Students of Bible prophecy have long searched the Scriptures to try to understand the times in which they live. Like Christ's disciples, we want to know what will be the signs of His coming in the power of the universe.
Every year at this time we see the usual reviews of the past year and projections of what will come in the next. At this time of year, I'm always curious to read a publication by The Economist titled The World in 2005; its editors try to look ahead and give us a forecast of what is to be. However, we are safer if we stay with what Jesus Christ outlined in His Olivet Prophecy of Matthew 24. Here Christ spoke of the impact of false religion, war, famine, pestilence and other specific indicators. These are the well-known "four horsemen" of Revelation 6, the first four of seven seals.
In 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×He mentioned "earthquakes in diverse places." As I write, the world is dealing with last month's earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Indonesia. More than 150,000 are known dead (some estimates are as high as 1 million) and many thousands more are likely to die from disease and starvation in the aftermath of the destruction. Ironically this quake occurred one year to the day after another huge quake killed thousands in northern Iran.
The past decade has seen a rise in what some call "superdisasters" that take an increasing toll in life and property. It does little to scoff and say that disasters have always occurred or that modern communication does a better job of reporting events. We are seeing events foretold by Christ—events He says are just "the beginning of sorrows." We grieve at the loss of life in Asia and want to reach out to do what we can. But we must brace ourselves for more to come.
Christ highlighted Jerusalem and the Middle East as a place to watch (Matthew 24:15-16 Matthew 24:15-16  When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:)
 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
American King James Version×). Events there continue to move the world closer to prophesied events. Iran's nuclear capability is a growing threat that will not go away. The Iranian regime has shown itself hostile to Israel and those who back her. With North Korea and Iraq, it is part of what U.S. President George W. Bush called an "axis of evil" three years ago.
Radical Islamic elements continue to push outward, threatening to upset the stability of other Western nations. The recent brutal stabbing of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh has been a wake-up call in some quarters of Europe. Some realize the potential threat of an unassimilated Muslim minority in many West European countries. Reason, tolerance and a pluralistic approach do not work with every group of immigrants. A terrorist attack on Europe of the magnitude of the Sept. 11 attacks on America could push Europe into a reactionary status that could change its demeanor. An aroused Europe could come against Middle Eastern nations that harbor or support terrorists. This would mark a dramatic fulfillment of prophecy.
Christ's warning about the rise of false religion extends into Revelation 17 where He shows a global economic power coupled with a great religious power. This system is called Babylon the Great and holds sway over the world. Major changes will take place in the world we know today to create this colossus.
World News and Prophecy has a mission to explain the meaning of today's news in the light of Bible prophecy. Each year brings us closer to the fulfillment of these major prophecies. It is not always pleasant to have to bring this chronicle of bad news to the attention of our audience. But we must be true to the biblical mandate to watch and to warn. And we are careful to always frame our message with the true and living hope of the promise of the "restoration of all things" that Christ, the glorious fifth horseman of Revelation, will ultimately bring. Christ promised to shorten the days of trouble that lie ahead and rescue this world. In that promise is our true hope. WNP