- MIDDLE EAST
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In one of the largest evacuations since World War II, nations around the world scramble to evacuate tens of thousands of foreigners trapped in war-torn Lebanon. Helicopters, military ships, ferries and buses are being mobilized into action.
The USS Nashville waits off the coast of Lebanon, ready to send more than 1,000 American citizens to neighboring Cyprus. Five warships and 2,200 Marines are being sent to retrieve an estimated 25,000 U.S. citizens. The British government is preparing to move up to 12,000 of its citizens and 10,000 dual nationals. Nearly 50,000 Canadian citizens are expected to arrive in Cyprus. Many of the more than 20,000 French citizens in Lebanon have escaped to France aboard chartered jumbo jets.
While many are being rescued or have already escaped, some remain trapped. Meanwhile, stranded Lebanese civilians are left to watch their country being torn apart. The number of displaced Lebanese is said to be around 500,000, and hundreds have been killed since the fighting began.
Then there are the Israelis, surrounded on almost all sides, constantly under Hezbollah rocket fire. As Israel fights a two-front war, innocent lives are being lost in both countries.
However, the Middle East is not the only region in chaos. The tens of thousands of people fleeing the crisis in Lebanon are still trapped in an increasingly violent world.
While fighting, hostility and bloodshed have always existed among human beings, the Bible describes a time just ahead when violence will be as prevalent and intense as in the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37), described more than 4,300 years ago: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:5, 11).
When the disciples asked Jesus Christ what world conditions would be like just prior to His Second Coming, He described a time of “wars and rumors of wars,” when “nation shall rise against nation” (Matt. 24:6-7). Events are prophesied to intensify into the Great Tribulation: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matt. 24:21-22).
Mankind will be brought to the brink of total extinction! Several passages in God’s Word indicate that only ten percent will survive. Notice: “Then said I, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return” (Isaiah 6:11-13).
A massive exodus of survivors—sickly, emaciated, emotionally shattered and confused—will come out of the worst time of human anguish and misery ever experienced. And they will come to understand, upon Christ’s return to set up God’s government upon the earth (Isa. 9:6-7), that all this suffering could have been avoided.
They will learn that the ministers, pastors and priests of this world failed to teach the people what they needed to hear: “Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned My holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).
How many televangelists have you heard quote I John 5:2-3: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous”?
How many preach Romans 13:8-10 and explain to their audiences that “love is the fulfilling of the law”—the Ten Commandments?
How many have you heard teach the biblical definition of sin: “For sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4)?
The world’s religionists and theologians love to quote what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:14—“for sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace”—and proclaim that God’s Law is “done away.” However, they conveniently ignore verses 15 to 16: “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness?”
What is “righteousness”? Here is the Bible definition: “…for all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). The Ten Commandments are “righteousness”! No wonder Paul called God’s Law “holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). Yet churchgoers never hear this from the pulpits of mainstream Christianity. The ministers of traditional Christianity know that if they taught what God’s Word actually says, they would quickly lose members and money!
So many preachers offer soothing words—but no real solutions. No matter their claims, they do not believe the Bible has divine authority.
As world events and conditions intensify, some are taught a fairy-tale “rapture” theory—that Christ will mysteriously “sweep away” His disciples before the Great Tribulation. But this idea is contrary to the Bible.
Though worldwide calamity is coming, a merciful God offers a way of escape (Luke 21:35-36).