With Russia’s recent attack on Ukraine, we are reminded of a truth that many of us learned as children on the playground: bullies target the weak, and they won’t stop unless the victims are enabled to defend themselves or unless someone stronger intervenes.
America used to be that strongman, a bulwark of both morality and leadership, which caused belligerent nations and itching dictators to think twice before making an aggressive move in any direction. But sadly, America’s diminished morality has led to a lack of strong leadership, racing downhill on an ever-steepening slope.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the first of many aggressions that we will witness in the days ahead. I suggest that we keep a close watch on China, North Korea, Iran, and other countries that are undoubtedly waiting to see how the United States, aside from sanctions, will respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Most Bible commentators agree that Russia is the key player in a prophecy given in Ezekiel 38, wherein a confederation of nations, including Iran and Turkey, will attack Israel without provocation. Russia’s latest posturing and saber-rattling, combined with its current military offensive in Ukraine, only lend more credence to the possibility of this ancient prediction coming to pass in the near future.
Wars and rumors of wars can be a frightening prospect to those who have no idea what’s coming. But for the Christian who has studied the Bible, the escalation of aggression we are seeing is just one more indicator that we draw closer to the end. Jesus detailed many signs of the times to be looking for in the last days. In addition to the escalation of war, Jesus foretold the escalation of deception, betrayal, hatred, lawlessness, earthquakes, famines, and yes, even pandemics.
Jesus also said that in the last days it will be just like it was in the days of Noah. How were things in the days of Noah? Genesis 6:5 tells us: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Does that sound like the world we live in? I certainly think so.
Why did Jesus tell us that we should expect all of these horrible things? Was He trying to scare us? Doesn’t He know we are already prone to anxiety and worry?
Yes, He does know. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is precisely for that reason He foretold all of these things. His prophecies are reminders to us that He knows the future, and that He has every single detail under control. In the midst of all His warning about the last days, He made it a point to assure us: “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass” (Matthew 24:6).
So, with everything we’re seeing in our world today that points to an increase in global strife, what are we as believers to do?
1. We are to trust God because God is trustworthy.
2. We are to pray. We should absolutely be asking God for revival and renewal both in our nation and in the Church worldwide.
3. We are to let our voice be heard about what is right, and we are to stand up against what is wrong.
I want to encourage you to live boldly for Jesus. God has told us in Scripture that we are luminaries of truth. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven”(Matthew 5:16).
That statement implies that we are going to encounter dark days. In the present darkness and uncertainty that we find ourselves in, let the truth of God’s Word shine out of you.
I’m not talking about promoting our feelings or our opinions. As God’s ambassadors, we are to promote His truth, His whole truth, and nothing but His truth in the ever-darkening world around us.
Jack Hibbs is the founder and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Southern California and the voice of the Real Lifetelevision and radio broadcasts. Dedicated to proclaiming truth and standing boldly in opposition to false doctrines that distort the Word of God and the character of Christ, Jack’s voice challenges today’s generation to both understand and practice an authentic Christian worldview. This is an excerpt from his upcoming book “Countdown,” scheduled for release in April 2020. Visit www.jackhibbs.com for more insights and messages.