What in the World
Updated: Mar 1
- With Tammy Summers -
I view February 2020 much the same as I look back on August 2001, or how I would have thought about November 1941 had I been alive during the attack on Pearl Harbor. These dates mark a time in American history when the world changed forever, and there was no returning to things as we knew it.
When I was a teenager, I remember reading the book of Revelation in the Bible the same way I read George Orwell’s 1984—as science fiction. I couldn’t picture any global event—war, natural catastrophe, or even a nuclear bomb—who’s impact could affect the entire world at the same time. This would never happen in my lifetime, I concluded.
And then the Coronavirus pandemic originating in China spread to 180 countries worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.[i]
The one-world government needed to usher in the Anti-Christ also seemed far-fetched. As an American, I had a nearly impossible time picturing a scenario where one body would rule over all the countries. I could see this happening in Eastern Europe or Africa, as in the case of British Colonialism, but could never envision every country being under one ruler.
And then a video appeared on social media in 2020 of American politicians from both parties over the past twenty years talking about the need for a “New World Order.”[ii] China, one member said, needs to be brought into the New World Order; Ted Turner stated that the United Nations should be the global police.
Nowadays, future events predicted by the Bible to occur in the last days sound peculiarly similar to the evening news. Even though there has always been political tension, environmental disasters, and racial division in our country, this is different. Recent events have unleashed chaos in unprecedented ways.
The intent of this chapter isn’t to debate theological positions related to biblical prophecy, or to say that Jesus is coming back tomorrow. However, the apparent connection between current events and future events predicted in Scripture is too similar to regard as coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that God is trying to capture our attention.
Bible prophecy predicts exactly what is unfolding before our eyes. Jesus tells us to be alert and watch for the signs of his coming. If God didn’t want us to know the circumstances surrounding the return of Jesus, He wouldn’t have told us. But He did. There are numerous signs coming to pass in society, nature, technology, politics, and spiritually that are pointing to the Lord’s return.
Since 2014, God has displayed some of the most spectacular heavenly events that we have witnessed in our lifetimes. In Matthew 24, Jesus prophesies that in the end times there will be signs in the heavens that will point to his soon return and lead to the repentance of many.
The blood moon tetrads of 2014 and 2015 fell on the Jewish Feast of Trumpet and Atonement. A total solar eclipse was observed for some of the world on August 21, 2017. Ironically, this solar eclipse coincided with five of the worst hurricanes in recorded history which affected hundreds of thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm hit Texas in late August and caused $125 billion in damages expanding into Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, was the largest Atlantic storm in recorded history and caused catastrophe damage in Antigua, Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, and Barbuda. Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 hurricane, affected Bermuda, Nova Scotia, and the east coast of the United States causing $2.84 million in damages. Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, hit the Dominican Republic causing over 400 deaths. Furthermore, Hurricane Fernanda, a Category 4 storm, recorded the strongest wind gusts on the East Pacific.[iii]
The Bible indicates that the sun, moon, and stars do far more than mark physical time; they can reveal what is scheduled on God’s agenda and his appointed times.
Just as the Scriptures predict, we are seeing an increase of earthquakes in diverse places with greater intensity and frequency. Droughts, fires, and flooding of enormous magnitude are devastating the world. The Smithsonian Institute reported in September of 2020 that there have been more shakings under the earth and volcanic eruptions in the past five years than in the past 300 years.[iv]
Pestilences such as COVID-19, Ebola, and the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) have taken the lives of millions globally. Revelation 6:8 predicts that a fourth of the earth will die in the last days, primarily from hunger. In the poorest areas of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Middle East, COVID-19 is referred to as the “hunger virus” because many more are dying of starvation than from the illness associated with Coronavirus.
The Bible predicts that many will suffer despair in the last days. 2 Timothy 3 reveals how people will be in love with self, pleasure, and money like as in the days of Noah in the Bible where they were drinking, partying, and living in sexual perversion and immorality; then sudden destruction came. We are seeing suicide rates accelerating rapidly. Tragically, an average of 191 people died every day of 2018 in the United States from the opioid crisis.[v]
The globe isn’t experiencing a few prophetic indicators, but a convergence of many signs on the prophetic list.
