Matthew 13:37 | “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
The events in Europe and the Middle East have put pressure on Germany to speed up its efforts toward a more powerful and fully operational army. Germany’s defense minister, Boris Pistorius, is pushing hard for the military to modernize as rapidly as possible (Deutsche Welle, October 31, 2023). In a recent interview, he stated, “We have to become fit for war. We have to be fit for defense. And get both the Bundeswehr [Germany’s armed forces] and society ready for this.”
Germany has allocated 100 billion euros for military advances and upgrades and has contracted two-thirds of this amount already. Mr. Pistorius emphasized that it could take three to five years for Germany’s armed forces to be fully up to speed and noted that they are already among the strongest European militaries in NATO. Germany has already moved 1,000 troops to Israel for potential use in evacuation and special forces missions (FAZ.net, October 29, 2023). It is also transferring ships, planes, helicopters, and logistical materials to the region.
Bible prophecy indicates that as we approach the end of the age, Germany will play a far greater role in the Middle East and in the Holy Land. Germany will eventually lead a powerful military and religious effort that will move into Jerusalem and the surrounding area. But it will require strengthening its military and economy to make that possible. The events we are watching now could build toward this eventuality.
Jordan is unique among the Muslim Arab nations in the Middle East due to its extremely close ties with the United States and peaceful working relationship with Israel. In fact, Jordan is one of the largest recipients of American military aid in the region (Reuters, October 29, 2023). Jordan is also the custodian of the Temple Mount located within the boundaries of Israel.
Like many in the Middle East, leaders in Jordan fear that the war between Israel and Hamas could grow to engulf other nations in the region. Along its border with Syria, the kingdom of Jordan is also dealing with Iranian-backed extremist groups who are waging a drug war using drones. Such tensions have prompted Jordan to request Patriot missile defense systems from the U.S. to be stationed along its border.
Will Jordan remain an ally of the West and supportive of the U.S. and Israel? Some passages of Bible prophecy may suggest that, at the time of the end, the modern nation of Jordan in the region of ancient Moab will be a source of protection for Christians seeking to escape the coming Great Tribulation (Isaiah 16:1–4). The precise fulfillment of such prophecies remains to be seen.
For centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem, the biblical Pool of Siloam mentioned in the gospel accounts of the Bible lay covered, hidden under silt and debris. In 2004, work by an Israeli water company uncovered steps of the ancient pool near the Temple Mount (Fox News, September 7, 2023).
Last year, Israel Antiquities Authority excavators unearthed the steps to the pool, which was apparently over an acre in size at one point, and authorities plan to make the pool available to the public. This is the famed pool where Jesus Christ healed a blind man (John 9:6–12). The actual existence of this famed pool supports both the credibility of the Bible accounts and the ancient tie the Jews have to the land and, specifically, to Jerusalem. As one evangelical leader noted of the discovery, “Theologically, it affirms Scripture, geographically it affirms scripture, and politically it affirms Israel’s unquestionable and unrivaled link to Jerusalem. Some discoveries are theoretical. This one is an undeniable. It is proof of the story of the Bible and of its people, Israel.”
At a time when the validity of the Bible is being questioned repeatedly and when many continue to question Israel’s link to the Holy Land, history and archaeology continue to present factual support for both. The Bible is truly inspired by God.
In the latter part of 2023, devastating events occurred around the Mediterranean. Libya saw massive flooding as intense rain of more than 16 inches (40 cm) over two days caused dams to break (AP, September 13, 2023). In the coastal city of Derna, over 11,000 people were reported dead and thousands more were still missing (Euronews, September 15, 2023). Aside from the driving rains, officials are blaming the catastrophe on the government’s neglect of dam maintenance.
To the west in Morocco, a major earthquake registering 6.8 struck last week near an area very popular with tourists (BBC, September 10, 2023). The quake killed more than 2,900 people and injured more than 5,600. Meanwhile, some are calling the recent wildfires in Greece the largest ever recorded in the European Union. The fires in Greece were followed by major flooding in Italy. These catastrophic events have turned the Mediterranean into a zone of tragedy.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ foretold climactic events in human history that would eventually grow to dwarf all others that had come before. As rescuers in the Mediterranean region search for survivors and citizens seek to rebuild their lives, students of Bible prophecy should be moved both to compassion and to consider Jesus’ admonition, “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:37). As assuredly as these sobering disasters are changing life for tens of thousands in the Mediterranean, the disasters to come will forever change all of humanity—and, literally, even the face of the earth!
Roughly six billion metric tons of sand are dredged from the sea floor each year (BBC, September 5, 2023). As one analyst noted, this is equivalent to one million dump-truck loads each day! The majority of sand dredging occurs off the east coast of America, in the North Sea, and in the South China Sea. The majority of dredged sand is used to make concrete and glass. It is also used for constructing roads, dams, and even solar panels.
Some sand dredgers work as gigantic vacuum cleaners, sucking up sand and the microorganisms that live in the sand, many of which provide food for other marine life. According to some experts, this dredging is “basically sterilising the bottom of the sea by extracting sand and crunching all the microorganisms that are feeding fish.” Sometimes the ocean floor is dredged all the way to the bedrock below it, and when this happens, it prevents marine life from being able to recover.
We live in a complex world where human civilization relies on many different types of products built from various materials harvested from God’s creation. As global consumption grows, these source materials can be depleted. While sand appears to be inexhaustible, it is also critical to maintaining a biological balance in nature. When companies focus only on their income and fail to consider the broader impacts of their business model, suffering occurs—and in the case of sand dredged from the sea, the broader creation is affected. The Bible reveals how all of creation “groans” and eagerly waits for the return of Jesus Christ and His saints (Romans 8:19–24). Only then will mankind become truly responsible stewards of God’s creation.
China claims to be neutral in the Ukraine war. However, customs records and other commonly reported data show that Russia is importing large numbers of drones, bulletproof vests, helmets, and weapon-making materials from China in very large quantities—quantities not seen before the start of the war in Ukraine (Politico, July 24, 2023). As of the end of July, Russia had imported over $100 million worth of Chinese drones. For Chinese companies to sell military equipment, the Chinese military must approve the sale.
In August, the Russian defense minister traveled to North Korea, reportedly with the intent of convincing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to sell Russia artillery ammunition (Financial Times, September 5, 2023). At the time of this writing, the intelligence community expects North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, “to travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss weapons sales to Moscow.”
These burgeoning ties could have prophetic significance. A common foe often encourages nations to draw closer together and establish stronger ties. Bible prophecy foretells a tremendous 200-million-man army from the East that will fight against the future German-led European “beast” power in a cataclysmic confrontation (Daniel 11:40–44; Revelation 9:16–19). What will bring highly populous and militarily capable nations from the east of Jerusalem together to eventually create such an army? What nations may be part of this unimaginable force? As we watch world events unfold, they should not be viewed only from the perspective of politics, as there is often an important prophetic perspective.