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Mr. DeVries is a teacher in Covenant Christian High School and a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church, Walker, Michigan.

 

Introduction 

As Christians today, it is our responsibility to learn what is going on in the world, and to do so with an eye towards understanding the times in which we live. Sometimes the events we notice are quite obviously fulfilling biblical prophecy, and at other times we have to examine events more closely to try to discover a cumulative effect. By doing so, we can better understand the times in order to be prepared for what lies ahead.

Recently, the Associated Press reported that millions of people around the world could face death due to floods, famine, drought, and violence caused by climatic changes, natural disasters, and human acts.

This type of writing is common today. It seems that everything is labeled a “crisis” by the media. This crisis-mentality is often what leads people to look to the government and science more and more for answers. The whole world is looking more and more to human ingenuity as a god for its salvation from crises, both real and imagined.

In the Post-Depression era in which we now live, the first place many turn to for all of their needs and concerns is either the government or technology. God has not instituted the civil government to supply us with our every need or to solve all of our problems; but, bit by bit, that concept has worked into the warp and woof of the average citizen’s concept of the government. Add to this the growing reliance on technology, and it is no wonder that faith in God is being abandoned.

When there are weather-related disasters, economic troubles, housing problems, etc., people seem quickly to turn to the government to bail them out and to find the answer to the problem. Very few nowadays consider this earth to be a temporary home, with an eye to the signs of the times, which indicate its near demise. Few put their trust squarely on God and His Savior Jesus Christ.

As we can see from merely picking up a newspaper, there is plenty in the world that gives reason for concern and that points to the need for a “savior.”


Natural Disasters


Hurricanes have hit, bringing devastation to many parts of the world. The 2005 season produced an unprecedented 28 storms, including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, killed 1,500 people on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and helped push oil prices to then record levels.

A horrific cyclone hit Myanmar in 2008, bringing death and destruction that will affect the region for many years to come.

By June 1, 2008 the year already ranked as the deadliest tornado-year in the United States since 1998. Tornadoes have continued to strike with regularity—affecting also people of our own church in Randolph, WI earlier this summer.

Earthquakes seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. More than 69,000 people died in the 2008 Sichuan China earthquake, as just one example of recent seismic activity.

During recent years, floods and flash floods have caused billions of dollars in damage. Floods are among the most common and widespread of all natural hazards. Even more importantly, they are the number one weather-related killer.

As I write this article, wild fires are raging at various points in the western parts of our country and at spots throughout the globe, including the Greek isles.

The media keep reminding us of food shortages that have driven up the cost of grain, meat, and all food commodities.

A worldwide pandemic is a very real threat, according to world health experts, who claim that it is not a question of “if” but “when”?

In these times of unprecedented natural disasters from the hand of God, natural man responds by looking to technology, politicians, governments, and political unions. But we as Christians must put our faith in God.


Man-Made Disasters


In conjunction with the natural disasters already noted, there are several man-made problems occurring. There appear to be wide vulnerabilities in the global financial system. A case in point would be the actions of a French trader, Jerome Kerviel, at Societe Generale in the earlier part of this year. The activities of this rogue trader caused a 7.2 billion-dollar loss and triggered a global stock sell-off, which points to a widening systemic risk in ever more complex financial markets.

In light of the fact that one rogue trader can cause that much economic upheaval, people are more than willing to accept ever increasing regulation and control by the global economic elites to save us from a coming global economic collapse. A global banking and security system that will promise peace and stability will seem all the more appealing.

Readers in America, who are facing the weak U.S. dollar, high inflation, astronomical gas prices, banking failures, and the housing “crisis,” know that there is a cry for more government intervention and global collaboration by those seeking an earthly, humanistic solution.

And just that is already occurring at an alarming rate. The July 14th 2008 Grand Rapids Press headline story, “Feds are Your Loan Officers,” points out that our government will now be setting terms and standards for almost all home loans and student lending after the recent federal bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Our government will now legally control your mortgages. These events should cause one to wonder what “emergencies” could cause the federal government to call those mortgages due and put you even more under their control. The borrower is always slave to the lender!

Let the Christian beware of putting too much faith in government and political leaders or in international unions to bail us out of every new “crisis” that comes along, whether it be natural disasters, economic woes, or threats of terrorism. It is the feeling of this writer that as we get nearer and nearer to the end of time there will be a significant string of economic and natural disasters that will cause nearly everyone to look for man-centered answers in the form of political unification, technology, and, ultimately, the Antichrist, who will skillfully combine the two. Only the elect will not be fooled, and even that only by the grace of God.