Those who speak out about the prophetic warning signs that we are watching receive the typical backlash from anti-religious groups, the media, and sadly even those among the church. Jesus warned that in the last days, haters would say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” Many will mock them saying there have always been wars, pestilences, and earthquakes.
God gives us prophecies of the coming events to prepare, not scare. Looking back to the biblical times, God never poured out his wrath before his warning. God gave Noah 120 years advance notice to build the ark before the great flood. Noah and his family entered the ark and closed the door before the wrath of God was poured out upon the earth.
God sent Jonah to warn the pagan city of Nineveh. When their initial repentance didn’t take and they returned to their evil ways, God sent Nahum 150 years later to the Assyrian city to warn them again before sending judgement. Because of God’s character and great love for us, He is warning us now while we still have the opportunity to repent.
The One to Watch
The most significant current events correlating with End Time prophecies are happening with Israel. In the 1980s the automobile maker Renault, headquartered in France, displayed their slogan, “The one to watch” in the rear window of all of their cars. If the world’s stage was a vast expanse of car companies, then Israel would be the Renault Auto Groupe—the one to watch.
The nation of Israel, located in Western Asia on the northern shore of the Red Sea and the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, borders Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. Its population is estimated to be close to 8 million people, and the size of Israel can be compared to the state of New Jersey.[vi] This relatively tiny country is central to understanding prophecy regarding the End Times.
Israel is centrally located in the Middle East—the region of the world which has been in conflict for the last two millennium. Religious wars between Sunnis and Shiite Muslims have been brewing for ages. Saudi Arabia and Iran are engaged in fighting for control over the region.
Ever since declaring its independence as a nation in 1948, the rest of the Muslim world has treated Israel with hostility. Israel continues to rise as the superpower of the Middle East, despite the immense hatred for the Jewish people among Islam, middle eastern countries, Europe, and even the United States.
Why are the Jews so hated by the world? Why are the Arabs surrounding Israel threatening and fighting against their neighbor? What does Israel have that they don’t? The answer is found in Ezekiel 38. The prophecy contained in this chapter indicates that Israel’s enemies are after “the spoil,” not the land, nor to challenge the nation’s religion. The “spoil” equals oil and natural gas. In 2010, Israel discovered over 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, estimated to be worth over $95 billion.[vii]
Israel has solicited countries to invest in their gas fields, building relationships with India, Greece, and Cyprus. These nations are collaborating with Israel on the new gas pipeline that runs from the Mediterranean Sea, through Cyprus, Greece, and Italy to Western Europe.
The list of Israel’s allies continues to grow. Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has recently aligned with Visegrad Group (V4) consisting of the nations of Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia on the issue of energy innovation.[viii] Netanyahu also visited Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia in July 2016 to discuss business opportunities. The relationship between Israel and African countries was strong in the 1960s but was strained by the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and further severed when Israel partnered with the apartheid regime in South Africa before its fall in 1994.[ix]
Israel’s new partnerships around its natural gas pipeline is infuriating the Russians. Russia were secretly implementing their own pipeline project, Nord Stream 2. This pipeline was 93% complete when it came to a total halt after Angela Merkel of Germany pulled out their financial support. Merkel decided to withdraw support from Russia after President Trump exposed her plan and threatened sanctions on Germany.[x]
The United States, who previously provided 22% of NATO’s funding, is applying pressure to Germany—the strongest economy among European NATO nations—because of their failure to contribute 2% of its GDP to the collective NATO budget. The United States is concerned that partnering with Vladimir Putin and Russia on its Nord Stream 2 pipeline would compromise Germany by increasing Putin’s influence over Merkel. Many feel that Merkel is personally receiving kickbacks from the pipeline deal.
