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For decades, I have closely followed the news and I have never seen anything like what has been occurring in recent months. There is a reason for the dramatic ramp-up in “war rhetoric” by the world’s most powerful nations! The period of “wars, rumors of wars, and commotions” Jesus Christ foretold in Matthew, Mark and Luke is underway.
In just a few short months, the entire world order has been upended. There is now a feeling among literally billions of people that anything could now happen. Nuclear war is being discussed by serious people in much more serious terms. New power blocs are forming. Never before have such deadly weapons been in the hands of leaders like the dictator of North Korea. While it is well known they have 10-16 nuclear bombs, it has also come out that they have 10 million pounds of chemical weapons that they can fit on smaller missiles!—and 10,000 batteries of cannons focused on South Korea. All of this has elicited tremendous fear in all corners of the globe, but more and more in the once-quiet Western world. No wonder Jesus told His followers to “be not terrified” (Luke 21:9) and to “fear not, little flock” (Luke 12:32).
More time is spent in this report on the growing tensions surrounding North Korea. The situation is developing on an almost minute-to-minute basis. United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke to the United Nations about the grave threat: “Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said…that the United States was keeping ‘all options’ on the table if diplomacy failed to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons program. Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Tillerson called for stiffer international sanctions against North Korea and threatened to impose sanctions on third parties that continued to cooperate with the country. He also demanded that the North dismantle its nuclear weapons program before talks could begin. ‘The more we bide our time, the sooner we will run out of it,’ he said. ‘All options for reacting to future provocations must remain on the table’” (The New York Times). Note the urgency in Secretary Tillerson’s choice of words regarding “running out of time.” The administration has taken a hardline approach to swiftly dealing with what is considered one of the greatest threats to humanity, we might say now or ever.
“President Trump is warning North Korea not to conduct another nuclear test, saying ‘we’ll see’ if such a step would trigger a U.S. military response,” Los Angeles Times reported. “Trump, in an interview aired Sunday on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ also said he believes China’s President Xi Jinping…has been using Beijing’s leverage to restrain North Korea’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un.
“In the interview, Trump said neither he nor Xi would be happy if Kim were to conduct a nuclear test, which would be North Korea’s sixth…Kim’s government is known to be working to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States.” (The result of the presidential warning is that North Korea is going to race toward a nuclear test as fast as it can to demonstrate it cares not one iota what President Trump says.)
Reuters reported the following under the sobering headline “Defiant North Korea hints at nuclear tests to boost force ‘to the maximum’”: “‘Now that the U.S. is kicking up the overall racket for sanctions and pressure against the DPRK [North Korea], pursuant to its new DPRK policy called ‘maximum pressure and engagement,’ the DPRK will speed up at the maximum pace the measure for bolstering its nuclear deterrence,’ a spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by its official KCNA news agency. North Korea’s ‘measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership,’ the spokesman said.”
The article later quoted President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, who told ABC, “There is nothing right now facing this country and facing the region that is a bigger threat than what is happening in North Korea.” This statement is significant because America is literally drowning in big problems.
In a show of strength, America test fired an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile from a silo in California. Planning for this launch took 10 months, and it traveled a designated 4,200 miles to an imaginary target in the Pacific Ocean. America has 450 of these missiles, with each being able to travel up to 8,000 miles. So this test was obviously an attempt to cut through the rhetoric and show that there is a clear divide between the United States’ military and North Korea’s. While North Korea is a nuclear power, it does not yet have the ability to hit long-range targets. The American message to North Korea was clear: We can reach you today! However, this saber-rattling will likely only embolden Kim Jong Un to further his military and “defensive” efforts. But the world trembles as it watches these developments.
Now the tiny nation of Israel is involved in the North Korea crisis. Notice: “Israel’s [Defense Minister] Avigdor Lieberman called Kim’s regime a ‘crazy and radical group’ while also stating it was an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as Hezbollah,” Newsweek reported. “He also said the North’s ongoing diplomatic row with the United States over its nuclear and missile defense programs had ‘direct implications’ for Israel, Haaretz reported.
“In kind, the North Korean Foreign Ministry released a statement that not only ripped Lieberman for being ‘reckless’ and his behavior ‘sordid and wicked’ but also accused Israel of disrupting peace in the Middle East and backed the Palestinians’ struggle for statehood.
“The statement read Israel should ‘think twice about the consequences to be entailed by its smear campaign against the DPRK [North Korea] to cover up the crimes of occupying Arab territories and disturbing peace process in the Middle East.’
“A direct threat as a result of the remark stated the North is the ‘steadfast will and spirit of the service personnel and people of the DPRK to give merciless, thousand-fold punishment to whoever dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership.’”
You can see how all of these things are helping to give rise to endless “rumors of war” that extend to every corner of the globe.
