June 16, 2019
Philip C. Johnson, Ph.D.
The last days of Global Next’s 2018-2019 season has come to a close with an incredible conference in Israel with a beautiful group of people. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to assemble a better mixture of individuals filled with a readiness to learn, an ability to connect a few dots and to wonder at God’s promises and unfolding plan. This collection of honestly curious people (ages 17-75 years old) will go home bringing new light and an increased urgency for living to those around them.
Throughout our conference we connected dots and collapsed time in order to recognize who God is, what He has promised, what He has done and what He says He will do. Just imagine being in one place where all the clutter of history and global events is reduced to the point where you can clearly see everything from the creation of man, the fall of man, the promise to redeem man, the choosing of Abraham (from whose offspring, Isaac, would come the blessing of the Messiah and the covenant that the land of Israel would eternally belong to the Jewish people) to the birthplace of Jesus, to the place of His death, burial and resurrection – and finally, the place (on the Mount of Olives) where the Savior ascended into heaven and promised to return to the same place to bring peace to the world and rule the world. When viewed and discussed in this time-compressed way, it is incredibly breathtaking.
According to Christian belief, before Jesus’s promised return, other things will happen: Lawlessness and natural disasters will increase. There will be wars and rumors of wars. Information will increase, but truth will be more difficult to discern. Massive deception will be commonplace and the world will amble onwards towards globalism, a one-world government system and eventually the appearance of a charismatic and deceptive individual who will preside over the most horrific events of the “last days” before the return of the Messiah to set things straight and and bring peace.
It doesn’t take much effort to observe today’s headlines in the media to confirm that our world is changing at lightning speed with norms and traditional values vanishing, and geopolitical triggers just a breath away. Even relocating the new U.S. embassy to Jerusalem – a move made possible by U.S. President Donald Trump annoys and enflames some but brings joy to others. (It brings me satisfaction as it recognizes the reality and truth that Jerusalem is, indeed, the undivided capital of Israel.)
So, if you want a peek at where our world is now and what’s coming – just take a look at a few of these recent headlines from 2019:
“Pope and grand imam sign historic pledge of fraternity in UAE” (The Guardian, February 2019) – Aha…globalism and the stage for a one-world government in its finest form, led by none other than the Pope.
“Europe’s far-right leaders raise voice against migration and Islam ahead of EU vote” (LA Times, April, 2019) The vote has already happened – and conservative groups have increased their seats in the European Parliament. Why the description “far-right” has to be used is confusing – we’re just talking about conservative groups who would prefer to have sovereign control over their own nations and who understand that illegal immigration is a problem and that Sharia Law is not compatible with Western democratic values. Not complicated. Not racists. Not Islamophobic. Not Xenophobic.
“Abortion – the leading cause of death in 2018” (Tomorrow’s World, May 2019) – The normalization of mass murder and genocide of the truly defenseless. But God help you if you suggest that this phenomenon is anything other than simply “women’s reproductive and health rights.” Tell that to the generations that have been murdered.
“Are Facebook’s disaster maps the ultimate government surveillance tool in disguise?” (forbes.com, May, 2019) – It seems “altruistic.” So call me a skeptic, but I don’t need any more organizations tracking my whereabouts. The potential for this to turn out very badly is obvious.
“Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time” (The Washington Post, May, 2019) – Well, of course she has – she’s a chronic snoop and will be happy to record your family conversations, business dealings, health conversations and on occasion, send those recordings to people on your contact list.
“Hezbollah Chief: Israel will ‘pay the price’ if US goes to war with Iran” (AFP, June 2019) – Well, if Iran would not attack U.S. interests, or attack oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, there would be no need for “war with Iran.” Listen – I don’t encourage any additional U.S. military involvement with unclear objectives around the world. And Iran maintains that they are not responsible for this most recent act of violence -but evidence seems to disagree. (And the UK backs up US intelligence.) We’ll have to wait to see who moves next.
“Trump’s Middle East peace plan faces a crossroads after coalition talks in Israel crumble” (New York Times, June, 2019) – Seemingly based on economic incentives for the Arab Palestinians, there’s not much hope that this plan will bring peace. The Arab Palestinian ideology and desire to remove Israel from her historic homeland doesn’t seem to come with a price tag attached. If peace could have been purchased with the promise of a better economy and a brighter future, then it would have already been done – years before the Palestinian educational system baked hatred and war into the hearts of each successive generation.
“Palestinians planning ‘popular uprising’ against Trump’s plan” (The Jerusalem Post, June, 2019) So, while Trump unveils the economic portion of his Middle East Peace Plan in Bahrain later this month, Palestinians are already planning to stage opposition. And if history is any indicator, these will not be peaceful demonstrations of reasonable free speech. Keep your eyes on June 25th and 26th when initial protests are planned.
“Large ebola outbreaks ‘new normal’ says WHO” (BBC, June, 2019) – What? New normal? No thank you. The World Health Organization says we’re entering a new phase and that countries need to start preparing for new deadly epidemics. Great.
“How China could shut down America’s defenses.” (Foreign Policy, June, 2019) – Yeah, that’s a disturbing thought, given China’s control over the rare-earth materials that advanced U.S. weapons are dependent upon. But don’t you worry, Russia is the big problem right now, right? I mean with all that collusion and election tampering… Or was it the U.S. intelligence agencies spying on its own citizens and on an election campaign. I think we all know where the real problem lies. Not that Russia isn’t a concern…but keep your eyes on China, please.
I could go on – but that is enough for now. Bottom line – we are living in interesting times that tend to be moving towards what Christian theology refers to as the “last days,” the days before the return of the Messiah. Those days have existed since Jesus left this earth, but I think we all sense an uptick in the speed of change in our world and a certain geopolitical angst. I suggest that we all pay attention, prioritize wisely – and sort out what you believe, and in whom you place your trust for your future. What could be more important than your eternity? Regardless as to how and when future events unfold, we all share one things in common: None of us are getting out of this alive.