The Bible and World Events
Many of the world-shaking and world shaping events of the past, present, and future are accurately recorded for us in the Bible. Since "known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" unfulfilled events that are foretold in the Bible are just as sure to happen as those which have already taken place. God will never be embarrassed over failure of fulfillment in those things He has declared are yet to come. "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them" (Isaiah 42:9).
Genesis 1 records for us some of God's "former things" in the creating and shaping of the universe. The heaven and the earth were created in rapid daily succession. God had said what should be — "And it was so!"
Some scientists of our day attribute the marvels of creation to the intelligence of nothing. Things just came into being spontaneously, they say. Nevertheless, they spend billions of dollars seeking to discover the secrets and origins of the universe. They could simply buy a Bible for a few dollars and have an accurate account of what they are looking for. "Professing themselves to be wise they became fools" (Romans 1:22).
The flood of Noah's day was one of God's world-shaking and world-shaping events. The Bible tells us that the waters covered all the high hills that were under the whole heaven.
With the exception of Noah's family the masses of humanity perished. World conditions were drastically changed in a short time. God had said it should be — "And it was so!"
During the building of the tower of Babel, God scattered the self-exalting and God dishonoring people abroad upon the face of the whole earth. By divine intervention world conditions were changed in short order.
Through the overruling of God, Nebuchadnezzar, a ruthless heathen tyrant, was given a kingdom and "dominion to the end of the earth." After an act of self-exaltation and the deliverance of three unyielding young men of God from the flaming fiery furnace, the king humbled himself and called for a worldwide reverence for the true God.
Years later another worldwide proclamation was made after Daniel spent the night in a den of hungry lions that could not devour him. After Daniel's conniving enemies were thrown into the den and were devoured before they touched the floor — "Then King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth...that...men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel" (Daniel 6: 25,26). One never knows what far-reaching, even worldwide, influence a noble, bold stand for God may bring.
God sometimes overrules among nations to get His people where He wants them to be for a special purpose. He sent Joseph through a prison experience to the throne of Egypt for the benefit of a destitute world as well as to save his own starving and destitute family. Joseph's exaltation in Egypt also provides for us a beautiful type of end-time world events that will bring Israel and Gentile nations of the world to bow before their rejected and exalted Messiah.
Perhaps the greatest world-changing event of time was the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world "to take away the sin of the world." Caesar's worldwide decree was arranged by God to bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem (eighty to one hundred miles from their home) at the right time and at the place where it was prophesied that Jesus should be born. With no other transportation available but foot travel it was most unlikely that such a prophecy could be literally fulfilled. But God had said it — "And it was so!" This event brought about a worldwide change in the destiny of souls from "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." It will also make a glorious difference in the eternal ages in the eternal glory world.
The re-gathering of Israel from more than 100 countries the world over and their renationalization in the land of Palestine has embodied world-shaking and world-shaping events. The present loosening of the Soviet Union's stranglehold on Russian Jewry is all a part of these prophetically significant events. In Jeremiah 16:15 and again in 23:8 it is prophesied that the days will come when they shall say, "The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them." Special mention being made of the North in these references may indicate a special significance. The great, atheistic country north of Palestine has in the past taken the same attitude toward Jewish migration from Russia that Pharaoh took in Egypt when he said, "I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." In Isaiah 43:6 referring to Israel's return to their own land God says, "I will say to the north, Give up." God seems to be saying that to Russia today. One news source informs us that in the first four months of 1989, 57,000 Jews were allowed to leave Russia. Thousands are leaving monthly with 400,000 waiting for exit visas.
Today's stepped-up worldwide emphasis on peace, at a time of perhaps the greatest armament build-up in world history, is not without prophetic significance. Paul implies that the great destructions of the end times will be preceded by a "peace and safety" emphasis. In Daniel 11:21 and 24 we are told of a vile political leader, typical of end-time world leadership, who will use a pretentious and deceptive peace promotion to achieve his wicked goals. In verse 27 two kings whose "hearts shall be to do mischief" are said to "speak lies at one table."
In 1931, after Communism had been established in Russia, and with ambitions for global control, "Dimitri Manuilsky declared before the Lenin School of Political Warfare in Moscow that we will begin [war on capitalism] by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtones and unheard-of concessions. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction..."
Recently the President of the United States has been quoted saying that he really believes that Russia's president is sincere in his present peace initiatives. "When they shall say, peace and safety [talk about withdrawing troops and dismantling missiles] then sudden destruction cometh upon them." Peace treaties between nations (there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of them) have never lasted very long. Worldwide peace, for any significant length of time, apart from the Prince of Peace, is a delusion. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21).
Another world-shaking and world-shaping event surfacing today is the warming up toward each other — though once bitter enemies — of Roman Catholicism's and Russian Communism's leaders. It seems prophetically significant that the leaders of the world's greatest atheistic, anti-God political power and the leaders of the world's largest worldwide professing Christian religious body should be courting diplomatic relationships.
In Revelation 17 Mystery Babylon of the last days is shown as a scarlet colored beast (political power) with a woman rider (religious power) who is clothed in purple and scarlet. Babylon, from its inception in Genesis, chapters 10 and 11, is portrayed as a system comprised of atheistic political powers and corrupt religious powers united in defiance of and in opposition to the true God.
We are not here saying that today's leader of Communism and its system is specifically the scarlet beast of Revelation 17, nor that today's Catholicism and its system is the scarlet woman on the beast. Neither is it to suggest that the real, red-beast personality and system, and the real, scarlet-woman personality and system may not yet arise from other, or yet to come, dominating world systems. It is, however, to make mention of the fact that there is in the world today a red political power and a red worldwide religious power that are courting cordial relationships. This might well be in keeping with the spirit of Mystery Babylon as portrayed in Revelation 17.
These and other world-shaking and world shaping events of our day should cause us to turn our eyes heavenward in readiness for the long-promised worldwide departure of the blood washed saints and the little innocent children "of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," to stand before the throne of God and before the redeeming Lamb of God. This worldwide change will take place suddenly — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Until He comes may we be looking and longing for that blessed hope and glorious worldwide appearing "of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." "Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 928).
Aaron M. Shank