Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
Pakistan has been experiencing widespread flooding, along with a host of other challenges (Reuters, September 22, 2022). Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and forced to live in open plains as floodwaters cover large swaths of land. As a result of the stagnant water, mosquitos are breeding rapidly, and malaria is spreading. In one week, there were more than 44,000 new cases of malaria and one in four people screened for malaria test positive.
Lacking fresh water, people are drinking stagnant water to stay alive. This will lead to diarrheal disease and subsequent death, especially among the elderly and small children. Typhoid is also spreading rapidly. The recent flooding has affected 33 million people in Pakistan. Aid is slow to arrive, and some estimate it will take $30 billion to restore the situation to normal.
Neither the government of Pakistan nor its rural inhabitants are equipped to handle widespread flooding. While the nation’s leaders have pledged some funding for food and water, money and supplies will run short, and global weather catastrophes are forecast to continue in the years ahead. Ultimately, it is God the Creator who controls the weather, and whose helping hand we should seek in such times as Pakistan is facing. In the Bible, God associates “rain in its season” with following His laws (Leviticus 26:3–4)—and negative consequences for ignoring those laws (Leviticus 26:14–16, 31–32).
Missiles have begun to fly in a troubled region on the coast of Asia. According to a Reuters report, “North Korea fired multiple ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday” (November 3, 2022), the latest in a record year of missile testing by the nuclear-armed North. One of the missiles launched was thought to have been a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile. In response to the apparent ICBM heading toward their island, Japanese officials directed citizens in the north of the country to shelter indoors (The Guardian, November 2, 2022). Trains were also temporarily stopped over concerns that the missiles could fly overhead.
The North claims that their launches are in response to recent joint U.S. and South Korean military air exercises, their largest ever in the region. As many as 240 aircraft, including the advanced F-35 fighter jet, were involved in over 1,600 sorties. In response to the barrage of missiles from the North, the allies extended their air exercises instead of ending them. The exercises are “designed to deter North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.” The North Koreans described their launches as a simulated attack on South Korea and the United States (Reuters, November 6, 2022).
Experts warn that if any mistakes are made, it could trigger a larger and potentially devastating event. The actions by all parties in this turbulent region are helping to polarize the world to an even greater degree. The Bible reveals that human beings simply do not know the way to peace (Isaiah 59:8), and that only the return of Jesus Christ will finally bring true peace to this earth (Isaiah 9:6–7).
In recent years, France and Italy have worked closely in a “Franco-Italian axis,” founded primarily on the close personal relationship between France’s president Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s former prime minister Mario Draghi (Politico, October 27, 2022). Now, with Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni—historically anti-French in her positions—the Franco-Italian axis is being threatened.
At the same time, the relationship between France and Germany—often referred to as the “engine” powering the European Union—is under increasing strain. After a long-planned meeting between French and German representatives was abruptly rescheduled, the German newspaper Deutsche Welle observed, “The French-German relationship is in crisis again and this time, the spat seems more serious than usual.” It also comes at a critical time, as it undermines the EU’s ability to act in a crisis (October 26, 2022). Leaders of the two nations have clashed on how to handle the energy crisis, as well as on the issue of defense (Politico, October 26, 2022). Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz had a working lunch to discuss their differences—a lunch that was apparently productive (The Local, October 26, 2022).
Biblical prophecy indicates that relations in Europe at the end of the age will be tenuous—resembling a mixture of iron and clay (Daniel 2:40–44). The Bible also indicates that the relationship between Israelite-descended nations and the German-led “beast” power will deteriorate, resulting in the captivity of many—and France is an Israelite-descended nation. Will the recent Franco-German spat grow more serious, or is it just a temporary bump in the road?
While much of the world is focused on the fighting in Ukraine, there are serious conflicts elsewhere—such as in Africa. According to The Telegraph, “Ethiopian federal forces, Eritrean soldiers and allied ethnic militias have been battling Tigrayan rebels in a desperate infantry war on four fronts across the Tigray region’s mountainous terrain since a fragile ceasefire shattered in late August” (October 3, 2022). The conflict involves hundreds of thousands of troops, with both sides accusing each other of using “human wave” tactics costing vast numbers of lives. Tens of thousands have died in the past few months alone as fighting has increased. Troops on both sides have observed that the violence has reached unprecedented heights compared to the previous two years of the conflict.
The Telegraph reports that “full-scale war is tearing the region apart again. Eritrea, a totalitarian state of about 6m, which used to be part of Ethiopia, has launched a general mobilisation calling up men in their 50s to fight.” The fight is pulling in many other nations: “Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan and now increasing signs that forces from as far away as Chad, Niger and Libya may also be playing a role.” Experts warn that the whole horn of Africa could be pulled into and devastated by the conflict, seen by analysts as possibly “the deadliest war in the world” and dubbed by one, “Africa’s next World War.”
The Apostle James noted, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1). Much war is rooted in human self-will. This world is in desperate need of godly leaders who put the needs of their people before themselves. However, a time is coming when wars will cease (Isaiah 2:2–4).
India is one of the few nations in the world that did not criticize Russia’s military actions in Ukraine (Deutsche Welle, November 8, 2022). Foreign ministers from India and Russia have been engaged in ongoing discussions of closer trade ties and cooperation in the areas of space travel and nuclear energy.
According to the Russian foreign minister, “We discussed in detail the state and prospects of military-technical cooperation, including joint production of modern arms.” In his first visit to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, the Indian foreign minister was accompanied by “senior officials from agriculture, petroleum and natural gas, ports and shipping, finance, chemicals and fertilizer, and trade.” As part of the meetings, India also pledged to continue buying Russian oil. Twenty-three percent of India’s oil imports now come from Russia (Reuters, November 8, 2022). India is one of just a few nations that have a good relationship with both Russia and the West.
Scripture indicates the rise of a massive war-making power east of Jerusalem at the end of the age (Revelation 9:13–19). This army will likely consist of forces mustered by several large and powerful nations—and Russia, India, and China could be sources for those future troops. If these nations are to work together in the future, closer relationships between them must develop. As we watch world events, we see the bonds between these nations growing tighter.
Deutsche Welle reported in October on interesting new methods of dating the past. Archaeologists use historical documents, pottery, and other cultural items to establish timelines for ancient civilizations (October 31, 2022). Still, these methods are prone to error. For example, when pottery is used to establish a date, the deeper the pottery is buried, the older it is believed to be. But this assumption is simplistic and often yields an imprecise measure.
Recently, scientists from Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem published findings employing a new dating technique. Using stones burned in fire and a process called archaeomagnetic dating, they were able to more precisely determine the year that a fire burned a Judean city. The dating method uses metal particles in the rock and the earth’s magnetic field. Findings from the research revealed the fire that burned the Judean city occurred roughly 80 years earlier than archaeologists had previously thought. The new technique holds promise for more accurately matching historical findings to biblical records.
For most people, the dating of biblical events has little relevance. However, for those interested in demonstrating the historical accuracy of Scripture, precision in dating is vital—helping to prove that the Bible is not a book of myths and legends, as so many today wrongly assume. As time goes forward, God is allowing mankind to discover additional tools to establish the accuracy of His word!