Matthew 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
In the past, Germany has been reluctant to share military technology with other nations. However, the war in Ukraine is changing things (Politico, August 1). In January, Germany finally agreed to send 18 of its Leopard 2A6 high-tech battle tanks to Ukraine. Until then, Germany’s talk about Zeitenwende—the historic shift in the nation’s military and defense policy, promised in early 2022 by Chancellor Olaf Scholz—had been primarily just that: talk. Yet sending 18 tanks to Ukraine created an opportunity to not only build more tanks to replenish Germany’s armaments, but also establish a common European armaments strategy.
Poland recently ordered tanks from both the United States and South Korea (over 1,200 tanks in all). Yet, this order of mixed products creates maintenance, communal training, and supply chain issues. Having a common defense platform streamlines production, maintenance, and training. Following Germany’s announcement to provide tanks, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Italy have lined up to obtain, collectively, more than 250 German tanks in the years ahead. The Czech Republic plans to establish its own production line to help fill the order, and so may Italy. Norway ordered 54 German tanks earlier this year, and Germany will also be replacing more of its own Leopard tanks.
As more German battle tanks are built and used by European nations, we may begin to see even more cooperation and sharing in the development of defense technology on the continent. Bible prophecy reveals that Germany will lead a European political, military, and economic power that will dramatically affect the entire world. The Bible refers to this future superpower as “the beast” (Revelation 13; 17).
A human rights organization working in China has reported that one Chinese province is now requiring churchgoers to register with a smartphone app developed by the provincial Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission (EWTN, March 7). “According to ChinaAid, applicants must fill in personal information, including their name, phone number, government ID number, permanent residence, occupation, and date of birth before they can make a reservation. Those who are allowed into a place of worship must also have their temperature taken—suggesting the app may be related in some way to COVID-19 restrictions—and show a reservation code.”
What begins with China could spread to other nations. The Bible indicates that a German-led “beast” power will control much of Europe at the end of the age. This economic, religious, and military superpower will work to control in some way who can buy and sell. A mandated day of worship is likely to play into this mechanism of control. Only those in compliance, bearing the “mark of the beast,” will be able to function freely in society (Revelation 13:11–18). While such technology is not itself the “mark of the beast,” it presents an interesting possibility concerning one of the ways measures of control may be implemented by the “beast” in the years ahead.
It has been over a decade since the meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor. Since then, water used to cool the hot nuclear reactor has been stored in massive storage ponds. Now, The Guardian reports that Japan is preparing to release over 1.3 million tons of radioactive water into the environment—a plan already approved by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (July 23). However, some fish found near the Fukushima plant contain levels of radioactivity that are exponentially higher than those approved by the government.
In reaction to this, Japanese seafood from the region is facing boycotts. About a month ago, “China began blanket radioactivity testing of Japanese seafood imports… leading some wholesalers to cease handling such produce from Japan.” A fish with high radioactivity concentrations was found as far away as 50 kilometers from the plant. South Korea and some other Pacific Island nations are also concerned by Japan’s pending release of contaminated waters. No one knows exactly how these waters will impact the ocean environment.
As mankind develops more innovative sources of energy, those sources often carry with them great destructive potential. On our own, we simply lack the wisdom and insight of our Creator! It is only under the wise guidance and loving reign of Christ that mankind will develop truly safe and clean technologies.
The war in Ukraine is shaking up politics and military planning throughout Europe—and it is worrying nations on Russia’s periphery. In late June, Germany announced that it would send 4,000 troops to Lithuania (Politico, July 4). Not long afterwards, the Romanian prime minister “urged German Chancellor Olaf Scholz… to further boost NATO’s eastern flank by sending over German troops to his country ‘soon’ and ‘permanently.’” The urgency in the prime minister’s request was palpable, as the sounds of war echo near the border his country shares with Ukraine.
Less than a century ago, it was the sound of German artillery that echoed across Europe. Now, many of the same nations who once feared Germany are turning to their more prosperous and powerful neighbor for military protection. However, this should be no surprise. Bible prophecy indicates that a German-led European “beast” power will lead Europe again in the not-too-distant future. This powerful military and economic force will lead a group of “ten kings”—leaders of nations that are willing to submit to Germany’s power over them (Revelation 17:12–13). If more nations request the presence of the German military on their own soil, students of Bible prophecy should take note.
“It’s my life and I can do with it what I want to” is a common mantra in Western society. Yet, in recent years that mantra has taken on a grave twist. With the legalization of euthanasia—what some have called “mercy killing”—people are increasingly allowed to commit suicide with the help of their doctor. And in some countries, the reasons given to justify this seem increasingly trivial.
In 2002, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to allow doctors to kill patients who desired suicide as long as the patient satisfied certain “strict” conditions (AP, June 28). But those conditions have become increasingly loose and vague, allowing suicide by individuals with autism or intellectual disabilities merely “because they said they could not lead normal lives.” Several years ago, the Dutch government moved to allow euthanizing children under age 12 with terminal illnesses (BBC, October 14, 2020). One must ask—just what is the primary goal here? Benefitting the suffering child, benefitting the suffering parents, or reducing the medical burden on society?
Mankind has a strong tendency toward playing God. Yet the Bible makes clear that God, not man, is the Life-giver. He alone has the power and authority to give and to take life. When human beings take the life of another human being, it is called “murder”—something God strictly forbids (Exodus 20:13)—and suicide is essentially self-murder.
Watching someone suffer is very difficult, but it never warrants taking God’s prerogatives into our own hands. Suffering reminds us that we do not live in God’s world, but in a world currently ruled by the “god of this age”—Satan, the devil (2 Corinthians 4:4). However, there is a world coming in which suffering will cease: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain” (Revelation 21:4). That is the world we seek, not the panacea provided by assisted suicide. But that world requires the return of Jesus Christ to make it a reality.
According to a high-ranking Church of England official, Jesus’ model prayer—commonly called the “Lord’s Prayer”—is dangerously biased toward patriarchy. The Guardian quoted the Archbishop of York when it reported that the “opening words of the Lord’s Prayer, recited by Christians all over the world for 2,000 years, may be ‘problematic’ because of their patriarchal association” (July 7). Although he does not speak for the whole of the Church of England, the archbishop’s comments reflect rising moral confusion in the organization and beyond. Those who claim to lead others in Christ’s name should understand the foundational principles of the Bible, but many religious leaders today are increasingly influenced by the moral degradation of society.
The Bible clearly says that God is a Father, and Jesus punctuated this fact when He taught His disciples to pray (Matthew 6:9). Christ did not teach us to pray to “the great deity” or to some intentionally vague sense of God. Rather, He taught us explicitly to pray to “Our Father in heaven.” Although this clear reference to a father figure is uncomfortable to a growing number of people in Western society, it is a clear biblical teaching, and it relates to God’s plan to build a family! He desires “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). God is the Father, while Jesus Christ is the Son and the Groom who will one day marry His Bride, the Church (Revelation 19:7–9). And Christ, in the role of husband, is “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22).
A clear family structure is laid out in the pages of the Bible, and that family structure has as its highest authority God the Father, the head of His family (Ephesians 3:14–15). The Bible warns about those who profess to be wise, yet have become fools (Romans 1:22). We are also warned in the Scriptures that if those who claim to be of God “speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). The Bible reveals what God’s family looks like and how it should function.