, but without faith and hope, love has no chance! The Bible tells us "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). It is similar to when depending on the trustworthiness of a person, having either complete confidence or being a nervous wreck.
Since the Bible has clearly predicted much of the angst we are seeing in the world around us and has plotted a clear course for us to take, those who believe in the trustworthiness of the Bible are not shaken. They live in expectancy with a solid hope. Since over 25% of the Bible is prophetic in nature, meaning it gives us history in advance, the thinking person can see past fulfillments of predictions and be confident that predictions concerning the last days will also be fulfilled. In fact, Bible believers have been searching for centuries any trends in the world that may indicate we are getting closer to the final return of the Messiah. They are not disappointed!
A century and a half ago it was unimaginable that Jewish people would be gathered back into the land of Israel as a nation, and yet it happened just as the Bible predicted. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the world, that a nation disbanded for centuries, would maintain their national identity through the centuries and return to their homeland. We have in our lifetime observed the regathering of the Jews as predicted. (Isaiah 49, Jeremiah 31, others) This is often called the super sign that history is winding down. God said He would fulfill what He promised to the sons of Abraham. That long-standing hope was fulfilled. Faithful is He who promised!
In addition, the Bible talks about Jerusalem as "a very heavy stone for all peoples" and "all nations of the earth are gathered against it" (Zechariah 12:3). In other words, the whole world would be concerned about Jerusalem. For the last five decades it seems not a month goes by but some increasing tension arises among world leaders over Israel. There are too many trends to follow in in the space of this article but I will be following up in the next article with the top ten clear unmistakable signs that we are close to the culmination of all things. This culmination means both judgment as well as deliverance from evil, depending on where a person puts their hope. If any of this concerns you, I would say the most important thing you can do is to get right with God, your Maker, and then you will have no fear of the future for your hope is in heaven.
I also invite you to tune into the solid biblical teaching found on 89.9 and 91.9FM on The Bridge Christian Radio. While our nation is at a crossroads, people need a real hope. News changes daily, but the message of the Bible never changes. Through the broadcast of The Bridge, you can be assured of a solid hope. The teaching programs heard on The Bridge Christian Radio offer true hope to a hurting world in uncertain times.