Of course it comes as no surprise that Pope Francis also recently weighed in while returning (on his plane) from a trip to Egypt: “[Pope] Francis was asked as he traveled back to Rome from Egypt…about North Korean ballistic missile tests and U.S. warnings of ‘catastrophic’ consequences if the world fails to stop them. He was asked specifically what he would tell U.S. President Trump…and other leaders to try to diffuse the tensions. Francis says he would urge them to use diplomacy and negotiation ‘because it’s the future of humanity. Today, a wider war will destroy not a small part of humanity, but a good part of humanity and culture. Everything. Everything, no? It would be terrible. I don’t think humanity today could bear it’” (CBS News).
In the Middle East, the United Nations “celebrated” the 69-year anniversary of Israel’s independence by voting on an absolutely devastating resolution completely rejecting Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem as its capital. President Trump and all 100 U.S. senators tried to stop the vote with a letter they all signed, but UNESCO went ahead with it anyway. The tally was 22-10 against Israel. The anger and frustration on the Israeli side was deep. Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, stated that “this distorted decision and the attempts to undermine the connection between Israel and Jerusalem will not change the fact that Jerusalem is the Jewish people’s eternal capital” (The Jerusalem Post).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back hard after the resolution. He announced that his country would not send $1 million worth of UN payments. “Netanyahu called the UNESCO resolution ‘absurd’ and said the agency’s ‘systematic harassment’ of Israel had a price. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting…Netanyahu says Israel will not sit idly by as a U.N. organization tries to negate its sovereignty in Jerusalem” (CBS News). The above ruling has a certain force behind it that can trigger sanctions and other actions against Israel if Israel ignores it—as they of course will! While the pressure mounting against Israel continues to worsen, America has been unable to stop it.
These “rumors of wars”—and actual wars—show no sign of slowing! This is primarily because no one knows what to do about the ever more complicated array of problems facing so many nations. Of course, no one knows exactly where it will all lead. But Jesus was plain that the conditions we are now seeing precede the establishment of Jesus’ “mustard seed” Kingdom (Matt. 13:31). With the terrible things we must daily force ourselves to “watch,” may that day come SOON!
A series of violent protests—classic examples of “commotions” that Christ foretold (Luke 21:9)—broke out in Paris, France—and in many other American cities—when protesters resisted police during May Day workers’ marches.
The Telegraph reported: “Three riot police officers have been injured in clashes between masked protesters on the fringes of May Day marches in Paris. Scores of hooded youth threw Molotov cocktails at security forces who fired back with tear gas during the otherwise peaceful march on Monday. Police responded by firing tear gas, making four arrests of individuals for ‘carrying prohibited weapons’…Loud explosions, apparently from large firecrackers, rang out across central Paris. Several shops and a bus shelter were vandalised. More than 9,000 armed police and soldiers were drafted in to try to keep the peace as union members and protesters took part in annual May Day marches to celebrate workers’ rights, which this year included calls to block far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen from winning the presidency…”
As the spring turns to summer, violent protests and riots will almost certainly increase. And much more could be said about the anarchist groups that are working behind the scenes to stir up trouble and reshape the government and public policy in their image.
In the United States’ political realm, another example of the changing world came when Mr. Trump invited the controversial leader of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House. This strange ally may not accept the offer. The meeting would be to “‘discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance,’ the White House said…The administration’s statement did not mention a timetable for a possible visit by Duterte, who has been criticized by human rights groups for presiding over extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users as part of Manila’s drug war. However, Trump and Duterte are expected to meet in November at the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit. Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said…the friendlier ties are needed due to the military threat posed by North Korea” (Fox News).
Mr. Duterte has taken an extremely hardline approach in dealing with his country’s drug problem. Instead of primarily going after drug dealers, he is also violently cracking down on users. In men’s governments, drug abuse is one of the most difficult problems to solve. Some nations take a soft approach, while others take a much stricter stance. But neither works without God’s government here to solve the cause of the problem—a world driven by the three enemies of mankind: Satan, society and self.
In America, the heroin epidemic is by every account now completely out of control: “Heroin use in the United States jumped fivefold over a decade, and young, white males are the epidemic’s most likely victims, a new study finds. One addiction specialist blamed the lax use of prescription opioid painkillers—narcotics such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin—for the surge in heroin use. ‘A nation awash with prescription opioids has led to a large increase in addiction, overdose deaths and transition to heroin-fentanyl [a powerful synthetic opioid],’ said Bertha Madras, a professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School” (HealthDay News).
Extreme weather also continues to cause widespread death and devastation. Flooding and severe storms across the Midwest and the South recently killed 18 people. Four were killed when tornadoes touched down in Dallas, Texas. One tornado was reportedly on the ground nonstop for a shocking 51 miles! Yet it is still early in the spring. Sadly, more mayhem and death are expected.
These stories are only the beginning of the unraveling of global conditions. Keep watching the specifics of world events that Christ instructed His followers to keep their eyes on!
To learn more about how God will soon intervene in world affairs, read our booklet How God’s Kingdom Will Come – The Untold Story!