Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
On December 14, 2022, American President Joe Biden signed a piece of legislation—the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA)—that seeks to protect same-sex “marriage” in the United States. In his celebratory remarks, the president declared, “This law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms” (Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2022). The signing of the new law was marked by a celebration at the White House.
More than 70 percent of adults in the U.S. now favor same-sex “marriage.” We are witnessing a turning point in the history of Western civilization. Just 26 years ago in 1996, the American congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which legally defined marriage as union between one man and one woman, as God states in the Scriptures (Genesis 2:21–25). The Bible also labels homosexuality a serious sin (Leviticus 18:22; 1 Timothy 1:9–10; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10). Yet today, the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” disrespects marriage by rejecting these biblical instructions.
However, few in our modern secular society grasp the prophetic significance of this major turning point. Jesus said that conditions at the end of the age would be like those in ancient Sodom (Luke 17:28–30), a city God destroyed for many sins, including the abomination of homosexuality (Jude 7; Ezekiel 16:49–50). The Apostle Paul warned that there would be a great rebellion against God just before the return of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Moses warned the Israelite-descended peoples that in the “latter days” they would become utterly corrupt—calling good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20)—and would bring upon themselves the wrath of God (Deuteronomy 31:29).
While many Western societies are rejecting traditional marriage, science continues to prove its value. WebMD.com reported in November on a new study from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, that has demonstrated that, among those under age 55 who experience a heart attack, those with happy marriages had a better recovery, while “those who had the most stressful marriages were more likely to have more frequent chest pain or be readmitted to hospital in the year following their heart attack.” When compared to people in many other categories, those with unhappy marriages had the worst recovery from heart attack of any group. Those reporting moderate to severe marital stress were 67 percent more likely to report chest pain and nearly 50 percent more likely to be readmitted to the hospital (Independent, November 1, 2022).
Results from another recent study, this time from Michigan State University, discovered that the primarily female hormone oxytocin may actually help regenerate heart cells (Independent, September 30, 2022). Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love chemical,” is produced when two people show affection towards each other. It is also released when a mother breastfeeds her baby and during labor. Scientists are learning that exposure to the chemical may increase healing after a heart attack—and this hormone is more prevalent in those with happy marriages.
God is the author of marriage, and He designed it to bring physical and emotional blessings. Those blessings come when a husband and wife work together to have a happy, godly marriage.
According to a recent study from the UK Office for National Statistics, “For the first time in a census of England and Wales, less than half of the population (46.2 percent, 27.5 million people) described themselves as ‘Christian.’” This is a 13 percent drop since 2011. The next most common response category (37 percent) was “no religion.” This has prompted some to suggest that England is one of the least religious countries in the world (Telegraph, November 29, 2022). While the percentage of those who identify as “Christian” has dropped precipitously since 2000, those who identify as Muslim and Hindu have increased. Also, according to the same study, Satanism and devil worship is on the rise as well.
England and Wales are not alone. Similar declines in numbers of those claiming to be “Christian” are occurring in the United States, Australia, Canada, and many other Western nations—and this should be no surprise. As the people of these nations continue to move further and further away from the principles taught by God’s word, the result is a society in moral free fall.
Bible prophecy reveals that at the end of the age, Israelite-descended nations of the West will reject biblical morality and become utterly corrupt (Deuteronomy 31:29)—they will forget God and reap serious consequences as their own actions punish them (Hosea 4:6; Jeremiah 2:19).
For years researchers have known that living life with a sense of purpose and meaning helps people live longer, happier lives (Medical News Today, November 21, 2022). A new study of over 13,000 people 50 years old and older clarifies the power of this effect even more. According to the study results, “those with the strongest sense of purpose lowered their risk of death by 15.2 percent compared to people with the least sense of purpose.” Moreover, Boston University researchers report that “having a purpose lowers the risk of all causes of mortality [that is, death by any cause], regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity,” meaning that the benefits of living life with a sense of purpose are available to everyone! The longevity benefits of having a sense of purpose were more pronounced among women, decreasing their all-cause mortality rate by 34 percent, versus a 20 percent drop for men.
People with a greater sense of purpose tend to be less bothered by stress and less worried. They also tend to engage in other health-promoting behaviors, such as regular physical activity.
In the light of modern research, it is interesting to note what the Bible reveals about a sense of purpose. Jesus Christ taught that we should “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). King David wrote in a song to his Maker, “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Psalm 119:165). Understanding the ultimate purpose for mankind enables us to look beyond the stresses of today: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
According to the United Nations, one child is admitted to the hospital or clinic for treatment of severe malnutrition every minute of every day, on average (Deutsche Welle, November 22, 2022). In Somalia, where almost half the population “urgently needs food,” many cases arriving at the clinics are children in the last stages of starvation and some are beyond medical help. Experts blame climate change and Islamist extremists for the increasingly dire situation.
Somalia is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, and more than 7 million people need food aid. Drought and conflict have displaced 1.6 million people. More than half a million children are acutely malnourished, which means that if they don’t eat soon, they will die. Tragically, no food aid can even enter some regions of the country because of armed conflict in them. And al-Shabab, the extremist group responsible for the conflict, does not seem interested in helping the starving people.
Today, the world is filled with strife, suffering, and starvation. It is rife with leaders who seize power caring only about themselves and not about those whose lives are in their hands. However, the trauma and selfishness of this present age is prophesied to end in the not-too-distant future. Jesus Christ is going to return as the King of kings to set up His lasting and abundant kingdom over the earth, and the suffering and starvation of today’s world will become a thing of the past (Psalm 72).
A recent U.S. study of more than 1,900 people highlights what many already know about society today—people are becoming more and more impatient. Jay Baer in cooperation with StatSocial released “Time to Win: The 2022 Consumer Patience Study.” The study found that consumers expect results quickly and are increasingly disappointed if they have to wait.
The study found that older consumers were more patient than younger ones. While Baby Boomers had the lowest expectations for quick responses, those of Gen Z (born in the late 1990s to early 2000s) had the highest expectations that businesses would respond quickly. The survey also revealed that men are less patient with businesses than women, and 64 percent of respondents said speed and responsiveness is “just as important” as price. According to the report authors, “Despite companies investing in a lot of online and offline signage and mea-culpas, pleading for patience, customers largely are unsympathetic to these delays. Eighty-three percent of customers expect businesses to respond as fast or faster than before the pandemic.”
Growth of an “I want it now” attitude is very much a symptom of the selfish “Me first” attitudes prophesied to grow at the end of the age (2 Timothy 3:1–5). In contrast to modern attitudes, the pages of the Bible consistently warn of the consequences of impatience and haste (Proverbs 14:29; 29:20) and highlight the importance of being patient (Ecclesiastes 7:8; James 5:7–8). As we begin to understand the prophetic significance of growing modern mindsets, we can move in a different direction and seek the benefits of patience.