NewsWatch — July 2023 | Tomorrow’s World


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Mark 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!

Deaths from Hunger in Africa

While many people around the globe go to bed content, 40 million in East Africa are experiencing severe hunger (The Telegraph, May 17, 2023). This is 60 percent more people than last year. By July, experts believe one person in East Africa will die from hunger every 28 seconds.

The weather has been unrelenting. Five consecutive failed rainy seasons have devastated regions in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, while, conversely, South Sudan has seen a fifth season of severe flooding. As violence increases in Sudan, another 2.5 million people are expected to become acutely food insecure. Meanwhile, 6,000 people are fleeing the country daily—putting additional strain on surrounding nations. In addition, the World Food Programme has cut its food rations to several desperate nations. Critics blame the West for failing to support needy countries, and some nations are cutting financial support as conditions worsen. Changing climate and war-induced famine are also blamed for the East African hunger crisis.

Today many world leaders “feed themselves” but fail to look out for the people they are supposed to serve (Ezekiel 34:2). In this world of take, many people look out only for themselves and neglect their neighbors. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is going to return to stop the self-centered ways of this Satan-inspired world and will bring seasons of plenty for all. This will be a time when everyone will have his own vine and fig tree (Micah 4:4), and harvests will last into the planting season (Amos 9:13). As tragedies occur around the globe, we can pray earnestly that God will hasten the return of the Savior of mankind.

Border Crises Worldwide

As war in Ukraine persists, the European border crisis continues. In fact, the number of immigrants crossing from Africa to Italy has increased by 300 percent over last year (Financial Times, May 8, 2023). So far this year, more than 40,000 refugees have entered Italy, and many more are expected during the summer months when the seas are calm. In the United Kingdom, last year saw the arrival of 45,000 refugees, and many other European nations are experiencing refugee waves of their own.

Along the southern border of the United States, another humanitarian crisis continues. Every day, more than 10,000 people cross the border into the U.S. from Mexico and farther south (Reuters, May 10, 2023). In the last several years, the number of undocumented immigrants entering the country has surpassed nine million. These migrants are being bussed and flown—often at night and at American taxpayer expense—to different cities across the United States. Many of these migrants and those in other nations hope to leave behind tyrannical governments, dangerous living conditions, and severe poverty as they seek jobs and a better life.

Israelite-descended nations in Western Europe, the UK, the U.S., and other English-speaking nations have been incredibly blessed—thanks to God’s promises to Abraham several thousand years ago. Because of this, they are often among the most popular destinations for migrants seeking a better life. However, Bible prophecies have long warned that at the end of the age, modern Israelite countries will turn from God and His laws and foreigners will rise to higher and higher positions within these nations, while the native-born lose their leadership positions and their countries (Deuteronomy 28:43). As we see border crises intensify around the world, we should recognize that ancient prophecies are coming to pass.

Inflation Gives Lebanese a Taste of the Future

The people of Lebanon are suffering under severe inflation, turning the U.S. dollar into the preferred local currency over the Lebanese pound (Deutsche Welle, May 8, 2023). Prices for goods are doubling, including the price of olive oil—the crucial, locally produced cooking staple. For many, this once-ubiquitous household product is now beyond their financial reach. This is in a country where the national minimum wage for private employees is about $94 USD or €84 per month.

Those with olive groves are keeping for themselves the olive oil they produce, yet, with the increased cost of transportation to olive oil facilities and frequent electricity cuts, even this is difficult. These barriers are affecting the entire olive oil industry, causing live oil prices to soar.

On the surface, the situation with olive oil in Lebanon appears to be a localized issue. But, for students of Bible prophecy, it can be instructive. The Bible predicts that—at the end of the age, as Christ’s return approaches—plagues will strike the Israelite-descended nations and impact the entire world. Some of these plagues are symbolized in Revelation 6 by four riders astride four different-colored horses. The third horse is the “black horse,” representing scarcity and famine (vv. 5–6). It foretells a future when the cost of a quart of wheat will be equivalent to a day’s wages. It further identifies scarcity of wine and oil, which the context suggests is cooking oil. This serious food scarcity has not yet stricken the wealthy, Israelite-descended nations, but it is prophesied to come to them in the future. The situation in Lebanon provides insight into what this future scarcity could be like, especially in regard to “oil.”

Borrower Is Servant to Lender

Many poor nations are deeply indebted to other, far richer nations. A recent Associated Press study of the twelve nations most indebted to China noted that “paying back that debt is consuming an ever-greater amount of the tax revenue needed to keep schools open, provide electricity and pay for food and fuel. And it’s draining foreign currency reserves these countries use to pay interest on those loans, leaving some with just months before that money is gone” (Fortune, May 18, 2023). Of the nations studied, most were devoting more than a third of their revenues to paying off foreign debt. Zambia and Sri Lanka have already defaulted and cannot even pay interest on major construction projects.

“In Pakistan, millions of textile workers have been laid off because the country has too much foreign debt and can’t afford to keep the electricity on and machines running.” In Kenya, the government skipped paying civil servants in order to pay foreign loans. A chief finance advisor tweeted, “Salaries or default? Take your pick.” These financial strains are impacting lives and families.

The sobering reality is that no one knows what will happen in the aftermath of national defaults. What does a lender do when the borrower cannot pay back debt? Will foreign lenders be lenient and forgiving or will they demand something tangible in exchange for money owed? The Bible has long warned, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). As more nations—including major Western nations—default on loans, international relations and national resources will become frighteningly unstable, causing the world to suddenly look very different. Yet Bible prophecies reveal that there is a better future beyond the trials of the present, when peace and prosperity will be available for all. In fact, God has a financial system already devised that will completely forgive debts on a regular cycle!

Europe Feeling Effects of Drought

Over a quarter of the European continent was in drought before summer even arrived (Politico, April 28, 2023). “A key reservoir serving millions of Catalans is dwindling away. A conflict over water triggered clashes in France, where several villages can no longer provide their residents with tap water. And Italy’s largest river is already [in April] running as low as last June.” Rains expected in the coming weeks should help surface moisture and crops but will have little effect on groundwater. As the Spanish prime minister noted, drought “is going to be one of the central political and territorial debates of our country over the coming years.”

France just experienced its driest winter in 60 years. And the winter’s low snowfall in Europe does not bode well for the coming summer months. A senior researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research noted that “if there’s not a lot of precipitation now… then a drought is essentially locked in.” Catalonian reservoirs are currently at only 27 percent as the region prepares to enter an early heat wave.

As if the political climate in Europe is not tense enough with the refugee crisis and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, many experts are predicting water wars in Europe, too. Jesus Christ warned that humanity would experience global conflict and a dramatic lack of essential needs at the end of the age (Revelation 6:4–6). We should not underestimate the impact a lack of accessible water can have on international relations.

Thankfully, there is a future coming in which water scarcity will be a thing of the past! This will be a time when rain falls in due season and even the deserts will “blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1).


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