Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
As 2022 began, five of the world’s nuclear powers—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—“pledged to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms and… said that nuclear war is not an option” (Deutsche Welle, January 3, 2022). In their collective statement, representatives of the nations said, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”—echoing, as Deutsche Welle noted, the sentiments of previous international proclamations, such as those made in 1985 by former U.S. and Soviet leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The statement goes on to say that the nations would work toward nuclear disarmament, and that any existing nuclear weapons should only be used for defensive purposes and to “deter aggression, and prevent war” (Reuters, January 3, 2022).
Many saw this meeting as a stopgap measure that will lower the geopolitical temperature. The effects of such discussions, if there will be any at all, remain to be seen. History records that, in 1928, 15 world leaders actually “outlawed” war—not long before the outbreak of World War II.
Biblical prophecy warns that as the end of the age approaches, there will be a lot of talk about peace, but to no avail. Leaders will say, “‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). The Bible also accurately prophesied international meetings in which leaders claimed to be working together, yet whose hearts were secretly “bent on evil” and who chose to “speak lies at the same table”—past events that may yet foreshadow future realities (Daniel 11:27).
Israel will buy three specially designed German-made submarines in a deal worth three billion euros (Deutsche Welle, January 20, 2022). The agreement, with delivery expected nine years from now, includes spare parts and a training simulator to be built in Israel. Germany will cover part of the cost of the project through a grant to Israel.
While Israel has invested heavily in German imports, now Germany is investing heavily in Israel (Deutschland.de, December 30, 2021). In addition to the sub deal, a new accord between the two nations was recently signed that will bring €850 million of German investment into Israeli industries, including defense companies. Many German high-tech and automobile manufacturing firms maintain research and development centers in Israel, and in 2021, several Israeli start-up companies collaborated with German firms. The relationship between the two countries appears to be deepening.
Why is this growing German-Israeli partnership noteworthy? Biblical prophecy reveals that, at the end of the age, a three-and-a-half-year period known as “the times of the Gentiles” will occur, in which non-Israelite nations will control and “trample” Jerusalem (Luke 21:24). These growing German-Israeli ventures could add to future justifications for German-led European nations to intervene in events involving Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
Weather patterns around the globe in 2021 were both astonishingly severe and terribly confusing. In fact, the contrast even surprised some scientists who noted severe flooding in places like China, across Asia, and in European mountain villages (The Conversation, December 21, 2021), while intensifying droughts plagued Canada, Greece, Australia, and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
In the United States, “something in particular stood out: a sharp national precipitation divide, with one side of the country too wet, the other too dry." Storm after storm inundated the east, causing destructive flooding, while almost the entire western U.S. suffered drought and many towns burned. To the north, western Canada experienced a different disaster as it was hit by catastrophic flooding. And then we saw unprecedented and highly destructive tornados tear through central parts of America.
News reports and weather forecasts seldom look to the Bible for reasons behind weather-related events. However, what is happening today is what we would expect to see as we approach the end of the age—especially in Israelite-descended nations. The prophets warned that when those nations turn from God, “disaster will come upon disaster” (Ezekiel 7:1–26; cf. Jeremiah 18:7–8). Because of national sins, God said He will bring rain and destructive mildew on one city and drought and famine on another (Amos 4:6–9)—just as we are beginning to see today. God does exist, and He does determine what happens within and among nations (Job 12:23). Many end-time prophecies foretell not only more severe weather ahead, but other serious trials—especially for those nations descended from ancient Israel.
According to a report by children’s charity Lumos, 5.4 million children live in “institutions that cannot meet their needs and [that] neglect their rights.” These orphanages are well known for exploiting and harming these innocent children (The Guardian, December 14, 2021). This well-documented report reviewed evidence from 84 organizations in 45 nations and highlighted how orphanages are using children to make money through forced begging, prostitution, and entertaining potential foreign donors. Children are also sold or rented out to work for businesses like cocoa farms and gold mines. Some children are even purchased from disadvantaged families and sold to donors at a profit.
In some orphanages, as many as 80 percent of the “orphans” are not truly orphaned, their family status forged by orphanage operators. While the overall number of orphaned children in many nations has declined in recent decades, the number in orphanages has drastically increased. In Uganda, for example, the number of children in orphanages has increased 55-fold since the late 1990s. And in Cambodia, the number of residential-care orphanages has increased by 75 percent in the last ten years.
The Bible warns that, as the end of the age approaches, an increasing number of people will be “unloving” and will also be “lovers of money” (2 Timothy 3:1–4). It is heartbreaking to realize that innocent and trusting children, wholly dependent on adults, are increasingly seen as a commodity—a mere product—by unscrupulous and ungodly people. Followers of Jesus Christ should be motivated to pray fervently for God’s Kingdom to come! The reign of Christ will be a time when children can play safely in the streets, watched over by loving parents and grandparents (Zechariah 8:4–5). The future holds out hope—including for children!
Russia recently tested a hypersonic missile that travels at nine times the speed of sound, and China has recently tested one, as well. Defending against a hypersonic missile attack could include building a faster missile to shoot it down, or building a laser, which travels at the speed of light. Since the 1950s, science fiction stories have featured lasers and other “beam” weapons used to attack others or to defend against enemies. And, as science advances, many once-fictional technologies are becoming a reality.
The U.S. Navy has now tested what some call a “game changer”—a laser weapon mounted on a naval vessel (The Telegraph, December 15, 2021). The weapon worked successfully against both a flying drone and a floating target. The navy sees this weapon being used against “small boats, UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and potentially in the future for countering ASCMs [anti-ship cruise missiles] and ASBMs [anti-ship ballistic missiles].”
Solid-state lasers mounted to ships are surely just the tip of the iceberg in “futuristic” military technology, with many other technologies still under development or not yet revealed to the public. Such advanced technologies are often developed as defensive tools but can easily be used offensively. The Bible prophesies powerful military capabilities that will be deployed at the end of the age. Prophets of the Bible appear to have seen in vision various military technologies and weapons that were beyond their comprehension, resulting in their use of symbolic language to capture the sense of what they witnessed (e.g. Revelation 9:1–19). Yet God’s word is clear concerning the awesome destructive power of these devices in the hands of vast armies. Thankfully, the Bible also makes clear that these technologies will not destroy all mankind, but that Jesus Christ will return to prevent such destruction.