Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
The Caribbean island nation of Haiti suffered another round of chaos as the government threatened to cease fuel subsidies in the midst of soaring fuel prices earlier this year (New York Times, September 21, 2022). This is just the latest turmoil to rock a nation where poverty is rampant and stable government has been lacking for decades. One opposition leader called on crowds to close down local banks, and a well-known gang leader publicly exhorted people to depose the sitting prime minister and “overturn” the system.
Haitian customs officials have cracked down on illegal drug and weapon imports and have increased taxation on legally imported goods. While this has increased tax revenue, it has also angered those who run drugs and guns, as well as Haitian businessmen who rely on revenue from duty-free imports. The prime minister has made enemies of powerful individuals. While inflation in Haiti, overall, is hovering at 30 percent, “the cost of imported rice rose by 40%, cooking oil by 88% and wheat flour by 68%, leaving nearly half of the population facing severe hunger” (MSN, September 21, 2022).
Haiti is a nation used to suffering. But the current rate of inflation in a nation reliant on imports is too much for the average citizen to bear. Haiti is a microcosm of what much of the world may look like in the years ahead, as famine and inflation continue to increase and governments lose control. The situation in Haiti reveals why Jesus Christ must come to establish a just and perfect government.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed his nation will never abandon nuclear weapons (Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2022). His comments accompanied new North Korean legislation authorizing a nuclear strike “if an imminent attack against the country’s strategic targets, including its leadership, is detected” and allowing for the future use of automated systems to launch such strikes. U.S. and South Korean officials verified that North Korea has resumed nuclear testing for the first time since 2017. Although leadership in the U.S. and South Korea has offered to meet with North Korea at any time to open dialogue, North Korea appears uninterested.
With the new law in place, Kim Jong Un announced that his nation will now forever remain “a nuclear-armed state,” regardless of international pressure (European Conservative, September 13, 2022). However, experts fear that a small “misstep” could result in a nuclear conflict with repercussions far beyond North Korea.
Words from high-level world leaders continually increase in aggression as nations appear to stir up other nations. Jesus Christ warned that nations would be capable of causing great devastation at the end of the age (Revelation 9:18), and the second of the Four Horsemen depicts a coming level of warfare unlike any mankind has ever seen (Revelation 6:4).
The area of the Fertile Crescent and “the cradle of civilization,” known for its rich crops and orchards, is drying up (The Guardian, September 7, 2022). The Fertile Crescent runs from the Holy Land, along the Mediterranean Sea, and eastward along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. As one resident of the area noted, the “green land has been transformed into a barren desert.” Some say the water levels in the great rivers have dropped by 50 percent.
In addition to reduced rainfall and poor water management in Iraq, upstream neighbors Turkey and Iran are using up water before it even reaches Iraq. One researcher speculates that “precipitation in Iraq will decrease by 15–20% this century, reducing the water in the Tigris and Euphrates by up to 73%, with grave implications for groundwater levels.” Farms are drying up and water-use policies are not changing to protect the scant resource. As water levels drop, they are also revealing archaeological sites that have been submersed for decades (Al-Monitor.com, August 27, 2022).
News of a drying Euphrates should remind students of biblical prophecy that, upon Jesus’ return, an angel will completely dry up the river, allowing a great army from the east to pass over it and gather with others at the place called “Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12, 16)—before soldiers descend upon Jerusalem and try to fight the returning Christ.
With global recession, global inflation, and energy woes facing Europe, the comfortable life enjoyed by so many for so long appears to be drawing to a close in France (France 24, August 24, 2022). Speaking at a recent cabinet meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron soberly announced, “I believe that we are in the process of living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly because we are living through... what could seem like the end of abundance.”
In Europe, wildfires, growing inflation, and the shut-off of the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia have contributed to a sense that the comfortable life so many have enjoyed is starting to fade away. France, however—with its high dependence on nuclear and hydropower—may fare better than European nations that rely on natural gas or coal from Russia for winter heating. Not only does much of Europe depend on Russia for natural gas—Europe also depends on Russia for 45 percent of its coal.
Biblical prophecies reveal that Israelite-descended nations—including France—will suffer greatly at the end of the age because they have turned away from God and will reap the consequences of their sins (Hosea 8:7–8, 12–14). These consequences will include the loss of homes and fields, as cities become deserted and land returns to the wild (Isaiah 32:13–14). President Macron’s comments are sobering, but they also echo the ancient prophecies of Scripture. Although the immediate future will be bleak, a better world is coming!
Higher prices and slowing global economic growth have caused business activity to fall in Japan, Europe, and the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal (August 23, 2022). The U.S. economy contracted for two consecutive quarters—technically signaling recession—and private sector activity in both Japan and Australia has also fallen. European business activity has also declined.
Global manufacturing fell earlier this year for three months in a row, and the global surplus in inventory suggests manufacturing will not resume in earnest anytime soon. Purchasing Managers’ Index numbers in Germany and France are at their lowest levels since the first quarter of the pandemic. The immediate future shows no signs of a real turnaround, according to the Wall Street Journal: “Economists at Barclays expect the eurozone economy to grow this quarter and then contract in the final three months of this year and the first quarter of 2023.”
End-time biblical prophecy indicates that global finances may come to dire straits before a German-led economic powerhouse rises in Europe and leads the globe to a temporary time of economic prosperity (see Revelation 18). That “peace and prosperity” will then transform into worldwide conflict. The current and growing global recession could help set the stage for a global trade system introduced by the coming European “beast.” It is important to watch world events and follow biblical prophecy so that we are not caught unaware.
Until recently, Europe has avoided high levels of involvement in the Pacific. However, with China’s efforts to control more islands in the South China Sea and its threats regarding Hong Kong, Europe is preparing to act in the region (The Guardian, May 17, 2022). Earlier this year, an agreement was reached to allow European nations to coordinate defense spending across several nations (Politico, May 17, 2022). For the first time, Germany sent a contingent to participate in Australia’s biennial international air force exercise. Germany’s Air Force Chief explained its motivation for putting fighter jets in the South Pacific within 24 hours of leaving their base in Germany: “We want to demonstrate that we can be in Asia within a day” (The Diplomat, August 19, 2022). This not only enables Germany to project its power into the Asia-Pacific region, but also suggests it could act as a “security guarantor” for the region.
Many analysts have noted that the balance of power in the Pacific is changing, and part of this change involves a greater European presence. Germany’s involvement is important to watch. As China flexes its political and military muscles in the region, other nations in the world are getting involved, as well, to counter that influence—tensions that can tie into end-time biblical prophecies. The Bible warns of an end-of-the-age conflict in which a future European “beast” power is alarmed by news concerning activity in the east (Daniel 11:40–45). We may be witnessing the start of a geopolitical struggle that will erupt in the years ahead between these western and eastern powers.