Much of Europe is also concerned about Germany’s partnership with Russia. Denmark, for example, stopped the drilling under their territory by rejecting construction project permits in its territorial waters.[xi] European leaders feared that an aggressive Moscow would not hesitate to use the gas supply as a diplomatic weapon. Partnering with the United Sates and Israel pipeline presents a safer and more lucrative business arrangement for European nations.
The Trump Card
Israel’s return to a place of prominence in the Middle East occurred when the Trump Presidency began in 2016, marking a renewed relationship with our top ally in this region. As a devoted ally to Israel, the United States moved the US embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of their nation. President Trump declared Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said to President Trump, “You have the key to the hearts of the people of Israel because of all the great things you have done for the Jewish State and the Jewish people.” Because of President Trump’s love and support for Israel, the religious Sanhedrin minted silver coins with King Cyrus and Donald Trump. (Cyrus was the king of Persia [modern day Iran] who liberated the Jewish people from their captivity in Babylon in 540 B.C.)[xii]
America is reaping the blessings from this new relationship. The word of God is very clear that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed (Numbers 24:9). Israel is the apple of God’s eye. Those who attack Israel will suffer divine judgement.
Additionally, the Trump Administration pulled out of the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal entered into by the Obama Administration, calling it disastrous. The Iran deal threatened the stability of Israel by pushing Iran closer to the development of a nuclear weapon. While some contest this assertion, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC News) reported that Iran’s GDP grew 12.5% and Iran’s falling currency stabilized the year after the deal was implemented,[xiii] providing a boost to the Iranian Nuclear Program. Although Iran prospered during the Obama- era, the United States has applied harsh sanctions on Iran since 2016 in order to pressure Tehran into changing its aggressive behavior towards Israel.
The United States also withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council after Iran was praised by many UN member countries for contending that Iranian citizens are “equally protected by the law.” In contrast, Amnesty International claims that Iran is guilty of crimes against humanity and is a serial abuser of human rights. US Ambassador Nikki Haley classified this move by the UN as part of its “chronic anti-Israel bias.”[xiv]
Psalm 83 shows us how Israel’s enemies will attack in an attempt to wipe them off the map, preventing them from being a nation. Their plan is for the name of Israel “to be remembered no more.” The words of the psalmist are being played out at the end of these last days. Iranian leadership has been threatening Israel for years, calling them a cancerous tumor, swine, racists, and a colonial regime that promotes terrorism.
The major shift in the Middle East in recent times is described by many as a “warm peace” deal. The United States, acting as mediator between the United Arab Emirates–Israel and Bahrain–Israel, brokered a peace treaty called the Abraham Accords at the White House on September 15, 2020. In October that year, a partnership between Sudan and Israel was secured.[xv] More Arab states could soon be added to the list of those who recognize and formally normalize relations with Israel.
This peace agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain is significant to the End Times picture because President Trump did not allow one piece of the land of Israel to be divided as part of this new deal. He and his advisers understand that Joel 3:2 promises judgement for those who divide Israel.
The Palestinians, however, did not agree to this peace deal which would normalize economic and diplomatic relations between the two entities.
The energy wars and middle eastern alliances are playing right into Bible prophecy. Israel is now prosperous, strong, and feeling safe and secure which is required for the onset of the war prophesied in Ezekiel 38, as we’ll discuss in a minute. Before this war can take place, Israel needs to be at the “center” or heart of the world, a condition which did not exist until recently.[xvi]
As Israel continues its ascent, the remainder of the Middle East is imploding. Unprecedented turmoil began in 2011 when then-President Obama backed protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt and encouraged them to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak. Rather than continuing to work with Mubarak to facilitate a peaceful transition of power, Obama went on television the night of February 1, 2011, and said the transition “must begin now.”[xvii] The Muslim Brotherhood—the strongest opposition force in Egypt—moved in to take advantage of the chaos.
