Seventy years ago World War II was entering its last stages. Nazi Germany would be defeated within days, followed by Japan a few months later. That war ended with the United States and Russia dominating the world stage. They would jockey for position and domination over the next few decades.
In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight, leaving the United States as the world’s only superpower. For a time it appeared that the world would see a new era of global peace and cooperation. But it was not to be.
The horrifying suicide airliner attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, brought the shocking reality that jihad had awakened from its long slumber and was on the march again, resuming its mortal battle with the West. America responded with invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq—only to learn, like the British and Russians earlier, why Afghanistan had rightly come to be known as “the graveyard of empires.”
Bruised by two long wars, America began a retreat. The world’s policeman, worn and exhausted, hung up its badge and guns and chose to “lead from behind”—a euphemism for relinquishing its world leadership role and turning inward. Not surprisingly, others rushed into the vacuum. Now we see chaos almost everywhere we look.
China, recognizing American weakness, is aggressively upgrading its military capabilities and throwing its weight around—pressing territorial claims at the expense of weaker neighbors such as the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.
Russia, the primary subject of this issue, is likewise updating its military forces, including testing new nuclear missile systems.
Just over a year ago, in March 2014, Russia wrested control of Crimea from Ukraine and absorbed it into the Russian Federation. Overlapping the Crimean takeover, pro-Russian factions carved out significant portions of eastern and southern Ukraine in what has been described as a “stealth invasion” to reclaim Ukraine as part of the former Soviet Union. Now the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are very nervous about a similar fate overtaking them.
In the Middle East, the so-called “Arab Spring” was hailed as a pro-freedom movement—but turned out to be anything but. Today much of the Middle East is aflame in a way not seen in centuries.
The Islamic State erases national borders in its push to expand its caliphate. Entire nations such as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon no longer exist as we’ve known them. In Yemen—a chokepoint for control of much of the world’s oil supply—the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam are engaged in a full shooting war. Across North Africa nations descend into chaos and bloodshed.
Jesus Christ foretold that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:7 Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
American King James Version×) as part of initial troubles that would grow in frequency and intensity until culminating in an unprecedented period that would lead to human extinction apart from the direct intervention of God sending His Son to establish a worldwide Kingdom and enforce peace (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×).
This time is swiftly approaching, so we urge you to diligently read every issue of The Good News. We want to help you make sense of world news in the light of Bible prophecy. The terrible state of the world is also why you need to join us in continually praying to God, “Your Kingdom come!”