Globalism


Always in the name of peace, economic stability, and security, countries are coming together to form unions. As these groups continue to form and comingle we see a slow but steady march toward a one-world government that will usher in the antichristian kingdom.

Terrorism, economic distress, and food and fuel costs have reshaped world politics. The U.S. hegemony is waning and must now court partnerships with other countries and political groups to combat these pressing issues. These pressures have led us to an increasingly interdependent world.

At the same time that countries are coming together to solve these problems, power is coalescing ever more in the hands of few—closer and closer to a one world leader.

We are all aware of the rise and influence of the European Union, which began merely as an economic union to aide in rebuilding after WWII; but have you heard of the North American Union? When the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. met recently, they underscored the deep ties and shared principles of the three. A task force sponsored by the influential Council on Foreign Relations has developed a roadmap to promote North American security and advance the well-being of citizens of all three countries. It proposes an ambitious vision of a new community by 2010, with specific recommendations on how to achieve it. This plan is outlined in Task Force Report #53 and is available from the Council on Foreign Relations. This is all being planned in the name of peace and safety.

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (I Thess. 5:3).

The same July 14th 2008 Grand Rapids Press also featured an article about the newly instituted “Union for the Mediterranean.” The leaders of 43 nations from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa have launched a Union for the Mediterranean—all of this being a brainchild of the French, of course. Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, not surprisingly, was the only leader in the whole of the region to object to the idea. French president Nicolas Sarkozy called it an “extremely moving, very important moment.” Education, food safety, health care, and social welfare were cited in the article as the reasons for this new union.


Technology


These signs of the healing of the wound of Babel are not new to this generation. Neither are the economic and natural disasters. The thing that makes all of this the more urgent to you the modern reader is that, whereas during previous times of turmoil the technology was not there to govern an entire world politically and economically and to monitor the buying and selling of every individual the world over, now the technological ability is here, and is increasingly being integrated into our society.

The Bible talks of the mark of the beast that everyone in the end times must have in order either to buy or to sell. Not until recent times did people understand how this prophecy could possibly come to pass. There was simply no way that anyone could control the buying and selling activities on such a large scale. Certainly it will be a monumental task to keep track of all men, and their financial transactions, all across the globe.

Today, the entire world is blanketed by GPS satellites that allow us to track anything from our teenager’s cell phone to our golf drive, within a few feet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved, already in 2004, the country’s first radio-frequency identification chip that can be implanted in humans. This VeriChip is being resisted by privacy groups for use in humans as of yet, but has been widely used in animals and has been implanted in humans in Mexico by large corporations forsecurity reasons. With today’s powerful computer capabilities, coupled with the use of the Internet and GPS systems, it would not be a stretch to say that the technologies are in place for a one-world government to track all the movements and financial transactions of all humans.


Knowing What to Do


I do not believe that the people developing this technology are necessarily conspirators purposely developing a system that they know the Antichrist will use for his own wicked purposes. They are men and women who are developing what, to the natural eye, are brilliant ideas for the world’s future. Nor do I believe that today, as I am writing this piece, the technologies I write about are now the mark of the beast. Rather, I see them as being technologies that need to be in place in order for the Antichrist to accomplish his scheme.

As Christians we know that unregenerate man will use these ever-increasing technological options in the service of the antichristian kingdom. God in His providence has given humans the ingenuity to develop these tools and with them to fill the cup of iniquity, so that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will come on the clouds of glory.

We who are in America live in a free and democratic society where the government is expected to protect our privacy, not violate it. Therefore it is improbable to think that our government could introduce such control over its people without there being first deepening financial and/or security crises. This is what will give important pretext for more political unions and tighter and tighter control over the citizens.

As we note the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the speeding of the world toward the Day of Judgment, what must we do as Christians? Must we fight against all political unification and all technological advancement that seems to fit the schemes of Antichrist?

On the contrary, we must submit to the government until it orders us to go contrary to God’s law, and we must utilize modern technologies in the service of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom on this earth.

An important calling as well, it strikes me, would be to show love for our neighbors who have been affected by these natural and economic disasters, by extending the mercies of Christ to those in need, for example the saints in Myanmar, as well as those in China and many in our own country who have recently been devastated. God is known and honored by these acts of Christian mercy in the last days.

As Christians, we must trust in God, not the ingenuity of man, to save us. We realize that God’s judgment calls for the utter destruction of this world, but we have our hope not in this world, but in the next. In response to these unsettling events, those who understand the times must know what to do. We must band together as the church of God in this world and support and encourage each other in the Word of God, while being a light in the darkness of these times.