Our world is facing a series of worsening problems. Can we solve these seemingly insurmountable problems? The Bible outlines the root causes and solutions!
Jesus warned of an unprecendented time of trouble—the Great Tribulation—that will come upon this world (Matthew 24:21).
We are not there yet, but it seems we are in a period Jesus described as the “beginning of sorrows” (verse 8).
Every year it seems things are getting dramatically worse.
Are we heading toward the end of this age that the disciples asked about (verse 3)? Or can we reverse these problems?
Geopolitics: America, China, Russia and Europe
The United States
America is in a quagmire of political division and uncertainty. With the two major U.S. political parties at loggerheads and deep divisions among its citizens, world leaders wonder if they are watching the demise of the greatest superpower the world has ever seen.
The United States is not weakening due to external powers, but because of inward divisions and moral decay. It seems that the United States lacks leaders who can chart a course out of its predicament.
In our modern secular world, many have disregarded God’s hand in their lives and chosen to relegate God to the realm of myth and fable. America is going down the same track as ancient Israel, a nation that forgot God. As a result, God has not provided leaders capable of dealing with the challenges.
China and Russia
Other nations see America’s decline as their opportunity. China is building up its military with state-of-the-art weaponry, while the United States is maintaining an aging fleet and lagging in weapons development.
China is confident in its increasing ability to dominate other nations. It warned that interfering foreign powers would “have their heads bashed bloody against a Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.” Meanwhile, China is building around 120 new nuclear missile silos capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. China intends to develop weapons systems to outmatch the United States and deter the U.S. from taking action against China, especially when it decides to take over Taiwan.
Similarly, Russia’s advancements into Eastern Europe and the Middle East have gone unchallenged by Europe and the United States, despite the rhetoric from politicians.
Both Russia and China have progressed by leaps and bounds in hypersonic weapons development, leaving the United States trying to catch up. The speed, maneuverability and ability of hypersonic weapons to fly at low altitudes with nuclear or conventional warheads make them very difficult to detect and eliminate, leaving the United States especially vulnerable.
Many of the 27 countries of the European Union are facing difficulties restarting their economies in light of the pandemic. Their internal divisions on various issues are being laid bare once again. Yet Europe forges forward, trusting in the adage of their founding father Jean Monnet: “Europe will be forged in crises.”
Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). With our supranational organizations and nations filled with division, the only certainty is further divisions that will lead to a more dangerously unstable world. These divisions lead to growing distrust of governmental bodies and increasing violence.
According to the Global Peace Index, demonstrations, general strikes and riots increased 244 percent between 2011 and 2019. The increase in civil and political unrest in many countries will eventually lead to more civil wars and wars between nations.
Jesus Christ warned that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:7). Warfare will increase to the point that unless Christ intervenes, no one will be left alive (verses 6, 22).
Food insecurity and extreme weather
To add to the world woes, the debt levels of nations have risen to alarming proportions—so much so that Deutsche Bank issued this dire warning: “We worry that inflation will make a comeback. Few still remember how our societies and economies were threatened by high inflation 50 years ago. The most basic laws of economics, the ones that have stood the test of time over a millennium, have not been suspended. An explosive growth in debt financed largely by central banks is likely to lead to higher inflation . . . Rising prices will touch everyone.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, severe and moderate food insecurity rose worldwide from 26.6 percent in 2019 to 30.4 percent in 2020.
Around the world, food prices are rising. Reasons for price increases are complex, including rising debt, rising costs for fuel and other raw materials, labor shortages and global shipping container shortages.
The weather is causing food shortages and price increases as well. Extreme heat waves in Canada have caused massive crop damage, with fruit cooked while still on the branch.
Extreme heat and drought conditions are hitting the United States also. Much of the American West is in a severe drought. Farmers are being forced to sell their cattle and leave their land fallow due to a lack of water.
The heat wave is also affecting marine life, with more than 1 billion sea creatures estimated to have died, which may destabilize marine ecosystems. In Florida 800 tons of dead fish and other sea creatures are piling up on the shores in one of the state’s worst algal blooms.
In addition to extreme weather, cybercriminals can also affect food security by attacking critical infrastructure. Brett Callow, a cybersecurity expert, called ransomware one of the “most pressing global security issues,” affecting “everything from national security to food security.”
On the heels of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that halted fuel distribution on the East Coast of the United States, an attack on JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, brought 13 of its plants to an absolute halt. The impact also affected all beef and lamb kills in Australia. July 4 saw the largest ransomware attack to date. One of the hundreds of businesses that were hit was a Swedish supermarket chain that had 500 of its stores affected.
The Texas freeze in February and the JBS ransomware attack showed how vulnerable our modern world is.
Lawlessness, disregarding God’s laws, is the root cause of so many problems today. Overfishing, pollution, water shortages, extreme droughts, wildfires, floods, mass animal die-offs, topsoil erosion, bad farming practices, deforestation, technological failures, terrorism, breakdown in globalization, plagues and far more are catching up to us to create a perfect storm of food insecurity worldwide.
Jesus warned of increasing famines and earthquakes as we head toward the end of the age (Matthew 24:7).
One lesson we can learn from the COVID pandemic is how easily a tiny virus can disrupt our way of life and bring the world to its knees. The pandemic brought the global economy to a halt, leaving nations struggling to get life back to normal. Even now, countries are still undergoing lockdowns in attempts to contain the virus.
It is possible that the coronavirus fits into the warning Jesus gave concerning the beginning of sorrows that would include wars and rumors of wars, famines and pestilences at the end of the age (Matthew 24:6-8).
The first warning sign Jesus gave His disciples was deception: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (verse 4). How can you be deceived? Many will say Jesus is the Christ, but they “will deceive many” (verse 5). Jesus is referring to a counterfeit Christianity with deceptive doctrines.
Behind all this is Satan, who works to deceive the “whole world” (Revelation 12:9). The apostle Paul revealed how Satan appears as righteous and has ministers who appear to be “ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Jesus elaborated that “lawlessness will abound” at the end of the age (Matthew 24:12). The Greek word for “lawlessness” is anomia, meaning “without law.”
Which law is this referring to? The apostle John reveals, “We know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” and those who claim to “know” Jesus but do “not keep His commandments” are liars and don’t have the truth (1 John 2:3-4).
Real Christianity involves keeping God’s commandments.
Lawlessness, disregarding God’s laws, is the root cause of so many problems today. Many ministers teach that God’s law is done away with, and so they have failed to teach God’s commandments or to preach against all sins.
When Jesus returns, He will establish His Kingdom on the earth, and from Jerusalem He will teach God’s law (Isaiah 2:2-3). This will result in the end of warfare (verse 4).
This is the good news that Jesus preached—the message of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15; see our online article “What Is the Kingdom of God?”). It is the message that Jesus Christ will return and save us out of this mess.
May that day come soon!