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Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
With the Afghanistan situation continuing to deteriorate and EU leaders feeling betrayed by the United States, the chaotic exodus from Kabul could become a catalyst to bring about the creation of a long-discussed European Union army. Many Europeans appear to be concluding that America no longer “has their back.”
Euractiv.com reported, “The fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the chaotic international evacuation effort shows that Europe needs to develop its own military capacity independent of the United States” (August 22, 2021). EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, “Some countries are going to have to ask themselves questions about an American ally which, as Joe Biden said, doesn’t want to fight other people’s wars for them.” Borrell favors “a 50,000-strong expeditionary force, capable of acting in circumstances like we’re seeing in Afghanistan.”
Biblical prophecy warns of a German-led European beast power that is not aligned with the U.S. or most other Israelite-descended nations (Revelation 17). In fact, at the end of the age, there will be so much friction between the European beast and these Israelite nations that they will be taken into captivity by the beast! The actions we are watching on the world scene may tie directly to the fulfillment of this biblical prophecy.
According to Dr. Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, the insect population of the globe has probably declined by some 75 percent in the last 50 years. He says that, as a result, “our world will slowly grind to a halt, for it cannot function without them [insects]” (The Guardian, July 25, 2021). Dr. Goulson has written an informative account of the consequences of this decline in his book Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse. The widespread use of toxic pesticides and the destruction of natural habitats contribute to this drastic decline.
Why is this decline so important? Insects pollinate flowers and essential food crops. They play important roles in the food chain when they are consumed by fish, birds, bats, amphibians, and other animals. Insects also play vital roles in decomposing dead animals and vegetation, which is important for recycling nutrients in the environment.
What many do not realize today is that God gave mankind the responsibility to manage the earth and its resources, just as Adam was asked to “tend and keep” the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15; cf. 1:28). However, as the precipitous decline of insects and other creatures tragically illustrates, the impact of human activities on the environment has been damaging and very costly. Yet Scripture reveals that there is hope ahead—a time when the whole creation will be restored in the coming Kingdom of God (Acts 3:19–21; Romans 8:19–22). Insects may be tiny creatures, but they were created by God to play vital roles in the ecosystems of the earth.
Britain, by its own choice, is no longer a part of the European Union. Is Hungary in danger of being ejected from the Union at some point in the future? “The [European] Commission is launching infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland related to the equality and the protection of fundamental rights” (ec.Europa.eu, July 15, 2021). Poland transgressed EU ideology by creating “LGBT-ideology free zones,” prompting EU officials to ask for more information. Hungary has passed “child protection” legislation prohibiting the exposure of children under age 18 to homosexual propaganda. This is viewed as a problem by the EU because such legislation violates what Europe believes to be “human rights.”
In a forceful reaction to Hungary’s law, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that “Europe will never allow parts of our society to be stigmatised: be it because of whom they love, because of their age, their ethnicity, their political opinions, or their religious beliefs.” The Dutch prime minister declared, “Hungary has no place in the EU anymore,” and the foreign minister of Luxembourg openly called for a referendum to be held on whether Hungary should retain its EU membership (The Conversation, July 26, 2021).
It remains to be seen what will come of the current friction between the EU and Hungary. Were the EU to eventually reject Hungary or any other EU member nation from remaining in the Union, it would set a powerful precedent. Biblical prophecy states that there will be a final configuration in Europe of “ten kings”—possibly nations—who are part of an end-time beast power. Currently there are 27 member nations of the EU, but this number will likely change in the years ahead.
British medical journal The Lancet reports that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, “1.5 million children around the globe have lost a parent, guardian or grandparent who helped care for them” (The Hill, July 21, 2021). The study authors note, “Orphanhood and caregiver deaths are a hidden pandemic resulting from COVID-19 associated deaths.” According to the study, one child is left behind for every two COVID-19 deaths, because one or more of their caregivers is gone. Sadly, this situation is not unlike that of the “AIDS orphans” who suffer around the globe.
While media reports often focus on the economic impact and deaths of the pandemic, the faces of young, suffering children are often overlooked. Yet the Bible stresses the importance of taking care of orphans: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Humanity should be moved by the suffering we see around us and earnestly cry out for Christ’s return and the end of suffering. When Jesus Christ returns, the government of God will put an end to sorrow for all, including children.
China is developing a vast global infrastructure known as the Belt and Road Initiative, using shipping, port development, railroads, and highways to increase world trade and generate trade revenue for China. In the last decade, China has spent massive amounts of financial and physical resources on this effort. Now, not to be outdone, “EU countries are finally getting serious about their response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative” (Politico, July 6, 2021).
The EU Commission is now planning several highly visible and “high impact” projects to promote its influence and its economy. While China’s initiative now accounts for $2.5 trillion in global projects to “create opportunities” for trade between nations, Europe is now “vowing to build a ‘globally connected’ EU which would allow the bloc to turn its attention to Africa and Latin America.” Currently, there is no budget for Europe’s effort, but European leaders are very much behind it. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas observed, “We see China using economic and financial means to increase its political influence everywhere in the world. It’s useless moaning about this, we must offer alternatives” (Reuters, July 12, 2021).
Biblical prophecy reveals that a coming European “beast” power will be a dynamic engine of global trade, making merchants of the earth wealthy (Revelation 18:1–3). A future European version of China’s Belt and Road Initiative could factor into this prophecy.