The movement, instead of establishing peace and correcting the human rights abuses as many had hoped, sent the country spiraling out of control. Thousands were massacred in the months that followed, including 2,000 killed months later when Egyptian military forces fired on protesters.[xviii]
This uprising in Egypt is only a part of a mass-political movement known as the Arab Spring. The new awareness that revolutionary forces could topple even seemingly stable regimes swept through Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Tunisia. Ruthless dictators “[clung] to their privilege at any cost, including brutal police and military repression, and massacres of their own populations.”[xix] The World Bulletin publication estimates that as many as 180,000 were killed in these revolts, and 6 million displaced.[xx] This movement destabilized the region for decades to come.
In the last days, the Bible says that Israel will become “a cup of trembling.” Their enemies will surround them on all sides. As Israel continues to build a coalition with the United States and parts of Europe over their gas and oil explorations, neighboring countries are aligning against her.
In July of 2020, President Erdogan of Turkey made a radical statement that he is planning to “take back the holy places of Jerusalem” and essentially put an end to Christendom and Israel.[xxi] Erdogan is also making claims that everything conquered by the Ottoman Empire over a century ago rightfully belongs to Turkey. The list of territories includes Austria, Hungary, Greece, parts of Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and parts of North Africa, including Libya and Egypt.[xxii]
This seemingly random act of aggression toward the Jewish nation was sparked when Israel discovered the natural gas surplus. Turkey began desperately searching for their own gas and oil supply in the territorial waters of Greece, asserting that they rightfully own this land. However, the rest of the world disagrees with this unlawful claim and views this unauthorized exploration by the Turkish government as an act of aggression. Because Greece’s military cannot stand against Turkey, this will force the other countries to take sides. Since both Greece and Turkey are part of NATO, there are no natural alliances.[xxiii] Because of this conflict and more, many geo-political experts predict that the Middle East will explode in the coming years, at the same time that Israel is progressing with peace.
It’s evident by the alignment of the middle eastern nations against Israel, that this tipping point is about to spill over into the battle mentioned prophetically in Ezekiel 38. Although experts don’t agree on precisely which nations are references in the text, many reputable scholars would agree that Iran, Turkey, and Russia are part of the collusion which attack Israel.
We are living in a time of chaos and uncertainty. Fear has gripped the hearts and minds of millions throughout the world. The wave of deception in America is unprecedented. Good is considered evil and evil is considered good. Lawlessness fills our streets, as the police force is slowly losing their position of authority and cities burn to the ground. Hatred for “the truth” floods every social media site. People are in love with themselves, pleasure, and money like in the days of Noah when they were drinking, partying, and living in sexual perversion and immorality, then sudden destruction came.
The nation of Israel—as predicted—is coming center-stage in the political arena. Meanwhile, the Middle East is quickly crumbling. The Bible tells us that they talk about peace but make war, with respect to the middle eastern nations.
The United States is on the right side of history when it aligns with Israel. Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure” (NIV).
The world’s political arena has provided us with many signs leading to the soon return of Jesus. He warned us saying, “Nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains” (Mark 13:8 NIV). These birth pains, or “sorrows” as another translation describes, are leading to a moment when all will be made right and the pain of this life will be forgotten.
Are we saying that Jesus is coming back this month, this year, or even this decade? No, we are not. We are simply asserting that the “birth pains” or times of sorrow are increasing, and Jesus’ return is closer than ever before. While He walked the earth, Jesus called out the religious leaders because they could interpret the appearance of the sky but couldn’t read the signs of the times.[xxiv] If we can predict the weather, we should be able to interpret the signals God is sending us through nature to indicate Jesus is coming back soon.
In these crazy days we’re living in, many are wondering—what in the world?
