NewsWatch | Tomorrow’s World — March/April 2024


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

Who Determines Morality?

Late last year, in a Sunday service at St. John the Baptist’s in Felixstowe, the Eucharist service of the Church of England “included a blessing, for the first time in the Church of England’s 489-year history, for same-sex partners” (Telegraph, December 17, 2023). To be clear, officials of England’s national church—ostensibly the moral authority of the nation—asked God to bless a relationship that the Bible clearly deems sinful (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26–27). In fact, the couple receiving the blessing were, themselves, two female Anglican priests.

While the Church of England claims to be Christian, it is clearly not following Jesus Christ—the One who inspired the laws and commands that forbid same-sex relationships (2 Timothy 3:15–16). Although the Church of England still technically forbids same-sex “marriage,” its leaders have approved prayers for those in romantic same-sex relationships. The event in Felixstowe took place one day before the Roman Catholic Church also approved blessings on same-sex couples (AP, December 19, 2023).

One of those “blessed” by the Anglican minister remarked that “as Christians, we’re clear that the gospel is about love.… [T]here’s more in the Bible about not being a gossip than there is about homosexuality—and Jesus himself never said anything about it.” However, this ignores clear New Testament teachings—both Jesus’ and others’ (Matthew 19:4–5; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Revelation 21:7–8). Jesus Christ also warned of such hypocrisy, saying that “in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

Right and wrong do not change, just as God does not change (Malachi 3:6). In fact, Jesus Christ, who is also the God of the Old Testament, “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What God considers right and wrong, moral and immoral, is solid and unchanging, regardless of what is currently fashionable or acceptable in the Church of England—or anywhere else. The day is coming when a foundation of true godly morality will finally be established in all nations. That time will start at the return of Jesus Christ.

A Growing Culture of Hate

As we observe the war in Gaza, we see the results of teaching children to hate Israel and glorify terrorism from their very young years, even in school (Council on Foreign Relations, May 1, 2017). In response to the violent Hamas attacks, we also see young Israeli rap artists encouraging their listeners to move from despair and mourning to anger (Jerusalem Post, December 16, 2023). Hate is emerging as a driving force for violence between nations on the world stage.

We also see anger and hate motivating mass shootings and killings in locations all over the world—Africa, Mexico, Europe, and the United States. The BBC recently published an article calling for an end to the “culture of hatred.” The article follows the story of a Scottish mother living in Colorado with her American husband and 23-year-old son, who was recently shot and killed by a 15-year-old during an argument. In an interview, this mother rightly observed, “I don’t believe for a single minute that we can change any of the gun laws in America, but I feel that today within the teenage youth there’s a terrible culture of hatred.”

The Bible warns that “in the last days perilous times will come,” saying that men will be “lovers of themselves,” as well as unthankful, unholy, unloving, “without self-control,” and “brutal” (2 Timothy 3:1–5). The Bible reveals that, as society descends further from God, a “root bearing bitterness” or hatred settles in (Deuteronomy 29:14–19). The Scriptures also warn that hatred is a “work of the flesh” manifested in those who choose to live apart from God’s laws (Galatians 5:19–21). The Bible forbids hatred, which is the spirit of murder (Leviticus 19:17–18; Matthew 5:21–22). Children must be taught to love and not to hate. Yet the world will not truly learn the way of peace—love toward God and love toward neighbor—until Jesus Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God.

Middle East Attitudes Are Shifting

For centuries, Muslim Middle Eastern nations have been generally divided along denominational Sunni-Shia lines. The Sunni branch of Islam makes up 85 to 90 percent of all Muslims and the dominant population in nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, while Shias make up only about 10 to 15 percent of all Muslims and form majorities in nations such as Iran and Iraq. The Sunni-Shia divide has been a major source of division among many countries in the Middle East.

However, times are changing. The current war between Israel and Hamas appears to be pushing many Muslims to reconsider their historic antipathy toward each other. In a recent study of Tunisians, survey participants were asked their opinions about other Middle Eastern nations (Foreign Affairs, December 14, 2023). Before October 7, 2023, many Tunisians had increasingly positive perspectives toward Israel and negative perspectives about Iran. But, within just three weeks of the onset of the current war, attitudes there had shifted greatly. Additionally, before the war began there was much friction between Iran and most of its Arab neighbors. Now, Iran has removed visa restrictions on 33 nations, including many Arab states in the Gulf (Reuters, December 14, 2023). Iran and Saudi Arabia have reinstated communications after seven years of silence. And all the while, Israel, who just a couple of months ago was building ties with many of its Arab neighbors, is rapidly becoming an enemy.

Such a shift in Middle Eastern allegiances, with longtime enemies suddenly treating each other as potential allies, is significant. Students of Bible prophecy should take note of such developments, but not be surprised. Zechariah 12:2–3 speaks of the hatred of Israel that will fill many peoples and governments of the world and prophesies that, eventually, we will see that “all the nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

Germany’s Historic Military Deployment

German and Lithuanian defense ministers in December signed a historic agreement (Newsweek, December 18, 2023). Germany agreed to permanently deploy a military battalion to Lithuania—the first foreign German troop deployment on European soil since World War II. This move, to occur over the next three years, will involve 4,800 troops and their families. Lithuania is responsible for infrastructure preparation, and Germany will provide troops and equipment. The battalion should have full-operation capabilities by 2027.

As the Lithuanian defense minister noted, “The German commitment of permanently stationing a brigade in Lithuania is a historical step for both Germany and Lithuania…. We are turning over to a page of even deeper strategic partnership.” Lithuania is bordered by Russian ally Belarus, which in turn is bordered by war-torn Ukraine. He also stated, “The German Brigade will significantly increase our defensive potential and enhance NATO deterrence and collective defense.” His German counterpart pointedly commented, “Germany understands clearly the new state of affairs in security politics: we are taking the role of leadership and responsibility in the [NATO] Alliance.”

Students of history should note this pivotal event. German military undertakings beyond its borders were the genesis of history’s only two world wars. Bible prophecy sheds powerful light on Germany’s role in the future of Europe. It will eventually lead a group of ten European powers politically and militarily. This agreement with Lithuania could be the first step in German troops being stationed around Europe—and even the Holy Land.

Declining Confidence in Western Democracies

In a recent poll, Europeans and Americans were asked if they were satisfied with their national democracies and the EU central government (Politico, December 11, 2023). Results show that nearly 70 percent of American respondents said the state of democracy had declined in recent years, while a similar number of polltakers in France shared the same opinion and 60 percent of UK respondents felt their democracy was in decline. Sweden was the only country where more than half (58 percent) of respondents were satisfied with their democracy. When asked about the state of democracy within the EU government, most respondents were unsatisfied, even though they were supportive of the EU in general.

Many are concerned about the declining respect for democracy in Western nations. Some idolize democracy as the best form of government, yet former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill put such thoughts in perspective: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

All the governments of this world are using humanly devised forms of governance that have never been able to pave the way to peace (Isaiah 59:8). Around 400 BC, the Greek philosopher Plato observed that governments follow cycles of decline—beginning with aristocracy, eventually transitioning to an oligarchy, then to democracy and accompanying anarchy, and finally ending with tyranny under a dictator. The Bible reveals that such cycles will end only when Jesus Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of God—the government that will finally bring real peace to this earth (Isaiah 9:6–7).


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