Daily, disturbing reports are presented in the news media of impending calamities in this world. One must ask himself, “How do these fit in with the signs of the times? How do they indicate the nearness of the coming again of Christ?”
We know, of course, that before Christ returns, the antichrist must appear (II Thess. 2:8-10). In some ways, that coming of the antichrist seems far in the future—still, events today indicate that perhaps such coming is not far away.
Recently, I read a report in Time on the economic crisis of our time. This was related to the so-called “oil crisis” as well as to other problems of the world. Among other things, this report stated:
The root problem is the enormous cost of imported oil, now more than $11 per bbl., a fourfold inflation in only one year. The increase has enabled the oil exporting countries to earn an almost inconceivable amount of foreign currency: about $100 billion this year . . . By the end of this decade, the 13 nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could have a surplus of gold, dollars, pounds; marks, francs and other foreign currencies amounting to $650 billion; by contrast, the U.S.’s reserves are now $15 billion . . .
In chancelleries’ and countinghouses nearly everywhere, officials fear economic crisis leading to political instability. The evidence of this gloom was clear and plentiful last week . . .
There was a deepening perception of the potential impact of continued high oil prices: accelerating inflation that indiscriminately threatens both industrial and developing nations; increasing strains on and a collapse of the international banking networks; widespread recessions (or even a worldwide depression) with levels of unemployment unprecedented since the 1930s; and ultimately, perhaps, a corrosion of democratic political institutions . . . .
The OPEC nations cannot argue that the price of oil is set by production costs. They do not actually “produce” petroleum; they merely—by a quirk of geography—possess it. Foreign technologists found and developed the oil, and foreign risk capital built most of rigs, pumps, refineries, pipelines and harbors. Only the existence of the OPEC cartel, with its ability to impose prices by fiat, keeps up the cost of oil . . .
Of course the oil-deficient but otherwise potent industrial nations would never permit themselves to become impoverished. They would fast act boldly through energy sharing and saving and political and economic boycotts to stem the drain of money and transfer of power . . .
Perhaps the above illustrates somewhat the bind into which the world and the United States particularly have come. Of the energy consumed by the world, one third is consumed in the United States (consisting of only 6% of the population of the world). There have been threats, or implied threats, that no country has the “right” to withhold sources of cheap energy. The reference in the Time article indicates this. Only a “quirk of geography,” say they, has given the Arabs the oil we need.
But how will the difficulty possibly be solved? Who is going to allocate the available energy so that the peoples of the world have their fair share? Will the United States be able to do this? Will Russia?
The only answer today is that one centralized power, perhaps one man, must be in a position where energy resources are equitably divided among mankind—and men may be forced to use only their allotted portion. Many people are beginning to acknowledge this.
Other problems have arisen. There is the so-called food shortage. Have you noticed the pictures, even live presentations on T.V., of people who are literally starving to death? We complain here in this country about the high cost of food, yet we have more thanenough. But millions of people today are starving to death. Either, there is not produced enough food, or it is not being properly distributed, or peoples refuse to share because of a fear that this will drive already high prices, higher still.
The end result is gross inequity. Poor nations become poorer, and their population dies off. Rich nations hold on to their riches, convinced that they have a “right” to that which they possess.
The answer? One centralized power, perhaps one man, must come on the scene in order to see to the proper distribution of food. He must take from the rich and distribute to the poor of the earth. And no doubt but that the masses of mankind shall hold him in high esteem.
There is the problem of preserving our environment and the removal of the causes of pollution. Everyone is in favor of this—provided that the other fellow stops his polluting. If the other fellow stopped, the air would be cleaner, the water purer. Countries too recognize that other countries do this much. The United States causes much of the pollution. Other countries can understand well that the U.S. ought to stop. Other countries, meanwhile, pollute in other ways. Something must be done.
The solution seems rather obvious. One centralized power, perhaps one man, can regulate even nations so that the world itself will become “a better place in which to live.” Only with such centralized rule, can universal law be established which all men and all nations must observe.
There is the problem of control of the resources of this earth. These resources are being depleted at a fantastic rate. And most of them are being used by a minority of the people; about a third of these by the 6% of the population of the United States. Is that fair? Is it right? How long will the people of the world generally accommodate themselves to the demands of the few? Who will regulate all of this?
One centralized power, perhaps one man, will be able to allot the resources of this earth among all. He will see to it that nations do not use undue amounts and will give something to everyone. What better solution could there be?
There are the dangers of war. Now nation rises against nation. The mid-east threatens to explode in a war which will involve perhaps all nations. What is the solution for all of this? Who will arbitrate between nations? Who will enforce solutions? Who will prevent that nuclear war of which man has been so frightened the past thirty years?
One centralized power, perhaps one man, can do that. He can regulate the relations between nations. He can enforce settlements in difficult situations. He can establish that sort of peace among men for which the nations have so long desired.
There is also the question of endangered species. We read of nations which hunt to excess the great whales. Others kill off other species without regard to the fact that the “balance of nature” is disrupted.
Or there is the matter of the control of the weather. Nations seek to increase or decrease their average rainfall. These seek to improve growing conditions in their lands. Perhaps their action adversely affects weather patterns over the whole earth. But no matter—as long as one gets enough rain and sunshine himself.
Or there is the troubling question of population control. The earth, it is said, already has too many people. Within the lifetimes of most people living today, that population will double—unless drastic steps are taken. There must be control of conception; there must be abortion. There must perhaps, it is said, be enforced regulations concerning number of children any family may have. Yet if one city, or one nation, only regulates its population; if one race does while another does not; then the whole concept of preventing “population explosions” must fail. All must be compelled to abide by clear-cut standards.
And the answer for all of this is a centralized power, perhaps one man, who can lay down the rules and enforce these. The world can not be divided up anymore into segments—each independent of the other. The world can not afford anymore to allow certain parts of the whole to go on its own. The world must insist on control and regulation of the entire earth—for the “safety” and “preservation” of the earth itself.
Increasingly, people are beginning to acknowledge that this is the only solution. Even the “churches” are emphasizing this. The W.C.C., in one of its conferences (World Conference on Church and Society, Geneva, Switzerland, July 12-26, 1966) expressed opinions which become increasingly popular. At this conference, the following was suggested:
The world is like a jungle with each nation a “cold beast” prowling around devouring whom it can. We know that justice and order within a nation depends upon the establishment of just laws and institutions and coercive power; how then can man ever develop a just and ordered world community without the same basic essentials, applied universally? Yet such “structures” hardly exist at all today and the Christian is called to maintain the ones that do (the United Nations for one) and to help develop new ones—to find the “crack? in the hard pan of present world system and plant there the seeds of new “structures.” This requires reduction of national sovereignty, and at its merest mention some participants begin to squirm and cavil. But these were the few. . . .
I have spent most of my adult life working with people at the very fringe of civilization, with the simplest people that the world knows. . . . From that point of view I can appreciate how far we have come, as we learned first to be a tribe, then a city state, then a nation, and now seek to build a world society bound together by law. . . .
Shades of Babel!
And does not the Word of God, albeit from the opposite viewpoint, remind us of the same thing? Rev. 13 says, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. . . . And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? . . .
“And I behold another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men . . .”
We live in the times of the fulfillment of this Word of God. Watch—and know that the time of our deliverance is at hand.