If you found this section enlightening, please check out my book on Amazon: "Through the Lens of Love & Truth: A Look at Christian Conservatism in America." https://www.amazon.com/Through-Lens-Love-Truth-Conservatism/dp/1733562613/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=through+the+lens+of+love+%26+truth%3A+a+look+at&qid=1638830396&sr=8-1
[i] "Coronavirus Outbreak: The Countries Affected So Far," 2020, Clinicaltrialsarena.com, https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/features/coronavirus-outbreak-the-countries-affected/. [ii] "Karli Bone," 2020, Instagram.com, https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEHw75jH8qS/?igshid=8rt9ulb3u87o&fbclid=IwAR3QRT1SubvX_FFTSzCYR0QJc0kJwh4B4h_KctG281J8CyRv7iQEfZKP90U. [iii] 2017, "8 Hurricanes That Struck The US In 2017," Worldatlas, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/8-hurricanes-that-struck-the-us-in-2017.html. [iv] "Global Volcanism Program | Current Eruptions," 2020, Smithsonian Institution | Global Volcanism Program, https://volcano.si.edu/gvp_currenteruptions.cfm. [v] "America’S Drug Overdose Epidemic: Data To Action," 2019, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/prescription-drug-overdose/index.html. [vi] Writer, Staff, 2020, "How Large Is Israel?", Reference.com, https://www.reference.com/geography/large-israel-67caca9bcf7f65ae. [vii] "Largest Natural Gas Reserve Discovered In Israel Worth Approximately $95 Billion," 2010, Haaretz.com, https://www.haaretz.com/largest-natural-gas-reserve-discovered-in-israel-worth-approximately-1.5100884. [viii] 2017, Abouthungary.Hu, http://abouthungary.hu/news-in-brief/israels-prime-minister-benjamin-netanyahu-meets-v4-heads-of-state/. [ix] "Benjamin Netanyahu Begins East Africa Trip In Uganda," 2016, Aljazeera.com, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/7/4/benjamin-netanyahu-begins-east-africa-trip-in-uganda. [x] "Russian Gas Pipeline To Germany Sows Divisions In Europe And Beyond," 2019, Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-russia-nordstream2-gas-pipeline-20190625-story.html. [xi] Ibid [xii] "Cyrus The Great | Biography & Facts," 2020, Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cyrus-the-Great. [xiii] "Nuclear Deal: Is Iran's Economy Better Off Now?", 2018, BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43975498. [xiv] "Trump Administration Is Pulling The US Out Of UN Human Rights Council, Report Says," 2018, The Independent, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-us-un-human-rights-council-nikki-haley-israel-north-korea-iran-a8401281.html. [xv] Davidson, Jordan. 2020. "Trump Secures Third Historic Middle East Peace Deal, This Time With Sudan," The Federalist, https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/23/trump-secures-third-historic-middle-east-peace-deal-this-time-with-sudan/. [xvi] "Ezekiel's War," 2020, Versebyverseministry.org, https://www.versebyverseministry.org/bible-answers/when-does-the-war-of-ezekiel-38-39-take-place. [xvii] "Obama's Egyptian Blunder | Realclearpolitics," 2016, Realclearpolitics.com, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/01/29/obamas_egyptian_blunder_129477.html#!. [xviii] "180,000 Killed, 6 Million Displaced In Arab Spring," 2013, World Bulletin / News From Turkey And Islamic World, https://www.worldbulletin.net/middle-east/180000-killed-6-million-displaced-in-arab-spring-h125344.html. [xix] "The Arab Uprisings In 2020: There Is No Return To The Old Status Quo," 2020, Middle East Eye, https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/what-will-2020-bring-middle-east-and-north-africa. [xx] Ibid [xxi] Johnson, Brad. 2020. "Erdogan Puts Israel Next In List For Conquest," Americans For Intelligence Reform, https://intelreform.org/2020/07/31/erdogans-dangerous-activities-escalating-towards-war/. [xxii] "Ottoman Empire | Facts, History, & Map," 2020, Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/place/Ottoman-Empire. [xxiii] Johnson, Brad. 2020. "Erdogan Puts Israel Next In List For Conquest," Americans For Intelligence Reform, https://intelreform.org/2020/07/31/erdogans-dangerous-activities-escalating-towards-war/. [xxiv] Matthew 16:3