TWO PREDICTIONS by Ray Pritchard It’s always dangerous to try to predict the future. The Old Testament offers a simple test for anyone claiming to be a prophet of God. If what he says comes true, then he’s a prophet. If it doesn’t, then he’s an imposter and should be stoned to death. That last condition did have a way of discouraging young people from considering “prophet” as a good career move. One wrong prediction and you were finished. So with the caveat that I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, I offer two thoughts about the new year that stretches before us: I see on one hand unparalleled opportunity to move forward and reach people for Jesus Christ. I see at the same time that we are going to be living in a time of increasing spiritual anarchy. Unparalleled opportunity in the midst of spiritual anarchy. Does that sound odd to you? If there’s anarchy how can there be spiritual opportunities? Read the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. A man sowed some wheat in a field and the enemy came in and sowed some tares (weeds). You couldn’t pull the tares up because you couldn’t tell the wheat from the tares. At harvest time you could see the difference, but then the angels were to come in to separate the wheat from the tares. Do you know what that story is really teaching us? That story is telling us something about the condition of the world in the days before the return of Jesus Christ. During the present age we will see a corresponding and parallel ripening of good and evil, side by side in the world. And as we come right to the end of the age, to the last moments before the return of Christ, there will be an explosive flowering of evil and an explosive flowering of righteousness. That is to say, as we approach the end of this age, we ought to expect two things–We ought to expect the worst outbreak of evil the world has ever seen and at the same time we ought to expect the greatest revival the church has ever known. Think about that. If it is true that we are living on the brink of Armageddon, then we ought not to be surprised at the moral decline of the world around us, and at the same time we ought to get ready for the vast harvest of blessing that God will pour out on his people. If we are indeed living in the Last Days, then these are indeed the best of times and the worst of times. Don’t be surprised if things get better and worse at the same time. That’s likely to happen in your own life and it’s definitely going to happen in the world. Open doors amid much opposition. Exciting times to serve the Lord. That’s what 2003 looks like to me.