Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
Currently, America owns or operates around half of the known satellites in space (Gatestone Institute, November 2, 2020). In 2020, the United States essentially kept up with China in terms of newly launched satellites. However, in March 2021, China plans to begin launching new satellites into space at a rate of about one every 14 days. The balance of space power could be shifting.
In addition to the number of satellites, there is also a shift in weaponizing space. America has intentionally deferred launching satellite-based weaponry, but China is placing lasers on satellites, ostensibly for “destroying space junk”—lasers that could easily target other satellites. Should the U.S. lose key satellites, it could become “blind” when it comes to aviation and military operations. According to a number of observers, Russia and China are both ahead of the U.S. when it comes to offensive capabilities in space, and that is not likely to change.
God promised the descendants of Abraham that they would possess the “gates” of their enemies (Genesis 24:60). That prophecy was fulfilled as Britain and the U.S. came into the possession of many of their enemies’ land and sea gates. However, they no longer control all of those chokepoints. Similarly, though America has long been the undisputed master of space, it appears to be losing its supremacy in that domain. This is yet another sign of the coming demise of the Israelite-descended nations—because they have turned away from God—as their enemies gain the higher ground (Deuteronomy 28:43–47).
New satellite data concerning the Nile River Basin reveals the growing threat of a water crisis (The Conversation, November 4, 2020). Despite the rain in recent years, studies show that the region is highly “stressed,” and that is only projected to increase as the population in the area continues to grow.
The Nile River flows through eleven African nations and provides water to a quarter of Africa’s population. Water from the Nile is crucial for development and for producing food and energy. One big challenge comes from the fact that water rights are not evenly distributed. Upriver nations have major water needs, yet downriver Egypt relies on the Nile to provide 80 percent of its water. Egypt and Sudan are also worried by the new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project now underway on one of the Nile’s main tributaries, the Blue Nile. The current water stress is just the tip of the iceberg, as the population of the region dependent on Nile River water is projected to grow to 800 million by the year 2050.
Jesus Christ foretold that “wars and rumors of wars” would be one of the signs that would precede His return at the end of the age (Matthew 24:4–8). Water has long been a volatile issue in the Middle East and regions of Africa, but it is a critical factor in other parts of the world as well. While some fight for power or oil, wars over water could also emerge as populations expand in water-stressed areas of the world.
“After four years of hostility towards NATO by U.S. President Donald Trump, the EU, led by France, wants to become a stand-alone military power… strong enough to fight on its own” (Reuters, November 19, 2020). EU defense ministers are working on a “Strategic Compass” document, described as “the path for the EU to plan, spend and cooperate together in countering next-generation threats.” EU leaders have commented, “Europe is going to have to work out how to do more things for itself” (Deutsche Welle, November 4, 2020).
Each EU nation is also ramping up its own military preparations. France is already carrying out high-tech military training using modern, upgraded military equipment (Defense News, November 19, 2020). In a recent interview, the Vice Admiral commanding the French surface fleet observed, “What we’re trying to do is to permanently improve the equation between our training and the reality of the theaters where we might be deployed.” France is preparing for future wars and developing the ability to win them.
Much of the world no longer sees the U.S. as a military leader, with its willingness to lead seemingly diminished and the gap between its capabilities and those of its rivals seemingly shrinking. As geopolitical tides shift, we appear to be watching not only the decline of U.S. military might and influence, but also the rise of a future European military power.
Scientists and medical professionals have long known that sleep benefits the immune system and reduces the likelihood of one getting sick. Psychology Today reported that “A large body of research shows that when sleep is experimentally shortened by having volunteers restrict their sleep duration, the presence of inflammatory markers in their blood rises and numbers of T helper cells that secrete cytokines and natural killer cells decrease” (May 11, 2020). Without sufficient sleep, the immune system grows weaker and the body cannot effectively fight off infection. The negative effect of sleep deprivation on the immune system has been observed with just one night of insufficient sleep. In one study, people who slept seven hours or less were three times more likely to contract a virus that causes colds than those who had eight or more hours of sleep.
In order to stay healthy and lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 or other infections, we must work to maintain a regular sleep cycle and get adequate amounts of rest. One of the ways to sleep well is to work diligently and include as much physical activity as we can throughout the day. Mental and physical labors give us a feeling of fulfillment, and also tire us in a healthy way to improve our sleep. The Bible notes that “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet” (Ecclesiastes 5:12) and God assures us that “He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2).
Hunger is a problem that has historically been limited primarily to the developing world. But that is changing, due in part to COVID-19. Public school closures and job loss can be blamed for removing both food sources and money to buy food. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, “nearly 26 million adults do not have enough food. Among households with children, the number was as high as 1 in 6 adults” (The Hill, November 25, 2020). In the city of Houston, Texas, “20 percent of adults in the city of 7 million people reported going hungry, including 30 percent of adults in households with children.”
The non-profit organization Feeding America reports a 60 percent increase in food assistance needs since March (CNN, November 12, 2020). It also predicts that more than 54 million Americans are in danger of food insecurity. Forty percent of those seeking food assistance have never sought it before. Other developed nations, including Britain, are also experiencing increased first-time food assistance needs.
God promised the Israelite-descended nations an abundance of food—if they obeyed His laws (Deuteronomy 28:1–4, 11). However, God warned these nations that food shortages and hunger would occur if they turned away from Him (vv. 15–18). What we are seeing now is the start of something prophesied to grow worse if our nations do not turn to God.